Life: Blog hop

Blog hop pics  Really Pretty Useful
Blog hop pics Really Pretty Useful

Happy Monday everyone, I hope you’ve had a good start to the week? This post is a little different from normal because it’s a blog hop. Blog hops are a great way to find out about new blogs or old ones you just haven’t heard about yet. I’ve been tagged by my blogging friend Ruth to answer some questions about my blog and how I put it together. I met lovely, smiley Ruth at one of Emily Quinton’s Makelight photography workshops where we bonded over a love of props and a sort of mutual fear of photography (mine more than hers I think, she was probably just being kind). We started chatting on Facebook and twitter and have met up several times since. Ruth writes a really sweet lifestyle blog over at The Planned Adventure – so do take a look. Her blog hop post is here. Right then on to mine.

Blog hop 3  Really Pretty Useful
Blog hop 3 Really Pretty Useful
Why do I write?

I have to write. I know that sounds overly dramatic but it is very true. I write for a living, mainly health features for women’s magazine and I’ve been a journalist for well over a decade. You’d think that would be enough for me, but it isn’t. When I was on maternity leave and no one was asking me to write thousands of words a week I thought I’d relish the break. But I didn’t. I wrote about being a mummy on a different blog, and how I coped with the challenges of having a small baby. Only my friends and family read my blog back then, but that was enough for me.

I started this blog because I began to feel uncomfortable sharing a lot about my children online. I also felt I’d lost a bit of my creative self when I had children, mainly because I was too tired (or lazy) to get started. But starting Really Pretty Useful has helped me get that piece of my life back. It’s made me more creative in the kitchen again, which means lots more mealtime battles because I’m making the boys try new things, but they’re slowly getting used to it. Blogging is a really important part of my life and I’ve learnt so much over the past year. A lot of people still don’t understand it, but it’s such a lovely community and I always love to make new friends through blogging.

Blog hop 2  Really Pretty Useful
Blog hop 2 Really Pretty Useful
What am I working on?

My ideas list is phenomenally long. I spend a lot of time turning ideas over in my mind, imagining them, planning them and sometimes the moment passes, the food goes out of season or the trend is gone and I never ever find time to actually make them, which is frustrating.

DIY posts especially take a long time to put together because of all the step-by-step pictures and the planning involved. If I added up the hours I spend on some posts it could amount to several days a post. Luckily I really enjoy it and sometimes it all comes together and I actually get to share something with you guys. Later on this week I’m hoping to post an essential oil scented candle DIY which I’m really excited about. And there are a few other makes in the pipe work too.

I’m also taking part in #augustbreak2014 over on instagram. The challenge is to take inspiration from a different word everyday in August and create an image around it. I’m using it as a way to improve my styling and to try out a few different photography techniques – which might be cheating because I’ve already used my big camera rather than my phone camera.

When I remember I try to tweet, post on Facebook and instagram too – social media is such an enormous tool that I really don’t think I’m making the most of yet. But do pop over and say hi – it may prompt me to post more. Oh and obviously I'm on Pinterest if you want to get lost down that rabbit hole (I love it!).

How does my blog differ from other blogs in its genre?

This is a difficult question, and I think most people have found it hard to answer. That’s because a lot of our blogs are very similar, we write about similar things and we have similar ideas – but I think what makes every blog different is the person behind them. I’m what makes my blog different. I write how I speak, warts and all – though probably with fewer expletives. I tell you when things go wrong and I confess to my crafty mistakes so that you know not to make them. I want my blog to be really pretty but also really useful. I don’t  deal in whimsy (which I love by the way, there’s just a lot of other people doing it way better than I could). I love step-by-steps that actually help you make something, and I only make things that I want to have in my home – otherwise what would I do with them afterwards? I adore recipes that are tried and tested and actually work – especially if I know my kids might eat them. So that’s what you’ll find here, craft projects you’ll want to make for your home and recipes your family will love. Other than that, it’s just me, being me.

Blog hop 4  Really Pretty Useful
Blog hop 4 Really Pretty Useful
What is my writing process?

I don’t really have a writing process. I just write. I know that is perhaps the most unhelpful answer ever, but it’s true. I don’t plan the structure of my posts, I just write what I think and feel about something at that time (which sometimes means I cringe later). Luckily for me the writing side is the easy bit.

I would love to plan my blog posts and have it all neatly mapped out so I knew what I was posting from one week to the next. But the reality of having two children and working part time as a features editor means that on the whole blogging thing fits in around everyone else. Come to my house on a Monday or Tuesday around 1pm while my youngest son is napping and my eldest is having some quiet time watching TV and you’ll probably see the kitchen in disarray and me in the corner stuffed in by the French doors trying to take photos in the best light I can, or stood on the table trying to get overhead shots. Post boy-bedtime any night of the week and I’m either typing up blog posts or editing pictures – or crashed out on the sofa, fast asleep by 8.30pm because I’m just done.

Photography is the thing I find hardest. Sometimes it takes me hundreds of clicks to get the right picture and more often than I’d like I can’t get my camera to take the picture that is in my head. But I’m trying to learn more and more about photography and I know I’ve made a massive improvement since I started this blog last year. Hopefully I'll go on learning and enjoying it. Who knows what next year will bring.

So now I’m supposed to pass the blog hop baton on to some of my lovely blogger friends. But they’ve all already blog hopped! So rather than panic and weep over the fact that my online friendship group is clearly too small, I’m going to use this as an opportunity to find out about as many new blogs as I can. So if you’re a blogger leave me (and everyone else) a comment below telling me all about your blog and leave a link to it so we can all hop on over. Go on - don’t be shy.