With a stylish knack for upcycling and a drive to make the world a better place, Recycled Interiors is taking the internet by storm. Meet the inspired author behind the blog, Helen Edwards, Nuffnang’s Featured Blogger for January.
1. How do you describe your blog to people you meet who haven’t read it before?
Recycled Interiors combines sustainable interior decorating ideas, with a focus on the health and wellbeing of people and our beautiful planet. This unique focus means you get to read about lovely homes and things to put in them, creative ideas about DIY, upcycling and interiors, as well as how to care for our planet, yourself and your home. The aim is to show you how to make mindful and ethical choices in your interior decorating and design, without compromising on style. The blog covers sustainable interior decorating, design and styling ideas such as vintage decorating and upcycling; people and businesses who are offering sustainable furniture, decor and homewares, including features on the small business person such as Etsy sellers; local artists and designers; interviews with people in the interiors and design industry; tips about how to live an eco friendly way; and features on wellbeing.
2. When did you first start blogging and what made you first hit the keyboard?
Well I guess I really first started blogging way back in 2001 when I founded a national online counselling service for people with diabetes which also has a blog, but I started Recycled Interiors in April 2013. Why did I start this blog? Lots of reasons! I had a burning desire to combine my three passions – our planet, people and Interior Design, with my drive to write. I had been feeling burnt out from so much of my life being about diabetes as I work in, live with and study it – the idea for Recycled Interiors popped into my head! And so it began. I am now studying my Interior Design qualifications at the International School of Colour and Design and blogging daily at Recycled Interiors so my creative and design passions are growing into reality each and every day I write a new post!
I am passionate about living a life that leaves this beautiful planet in a state that allows future generations and other creatures we share the world with, to live long and well. Finding better ways and making better choices about how we live goes beyond a compost bin and recycling our cardboard. There are so many choices we can make in designing, building and decorating our homes that can make a big difference to the planet. I am also passionate about people’s health and wellbeing and believe these things can not be separated.
3. What is the thing you most enjoy about blogging?
Having personally lived with a challenging chronic disease most of my life, as well as post traumatic stress leading to major depression, panic attacks and anxiety; and post natal depression following 2 out of 3 of my babies, I have walked close to the edge of not wanting life. However I survived all of these things and now choose life in all its technicolor wonderfulness. My blog is helping me to remember that, and every day I wake up excited to see what may come next in the journey. I adore all things creative and have to be constantly working on a creative project or I drive the people around me crazy (I may in fact be classified as a bit manic!). In particular, I love visual arts, writing and interior decorating. I was often found as a child rearranging furniture and creating zones in my bedroom! Books and writing have always been part of my life. As the daughter of two English teachers, I spent much of my childhood snuggled up somewhere with a pile of books, writing poetry and stories and planning my novel and career as a journalist. Somehow I ended up as a social worker, yet here I am now working every day as a journalist as well.
4. What is the coolest thing your blog has helped you do?
There are lots, but one is the unleashing (or re-unleashing) of my creativity and the realisation that this COULD be a career path and a life for me. Having grown up believing a creative life was not a “real career”, I tried to bury this but ended up doing visual arts courses, singing lessons, community theatre and other creative pursuits along the way. Connecting to the creative community via my blog over the past year, is opening my eyes, mind and heart to the fact that this IS a life and I can have it too. I really love seeing, reading and hearing what all the amazing creative out there are up to – it inspires me.
5. What piece of advice would you give someone just starting their very first blog?
Don’t faff about, just go for it – just start writing. Create a name that has meaning for what you want to convey. Take and use your own images and think about content that is yours and not copies of others. Collaborate, build community and stay true to your message. And make sure you read, follow and connect with other bloggers as these amazing people are now your people too. (I know that is more than one piece of advice but I am known for my verbosity!)
6. Tell us about your pets, friends, hobbies, star sign, shoe size… whatever!
Despite being told at age 12 as a type 1 diabetic I would never have children and if I did they would be born dead or deformed, I have 3 sons, aged from 20, to 14 to 5 years old (he took a long time coming!). I have 2 cats, one has recently been diagnosed with diabetes, just like me (apparently I am the QUEEN of diabetes). I am a typical Cancer, a sometimes doormat, home loving, slightly hermit like person, who loves to please and adores creating and interior design. I have a few close friends and sadly my 2 best friends passed away over the past 2 years far too young and I still miss them. I adore shoes but can only wear sensible ones now. I lost 24 kilos last year and am back as a gym junkie and runner at aged 46. I have lived with type 1 diabetes for 35 years. In my life I have given up chocolate, coffee, smoking, alcohol and junk food. I love peanut butter with honey.
7. Do you have a particular favourite post you think is your blog at its best?
My blog is varied across community DIY projects, competitions and features on creatives, ideas for upcycling, vintage decorating, homewares stores and products, sustainability and green living. But some of my favourite posts are the ones that have a more personal edge, the ones that come to me on a run and then I must come back and write. This is a recent one I think is my blog at its best as it combines my personal thoughts and experiences, with creativity and sustainability of our planet, healthy planet, healthy people, healthy home: http://recycledinteriors.org/2013/11/28/finding-sweet-spot-creative-life/
8. Recommend a blog to us. If readers like your blog, they’d also like…
For those who love vintage in all its forms, Recycled Fashion is a great blog to follow and Erica who writes the blog is lovely!
I also love and follow Jen at Interiors Addict.
9. What do you love about Nuffnang?
It is so nice to feel part of a community who also gives back so much. Having started a not-for-profit and being very involved in making a difference, it is important to me that my creative life also has this impact. The opportunities are fantastic, the support, the other bloggers. I can see Nuffnang playing a very important part in my blogging journey.
10. Lastly… if you were prime minister for a day, what would be your first order of business?
Oh dear this is not going to be a short list! But getting the environment firmly on the central agenda and dealing with the carbon tax issue would be primary, as well as stopping the boats debacle and instituting some real policy and action around refugees; working MUCH harder to help our Aboriginal communities to support themselves and have better health; and more funding for health, chronic disease prevention and mental health. Maybe some better ways to have childcare in workplaces so mums can work and breastfeed, oh and gay marriage…. (I better stop there!)