Saturday, June 7, 2014

back to (blogging) basics



Remember me? It's been a while - since Easter in fact! I've been here behind the scenes a lot though - I'd log in, start a post and then snap closed the laptop and go and do something else. There are lots of little child-sized distractions these days. And also... a lot of the time... I just don't want to blog. I've been incredibly uninspired to do so lately. Does anyone read them anymore? I don't, really. I have a very, very small list of favourites whose style I think is similar to my own, bloggers I like, and sites that I really enjoy, but aside from them, I have no real interest in falling down the blog rabbit hole anymore. Or writing my own. I'm working on the latter though because I don't know if I can just throw away seven years of documenting my life and projects. (Although last year's major hacking disaster kind of did it for me!) But how to get back into it? Well, that was the big question and what I've been thinking about these past few months. I think I've worked it out. And it involves a return to the olden days...

Blogging has come a long way. And I'm not sure it is for the best. Once upon a time, it was a relatively smallish online community where great conversation took place, friendships were made and helpful information and sharing was paramount. We turned to blogs (and when I talk about blogs, I am referring to the design/home/DIY/lifestyle arena as that's my interest) because we may have been missing that really awesome friend with the stylish, but liveable, home in our real lives. Or just couldn't talk glue guns or the best black wall paint with our sisters. Sure we could eye off images in magazines, but could we ask advice and or start a conversation about something? Nope. Online? We could. And we did. You know what else we knew we got as a blog reader? Truth. Great (honest) recommendations. REAL LIFE. We saw inspirational AND aspirational homes, projects and lifestyles. More realistic budgets, decision-making, mistakes and processes. Online you'd see shop owners show glimpses of their lives, mothers who pour their hearts into making special events like birthdays or holidays extra, extra special and couples with jobs and families - just like us - who caught the renovating and decorating bug and wanted to share their experiences, tips and transformations with others. THIS is what I got out of the blogging world. Now? Pinterest has killed the conversation - how often do you click the link and visit the blog? Facebook and Twitter have killed each other (I just don't really get them or use them anymore) and Instagram has killed off the realness (how many people's lives are really that picture perfect? None). And advertising? It's killed blogging. Well, it may not have killed it entirely (there are certainly bloggers out there going great guns), but it has kind of ruined it for me.

When I worked in newspapers and magazines, advertising ruled. At one newspaper, a government department threatened to pull advertising if we ran with a negative story about them. So much for freedom of the press; it's still very much on a leash. In magazines, without the advertising dollars, there is no magazine. And without magazines there is a huge gap in the way brands can get their name out there. They rely on each other and go hand in hand. But while I have no problem with the ads themselves, I have a problem with the way in which some (not all) were acquired - with promises for editorial mentions. Some advertisers would only come on board if they had a certain amount of editorial mentions per issue, which might equate to three product placements in a shoot, and two mentions in an article somewhere. Or feature articles concocted around a product placement or brand. The problem is (this is my personal opinion. I've just seen it work from the inside and so now read so much into things): if the brand's PR (or brand's products itself) are good enough, they'll be picked up by the editorial department anyway and used in shoots or mentioned in articles. But that free publicity doesn't pay for the photographer, photo studio, stylists, couriers and everyone else! So they get hounded for $$ from the sales reps, which they might be happy to pay "IF, you can guarantee this, that and the other" in future issues. After a while, this advertising/editorial tail chasing makes you question whether things are used because they're actually really liked or recommended by a stylist/magazine. Or because they HAVE to use it. 

Which is how I kind of feel about some blogs these days... the sponsored posts, the affiliate links, the giveaways... forced posts on unrelated (or trying to make it related) things to incorporate a particular product/brand. It's all a bit much nowadays - bloggers have been bought by everyone! And I can't help but feel suspicious of all those links in posts of products they might like or recommend - are they only recommending this because they are being paid to? Or because it is an affiliate link and they'll make money off their fans' eagerness to replicate? Money is hard to turn down. I get this, I do. I took on a few sponsored posts and collaborations and banner ads. Mostly I think the former two worked ok as they were brands I did actually know and use. But how unfair is it for readers to see me getting free things just because I am writing about it?! Would I have bought it regardless? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I had to kick my own butt when I actually approached a couple of companies for something because I was going to buy the items regardless and thought they might want to contribute in some way by discount or partly gifted etc. I was surprised at myself - who am I!?!?! How rude! That's not me. And that NOT why I started a blog. (FYI, one said yes - and one said no not right now due to budget). I remember reading something a blogger agency wrote that explained why companies should partner with their bloggers: "Readers trust the bloggers for honest opinions and product advice..." But by PAYING those bloggers to write about a product they probably wouldn't write about otherwise, isn't that kind of abusing that trust? I don't know, but I feel it is. I once did a survey and discovered that 10% of readers had bought something I'd written about on the blog. Whether it was something I'd used, discovered or just thought was pretty or cool, that is kind of influential. I'm very wary of abusing that; brands are obviously very happy to use that! And as for the admin side of things - I was hopeless. So many advertisers got months worth of free advertising because I was useless at keeping track of it all or following it up. And mention SEOs, Google-friendly titles (is that the same thing? See - I don't even know that) or pageview stats to me and I will cover my ears and sing "la la la". It's all quite headache inducing.

The other headache-inducing aspect of blogging and social media is the sheep factor. There is so much sameness - the same trends, projects and products pop up everywhere. You might love something and then you see it so many billion times on blogs, Pinterest, Instagram you wish you hadn't bought it/tried it/made it anymore. That copy-cat theme extends to extensions of the blogging world - blogging courses, conferences (conferences?! really?) and workshops have been the buzzwords for the last couple of years. This year's trend? Oh that's easy - pop-up shops! And while I'm ranting ... there is a certain perfection that is almost expected now of bloggers. You can't just blog - you need to take awesome photographs too. And appear to live an incredible, interesting life. Pinterest and Instagram's beautiful images have meant everyone needs to step it up in terms of their content - professional-standard images are quite the norm. Magazine-perfect homes and super-styled "everyday life" is what we see. I'm all for pretty - of course! And I don't deny setting up my own pics occasionally. And I won't stop doing so either. But a little reality should be in the mix too - because people respond to that and relate to it. And having someone say "oh thank GOD I'm not the only one..." and launch into their own story is so much better a comment than "Ah. Mazing".

Anyway, working out what was annoying me and making me so disillusioned helped me make up my mind about what I should and would do with my blog. I considered just accepting I was old school and out of the loop and letting it go - sheesh, I've whined so much about blogging in this post, why would I want to continue, right? But then I thought about what it was that I enjoyed about it before and wondered if I could just go back to that. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I had a list as long as a six-year-old's Christmas list of people I had to get back to regarding affiliate programs and other potential sponsorship partnerships. I considered them all, started to stress at all the growing to-do list, then told them all what I'm telling you now:

I've made the decision to pull back from all advertising/sponsorship/affiliate/monetizing of my blog for the time being and get back to basics. I've realised a lot of my passion towards blogging has vanished due to the admin and extra work that was going into it behind the scenes and I really want to get back to why I liked it in the first place, which was simpler, about my home and life and without gifts or sponsors. I don't necessarily expect to remain this way forever, but I basically want to start at the beginning in a way and see where that leads - I'm sure there will be opportunities further down the track when the time feels right. 

Standard response word for word! I am SURE there is a way to combine a blog with money-making in a way that allows the blogger to remain authentic and not annoy its readers as well. I just don't know what it is for me yet! But I do hope to find it one day, because of course it would be nice to turn something I enjoy(ed) into a profitable career. I think some bloggers do a pretty good job of it too - Dana of House*Tweaking and Emily Henderson have relevant and great sponsorship partnerships most of the time without losing their look, voice or style. Or my readership either (cause that's important!) But until I find a way to do it that I'm comfortable with, there will be no advertising on my blog. I'm going back to the early days - sharing, caring and communicating (if people still comment! I know times have a changed in that regard!). This whole post might not mean much to anyone - and it might turn out to be one big hypocritical wordy mess, but I just felt the need to explain my absence and disinterest.

And you know what? Since I've made this decision, I feel a bit more inspired again. I've been writing down post ideas and I even gave the blog a very simple new look. From now on, I'll make a bit of a return to what my blog was in the first place - my renovation (no, the kitchen IS STILL NOT FINISHED!!!!! I need a tiler cause I don't think I am cut out for all the diagonal cutting around the rangehood), makeovers and projects and a peek into a real Aussie family trying to make a happy home and life. Because that's why I started it. To quote myself, in my very first post on this blog ...

"I want The Happy Home to be about family life: creating stylish and liveable spaces, spending creative time with little ones, prettying up the mundane, laughing through the frustrations and complications, and just enjoying life's little moments. I'm not a stylist, not am I uber-creative. I'm just attempting to use all I've learnt through my work, inspirations I've gathered and ideas I've come up with to turn my home into a happy one. Because, ultimately, that's what every home should be - a place that makes you happy. Not because it's decorated with designer furniture or boasts the latest trend or is hospital-clean or looks like it jumped from the pages of a magazine*. But because it's filled with the things you love and is an extension of all those who live there. This blog is about a real home with a real family on a real budget. It's real living!"

*{note:} There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these things - they just might be the things that make you happy. But do this because you want to, not because you feel you need to in order to have a stylish home and envious visitors!" 

Are you still reading?! Well done! Sorry for the ranting and raving - needed to get that off my chest. I don't judge (too much!) those who do this thing - people can do as they please on their sites. It just saddens me to see so many great sites either stop existing altogether or turning in a giant advertorial and losing their soul and original essence. I don't want to be one of those...

{Image by Belinda Graham for The Happy Home}

49 comments:

  1. I think you are exactly right with so many things that are just plain wrong with blogs of today.

    I love reading blogs... I subscribe to way too many. But, I don't want to read about a new faucet or the latest craft box subscription program or even see a post with twenty photos and ten words of content.

    My favourite all-time blog is Julia's (http://julia.typepad.com/julia/). It doesn't bother me she doesn't post with regularity and it doesn't bother me that the photos of her children aren't post-processed and her daughter's eyes aren't photoshopped to include a twinkle. She is a STORYTELLER. I get so much more out of reading a genuine story of relate-able life of a parent, than harangued postings of uber-mum's who can do a daily DIY project and whip up a three course meal and have everything appropriately labelled with kitchy labels in their home.

    So... thank you for your (honestly) refreshing honesty.

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    1. Thanks Liz! Her blog sounds interesting, I will check it out. And also: I can't imagine how exhausted those people are who go out of their way to make their lives look perfect!!

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  2. I've dipped into your blog every now and then for the last 3 years or so (mainly when prompted by an instagram post - like today) and have always enjoyed your blogging style. I agree with a lot of what you say, I have a blog (much smaller than yours) and even the process of saying a polite 'no' to all the PR's/ requests is exhausting and where I have accepted gifts etc I've always felt a little 'dirty'.
    My problem with this though is that we, as bloggers, do convince people to spend money on 'stuff' (if you write about something and someone goes and googles it and finds it on a price comparison site - that site will be getting a kick-back, but you the originator gets nothing). I don't think there is an answer though... and most of the time I still love blogging as a hobby so it doesn't REALLY bother me. Oh yeah, and I just went to a blogging conference! It was great - the community is going strong and it was wonderful to spend a day in the company of lots of inspiring women who totally got blogging and why it's so fun, unlike some of my real friends!
    Here's hoping you start to feel it again. Alexis x

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    1. Thanks Alexis - and thanks for sharing a positive about the parts I scoffed! I was always keen on alt summit but even that now seems all about the clicks and views!!

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  3. Loved this post after seeing your instagram pic Belinda! It's great to see you've found yourself again. Coming from a PR and Marketing background I totally get the whole editorial for advertising deal.... and blogging and advertising.... I've tried it on my blog but like you I've been struggling internally with the whole inspired blogging - and thats what it's come down to. I'm not writing for me any more! thanks for the little 'wake up'. x

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  4. Totally agree with all of this Belinda. I worked as a media buyer so also saw the value of the dollar and products being 'recommended'. I remember starting as a naive 19 year old and being so shocked that companies paid to have products featured. One of the reasons I loved reading blogs was getting honest opinions/reviews etc. I understand where bloggers are coming from, if you get sent free stuff from a PR your not going to say you don't like the product if you want more free stuff! But I have slowly stopped reading the advertorial style blogs if I want to read a paid positive review I'd rather buy a magazine.

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    1. Yes! I think I often considered my blog to be like my own magazine. A place I could do what I wanted a mag to be and so advertising kind of worked. And then it seemed like a real magazine it took over and I am not keen on that!!

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  5. Hallelujah! Belinda, your post nailed the feelings I had about blogging and why I also pulled away for so long. Blogging used to be something that filled me up - then it changed and the reasons I loved it so much fell away and were muddied for all the reasons you mentioned above. I've recently started blogging again and have decided to stick to the 'old-school' philosophy too. Maybe we should start a club?! So, so glad you're back! We need your voice (and conversation) online. xx

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    1. Thanks khali - glad you've not stopped either!

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  6. I have read your blog since you worked at Real Living and my favourite posts were when you were renovating your first house. I loved your black wall as I had not seen that anywhere else before and then when you painted it lilac it looked amazing too. That was what I loved, authenticity and creative ideas.
    Its good that you are staying true to what you like and who you are. I can't wait to see what you are doing next. x Jane D

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    1. Thanks so much Jane! The black wall is still one of my faves too! X

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  7. Great stuff. I'm not a Blogger just a reader of Blogs and what I always wanted was a window into a life, some inspiration , some common ground. First I was going to be a renovator of an old bungalow and so it was, how would I do that?, what did you do?, Bloggers gave me the inspiration and some faith that I too could achieve that goal. Then we had a big Earthquake here in Christchurch and our house got broken and for the 3 1/2 year I have been having a vicarious pleasure and happy escapism through other peoples house building and renovating experience. I found just this week that I went from one blog to the next and which had "been reached out to" by a new menu service and suddenly I was disappointed and bored (even thought I probably need a menu service) I'm hungry for the realness of people's live who are moving on while I wait in limbo for our Insurance co to finalise our claim so I can move on. Thanks for being real it's what drew me to your blog when I found it.

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    1. Oh Jacqueline! That is horrible - I'm so sorry and hope it works out soon! I can se how online would be an escape and I really should not complain about how long things are taking with our Reno finishing touches because at least we are able to do them! All the best xxx

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  8. Sadly that is the world we live in. Everything can have a price but it doesn't have to. Just be true to yourself. I don't think there is a problem to rant and rave about a product or service you truly love and to get a kickback for doing so, especially if there is full disclosure and it's something that you would endorse anyhow. As another reader said, the retailers benefit from it. Your readers all seem to say the same thing. They love your honesty and the fact you keep it real, you're not following the pack but don't beat yourself up for getting a few freebies. Just keep telling us about the good ones ;)
    Nadine

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    1. thanks nid! i'll see how i go - i need to build it back up to what it was in terms of standards (my standards!) and readership before thinking about that stuff again! xx

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  9. You re hands down one of my faves (and few blogs I read) because you have ALWAYS kept it real. Always. Paid . Unpaid. Babies etc .... Its your blog. Do what makes YOU happy. I couldn't bother perfecting life either. I was an early adopter of twitter (first 40,000) but gave it away a couple of years ago.

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  10. First off, I am so glad you have decided to keep blogging! Even if you posted once a year, I would be hanging on your every word.

    Secondly, I struggle so much with all of the things you mention here: honesty, reality, inspiration, MONEY, (im)perfection. It's a fine, fine line for me because I never expected to quit my day job and stay home with my kids full-time. My blog originally was an outlet for all the ideas in my head. Somehow, typing them out kept me sane?? Then we had some major life changes (some were our choice, some were handed to us) and this blogging thing turned into so much more although I still have a bunch of ideas, too. Sometimes I prefer the old way, some days I feel good about the present-day way. But, honestly, (I've thought about this so much recently) I see the majority of blogs dying out in the future. All that content just isn't sustainable - for bloggers or readers alike. Like you said, it's very difficult to produce something that hasn't been seen before and it gets to the point where readers are exhausted just taking in that much information. It can actually have the opposite effect of inspiring. It can be paralyzing to readers or conjure up feelings of inadequacy. In the meantime, I plan to keep telling my story, sharing my home and sprinkling in paid content from time to time to help bring my ideas to fruition, to cover the costs of running the blog, and to ever-so-slightly help make up for, like, a tenth of the salary I turned down to stay home.

    Thirdly, I deeply respect your decision to go "old school." I think it will bring you the focus and originality it seems you are craving right now. Love ya! xo

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    1. thanks so much dana! i thought of you a lot as i wrote this post. you have managed to be the perfect balance - real/inspiring/relatable etc and you have great reader interaction/collaborations and of course your style and life goals are very similar to my own so i was hoping you wouldnt get offended by what i was whining about!!!! i think there will be a huge blog graveyard eventually but those that are huge now will only get bigger and become more like a magazne and lose that personal side - but with all the fluffing about some people put into making their lives appear perfect, i guess we're not seeing that personal side of them anyway!!! thanks again xxxxx

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  11. I'm very happy you are back and thankyou for your honesty. I read your posts because they are real. Thanks for the rant it was great to read about the behind the scenes of blogging.
    I read blogs for an escape, I'm not interested in writing, but love looking/searching for ideas.
    Your unique ideas ( and benches with stuff on them !!) is what brings me back to visit. Thankyou, Neen :)

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    1. ha! thanks neen - everyone loves seeing raw chicken on kitchen benches, right?!

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  12. Michelle HerrettJune 7, 2014 at 8:02 PM

    Belinda i'm always thrilled to bits when i see your blog title in my bloglovin feed, no matter how infrequent! I absolutely hear you on the saturation of advertising et al...one of my favourite photography blogs recently had a sponsored post about, of all things, mosquito coils. Seriously. That's how i knew we'd hit rock bottom!
    I've always adored the simplicity of your blog and the fact that there's nothing 'screaming' at me, so to speak. It's a lovely little realistic oasis, and i'm thrilled you intend to keep it that way. :)

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    1. cheers michelle! glad to hear! ps: perhaps the mozzie coil place thought if anyone can make my product look any decent it'd be a photographer!?!!! x

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  13. I agree with everyone, I'm so bored with blogs that are all paid features that I don't read them any more, I just read the real ones too. I miss old school blogging!

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    1. it scares me when even little places in the blog world you thought were sacred so to speak, suddenly start spruiking things too!! x

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  14. I'm sorry you are so unhappy with the blogging community Belinda. Try to see the good. There is a lot of it despite some of the ugly, just as in every industry. It may have seemed like "once upon a time everything was beautiful in blogland" but it never really was. I remember when I started my blog 9 years ago this month (may 2005) and was too scared to write on it for fear of being judged by other bloggers. I remember writing on my blog for the first time in January 2006 and I was bullied by a big blogger who wanted me to stop and told me I had no place in design blogging. I was harassed, bullied, and even lied about and blackballed. BUT I kept going. I stayed true to myself and to my readers. I still do. I'm proud of that. Not all bloggers aspire to make money or be the next big thing. Most of the bloggers that I know (and teach in my e-courses that I've ran for over 5 years now) are in blogging to make friends, see new things and just be around like-minded people. To you, an editor, you may be discouraged by what's going on behind the scenes, but the average person doesn't see it/think about it - they just want to enjoy what it is at the moment - an inspiring community of people putting their work and sharing their favorite things. So many bloggers have had life-changing opportunities and experiences online. I have. So have many of my friends and students. I think with your background in publishing and thorough understanding of how the whole ad/marketing thing works that it's harder for you to NOT see certain things. I see it too. I can't say I don't agree with lots of what you wrote! BUT I see negative in every industry, in every hobby circle and especially when you pool together mostly women - you're always going to have to deal with competitiveness, gossip, jealousy, fame whoring, etc. It's in our nature, sadly, to want to present perfection to the outside world and to always want to be the smartest, prettiest and most successful. This could be ANY community and you'd see problems. Just push through it, put on horse blinders, and stay with the bloggers you love and feel inspired by and avoid the rest. You do a great job, you have a lot to share especially being a mother to five children, you are an inspiration - don't forget those whom you touch. Don't lose your light just because other people may abuse their power. Screw them. And in the end, if blogging is no longer for you - that's OKAY too! Move on from it, explore something else - there is so much out there to dabble in and be inspired by. xo

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    1. Holly! I'm so glad you commented - I never thought of it that way before. I guess it is a downside of knowing the inside goss so to speak! Knew I should have taken your course again! In fact I often wonder how you feel now there are so many blogging courses -I recall you being a leader there. Frustrates ME to see an original idea copied to near death; I can't imagine being the one copied! There is flattery and then there is just ripping off. I've always admired the way your blog has stayed true to you, your likes and style. I don't think I've ever seen a sponsored post and you have managed to use your blog as a launching pad for other opportunities and I think deep down that's what I want to do too. I scored somelance gigs as a result of my blog (kid spot and other crafts for magazines and other sites); I think that is a better way to go. So thank you for my mini, personalised blogging your way pep talk. Xxxx

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  15. I think I started reading your blog when you were expecting Layla, and I've always loved it. It always feels so 'real'. I agree with a lot of what you mention in this post. It not as much fun to be reading blogs that are littered with ads and sponsored posts and so on, as it is reading posts based on people's true opinions and inspirations. I grew tired of many design blogs, because they were all the same. I hope going back to old school blogging will make it feel like more fun.

    Oh and one thing, I read most blogs through bloglovin which is sort of handy but still takes away from the whole experience AND makes it much less likely for me to comment. I'm sure it works in a similar way for more people...

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    1. thanks julia! well layla turned 6 yesterday so thank you so much for sticking around!!! and thats handy to know about the reader - i never quite got the hang of those so that makes sense! x

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  16. Hi Belinda, your blog was my first blog I ever read and then I got into the whole blog world and loved reading quite a few for a few years but I dont have the time to read blogs much these days but to tell you the truth, your blog is the only one I come back to as yours is real and thats what I love about it. I do love Instagram still for the ease but I know that a lot of it is smoke and mirrors, but then maybe thats what I like, special moments captured in our lives from the mundane...

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    1. thanks marnie! i like instagram too, but do enjoy the longer, informative posts on things i'm interested in. a good blog will make information easy to read and with a little personality - thats what i strive to do! xx

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  17. Hi Belinda, I'm just happy to hear you're coming back to your blog - in any form! I love your honesty, your ideas, your decorating style and especially seeing your kids' craft, parties, antics etc. Mine are almost the same age (only I stopped at 3) and are similar in a lot of ways (not to mention we're coasties too), so it's refreshing to see and hear your thoughts on different things, and to hear we're not the only ones dealing with certain...err...issues. I hope that getting back to basics makes you happier and gives you the satisfaction you felt in the early days of blogging. All the best :)

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    1. thanks karen! now to just find some time to get back into it... ha! x

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  18. Yes, still reading, and applauding everything you've written here! I've been dropping in on your blog for quite a few years. I love your honest 'voice', and love to see how you 'design' a home around a young family. Thanks for keeping it real :-)

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  19. Hi. I agree with you. I blog and only have about 100 hits per post. I do it for friends and family and the occasional stranger, but most importantly for myself :) I don't make money and have no sponsors, and I've always wished I did, but this post has made me second-think that. If you're looking for an ordinary mom blogging about an ordinary life, please check out my blog! www.lifeaswegoit.com. I'll still be reading your blog :)

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  21. Hello there, I've been following you since your Renovate and Decorate days but I am a notorious lurker...but I'm emerging from lurker-dom to thank you for this lovely, honest post. I appreciate your realness and that's why I've been reading your work for so long. As much as I love Pinterest, it definitely does kill off the blog discussion and adds extra pressure on making sure your photos on a post are "Pinterest worthy". I have blogged on and off for a few years; I'm currently not blogging but it's been on my mind to get back into it. This post reminds me that when I do, I need to do it for the enjoyment of documenting the things I love. I don't care how infrequently you blog, but please, if you can and you want to, keep writing. I for one will keep reading.

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    1. thank you jane!! another long-timer! i always feel surprised and totally delighted that people have read m for that long and still obviously getting something out of it! makes me more determined to get back to basics! thanks for delurking to tell me that xxx

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  22. Well I've never read your blog before, admittedly (sorry!). But now I think I will start. In fact, this is the first blog post I've sat down to read in about 5 months. I too share most of your same feelings, and have left my lifestyle/design blog empty for the last 3 months which saddens me because it used to bring me SO much joy and happiness. I am so inspired by your courage to just go back to the basics though. To not compete. I think I'll do the same. Thanks for this cute gal.

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  23. I have been reading your blog for years now. Admittedly I don't usually hold interest in a blog that isn't regular - but I love your style and taste and it keeps me checking in with the hope of something new. I have loved all your homes thus far and look forward to seeing more of your current project.

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  24. Hi Belinda, I'm so glad you have decided to keep blogging, I really enjoy reading your posts. I started my blog in January this year as a creative outlet and place to connect with like minded others but never anticipated how overwhelmed I would become keeping up with the blogging world. At times I find it quite stressful and that's certainly not how I want to feel. I had no idea how much work would be involved in perfecting new skills and maintaining social media. It's a lot. Thanks for sharing this post it's a lovely reminder to be true to yourself and do what makes you happy.

    Sarah x

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  25. Yes, this! All of this! I have a blog that has been silent for some time. While mine was a knitting/life blog (yet another great internet community) I have been reading design blogs for quite some time. (I found your blog through House*Tweaking just a few months ago.) Many of the knitting blogs I used to adore have gone silent as people have moved to Twitter, Instagram, etc and many of them became busy with the tiny new people in their lives. I am hoping to revive my blog, incorporating more than just knitting. I have been thinking a lot about what it would mean to accept advertisers on my blog - and I realize that I really just want to do this for me for right now. Blogging, for me, was an extension of a childhood journal, a letter to a friend, a way to practice writing and a way to remember. I have recently started a journey of "letting go" of things that cause me extra work - while blogging will be taking something on, adding advertisers to it would be extra work.

    I look forward to your future posts - and congrats on the arrival of the newest family member.

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  26. i hear you Belinda! Ive been thinking about this a lot too - I keep getting emails asking about sponsored posts and its not a direction I want to take my blog...back to basics sounds like a good thing..
    Looking back at my old posts, i was so into it...I feel sad to be so uninspired lately...back to basics

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  27. Loved reading this, and yes I agree. My biggest pet peeve is reading a blog/blog post and then realising that it was sponsored. Even if the blogger is upfront about it being a sponsored blog post early into the writing, I feel that it has just sucks the life and essence out of the post. I find it hard to connect to the writer and I become skeptical about their original intentions. Bravo to those who have been able to successfully monetize their blog, but I think that it certainly comes at the cost of genuine writing and also disengages the reader. Yes it is tempting, but I myself hate reading sponsored blog posts and I can deal with one or two blog adverts, but when I am struggling to read/find the actual blog content I click out of there!

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