January Joy 2018!


Snow Scene

Well, hello 2018!

January Joy came about because I love to celebrate the start of a New Year but also to try and improve what is a bit of a depressing month. Poor January gets a bad rap I think, but it can’t be denied that the weather, lack of festive fun and annual dose of guilt we pile upon ourselves after Christmas excesses doesn’t exactly make for a fabulous start to the year. Previously January Joy has taken the form of a series of prompts to bring some Joy to your January but (in keeping with one of my themes for the year,) I’m going to change it a little this year. We all have very busy lives and as my life has evolved I imagine many of your lives have too. I don’t have time for daily or even weekly prompts so I’m going to focus on a few themes that I’ll be working towards all year instead and I have several posts lined up for you this month that fit within those themes. I always like to start the year with a bit of reflection and goal setting! So what are they, I hear you ask?


Tortoise BuJo spread

Slow Down

So often nowadays I feel like days, weeks and months are rattling past at a frenetic pace. We are quite a social family, we like to go out and do things, keep the kids busy, travel, and whilst we don’t do as much of this as before we had kids, it still all too often feels like we are rushing from one thing to the next, stressed preparing and organising for these things, instead of enjoying them. More often than not such a packed schedule adds more stress due to double booking, forgetting things and one of my biggest stresses currently, not keeping up to date with everything at home. The washing, the tidying, the stuff for school and work and so on. I want to feel more in control of all of this but also to just slow down and savour my girls while they are little. Having children has taught me to be more present, in the moment, not just to watch but to participate and I want to have time to do that, not through a series of day trips or experiences, just in our own home together. I’m hoping that making a bit more time available will allow me to take some time for myself, and I can introduce some mindfulness and self care, so I feel better able to tackle the rest of life’s chaos. A key part of this is getting more organised and I’ll be sharing my BuJo experience so far as part of that.


Talking about re-using and recycling made me think of this post a wrote a while back about Recycling your old scented candles.

Reduce

This year we want to continue to make changes to contribute towards reducing our impact on the environment. Waste has become a real bugbear of mine and so reducing it in a variety of ways is something I constantly thinking about. I’m talking food waste, plastic waste and landfill in general so look out for some blog posts on changes we have made as a family that really help.

Complete

Probably the biggest project we will be managing this year is the extension, while it’s not a resolution or a goal per se, its going to occupy huge amounts of our time and effort, both mentally and physically. The building work has already started with clearing the site and its pretty depressing looking at the mess and destruction, which looks 1000x worse in grim freezing damp January! I can’t wait for it to be finished but beyond that I’m determined to have the whole house finished by the end of the year. (Well, maybe not the top floor but we can just ignore that, right?)


Bauble iPhone wallpaper download

Connect

Lastly, I want to reach out a bit more via the blog, to make new connections with other bloggers and give Florence Finds a little more love again! Hopefully that will mean bringing some inspiring content to you guys too.

So now it’s your turn. What are your goals or resolutions, themes or inspirations for 2018? Are any the same as mine? Are some the total opposite? Please do drop me a comment and share!

Happy New Year readers!

Rebecca

Featured and Quoted…

Happy New Year readers! Whilst I’m trying to finish January Joy and a post on my return to work, I thought I’d pop in quickly to share something exciting! Last year an image I submitted as part of the #MyFaBHome competition with Farrow and Ball was selected as one of their 50 most inspirational rooms and included in their digital booklet. Apart from the fact that I’ve been slightly out of the blogging game of late and it’s fun to do a little trumpet blowing, I LOVE the booklet. The rooms featured are incredible and so inspirational, so I wanted to share it here as a little bit of New Year interiors inspiration for all of you.

There’s such a great range of modern spaces, heritage backdrops and quirky styling – it really shows how you don’t have to be decorating a country pile to use Farrow and Ball. I’ll certainly be spending some time pouring over it’s pages while I’m planning the interiors of our new extension… which incidentally started today!

Whilst I’m trumpet blowing, if you’re over here because you saw my review of The Watergate Bay hotel when they shared it earlier this week then hi! Welcome. And if you haven’t read it yet… you can find my whole review here. I’m working on a review of Another Place (the WGB sister hotel in The Lake District) too, so if you don’t want to miss that then please do follow along on Instagram or Facebook for post updates!

Right, back to January Joy… it’s coming ;)

Rebecca

A tentative hello…

Well hello readers! Are there even any readers out there? I’d forgive you if not… it’s been almost 8 long months since I wrote a blog post here, announcing that Cora had arrived, bumping our little family to four. I’m lying when I say it’s been 8 long months though, good grief they have flown. The days have whistled past, the nights though? They have been loooooong. Having two children has Kicked. My. Ass.

So many times I’ve wanted to write a blog post but haven’t had the time. When I have had opportunity, sleep has often been higher up the agenda. Cora has not been a great sleeper… In fact as I write this, it’s 05.42am and I’m sat in the feeding chair, having failed to put her back down once and with the genius idea to try and use my time productively, I’m typing on my phone.


Cora at Francesca’s hen weekend // Plannign the amazing flowers with Miss Pickering // The Tipi’s pre-wedding // My sister, The Bride!

Aside from having a baby (which frankly, would have been quite enough thank you,) it’s been a busy old 8 months. Aside from the daily, no, hourly trials and tribulations of having two, we’ve had a few milestone events going on. My sister got engaged just two weeks before Cora was born and married a week ago. With a short engagement it was all hands on deck and lots of appointments and planning to be done that I helped her with. In September Bea started preschool nursery at the local primary school, a decision we had agonised over and I’ll come back to in a separate blog post at some point. And behind all of that… the project that has been grumbling along since we bought this house, but in ernest for the last almost two years, we are finally about to start the extension we had in mind when we first looked around this house.


Choosing floor tiles // My original inspiration for the extension // Bathroom shopping // Architects meetings

Some of you might remember the ‘monster pipe’ story. If not, here is the blog post if you want to read about it. Essentially our house is built almost on top of a large overflow sewer which predates the house and is massive. 1m across, 4m underground. (Which isn’t as deep as it sounds when you consider that we have cellars!) When we bought the house we were told there was no way we would ever be able to build over it but after realising (2 years in) that the house just wasn’t working for us with a baby in tow, we decided to make some bigger moves to try and get the go ahead. We managed it and then were planning to start in January this year when Cora was due in March, so we postponed. Looking back that wasn’t realistic at all… there have been delays and decisions at every turn and I’m determined to get this particular project right. Leaving the top floor aside, it will finish the house for us, adding a much needed family living/dining space and utility room, and rejigging the downstairs loo, hallway, landing and extending the first floor bathroom. What started out as simply adding a ‘glass box’ to the back of the house has spiralled somewhat… whilst I absolutely can’t wait to have it done, I really don’t want to ‘do’ it at all – particularly as we will be living in it throughout.

We’ve also been to Greece, Cornwall (twice) and The Lake District, Just So Festival, renovated the dining room and acclimatised to being a family of four. Honestly that has been my longest and toughest project, one I’m still working on, but also one that I finally feel comfortable with. It’s only taken 8 months!

Anyway, I want to expand on all of these things, and so many others, so I’ll be back. Fingers crossed!

Rebecca.

Favourite fonts…

I tend to find that I lean towards repeating the same fonts on graphics when I’m producing images for Florence Finds and thought today I would share my favourites.


Mission Script (free) // Mathilde (free) Jacques & Gilles // Homestead (free) // Amarelinha

Some I have paid for, some are free but these 5 seem to cover all my needs for creative and consistent image branding. I hope you find one you like!

 

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Here comes #JanuaryJoy!

It’s that time again readers! Time to reveal #JanuaryJoy 2014! I’m super excited to get going and make January a lot more joyful than dreary December was!

A little bit of background in case you’re new to January Joy…

The numbers in the image above correspond to dates. As per usual here at FF, there will be no weekend tasks. You don’t have to sign up to do everything and you don’t have to do them in order. Dip in and out as you like.

If you would like to follow along with January Joy feel free to spread the word on your own blog (and use the image above,) or tweet about it using the tag #JanuaryJoy. You can even post it (and hashtag) on Instagram!

So let’s get excited about 2014! See you tomorrow!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS
Last years January Joy

A short service announcement…

Hi Readers,

I just wanted to update you all on something new as you might have noticed that there has been a bit of downtime on the blog lately – both last Monday and again yesterday. On both occasions my hosters closed the site down due to a database size warning, which was in turn due to a massive amount of spam comments I’ve been getting. You guys don’t even see these as (unlike some blogs where you might notice them in the comments,) I have a filter set up that puts them straight in a spam box. I was advised by my hosters to install a Captcha on the comments but I resisted as I hate them personally and I really didn’t want to put you guys off commenting. However in the last week, after clearing out my spam box, I received another 25,000 spam comments, resulting in more down time yesterday and making me realise I had no choice but to address the problem.

As a result, I have had to go ahead and install a captcha for the comments (for those of you who think I’m speaking greek, it’s the little box you have to retype the text in from a rubbish picture when the computer thinks you might be spam, can you tell I don’t like them?) and I have tried to keep it as simple as possible by choosing a number test instead which is super quick. I just wanted to tell you all so it wasn’t a surprise and also to please ask that it doesn’t stop you commenting on Florence Finds! I love reading your comments and it would be very sad if this stopped you as I’ve really had no choice in order to keep Florence Finds up and running at all.

Thanks guys!
(and normal post coming at 11am)

Rebecca x

Monday Must Have: Everlapse

Recently life seems to have been flying past me, I guess that’s what happens when you’ve got some kind of big life event on like moving house! Despite that I managed to spot this on Twitter, (via DesignMom) and thought it was worth sharing.

Everlapse is a nifty little app that creates a highlights reel of your 20 most liked Instagram snaps (that’s what you can see up there at the top of this post) that you can share across social media, via email or embed as I have done on the blog.

Where it comes into it’s own however is the way you can download the actual Everlapse app (the above trick is done by signing in online via Instagram) and then create your own showreels. As a blogger I quite fancied doing this for my next monthly round up – it’s quick easy and a little bit more fun than a static image, although I guess it may have issues for those with slower connections. You can embed the reels you make via the app to a website, or share them on twitter. For now, if you’re not a blogger and want this for personal use, I can see it lending itself really well to making showreels of perhaps a monthly baby shot to post on facebook for a baby birthday, or maybe anything your want to show the progress of, a diy project or decorating job?

What do you think readers? Go and have a litle play!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Pinterest (for everyone) Part 2

Ok, so hopefully by now if you’re vaguely interested, you’ve got a Pinterest account and maybe you’re having a feel around it. For part 2, I’m going to talk about how to pin (there are several different ways…) and what you might use Pinterest for :)

There are three ways for you to get your image onto your Pinterest board.

  1. Lots of blogs have a Pin it! Button that appears if you hover over an image, so look out for this. (You will see that there is one on all of my images if you hover over them for example…) When you press it, you’ll be prompted to log into Pinterest in a pop up box (if you’re not already) and the blog will autofill the comment box. You simply choose which of your boards you want to put it on and change the comment if you want to.
  2. Secondly, lots of websites have a Pin it! Button within their social media bar – this works in the same way a floating Pin it button on a blog image does. (Again you’ll find one of these next to the ‘tweet’ and ‘like’ buttons at the bottom of this post.)
  3. Thirdly, you can add the Pin it bookmarklet to your web browsers tool bar. Just follow the instructions, and then anytime you’re browsing the internet and see something you want to remember you can press the pin it button and hey presto, up pops your pin it box again.

*Just beware if you do this on a blog and haven’t clicked into the particular post, you will link to the blog, not that specific post, which can be annoying if you want to come back to it later.

Lastly you can upload an image via the Uploader or from a website by using the big plus sign at the top of your Pinterest window. To upload an image from your computer, simply browse your folders to select the image then upload, or paste in a web address to search the images on the site.

Just a final thought for you when adding your images, always credit the image. As I mentioned above, when you add a pin using a blogs pin it button, or social media buttons, or the Pin it bookmarklet, Pinterest automatically adds a link so you can click the image later from within Pinterest and go back to the source you pinned it from. If you upload your own image you can add a web address for where it came from or add in the comment (via FlorenceFinds.com) for example.

Now how do I use it?
There are loads of different ways to use Pinterest but here are just a few ways I use it and that I find useful:

Plan
Probably the most used function of Pinterest is to plan things. That might be an event like a hen party, a room you are decorating, or a round the world trip.

Organise
Like I said, I am a terrible hoarder of paper, so being able to store collections of recipes, fashion finds and hotel recommendations stops me stockpiling cut outs and keeps my life tidier.

Remember for later
You know when you see something on the internet, a great outfit idea, 5 tips for stress free entertaining, or the perfect gift for your niece next Christmas? Pin it. Save yourself frustrating hours of searching for it all over again. I’ll go so far as to say this is something that has changed my life.

Search
Do you know you want a blue kitchen but not sure what it will come out like? Looking for brunette bob hairstyles to show your hairdresser? Simply use the search box at the top left of the page and see hundreds of images pop up.

Tip: Be specific to get better results – ie ‘white gloss kitchen’, rather than just ‘white kitchen’ and consider using American language like ‘countertops’ instead of ‘worktops’ if you’re having trouble finding what you want. This works both ways too, if you want people to find your pins, label them clearly according to what they contain. You can find new reading material this way too – when you find a picture you like (of a recipe for example,) if you click it, it will take you to the source and just like that, you’ve found a new favourite blog!

Share
Share your pins with others by getting them to join Pinterest or simply sharing the link to the board you want to show them. You might want to bounce some decor ideas off your best friend, or help your mum out with her christmas shopping by showing her a few things you’ve been coveting. One of my friends recently got engaged with her perfect ring that her fiancé had found by looking on her Pinterest board!

Switch off
Because I’m a very visual person I could look at Pinterest all day. I log on perhaps 2 or three times a day and scroll through everything until I reach the ones I saw last time I was logged on. It’s a way of switching off, destressing and taking a break. Beware though – it’s such a time waster!

Are you a blogger? This post is to make Pinterest accessible to everyone, but there are more tips on how to use Pinterest specifically to increase your blog traffic and web presence here, on the Dream. Find. Do. blog.

Phew!

I hope this mini-series helped you guys understand Pinterest a little better. There’s even more to it – for example you can share boards with friends to work on joint projects, or keep secret boards too. Plus there is an iPhone app. As you can probably tell, I really love it. Like my iPhone, I can’t quite imagine how I lived without it, so if you get even a little bit of benefit from it, I’ll be happy.

So what do you use Pinterest for?

Rebecca x

Pinterest (for everyone) Part 1

A few times when I have mentioned Pinterest, some people have commented that they don’t really ‘get it’ or know how to use it. It’s easy when you’re a blogger and friends with lots of bloggers, to think everybody is doing something or au fait with something new on the internet, but it seems some of you want a kick start and a few pointers on Pinterest so I’m more than happy to oblige! (Of course if you just have no interest in Pinterest, feel free to move right along to your next favourite blog read!)
Tip: As well as the pictures I have included to illustrate my points here, click through all the links for examples of what I am talking about.

So what is Pinterest?
Try to think of it as a virtual scrap book. Did you make scrapbooks when you were younger? Have you ever made a book of travel memories? Cut out an recipe in the newspaper to remind you to try something later? Kept a page out of a magazine to remember a room scheme? Well essentially Pinterest is exactly the same, but online and anything that reduces the paper clutter around my house is a welcome addition in my opinion. Because it’s an American idea, they liken it to a pinboard, hence Pinterest.

How do I get started with Pinterest?
Firstly, create an account and log in. Next you need to create some ‘boards’. Pinterest will start you off with a few and you can either delete these or run with them, and of course add your own. Think of these as folders, or pages in your digital scrapbook, groups of things that go together. You might choose to make a board of fashion you have seen for your winter wardrobe, a travel bucket list or just a ton of cute puppies. You don’t have to make all your boards now, you might find later on that you want to start collecting images of something different and everytime you ‘pin’ an image, you have the option to create a new board for the image.

The next part is a bit like Facebook, you need to find some people to follow. (I’ll explain why in a minute…) Pinterest allows you to connect via Twitter or Facebook and find your friends who are also on Pinterest. If you happen to have super stylish friends, then this might be the way forward, but I don’t tend to follow many of my friends for 2 reasons. Firstly, Pinterest is about visual inspiration and you want to see the very best of it. Find your favourite bloggers who are already famous for selecting beautiful imagery and let them do the hard work for you. (You can find my Pinterest account here.) Secondly, most people use Pinterest to plan stuff, and so it kind of takes the wind out of your friends sails when they tell you about their plans for the new kitchen and you’ve already seen it all on their Pinterest board!

How do I ‘pin’ things? Again, there’s lots of answers to this question.

For starters, this is where those friends you followed above come in. Every time you log into Pinterest, just like on a Facebook wall there’s a page of all the pins the people you follow have pinned. You can browse them and repin them to your boards. Some people don’t do anything other than this and are perfectly happy. If you follow enough people, you’ll have more than enough inspiration to play with.

Tip: Here are 5 top ‘Pinners’ to get you started:

Decor – Kimberley (Redlilocks)

Style – Kirsty (A Safe Mooring)

Fashion – Kimberley (Eat Sleep Wear)

Events and Style Inspiration – Michelle & Vicki (PocketfulofDreams)

Beauty - The Beauty Department

Another great way to use Pinterest is to pin something you have seen elsewhere on the internet. You might see something on a blog for example, a hotel on a travel agents site, or that recipe in the newspaper online.

Next week, I’ll explain more of how to pin and also why I love Pinterest so much (i.e. what I use it for.) For now, if you haven’t already got one, get yourself an account and dive right in!

Happy Pinning!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

GIVEAWAY: Moonfruit

** THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED **

It’s almost 2 years since the launch of Florence Finds now and 2 things I have definitely found to be true: 1. Design is everything and 2. Great images are key to growing your readership. As a result, when Moonfruit contacted me to share their services and offered to give away a Max package membership (worth £25/month) and fancy camera to a lucky reader, I pretty much jumped, knowing there were many of you who would love to win a prize like that!

So who are Moonfruit? Having done most of the work on FF myself, I didn’t know there were any great services like this around and if I was starting out afresh or a little less handy with web design, I would be jumping at their packages. Sometimes the only thing keeping you from getting started or upgrading your design is a lack of time and knowledge! Moonfruit are the UK’s leading DIY website building platform and their standard package is totally free, but with their premium packages you can make some pretty spectacular site designs, all of which are tablet and mobile-friendly. Plus you can find some genius tips for your website and business on their blog here.

As I said before, great images are key to growing your readership, with Moonfruit’s Lightbox image gallery, you can showcase your photos and creative work via their pre-designed templates, and it’s really easy to share your content on social platforms straight from your website. I do so much online now that feeds into Florence Finds; just look at the way I could create moodboards for the room sets I planned last month, get all of you to offer your advice and then buy the whole lot online!

But let’s get to the nitty gritty here. The lucky winner will receive:

  • Moonfruit membership to create a shiny new website on their Max premium package worth £25 a month
  • A Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ30E-K Bridge Camera – Black

All you have to do is:
Leave a comment below telling me why you would love a shiny new site from Moonfruit and what you would like to take photographs of with the fabulous camera on offer.
*Bonus entry methods*

  • Follow @moonfruit on Twitter leave your user name in a comment below
  • Tweet the following phrase on Twitter and leave me a comment saying you have done so: “Win a camera and new website from @Moonfruit on @FlorenceFinds http://www.florencefinds.com/?p=10310″
  • Like Moonfruit on Facebook and leave me a separate comment below saying you have done so.

I’m really excited to hear what you would do with the camera and how you would improve your existing site, or maybe this is the push you need to create a new site?
Either way, get those entries in!!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

*The giveaway will close in two weeks on Wednesday 21st August at 12 midnight. The winner will be chosen by a random number generator.

*This post and giveaway is sponsored by Moonfruit.

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