Life as Food Blogger Life Stories TFIF
My life as a food blogger7/11/2014
Hi there. I say I am a food blogger. What do you think? Do you picture sunny days, where in a disney-esque fashion I roll out of bed...
I say I am a food blogger. What do you think? Do you picture sunny days, where in a disney-esque fashion I roll out of bed, into a pretty cath kidston apron and set about in my perfect kitchen, possibly cleaned by squirrels and other woodland creatures? Am I surrounded by reclaimed wood, a camera set up and perfect pottery? Do I snap a few pictures of a dish I just pulled out of my
Nope, sorry to break the illusions but food blogging is battles with natural light, trapped wind, stripper party requests and more washing up than could ever be done. It's the compulsive need to take pictures of good food, and hoping to god you don't end up looking like a twit all whilst trying to appear like it's all in a days work.
Finding the time to blog is the first step as I work Monday to Friday with typical half 8am - to 5pm. (Doesn't sound as catchy as Dolly parton, but whatever.) People think I spend my whole life online.... (not true, about 20% of it is spent in cook shops)
This is the real, unadulterated behind the scenes of my life as a food blogger.
Or something like that....
This one will be long, because it's hilarious. I get a lot of PR requests, and some of them are awesome. They've obviously read some of my blog and are interested in offering me something cool and in return I'll put my heart into it. That's fine by me, as long as it's relevant, I'll give it a go. Most companies are lovely and really fun to work with. There's mutual respect and stuff. But then you get the ones that are a little sarky and try to get something for nothing. I once had a company email me and ask me to create a web series for them, positively reviewing their products (which they wanted ME to go out and buy) and in return? Nothing. They wouldn't even publicise my blog in return. This was a big company too and they got very bitchy when I turned them down. (Politely of course.) The best one I've ever had was press releases for a party in a strip club, they offered me a ticket in compensation for advertising it in a post. I have no idea why they thought asking a five foot nothing woman, who posts pictures of dogs and cakes would enjoy this offer, but kudos for putting themselves out there. When I said I wasn't interested their reply was "But there's good food here" Like the word food would suddenly stop and hypnotise me into submission. "Food? Dude, sign me right up to your stripper party, that sounds right up my street" This is the reason I put a big long list in my contact page. Most of them obviously don't read it.
I don't know about you, but I've come across a fair few blogs where their lives seem completely unattainable. There's no mess. Everything is organised and pretty. Their place could be in a magazine, in fact it probably is. That's awesome, if that's your style, but it's not mine. My pantry goes through cycles of being vaguely organised and just a pile of stuff to dig through. The other day I found a pair of cut up pants in my saucepan drawer. It took us a year to repair the hole in our kitchen wall. Sometimes I look at my worktops and think "Will anyone notice if I don't wipe these down today?" My house is a normal house. I have cream carpets and a black dog. I babysit children under 5. Also, sometimes I'm just kinda lazy because there's more to life than immaculate things.
The no.1 rule is probably not to mention farts on your food blog, but what the hell. Cooking your own meals is awesome, and much better for digestion. Being a lady AND a food blogger I'm sure you can imagine that I don't fart, but delicately toot out rainbow poofs that smell like blossoms. Which is a good job, because making your own food makes you gassy as hell. Bare in mind that we eat everything I post, and I post a lot of stews and onion based dishes. Lots of healthy food = lots of gas/farts/windy pops (whatever you want to call them to make it go down easier) I once held a dinner party for friends, and we tucked into stew because it was before pay day and poor people serve stew. About 2 hours later, someone stood up and said "Look, it's gonna be a long night of butt-clenching until we all just admit that stew had given us wind." And so began the funniest, if not smelliest night for a while. Being a food blogger really does enrich your life in every way.
Some days I feel like I'm just in a cycle of washing up. I'll cook, do a load, and when I turn back around there's a whole new load in the sink. Some days I'll feel like I've washed up about 60 forks, but there aren't any in the drawer. Where did all the forks come from in the sink? Where do they go when I put them back in the drawer? Have I got some kind of portal in there that transports them straight back to the sink? WHAT IS GOING ON?! FORK CONSPIRACY.
The other day I looked in my fridge. I looked in my pantry. Then I looked in the freezer. For some reason, only the gods know, I couldn't work out what to make. My mind was a pool of ideas but my arms just went "meh" and flopped around like octopus legs. The problem is, that it's so rare that this happens that I don't really have any quick fixes. So I end up cooking anyway and I moan about it because then there's washing up.
If I'm cooking a meal for the blog, I will tart it up a little. Present it nicely, get out the fine china and what not. Here's the deal, the reason we do this is too make it look awesome so that nice people will come and have a read. I don't actually eat chips out of a mason jar or set up a whole little vintage set of tins around a cake I'm serving. Mason jars are hard to wash up and tins = more stuff to tidy up. I don't spend 10 minutes artfully setting out a table setting for dinner every night and I hate to break the illusion but it's really hard to eat dinner off a chopping board. It's all for show. In real life, everything goes on a plate, in a big pile and I pretty much just motorboat my face into it.
Sometimes inspiration for a post just won't hit. You want to write but everything that comes out sounds weird and disjointed, like you're someone else trying to write in your voice. Those days suck because that big blank screen and blinking little line are mocking you. Telling you that you suck and that you utterly deserve to be sent requests to stripper clubs and be mocked by big companies telling you you're crap. But then someone will share an old recipe, or you'll be watching a cooking show and get a flash of "I HAVE AN IDEA!" and before you know it, you're back.
I don't know any blogger who doesn't love feedback. When I see that little notification telling me I have a new comment I get all excited, like there's a little gift to unwrap when I click on the link. It's awesome. It's why I comment on other peoples, not because I'm massively trying to get myself 'out there' but because sometimes, it's nice to just be nice. I actually read the post as well, otherwise what was the point in commenting!? One word comments are awful. "Good post. Come check out my post" Is by far the most annoying as is an obvious 'copy/paste' job.
In the winter, it's too dark, in the summer it's too light. If you don't have magical pixies sending natural light through your kitchen windows you have to set up a whole area just to take a half decent picture. Or, like most people, just go and set it up outside and hope flies don't land on your dinner. Really makes you get the job done quick though. Most bloggers will invest in some seriously good lighting, but at the moment, I'd rather spend 10 minutes outside snapping shots with the husband, than spend £100+ on a light. I do have a lightbox though. But that was for work, so doesn't count.
I mention in my contact page list that I sometimes get emails from some random dude who sends me pictures of fruits and vegetables. I'm not being cute, that actually happens and it makes my day when I see the subject line "Bananas in bowl" or "Overly ripe mangos". I also get a lot of spam comments on the blog. Some of them are so badly google translated that I can't stop laughing. I really do consider just letting a few in for comedy value. Most of them are annoying though.
"Emma what's with the monkey?" Shut up I like this picture. He had to go somewhere. Anyway, the food blogger pounds exist. Those extra few pounds you carry around because you had to try every cookie you've made, take a bowl of the food you tried and sometimes stuff is too delicious. Just because we blog about food doesn't mean we're angelic all of the time. It's a tough balance, trying to be healthy but trying to make awesome stuff. It's worth it though. 10 times over.
One day, a friend comes to me and says "Emma, how do you braise beef properly?" I said, I didn't know because I don't eat beef. They said "Yeah, but the blog." People are still amazed that things don't always turn out right, or that I can make something fine one day and fail at it the next. My blog hasn't given me some strange sort of superpower to cook everything perfectly. I don't measure like I should, I experiment too much and things still burn, come out wrong / wonky and not like I hoped. Guys, that's how we learn, that's how anyone learns! The difference is, instead of writing our good recipes down in a book to be passed onto future grandchildren, we share them out in the open. We aren't saying "Look how good I am at stuff, I know everything" we're saying "this turned out alright, you should try it if you want"
So why do we do it?
Because it's fun. Despite the weird emails, the rude PR and the mess, it's a brilliant hobby to share with people. I love reading other peoples blogs because I'm nosy by nature and I love getting recipes with a backstory. I learn about new cooking techniques, new ingredients and new tools, all from people who aren't talking down to me, but talking to me. That's pretty awesome.
There's a lot of highs. You meet new people (some of the best people I know I met through blogging), you get invited to events, you get to share war stories with others and you can do it all by starting a blog.
Have a great Friday all!
Have I missed anything out? Comment below with yours :)
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