Welcome to A Life Loved

A New Kind of Lifestyle Blog

Reading Time: 6 minutes

I took this little video shortly before midnight last night, after I’d tiptoed into the living room to take a break from the screen by the warmth of the fire. I needed a little time out before retiring to bed after what had felt like a super long but lovely day spent enjoying time with family and making the final tweaks to this beautiful new blog you’re reading now.

Perhaps, before I go further, I should introduce myself very briefly for those of you who don’t know me – I’m Annabel (hiiiiiii!) and I live in rural North Yorkshire with my husband Philip, our two children Eska (12) and Leanora (7) and three dogs Izzie, Winifred and Maggie. I am a full time blogger, working from home in my lovely office with views of the North Yorks National Parks. You can read a little more about me here and follow me on Instagram here. I’ve been 100% self employed since 2011 and I have a small team who support me running my business, which, as of earlier this year, now includes my much loved sister Camilla. And now, I’d like to tell you why I’m here, writing this feature.

As I sat warming my feet by the fire in the video above last night, I contemplated for the briefest of moments; how did I get here? How did I get from those early days of mooting the idea of a new blog and community for women amongst friends, family and colleagues in early 2016, to now, the eve of ‘going live’ – the culmination of everything I’d planned, dreamed and stressed about, jumped with joy and fretted over – my lifestyle blog vision, all complete and finally ready to share with the world?

The answer was already there for me.  There are so many life lessons I have learned in the eight years since I’ve been blogging, and seven years since I became self employed. But perhaps the biggest of them all is the power of community, and what wonderful things can be achieved when you surround yourself with good people. This dream of mine has become a reality today, because for the past 18 months, I have made sure that I surrounded myself with good, kind people who wanted to be a part of it’s success.

I know that I can always rely on the support and love of my husband, family members and close friends, but what has astounded me over the past few months, is the abundant level of friendship, support, sisterhood and all-round love that has come forth via a relative group of strangers online.

Allow me to explain; earlier this year, I established a closed Facebook group for members of our Love My Dress community to hang out online and discuss all matters ‘non-wedding’. It was clear through survey results and increasing feedback that our wedding blog community were looking for ‘somewhere’ or ‘something’ that shared the warmth and supportive nature of Love My Dress, but that would enable them to participate in a community that wasn’t just about weddings. My plan for a blog to fulfil these needs was already underway by this point, but setting up a closed Facebook group changed everything. People say that Facebook is on the way out, but frankly, I could not disagree more. You just need to learn how to harness the incredible potential for community building the right way.

The Facebook group I went on to set up, swiftly amassed hundreds of members (there are almost 1000 to this day*) and in a matter of weeks, all matters of life were being discussed -at what felt like the best table in the best cafe in town with all your best mates. Everything from the silly to the serious, the tragic to the hilarious. Bonds were formed, friendships were established and soon, these women were making arrangements to meet up and confirm their friendship in real life.

Witnessing this community take shape and friendships forged both on and offline has been a complete revelation and huge inspiration to me. I still pinch myself to this day that this has happened! A Life Loved was having an enormously positive impact, before it had even been launched.

The power of community is incredible when that community comes to together to support and uplift one another, and that is what the A Life Loved community is all about. A Life Loved will be a lifestyle blog with difference. I’m not interested in creating a blog or for that matter any social media feeds full of the same old rinse and repeat style fashion and beauty product recommendations. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there will be plenty of fashion and beauty content – I promise you that, but moreso, my dream is for this precious online space to tell stories. Stories that inspire others and that will provide a sense of catharsis, relief or the pleasure of simply sharing, for the story teller.

Through storytelling, I wish to help make and facilitate human connections. I want to share stories of joy and success and achievement alongside stories of struggle and vulnerability. I want to take our readers on a journey. I want them to ‘feel’, and be inspired, to have their views and opinions challenged – or reinforced. I want to never be afraid to tackle the more taboo subjects with absolute honesty and authenticity. I want to focus on diversity and mental health as much as I want to focus on those amazing home renovations and movie reviews and fancy frocks.

I want to encourage and motivate other women to take risks in their lives and careers and to not be afraid of failing.

And I wish to produce content that will help build confidence and offer empathy and trust and support. I want anyone who visits A Life Loved to feel they have found their tribe and to experience a sense of affinity – a warmth, a familiarity, comfort.

I am absolutely determined to create a different kind of lifestyle blog that respects and supports women from all walks of life and today, as you read this, I would like to invite you to join me.

Are you with me?

We launch today and for the period through to January, we will be beta-testing A Life Loved with the help of all you early adopters – this is our ‘soft launch’, if you will – a chance for us to settle in and get used to things, tweak things here and there and make sure that come January, everything is ticketyboo.

We warmly welcome any feedback – there may be some small design flaws that we need to iron out and if that is the case, please let us know by emailing hello@alifeloved.com.

You’ll find around 20 articles already published on A Life Loved and I very much hope you enjoy exploring through our pages and reading them. They provide a small flavour of what lies ahead and the many features and diverse content we already have scheduled and planned to share with you in 2018. I am ridiculously excited – I can’t tell you!

I personally invite any of you who may be interested in writing for A Life Loved to contact me on hello@alifeloved.com – be it a one-off-feature on a matter of interest or importance to you, or something a little more long term that you might like to contribute to the blog about on a regular basis. We’d genuinely love to hear from you. Establishing a broad and interesting team of content authors is a key part of my vision. Don’t worry if you’re not an experienced writer – we have guidelines and would be delighted to offer you support.

I didn’t want to write too lengthy a feature for my introduction – November has genuinely been the craziest, most busy month for me and my family and colleagues and it feels like I’ve all but blinked and December is already almost half way through. And so, I’m going to do my darn best to actually enjoy a day with my family today. That’s after a lie in. Because I confess, it was much later than midnight by the time I finished this sentence.

A heart full of love to everyone who has supported this project, but not least my dear, darling husband Philip, sister Camilla, co-editor Katie, designer Ian and assistant Lyndsey. Thank you to all the people who have and will be contributing to A Life Loved – your generosity and passion has been the most wonderful of inspirations to me, and I am excited and proud to be hosting your words. Thanks to many other people – I’m literally too bleary eyed to think straight right now, but you will know who you are.

I’m going to go and hit that big shiny blog button that will finally reveal A Life Loved to the world now (YIKES!), before I attempt to creep quietly up to bed and sleep at last.

Big Sunday love to you all – I hope you love what you see and enjoy a good read today! Do leave a comment below – I’d LOVE to hear from you – can you imagine waking from that sleep I’m about to have and there being no feedback here to read? Nooooo, no no – I’m keen to avoid any embarrassing tumbleweed moments 😉

A Life Loved is going to be wonderful. Just you watch this space.

Annabel x

 

* We only accept women into our closed Facebook group and new members must answer 3 simple questions. You’ll find everything you need to know here.

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54 Comments

  • Oh exciting!!
    There is a plus to being up feeding your 4 week old daughter
    Looks fabulous already & looking forward to reading the articles.
    Cwtch Bethan xx

  • Congratulations! I adore your premise for this space, life is all about community. Can’t wait to be part of it. Now get some sleep!! Xxx

  • This is so exciting – what a brilliant vision, creating a space for women to inspire and support each other. I can’t wait to dive in – perfect Sunday!

  • Annabel, I love it! I have no idea to this day how I found myself a member of ALL on facebook (recommended groups maybe?). I didn’t follow LMD, but I do love all things wedding! I am just SO grateful for the community you have built and the daily inspiration sent my way in the form of strong,successful,KIND women. I am so excited for this blog, having just read two articles- one which made me laugh, and one which made me cry. Have a wonderful day with your family. Currently suffering with a dose of man-flu, I know what I’ll be doing today- drinking endless cups of tea/hot lemon and working my way through the rest of these superb articles! Much love x

  • Huge congratulations to you and the team on the launch of this much anticipated blog. I wanted to pop a quick comment as a member of both groups referenced above to share my experience.

    I live in a tenement building in Edinburgh city centre, I have lived here for ten years and yet I know only a handful of my neighbours. I grew up in the countryside in central Scotland. Community in its most traditional sense is not necessarily something I have experienced, save perhaps my university years. My husband grew up in a village where you could walk into the pub on your own and know everyone already in it; no need to plan and assemble a group of friends for a night out. Part of me always envied his experience of just being able to turn up in and have support, chat and friendship waiting. In their own, very tangible way, that’s what these groups have done for me. Love My Dress saved my sanity on more than one occasion during wedding planning, whether it be inspiration, advice or the ability to vent when bridesmaids or husband were driving me batty. Part of its original appeal for me was the ability to seek unbiased, objective advise from a group of supportive but diverse, considered and highly intelligent strangers. However, a number of these women are now my actual friends, fondly referred to as my ‘internet friends’ so that my family can place them. We ave laughed, cried, vented and drank together.

    In a city where many leave after university, where work opens doors in other places and many of my closest friends are now far from local, A Life Loved and Love My Dress have provided me with the community and network that I now realise I was missing. In a world where we turn to the internet for shopping, directions, advice and love, it is perhaps not all that surprising that we have found community. Thank you Annael and team, the blog is fab and I know the girls of ALL and LMD will rally behind it.

    Sorry, I realise I said quick comment…!

    • Oh Emma, I have had *the* craziest week and a half since the launch, I am so sorry I’m only replying to this now!
      I’m sat here weeping tears in my bed reading this. Your words mean so very much – I really don’t think I can thank you enough for having taken the time to share such beautiful and touching feedback. This is literally exactly what I dreamt of creating.
      Thank you from the bottom of my heart Emma,
      Love Annabel xXx

  • Hopefully you’re reading this in the afternoon Annabel! I’ve only read your intro so far but I’m really looking forward to delving into the blog. I found my way to ALL through the closed Love My Dress Facebook group and so have been part of A Life Loved since the beginning; it’s an incredibly wonderful space for the most interesting bunch of women to come together and share stories from their life – no matter how important that day has been – or not. The stories are small, or they’re life changing. It’s a wonderful place that I love being a part of – thank you for creating it, and I’m really looking forward to the blog xx

  • Annabel, I hope you’ve had the longest, most delicious sleep! Congratulations on your launch – I’ve bookmarked the blog and look forward to devouring the honest, thought-provoking, fun, beautiful, sensitively written, raw pieces that come. You should be immensely proud of what you’re giving us. Lots of love, Em x x x

  • Congratulations Annabel and the team!! Looks fantastic and such a lovely intro! I’m off to read all the rest of the posts! X

  • What a wonderful start to an amazing project! You can clearly see all the hard work you’ve put in and it has most definitely paid off. Very excited to be visiting this website on a regular basis x

  • Annabel and team, I’m so happy and please for you. Congratulations and well done. It looks fantastic and I’m off go dive into some of the articles right now. Thrilled to be on this journey with you. Lots of love. X

  • Congratulations Annabel and to all the team! Beautiful words, looking forward to diving into the rest of the articles on a gloomy and grey Sunday! Much love to all of you xxx

  • Congratulations on the launch Annabel, I’m so excited that the day has finally come that we can see all your hard work published. I’ve been a member of A Life Loved’s facebook community from day one and I cannot stress enough what a supportive community its been to me during difficult times. What you’ve created it absolutely wonderful and I’m very excited to see where we go next.

    Sending love and well wishes x

  • Congratulations and yayyyy! The site looks fantastic and I’m thrilled to be here to see it on day 1. Now go enjoy a snow day! xxx

  • Eeeekkk! I’ve been so excited to read the blog. Currently sitting in my Christmas PJ’s, by the fire with a lovely cuppa having a smooch through this wonderful blog. What a perfect Sunday morning! Well done Annabelle and team, get some rest and much love to you all xxx

  • Hoping you have had a lovely lie in by the time you read this and that the positive comments and excitement make it all worth it! Huge well done to you and the team x

  • Just a quick WAHOO and CONGRATULATIONS from across the Pennines, I’m going to go and hunker down to explore; thank you for all you and your team have done and onwards to a bright and starry future for this blog <3 xoxo

  • Congratulations! What a wonderful site, and I can’t wait to spend each and every day enjoying it- just like I did with Love My Dress in our planning days!

  • Congratulations on the launch Annabelle and for setting the scene so perfectly. I can’t wait to get through the articles ❤️

  • Oh God, I’m welling up here!! Such an emotional ride but the day is here AND it’s snowing…how wonderful, like Christmas came early! The website looks beautiful and you deserve all the success in the world. You’ve got this! But first sleep xx #beeforthandconquer

  • Oh Annabel it’s wonderful! Thank you so much for all your hard work. Everything looks gorgeous and I can’t wait tcan get started on the articles. Brava!
    X

  • Having been a member of the delicious ALL group from the very beginning , I am so proud of everything you and your team have achieved! I still remember being very newly engaged and Annabelle personally commenting to my plea of where to begin! From that moment I knew this space of the internet would be a very special place indeed. Thank you for your vision, your strength, your kindness and support, Annabelle. A HUGE well done.

  • Congratulations Annabel!! I’m so excited and happy for you that this has launched. I hope all your hard work pays off and this becomes the amazing success it should be! ❤️

  • I have spent the last 45 minutes reading through the Blog and it’s just wonderful. It’s so nice to see familiar names from the FB group writing about their thoughts and experiences. It is so inspiring! Putting pen to paper isn’t always easy and i hope i can contribute to this blog one day with something of my own.

  • Saving it all to treat myself to later, but just wanted to say how fantastic this all looks! I have watched LMD and ALL grow since my daughter’s wedding planning 4 years ago and I am humbled by your energy and commitment. It will be wonderful to have a safe blog to read and enjoy – even if I am about 20 years older than most of you!! X

  • Perfect imagery is everywhere but the reality of the Human experience is far more valuable to our inner growth. This blog is both timely and necessary and I look forward to warming my heart by Annabel’s generous virtual hearth

  • Huge congratulations Annabel – it looks amazing and I can tell it’s going to become a new daily haunt of mine. I can’t wait to learn more from this inspiring community xx

  • Oh my I am so so excited to spend the rest of the afternoon hunkered down devouring this. Thank you Annabel and I will always be thankful to you for creating such a beautiful space. Xx

  • Congratulations on pressing that button to launch ALL ♥️ A wonderful first post and celebration of the sisterhood and community you created. So excited to read many a blog post here in years to come.

  • Congratulations Annabel – this post is just gorgeous and A Life Loved looks utterly wonderful – a place for women from all walks of life with all our opinions, interests and nuances. Thank you for all your hard work – I’m going to settle in with a cuppa on this snowy day and enjoy.

  • Congrats on the launch Annabel! I’ve read nearly all the posts so far and thoroughly enjoyed them. Also love the layout and the header. Lovely and clean looking. Three cheers for ALL x

  • Argh how exciting!!!! I fear I may waste many hours (even more than ALL!) on here! Well done, proof that with determination, will power, a vision and support, you can achieve anything ❤️

  • Congratulations on the launch and well done for all the hard work! Can’t wait to get stuck into the articles, and maybe even contribute one day 🙂

    X

  • Oh my what a fabulous idea! I did follow love my dress when I was a wedding planner, The Wedding Genie. I just found this through Anna from bride & glory, we started together and now I am no longer wedding planning I still follow her adventures. Her blog here is excellent and I have started to read the others. It’s such a brilliant place to bring together real peoples journeys and be motivated and inspired. It’s a tonic. Am now going to digest the other articles. I am an older reader! Just goes to show this is not just for 30 something women! I hope anyway. Good luck with it I am sure it will a total success. Xxx

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