Name: Claire Parkin
Blog: Celebrate Creation
What inspired you to start blogging?
I first started blogging after reading the blog of an interior stylist that I really admire called Marie Nichols. She was living in Australia at the time and I loved having a sneeky peek into her life there and also loved the ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse into interior styling that she gave. Sadly at the time I had just had a rather unfortunate HR error happen at work which meant that due to a mistake made by an HR executive and my boss, I lost a position of responsibility that I had. Looking back now I really should have made a bigger fuss about this than I did but I was quite naive at the time and fairly new to the role so just accepted the HR error! As you can probably imagine I felt quite low about this situation so decided that instead of moping, I was going to enroll in some adult education courses in the evening as I figured that my work day would be a bit less stressful now due to having less responsibility. I studied interior design for a year and also a short course in freelance writing. As I finished both courses I thought, ‘why not merge the two passions?’ and so Celebrate Creation was born!
Do you have any other ‘day’ jobs?
I do have a day job – I’m a full time University lecturer at St Mary’s University in Twickenham, London. I lecture both undergraduate and post-graduate students who wish to become primary school teachers in religious education. I was a full time teacher for 10 years and loved it and now I really enjoy working with adults. They don’t need me to lead them in a line anywhere once the teaching session is over!
What are your must-have blogging tools or resources?
My most recent blogging tool is to start keeping a blog schedule/planner for Celebrate Creation. In the past I haven’t really planned out many of the posts that I want to write in much detail which often meant that my head was full of bits and pieces of ideas because I didn’t write any of them down (not recommended). I was also sometimes disheartened as I didn’t feel that my blog contained the breadth of posts that I wanted it to. I use the A Beautiful Mess Blog love 2.0 workshop as a blogging resource and go back to it frequently to refresh my mind or to seek inspiration for new posts. I would say that Pinterest and Bloglovin are the two other biggest resources that I use. Pinterest for inspiration and collating ideas and Bloglovin for allowing me to keep up with other blogs that inspire me.
What inspires you?
So many things inspire me! Music is a huge source of inspiration – I find myself daydreaming a lot if I’m listening to a piece of music that captures me in some way. I love interior design and styling and can spend hours searching through Pinterest or reading interior design magazines. I’m blessed to have some very creative friends who also inspire me with the things that they are passionate about.
What is your biggest challenge as a blogger?
My biggest challenge by far is time! I have so many ideas and avenues I would love to explore with my blog but as I work full time, have a husband and large extended family, I find it really hard to carve out the time to write. I really love my blog but I also try really hard to put the people in my life first above my work and so sometimes it means that I will choose to sacrifice a post for the sake of spending time with someone. I’m ok with this as it is my choice to do so but I have to be honest and say that a bit more time in the day would be nice! I’m currently working on trying to plan my time a little more smartly in order to try and get more work done on my blog – hence the new blog schedule…
Share three of your favourite bloggers with us.
I love Katie over at Skunkboy Creatures as I enjoy reading about her day to day life in the midwest of America. I have a friend called Kristen who is from the same area who lives here in the UK with her husband now and so I feel that reading this blog helps me to connect with Kristen more and understand her culture and some of things she misses from the US. Katie also has the most adorable family and it’s lovely to see how she spends her time with them.
Marie Nichols‘ blog is my first ‘blog love’ and so I had to put this one on there! She hasn’t been blogging so much recently but her archives are well worth a read. She inspired me to inject more colour into my decor at home.
Emily’s blog is also one that I enjoy reading as I like her lifestyle features and she allows you a glimpse into her life behind the laptop and camera.
What are your future plans for the blogosphere?
My future plans for Celebrate Creation are to maintain a consistent blogging schedule and start to develop some new feature ideas. I’m thinking of ways in which I can merge some of my skills as a lecturer into my blog and am hoping to start to develop some adult education posts. I’d also love to start collaborating with some other bloggers on some projects as I haven’t done this before and so that feels like a natural next step for me. If you’re interested in working with me let me know!
Finally, tell us a random fact about you.
I was pretty much bald until I was about 3-4 years old. I’m a red head and so all my baby and toddler photographs show me sporting a nice sun hat which most people think was because I’m fair skinned and my mum was anxious to protect my head. It was partly due to that but if we’re all honest it was because I was bald!