It feels a bit bonkers that my blog turned 8 on Saturday (FREAKING 8, people- making me the grandma of blogging !) with this milestone allowing me to reflect back on basically a hundred digital years (rather like cat years) sharing and working online thanks to the gloriously democratic World Wide Web, and what a ride it’s been!
I’ve ticked some big, crazy dreams off the wish list thanks to this blog be it dream partnerships with brands I’ve loved forever, designing my own Vicki bag with KeriKit or interviewing thought-leaders I’ve long admired (Seth Godin is my all-time favourite). I’ve lapped up the creative process at every turn, which not only nourishes me but my family too (my kids learning to draw 2D characters with Oscar winning Brad Bird for example), along with the consistent commitment to honing my voice and my filmmaking and storytelling skills day after day journal-ling here and beyond.
Most importantly when I think back to almost a decade blogging, it’s not a detached tick list of accomplishments which spring to mind but the memories made that will last a lifetime.
It’s sharing my work and life experiences borne from the blog with the ones I love most, that have made the years so meaningful….The memory of my son Alexander (5 at the time) proudly signing my MUMBOSS books on my behalf on book launch day at the Royal Garden Hotel (another milestone was becoming their resident blogger) or Oliver being taught to cook by the legendary Jamie Oliver, or hearing the late Antonio Carluccio speak so passionately about food and simple, rustic flavours over dinner, or the unforgettable life highlight that was attending a Q & A with Oprah (!). More memorable moments have included a window display in Waterstones Windsor of my book Mumboss (a dream conjured up during the process of writing the book I never thought possible), trips to the Caribbean, the South of France, Spain, Portugal and the UK, TV appearances, writing for magazines I’ve read since I was a girl and even speaking in the House of Commons and the British Library respectively, sharing my journey from TV director to blogger and vlogger, and the trauma I experienced post-birth.
However busy life gets (and of course, it’s ALWAYS busy), I don’t want to forget the joy which comes with hard graft doing what you love and self employment. This blog has allowed me to grow as both a creative and a mother. How many jobs can boast that fact?
Below, I wanted to share a gratitude list and recognition for all that this blog has given me on its 8th year. Thank you, of course to you all for reading and caring about our lives, you’ll never know how much you’ve buoyed me up and kept me going when times were hard or made the happy times more joyous in your celebrations be it awards, special occasions and happy news.
Finally, here goes my gratitude list….
I’m GRATEFUL for…
The creative pursuits of writing and filmmaking every day of my life. Knowing I have this platform at my disposable to process and share. I’m thankful to those who have consistently kept me strong enough to share the bad times with the good. To those who have made me feel safe enough to be vulnerable and candid in order to help myself, and others. I’m grateful for SEO and social media who enabled a like-minded audience to discover me over these years who have resonated with my words…. Women who inform me every day that my blog and now book has helped mobilise them to start businesses and blogs, or feel stronger parents and overcome stress and anxiety.
Nothing feels more moving than receiving feedback like that.
It is that audience, who in turn, help me to face the fear of rejection, of my work being misconstrued or my character and to continue regardless. To pick myself up after every ‘no’, naysayer or troll and to keep going, resolutely truckin’ on, undeterred.
I will never take this online, living diary for granted. These really are the days of our lives and to document them in a family archive of this kind we will always reflect on, is what matters most to me.
This blog right here, is a piece of me.
It’s my right arm, my third child, my voice, my mind. It grows as I do. As my children do. It tracks my thoughts and feelings, my yearnings, my worries and my passions. It’s my digital fingerprint and marks my life in almost a decade: ‘the mothering years’ to a young family who are my world. This is my microcosm.
The blog charts us geographically, physically, and emotionally. Where we’ve lived and live now, where we’ve visited, what car we drive, the places we’ve travelled and the emotion we’ve felt every step of the way. Within a passing day, month, and the years that have passed.
My heart is full of thanks for:
Friendship. New bonds, and old ones too which have served to change my life. From the very first women I connected with on Twitter during night feeds back in 2010 to the group of ever-expanding women I know that I’ll know for life (you know who you are and there are touchingly, too many to mention here). A special thanks to my best friends Carlie and Caroline who are the sisters I never had and who make me a better woman and mother for knowing them.
A shout out to the Creative Women’s Network set up not long ago with my partner in sisterly crime Maggy of Red Ted Art. We wanted to make new friends and never expected the response, it’s simply amazing.
I’m of course, grateful to the faux friends too, the ones who failed to have my back, or used me for a while. Those experiences are also gifts, and I forgive them, for it is thanks to them I’ve learned about the importance of boundaries, of being myself and silencing the people-pleaser in me. They taught me to unequivocally go with my gut. This blog has changed me. I feel stronger and wiser because of it. I know myself more deeply thanks to the people I’ve met through it and because of it. It took almost 38 years to arrive here but it feels GOOD. We must unravel our fears and the experiences that have damaged us, unfurling our angst and pain, in order to breathe and LIVE fully.
Which brings me seamlessly to yoga. To meditation, a discovery pre thyroid op. To long walks in Windsor. To the endless reminders on and offline to make self-care a priority….
I’m thankful for the colleagues who have come into my life and transformed it with their care, belief, insight and honesty. To expanding my mind.
I’m grateful to my manager Jack Freud for all of the above and his creativity, clarity of thought and considered guidance, for never doubting me or my potential. Ditto to my Assistant Manager Spencer Johnson for his big heart, precision and understanding.
The Oscar speech continues with a few final thanks to Jillian Young, my book editor who has championed my work and book Mumboss from our very first meeting, to Amancay Tapia, filmmaker and now blogger at The Lady of the World, who pushed and PUSHED me to start this blog back in November 2010 and whom I owe so much.
I’m grateful to my loving, intelligent super-human husband (who can cope on little sleep and is annoyingly good at everything) and those boys of mine: my rocks, my loves, the ones who pull me up with their smiles, silly jokes and sweet kisses when I feel down and who give me purpose in everything I do.
Crucially, they remind me to have fun. To laugh loudly. To get on the swings with them. To create a disco in the lounge…To be myself as I continuously teach them to be themselves too.
So here we are. 8 years and counting. I’d like 88 more please (I’ve always been a little bit greedy)!
FYI it’s true what they say about gratitude lists, they boost your mood and make you happy. Go write one too.
Thank you everyone!