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

2013 in Review Part 1: Career and Family

In January when I wrote my resolutions post, my fourth goal was a little bit cryptic. I wasn’t quite ready to talk about my plans and it has been a long journey since then, but now I’m finally ready to share and hopefully reassure or inspire some of you to go goal-getting. (You can read about my other resolutions and where I’m up to with them here.)

Here’s what I wrote back in January:
4. The big one… To embrace change and make choices. 2012 was an amazing year for me. Really amazing. In some more obvious ways nothing changed, in less tangible ways, everything did. This year is going to be the year of change I feel. Right now I don’t know what those changes are going to be … I know I will make career choices between paths that are polar opposites.

Back in January, everything was revolving around my work. I had been in a place I was happy (but still as a locum) for a long period, fought some personal demons about my career and work life, and felt ready to commit to full time General Practice. I had decided that this practice was the place I wanted to be long term and that’s no small matter when you are talking the rest of your working life.

What I didn’t know was whether they wanted me. I knew I was doing a great job and fitted in within the team, but in General Practice it’s not just about that. Different doctors bring different skills and you are often looking for a personality, a skill set or even a specific sex of doctor to complement the existing team, (and before any of you chip in about sexism, discrimination and employment law, it doesn’t apply here as I was looking to join as a self employed partner for which the rules are different.) I really wasn’t confident that I ticked all the boxes and the job I wanted was a desirable one, so I knew there would be plenty of potential interest from people who might fit the bill better. As I wrote in January I had decided to sit down, make my intentions clear and find out if there was a future for me there. I didn’t want to hear a negative response, but if there was no future for me there, I knew I had to go looking for it elsewhere.

When I did get a chance to talk to someone, the result was positive about me but very vague about any opportunity. I was gutted and spent about three weeks feeling pretty rubbish and wondering where to go next. I applied for a couple of jobs, felt positive about one and lacked any real enthusiasm for another. The first I didn’t get shortlisted for and the second I interviewed for, then narrowly missed out on the job. I was outraged(!) but relieved, the feeling I had about it had gotten worse and worse as I got more involved.

I decided to stay put, future or no future, it was where I wanted to be and as time went on I managed to muster a shred of optimism which I clung to, while I threw myself back into the job. By April a real solid opportunity had arisen and I hardly allowed myself to consider the possibility of a chance of getting what I wanted as I left to go on holiday, my future hanging in the balance.

You see it wasn’t just about the job. If there was no imminent job, there was nothing stopping Pete and I from thinking about starting a family. Before you guys jump in and say I shouldn’t be basing my decision on work, I felt ambivalent, like fate was due to play her hand. And so she did, as while we were away I was offered the job I wanted. Now I’m super excited to get stuck in, learn about the business side of GP and continue building my clinical experience. It feels like the start of a very rewarding journey.

So did any of you make career or family based decisions this New Year? I’d love to hear how you’re getting on or if my story has given you food for thought.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS The Reiss Sale Is Now Live!

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 :) 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

Head above Water…

One of the things that I love about having my own blog, is the ability to dictate my own schedule. I can write about what I want, when I want to. That said, I’ve made a commitment to you, the readers, that there will be certain constants. On a working day there will be (at least) two posts and you can expect they will be at the usual time. Friday = frocks and food. Some things just can’t be messed with… ;)

Just recently however, it sometimes seems like a real struggle keeping head above water. My treasured work life balance has been slipping on an epic scale and after starting off well, I’ve been faced with blogging from one day to the next – a situation I hate because it forces me to make decisions on what to schedule based on what’s available and least time consuming, rather than what offers the best content balance for the blog.


DIY Neon toe shoes via Green Wedding Shoes

I have no-one but myself to blame, having more time to myself has been great – I actually have way more free time than I used to, but in fact I’ve grabbed it so hard with both hands that I’m leaving myself with little time to blog and looming deadlines. I’m not the kind of person who says no to experiences so along with saying yes to everything I’m getting asked to do, I’m also planning trips away left right and centre. As I work on an iMac instead of laptop, that can leave me away from my desk and returning to an empty blog schedule to fill again.


Yellow bridal party via Bridal Musings

I’ve got a house that is in desperate need of tidying, I really need to get to the supermarket and get some healthy food in, my seeds need planting and I missed my BMF class again, something that is becoming a regular occurrence because my working hours are getting longer. That’s the main problem, my locum work is busy busy busy and while I can’t complain financially, there’s no point having money when there’s no time to spend it!


The perfect back garden via Fennel and Fern

I’m not complaining (honestly!) I know what I need to do to fix things, I just figured I’m probably not the only one out there who feels completely overwhelmed sometimes and drowning in to-do lists. Probably the most repeated phrase when people meet me or talk to me is, ‘I don’t know how you fit it all in,‘ and sometimes, I don’t. Luckily, this busy period has a finite ending point, which although further ahead than I’d like it to be, isn’t too far in to the distance. If it wasn’t, I’d be sat here thinking about what I needed to do to make things change, because I know what makes me happy and there’s no point complaining when you could do something about it. I need to look into buying a Macbook, so I can work on the move and I need to get home earlier, make that class, give Florence Finds some headspace.

Do you ever feel like everything is getting too much or is something stressing you out right now? It’s good to talk…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS The images in this post are all taken from my Pinterest boards. Pinterest is a place that inspires me and these are all the things I’d like to be doing if I had a little more free time, getting my garden sorted, helping my best friend plan her wedding, getting my craft on… If you’d like to see my daily inspirations you can follow me on Pinterest.