I really can’t believe it, I mean where has the time gone? It’s very hard to believe that it’s twelve months since the Cottage Notebook was born. People say never listen to that voice in your head at 3 am but I am so glad that I did because it quite literally changed my life. The funny thing is I think my life became more chaotic! There are so many ways in which to approach today’s Birthday post from the ’10 Things I’ve Learned About Blogging/Podcasting’ to ‘Tips for Starting a Blog’ but this post is going to take a slower more personal pace.
I sat down many times to write this post and it wasn’t easy. There are so many things that have happened in these last 12 months all because I stopped making excuses and just started to write and record. This online creative space is mine, it’s my space to write, share, enthuse about craft and have a giggle at my gardening attempts but what you all probably don’t realise is just how much of a lifeline this space has been for me personally.
Why I Started Blogging
It’s not a secret that I didn’t adjust to being a stay at home parent well and really, in all honesty, who does? In one moment you go from being a single being with bodily autonomy to being at a tiny humans beck and call. I’m a mum who breastfed and there are days when either little K or little T wouldn’t get off me and I found those days tough. I found that closeness hard and among all the other things that new parents have to deal with, you also need to figure out how to survive at home. For me, I loved my pre-baby life. I loved my job, the customers, getting up having a shower and leaving the house every day. I loved my peaceful days off but I also love my kids and so began that adjustment period.
I guess it takes losing something to realise why you valued it in the first place. When I had baby number two, it was so clear what I needed in order to be the best mum I could be. I needed something for myself. Something I could nurture and grow, learn new skills and find a sort of balance between my need to be a parent in a way that aligns with my values and my wanting to work and to feel like I am still contributing and developing my sense of self. That I had skills beyond babywearing, cleaning, feeding and soothing. I had no idea where this would all lead, I just needed to know that my years in higher education weren’t a complete waste and that I could still be part of the creative world that I loved.
So on September 16th, 2016 the journey into blogging and podcasting started and you can read just how the first 6 months went here. There are things that worked and things that didn’t but the one thing this space has been, was and still is my lifeline. When I’m a sleep-deprived zombie mess, I write. When my kids are being terrors and I close the bathroom door and cry for a bit, I come back and I write. When I grieve, I write. All of those posts don’t get shared but the ones that I have the courage to post, do. The one thing that has held constant through this year is this: that this space can be anything I want or need it to be and that ladies and gentlemen is the one thing that got me through every single really tough moment in the last year. I had given myself a space in which to breathe and be myself.
This blog was never about amassing a huge following but I’m so glad that you all found me and helped me through the tough times and celebrated with me on the successes. The blog was about holding me together and boy did you all do a fantastic job of supporting me and helping me find my feet and what I love. I went from typing alone to writing with a purpose. From recording in my spare room to recording in my ‘office’ with professionals in this industry that I love and admire. From being a stay at home parent to being a VA and freelance writer and social media consultant. The thing is I had amassed all of these skills I just had no confidence in using them and without the support of this wonderful community I wouldn’t be where I am now and that is a happy mum who is comfortable at parenting and working from home but don’t get me wrong the struggle for that balance is ongoing.
At its heart, this is a Thank You post from me to you. Thank you for joining me on this crazy journey and allowing me to share, vent and cry when I needed to. Thank you for the support and guidance and most of all nudging me in the right direction when I get lost. I know I have achieved a lot in the last year even though at times I feel lost, I never dreamed I would be published in a magazine, be a podcast guest, work with such amazingly talented artists, be able to take photographs for my blog/Instagram and also be paid to take photos. To top it all off is this year’s V by Very Blog Awards. I guess to some people blog awards don’t mean a lot, but to me as this blog has quite literally been my third child, it means the world to me to be up there as a finalist among such amazingly talented writers and bloggers such as Evin OK, Where Wishes Come From, Pieces by Aideen and Professional Stitch Ripper. Go check these guys out they are wonderful and all in their own unique way. I really can’t wait to see where year 2 takes us all. I love sharing interviews with you all and I love introducing new people into craft or slow living but most of all I love the yarn!
To celebrate the blog’s birthday Laura from Ellie & Ada has dyed a special colourway for me called Garnet and you can find it in her shop here. I am also running a birthday giveaway on Instagram next week so keep an eye out for that and you could win one of Laura’s skeins along with some very special items. So, you can support us by purchasing a skein and enjoying Laura’s beautiful dye work. This is a sock base (75% Merino and 25% nylon) so it’s perfect for that winter sock project you have been eyeing up for you. Isn’t she gorgeous:
And so I leave you guys with a song that you can Dance it out to, don’t read into it too much because my memories from this last year are AMAZING, it’s just what I’m bopping away to right this second:
Want to support and Blog or Podcast? You can with a coffee!
Being a Stay-at-Home parent is not the easy job everyone presumes. If a person has gone from working outside the home to working inside the home, taking care of babies, toddlers or bigger kids, it can be a huge adjustment. It’s important to find other parents in the same situation, find your tribe, the people who will support you, build you up when you need it. I think it’s even more important if you’re ‘comfortable with your own company’ (I don’t like the word introverted ?) and don’t like Parents’ Groups, go to one until you find the one that makes you feel good about yourself. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed, if you need to talk anonymously there are also trained parent supporters you can talk to. It doesn’t mean you are weak, you need to fill you own glass before give everyone else a drink. It’s also important to find ‘your thing’ the activity that replenishes you. In your case Nadia, not only have you found something that enriches you, you’ve also started something that makes our lives more pleasant. I really look forward to reading your blog, listening to your podcasts. I think you’ve really hit your stride and found your own voice in this last year. Even if you feel you are just managing most of the time, that honesty is refreshing and it’s important to hear. I don’t really listen to or read personal blogs regularly, except for yours. Here’s to another year of The Cottage Notebook, and many more, thank you Nadia.
Thank you so much for your comment R. It is honestly the most isolating thing I have ever done and I worked in a lab with 3 people previously with no natural light!!! It has taken 3 years to adjust here but that’s having a baby and moving to a new location only knowing 1 person but I found an amazing parenting group and babywearing community who would go on walks. It is something I should write about more but it’s hard to have perspective when you are in the height of the worst parts. I am so glad you like the podcast and blog and that you can come over here for a quick quiet cuppa. Lots more planned just a slower pace as work commitments take over a bit I imagine. Finding your voice is important and that took time so glad you stuck with me through it xxx
It makes me feel cozy just reading the blog. You’re doing wonderful, Nadia. I’m glad to know you. xx
Thank you Chandresh. We are so lucky to have bumped into one another at the instachat. I’ve met so many nice people through there. Can’t wait to see how you get on in your new place
Happy birthday Nadia and Cottage Notebook. Love this piece – and all your writing. x
I’ve said it privately and now I’ll say it publicly. I’m so proud of you and I really admire all you have achieved. It may feel like a pretty precarious balance most days but you have carved out something that is just for you.
Jenny ssssh you just made me all teary…. That really means a lot coming from you because I have watched you change your life into the amazing one that you have now. Right through college, the wedding and E and now your wonderful job too. I am so dang proud of you and sometimes wish that that was my life too. Thank you for your support with everything and the gentle nudges in the right direction 😉 xxxxxxxxx
Happy blogiversary! I can’t believe it’s only been a year! I love your blog.
And this piece really hit home to another mum just trying to find herself in the post baby haze.
I know right! It really does feel like two with everything that was going on!!
Thank you so much, Cathy and that dang post-baby haze is a real handful. You are doing fantastic and it really is perfectly fine to live on coffee. I think when you are in the haze you feel lost but it’s in there you realise the parts of you that you miss from your personality to your hobbies so it’s like you come out but just minus all the noise and baggage because you just don’t have the energy for it. But none of us does it alone and that’s why online friends are awesome because we can be there at 4 am 🙂 xxx
Happy birthday to this phase of your life! I have made a similar journey, so it’s lovely to read about yours.
Thank you so much and I think there are more of us making the transition than we know. I am about to make a coffee and catch up with your blog xxx
Happy birthday Cottage Notebook. Hey, could you suggest some patterns for this special yarn please?
Thank you Patricia and of course I can! I personally would knit socks with it so here is a list of my favourites:
Plain Vanilla Socks
Lifestyle Toe up socks
Although I won’t lie I am considering a new Folded in this yarn. There is a bit of a bounce to this yarn so it always makes me think socks first. Any help?