I had the great pleasure of interviewing Helen Edwards, the creator behind Recycled Interiors this week. I first met Helen via 7 vignettes probably about 2 years ago and was immediately taken in by her vignette styling of vintage and modern. What I didn't know then, was not only was she a talented stylist, she is an entrepreneur with an amazing career.
Sometimes you cross paths with people in your life that change you and Helen is most certainly one of those people. This is one lady I have the utmost respect for and one of my inspirations I have met through this online world. Also another Adelaide born and bred girl, Helen is fast becoming a well recognised name in our industry.
There is nothing she can't do when she puts her mind to it and she can teach you to live your best life too.
Go make yourself a cuppa and sit back to read about Helen's life and passions as she answers some of my questions like a true professional that she is..
Tell us a little more about you, your background and your family etc?
I grew up in the country in South Australia with my parents and younger sister. I moved to the city to study social work when I was 17. After a 4 year degree I started working in the child protection system as a social worker. It was challenging work and eventually I experienced post traumatic stress from a serious abuse case and became unwell with depression and anxiety. In 2001 I decided to do something with my life for people with diabetes and following a love affair with the then new internet, left my job and started Diabetes Counselling Online. This is now a national charity and I have just completed a 3 year grant from the commonwealth to develop the services. I have 3 sons and having been told when I was 12 and diagnosed with type 1 diabetes that I would never have babies and if I tried they would be most likely still born, they are my greatest creation and joy. I am married to Mr Recycled and we live in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide.
And just because I am an over-sharer and love all the juicy details here are 10 fun facts about me!
I have 3 sons which is pretty amazing considering my type 1 diabetes which I have lived with for 37 years. Pregnancy with type 1 diabetes is tough. I am damn proud of these 3 kids, and myself.
I am an eternal optimist,and lover of colour and nature. Some people say I have my head in the clouds sometimes but gee it is gorgeous up there.
I make mistakes, lots of them and I worry about what people think of me. I have always had that issue. I am waiting until I grow up to get over it.
I DO NOT like large spiders. Just in case you were thinking of showing me any of those on your Instagram feed.
I do however LOVE whales, please share them a lot with me.
I have lived with depression and anxiety in my past, which was a pretty crap place to be for an optimist. But I got through it and optimism helped. As did mindfulness.
I am an acute op shopper (ok addict).
I love to share, a lot, about everything.
My favourite smell is that of rain.
It is the blend of old and new that make my heart skip a beat. It is the creating of things and ideas that helps me makes sense of the world.
What was the drive behind starting your blog, when you clearly had a very busy existing work schedule?
I was burnt out from everything in my life being about diabetes and needed something else. I also needed a creative outlet and wanted to do something for people outside of diabetes.
A passionate and genuine lover of people and planet, I am an eternal optimist and have spent my life helping, nurturing and loving human beings, animals and our earth. My goal is to help you to feel good about yourself, your home and your everyday. I want to inspire you to think before you buy, reduce your waste and lighten your footprint on the planet. 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. I love creating, designing, homes and interiors. I am also passionate about your health and wellbeing and believe these things can not be separated.
It is about your kids, your parents, your lovers, your friends. Your daily experiences of your home, your business and your life, your health and wellbeing and how we can sustain ourselves, our planet and the other creatures we inhabit it with.
What are some of the services you can offer via Recycled Interiors?
1) Upcycling & Sustainable Styling/Decorating Consults
As a sustainable stylist and decorator, I can offer e-styling and decorating consults for your home or business. In person in the Adelaide area, or via email and skype if you are in other locations. Just get in touch. If you are looking for a particular vintage or recycled item for your home I also offer a sourcing service and have access to a wide network of businesses in the interiors field.
2) Social Media & Business Consulting
Do you need someone to help with your brand’s blogging, content development or social media strategy? Maybe you have little time or desire to put into creating blog and social media posts which engage your community, translate into traffic, engagement or sales for your business or organisation? Or perhaps you are overwhelmed with how to best use social media to your best advantage?
This is where I can help! I offer a range of services under my Helen Edwards Creates Consultancy.
I have 28 years experience as a counsellor and coach, 15 years working online and in social media, and have been writing and publishing online since 2001. I have a huge body of work behind me in online media. I have developed websites, blog and website content, brochures, created and engaged multiple online communities, written mobile App content, ebooks and hard copy books.
In particular I am an expert at development of social media content, and strategies for working with communities in health, wellbeing and the not for profit sector. I am also skilled in targeting customers in the interiors, design and sustainable living sectors.
Whatever your social media and business needs I can help.
I believe strongly in the power of harnessing social media for good and will help you and your brand or organisation, to connect and grow your community via good content creation, smart marketing and clever use of social media and all that it offers. I have demonstrated ability to deliver mission-critical results for your brand.
Consulting services (1-1 and groups) include, but are not limited to:
Development of social media campaigns and strategies
Social Media management
Blog posts and content creation
Development of content for brochures and marketing material
Development of content for websites – words and images/photography
Editing of content
Public speaking and workshops
1-1 and organisational consulting across a range of topics
3) Speaking and presenting
I am an experienced public speaker and have spoken at many events over the past 15 years, ranging from running small workshops to speaking at 10,000+ International conferences. I can speak on a variety of topics including blogging, social media, community, wellbeing, mindfulness, business development, diabetes and health.
4) Workshops & e-Courses
More workshops coming, with dates to follow!
e-Courses starting soon across a range of topics, kicking off with Heartfelt & Mindful Business and Social Media, and more information will be posted on the blog and social media in the next few weeks.
4) Wellbeing Consults
As a counsellor, coach and wellbeing expert with over 28 years experience, I can work with you to increase your positive experiences and approach to your daily life. This includes mindfulness training, relaxation and stress management strategies, positive visualisation, ACT for wellbeing, Narrative Therapy, healthy eating & activity ideas and how to stay motivated.
In an ACT for Wellbeing consult with me, we will look at whether you have these stories? What is yours called? Does this story get connected with your health and wellbeing, or not? How does this impact on you?
The way we think about and deal with painful thoughts and feelings is very important in being able to live a full and valued life. Our mind is like a problem solving machine! For example we may try to get rid of or “solve” anxiety, sadness, fear, anger, worry or fatigue with things like avoiding social situations; taking medications or drugs or alcohol; eating too much; sleeping; watching too much television etc
However – these things cause short term relief but then start to increase problems in the longer term – for example anxiety gets bigger when someone avoids the situation that caused the initial anxiety.
Developing a clear vision helps you assess your own self care – where is it, where would you like it to be, and is another important part of my sessions with you. I will introduce Mindfulness practices, how to have a vision about your life and your self care, making commitments to yourself, understanding healthy body healthy mind and more.
What challenges did you face in the early days growing Recycled Interiors blog audience, if any, and how did you overcome them?
I think we all face the same challenges, as bloggers – we start out with no audience and we have to work hard to get heard in the huge digital stream of content. I used my existing audience, networked, studied, guest blogged and grew a community around the ideas rather than the actual site, and then start to encourage that audience to come visit.
Challenges include time and money. I overcome them by just doing it as you never get anywhere unless you go for it!
Tell us what a normal day in the life of Helen Edwards is like..
I am a very early riser, between 5 and 6 am. I usually get a lot of work in before 9 am. I have a lot to juggle with my type 1 diabetes every day, so there is about 20 or more blood glucose checks across the day, dealing with high and low blood glucose events, changing my insulin pump every few days, managing my exercise around my diabetes and my related stomach conditions. I also have children with special needs so there are additional tasks for them some days as well as lots of normal everyday kids things. I take a walk/run at least 4 – 5 times a week somewhere in the day. I work until Maxwell is home which on 2 days of the week is tea time. Then after he is bathed and ready for bed I do a bit more work in the evening, usually lighter things like social media. I like to try and get ahead with my blog posts but sometimes that doesn’t happen and I am writing the night before!
What have been the highlights of your business so far? What are you the most proud of?
I have been an Entrepreneur for over 15 years, when I started my own online diabetes service in 2001- I am very proud that I have achieved this. .
In 2014 I wrote and published a picture book for children, “Diabetes Can’t Stop Me” along with soft toys which can be used to help kids deal with their life with diabetes, an e book helping people to manage diabetes burnout, and 2 diabetes Apps to support people in their lives with diabetes.
I have been invited speaker at numerous national and international conferences and have won a series of awards for my work.
I have worked with individuals, to small business, to government and higher education, helping them with their use of social media strategy. I have over 100,000 people following me across my blogs and social media.
In July I was taken on as a Bloggerati with Nuffnang, was selected as a top 30 finalist in the Home & Wellbeing category of the Kidspot Voices of 2015
I developed and ran a major reader event “Working with Wood” with guest Barry Du Bois from The Living Room for our community in April 2015 which was amazing
I have been featured in House and Garden Magazine, Home Design Magazine, Fete Press, The Advertiser, Sunday Mail, Herald Sun, Wellspring Magazine, Apartment Therapy and more.
I was asked to be a designer in the Feast Watson Re-Love project 2015 raising funds for the Salvos and was a national Ambassador for the Garage Sale Trail in 2014 and for the Amex Shop Small movement in 2014.
What general advice would you give to those wanting to create a happy, healthy and sustainable life?
The most important thing is to remember that the quality of your life rests on our everyday experiences. We can not change the past. We can plan and harness the future, but at the end of the day, today is all there is. At the end of your life do you want to look back and remember all the days you had a clean house? And how do you want people to remember you? These are the keys to an authentic life.
You are also a guru at social media, can you tell us your top 5 “must do’s” to be successful in this competitive world?
Align your values with your social media presence, be sure your why is clear and stick to that consistently
Use scheduling tools but also interact organically and respect your community. Be consistent and regular
Allocate time to be on social media. Don’t let it drain your time
Consider why people are on each channel and share content accordingly
Know your community and what their problems are, then share content that solves those problems and makes them smile
Where do you see yourself in 2 years time?
I see myself happy and well, spending plenty of time with my family and helping my readers and community to have happy healthy lives. I will have a thriving consultancy, a number of successful e books and e courses and be one of the top blogs in Australia
Do you have a favourite quote or inspirational mantra that you love and if so what is it?
Let it go!
Thank you so much Helen for taking time out of your extremely busy schedule to let us in on your amazing life. You are the true meaning of the word inspiration.
You can view Helen's Blogerrati Profile here and make sure you follow Helen on Instagram @helenedwards_recycledinteriors.
The Recylced Interiors website is a wonderful source of inspiration, advice and beauty, so make sure you head on over and take a look right here.