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

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.)