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 reasonsโ€ฆ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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.)

Be Thankful…

Today’s post is not the read and run kind. I defy anybody to say that they can’t comment, even if it is mentally, and this post has been designed to make you think…


Be Thankful print ยฃ2.52 Etsy.com

This December has passed by in a blur for me. Even after talking about #shareadvent I managed a measly 3 prompts before life took over. It’s an American idea to ‘give thanks’ for what we are grateful for in life but for a time of year that for me is about friends and family, kindness and sharing and love, I certainly haven’t done enough stepping back and thinking about how lucky I am.

I thought I’d make a list of things I am thankful for this Christmas and I’d love you to take a moment today or this weekend to stop and reflect and share your thoughts in the comments.

I am grateful for tradition. Today I’m going for lunch, last minute shopping and a nails appointment with my Mum and sister. It’s the third Christmas day out we have had now and I cherish the time for just the three of us, doing girly things. We never get a lot done, but now I don’t live at home it’s a nice chance to catch up in the run up to Christmas before it’s actually the big day and it’s almost all over.

I’m grateful for opportunity. Having Francesca move to Manchester has been great but having the chance to live with her again, although it has brought with it some challenges, has been amazing. I’ve got to know her again in a way you only do when you live with someone and been able to support her more than I would have otherwise. Although some people might think it’s odd, I love being able to say that ‘I live with my sister’.

I’m grateful for partnership. This month Pete has done what he always does, made everything around me work, when I don’t have time to. He’s looked after me, organised me and been there for me, even though this half of the team hasn’t been pulling its weight. It’s the practicalities of unconditional love and I am eternally thankful we found each other.

I’m grateful to be healthy. At this time of year more than ever, I enjoy my home visits through work. It’s always a privilege being asked into people’s homes where they are most vulnerable, the old ladies leaving the door open and the old men who ask you to turn out the lights when you leave to save the electricity. This year I’m reminded as I visit the lonely or depressed or dying that I am lucky to be healthy and happy and that right now, those around me are too.

Lastly, I’m grateful for change. I always consider myself quite a dynamic person but in reality, I don’t like change. Moving has been a big change and since then, I have stalled on getting the house renovation moving, preferring to plan than get my hands dirty and dusty. When it feels like hard work I must remember it will be worth it, that the mess will be finite and the result is creating our family home.

Now it’s your turn readers. You don’t have to write an essay, but what are you thankful for this Christmas?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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.


(Modified) image

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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS –

A Secret Friday Frock

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Good morning readers!

I’m sorry there’s no Friday Frock today! There’s only one frock for me this week and that’s a wedding dress, and I can’t show you yet! For the last 2 days I have been down south getting ready for Jessica’s wedding which is finally happening! Today will be all about finishing the Marquee decor, making the table arrangements, the wedding rehearsal, then chillaxing for that golden hour before bed with a chick flick and some bubbles.

You can follow along on Instagram behind the scenes and I’ll see you on Monday!

How did you spend the night before your wedding? Any last advice for Jess?!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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… ๐Ÿ™‚

How was your July readers?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Letting Go…

Some of you may have noticed my absence on these pages for the last 5 days. It doesn’t sound long and in fact it’s only three blogging days I have missed but that’s pretty unusual for me. Other than public holidays, I’ve not taken a day off from FF even when I’ve been on holiday in the almost 2 years since I started.


Image via RocketRicTic

This weekend was a big one for me – it was my best friends Hen Do. Charged with much of the organising I wanted to make it fabulous – not least because my hen do remains one of the best weekends I have ever had. When else do you get to have a weekend that is all about you, doing your favourite things, with your favourite people? I’ve said before here that I’m not particularly orgainsed and I’m not sure that’s entirely accurate, it’s more that I try to squeeze too much into too little time. As a consequence there was no way I was being under prepared and had been ordering the necessary things, making bits for the goody bags and planning the schedule for weeks – especially as I didn’t want to be frazzled either, but free to enjoy it. The piece de resistance was the Mr and Mrs game. Instead of arranging for Jess’s fiance Dan to answer the questions on paper, I filmed him answering the questions and edited it into a 20 minute video – about 8 hours work in all and on Tuesday night it was all ready to go. Pete and I have made a few other DVD’s of family occasions and I usually leave the burning to him, so on Tuesday night I left it in his hands and started burning hen mix CD’s, designing stickers for them and other things that needed completing.

And there begins a catalogue of disasters. First we found the software (iDVD) required to burn the DVD wasn’t on my MacBook (usually we do these on the iMac) as Apple are apparently phasing it out. We found some downloadable software online called Burn and tried that instead but by Wednesday night it was clear that wasn’t going to work out either. We tried transferring the project over to the iMac and in full disaster fashion, the footage corrupted and iMovie completely bit the dust, the Mr and Mrs video with it. In floods of tears at 12am on Wednesday night and with pre-made wedding related appointments made for Thursday I bit the bullet and decided to start again, editing the whole thing again from scratch. I got to bed at 3.30am, with about an hours work left to do. Although I was shattered, I managed to get to all the appointments, and finish the video and pack before I went out at 5pm to a make up trial with Jess for the wedding. I left the DVD again with Pete to burn to disc and still a little tense but happy I was almost there, Jess and I went to dinner, where we met Pete and Dan for a pre-hen night. As soon as Dan and Pete walked in I knew something was wrong. Cryptically asking if he had ‘done it’, their faces looked like they had something awful to break to me. Eventually as Jess was powdering her nose, they told me that the creaking, 4 year old iMac had run out of memory, which it had done earlier that day and I had moved some files around to resolve it. What I hadn’t realised is that in moving the video clips that iMovie needed to reference to write the DVD, I had once again corrupted the whole project. Cue complete melt down from me when I got home and Jess was safely out of the way. In all the chaos so far I still had outstanding (albeit small) tasks to do. There was no way I could do the whole thing again, get everything else done, then drive all the way to Bath the next day and function properly for the first night of the hen. In the end Pete saved the day and I finished all the hen stuff while he stayed up and long after I was in bed he woke me up brandishing the DVD. What can I say, he’s a keeper ๐Ÿ™‚

I suppose this might all sound a bit dramatic and perhaps over the top in terms of what I did for the hen. I know that it shows just how important it was to me though and when you’re juggling a lot of balls, sometimes something has to give. This time it was the blog and in some ways that is an achievement for me. I’ve spent a lot of years blogging now and that has included a lot of late nights, tired days and times when my family of friends have come second. I know that in the last 2 years my perspective has hugely shifted and now they are top of the list rather than bottom. Just because the people you love will wait for you doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them a bit more respect. And I respect myself enough to know that I deserve not to be tired after putting in so much effort and being so excited; That I sometimes need to let one of the balls drop and then not beat myself up about it.

One other good thing that has come out of it was the overwhelming amount of supportive tweets, facebook messages and emails I received and I want to say thank you to all of you who sent them. Although the blog isn’t a professional one, I do feel a massive sense of obligation. By having set the benchmark at 5 posts a week I feel I have to keep that up. I know how disappointed I am when my favourite bloggers take a day off for some reason. It’s easy if a post doesn’t receive many comments after I have stayed up late writing it the night before to feel that there’s no one out there who really cares, and that the effort I put in goes unnoticed, but it’s nice to know you do!

I guess I shared this not only to explain my absence but to remind all of us that sometimes letting go is the best thing you can do, not the failure we anticipate it to be.

Over the next week or two I’ll be sharing the hen DIY’s I made and some of the things we did. The weekend was epic, totally worth the tears and lack of sleep, and all the better for me stepping back and having one less thing to stress about. Thank you guys!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The Big Autumn List…

Saturday was the Autumn equinox and from now on the hours of darkness officially become longer than those of daylight as the temperatures start to drop. Yet despite this, Autumn is officially my favourite time of year. In truth, Iโ€™m happy most times of the year and itโ€™s only really the slump after New Year until spring starts to show signs of new life and cheer that I feel fed up, but the months between now and Christmas are so fun, so beautiful and more often than not so busy, that I fall in love with them again and again, year after year.

Back in May I invited you all to join me in making a list of the things that you were looking forward to about summer and I enjoyed it so much I decided to make it a regular feature. Today Iโ€™m going to share some of my favourite things about Autumn, the things Iโ€™m looking forward to making time for and the little things that put a slice of happiness into every day.

  1. Cooking a Sunday Roast with all the trimmings as the darkness falls in the late afternoon then settling down on the sofa for Downton Abby escapism.
  2. Candlelight
  3. Making the house cosy by bringing in new rugs, throws and cushions to add texture and warmth.
  4. Harvesting the last of our produce from the allotment and clearing the ground to make way for the new plants and seeds.
  5. The first time you can breathe out and see your breath hanging in the air.
  6. Kicking piles of dried leaves on a country walk.
  7. Seeking out winter wardrobe must-haves… the perfect boots, cashmere socks, the softest scarf.
  8. Clear cold crisp mornings
  9. Perfect frost and the beautiful landscape it paints.
  10. Baking seasonal puddings, crumbles, cobblers and pies.

Whatโ€™s on your list this Autumn?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS. Did you comment on my Summer plans post? Head on back to see how many you managed to check off your list. (I think I managed 6 or 7!)

Snapshots: The Little Things

Sometimes all you need in life is a reminder to take joy in the little things around you. Last week I had a week off and completely unplugged for the majority of it. I felt so much more inspired to write when it wasn’t a last minute chore and spent long car journeys doing one of my favourite things… just thinking.

I thought I’d share the last slices of summer with you this morning before the frenzy of Autumn begins…

Throwing on a beaded dress for a wedding that was just made for dancing…

A new ‘Find’ for my mantle [Find similar here]

Channeling the magic of Stonehenge…

Beach combing…

Remembering that I’m happiest by the sea…

What little things have you been enjoying lately?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

*All shots taken on the Fuji x100

All Change…

I’m not going to lie, this is probably one of the hardest posts I have ever had to write. I write it in fear of your disappointment but knowing that it has to be done.

I always strive for Florence Finds to be a reflection of real life, not a glorified glossy representation of the unattainable. I want it to inspire and reassure you that whatever woes you may have, there’s somebody else out there having it too. That’s the main message, with plenty of inspiration for improving all the textures of your life too. I have always felt strongly that I should practice what I preach. Recent posts I have written about work and life have meant that something has to change in mine, and it’s news of that that I’m sharing today.


Balancing Act silhouette portrait from thepairabirds on Etsy

You see I love Florence Finds, don’t for a second get me wrong on that or think I’m tiring of it. We’re not going anywhere ๐Ÿ™‚ But do I love it more than my husband, my family, my friends, my life? Of course not. I couldn’t. A lot of bloggers pay lip service to their chaotic, over stressed and over worked lives and the oft repeated mantra is that ‘they wouldn’t change a thing’. Well, I beg to differ. One of the best things about having Florence Finds is that I’m control of it, rather than it controlling me. So when the workload gets too much, I can say enough is enough.

You all know I took a temporary job recently with longer hours, and my reasons for doing it. As a result, I’d be lying if I thought I could keep the blog going at the pace I have so far. Actually, I totally could, I’ve done it before – earlier in the year I did the same job and just waded through every evening spent blogging. I actually wrote this post in mid-July, planning to make the change at the beginning of last month, then limped on. Not only did the lack of ‘down-time’ make me feel one dimensional, but I wasn’t happy with the content I was putting out. But do I want to do that again? No.

So, from this week, until (and if) there’s some semblance of change in the precarious balance that is life there will be 1 less post per week on Florence Finds. I asked for your feedback a while back with this in mind and carefully considered the responses. Of course there is no pleasing everyone but I hope the changes I’m making won’t be too much of a disappointment. Monday mornings will see a lighter post but no less addictive – ‘Monday Must-haves’, which will make it a little easier for me to get back on track after the weekend and also nicely fills a gap we had at Florence Finds for sharing single items of lust.

Friday is the other change you’ll see, but do not fear, it’s Friday Food that is going, not Frocks – I couldn’t do that to you! Food won’t be disappearing from these pages completely, rather making an appearance in the week whenever I have something to share. That way they will be a better reflection of my life and also coming to you from my own kitchen.

I also want to share another change that I’m making today. Some of you might have noted the change this morning to my right hand sidebar. Right at the top there you can see a larger than previous advert and that is because I have recently taken the decision to sign up with an advertising agency, Handpicked Media. Until now, I have treated Florence Finds with the professionalism that it and you, the readers deserved, but it has never in anyway been a business. I do use affiliate links, where they fit with pre-planned content and NEVER the other way around. I do not plan content to increase the links and potential revenue. To explain affiliate links to those of you who do not already know, some of the links I place on Florence Finds earn me a percentage of the sale on any purchases that are made when clicking through from the site. This varies between about 3-8% on average and that percentage comes from the brand, in no way affecting the cost of the item to the consumer. In fact you could argue that you get extra benefits from it as I promote discount days, flash sales and free delivery offers from the brands I am affiliated with if I think they are of any use. I have a similar arrangement with Amazon. I’m not going to go into pounds and pence but the earnings I get from this are in no way enough for me to a. be swayed into unethical behaviour or b. renumerate even a fraction of the time I spend on Florence Finds. Given how much effort I put in, I decided that joining an agency like Handpicked was the most sensible way to gain some return from my hard work and retain control over the content.

All the adverts you see on Florence Finds will be personally approved by me. They will always be something that I can see myself or the average Florence Finds reader being interested in, no cash for gold or online bingo adverts here. I may from time to time also accept sponsored posts, however once again they will always be personally selected and approved, in the interests of the reader and clearly marked as such.

Lastly, in the process of making these changes you will see the long column of brand adverts have been removed for now. In their place, I have added some new buttons to highlight prime content areas that I know you all enjoy. I took my cue from the feedback in this survey for the buttons and chose your favourite posts so when you’re in need of a little lifestyle inspiration, you can have a click through and browse your favourite area instantly.

I think that’s all for now folks. I’d love to hear your thoughts as always, good or bad and hope you’ll stick with me through the transition. My number one priority is ensuring the quality of the posts on Florence Finds and these small changes are going to make a big difference to me and my life, in turn helping me to do just that. Thanks readers, just for coming back and reading. I will never take that for granted.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

My Month: August

Last month, I decided to share just my outfits and I quite liked that format so it’s back this month too, but in a bumper edition. I realised I missed out on sharing one of my favourite things in life, food! And also where I had been. I know that half the fun of these posts is the being nosey so get yourself a cuppa (or something stronger if you’re reading this later on,) and step into my world for a little while…

  • Pancakes for breakfast (recipe here)
  • Cocktails with my sister at my favourite bar in Manchester, The Alchemist
  • All ready for my burger at a BBQ in Southport
  • Asparagus and Gruyere tart – so simple and so delicious.
  • My first bakewell tart.
  • Trying the new no-bread Pret duck and hoi sin sauce sandwich
  • Drinking too much wine. Just too much. All month.

  • Brit Mil Fit clothes…
  • Rocking the brogues, love them with my pink trousers rolled up ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Printed pants.
  • Maxing out the patterns in the warm weather in my tribal skirt and old favourite Zara dress
  • Peach Fizz for my nails, wearing Chanel Orange Fizz under Deborah Lippmann‘s ‘Glitter in the Air’.
  • Yellow and navy for work.
  • Weekend casual for a trip to Dunham Massey with our niece and family. (And the x100!)
  • Polka dots and patent pumps for work.
  • Braving out the pink trousers and red Hunters clash for a weekend walk in the rain.
  • Loving the Olympics and being very sad when the closing ceremony brought things to a close.
  • Enjoying the light nights and warm weather mid-month.
  • Get a hair cut!
  • Fabric shopping for craft projects
  • Obsessing over the gorgeous moody shades in these hydrangeas
  • Starting the London Fashion Week planning.
  • Visiting the Southport Flower Show
  • A long walk in one of my favourite places – Kirby Lonsdale (Devils bridge and the River Lune shown here)
  • And a cute message from my husband… proving that sometimes all you need is an ‘Olive you’. ๐Ÿ™‚
Love,
Rebecca
xo

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