Friday, 24 August 2012

Featured Blogger: Donna Peay

Now here's a truly beautiful blog: Donna Peay's A Perfect Gray.

Who would have thought so much variety could be achieved out of one colour... and a colour that's often associated with drabness! I have to confess, I'm a total Farrow & Ball fan and have spent some time poring over their colour charts and marvelling at the difference between 'Old White', 'White Tie', 'Lamp Room Gray' and the rest. But if you're not convinced, take a look at Donna's blog and you'll be hooked.

Donna started her blog in 2007 and has built up a loyal readership and regular commenters. I'm sure it helps that she posts two or three times a week. Donna is great at finding inspirational imagery from around the web, and you'll see her guest blogging in various places on the subjects of colour and interiors. Oh, and she also has some awesome Pinterest boards...

'Pieces of Gray' - one of Donna's Pinterest boards

Donna's Pinterest page


What do you think? Do you have a blog you'd like to recommend? If so, why not let us know about it in the comments either here on on this post, and you could win a copy of 'Blogging for Creatives'!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Time for a book giveaway!

Okey, UK peeps... so maybe you haven't yet bought a copy of Blogging for Creatives but you're thinking about it, right? Well, I've got 2 copies to giveaway and there's no time like the present!
(If you're still not convinced take a look at this 5* review it received on Amazon...)

All you have to do to be in with a chance is recommend a great blog and tell us why you love it - it could be one you subscribe to, or it could be your own. It could be on any topic (but nothing illegal or 'adult' please).

Write your recommendation in the comments box below and two lucky commenters will each receive a free copy of Blogging for Creatives!

Here are the basic rules:
  1. Only open to mainland UK addresses (sorreee!)
  2. You must be over 18
  3. Blogs already featured on this blog are not eligible
  4. You may enter up to three times, but not more than once a day
  5. Closing date is August 31st 2012

See the full terms and conditions here.

Looking forward to hearing about your favourite blog!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Roundup post: Blogging tools & tips, plus a Pinterest primer

I've been on holiday these last two weeks, staying well away from the London Olympics! Although I confess I watched some of it on TV...

Now I'm trying to do the traditional post-hols catchup, and thought I'd share with you some useful stuff for bloggers that I found in my inbox and Twitter stream, in case you missed it.

Blogging Tools
First off, how could I resist 22 Top Blogging Tools Loved by the Pros - great example of a title that's bound to get click throughs! This is an article by Cindy King at Social Media Examiner, a resource worth checking out. Subscribe to their emails or follow on Twitter (@smexaminer).

As it sounds, there's a lot to take in here - the thing with this kind of post is that you're probably not going to rush out and try everything on the list, but it brings to your attention some gems you might otherwise not know about. I particularly liked the look of Google's Content Idea Generator, and IFTTT (a social media tool - worth a play with). I'm already a fan of Storify, a tool to create and curate opinions and ideas around a topic (for example live blogging and tweets at an event.) Disqus (a community based around blog comments) is also great, I talk about the usefulness of this in my book... plus lots more good ideas in this article.

A From Me to You cinemagraph created by Jamie Beck
Photo tips
In the same vein is 15 Photo Blogging Tips from the Pros from Mashable - those pros just know it all, don't they?! This is actually a sponsored post, but as a compilation of comments from several high profile photo bloggers including Jamie Beck and Tom Robinson, it's an interesting read. Questions answered include 'What makes for a good picture' and 'Tricks of the trade'.

Pinterest primer
And thirdly, this is a post from earlier in the year but recently brought to my attention - Pinterest Basics for Bloggers, by Yang of Chillisauce on ProBlogger. If you haven't yet got stuck into Pinterest and want to know how to make the most of it, this is a really comprehensive and easy to follow article with lots of tips and screenshots.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Featured Blogger: Grace Bonney

Design*Sponge probably needs no introduction - it has featured in just about every mainstream publication and has been called a "Martha Stewart Living for the Millennials" by the New York Times. Founder Grace Bonney is a writer and former style editor for a number of lifestyle and design magazines, so as you can imagine the blog has the professional feel of a media site - but it maintains a strong sense of community as can be seen in the lively commenting.

'Before and After' is a popular column on Design*Sponge
The site is updated several times a day by a team of writers, and there are regular columns such as 'Before and After', 'Made with Love' and 'Living In'. Always with gorgeous-looking photography, as you would expect.

For lots of ideas of how the 'pro bloggers' do it, Design*Sponge is well worth subscribing to - no matter what the subject matter of your own blog. I do think that seeing what others are doing, and trying to emulate (or better!) what works, is a great way to  develop one's own skills and style, rather than looking mainly at 'how to blog' blogs. Sometimes the best practitioners are the ones out there doing it, rather than talking about the process!

When I approached Grace about contributing a tip to my book, her reply was exceptionally prompt and generous for someone who is obviously extremely busy and moving in big media circles. She is a real asset to the blogosphere in so many ways and I was delighted to have her participate in 'Blogging for Creatives.'

Friday, 3 August 2012

Featured Blogger: Jeanne Horak-Druiff

The web is overflowing with food blogs - it's such a popular subject that we can't seem to get enough of pictures of delicious food, recipes and foodie talk. Some food blogs just seem to stand out and one of those is Cooksister by Jeanne Horak-Druiff, who is another of the lovely expert bloggers who contributed to 'Blogging for Creatives.'

Jeanne is a South African living the the UK, but admits that her heart is 'back home'! (The name 'Cooksister' comes from a South African doughnut-type cookie.) But Jeanne's blog includes recipes inspired by a huge range of cuisines and styles, and rather than simply presenting a recipe, Jeanne always has a fascinating story to go with it. She travels frequently and always blogs about her culinary experiences abroad!
Cooksister regularly features restaurant reviews
When she's not blogging, Jeanne can be found speaking at blogging conventions such as the Cape Town Food and Wine Blogging Indaba and at food photography and writing events such as those offered by From Plate to Page.

Jeanne manages to combine insightful writing with a professional standard of photography on her blog - something that can really make a food blog stand out.