On the 17th November, BrocanteHome will enter her fifteenth year online.
I know! I am as astonished as you. Though this site has been the one and only mainstay of my life beyond my son, that I should have been able to commit a little bit more of my life to these pages for all these years strikes me as a true blessing. How lucky I have been! How lucky I still am.
Blogging has been for me the one certainty in an uncertain life. It has been the routine, ritual and celebration in my day. My readers, so much more than friends, in fact, intimate companions along a journey with all the ups and downs a life less ordinary was bound to bring. My body of work in this time, now sprawling proof that like Picasso I have no real style of my own, and have instead kept on re-inventing BrocanteHome and refining my message as I have grown older and the technological landscape has changed in ways we could never have predicted back in 2004.
When I sat down to write my first post, I was the first-time Mum of a chubby little babba, living in my little cottage with my partner of fourteen years, with plans for something no more grand than sharing my literary adoration of Sarah Ban Breathnach and hoping that after many years working as a much frustrated interior designer I could teach other women that a happy home was about so much more than choosing the right wallpaper. I wasn’t savvy enough to see that I was at the very beginning of the Mummy Blogging movement and could have sold my soul for all the free stuff that was being thrown at bloggers back then, nor I think bright enough to understand that with better strategy and less flying by the seat of my pants I could have made some serious money. But damn it life kept getting in the way and back then strategy really wasn’t my forte…
The Ups and Downs.
So much has happened in these fifteen years that sometimes I look back and my mere survival takes my breath away. Finley was diagnosed with not one, but two autoimmune diseases and his Dad left me, with a huge mortgage and no income, for another woman he would leave shortly after. Throwing away our lives on a whim and quickly understanding that the grass definitely wasn’t greener. I fell apart. Cried for months, spilled my pain on to these pages and you wrapped your arms around me and carried me. What followed was a few years of hilarious dating, before I almost married a very bad man indeed, struggled through the aftermath of his terrible crimes and then witnessed my best friend, my beautiful, still so young Mum, die oh so very unexpectedly on her own bedroom floor.
I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease after months of feeling wretched, I met my partner Ste, we sold my little house and moved into a new, much bigger rented house, my lovely Dad moved away to live with my sister at the other end of the country, and Ste and I began muddling through what it is to blend our families and navigate our way through the trials of a new mid-life relationship with all the drama and deep love it seemingly entails.
And now here I am: on the brink of my fifteenth year online at BrocanteHome, proud as punch and so very grateful for all those of you who have accompanied me on my journey. My blog and I have grown-up and I do believe we are ready for change.
In many ways you see, BrocanteHome has not been a success. I am not an entrepreneur, I am a writer and it is I suppose, my greatest failing. Money is incredibly tight and all too often financial fears dictate how I work. At forty-six I am finally tired of scarcity and lack and the way I have allowed it to control my journey here. Fifteen years is a long time to be worried about whether there is enough milk in the fridge for a cup of tea or how on earth we will manage to pay the bills this month. Always robbing Peter to pay Paul because I am scared of asking for money for my work, frightened of seeming pushy, too fussy to bear the adverts now littering all the blogs similar to mine all over the internet. Unwilling to force the same “bundle” every blogger and her husband are pushing upon my readers. Precious about my online space. Too silly, too proud, too ashamed, too stubborn, too something. Too everything not conducive to living well. Heck, even Finley tells me that after fifteen years online, I have barely lived up to my potential as one of the earliest, most promising bloggers when many of my peers are now earning six-figure incomes!
(Let’s face it both fear and depression are bound to keep us treading water aren’t they? And telling the truth about money simply isn’t done in a world were bloggers and influencers are succeeding financially by posing with imaginary riches on Instagram.)
While money might just be more frightening than I ever remember, what I do have now is more certainty and continuity in my life than I have ever had before, and it is from this point that I want to parachute into the next few years at BrocanteHome.
Finley is fifteen years old and I love him more than I can explain. He no longer suffers bouts of horrible, painful illness quite as often as he did a few years ago and day by day I can feel him growing away from me, just as he should: no longer desperate to be surgically attached to me and so much more respectful of my need to work than he was. I have a whole room here in this lovely house, just for BrocanteHome, bookshelves tumbling full of inspiration and a candle always burning. The Mac desktop I always wanted, and administrative help on hand courtesy of Ste, who when I cease being a control freak long enough to allow him to help and advise, is something of an organizational whizz.
The Stars are Aligning!
So this is the first of three posts I want to share with you about what is next for BrocanteHome, and more pertinently, why. With fourteen years under my belt I want to make this, the fifteenth year, a celebration of all that I have created, by streamlining my message, offering continuity in the content I create in a way I have never been capable before and recognizing that we have all grown-up and it is ok to gently shift my work towards the changes in all of us.
I hope then you will trust me to do the right thing by BrocanteHome. I hope it will be as fun and joyous as I have always wanted it to be and I hope you will understand when growth means change.
BrocanteHome isn’t mine. After fourteen years it belongs to all of us and I hope you know how very much I treasure your loyalty.