Meet and Greet: Victoria (a.k.a. Girl about Town)

Good Morning readers! As we have a growing roster of regular contributors, some new, some old timers, I thought it would be fun to get to know them a little better. Victoria is now my longest standing contributor of the Girl About Town series and I’ll be bringing you a post from her tomorrow but for now, have a little read of this and find out more about why she is super qualified to be our monthly stylish city hostess with the mostess!

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m a married, early-thirty-something, marketing and business development manager who works crazy hours at a large global law firm by day, but by night/weekends/annual leave days I’ve made it my mission to visit the world’s coolest bars, sights, cities, beaches and parties.
I love to travel, party, explore, decorate, event-plan, outfit-assemble and generally seek out the best that life has to offer. I love to eat, but I can’t bear to cook. I pride myself on always striving to be the Hostess with the Mostess and cocktails are my life skill.
I’m fiercely independent, but really, I just couldn’t do “it”, or be “me” without my amazing and inspiring friends and family nor my long-suffering husband, without whom I would likely never eat meals that require knives and forks, nor would I ever get out of bed in the mornings!

What do you write about?

All the fun stuff I find to do, eat, drink or experience in London and any other city I happen to be visiting.

What is your weekday/weekend uniform?

You’ll either find me at one end of the spectrum or the other… I’m either dressed up and ready to stalk the halls of my office/to party in a black dress and killer colour-pop heels (tights on for the former, off for the latter) or dressed down in jeans and boots, or my fave pyjamas!
I’m all about the accessories. For me, they add my personality to an outfit and make me feel like me.

Favourite Food?

Does tequila count? No? OK, so, depending on the day of the week I could be craving any of the following: Mexican, Japanese, Thai, Lebanese or Italian. If it came down it, I’d have to go with my mum’s lasagne. It’s a recipe that’s been handed down from the Italian side of my family, and which I have no intention of ever learning. However, over the last 10 years, my husband has come very close to perfecting it! I’d have it with a rocket, tomato and avocado salad with a homemade dressing!

Holiday destination recommendation?

So, so, so many! Holidays are kind of my “thing”… tweet me, or message me and let’s chat! @VictoriaHale

Can’t live without Beauty product?

Karin Herzog Vita A Kombi Oil.

Last book I read…

I have a number on the go on my iPad but the last tangible book I read was a recommendation from Florence Finds in fact: The Girl with all the Gifts. It had me hooked from paragraph one.

What does your perfect weekend look like?

A lie in and a leisurely breakfast and quality time with my husband (he works shifts and I work long city hours, so QT is rare!), over which we plan travel, home improvements, social events and talk about work. Then I or we get dressed up and hit the town or a party or get dressed down and snuggle up on the sofa or in the local for catch ups with friends. Sunday is brunch day at home or out, just us, with family, friends or both, catching up on chores and jobs and then a family dinner followed by some Sunday night telly as I relax before another crazy week at work. Sometimes my weekends are more tiring that my working week, but I love them and I wouldn’t change them for the world!

Come back tomorrow for the latest instalment of Victoria’s Girl About Town series, on a pop up dining experience with a difference!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Call for posts – Be a part of Florence Finds!

If you’re a daily visitor round here and have been for some time, you’ll know that things have changed somewhat in the last year or so. When Florence Finds started I was working part time and blogged twice daily. As life changed in January 2013 I dropped to a single post a day and managed so much better. More recently, it’s been around 4 times a week. The change has been for a number of reasons… my work has become busier and busier, demanding later nights and making me jealously guard my none work time with Pete and friends or family. The thing is, when I started, I was used to working all day at work and then working all night blogging and I had more free time to write about what I was doing, out and about. Now I have an actual life too, the more I have, the more I want. Bottom line, Florence Finds is a sideline, a hobby and whilst I would never be without the fabulous community I have built here (I really don’t know what I would have done without your help and advice in recent weeks and months,) my real life has to come first. And I am so much happier for it.


Caroline’s Pigeon bedroom makeover

In the back of my mind has also been that life is going to change in a major way again very soon when this baby arrives and I have no idea how that will fit in with blogging. I am very aware that this blog has become very pregnancy and baby related and I can only apologise to those whom that doesn’t interest and are consequently sad – I know because I have been there with some of my previously favourite blogs. Although I was always interested for future reference. ;) All I can say is that the consistent feedback I get is that people want to know what I am doing, decorating, seeing, travelling and thinking so the blog has become more and more a reflection of my life. Hopefully that resonates with you at similar, or different stages of yours.


Amy’s trip of a lifetime to Hawaii

So, what is going to happen when baby arrives? Honestly, in the short term I don’t know. I want to take a few weeks off to just enjoy being with Pete and baby in our new little family and I know I will need time to adjust, get settled into feeding and some semblance of new normality and sleep! However I also know that I will want to update you guys, probably ask a whole heap of questions and of course to introduce you to baby. So I may pop in here and there. I may also pre-prepare some posts while in my mat leave and post them sporadically to keep you all going a couple of times a week until I can come back. It might be a long time before I can commit to a regular schedule but I hope you’ll all bear with me.


Pear and Caramel cake by Asma

If any of you want to help or get involved, I would love to have you. Florence Finds has always been about community and that’s why I maintain a roster of contributors who offer something different to my own experiences and interests. If you think you can write a short post that is similar to the kinds of things I post here, I would love to feature it, so I’m asking for your submissions. Here are a few guidelines and ideas: (I’ve linked to previous posts to give you some guidance of how I would tackle a similar post)


Victoria’s Chocolate walking tour of London

A note on images.
Everybody worries about images when submitting things to the blog. High quality images are one of the main factors in what makes a blog enjoyable to read but not everyone has a fancy camera. The main thing to do is make sure you have good natural lighting (easy in summer!) and take a mixture of zoomed in vignettes (close up detail shots) and wide angle full body/whole room type shots. For hotels, days out etc, you might want to include web links and I can often get images from websites or online. If you’re still worried, Instagram solves everything and I’m always happy to feature Instagram filtered shots to make things look a little more consistent! Above all have fun with it. I really enjoy taking photos for the blog (well, not the outfit ones perhaps!) and styling them to exercise some creative muscle!

So, if you think you can contribute, just email me your post and images or weblinks to hello@florencefinds.com and mark it submission – I will be eternally grateful!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS The pictures in the post are all from guest posts written for Florence Finds, but non-regular contributors, (with the exception of Victoria.)

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

Florence Finds Reader Survey 2013


Image Credit

Good morning readers! Instead of Friday Frock today I have decided it’s time to touch base with you guys and get some feedback on Florence Finds. It’s been over 2 years since I started Florence Finds and almost as long since I canvassed your opinions in my Saturday Survey series. There have been a few changes since then, topic changes, new posts and the biggest change, dropping down to one post per day. As my life evolves, there are more changes in the pipeline and I have a few new things planned already. I think my style has changed too and how I approach the blog so I would love to hear what you think about it all. Please do fill in the survey, even if you are not a regular reader or avid fan, in some ways your views are all the more important. Thank you so much guys!

Have a great weekend,
Rebecca
xo

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The Big Autumn List…

I’m a little late with my usual list this year – I like to time them with the spring and autumn equinox, so around the 21st of the month, but it was the 22nd of September already when I realised I had missed it and with moving day looming, wouldn’t be posting this until early October.


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I heard on the radio recently that now is a good time for making resolutions instead of New Year, because it’s a new season which inspires us all, plus there are only three months to stick at it before New Years, so it’s achievable. ;)

After moving last Friday (more on that soon,) I can really strongly feel a sense of change. I feel like one chapter of my life has closed and a new one is beginning, with this house underpinning it. We hope it will be our family home, so I think it will be a much more mature chapter of my life, but lots of fun too! As a result, lots of my autumn plans are home related but I hope you enjoy reading them and are inspired to share yours in the comments below…


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  • I can’t wait to sweep leaves on the grass in my new back garden and maybe even have a bonfire with sparklers and stew and hot chocolate (or mulled wine!)
  • I’m looking forward to Sundays more than anything, gardening, roast dinners, wintery puddings and reading in the afternoon until the nights draw in.
  • The crisp smell of autumn on clean days and crunching of leaves underfoot on walks in Chorlton Meadows.
  • Spending the darker nights planning our decorating projects and deciding which room to tackle first.
  • I want to find an exercise regime that I can stick with over the winter. Now the stress of moving is over I can put my fitness first again and stay toned before Christmas indulgence takes over.
  • We’re not planning a holiday this autumn but have a week off booked to really get on with the house in November. I’d like to book a weekend in the lakes at some point though to get away from house plans and reconnect with Pete after what has been a stressful few months. (Any well priced cosy B&B’s anyone can recommend?)
  • I’ll be planting bulbs in the new garden ready for spring.
  • Fashion is taking a bit of a back seat right now but my autumn wardrobe is woefully empty due to a mass clear out I had last spring thinking I would replace it now, so I’ll be scouting about for well priced pieces or workhorse investments to keep myself (and the bank) happy. :)

What are your plans, dreams and goals for the next three months readers? Please join in in the comments box!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS -

My Month: July

I realised as the weather turned that we had a whole month, give or take, of glorious, hot weather. Pretty incredible for the UK and finally we can stop saying that we ‘deserve a summer after the last few’. As a result my Instagram is littered with sunny summer snaps amongst the many summer social gatherings I’ve been dashing between. Here’s a little peek into my day to day this month…

  • Chilling at a pool party in Cambridge.
  • Officially starting my new job.
  • Rocking a flower Crown on Jessica’s hen party in Bath, not to mention the temporary tattoo I temporarily fell in love with.
  • My new chest of drawers and a (cheap) new favourite summer nail shade.
  • Enjoying the chance to eat alfresco (that’s one thing ticked off!) on balmy summer nights, too many G&T’s, homemade mango and yogurt lollies, and raspberries from the allotment.
  • A tour of my bedroom.
  • Walks in the woods at dusk.
  • A new favourite summer dress and eating as many peaches as I can get my hands on.
  • Cooking raspberry and dark chocolate brownies from the Yeo Valley Cookbook.
  • The best memories – photobooth fun from Artisan in Manchester
  • And the only wet weekend this month was the one in which I found myself in a tent. Still, there’s nothing like being snug in a tent and listening to the rain fall… :)

How was your July readers?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

My Month: February 2013

How was your Febuary?

Love
Rebecca
xo

PS Follow Rebecca on Instagram here...

#JanuaryJoy – Reflect

It’s January 31st and I’m sad #JanuaryJoy is over!

Todays prompt was to reflect. In a moment I’m going to share what I did for each of these prompts but really, for me, January Joy wasn’t about the individual activities but the overall feeling it has given me, and I hope some of you. There’s always a reason to feel under the weather, a hard day at work, miserable weather, life not working out the way you had planned. #JanuaryJoy was about making time for yourself, finding joy in the little things, feeling proud of things you can do, making the most of new experiences and fitting in things you never manage to prioritise. Prioritising is the key word – we all have a finite amount of time in the day and certain things can’t wait, work commitments, and hopefully family are pretty high up that list, but taking part in #JanuaryJoy has made me prioritise myself and ultimately my own happiness. It’s a resolution I’ll be keeping this year. ;)

So, how did my January Joy go?
1. I made some resolutions and am doing okay with them so far… more on this later.
2. #DryJanuary was tough, and I had a couple of slip-ups, or shall we say intentional ‘breaks’ but it has really changed my outlook on alcohol and I’m drinking so much less. I no longer head for the fridge after a stressful day and I’m feeling so much better for it.
3. Pete and I finally got our date on the 18th, better late than never! (We went here,)

4. Walks this months have been everywhere from my local walks in the Mersey Valley to the Elan Valley in Wales this weekend… many of them in the snow!

5. We talked skin care and I reminded you all to treat your spots properly – sharing my acne treatment.
6. Penny introduced me to Haim (who I later heard on Radio 2!)
7. I pledged to do more Yoga this year (and managed to do it for the first time last night!)


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8. I shared my plans for a grand trip this year and since then have plotted my route in South Africa – now to book the flights!
9. I went to the Movies, and saw Les Mis.

10. For a mid-month cheer up, I tried the silhouette or crescent moon manicure
11. I discovered The Glass Palace through Gemma’s reading recommendations for January
12. I updated you all on how Pete and I were getting on with our new financial arrangements and talked savings.
13. I’m getting my better-late-than-never hair cut today (hurrah)
14. I shared some medical know-how on how to prepare yourself for pregnancy if 2013 is the year you’ll be starting a family.

15. Meatless Monday saw me sharing my latest meat-free recipe
16. Now the temperatures have settled down, I might be able to get on with my Craft project!
17. I started on my photobook of our road trip last year.
18. For my clear out I tackled my shoes, purchasing new ikea boxes to store them in, and Michelle taught us how to tackle your whole wardrobe.
19. I planned a trip to the Opera, and Victoria shared her Girl about Town tips for nationwide culture.

20. My bread recipe sparked the idea of a monthly bread post.
21. The month ended with some me-time and TLC for our neglected winter bodies
22. And here we are, reflecting.

Now I’d love to hear how your January went – did you do any of the activities? (I know many of you did lots if not all of them!) Thank you so much if you got involved and watch out for a post soon rounding up all my favourite blog posts inspired by January Joy :)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

My Month: October

When I started looking through this months Instagram images for my October re-cap I realised I hadn’t taken as many as usual… probably a reflection of how busy this month has been. I’ve been  to London twice, once for the Cosmo Blog Awards, spent a weekend at home for my Mum’s birthday, the following weekend at my nephews Christening and the one after that marked the start of our holiday. Anyway, here’s a round up of the little things I’ve snapped this month. You’ll have to wait for more holiday updates!

  • First outing for my coloured tights this year.
  • Transitional dressing in primary brights.
  • Loving a pillar box red mani this Autumn.
  • My favourite new flats.
  • Make up essentials for a post workout touch up: Laura Mercier Tinted moisturiser, Smashbox High definition concealer, Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge and Extreme Party Mascara.
  • New High-tops.
  • No.7 Total Renewal Micro dermabrasion exfoliator (read my review here.)
  • Cosy winter socks
  • Oxblood Autumn outfit.
  • Choosing dresses for the Cosmo Blog Awards & choosing nail colours for a holiday manicure at Nails Inc.

  • My latest food obsession, porridge.
  • Cocktails with Mum and Francesca for her birthday.
  • Apples in my garden and cake for post Wedding dress shopping analysis at And the Dish ran away with the Spoon in Didsbury.

What have you been up to this month readers?

Love,
Rebecca
xo