With a new year comes a new Blog of the Month, and the blogger getting January’s gold star is Michelle from Utterly Scrummy Food For Families. She focuses on tasty, seasonal and frugal recipes that the whole family will enjoy, and her blog is a joy to browse with great photos and a brilliant variety of posts. We love that despite being a mum of four and having challenges to deal with at home, she still finds the time and inspiration to blog. “I’m really surprised and delighted to be chosen as Blog Of The Month,” says Michelle. “It’s always lovely to be recognised by the blogging community and have my blog featured!”
Here, we chat to Michelle and find out more about her blogging life…
What inspired you to start your blog?
After becoming an expat (again!) I was getting annoyed with sending recipes to family and friends back in New Zealand via email. I decided to start blogging my recipes so they could all find them easily. My blog just grew from there.
Has your content changed much since you started?
I still blog what I cook and bake for the family but I do like a challenge, whether it be creating a recipe to incorporate an ingredient or a meal plan to a set budget. I’m taking on recipe development work which makes me experiment more. Having another child recently means there’ll no doubt be weaning recipes in a few months which I haven’t blogged about before.
What have your learned since starting your blog?
Be yourself, don’t get hung up on rankings, and don’t put online what you wouldn’t be comfortable shouting in the street and having everyone know. I’ve also learned that you can get recognised in very unusual places and I get asked for cooking advice a lot.
Has anything surprised you about blogging?
How many real life friends I have made. I’ve met lots of people through blogging and it’s great being part of a supportive, creative and vibrant community. Also how many people actually visit my blog, I’m gobsmacked that so many people read it.
How do you balance blogging and real life?
It can be really tricky. My family comes first, always. I balance blogging with work for the NHS, freelance recipe development work, four children, an allotment, and a busy home life so sometimes posting can be more sporadic than I would like. Having a newborn certainly has been challenging, staying awake long enough to blog has been difficult. My three daughters love to cook and bake so I also blog their efforts which takes the pressure off me a little bit.
What’s the best thing about writing your blog?
The best thing is having a creative outlet and pushing myself to create new recipes and try out things I might not try otherwise. It’s also led to some freelance recipe development work and work with brands which is both enjoyable and rewarding.
And the worst?
The worst thing is not being able to post as often as I would like and trying to take decent photos in winter, there just isn’t enough decent daylight most days and artificial lighting can be tricky to get right.
What advice would you give someone starting a foodie blog now?
Find your voice and stay true to it, don’t expect a huge readership and PR interest overnight. Do what you do the best you can and good things will come. Enjoy what you do and join in with the blogging community. There’s so much experience. invaluable advice and support to tap into. Take part in some foodie challenges – they’re great for getting out of your comfort zone or for a burst of inspiration. It also helps you get to know other blogs and bloggers. Always ask permission if using someone else’s recipe or photo and always respect copyright.
Has blogging brought you any amazing opportunities or experiences?
I’ve met and cooked with a lot of celebrity chefs, visited lots of places in the UK, and learned more tips and tricks than I could ever have hoped. A highlight was cooking at Master Chef Live in front of a large crowd at the Olympia in London, terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure.
Which have been your most popular posts?
My most popular posts are my meal plans with shopping lists and Quick, easy and cheap birthday party food Ideas. I cringe at the photos, I should remake and take better photos but the readers of the posts don’t seem to mind.
And which are your personal favourites?
My favourite posts are our Live Below the Line Week posts as it was a really challenging life experience for us as a family, and post about our allotment adventures as we love to grow and eat as much of our own produce as possible.
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