Blog Gem - Cottage Notebook
Hurrah, it's Blog Gem time! If you're new to this, it's a popular series in which I seek out and share some amazing bloggers and what their blogging worlds are like; a behind-the-scenes blogging feature. This month I'm super excited to be sharing the fabulous face behind lifestyle blog, Cottage Notebook. So, let's dive on in and find out more!
Hi there, can you introduce yourself to the Adventures & Tea Parties' gang?
Hello there, I’m Nadia and I’m the coffee fuelled blogger and podcaster behind the Cottage Notebook and it comes to you from a 100 year old cottage on Ireland’s east coast.
I am a crafter at heart, I spin, weave, knit and crochet and not in that order! I am a lover of cheese, wine, whiskey, writing, wildlife and apparently the letter ‘W’. I’m a VA and freelance writer and also you will find me bopping around in This is Knit some Saturdays, the place is heaven for those who live for yarn fumes in Dublin City Centre.
Where do you blog? What is that space like?
Cough, well, I would love to say that I am coming to you from my completed craft room but renovations on the cottage are still ongoing, so I am coming to you from my office desk in my dining room which has been taken over by all of my craft supplies. When I write, I like to do it from a keyboard on a desk and in a comfortable chair. I always find that once I sit in this chair, at this desk, I become ‘work’ me and ‘mommy’ Nadia is gone until I stand up again. Which, with two toddlers, can sometimes be every, few minutes!
What I love about this space in particular is how the light moves around the room. The dining room has a conservatory off it and I can see the trees in the garden and watch the sun move around the walls highlighting old paintings and once it makes a certain point I know I need to get up and become ‘Mommy’ me again. I always found this particular space in my house calming so I will be sad to leave it because the blog was born in this room and in one way or another I have written my best pieces from this desk or the dining table.
If you had to take only one tool to a desert island, what would you choose and why?
My husband has a multi-tool, a Leatherman, and that is something that I use almost everyday. It’s an all in one tool that I can use to eat, hunt and build a shelter, so if I have to survive in paradise, I’d bring that but I’d find one that also has the internet, a screen, is solar powered and has a camera...those exist right?
How do you get inspired to blog?
I write my blog posts around the theme of Grow | Craft | Love because these are my three areas that I enjoy in life. My blog is there because I like to write and I like to share stories. Inspiration comes from what I am working on myself or maybe it is someone I am working with. I also get inspiration from the amazing Instagram community and conversations with friends. Sometimes though, there is a parenting post or creative musing that is just itching to come out. If I am really finding it hard to be creative I just write about creativity and how I am feeling and ask my wonderful readers for help and I have had some fantastic responses to those posts!
What top tips would you give to anyone starting a blog?
Write what you would like to read yourself, write about what you love and write from the heart. If you do these three things your blog will be unique because it will be unique to you and you will find it easier to maintain. Running a blog isn’t easy and I do find it stressful sometimes but knowing that I can be myself and pull up a chair and just write makes me feel better.
It’s ok to start when everything isn’t perfect. I started with the Button theme on Wordpress before moving self hosted and designing the blog that is there now. I have had help with that when I ran into trouble (thank you Rose Anne!) but that is just part of the journey. Not everyone who likes to blog likes the design end and not everyone who likes the design end likes to write posts. Once you start you can start to create your own place in the blogging world but watch out for the Procrastination Pony, he can have you running in circles and never achieving anything.
Is there a story behind the name, 'Cottage Notebook'?
Oh, now this is a rather emotional question for me. I wanted to write and podcast but life always got in the way. When we finally bought the cottage here there was a moment, 3 am September 16th to be exact and I came up the name the Cottage Lover’s Notebook which then evolved to just the Cottage Notebook over time. The house in the logo is my actual home.
To tell all, the blog was my lifeline, a way to keep my sanity as I had to adjust to being a stay at home parent to two babies. For anyone who has made this transition they can understand when I say it wasn’t easy. I needed a place where I could be my creative self, grow and hold on very tightly to that part of me that was there before I became a mother, a wife and everything else that I am now. For me, on those really bad parenting days when all I wanted to do was just cry, I would open up my blog and just write. My blog has been more to me than many of my readers will ever know and I think that is ok too. Sometimes, I look at it as my piece of the world that I choose to share with people, rather than a blog that I write for others. Either way I really hope you all enjoy it.
If you could go to a Blog Award dinner with any 5 people (dead or alive, real or fictional) who would you choose?
In Fantasy: This is actually a really easy question for me at the moment and mine would be a table of women. I would love to go to a Blog Award Dinner with Kate from A Playful Day, Sara from Me and Orla, Janet from Soulful PR, Jo from Shineybees and Sara from Incredible Edible Bristol. This is because I would like to sit back and watch that group of women plan to take over the world because if they got the time together I know they would and they would create change in whatever they put their minds too!
In Reality: I’m actually planning to go to the V by Very Blog awards dinner with four absolutely amazing women in the craft community here in Ireland, Carol Feller of Stolen Stitches, Lisa Sisk of This is Knit and Evin O’Keffee from EvinOK and I can promise you that that is going to be one amazing craft table. I am humbled to be going with women that I have admired over the years and to call them my friends too. In a way I wouldn’t be writing this interview if it wasn’t for them.
And finally...if you had to choose one song to represent 'Cottage Notebook', what would it be and why?
To be completely honest this bounces between Little Song and The Voice Inside from Liz Seaver. I have her album Turbulent Bliss on quick play and both calm me and help me sort through my creativity in order to write so if I chose anything else it would be a lie. I love how Liz plays the piano and I have been a fan long before I met her which is strange because she is now also my sister-in-law! Liz wrote the intro piece to my podcast and this music choice is very personal to me, I even blogged about it. Oh and if I’m completely honest the other band I listen to when I write is Imagine Dragons, mostly 'It’s Time' because it helps me to remember to be me but they don’t really fit my blog!
Thank you so much, Nadia. It's been truly wonderful hearing all about your blogging world! And Nadia, I love your desert island tool; I think all us bloggers on that desert island will be wanting to borrow it! ;) I'm so moved to hear how your blog started and where it has lead you, what a wonderful journey. Keep up the fabulous blogging, Nadia and thank you for stopping by to share all about it!