'The Blog Hop'

Hi there! I'm sure many of you have seen the 'blog hop' around and/or have participated in it yourselves.  If you haven't then it's all about finding out a little bit more how as bloggers we write, create and find inspiration. Last Monday my good friend Col handed over to me the 'blog hop' questions to answer today.  I then have to pass on the same questions to two bloggers I like to read, they will answer next Monday and then pass it on to two more bloggers for them to answer the following Monday. And so it goes on!  It's a great way of discovering some new blogs out there as the blogosphere is a big ol' place. I've answered the questions below and shown some of my favourite photographs from the past year as it's a nice way to reflect on past posts too. 

Why do I write?

I write because I love it. I've always wanted to be a writer. As a child I was a big reader and immersed myself in the stories of Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and Nina Bawden. In my early teenage years I fell out of love with reading as I instead fell in love with clothes, music and boys. However I found myself in my later teens reconnecting with books.  I was looking in 19 magazine one day and found myself engrossed by an article on novels from around the world. I read about Armistead Maupin's 'Tales of the City' and JD Salinger's 'Catcher in the Rye' and I felt pulled into their world. Next day I went straight to the bookshop, bought both and devoured them immediately. Reading these reignited my love of books and ultimately led to a career in bookselling. I'm sure there isn't a bookseller out there who hasn't dreamed of being a writer, and I have a few story ideas in my head. But getting them down on paper has always been my problem! It takes amazing dedication and committment to write a book and I admire anyone who can do that. As a blog writer, I can dip in and out as I please with no real plan or stress to get it done. So ultimately writing is a hobby and an extremely pleasurable one. 

What am I working on?

I don't really have a set plan when it comes to writing posts. Maybe I should! But I very much just go with the flow. However, I am making it a goal to explore more of this glorious county I live in. Yorkshire is so beautiful, with some of the most spectacular coastline and countryside I've ever seen. I feel like I know only a small part of it and I have a big list of places to go to. So those are the posts that I'm working on in my head! 

I'm also constantly trying to work on my photography. When I started this blog I had no knowledge or desire to learn how to use a DSLR or take pictures. But after seeing so many blogs out there with such beautiful imagery it was something that I felt I should learn to make my blog better. And I'm so glad I did, for as much as I like writing this blog, I like taking pictures a whole lot more. I love how life looks through the lens of my camera. Fritha  recently wrote about my blog for Blogosphere magazine and I felt like I'd had the best compliment of my life when she wrote ' I love the feel of afternoon sun shining through the window, noticeable in so many of the images on the blog'. I was just blown away by those words. But I still want to do better. I'm constantly inspired by other blogs, and now more than ever, Instagram. And that has recently become a big part of my creative process. With the progress of apps and camera phones, images have just become so much more interesting and exciting. VSCO cam is astonishingly good, and makes pretty much everything look great! Although I've just taken possession of an Iphone 5c and there are so many other great photography apps out there to learn and utilize on IOS. For me, it's all part of the creative process and a fantastic skill to develop. And I've discovered so many creative talents and people through IG as well as numerous local places and businesses I've never heard of to visit and seek inspiration from. 

How does it differ from others of it's genre?

Okay I have no idea how really to answer this question, but I'll give it a shot.  I suppose I'm what you could call a 'lifestyle' blogger but I'm loathe to use that description! I don't claim to live any kind of exciting, expensive, trendy existence. I work four days a week in a Market Garden. My home needs a good tidy and a good clean all the time. And it needs a lot of work done on it too. I do love interiors and nowadays I'm drawn more to a simpler way of decorating. I started out writing a lot on Scandi style and do still like many of those homes but I don't post about them very often. So I don't classify myself as an Interiors blogger.

I find myself writing more about food these days, especially what we've grown at the Market Garden and how I utilise it in my own kitchen. I spend a lot of time thinking about what I'm going to eat, so it's natural that be represented on my blog. And I like to try and show how vegetarian food can be interesting and exciting as well as being a healthy way of living.

I am constantly inspired by the seasons - in terms of nature, plants, flowers, food and colours. So I have found myself writing more about these too. 

Still, what genre does that put me in? I don't know! I just write about what I like, what I've eaten, where I've been and what I'd like to buy if I had some spare money. 

How does my writing process work? 

As I only have Mondays and Tuesdays off work, I tend to do all my writing on those days. I also try to answer emails, read other blogs etc during that time too. I've found as my workload increases my inspiration decreases as 'real life' just gets in the way too much. By the time I've been to work, picked Harry up from school, made tea, helped with homework, done the housework - it's just time to flop in front of the telly. 

When I do have inspiration I tend to take hours writing a post. No-one really gets how long a process it is unless they write a blog too. I'm constantly proof-reading and changing things, and then when it feels okay I press publish. Then I read it again, generally dislike something about it, and go back and change things again! I wish I was more confident at describing emotions, locations and feelings, but hopefully my photographs capture these better than my words ever could. 

Like I've said previously, I don't plan any of my posts in advance. I simply write when I have time and when the mood takes me. I can't force the words out if I'm not inspired or tired. 

And that's my part of the blog hop done! It's made me think about why and what I write and hopefully I've answered both those questions. 

I'm now passing the same questions over to two of my favourite bloggers. I'm delighted that they have both agreed to play along as they are both fantastic and I'm sure you'll enjoy reading their posts as much as I do. 

First up is Laura at Neat Little Things. We have been blog friends for quite some time now and I love when her posts pop up on my feed. Not only does she have amazing taste in homes, fashion and design, she runs her own online store full of lovely goodies. Laura is someone I'd like to go get a coffee with and then hit the shops. I think we'd have the best day as we have very similar taste. Go check out her lovely blog. 

And second is a local lass, Katy at Folly and Bloom. We met a few months ago via Instagram and her love of her home town of Ilkley and Yorkshire shines through her pictures. Her blog is full of her worldwide travels, design and lovely finds. Katy has inspired me to visit places in Yorkshire I'd never heard of before and her IG feed is one of my absolute favourites. I'm sure you'll enjoy visiting her blog as much as I do. 

Thanks for reading Little Birdie. This blog space makes me very happy and I do love writing it. x