This little food blog is celebrating 10 years of publication in 2021! That longevity is something I didn’t envision when I started blogging in 2011. What a journey it’s been! Please join me as I reminisce on the occasion of this double-digit blogiversary.
In the Beginning
Back in 2011, I just wanted to write. I’d been working on a novel, but a serious wrist injury meant that I couldn’t be on a keyboard for long and finishing a book seemed impossible. So, I decided to start a blog, reasoning that with each post published it would be complete.
But what to write about? I’d been an enthusiastic cook and baker for many years, so food seemed a likely topic. The idea of photographing my food hadn’t really crossed my mind. So there I was, writing a food blog and taking some really bad photos, or sometimes none at all. It didn’t take long to learn that I needed to up my photography game, and I’m pleased with my progress over the years.
Ten Years of Good Things
The blog has brought so many good things into my life — an opportunity to express my creativity, the inspiration to learn so much more about food, a community of Canadian blogging friends through Food Bloggers of Canada, and online interactions with many interesting and friendly blog followers. When someone mentions that they’ve enjoyed one of my recipes or I can help them with a cooking question, it always makes my day.
My Labour of Love
Urban Cottage Life is my labour of love. There are no ads here, even though it has generated some income on occasion through sponsored posts (like this one for Egg Farmers of Canada) and I use it as a portfolio for my freelance writing and editing work. It’s led to writing a recipe column for a local newspaper, and to developing recipes showcasing local produce for the county I live in. And it’s even indirectly led to the chance to teach in-person and online cooking classes.
In part, it serves as a record for my family of the recipes that mean so much to us all (like Metje’s Green Beans). I also hope it inspires in the Offspring a love for cooking (or at least eating well).
I’ll let you in on a little secret: while I’m happy that others like to visit here, I think that one of the things that has kept me at this so long is that I primarily write for myself. There are times when I browse through the site, reading old posts and remembering what was going on in my life at the time I wrote them, and reminding myself that I need to make those recipes again. It’s a bit of a fool’s game to try to please everyone, because you simply can’t. But I need to like reading my own writing if I expect anyone else to.
So, What’s Ahead?
The short answer is, I really don’t know! I’m hoping to have more time for working on the blog in the years ahead, but I expect that at some point I’ll know that it’s run its course. I’m just over here, going with the flow.
10 Years by the Numbers
In the beginning, I called this space Life Through the Kitchen Window, but it didn’t take long before it just didn’t feel right. In 2015 I moved into a home by the Thames River that had been built as a cottage about 125 years prior, and so I renamed the blog Urban Cottage Life. I love it and can’t imagine changing it again.
I’ve developed and tested recipes in five kitchens over these ten years (yes, I’ve moved a lot), plus the little kitchen at the cottage on Lake Huron that I used to rent a couple of weeks or so each summer. I’ve had dreamy kitchens (although never my dream kitchen) and basic kitchens. Right now I have a lovely big kitchen that happens to have the least amount of counter space I’ve ever had to work with. The kitchen below is the one I had in the actual urban cottage.
3 Styles of Stoves
Over the years, I’ve cooked on electric glass-topped stoves, a gas stove with a gas oven, and currently I’m using a stove with basic electric coils. And you know what? They all get the job done just fine. But when I say you need to get to know how your stove and oven work, I really mean it. I know from much experience that each one is different.
I’ve written around 600 posts over the years, developing my own recipes for most of them. In the beginning, I published about three times a week, often working late into the night to do so. Over the years that pace tailed off, but I’ve never entirely stopped. The longest period of dormancy on the blog happened this year, because I had a huge influx of work in my editing and writing business. Dealing with a chronic wrist injury means I only have so many keystrokes in me, and while Urban Cottage Life is my labour of love, it doesn’t pay the bills.
250,000 Visitors and Over 2,500 Comments
Over the years, there have been about 250,000 visitors to the blog, from all around the world. Now, I know that I’m not exactly burning up the internet over here … those numbers are a drop in the bucket, but they mean a lot to me. My work in recent years on polishing past content is paying off, and most of those visits have occurred since then.
More important to me than numbers is the connection I’ve experienced with my readers. Each of the more than 2,500 comments that readers have taken the time to leave means a lot to me. I value the dialogue we have and want you to know how much your feedback has encouraged me to keep going.
Thank you for visiting Urban Cottage Life and for celebrating 10 years of blogging with me. Maybe you’re a regular here, or perhaps this is your first time on the site. Either way, it means so much to me that you chose to spend some time here.
I hope you’ll come again. If I could, I’d share a slice of this cake with you and we could talk awhile about food.
This is amazing! my friend Michele and I met down at the cooking classes at the market, and have loved following along with you! I cannot believe it has been ten years! wow. amazing.
Thanks so much, Donna. It was my blog that led me to volunteering with the agency, and then on to meeting great people like you! It’s brought so many unanticipated benefits to my life.
Thank you, Julie!
How wonderful for you Marlene. Always love your blogs.
Thank you, Judy! How nice to hear from you again. I have so many happy memories of cooking in that cottage kitchen and enjoying meals on the beach.
Thanks Judy! I feel lucky to have been able to make so many great recipes while staying at the cottage on the lake.
Congratulations, Marlene. Wow, that’s a lot of visitors! I started my own blog shortly after you, as my ten years comes up on New Years Eve. 🙂
Ooh, happy early blogiversary to you, Jennifer! It’s so nice to have “met” people like you who’ve been following the blog for years. It’s been a pleasure to follow your blog too.
Thank you, Marlene! Yes, me too. I’ve been making your ginger cookies every Christmas since I found your blog. They are so good! I also made your southwestern soup twice. There are probably other recipes I’ve tried but I can’t remember them right now. 😊
That’s so nice to hear! Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas to you too! xx
Congratulations on 10 years of blogging! Thanks for sharing your recipes. I look forward to your future content.
Thanks so much, Tracey!