Behind closed [Bloggers] doors

A couple of weeks ago as I took the shots that I shared as part of my dining and lounge make-over, it occurred to me how ridiculous it was. The house looked pristine, and the reason for that was that we were having it valued. I took the shots between viewings by estate agents and had also had some round the evening before so you can imagine, everything was polished to within an inch of its life.

As I took the shots I adjusted the chairs, turned the bottles so the labels faced forwards in unison, smoothed the rug and styled the room to look as perfect as it could. After all, nobody wants to put their home out there for all to see without it looking its best.

It lead me to thinking about the difference between projected image and reality in the blog world and how you all view Florence Finds. As a writer of a blog, I can see past the charmed life most bloggers present, and make a guess at the daily grind that lies beneath the surface veneer they show the world, but I know there are many readers of blogs who rather than feeling inspired by what they see, just feel they don’t match up to the ideal world onscreen.

It’s a fine line I think. Hand on heart, I don’t read blogs, just like I don’t watch films, for reality. I don’t enjoy reading about gritty reality or the mundane day to day. My favourites are a combination of escapism and inspiration. I read fashion and personal style blogs that inspire me to try new looks with my own twist, food blogs for the photography mainly and new recipes and lifestyle blogs for escapism into the perfect Californian world of magical light and year round balmy sunshine. (although right now in the UK, eat your heart out So-Cal girls!) Gardening blogs spur me on to perfecting my own and interiors blogs feed my creativity with everything from personal decor inspiration to heightening my awareness of using colour palettes together to refining my own design sensibilities for that perfect edited collection of artefacts.

All that said, I always hope that my twist on the more personal aspects of life that I blog is a healthy dose of reality. Yes, Florence Finds is here to inspire you BUT, and it’s a big one, I don’t ever want you guys to think I’m different… that my life isn’t exactly like yours. Granted, like most bloggers, I am not hiding a life filled with misery and mess, but it’s not always quite as picture perfect as the photos suggest.

You see when the house was being valued and I was taking photos, my prized cow hide rug was looking resplendent as the focus of the dining room, my favourite room, mainly because of said rug. In actual fact it was and now is merely a prop, having been laid down for the pictures and removed as soon as the agents left. In between, instead of getting my blog posts written, I spent the majority of the time chasing one of our cats around the downstairs as she continued to make a bee-line for the rug. It had recently transpired it was her new favourite place to have a sneaky little wee! Cats are awful in that sense, it very rarely happens as they are so particular about there they go to the toilet but if they’ve been caught short for whatever reason, once they have been somewhere, it’s forever a designated toilet for them. Despite cleaning the rug, Tabitha’s behaviour lapse had peaked the week before with a record four episodes in 2 days which were quite clearly just-for-the-hell-of-it on her part. A the end of our tether (and not before Pete threatened to have her put down – albeit jokingly,) we resigned ourselves to removing the rug and I jest not, I couldn’t even look at her for three days!

It’s just a little thing, but I hope it illustrates the reality behind the images. I guess you could say, then why not show the reality? I’m pretty confident that’s not what you come to Florence Finds to see. My bedroom piled high with washing that needs putting away? Dirty dishes? An office piled high with paperwork? It’s certainly not why I click through to my favourite blogs, rather to escape from it!

Instead, next time you scan these pages and think, I wish my house looked like that, or I wish I could wear that/try that/go there, rest assured that just as you might have had some less than glamorous event to deal with that week, so will have I… even if it is just cat related 😉

And then think, well if Rebecca can do it, so can I!

I’d love to hear about why you choose to read the blogs you do and what you think about the ‘bloggers ideal’ presented online, share your thoughts, as always.

Love,
Rebecca
Xo

Introducing: Any Other Woman

This morning I have great pleasure in announcing some fabulous news! Many of you will already know Any Other Wedding, or in fact have found me over there, but for those of you who don’t, here’s the skinny.

Despite the name, AOW was always more than just a wedding blog, and to reflect this they have rebranded with a brand spanking shiny new name – Any Other Woman (anyotherwoman.com) I like to think of Any Other Woman as the sanest place on the interweb for debate, discussion and chat about issues that matter, with wedding planning thrown into the mix. Run by Claire, Anna and Aisling (meet the AOW team here), the magnificent three focus on the real stuff about life, marriage and love, the feelings, the emotions, the hard stuff and the true joy that comes with every single relationship and every single challenge. The wide range of issues they tackle comes thanks to their diverse readership and the support they extend – the community is magnificent over there with a huge following of loyal readers, always ready to help a fellow reader out. That’s exactly what they do, support women who are navigating their way through life and its challenges, be that health, money, love, feminist issues or just asking advice. Let’s put it this way, You got a problem? They’ll solve it! 😉

What they do best is talking about relationships. Every aspect of relationships are covered with aplomb, wit and proper common sense. I love them all and I think I’m not alone in saying it.

My favourite bits?
Ask Anna and Ant – Real life, sensible agony Aunt (or should that be Ant?) advice served straight up from the genius that is Anna and her equally amazing mate.

The famous Any Other Photo – Just one photo and some of the most touching words you’ll read, served every week on a Friday. Focusing on the emotion it’s the anti-pretty but even more beautiful side of weddings. And I’m sure there will be many new favourite bits to discover today.

Any Other Wedding started small and Blogger served it well, but as the team grew, they wanted to make their home on the inter-web a little bit prettier and a whole lot easier to use. Today they have completed their migration to WordPress (welcome ladies!) to accompany their new name and a seriously stylish new look. If you didn’t know, or you haven’t seen yet, head on over to Any Other Woman and check it out. Now these three dynamos have a home as fabulous as they are and I couldn’t be happier for them.

Congratulations girls!

Now what are you waiting for? Get on over there and say hi!

Rebecca
xo

PS It’s a three post day readers! Come back later for stylish finds to brighten up your Monday 🙂

Naked Ambition

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting quite a few friends for various catch ups and chatter; Naturally the conversation turned to Florence Finds and I told them how happy I was with the way the blog was growing already even though it’s such early days. On Thursday, I met Michelle from Pocketful of Dreams and once again the conversation turned to the future, hopes, dreams and plans.  As we’re both at a similar crossroads in life we shared concerns and ideas, and after talking to her I came away thinking, how acceptable is it to be ambitious?

It seems to me that ambition isn’t a terribly ‘British’ pursuit. Being ambitious requires a certain degree of tenacity, the ability to constantly push yourself forward, seizing opportunities and indeed making them. As people ask me how Florence Finds is going, my thoughts naturally leap forward to not how, but where it’s going. The answer is, I’m not quite sure.

It seems uncouth to look to be financially sucessful, and certainly to talk about it. I hear people everyday talk about how they ‘love their job’ almost as an excuse for it bringing them financial reward and declarations of ‘I don’t do it for the money!’  It’s all very well to do things because you love them, but when they’re a sideline and detracting from the main source of your income, the thing that is taking your life where you want it to go, then what?

Blogging has opened up such a world of opportunities to me and exposed me to some truly admirable business people, many of them women. Business was never on my radar as featuring in my future but I think the fact that I am naturally quite driven (or so people tell me) means that having gotten involved in it in the past, I’m wondering if it’s somewhere I want to go again. But how much risk is involved in being ambitious? It seems to me the biggest risk is failure, and not just failing, but doing it publicly. If you’re afraid to fail, how can you ever truly commit to putting your heart and soul into a project, honestly and publicly?

Fortunately I’m not much of a one for listening to nay-sayers or doubting myself. In someways my headlong rush towards new opportunities has lead to some sticky situations, but everyone of them can be chalked up to experience and has taught me so many lessons for the future.

Right now I’m treading water, waiting, watching. The passtime that I call my ‘day job’ is actually a profession, a career, a vocation. Yet after years of training I’m letting it tick along on the back burners while I see this chapter of my life close and wait for the first lines of the next one to be written.

Under it all is the naked ambition to want more for my life. I didn’t train this hard to tread water. I didn’t take a leap of faith to break my career’s progression for nothing. I want to move house, have space to invite my friends and family more often, have a Christmas in our home. I want to be tangibly sucessful, not base my worth on twitter followers, percieved influence and false praise.

All this left me thinking, do you consider yourself ambitious? Have you considered your life’s path recently and wondered how to take it in the direction you want? Maybe you’ve already taken a leap. What is it that drives you forward in life?

Love,
Rebecca.
xo

PS. In case you’re wondering, one of my slightly ahem, smaller, ambitions right now is to sort out the mess that I call my office. The images above come from my Pinterest collection of inspiring office spaces 😉 One step at a time, ‘tidy desk, tidy mind’ and all that!

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