holiday journalling

Why not purchase one of our holiday journals for yourself or a friend to record their Christmas holiday memories! 
These hand made holdiday journals are made to inspire your creativity and bring joy. Each page is handcrafted beautifully to allow lots of room for you to record your special memories. What a beautiful keepsake this could be! 


Handmade Holiday Journal – Includes Postage


For more gift ideas visit CottageDreamsbySteph


For a long time, I battled a nagging negativity that I may have left my run too late. A common voice would come to me saying, ‘you should have followed your dreams sooner!’

The if only and the what-ifs, they came calling too.

I don’t think I’m alone.

I speak to many who say ‘ I could have, I should have, I would have, but….I didn’t.’ It’s ok, I know that road too.

However, wisdom also came calling, many times – encouraging me.

‘Be brave’, she said, you can do this. Sometimes I listened and gathered up my sorry self and with grand efforts, I would lung forward in a sapping sprint that had me expecting immediate gratification, only to be exhausted and disappointed.

It’s an awful cycle that can have one believing that you’re never going to fulfil what’s in your heart or worse still, that you’ve just been created for less than you once believed.


Thankfully, I didn’t buy into the lie and those days are now few and far between. My small business is growing and momentum is gathering. Everyday I’m gaining confidence in who I am, far less influenced by those negative voices. I know I have a part to play in the creative space.

It all came about through some intentional effort on my part and a lot of trusting God too. My dream has finally become a reality. I’m definitely not too old and neither are you. (or I might add, too young)


  • Silencing the Inner Critic (Learning to listen to wisdom)
  • Planning (Plan your week, better still plan your days)
  • Focus : One Thing (Not having all your drawers open at once)
  • Slowing Down (I know, that sounds counter productive to building but it’s about doing the right thing, not everything)
  • Working Hard (I know, that sounds contradictory to slowing down – I’ll explain later)
  • Upskilling – Understanding SEO and some basic Techy Stuff
  • Consistency – my new moto is “GROW SLOW-SAY NO”

I’m looking forward to sharing more about these life-changing habits in my up and coming blogs. Subscribe below and I’ll notify you when the next blog is up.

For today, I encourage you to just get started. Take your little seed dream, plant it and watch it grow.

Be brave my friend.

I’d love to hear all about it.


I’ve made some changes to the appearance of my website and I’d really love your feedback if you can spare a few minutes!

Have a quick look around can you find your way around easily enough or did you prefer the previous layout where blogs titles were on one page with a corresponding picture?

A simple thumbs up or down below I’d be most grateful.

If you like you can add more feedback via the link below – your input is valued.

time : a most precious commodity

So I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Time. How precious it is.

We all want more of it and quite frankly the older I get the more I wonder if I’ve used my time well enough. I’d sincerely encourage any young ones out there to give some thought to how you manage your time. I look back and wonder how much time I’ve let slip through my little fingers?

On a brighter note, someone asked me recently,

‘how do you do all the things that you do?” (that’s a lot of do’s isn’t it?)

Up until then, I hadn’t really given much thought to the fact that I really do-do quite a bit in the time I’ve been given. I work five days, sometimes six days a week at two different day jobs. When I get home from work, I work making products for my ETSY SHOP. Every week I need to find time to I manage our family business accounts (not so good at that but I’m definitely improving). Mid week there’s music rehearsal and come the weekend, I play or lead worship at the church I attend. Whenever I get the chance, I work at home building my COTTAGE DREAMS and endeavour to grow a little creative community, I call WRITE MAKE CREATE. I dream of new creative ventures regularly. On top all that, I still grab snippets of time to write in my book and on my blog but always, I work with purpose and intentionality. It sounds awfully tiring, and sometimes it is.

To be honest, for a time I was darn near worn out, but that simple little comment on my Instagram page triggered something inside my head. Firstly, I realised I was actually making really good progress, albeit slow, but still notable progress. So I patted myself on the back, not in a proud way, but in a gentle – kind – caring way. I said to myself, ‘go you Steph, you’re doing ok.’ It felt kind of good to say that, to encourage myself instead of unintentionally looking for outside affirmation.

It was then I started taking notice of all the little wins I’d been having instead of looking forward with regret, wishing I could do better, longing to arrive at some far off, better destination. In the following weeks, I made a conscious decision to enjoy ‘growing slow’. I removed the unspoken pressure and urgency that social media seemed to be requiring of me and began to settle into the realisation that that ‘slow is ok’. Nothing changed on the exterior, nothing. My schedule remained the same, but something certainly did change on the inside of me.

Immediately, I sensed a shift in mindset. I felt hopeful and happy about where I was at but I couldn’t help notice a slight ill ease settling around one or two of my commitments and with it a sense that 2022 will see the season for those things shift. On the flip side, my creativity was spurred on and business began to gain traction without hardly any effort on my part. I began to feel a delightful sense of peace around all my creating and a knowing that I’m on the right track.

I’ve happily settled into this new rhythm of s l o w l y getting stuff done, knowing the future is looking bright.

So if your struggling with time management and want know to know how to GET STUFF DONE when you’re already run off your feet, drop me a line.

I’d love to help!

the influencer:


Did you hear, Time has released its 2021 list of the most influential people in the world. Not that I’m a follower of any of the top 100 but news is, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are on the list.

A few days ago after enduring copious programs running the story, my sweet hubby looked at me and stated, ‘you know, you ought to be on that list luv,’ we laughed together. We often do about things like this.

So has it, we’d been having conversations about the whole ‘Influencer’ thing of late, weighing how our lives have changed and questioning our influence in the world. Harry and Meghan sparked some more conversation. We reminisced about our season in the South and how in 2012 our very public lives changed, our necessary move back to the city and how we have faded into anonymity. It’s all good, life is filled with good and bad and changing seasons. We haven’t half minded these quiet years.

Anyhoo, I’ve been watching young influencers, entrepreneurs vying for attention and their spot in the lime light. The never ending quest to gain a following must be exhausting. While I don’t think Meghan and Harry had to work to hard, others do. I marvel at the communities many young influencers are building and while I myself work toward building a successful business and community, I wonder about this new way of life we’ve entered into.

No doubt, being an influencer is a wonderful achievement and honourable, but I must admit, I do marvel at the age of some of these sweeties and the depth of their acclaimed wisdom, which has arrived at such a young age.

Hubby watches on as I work tirelessly:- writing, making, building and we chuckle together. He constantly joke’s with me about the entrepreneurial skills I may, or may not be acquiring.

“Darl, your an influencer!”

He says this in the same tone as Daryl from the iconic movie, The Castle, when he said to Sal after tasting her home cooked dinner, ‘darl, you ought open a shop.’

We laugh again. Kindred spirits.


‘Darl, you’re an influencer’ he says, and I answer him just like Sal.

“Awe thanks Darl. The world doesn’t know it yet!” and we laugh some more.

However, jokes aside. I been thinking about this for quite some time and while I do feel I have a little influence in my small world, I remind myself again and again to be more concerned about who influences me.

It’s good remind ourselves to be less concerned with WHO IS FOLLOWING US and rather, be concerned about WHO WE FOLLOW.

A weekly self check on who or what is influencing me right now is a good thing.

‘Whatsoever things are true

Whatsoever things are honest

Whatsoever things are of a good report

If there be any virtue, if praise

Think on these things.’

(From the Bible)

I need reminding and those words are a good measuring rod. One easy ‘click’ and I’m down a track, mindlessly following someone more who seems, on the exterior, more successful than myself. I remind myself to look deeper, I want to make sure the ones I follow have core values that match what makes me tick. I think it’s vey important. I follow some wonderful influencers and while they might not be exactly like me, often they’re quite the different, but what’s in their heart resonates with me most.

‘Out of the heart the mouth speaks…’

I find that their gentleness, kindness and pure goodness inspires me no end but I guess the real question is,


For me it’s just gotta be my Jesus. (oh my goodness, listen to this song, it’s so good) I want the things that make Him tick influence me the most. I want to stay true to Him in all my followings, honouring Him in all my making, creating and sharing. I don’t want to get side tracked follow things that don’t matter.

I hope I can inspire you along the way to do the same.

Did I tell you about my little van-life dream?

For some time now I’ve been working towards quitting my day job so I can fulfil my creative passion to write.make.create

I know this may seem indulgent, but I do think that we humans are created for a specific purpose and while that may, at times, ebb and flow into different streams, generally those streams all connect to a common theme or purpose.

Do you ever have those moments when you find yourself saying,


Deep down there’s something ticking inside of me, inside us, that needs to find space to unpack. I can’t begin to tell you how good I feel when I’m writing a blog, writing my memoir, writing a song, creating journals or even making those little crocheted cloths. Seriously, sometimes I find myself spontaneously clapping or doing a little happy dance – It’s just that good.

I’m a maker, a writer and yes, I know, a vivid dreamer and I do like who I’m becoming.

I’m not getting any younger and I’d like to make the most of my time earth-side. I’d like to inspire others to live well, to follow what’s in their heart and to find purpose and meaning in all that they do, whether it be big or small.

My plan is in the cooker.

I’ve been slowly building towards it for some time now.

It may just involve a little travelling van.

Sometime, in the future, I’ll be taking my little Cottage Dream Shop on the road and my creative space, Write Make Create, might be coming along too.

I hope do hope I can pull this off!

I hope to park up wherever I find myself, be it a market, a camp by the roadside or a specific event. I may even hold a little gathering here and there, in a little country town somewhere near you. Let me know if you’d like to host one.

I want to be honest and kind and true and do my best to sprinkle joy and inspiration wherever I go, encouraging you to follow your heart and delve deeper into purpose and inspire you to unpack your dreams.

I’d love for you to join me on the journey.

Success! You're on the list.

Hello Fellow Creator

It’s been some time since I posted. Apologies!

Sometimes I just get caught up creating and run out of ‘write-time’ because I simply used up all my spare time creating other stuff like in the pics below. I do love it so!

It’s then, that I get a little cross with myself.

Why can I not be more balanced like so many of my fellow creators? They seem to be able to pace themselves, following a well mapped out plan that appears to meander along like a gentle stream. From the outside, it looks like their lives epitomise routine and balance, while mine looks more a like rollercoaster roaring along on a zig-zagging track.

Oh I do want to be more like that meandering stream.

I wonder to myself if anyone else gets caught on this roller coaster and needs someone to help them pull the brake?

I’ve learnt that sometimes, it’s just a matter of taking yourself out of your regular routine to find a gentle space to think and ponder. It can be as simple as that. Like the other day when I took myself off to a beautiful little cafe’ to work.

I’m learning more about myself lately.

Learning how to bridle my energy and focus a little better. It really is a challenge.

I must keep faith, try a little harder if I am to succeed in reaching the goals I’ve set for myself.

I remember when I first started business coaching – the suggested reading was a book called ‘The One Thing” by Gary Keller.

Well, I thought to myself ‘nope I haven’t got time to read that – I’m too busy doing the stuff’, so in my self acclaimed wisdom, I surged ahead in way too many directions and now I’m trying to reign it all in, along with myself!

Needless to say, I’ve now brought the book and in my spare time (LOL) I’m reading and fast realising that my choice back then has the dire consequence of wasted time.


Thankfully, I’ve learned to be kinder to myself along the way. I haven’t given up on me. I can already see the benefit of this ‘one thing’.

Even if you can just plan and do one thing each day!


So, don’t give up my friend. You’ve got this – whatever ‘this’ may be for you.

Caravan Adventures

I forgot to post this little story of our Caravan Adventure some months back

We went on adventure, my hubby and I. It was way back in June before every man and his dog headed North.

Our Northern Adventure

After months of planning and prepping our little house on wheels was finally ready for an adventure. More than a month on the road had me excited. I must admit however, old demons always try to find a place in my heart. I was a just little bit apprehensive remembering that last time we’d holidayed for a month .Things hadn’t ended well but really it was time to throw that old thinking out and get ready for the adventure.

She’s a little beauty, our Cottage Caravan. Here’s hubby just after completing the final face lift in our little van. We pulled out the old ugly table, painted wall and made new curtains and cushions. I liked the olivey green covers on the couches, so we left them as is. I thought the little Banksia curtains matched quite beautifully.

Big sister, Deborah Anne, and her hubby Garth travelled over 2000 k’s to join our convey, lucky to make the escape from the Victorian border before yet another COVID locked down. My brother Bill, our ring leader, had us all primed for adventure. Sadly we had to leave his travel companion behind after an unexpected interruption, but we had her blessing.

What an amazing feeling it is to be on the road! I just love it. Any type of travel will do me – planes, trains, automobiles, you name it and I’ll be there. Our caravan loaded with everything needed for an off grid adventure. A thankful prayer in the morning as the rising sun shone gently trough our window and we were off to meet the convoy and make our way out of the city.

Our first stopover – Coronation Beach is just passed Geraldton and oh what a sunset we beheld.

Coronation Beach is a wonderful little spot to camp up for a night or two, maybe three.


Last week was huge. I found myself arriving at the weekend tired and feeling a little unwell. I spent most of Saturday doing catch up, all the while trying to quiet the little voice inside my head that kept calling to me, telling me “you need to take yourself on an Artist’s Date..” A little like the beacon light on a lighthouse, it just kept popping up and could not be ignored!

Julie Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way first introduced me to the idea of an Artist’s Date along with a few other wonderful ideas I still maintain today. When I keep these simple rhythms I find my days go a whole lot better. The Artist’s Date is a ‘not negotiable’ for me and definitely feeds my creative heart – in fact, I would say for anyone. It’s such a simple way to revive.

The Lighthouse North Mole


It was the weekend, busy but quiet because the man was at work and the boy, asleep, but as the day wore on, the little voice grew louder. Something in me longed for water and not the drinking kind. I was yearning for the sea, to breathe in the salty air, drink in the azure colours of a vast ocean.

My heart had been longing for the sea for days, to slow down, to take the time to breathe in a little deeper. Eventually, when I couldn’t quiet the ‘beacon’ any longer, I responded, quickly grabbing my bathers, towel and a book – I was off!

How that one decision to find a river, an ocean, made such a difference to my weekend. It set into motion a chain of events that left me refreshed and ready for the coming week.

I can’t recommend enough the benefits of taking a little creative date with just yourself or the benefits of being immersed in nature, whether it be sea n sand or tree n sand.

TAKE YOURSELF ON ARTIST’S DATE Julia Cameron says, ‘it is a block of time, perhaps 2 hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness….”.

Essentially it’s just an outing or a ‘play date with yourself’ – One you defend at all odds.

Do give it a go and take note of how you feel afterwards ❤️

The ‘One Thing’ Dilema

It’s Thursday. I have a day off from my ‘day time’ job. I slept late, something I rarely do anymore, even if I want to. I’m usually up early with the birds and would like to say that today’s sleep in was good, but I feel groggy, slow and void of motivation.

Last night I went straight from work to Band practise. Perhaps that’s why I’m tired. This use to be my one thing, the thing that I loved doing most of all. In the past I’ve written so many songs, led worship more times than I could count and in the early days sang in the very quirky band called ‘Rockin’ Rabbi’s’ note: this vid is from after I’d left to have baby number two and later, started a band called ‘Sweet Chariots’ where I strummed my trusty old guitar and sang the blues with my sister and a friend. My brother recently found some old footage which needs work but here’s just a snippet of our big hair crazy days!

These were ‘star days’ when we got to perform for crowds in a diverse range of places. From City Markets or Youth Events to Club Genesis, (which started in the Leederville Tafe, then moved all over the town) to even supporting Chris Falson at the Belvior Amphitheatre, it was the 80’s, need I say more – we had good times. But I’m no skilled musician and often get frustrated at my lack of technical ability – playing to a click track drives me batty and reading music is frankly, quite out of my league, tho I pretend at times! Everything I do comes from heart and flows from somewhere within. So, despite what I consider a ‘lack of skill’, this was my chief joy. I guess it my first ‘One Thing’, and in some ways my ‘first love’ (needless to say, this is, apart from Jesus – though actually it’s all very central to Him, all so connected.

Then, as years went on and even tho I’d had quite a hoot of a life, the wheels fell off this old cart and I began, quite inadvertently, to write. I’d always written journals, always – but never had it entered my mind to write a book. In some ways, songs were my book!

This new book writing just happened. A pretty hectic childhood and an enemy called ‘disappointment’ led me down a path where I found myself void of joy. I needed help and when finally it came (in the form of ‘God with Skin On’ ) I could hardly speak about it, so I wrote. There-in began healing, my writing journey and a sense that I had to tell this story.

This became my ‘One Thing’ and almost superseded song writing by the piano. As I said in my last post, life goes on, we start new ventures and things Morph. The things we use to do, we don’t do them so much any more and I wonder now, if I let my first love go, when it should have abode, side by side with my new love – a marriage made in heaven?

Less song writing and more book writing. This was my new mission and even though I felt the importance of the new journey, I still let other things get in the way and slowly both took a back seat.

Why do I do this? Am I the only one?

Stay tuned for the unfolding story……

%d bloggers like this: