Monday, 2 July 2012

Review- Blogging Your Way 2 with Holly Becker



Holly's BYW2...and a little about me along the way!


For a surprisingly text free blog, today's post is going to be a bit of a wordy one-albeit with a good smattering of pretty pics and lovely links for all you image-led bloggers like myself. I don't consider myself a curator or a story-teller, but more of a picture maker, hopefully providing a story and a little inspiration through my images...


This is the final week of uber blogger Holly Becker's Blogging Your Way 2 e-course and our last homework assignement. We have been asked to produce a post on how the course has been a help and influence on our blogs and what blogging means to us personally.
Before I relay my thoughts to you, I'd love to give a little background information on myself and my career to date and how the digital age has pulled me kicking and screaming into the 21st Century!


I fell into the world of magazine styling quite by chance in 1996 when the lovely editor of the now defunct Home Flair magazine offered me a 12 page interiors editorial for my very first freelance commission. I had previously been in buying and merchandising for for a high street fashion chain, followed by 3 years marketing and PR in the Interiors industry, so in the year of my 30th Birthday, I felt ready to jump ship and branch out on my own as a freelance stylist!


Way back then, things were still, unbelievably, a little antiquated. Mobile phones were a rare sight and hardly what one would call mobile these days. Research was conducted on foot, traipsing from one end of London to the other, requesting transparencies via post from PR companies, requesting samples by super-speedy fax and heavily relying on my well-thumbed copy of The Interior Designer's Handbook. With almost no insider information on the industry, let's just say the research formed the bulk of the project, but 3 months later I had very proudly produced my first ever magazine article!


Fast forward to 2002 and the formation of Mise-en-Scene Interior Design Ltd with two old friends. We had a blast, working in conjunction with B&B Itaila to design the launch penthouse for the exclusive King's Chelsea development in the Kings Road. The project started exactly when I discovered I was 13 weeks pregnant with my first child Evie! Yes, these things really do happen-although people who know me well won't be at all surprised to hear this!!


Living Room shots from The Penthouse, Kings Chelsea. Design, Mise-en-Scene Ltd. Photography, Graeme Ainscough.


The penthouse was finished in early 2003, Evie was born in the March and then Gabriel in 2005. It's fairly safe to say that I more or less disappeared from the London styling scene for the next 8 years or so, concentrating on the kids and local design projects.


On then to September 2011. Boy has the world changed-I've (just) discovered blogs and heard Holly Becker of some hugely successful blog Decor8 speak at 100% Design in London (how could I not have heard of her before?!). Leslie tells me their next blogging course will start in November and I should just give it a go. Well, why not I thought-in for a penny, in for a pound, as they say.


Hooked-no other word for it. How had I missed out on the fascinating world that is blogging, the phenomenon that has now engulfed me so utterly and completely? BYW1 consumed me to the point where I had no idea what the kids were up to at school, the house looked a tip (not so unusual, actually) and I was up till 1 most mornings trying to get work (paid) and course work done. Anyway, I wasn't complaining-I loved it!


I took everything on board from BYW1: set up Twitter and Facebook accounts for the first time, Flickr and Instagram; read like-minded blogs from what seemed  like dawn-to-dusk and scribbled down a million ideas in the notebook that stays permenantly by the side of the bed. The one thing I didn't do, until March this year, was actually set up my blog. So, I made the BYW2 start date my deadline and I finally I now feel like a bona fide blogger!


So here we are, July 2012 and BYW2 is drawing to a close. With over 4,500 students under her belt, from experienced bloggers to absolute beginners, the Decor8 network spreads far and wide. Holly has produced a course to encourage bloggers to 'share, connect, motivate and build friendships.'
Along with her podcasts and tutorials, students have had the privilege to learn from her 3 hugely successful and talented guest tutors:
1. Producing your own e-magazine with Jeanette of By Fryd-
Simple, beautiful Scandinavian style with stunning room shots, styling, inspiring retail and creative reviews. Jeanette takes her own photography and utilizes her graphic design experience to produces a truly visual feast.
2. Monetizing your blog, advertising, readership and collages with Nicole Balch of Making it Lovely-
Nicole's tag line says it all-'living the stylish life and transforming the so-so.' Her huge readership hangs on to her every word and shot about making the ordinary just that bit more interesting without breaking the bank. You can take a virtual trip, room by room, around her home-even her wardrobe, try out DIY projects and marvel at her before and after features!
3. Photoshop creative applications galore with Katrina Tan of Pugly Pixel-
Tips, tutorials, resources-you will find absolutely everything you need on Katrina's site to take your blog to the next level. Colour Lover, Lifestyle and Hand Made are just some of her regular features- it's a true mine of invaluable information and a reference must-see.


I have plenty of inspiring and informative information from all of them to store away and absorb at a later date. Hopefully one day I will be able to tackle photoshop and monetize my blog, but right now I love building up my little on-line portfolio, learning how to use my DSLR, meeting new friends and getting back into an industry I love so much. For now, I'm taking way a huge dose of inspiration from the very lovely Jeanette of By Fryd, now in its 3rd issue and growing in popularity every day. Her aesthetic is clean, beautiful and simple shots. Her philosophy is less is more and I think her pictures are very much from the heart. Her talent as a graphic designer, styling and photographic skills shine through in By Fryd and her followers love her for it. Week on week I use her blog and publication as inspiration, concentrating on improving my light and most of all, simplifying-letting the beauty of the content speak for itself, whether it's flowers or objects, cameos or room sets. It's a really interesting process to start pushing myself in new directions, out of my comfort zone-it's the best way to generate new ideas and become inspired all over again. 


So, with that, I'll keep practicing diligently-not hard when you really love doing something and make my way ever nearer to my next goal- a small and simple on-line mini e-zine of my very own. I don't know what, how or when yet, but it will happen, one day...soon.



26 comments:

  1. I' m on holiday and had promised myself to stay away from anything pc/blogging/facebook/twitter related BUT am I glad I saw and read this post of yours what a sucessful journey can''t wait see what's coming next Caroline!
    Toni xxx

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    1. Toni you are lovely taking me on hol with you! Thank you-thought it was now or never for a bit of a bio. Hope you're having a wonderful time wherever you are. See you soon xx

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  2. A great post! I think i will have to take it again when it comes round next time. I haven't even had time to log in yet. ;(

    Not sure if it's just my computer but this post was really hard to read as in the white on the grey on the grey boxing? The comments section is really clear but the actual post kind of hurt my eyes to read?

    Hope you Ok. Hope to catch up with you soon. xx

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    1. Hi Tracey-totally agree-hate the backgrounds on my last 3 posts-apparently I have some html scattered on the pages which needs fixing-may as well speak Japanese to me!!!! I end up with part normal text and part backgrounded every time, hence me doing the whole lot with a background-driving me crackers!!!! Yes see you soon! xx

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    2. Nothing is simple huh?!

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  3. Caroline,
    I love your photo shots and the way you concisely detailed our journey in BYW. I'll be visiting more often!

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  4. Hi Caroline
    Lovely to meet you and welcome back to the world of interiors. I am originally form London so know where you are coming from :) and it's been a while since my last 100% design and shopping the London stores and suppliers! Many of which I miss... The things we give up for blue skies :)
    Keep in touch
    Lisa

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    1. MMmmm, blue skies versus damp cold rain....!!! Wonder why you swapped! Lovely to meet you! :-)

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  5. Great post Caroline and good to get to know your background. Glad you a back to doing what you love. The e-magazine part of the course is one of the big things I have brought away with me as well. It's so exciting! Good luck and hopefully meet you in person at one of the London meet ups.

    Just a word of constructive criticism (sorry!), I agree with Tracey, you might want to re-think the white/blue on black text, it's very difficult to read, especially on a small screen. I also seem to have grey boxing around the text in your posts. I persevered but I'd hate to think you were losing readers because of it.

    Ax

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    1. Hi Anna! You and Tracey are absolutely right-I hate it too-just haven't worked out how to fix a scattered HTML problem!?! Would love to get back to my posts without any of the backgound-working on it!! See you at a meet up! x :-)

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  6. I loved reading all this about you Caroline! And I can't believe how much the world has changed since you took a break from work. Glad your back, I'm enjoying your blog.
    I'm also struggling with photography, with getting enough light. It's a nightmare isn't it? xx

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    1. Glad you liked it Annie!! I know-it's really quite unbelievable how much has changed in such a short time-it was really good for me to write it all down-compare and contrast as they say! Have booked an on-line photography course and can't wait!!xx

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  7. Hello lovely and what a heart-felt post. Thank you for sharing your journey.

    I know how hard it was for you start this and so it was for me back in January after taking BYW1.
    You blew me away when you started blogging. So accomplished and brilliant at styling and I love watching your journey in embracing technology:) remember we are all on the same road!

    So, go forth, my Spargel friend!!! xx

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    1. Shuks than you sweetie! Some of our technology journeys are a little more tortuous than others I feel !!!!xx

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  8. Lovely to read about your journey and inspirational to see you progress Caroline! Love how calm, patient, focussed and determined you are. x

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    1. Ursual-thank you my lovely-not sure the kiddies wouldn't laugh at the calm bit! xx

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  9. What an inspiring and revealing post! I'm so happy to learn a little more about you, your passion and your journey :) Keep doing what you're doing Caroline, I really appreciate your online space and I wish you the complete best in your future endeavours. I will be following along. Xx.

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    1. Really kind thing to say Holly-so lovely of you-I really appreciate thatxx

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  10. I loved learning about the background to how this blog came into existence Caroline! Thank you for a little insight into your life and loves!

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    1. So glad you liked it Cari-Jane and thank you for saying so! :-)

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  11. Such a wonderful post - thanks so much for sharing your story, Caroline. xx from Germany, Anette

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  12. Wow, I love this post so much! :) Your career path is so inspiring! And I'm glad that you've found so much happiness and purpose in blogging. I can't wait to see where the future takes you. Holly's course does sound really special, maybe I will have to participate in Blogging Your Way 3. ;) I began blogging for the purpose of writing for fun, as a creative outlet from my very cut and dry 8-5 job in the financial industry. I am still at the same job, but blogging has turned into more than just writing, especially now that I have started connecting with others who share my same interests. Others' words and experiences have greatly inspired me to pursue these things that I find so fulfilling (interior design and decor) and hopefully with dedication and hard work I can get my foot in the door or even make my own path and turn this love into a career. Anyway, enough about me - you obviously got me inspired, haha! Great post - I think I will be rereading it in the near future to absorb it even more.

    Have a fantastic weekend!

    ~Amberly

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    1. I'm so pleased to hear that Amberly! I almost didn't include anything about my background as I thought it would be boring for other people. It turned out to be great to write, just to see how much things have changed in such a short period of time and how old (fashioned) I feel sometimes!! You're right, connecting with other like-minded people-of all ages and generations is really fantastic and as you say, inspiring! Thank you for such a lovely comment :-))

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  13. I've just finished a BYW Intention and Design courtesy of Holly and am also inspired! In the space of a short month I now have temporarily overhauled my blog (am hoping to set up a new one at Squarespace but takes time to refine it) and opened a Society6 shop and committed to slowly editing out all the old posts without my photographic content (unless it is a pinterest board link).
    The great thing about that course is that suddenly the world of possibilities seems right at your fingertips!

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Thank you so much for visiting my little blog and taking the time to comment- I really appreciate it :-)