Blog Loving

11 January 2018

I have treated my blog to a little bit of tlc. I think the new look is rather lovely, but I would be very interested to know what you think.

On a phone it does not look so different, but on my iPad or on a normal laptop the presentation looks much cleaner and more modern - well in my view anyway.

But none of this is my doing. I had a bit (ok, well a lot!) of help.

I was feeling the need to give my  poor old blog a bit of love. I have not posted quite so regularly of late (2017 was not the greatest of years in some ways- understatement!) and I thought to help me get back into it I should adopt the mantra 'new year- new look'.

But where to start?

I was perusing some of my usual blogs, the ones I follow on a regular basis, and one I really do admire, because it is so lovely to look at, is Junkaholique, the blog of Isle of Wight resident and jeweller Artemis Russell.

This lovely lady and her husband take the most beautiful photographs. I mean really beautiful. In fact I think Artemis did study photography at art college, so I should not beat myself up too much.

Now, just before Christmas I noticed that her blog had changed style; it had a new look. And I scrolled down the page and lo - at the bottom it credited 'Design by FCD'. So, thinking this was going to be some trendy London design studio and with a somewhat heavy heart  (how was I ever going to be able to afford that!) I clicked on the link - and just look where it took me! 

Now I don't know much about Fearne Creative Design - except that it is run by Eve, not Fearne. And I think she is in Bulgaria. But what I do know is this - Eve has some lovely designs and you can buy them either from her website here or from her Etsy shop here. And they are cheap!

In fact, my biggest problem once I had landed on her website and realised this was well within my budget, wasn't to decide whether I should do this, but rather to decide which design I should go with.

I settled on 'Maeve', or rather I thought I had until, on closer inspection, I found one or two little features which weren't quite 'me' (on the face of it the designs all look very similar, but you need to look closely at the details).  So that put me in a bit of a dither. But I persisted and settled on an alternative that suited my purposes.

Then I fretted for how the hell would I be able to install a template?

But lo - it turns out that for the modest fee that Eve charges for the template she will, if you are like me and a bit of a computer dunce, do it for you! You just have to give her admin permissions.

The whole process only took a few days and a couple of email exchanges. And then it was all shiny and new.

It still needs a bit of tweaking ( some of the pages and headings need sorting out) but I hope you agree it looks rather smart. 

(If you are reading this and thinking this is something I want to look into then the only bit of advice I can give is that these templates only work with Blogger. Other blog platforms such as Wordpress etc. won't support  FCD. But I understand that similar shops exist with templates that do, so pop over to Etsy to see what you can find.)

And just a few sketchbook pages (and indeed lozenges that you might recognise from my own Instagram or Blog identities) for your delectation.


  1. You're right Hilary, your blog does look lovely and fresh and it's easy to navigate round the different pages. One thing I noticed was the cookies notice pops up on some the pages at the top and covers the clickable headings so you might mis them you didn't bother closing the cookie notice. I'm not sure if you can see that when you are viewing your own blog. Otherwise it's very attractive and modern. Well done :-)

  2. That's bonkers! You only get the cookie notice reading it in Bloglovin'. Strange!

  3. Looks good Hilary!
    I have a big screen and my laptop connected to it. So, it is lovely the see features fill the page.

    PSI think the blog cookie notices come if you haven't been to a blog for a while/ or if they haven't written in a while and so on.

  4. Well, it certainly is bright and clean but I miss seeing a piece of art in the banner behind the blog heading name. And perhaps not the template's fault, but the type size for the text is pretty small. Everything looks rather strung out across the page which I find hard to read (or hard to keep my focus or attention on) when viewing it on my regular computer screen. Making the type larger and perhaps pulling in the margins on either side would make it all easier to read.

    Very cool though to find that template site. Me? I hate change once I get things set up to my liking, so my blog design will remain its same boring self, but one I like and am comfortable with. ;-)

    1. O gads, I just realized I'm on an individual blog entry page. When I clicked on "journal" I guess that takes you to what others would call "home" and there was that moving banner I've been seeing on other sites that unfortunately I just hate. Scrolling down though, I do like the way the individual posts are laid out on the page, although I don't like this format that makes you click away from the home page to read the entire post - another popular feature on "modern" sites that I don't like. It's a time waster clicking in and out of posts to read each one. Very spiffy looking though, aside from that constantly changing banner.

      I clicked around to the other pages and on none of them do the instagram photos show, just that broken icon. I thought maybe it was because of a tracking protection feature I have turned on in my browser but when I disabled it, it made no difference. I use Firefox.

    2. Useful feedback Sheila - especially the broken instagram link. I will investigate.

      Regarding the scrolling headings, I can empathise. There are some modern features I don't like so much as well, though I am ok with these. But this seems to the modern way, and just four seemed tolerable to me.

      I personally don't mind clicking around a site to find stuff. Again I guess it is what I am getting used to as site styles change and develop. I did like the idea of several posts to choose from on the home page - easier than going to the bottom of a post and clicking on 'previous'.

      By the way I use Chrome and Safari. But I have sold my soul to Google a bit as I love the storage with Google photos etc.

      I will see how this goes. The design was so cheap and easy to change I could almost justify doing it annually!

    3. Well today when I pull up your blog to respond, the instagram images are now showing. I realized after the fact that when I said "broken icon" you would think I meant broken link and that was not so. I could click on the square with the "broken" graphic and it took me right to the photo on instagram.

      I've heard that the more moving graphics one puts on a page, the more data drain it is on mobile devices, not only slowing down the loading but using up data - which if you are on an unlimited plan is not an issue, and perhaps most people are. I'd be interested in hearing more from the smart phone readers, if that rotating banner is a distraction or issue for them.

      I do wonder how much all this fussing with a site matters because I have no idea how many readers actually go to websites or blog sites anymore, but perhaps only read individual posts as they are shown in their feedreaders. I know that is how I usually view your posts and most of the others I follow (unless I've subscribed to e-mail notifications which often show the entire post rather than a link) and only click through to the site if I want to make a comment.

      In the end, it is your blog and I am well aware that I am in the minority with my opinion of some of new fancy dancy ways one can spiff up the look of a site. All in all, it is a very clean and bright presentation. And all features and pages seem to work fine. :-)

    4. Oh, and I've scrolled back up to the text of the post and now the sentences aren't so spread out over the page. Yesterday a single paragraph was only a line and a partial line and that was why it made it difficult to read. Today the paragraphs are multiple lines and look normal. Weird.

    5. The Instagram issue I had to do a bit of fiddling in the background.

      The other things you mention above are, well, weird. But I think there may be some issues going on in the background with Blogger.

      Anyway, I'm no programmer - all a mystery to me.

      I don't think this sort of design eats data but will keep an eye out for that one.

      Thanks for being a loyal reader. I really appreciate your patronage.

      H xx

    6. I so enjoy your blog, I just hated making what seemed like negative and nit picky comments about the LOOK of it, especially since you were obviously excited about your find and new look. But you DID ask - lol. Just sharing observations that have nothing to do with the fine content of the posts! I'm definitely loyal, like one of your dogs . . . ;-)


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