Starting Fresh

This post has been a long time in the making. You have probably noticed the aesthetic changes going on around here; I've had a full blog makeover, which I absolutely adore, but absolutely needed it.

I started blogging about two and a half years ago now, mostly out of boredom with my situation at the time. I quickly realised that I'd stumbled on something brilliant for me, I was creating a space online to create happy, lovely things, things that were cheering me up when I was feeling low. I had made somewhere that was very much mine, to let my ideas run free and post whatever I wanted. I know that compared to some people, I'm still very much a newbie at this, but even in my short time (and also in my longer experience of reading blogs) the atmosphere has changed considerably. Not necessarily for worse, but it is an altogether different experience from when I started. Blogging has turned into a huge industry with far more complexities than existed previously. The possibility of earning money from it has thrown a family major spanner into the world, and amazing prospect for some but equally a whole lot of complication for others.

For a while, I feel like I got stuck down a path of trying to turn my blog into a business. Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, at all, but it comes with issues. Suddenly you're putting a considerable amount of pressure on yourself to do something that was once a hobby. You're having to limit and restrict your content, and some of the time are feeling pressured to post something you wouldn't normally consider to do. Especially when there is money involved, it can be so difficult to turn down a paid opportunity, and so half the time will do it anyway, evening if it might not be the best fit. It is so difficult to turn down opportunities like that though, if someone is offering you something beautiful for free or some money in exchange for a post, it can be so hard to say no. You have to really think ahead. You might get an invitation to an event that sounds like fun, but you do need to consider in advance what sort of post you'll need to create in exchange. Do you really want to be writing about car insurance? (Just an example). If you do, then that's fantastic. Personally though, that wouldn't be my first choice of post. I think a lot of bloggers can be very guilty of it to some extent, and very quickly you can get stuck working to deadlines and churning out content that you don't enjoy. I don't want to do that anymore. It's not why I started, and it's not how I mean to go on. I am SO grateful for some of the incredible opportunities this blog has given me. I'm not about to start turning down every collaboration I'm offered, but I've decided it's time to be far more selective, only working with brands that I personally love, and writing posts that I otherwise would have voluntarily written myself.

I knew I needed something to make this blog completely mine again. I've fiddled around with the design of it pretty much since I started blogging, I'm fairly adequate at photoshop and coding, but couldn't settle on something I was completely happy with. This in turn was impacting negatively on my content. Having a space I wasn't sure about meant I wasn't always keen on posting, and so I needed to change this. I got in contact with the gorgeous Angie, who we'd 'met' through instagram a while ago. Having seen her work across the app and also on her website, I thought she might be ideal to create my perfect design. We chatted through a few emails, and she went away with my blog, a little moodboard I'd created and a few of my favourite pinterest boards, and came back to me the next week with some ideas. I have to say, the first round were perfect. I'm not sure how often that happens in the design process, but I really feel like it was meant to be. I've given a little peek into the process in the picture above, for me it was an amazing experience as Angie brought ideas to life that turned out to be perfect, before I'd even imagined them!

I loved working with her and really couldn't recommend her enough. She created me the most wonderful logo which I am proud to put across my site and content. It makes my blog feel so much more 'me', and has made me fall in love with it all over again! Check her out at AngieBStudio.

I think these feelings are more common than we talk about. For me, the most important thing with this whole thing is to have a space I love, and post about the things I love. I've found myself straying away from that, so I'm making a change.

If you're also feeling like you're stuck in a rut, my advice to you is...

1. Remember why you started.
What made you sign up? Why did you post your first post? For whatever reason, stick to it.

2. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing.
There's a brilliant quote by Theodore Roosevelt which I think we could all do to remember: 
"Comparison is the thief of joy." 
Stop comparing yourself to others, and suddenly you'll feel a little happier in what you're personally doing. In the same way, stop pushing yourself against the unwritten 'blog rules' that seem to be floating around. There is no such thing as too many pictures, too much writing, too few or too many posts. It's entirely up to you. Do what you want!

3. Do what you love.
This for me is my number one rule across anything I'm making or doing. Do I love it? Brilliant. I don't? Then either stop it, or change it into something I love and am proud of.

So here we are. I really wrote this post for me, as a note to myself, to signify the beginning of me 'starting over' online. It has been a really wonderful experience to go back to creating content purely for the reason that I love it. I hope it shows, and I hope you love it too.

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