A Brand New Bee + Roo

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Making the move from Wordpress.org to Squarespace has been on my mind for a while. With the upcoming blog-iversary I finally decided to bite the bullet and do it. Today, I want to share the reasons behind the move, give you a preview of the new Bee + Roo and tell you my thoughts on blogging on Squarespace.

Disclaimer: I have not been paid to write this review. My blog is my own investment and I just want to share my own experiences with you. 

Why Squarespace?

First of all, let's look at why I decided to move. One of the main reasons for me was the UX design. I love a clean layout, distraction free working, and straightforwards navigation. It's why I enjoy working on a Mac so much and why I am moving back to iPhone. Squarespace offers a minimalistic, clean, and tidy look. Everything is designed in house, there are no plug ins to install, coding isn't necessary. Putting together pages and posts is now a matter of drag and drop. 

For example, as I am writing this post I am working directly in my site. I can see my sidebar to the right, my logo at the top of the screen. The font is the same as it would be when you get to read this. All formatting will be displayed just the way I am seeing it right now. Considering I am very visual in how I learn and work this is great for me.

Another example is adding images, videos, Amazon links and more. Anything I want to add to a post or page simply gets dragged to the right position. Then you can simply increase or decrease the size of this element by pulling it. 

My main concern was customisation. Wordpress of course meant I could customise absolutely everything if I had the right plug ins or coding knowledge. An answer to a solution could usually be found by googling or else the Wordpress forums would be able to help. Squarespace on the other hand - as it's all built in house - does not offer all these add ons. Instead, you choose any one of the available designs and then customise from there. There is an option to add CSS code but that's about it. However, I have not run into a single problem. I did have to look up a few things but found that I did not require Squarespace's 24/7 support and that instead their guides were perfectly sufficient to answer my questions. 

My new set up

Instead of just going for Squarespace straight out of the box I turned to STATION SEVEN where I have previously purchased my Wordpress designs. At a fraction of what you pay for other Squarekits, these guys provide you with a bundle of instructions, videos, .psd files and ideas. However, as stated above Squarespace sits completely in house. So unlike my previous Wordpress themes this is not a child theme. Instead, my blog is just a highly customised version of an existing Squarespace theme. So, what you actually pay for is the STATION SEVEN expertise, extremely detailed customisation, and branding assets. To me that is absolutely worth it. You do not need to buy a Squarekit from STATION SEVEN to get the same exact blog layout I now have. But it would be a lot more work to get everything set up the same exact way. n

I love that my hosting, URL, and blogging are now all in one platform. I don't need to remember my Bluehost password just to ensure that my Wordpress.org domain is still live. I also don't need to click through to a different site for Analytics because the built in ones look pretty and tick all the boxes of information I could want (I still integrated with Google Analytics though). 

Setting up my site to look like this took me a few hours and I don't feel it's quite finished yet. As a next step I want to go beyond the STATION SEVEN Squarekit and add my own personal touches (colours, fonts, images, etc.).

Final thoughts

This is by no means a comprehensive techy guide to the differences between Wordpress.org and Squarespace. All I want to share is my own opinion. I found that I could customise a lot more than I would ever need to. And I love having everything from my hosting to my posts, my analytics to an e-commerce option all in one place. 

Yes, the total annual cost is a bit higher than it was before. However, having everything in one place and having a visually pleasing platform to work with make all the difference. In fact, I think this will mean that I am more likely to write up that extra post. My drafts for example are already filling up with posts I am just having to add a few finishing touches too (stay tuned for lots of awesome content around here!). 

Finally, even Adam agreed that he would be more likely to add content more often. He sat next to me as I was putting together the 'The Gear Room' page. Previously, the backend for this page was very scary. A lot of custom code was required to left align my gear and right align his. Today? It's just two boxes that I can simply drag around. EASY! 

And now I would love to hear your feedback. What do you think of the new Bee + Roo? Any feedback? And if you are considering the move feel free to leave any questions below, I might be able to help! 

38 / 52: Birthday Weekend

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Last Friday I turned 24. I'm not too big on birthdays but my parents stopped by for a visit and took us out for dinner which was nice. Adam's finally feeling better so we've been getting out and about a bit more, enjoying a meal at Urban Reef in Boscombe and playing with my new camera lens. 

Saddle design is changing. Time for a ride to test my new bibs!

Nuun Shandy. Would you try it? 

Real life transformed. Cute!

A unique gift for a new Mama. Teething jewellery!

How to stop caring what everyone thinks.

What to pack for long distance hiking.

My new favourite app. I use it for everything!

37 / 52: Giant

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So this week saw some pretty big tech releases. Apple announced their new iPhone X and I have to say I'm pretty excited. I've been an iPhone user for the first five generations and then decided to make the switch to Android. About a year later I was starting to get fed up, miss the clean looks of Apple's OS and how straightforwards everything was. Now, I think, it's time to switch back. What are your thoughts? Other than that, the week and weekend have been a bit of a write off. Adam's been poorly so we spent a lot of time lounging around, he slept lots, I read. Don't get me wrong though, I enjoyed the recharge. After all, I have two very busy and travel heavy weeks ahead.

Anger is okay. It can be totally neutral.

Don't Feed the Bears. Love these!

Why can't the bicycle industry get it together? Great read.

Made me giggle.

Augmented reality done right. Meet 'Place'.

We drink ours Nick's way. How do you have your Bulletproof Coffee?

I just finished reading this. It's ... strange? Have you read it?

36 / 52: Bilbo

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Happy Sunday! I've been loving having a few plants in our home. This one is our newest addition: a Hobbit plant. We nicknamed it Bilbo - ha! What are your favourite plants to keep around the house? I'd love to get a String of Pearls plant and my Mum always had a Yucca plant which survived months in a container and moving across three continents! My kind of home. I'd move in in a heartbeat. What about you?

MAAP Visit the Slovenian Alps. Stunning! (And I might have placed an order for some of the kit...)

Welsh zero waste cleaning supplies. Use code 3686a3 for £5 off your first order.

A great guide to Ubud. What are your recommendations?

It's a boy!

Minimalistic kit done right. Take a look at their bibs!

Are you signed up to watch the big event? I certainly am!

Strictly is back! How did you like the first episode?

We are going to South East Asia!

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We're going on a holiday and are looking for your recommendations! Towards the end of the year, in the middle of November we are jumping on a flight from London to Singapore. The plan is to spend a couple of days there taking in the city. Perhaps drink a Singapore Sling, definitely visit the Gardens by the Bay. From Singapore, we will continue across to Bali. We are flying straight to Denpasar to make the most of our time there. Ubud will be a must see but I am also particularly excited to eat as much as I possibly can and immerse myself in the local culture. Finally, we are planning some island hopping: a few days on one or two of the Gili islands, we are thinking Air and Meno perhaps.

The plan there is to do some diving, maybe some snorkelling. On my scuba bucket list are turtles, maybe manta rays, and clownfish. I want to find Nemo!

We want to know: have you been in or around any of these areas and do you have any recommendations to share? Places to see, things to do, foods to try and drinks to enjoy...? Feel free to leave a link to any coordinating blog post you might have!

35 / 52: Miles and More

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What better way to spend a lazy weekend than to make holiday plans, right? Well, we did just book flights that will take us 15.618 miles around the globe. But more about that next week. The rest of the weekend was less eventful. We sipped on LemonAid (the blood orange flavour is delicious), went out for burgers and watched House of Cards (a must see if you ask me!).

And with that, short but sweet, I'll let you enjoy the rest of your Sunday! But before you go, here are a few fun reads:

Almost funded! A Kickstarter about some kick-ass climbers.

The surfer bus of the future? VW's concept to become reality.

The world's most remote pop up shop.

Everything you can't miss from Eurobike. Day one, day two, day three.

The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. Did you know its name?

My kind of wall art. And you can customize it too!