This month we have chosen Janie from The Hedge Combers as our blog of the month. With a tag line promising a field to fork adventure Janie never fails to deliver healthy, gorgeous looking recipes with fabulous photos and unique flavours. Janie was inspired to start blogging when her partner, who is very knowledgeable about wild plants, first moved to Cornwall. With Janie clearly obsessed about food they set the site up to log their plant wanders and build up an edible map of the area. Nothing ever came of it so she started blogging as a hobby.
We had a chat to Janie to find out more about her blogging life…
Has your content changed much since you started?
Totally! As a hobby blogger I used to talk about all random subjects from stuff happening on the farm, to Cornish events, to the odd bit about food. Nowadays it’s probably 95% recipes.
What have your learned since starting your blog?
I’ve discovered a skill set that makes the content and image creation side of things really easy.
I’ve always loved photography but with images being so important to blogs (and especially food blogs) these days I went back to college to study photography. It has been invaluable and I just wish I’d done it years ago!
On a more personal level I have learnt to enjoy the success of other bloggers around me even when they get opportunities that I don’t or their stats are off the scale in comparison to mine. It is so easy to fall into the trap of not feeling good enough, but each of us have something unique to offer.
What has surprised you about blogging?
The amazing friends I have found through blogging. In one respect we are all competitors, however my circle of blogging friends feel more like my colleagues and I probably speak to them more than the real people in my life! When you find your group or tribe, the support and sharing that follows are fantastic. If anyone out there is still struggling to find their group, sign up for one of the several blogger events around the country. Just meeting others in the same boat as you, and being able to talk about things like SEO or nofollow links with someone is a breath of fresh air!
How do you balance blogging and real life?
I guess I’m lucky as I don’t have children and I blog full time so balancing is a lot easier for me than for a lot of my friends.
I am inspired daily by living on a farm, and being surrounded by wonderful producers and growers down here in Cornwall. When I feel tense and the workload is hurting my brain, I make myself walk out of my office and go and see or do something else. It sounds counterproductive to walk away from a bursting to-do list, but it all gets back into perspective really quickly when you step away from it for a while.
What’s the best thing about writing your blog? And the worst?
Getting lovely comments from readers all around the world still gives me a thrill, and when you share something that makes a difference to someone’s life you realise the power us bloggers wield. Also, working from the farm is my dream come true.
Doing the tax return and other dull paperwork is hands down the worst part of being a blogger, but I’ve been self employed for years so I really should be used to it by now!
What advice would you give someone starting a foodie blog now?
Sign up to a bloggers event, preferably one specifically for food bloggers, and go and meet people. If you’re shy (which admittedly I’m not & I’m happy to talk to anyone) find other people beforehand online that are going and message them privately, explain that you’re painfully shy and terrified of going, and you’d love to have lunch with them on the first day or meet up with them beforehand. It will give your confidence the boost necessary to get you there and joining in.
The bloggers you meet at these events will all be at different stages of running a blog and will offer you more practical advice than reading a lifetime of books or articles on the subject.
Has blogging brought you any amazing opportunities or experiences?
Soooooo many! Last year I won the South West Food Reader Awards which was incredible! As a direct result of that I got talking with the fine folk at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall and will be doing some work with them later this year.
In 2014 I was hired to research, write & photograph a guide book that covers the entire South West which was an incredible experience, and I’ve just been signed up to write a second book covering Wales. I’m really excited as it means I’ll be getting paid to drive right Wales in a camper van photographing (and eating!) amazing food. #DreamJob
Which have been your most popular posts?
Strangely the post that still sends the most traffic to my site is one all about rearing Muscovy Ducks! I wrote it when I was an ‘everything’ blogger and there was little info online at the time about these birds. Funnily enough, the Muscovy duck has even become my logo!
My most popular food post is this one for The Best Flapjack Recipe in the Whole Wide World. Ever. They are divine.
And which are your personal favourites?
On Mothers Day this year I shared a painfully personal post about miscarriage and coming to terms with never being a Mum, and whilst I wouldn’t say it was a favourite, I got a huge amount of pleasure from the comments and emails I got from other women struggling with being in a similar situation.
I don’t generally share intimate stuff like this, but it is something I struggled with for such a long time and I finally felt ready to put it out there with a hope of helping others.
How does it feel to be chosen as Foodies100 blog of the month?
Chuffed to bits! Thank you 🙂