Time is a funny thing. It almost feels like just yesterday I sat down to pen my first post here, and yet it also feels a million years ago.
It’s crazy how much has changed in the past decade. How much I have changed. How much the concept of blogging has. I look back and barely recognise either. When I first started there was no concept of blogging as a vocation. There was no Instagram. No Pinterest. I created this blog before I even had a Twitter account.
Looking back on posts from that first year, the content would nowadays live on those other platforms. My first posts were simple snapshots of my life that would now be posted to instagram. Inspiration snaps from my favourite stylists, brands and photographers that I’d now pin. Themed etsy picks which would take hours to select and arrange in a grid. And flickr faves on a Friday.. ahh, flickr faves! Most of these posts are archived now, for a number of reasons, but a few remain for posterity…
Back then I was a freelance styling assistant, still at home with my parents, and not working nearly as much as I needed to be to sustain a living in London. My then-beau was just about to relocate to Scotland for a year for his masters and I knew I needed to create something in the world that was mine. An outlet for my creativity, and focus for all this extra time I was about to have on my hands. I posted every single day in the first six months, and pretty much every day in the next. Sometimes even twice a day, because I hadn’t quite grasped the concept of scheduling content, haha. I had maybe a hundred people a day viewing my site – which seemed incredible! – and many of them were fellow bloggers who left comments and encouragement, and in turn introduced me to new places, artists and photographers through theirs. Most of the blogs I read back then were Australian and American (most sadly defunct now). In those early days I didn’t really come across many UK blogs that shared my aesthetic or ethos (which was a little more dreamy boho than now, although I’m cycling back around again!).
Then, in December 2010 something crazy happened. Fabric of my Life was listed in The Times’ Online’s Top 50 design blogs in the world. My blog views spiked and my tiny little corner of cyberspace, where I quietly did my own thing, suddenly felt under attack. I felt pressure to really up-my-game and be worthy of this listing. I had a major wobble, and then pulled myself together and embraced the moment for what it was – an opportunity to develop and grow. I spent more time crafting my posts, reviewing my copy, improving my photography, (re)teaching myself html. And continuing to connect online with people on the opposite side of the world, who influenced and inspired me in ways they will never truly know.
My blog’s first birthday coincided with my first ‘professional’ solo styling gig at Grand Designs Live, and the absolute worst personal day I’ve ever experienced, for totally unrelated reasons.
On what should have been a truly joyous day – and from the staged birthday photos shot with my baking beauty bestie in her sunny garden a few weeks earlier looked to be – I was totally knocked for six and almost sent entirely off-course. In fact, I did widely veer but in the end only to a better, far more incredible path than I could ever have dreamed of before. My knowledge of the blogging world at a time when it was still in its infancy landed me an internship at a PR agency that would go on to employ me for five years, helping me move quickly through the ranks to manager and establish a career path on which I still tread. I’d be remiss not to send a special shout out to my gal Alex Loves here – now founder of hip activewear site Fashercise – for being my rock and inspiration that summer, and every year since.
Alongside my new ‘day job’ my blog also flourished, as the blogging scene in London developed and I began to connect with like-minded individuals in real life – shout outs to the OG blogging crew without whom I wouldn’t still be inhabiting this little corner of the internet: Daniel Nelson, Will Taylor, Carole King, Arianna Trapani, Katie Treggiden, Pippa Jameson, Stacey Sheppard, Jo Thornhill and Andrew dunning. You guys will always be my faves.
If 2010 was the worst year of my life, then 2012 was hands-down the best. A year of immense opportunity was kick-started by the amazing Blogtour NYC led by Modenus, which saw 15 UK and US bloggers hosted by an array of design brands in New York City during the Architectural Digest Show. It was a bit of a watershed time for blogging – certainly in the UK and in interiors (always a few steps behind the fashion world) – and what followed were a couple of years of incredible travel opportunities for me.
Since then I’ve continued to work with incredible brands, meet amazing people, and travel to places I could never have imagined visiting on my own.
I was lucky enough to be invited to Morocco (twice), Johannesburg, Belgium (Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent), France (Nice, Val Thorens and Paris), Spain (Fuerteventura and Madrid), Sweden, Norway, Doha, Rhodes, Munich, Basel and Copenhagen, and these amazing trips offered me the chance to see the world in ways I would never have been able had I not sat down at my desk and started writing all those years before.
So much of my ‘life experience’ has come as a direct result of my decision to start a blog 10 years ago today and it totally blows my mind whenever I stop to truly think about it. How much I’ve gained in my life – and I’m talking relationships and experiences here, not financial gain – through that fateful decision, and all the blood, sweat and tears that went in to every post thereafter.
So much has changed in the blogging world since I began, and I think its crucial we keep the core values that sustained us in those early years alive to ensure the joy and authenticity of the craft continues to shine through.
My content has evolved so much in the ten years I’ve been posting to my corner of cyberspace and I find it so cathartic to scroll back through my posts from years ago and see how much my own personal style – both written and visual – has evolved.
Blogging, first and foremost in it’s purest form, is an online diary of one’s life. I may not share content in the same way I did when I first started but I’ve always remained true to posting content that feels valuable and authentic to me, at that moment in time. I’ll forever be grateful for the hard work I put in all those years ago to get things off the ground, of the leaps of faith I took along the way, learning when to say yes and when to say no, and for all the skills I’ve gained by putting my mind and focus to something that brings me so much joy on a daily basis.
That you guys continue to read is the icing on the cake.
So, thank you so very VERY much to each and every one of you, whether you’ve been here every step of the way or are just now joining along for the ride; every post view, comment, social media mention means the world to me. Bonus points for those of you who remember white fonts on black backgrounds (eek!), fluorescent yellow accents, teacups filled with buttons, and all those other design decisions I now look back on and cringe, haha.
For me, blogging has always been about three core values: community, support, and celebration. I’ve always aimed to shine a light on the people, places and projects that are inspiring to me and hope to continue doing so for many years to come. As I’ve moved North from London to Manchester my content has shifted to focus on the incredible wealth of talent, community and spaces I am finding around me, both in the city and further afield, and hope that you are enjoying this new content direction – there’s definitely plenty more to come! I may not be blogging every day as I was in the beginning, but Fabric of my Life is still always at the forefront of my mind – I’m forever snapping photos, spying opportunities and plotting the next post. There’s about a trillion (slight exaggeration, but only slight) posts in draft right now that will – fingers crossed! – go live over the next month or so, so watch this space!
It feels fitting to sign off this post with a little bit of love for those who have been a constant inspiration for me through the years – a few since the very beginning, others later on, but all never failing to inspire and delight with their authenticity and creativity.
Huge shout-outs to:
Bright.Bazaar: a guy who never ceases to amaze me with his relentless pursuit of the most creative and inspirational content out there, whilst remaining true to his own unique style and voice. Will was one of the first friends I made in the blogging community, and while his blog has gone on to become one of the biggest in the world, he remains down-to-earth and humble, and always makes time for friends and followers alike.
Dear Designer: Carole and I met back in 2011 as part of the original Design Blogger’s Collective meet-ups in London and became firm friends after an amusing trip to Amsterdam for the inaugural Meet the Blogger conference. Carole is someone who is fearless in embracing new ideas, opportunities and technologies, and as the co-founder of the UK’s first digital interiors magazine, Heart Home, is a huge inspiration when it comes to defining what you can achieve, if only you have the drive and passion to believe.
Arianna’s Daily: co-founder of Heart Home with Carole, Arianna rounds out my trio of blogging besties. She is hands down one of the best people to have around – always full of laughs with an ability to light up an entire room – and is another inspiration for reinvention at any age. Her career has evolved over the past decade, from interior designer to magazine editor to fashion influencer and now life coach, and every time she has embraced reinvention head-on with immense honesty and huge success. A great listener and empowerer of all those around her, I’m so excited for the new path she is embarking on, and can’t wait to hear news of the first life coaching retreat she is running in Tuscany next month.
Atelier Tally: what can I say about Daniel? He’s the catalyst that helped bring all my design blogging pals together way back in 2011, when he was working at MyDeco and since then has become a great friend and business partner, helping me make the leap from agency staffer to director at October Communications and then supporting my move to a freelancer working from Manchester. His blog, which also recently celebrated the ten year milestone, is for all those true design geeks out there focusing on the minute details that make a quality product last. He’s now launched a podcast – Design Confab – on which I was a recent guest, chatting all things blogging with fellow October Comms alum, Emma Jane Palin.
Emma Jane Palin: ahh, EJP! I’ve all the love in the world for this girl because not only is she a truly inspirational and unique content creator, she was also my absolute rock whilst working at October Comms. She’s someone who always has your back and takes no bullshit, supporting all those around her without reservation that doing so might tarnish her own shine. She’s a firm believer in community and collaboration, and always thinks outside the box to create incredible campaigns, both on her own channels and for her clients.
WishWishWish: Carrie’s blog is one of the first UK fashion blogs I started following back in 2010 and her content continues to amaze and delight me. I feel that in an ever changing blogosphere, Carrie’s content remains right at the forefront – unique and true to her – and while her style has changed over the years, the evolution has felt natural and honest. Her posts retain all the good qualities of the posts I enjoyed back then, reading like a visual online diary, albeit with far glossier pictures and more exotic locations! It’s one of the only blogs I really make time to sit down and work my way through, for travel and style inspiration and plenty of visuals to add to my Pinterest boards.
I want you to know: alongside Carrie, Kristabel’s content has been a firm fixture in my blog reading schedule and she’s another one who still produces consistent and authentic content I look forward to reading. I met Kristabel in the summer of 2011, when she had just returned from a fashion internship in New York, and was immediately captivated by her big smile and larger-than-life personality. Her blog has evolved over the years to become an honest and refreshing online space, dedicated to demystifying the crazy world of blogging and exploring how we can create a more inclusive world for all. Her posts on race and identity are intimate and thought-provoking, while her travel posts never fail to capture the heart and soul of the places she’s visiting, with hilarious anecdotes and gorgeous photography to boot.
Cate st hill: Cate’s blog is my go-to for simple Scandinavian design inspiration. Her feed is a calm oasis of muted greys, greens and taupes, and she consistently unearths all the very best design finds from across the globe that support this clean, minimal aesthetic. She’s someone I’ve had the pleasure of travelling and attending many a workshop session with, and has the keenest design eye of anyone I know. There’s whispers that she may have a podcast on the horizon and I certainly hope that’s the case – as well as being a fount of design knowledge she also has the most soothing voice that you can listen to for hours, as any regular viewers of her Instagram stories can attest!
These Four Walls: Abi is one of the kindest souls in the interiors blogging community and is a constant supporter of all those around her working hard to carve out their place in cyberspace. Her own corner is a haven of all things simple and considered, calming colours and relaxed living. Underpinning everything is her belief that good design should be accessible and liveable as well as beautiful, and that we should all take time to slow down and savour those little moments of simplicity and serenity that make daily life all the more enjoyable. I couldn’t agree more!
Susannah Conway: Susannah was one of the first content creators I truly engaged with when i started out on this crazy journey. Back then I found a huge amount of inspiration via fFickr, which is where I came across Susannah aka Ink on my Fingers. I was immediately captivated by the way she wove words and imagery in such an honest almost-romantic way, and connected with her far more deeply when I discovered her creative journey was steeped in the fire of bereavement. Her work – and later her online courses – taught me how to navigate my own life journey, heal my own heart, and live my own self-directed life.
Who are your favourite bloggers these days? Are there any you’ve been reading religiously for years? Let me know who should be on my radar below!