I got very exciting news a few weeks ago that Maison Jen had been short listed for The Blog Awards Ireland.
And last week my blog made it to the finals.
To be nominated was amazing, but to make the finalist stage, well not what I was expecting at all!
With a feeling of bewilderment mixed with excitement I began thinking about why I started a blog in the first place, and I realised that it came down to an invaluable suggestion…
“Do you know what you should do?” My husband helpfully said to me one day. “Start a blog”.
I was unbelievably busy around that time, I’d recently had my third baby but he often started his sentences to me like that then. While I did appreciate his helpful suggestions (such as to take up yoga or start walking in the evenings…), he usually always got a fairly negative response. How could I possibly fit anything else into my already hectic schedule?!
At the time I had been a full time mum for about 7 months (I decided not to go back to work after my third baby was born) and I was pretty tired to put it mildly. I was doing mommy stuff from the minute I woke up in the morning to an hour before I went to bed and I found that demanding. I was so blessed to have three beautiful, healthy children and I knew I shouldn’t complain about frantic schedules and feeling exhausted but at the time I think I was… My 6 month old wasn’t a great sleeper, he took short naps during the day and was still waking once or twice during the night. Callum was a year and a half and on the move, I think he was training for the Dublin City Marathon at the time. And my 7 year old had school commitments and lots of extra curricular activities that he needed somebody to chauffeur him to, and that somebody was me. Added to all of that were the endless chores that needed to be done to keep the house ticking over. I felt so lucky that I had the choice to be a full-time mum at home with my three boys everyday, and to be involved in all aspects of their lives, but I also found the responsibilities overwhelming at times. I was fortunate to love my job when I worked outside the home, and while I know it’s not always the case for everyone I found going out to a work environment and interacting with ‘grown ups’ essential.
However, this time I didn’t roll my eyes at his advice, he must have gotten me on a good day. I realise now how much I actually needed those suggestions, I was running on a treadmill and needed somebody to steer me in the right direction! He told me why he thought a new hobby like this would be good. Namely it was a place to record all of the things I loved like recipes and links to interiors websites I found interesting and also somewhere I could be a little creative, a type of an online ‘log’ of things I enjoyed. I decided to try it and thought it might be a perfect hobby to fit into my already busy schedule (I didn’t even have to leave the house!). Soon after, I attended a Blogging for Beginners Workshop (in January of this year), and I’ve been happily blogging ever since.
My blog, mainly about food, interior design and everyday life, has definitely become my fourth baby. It’s a place I love updating every week or so, and while I don’t blog everyday, I think about it a lot. I’m also finding my new hobby very convenient as I can plan my next post while filling dishwashers or hanging out laundry! As far as I know making money from a blog here in Ireland is difficult (it’s a lot easier in places like the UK and America) but blogging for me was never about finding a new career but about getting a break from the daily grind.
My blogging venture also coincided with me making a big effort to find more time for myself. I think most mums are a little guilty of not putting time aside for themselves, but I’m a much better mum when I make the time for myself and my interests. I realise now how important this is and I try to keep the guilt out of it. My floors aren’t as clean as they used to be, but I definitely prefer to work on my blog than mop while the babies are taking a nap! Blogging is something that I would definitely recommend to any mum who may be looking for a new interest to balance their life in the midst of all the noise, mess and sticky floors! I’ve also decided to take up yoga, starting next week, so I hope I’m just as passionate about that.
Finally, here are some links to five of my favourite blogs you might enjoy reading when you have some vital time for you. These blogs incorporate kids, food, design and life, and if you haven’t come across them already I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
1. A Cup of Jo
Joanna Goddard a magazine writer turned full time blogger lives in New York with her husband and two children. Her blog about a variety of topics including fashion, motherhood and lifestyle is filled with helpful, honest and inspiring posts.
Oh how I love Mimi’s life! Creator of the beautiful blog Manger, Mimi lives in the idyllic Medoc region of France and manages to make raising 7 gorgeous children, a pack of audacious dogs, and preparing wonderful food for her family look effortless. Her blog is full of exquisite photographs of family life and delicious food taken by her photographer husband. A blog for Francophiles and food lovers.
Ketty Elizabeth, originally from France and now living in Dublin, has her finger on the pulse of all things gastronomic in Dublin and beyond. As well as writing reviews, Ketty also runs French food tours, the foodie movie club and blogging workshops through her blog, a must read!
Another wonderful Irish blog, ‘Farmette’ a.k.a Imen writes about leaving her (very different) life behind in America when she fell in love with an Irish farmer and moved to the Irish countryside. Funny, warm, and filled with delicious recipes, this blog is about life spent on her farm with gorgeous food photography and styling included.
Tina Roth Eisenberg (originally from Switzerland hence the name!) lives in New York with her husband and two children. She runs her own design studio in New York and blogs about various topics of interest mostly design related, however her two children pop into some of her posts every now and again.
Details of the Blogging for Beginners Workshop can be found here