Hello September…

Well hello readers!

Let’s just skim over the fact that I’m finally saying hello on the 19th of September and embrace the season for new adventures and fresh starts. I love September. That whole back to school feeling, new fashion trends to embrace, the need for new stationary in a throw back to new school years starting, the shifting seasons… I can’t get enough of it. This year it feels all the better as it’s co-inciding with the never ending house project coming to an end. In fact as I write this I feel like today was a bit of a milestone. Our Crittall door screen and back door (yes, that of the 20 week lead time…) was finally delivered and installed today, and I couldn’t be happier with them. Also, our thermostats and wiring were finally completed for the underfloor heating, separating the two ‘zones’ in the living area and tiled hall/utility, from the house radiators. I was pretty desperate after the cold snap we had a week or so ago to get the use of the heating back and typically just as this tropical feeling storm passes through I finally am able to switch it on. Those were the two remaining things outstanding from our build and to top it all off we had our snagging meeting with the builder and architect today too! It really feels like the full stop at the end of the project.

It’s been a long old year in terms of the house renovation – I went back to work in January and we started the build 2 weeks later. The rest of the year completely flashed by in a groundhog day of dust, builders and research research research into the right this that and the other for the interior finishes. People often ask me on Instagram or here how I plan a room scheme or makeover and in this case it was 6 rooms at once, but the answer is that I research and plan obsessively over a long period. It’s a bit mind blowing but for me it gives me confidence in my decisions that I won’t go off something when I’ve loved it for 6 months already, and when I know that every bit of the scheme works together too. Now we are really at the fun stage of adding in the bits of decor like art, furniture and a few wall colours and papers here and there. So yeah, more research!

Getting back to September, Bea started reception this month, having just turned four, and so far it has been pretty seamless. She’s returned to the same school she went full time to pre-school at for the last year so it hasn’t been much of a change or jump for her and for that I’ve been very grateful. She’s very good at adapting to new situations and I was surprised at how resilient she was starting pre-school – 2 days in and she was waving me off without a backwards glance, so I was surprised how emotional I was dropping her off to school for the first time. I was completely overwhelmed by guilt and regret that in the whole summer I hadn’t made any time or space for a day of just Bea and I and put Cora in childcare. Our childcare set up means whenever we have childcare in place I’m working, and I also didn’t take time off over summer, preferring to continue with term time holidays whiles she’s under 5 and we can, so although we enjoyed loads of lovely days out together, that feeling of time slipping through your fingers as a mum really hit home. What is it with kids making your eyes so leaky! It’s really made me re-evaluate again the time I spend with the girls and whether that needs reconsidering. So watch this space. On the flip side, Cora and Bea are so good together, and love each other so much, I shouldn’t feel too bad about not spending time with them individually. A year ago when Bea started pre-school I really breathed a sigh of relief to get some respite from probably the hardest phase of her life so far in terms of challenging behaviour, whilst trying to parent a frankly pain in the backside sleep thief baby. This time around the summer has been so much fun now she’s more grown up and co-operative and Cora is able to play with her too, and I’ll genuinely miss her and our little girl gang trio.

I hope you don’t mind me popping in here for a bit of a ramble… I’ve been longing to get back to the blog for such a long time, but the mental space and actual time just hasn’t been there. I finally feel like theres a semblance of a chance that I might be able to come back a bit more regularly and I’m really feeling ready to flex some creative muscle, so watch this space. ;) I have a whole pile of half written blog posts on everything from reading lists and books, to the room reveals from our reno project, travel and just some more general mum and life stuff, ready and waiting to be finished and published so hopefully I can get a bit more of a rhythm going.

Of course being September theres a few other things I want to tackle while my motivation is high! Cora is 18 months old now (Noooo!) and I still haven’t got back into regular exercise. My diet is appalling too so I’m on a mission to find some exercise I enjoy doing – I was thinking of trying Zumba and I really want to sort out my midsection 2 babies down the line so want to find a pilates class. That and some forward planning on the food front wouldn’t go amiss – I’m hoping to totally nail the next two days (Thursday and Fridays are often a bit of a car crash as I work them both and so does Pete,) by prepping ahead with the Instant Pot, something I’ve never really gelled with. So wish me luck!

I’d love to hear what you have all been up to. Are any mums out there reading who have been tackling new school starts? Are you looking forward to anything about Autumn or planning anything now summer is (whisper it) over? Drop me a comment, it would be lovely to chat again!

Rebecca x

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.

Hello Again!

Wow, it’s been a long time. It seems that life just continues to get in the way of blogging. I started writing this post on the 30th of May and good ol’ WordPress promptly lost most of it… it’s taken until now to get round to finishing. Recently I’ve found myself thinking of lots of things I’d like to share so I think it’s time to get back on the horse. Its been so long though, I think it’s time for a little catch up first. And I’d love to hear from you guys as to whats going on with you?

Going back a little further than the last 2 months, I started working a bit more in January. I used to do 2.5 days of seeing patients and another half day was admin time. It felt like a really great balance as I did 2 full days and friday afternoon, but I’d go in on friday morning to get some work done and keep my admin up to date. Because we are generally understaffed and workloads are getting greater all the time, I offered to increase to 3 full days of seeing patients and do my admin from home (because I don’t have or want childcare for the extra time the admin would require.) I have full access to my desktop from home but it means I’m squeezing paperwork in at home in Bea’s nap times or usually at night, and its really tipped the balance in a negative way. My work days are way busier because I’m trying to pack extra in, I’m staying later and still have stuff to do at home. And that ends up just making everything feel worse. At the moment we still need it at work, but I’m thinking all the time about whether to change things back.

The house is also being a bit of a mental drain, if not a physical one. We started one of our main bedrooms back in January – stripping the walls ready for the mammoth job of replacing the wooden windows, re-plastering, putting a new (old) fireplace in and then getting to the fun part of actually decorating and filling it. Its going to be a playroom for Bea and then in the future will become her big girl bedroom when we need the nursery again. Its been somewhat of a false start however as we have been messed about by the company we ordered our windows from and as I write they are promising they will be fitted next week. Funnily enough, I’ve heard that one before from these guys, more than once, but I’m not going to write any more about it otherwise I am likely to swear. A lot.

We have also got another super exciting house project on the go but that one deserves a whole post of it’s own. ;)

I finally started doing some exercise recently, well in January. I found a running buddy, my friend Meriel, and she basically kicked my behind into making it out of the front door for a change. Being brutally honest I have done pretty much no exercise since Bea was born (another blog post in the making,) and there have been lapses when life didn’t allow or I lost my motivation, but I’m pretty proud that over all, I feel like I can call myself a runner now. I get out at least twice a week and my ‘minutes per kilometre’ number is falling all the time. More than anything the regular exercise has actually made me crave more. I miss it when I don’t have opportunity and I feel good when I have managed to do something, even if it’s a short run. High fives all round!

I’m feeling pretty sad I’ve let things slip around here, partly because I miss the posts I wrote about Bea – the last one was when she was 11 months – almost 12 months ago now and she’s turning into a little rock star. I guess part of the reason I don’t get time to post is that I prefer to focus on her fully, but I miss documenting all her little changes and cuteness. Despite the odd very trying day (hello toddler tantrums!) motherhood is still the best adventure I ever embarked upon.

So I’m going to leave it there, because I want to write more, be here more, and if I waffle on much longer I won’t manage another post!

Now what have you been doing so far this year?

Rebecca
x

Happy New Year!

Hello readers! I’m happy to say, I’m back!

I knew almost as soon as I said goodbye that I wanted to continue blogging in some capacity, I value the community here too much to quit completely, but I needed to find a way forward. I think with the benefit of hindsight, because Florence Finds has changed so much since the beginning, it felt wrong to be continually winding down and I needed a clean break to start again. With that in mind, I will be here on a complete ad-hoc basis. If I have something to say, and the time to say it, I will!

I think part of the problem, aside from work, becoming a mother and that little thing called ‘life’ getting in the way, the way I blog has changed massively in the 3+ years since I started Florence Finds. Initially it was very much magazine style with snippets I found everywhere, but over time it has evolved to become a completely personal blog, a place where I share my inspiration and choices. Instead of pinching a couple of stock images of a moisturiser and babbling my thoughts on it, now a typical post documents something I did or am planning and a room update for example requires me to tidy,(!) photograph it, edit the photos, write the post and put all sorts of links in. They are much more time consuming than they were. I used to wrestle with my lack of appetite for trawling the online sites for a new ‘party dress review’ but I have come to terms with just sharing my life now, as I have always just wanted others to have the benefit of my experiences (good or bad,) and to gain the wisdom of so many others doing the same things and going through the same life stages. :) So here I am again.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year… I won’t be doing a traditional January Joy series, in that it won’t be pre-planned, but I think my blog posts throughout the month will reflect the general theme of ‘January Joy’ so I hope you enjoy reading them. I’ll be back with my resolutions tomorrow (as I felt they deserved a fresh post!)

If you are reading this… thanks for sticking around ;)

Rebecca x

Goodbye for now…

I imagine the title here says it all, but I am writing this to say goodbye and close Florence Finds for business, for a while at least.

For a long time, writing here has been something I have felt I ought to do, rather than wanted to do. Life has slowed down, so I don’t have as much to share, yet become richer and fuller. As a mum and working too, time is precious, free time even more so. In terms of priorities, FF is slipping down the list. Despite my turn of phrase above, this is not my business, my GP practice is and in the current climate that demands more and more of my time too.

I’ve always felt that blogs should be predictable and regular, so readers know when to check in. I’ve failed at that miserably lately and even though I have considered posting on an as-and-when basis, I know I would even then still feel obliged to post. For that reason I have decided to take a break until the end of the year and re-evaluate how I feel then. If I carry on here, it needs to be because I have found a way to do it for me again.

I know it will feel surreal, and I will miss the relationships I have here but if you would like to continue following me or keep in touch, you can find me on Instagram. Thank you for reading for the last 4 years, and take care readers.

xxx

Do you… Periscope?

Hey guys!

Wouldn’t it be fun if I could say that live and you guys could reply? Well I think I’ve found a way that we can…

Have you heard of Periscope? Its an app, owned by Twitter and available on iPhone (and Android, Phew!) where you can live broadcast. Followers can watch along or watch later, but the video is deleted after 24 hours. And while the broadcast is going on, you can interact by sending hearts – like a Facebook ‘like’, or saying hi and asking questions. I’d love to be more connected with the community around here like that and for a while now I’ve been considering doing video blog posts or vlogs, but guess what, I really don’t have time to shoot and edit a video before I even post something.

So I’m thinking this could be a really fun and efficient way of quickly sharing, hair or makeup tutorials for example, room or house tours, quick finds, and interacting with you guys too – because thats what really keeps me going doing the blog. Maybe in time I could do a few Q&A or chat type posts too. What it doesn’t work well for is people who don’t have time for whatever reason to join in to the live chats but you can always check in later and watch in the evening once work/mummying/both is done for the day. ;) I could post links here to remind people to view?

So if this is something you’d like to see, let me know in the comments and get set up with a periscope account here. If you head on over before this evening, there might just be something for you to see on my stream ;)

Hopefully see you on there soon! My account for Florence Finds on periscope is Rebecca_Norris by the way :)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS more about Periscope in general here.

Welcome in the #JanuaryJoy


Image via

Happy New Year readers!

I gave some serious thought to doing January Joy this year… it’s the third year now and a lot has changed in that time here on the blog. I wasn’t sure I could commit to a regular daily post anymore so thought I might have to let it go, but I know so many of you enjoy it and I do myself – I just love the possibilities of a New Year. So I’m going to do it differently this year…


Background glitter image via

I usually blog about 3 or 4 times a week now so there are 13 prompts. That’s enough for 3 per week and one for good measure. You’ll notice there are no numbers so you are free to pick and choose which prompts you do when, working through them as January progresses. I think this might work better for lots of you as it means you can plan a family day out at the weekend when work isn’t an issue and also use the weather to your advantage. There’s nothing better than a Sunday lunch with friends or family when the weather is cold outside, or a walk on a crisp sunny day. And if you can’t or don’t want to get through them all then that’s fine. January Joy is about embracing the New Year, a spirit of optimism and joy for life, so just fit it around yours.

As always, the whole point is to join in, so feel free to download the image above to share by clicking it, or clicking here. Please let me know when you’re taking part – blog about it, or tweet or instagram using the hashtag #januaryjoy and you can see who else is joining in and how, by searching the hashtag in your social media feeds.

Oh and for those of you needing a bit of additional inspiration, I’ll be pinning January Joy appropriate challenges, tips and fun on my January Joy Pinterest board – do follow along and tag me or the hashtag on Pinterest too and I’ll add your ideas and pin your January Joy activities too!

Will you be joining in readers?! I hope you all enjoy it! :)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Meet & Greet: Esme

This morning I’m re-introducing Esme, our Family Lifestyle contributor. I’m always interested in how mums make everything we do on a day to day basis work for them and their particular set of circumstances, so I’m looking forward to hearing more from Esme and her family in the coming months! Look out for her newest post tomorrow…

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m a busy working mum to an energetic, constantly hungry, car-obsessed toddler called Freddie and wife to Tom. I love reading on the train to work, eating good food and enjoying a glass of wine with friends. I like to consider myself organised, but I can’t deny I’m a worrier.

At the moment my life is about trying to find some balance, but toning down the being away every weekend/having friends over/exploring and discovering new restaurants and galleries that it used to be about and instead cherishing simple family time. I find that pretty exciting in itself.

What are you going to be writing about?

My posts are all about ‘family lifestyle’: what works for us as a family with a toddler, ideas for days out and my thoughts on making busy family lives a bit easier. I’m learning as I go and sharing everything I learn.

What is your weekday/weekend uniform?

During the week at work I stick to simple and smart-ish dresses, or a pretty top, navy ankle-length trousers and ballet pumps. At the weekend, I’m all about comfy, but flattering jersey dresses, jeans with a bright top and chunky necklaces and shoes I can run around the garden in. I’m not afraid to wear a proper waterproof for damp park sessions, but I also love any opportunity to wear red lipstick and heels.

Favourite Food?

Pasta, always. I often say to my husband that I it would take a long time for me to get sick of pasta at every meal.

Holiday destination recommendation?

Capri, Italy. We went on our honeymoon and whenever I need to think about my happy place, I imagine myself sitting by the pool with a glass of fresh lemon water and the perfect blue sky.

Can’t live without Beauty product?

I’m not one for expensive products, but I cannot live without Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser.

Last book I read…

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

What does your perfect weekend look like?

It would involve a lie-in, a good run, going out for lunch with all the friends we don’t see enough, a National Trust trip (with cake), an evening on the sofa with a new box set and my husband, and getting to the end of the To Do list. I would get to relax, laugh with Freddie and feel refreshed.

Love, Esme.

Find Esme on her blog Esme Wins or on Twitter @Real_Married

Meet and Greet… Erin

It might have seemed a little odd when I ‘re-introduced’ Victoria a couple of weeks back, as she is a long standing contributor, but I wanted to properly introduce Erin and Esme also, so it seemed like a good idea to start with Victoria. Today Erin is here, pre-empting her second post of the month rounding up how she wore her October must-buys, which is coming right up tomorrow. I love reading about other women’s holiday hotspots, beauty must-have’s and real life, so I hope you enjoy this insight into Erins!

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I am wife to Richard and mummy to 2YO Calum and live in Reigate, Surrey. My day job is looking after the Marketing for a cruise company where I’ve been for over 13 years – it must be love! I love to cook, and a big foodie but am mostly a huge shoe lover (have in excess of 200 pairs probably) and love fashion so, unsurprisingly…

What are you going to be writing about?

… I’ll be writing a monthly column about fashion & style, also sharing what I’ve been wearing in the month for some (hopeful) reader inspiration.

What is your weekday/weekend uniform?

My style is quite varied, going from casual to super glam, depending on the occasion of course! One of my mottos (given not made) is “never knowingly underdressed”! Weekdays consist dresses, skirts, trousers, always worn with some sort of print or jewel, and weekends are jeans, jackets, sweats, flats, but always considered.

Favourite Food?

Wow this is hard as I love to cook and try new things, although I do have dislikes. Keep Green Peppers away from me! I guess my “Death Row” meal would be a good old English Breakfast… Poached eggs though and Marmite for the toast!

Holiday destination recommendation?

I’m really lucky that in that I’m well travelled – a mixture of the perks of work and being taken to far-flung places as a child so there’s only one continent I’ve not been to and that’s Africa. Working in Travel has also given me access to some amazing deals and places but two places I’d really recommend for a holiday. One is quite close to home and that is the South of France. For a laid back vibe, beautiful food and people watching, I could go back there (to the Cote D’azur specifically) again and again. The other is Thailand. We had probably our best holiday there as a two centre mix of Bangkok and Koh Samui. A must do if you can.

Can’t live without Beauty product?

I’m actually change up my beauty products every so often as I believe it’s good for your skin, and hair, to make changes. However over the years the one product I’ve been loyal to is Palmers Cocoa Butter as a body moisturiser. I love the texture and the effect it has on my skin although I did have to stop using it during my pregnancy with Calum as the smell was overwhelming!

Last book I read…

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso. I was at a conference in Las Vegas this summer and Sophie was one of the Keynote Speakers. For those of you who don’t know, she started the brand Nasty Gal in the US and her story really is a rags to riches phenomenon. I read the book (she signed my copy) as she came across so well as a speaker, so very “normal” and actually, quite humbled by what she’s achieved. It’s a good easy read.

What does your perfect weekend look like?

As I work full time, a perfect weekend is a lazy Saturday start (that’s 8am in our house due to Calum!) followed by breakfast after Richard has been to the bakery and butcher for supplies, followed by some family activities and a nice home cooked Saturday supper in front of Strictly/X Factor and then a Sunday that involves seeing friends or family and maybe a pub lunch. BLISS!

Come back tomorrow for Erin’s next style post and in the mean time, you can follow her on Instagram @Shoequeen79 or tweet her @ErinLauraWalsh.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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