Wise Words Wednesday with Stephanie

Good morning and welcome back to another Wise Words Wednesday. Today we have the lovely Stephanie from Life at 139a taking to the hot seat.

Her blog is a great mix of home and garden, with lots of inspirational posts to take ideas from, make sure you check out her posts from RHS Chelsea Flower Show if you are planning to work on your garden over the summer.

For now, though I’m going to hand back to Stephanie:

Tell us a little bit about you & your blog:

Hi there, I’m Stephanie and my blog Life at 139a is a homes and garden blog.  I live in London, work full time and have a garden, allotment and house that always seems to need something doing to it.  I’ve recently taught myself to crochet and have plans to make so many throws already that I’m not sure when I’ll fit it all in, alongside everything else and the patchwork quilts and T-shirt crocheted baskets I also have on my craft to do list.  I’m a bit (a lot) of a list person, so much so, that it wouldn’t be far wrong to say I have lists of my lists…

What inspired you to start blogging?

In 2013 MOH persuaded me that having the whole house inside and out decorated, a new kitchen and a replacement patio would be a good idea.  Long story short is that it really wasn’t, was incredibly stressful and our builders at the time, who were doing the decorating, but not the kitchen or the patio, turned out to be rubbish.  And that’s being kind – I’ve still not said I told you so to MOH…

We ended up curtailing the extent of the work we’d let them do, renegotiated the price and by the end of it the owner of the company was so apologetic that even he didn’t want his people in our house.  You couldn’t make the ‘mishaps’ up, we needed a French polisher in to repair our (replica) mahogany table, they needed to replace at least a couple of rolls of Farrow & Ball wallpaper and pay for repairs to our neighbour’s car as somehow they’d managed to splatter cream exterior paint over his brand-new navy Lexus.  Thankfully, our neighbour was more understanding than I think I’d have been.

There were some highlights though, the wooden treads of our spiral staircase are now beautiful, and not orange, and our new kitchen is still one of my favourite rooms.

But why did I start blogging – well the drama that was our ‘Phase 1’ was way too involved for Facebook updates, and I needed to write about it.  It wasn’t until a year or so later when I changed jobs that I shared my blog with people I knew, and by then it had become a thing I did.

Over the years it’s morphed into more homes and gardens, depending on the time of year, and it’s brought me many opportunities.

What has been your highlight of blogging?

There have been many, all around the opportunities blogging has brought.  I’m going to break the rules and choose two highlights:

  1. Being invited to and going on a Press Trip with Stihl to their factory in Austria, as part of the first UK press trip the company had organised.  The party included proper garden journalists from The Times, Telegraph and The Sun, and many of the gardening magazines as well as five other bloggers.  It was a very full two days, the hospitality was awesome and I learnt more than I ever thought I needed – or wanted – to know about lawnmowers.
  2. The second is more recent and that’s receiving Press Accreditation for this year’s  RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and attending on Press Day, the day before the show opens to the public.  Not only was there space to get some great pictures of the gardens, but there was also plenty of opportunity to celeb-spot.  I didn’t think I’d recognise many, but even I managed to easily clock up twenty or so without even trying.

Is there anything you have learnt about blogging which you wish you knew when you started out?

Probably that it’s quite addictive, good fun but lots of work.  I don’t think non-bloggers realise quite how much goes into running a blog, but us bloggers know on the whole, it’s worth it.

Bloggers sometimes get a lot of stick however many work really hard and are reaping the rewards, what has been the most rewarding part of blogging for you?

I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve had very little, if any, stick.  Many of my friends and family still don’t get what blogging is about, or how it works, and it does sound quite odd when you explain it to them, and I find I’m constantly saying, “it’s not free stuff!”

What would be your 1 tip you would give all new bloggers starting out?

Be content with creating great content – which although that sounds quite twee it’s way better to have the quality rather than quantity, so if that means not posting every day don’t post every day.

Who do you find inspiring to read/watch in the blogging world?

Hmnnn, now that is a tough one.  I have blogs I read regularly, some I’ll stop by every now and then and some that I stumble across through other people’s links.  I’m more of a reader than a watcher though, as a lot of blog browsing is done while MOH is asleep next to me snoring his head off….

Lastly – do you have any big plans/dreams for your blog in the next 12 months?
Well, I probably have a list for this somewhere.  I regularly have plans to be up-to-date with all the blog reading, commenting and sharing I want to do and to get all those photos edited for future posts.  I have periods of extreme efficiency when I have posts queued up and scheduled in advance and times when they’re quite last minute (this is more often than I’d like right now!)

And it’s that reality check that means while I’d love to put into place plans for a couple of new linkys which would help me clear a backlog of posts and continue to blog about something I love, I know that with a busy day job it’d be futile to push myself too hard at the moment.  I already co-host a weekly linky – PoCoLo – with Morgan and always seem to need to catch up with myself on that while trying not to brand myself a bad linky host, there’s always something to do isn’t there?

But on the other hand, I can’t ever see myself with an empty to do list either, so it’ll be a matter of timing, and hopefully I’ll be able to get that right!

Wise Words Wednesday featuring Stephanie from Life at 139a

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