Pull up a chair and a steaming coffee because you’re in for a treat! It’s Countryside Creatives first edition, a chat about life as a creative in Somerset.
First up I am delighted to welcome Lucy Heath, photographer, business owner and blogger of gorgeous multi award winning blog Capture by Lucy. I admire Lucy greatly and am beyond thrilled to be chatting with her today.
Lucy Heath, Capture by Lucy
Lucy, I’m always interested in hearing how people start out. Why did you start your blog and what is the story behind the name?
I really have my husband to thank for encouraging me to start a blog. My boys were just 3 and 18 months when I published those first posts and it was a way to share the craft activities we did in the garden and a way my brother, who had moved to America, could follow our daily adventures.
At the time I was taking photos for friends and friends-of-friends, of their babies and children as a little side hobby and had made a very cheesy logo with Capture by Lucy under it. The idea being the things I capture… I sometimes wish my name wasn’t in my blog name but it still is very much a record of the things I see so I guess it works!
We’re all so different in how we start our day. What’s your morning routine?
My husband and I very much share parenting 50/50 so our morning tends to be me getting the boys fed and dressed for school and then Rich takes them on his way to his office in Devon. I then open up the laptop, most often still in my pyjamas, check through emails, check Facebook, Twitter and the Daily Mail sidebar of shame – who doesn’t?! I print any backdrop orders that have come in overnight and package them up ready for posting on my way to pick up the boys from school.
Before I go up for a shower I always write a to do list for the day in my paper diary adding to the list I made the night before. It’s the way I’ve worked for years and I get so much satisfaction from crossing a line through each thing. It also highlights what hasn’t been done that is left over in a sea of scribbly writing at the end of the week!
And if it’s a Tuesday or Thursday I will FaceTime my sister while doing my makeup on her day off. Then and about eight times throughout the rest of the day!
Here at LS we believe in creating our own version of success. What does success look like for you?
Success is balance for me. I’ve learnt it’s not about numbers or DA scores. I sometimes find myself getting caught up in a Facebook thread about opportunities and feeling like I am left behind but then I snap myself out of it and look at the blog-related-in-some-way things I have to do that week and realise the online world is big enough for everyone to do well. There was a time I said yes to everything, never had a camera out of my hand and my children could barely breathe for being snapped at (quite literally) by a stressed mother who relied on her boys performing for her job.
I know I could never write a family blog full time as it’s just not the right dynamic for my family. I couldn’t find the balance others have and do. The boys do enjoy “being famous” on my Twitter or Facebook page when I show them on the laptop but I knew that my blog was going in a different direction when they went to school. Weekends now aren’t packed with a blog post to do list like they were, but a mix of family, friends and fun and sometimes commissions for lovely clients who see the value of a real family genuinely promoting their products because they love them. I think it’s quite frankly amazing that there is this whole new generation of parent bloggers who have built careers around and with their families, I just know the boundaries now with mine and I don’t push it!
I guess I have the luxury of building relationships with a smaller number of brands who I work with regularly rather than taking on more sponsored work, because I still work as a consultant in the development industry. In any one day I juggle 4 hats, my consultancy role, photography work, my blog and the Backdrop Store. I know the blog has suffered over the last year and is rather unloved but that will change again. I pinch myself that I get to have such a varied work life, connecting with like minded people and a career that fits in with being with the boys. I can be on hand to help with face painting at the school fair and finish editing once they are in bed. I do end up working in the evenings but then I take school holidays almost completely off. It’s a more than fair trade!
What is the best thing about blogging/vlogging and being creative as your job?
The absolute best thing about writing a personal blog is that you are in control. It’s your tone of voice, your creative eye and your life that you talk about. Your readers get to know you. I follow my favourites religiously, people who I will probably never meet but I feel like I know them! That we could be best friends – as silly as that must sound now I say it myself out loud.
One is an internationally renowned blogger with the greatest number of followers on Pinterest. I listened to her talk at Blogtacular a couple of years ago and one thing that has stayed with me is that she went from writing blog posts herself to needing a team of writers because it sky rocketed and then realised she had lost her voice and went back to writing. Of course I know she has a team around her to support her, a photographer, a PA, various assistants but when you read the copy in her posts it really and truly does sound like she wrote it. And I love her more for that.
What is your pet peeve?
When you write a personal blog I think it’s important that what you see is what you get. Don’t pretend to be anyone else but you and the people who will love you will find and follow you. I’ve been to conferences and events and seen a different side to some bloggers – people who appear to be your best friend from behind a laptop but in the flesh aren’t so friendly. It’s disappointing and such a shame! Work hard and be nice that’s my motto.
As a photographer you must have more photo’s on your phone than most. How many photo’s do you have on your camera roll right now?
An embarrassing 24,993 and that’s just my snap shots! I find it hard to delete anything and end up buying more hard drives!
Describe your favourite blogging moment?
We’ve had some truly amazing experiences because of blogging, both as a family and just for me! Standing in front of all your peers, a nervous, sweaty, exhilarated mess and collecting an award is unforgettable. And being able to share holidays and days out with Rich and the boys is almost unbelievable. Well to our friends who aren’t part of the online world anyway! “You get to go on holiday for work?!”
I think the times I get to share are the best. My sister went back to work this year after her maternity leave and it’s been a hard time juggling a demanding job and the children, especially as my baby nephew has been quite poorly in his first couple of years. I had the chance to take her to a beautiful hotel in Cornwall with Joules for 3 days and when she said “This is better than my birthday!” as we got to our room and saw all the treats left for us, all the clothes and drinks and shoes I thought how is this happening to us?! It was wonderfully surreal to be so completely spoilt by a brand I have adored for years. I still think they want to work with us, really?!
Lucy, you live in Somerset and clearly love it, what do you love most about where you live?
I love the slower pace of life and the space. I occasionally go to London for the day and I literally can’t wait to drive home from the little station and through the country lanes with nothing but hedgerows and farmers’ fields around me. I like that I can visit a city and then come home to the countryside.
My sister is the opposite and she finds it ridiculous that our door is always open with boys and dogs running in and out of the garden. My brother in law actually only ever wears wellies at our house so we keep a pair in the rack outside the back door! We moved gradually from Bristol then to outside Weston-super-Mare and then made a big move to a rural village. It was a leap, the house will take forever to renovate but we love it. It’s the place our boys, their cousins and friends are making their core memories and that’s more important to me than the fancy new bathroom we had in our old house.
In 3 years I still don’t feel like I have fully discovered all the hidden treasures the county has to offer!
I love your Instagram feed and get so much inspiration from it. How would you describe your style?
Happy and bright is my style! I always try and make the most of an occasion and used the tag line for a long time “making the ordinary extraordinary”. I know I’m 100 miles an hour most of the time but I just want to squeeze as much out of life as possible.
My family have been through some difficult times and experienced tragedy and I think about how long my life will hopefully be and how short this time with the boys at home with us growing up is, and I think live life at 110%. Whether that is having a picnic in the garden, a birthday party for 100 people or a movie night on a quiet weekend. Do it with gusto. Get popcorn, drag the duvets down the stairs and dim the lights. Make the most of what you’ve got.
What is next for you?
This year has been about launching the Backdrop Store and adding to the ranges with a collaborative range with one of my favourite Instagrammers who lives in Canada. It’s taken over in the best way and I still can’t believe it when I see them being used in blog posts, on Instagram, in magazines and by professional photographers and videographers.
I have so many things I want to do next, set up an Etsy store, launch another collaboration with an insanely talented watercolour artist, release a ready to go range that is inspired by all my favourite photographers (each backdrop is named after each of them) and the cook book I shot last year for a national bakery is almost ready to go to print. I have no idea if I will get to shoot a book again but to see my work in print, that they trust me to capture their recipes, will be a huge moment for me.
I also want to be writing the blog regularly again. I have all these photos which sit gathering dust on a hard drive because I run out of time each day to edit and upload them. Not for any sponsored agreement but just because. Because I want a record of those times on my blog. The blog is my digital diary of my boys growing up, our house move, the people and places that inspire me and one day when I am an old lady I will be able to read them all back.
If anyone is thinking of writing a blog – do it!
Thank you for sharing some of your story with us today Lucy. Wishing you all the best with the Backdrop Store and everything you do.
Check out Lucy’s jaw droppinginly beautiful feed on Instagram and read her stunning blog, it’s one of my all time favourites.
Images courtesy of Lucy Heath
Are you a local creative? Blogger, designer, crafter, musician, writer, painter, photographer (the list is endless) and have a creative endeavour in the South West then get in touch! If we love your vibe we’ll feature you on Countryside Creatives.
Living life well in the South West