This month we have chosen Alida who blogs at My Little Italian Kitchen, as our blog of the month.
Congratulations to Alida…
What inspired you to start your blog?
My children! Being a mum often means having to do lots of cooking and you end up spending lots of time in the kitchen. Weaning my two babies was when I really began putting all my beliefs into practice. I took great pleasure in making little meals from scratch. Sourcing organic and fresh ingredients daily, quickly became a job on its own along with an extraordinary euphoria and excitement for cooking, which was growing stronger and stronger; I just could never get enough of it. Fresh and healthy meals turned into little projects for me! As the children grew out of the weaning stage, I began cooking different meals every week so I decided to start a website about Italian cookery that would allow me to share my recipes and get feedback.
Has your content changed much since you started? If so, how?
Your blog reflects who you are, your personality and how you change as the time goes by. When I first started I felt quite shy about posting recipes which were “safe”, classic and traditional. Constant practice and feeling part of a friendly community of bloggers has increased my confidence and I am now more adventurous and more creative.
I enjoy creating gluten free, low fat recipes and writing about healthy foods in general as well as posting classic recipes. I also visit farms and interview Italian artisans who produce good quality Italian food.
What have you learnt since starting your blog? (skills/life lessons)
Writing a blog enriches you in many ways. You gain many new skills: from social media, to photography, to writing skills, food styling and social skills too. You learn how to engage with people and you learn what makes them tick. Understanding what people want to see on your blog is so important. I am now so addicted to my blog that I could not live without it. Constantly cooking, practicing in the kitchen and experimenting has much improved my cookery skills too and my family appreciate it and that is very rewarding.
What has surprised you about blogging?
I never thought blogging could be a full time job. People often ask me if I work as well as blogging! With a blog you often end up working even longer than a normal working day: it is not enough posting, you need to share your work, engage all the time with social media as well as reading magazines, newspapers to get ideas for your next posts. I never thought I could be up at night thinking of what my next recipe would be!
Also I have realized that preparing decent posts take time. Most companies have a cook, a food stylist and a photographer for a photo shoot. A blogger needs to master all these things.
How do you balance blogging and real life?
It fits very well around family life. Working from home gives me the time to look after my children. In fact it’s certainly helping them get used to a variety of different meals. Everything I cook goes on the plates for the whole family with no excuses. This is the Italian way. We all eat the same and children gradually get used to it and learn to appreciate different foods.
What is the best thing about writing a blog? And the worst?
It is your blog and you can be as creative as you like. it’s a vent valve and that feels great. I love the social side of blogging which allows you to meet many bloggers like yourself and having something in common brings you together. It can also be very exciting if a post goes viral (and that happens sometimes!) and you suddenly get floods of people looking at your post! That’s a real turn on, it is.
On the other hand blogging can be lonely and frankly sometimes tedious. There are days and weeks when nothing seems to happen and I would rather do something entirely different. This does not last very long though. I find that the best way is to take a short break, go for a walk, do some shopping and take your mind off it. You simply cannot be creative all the time.
What advice would you give someone starting a foodie blog now?
If you have a passion a blog is a good way to express it. You need to write about things that genuinely interest you otherwise you will struggle to keep enthusiasm up. A blog is like a relationship. Give it some love and it will flourish. You need to be consistent and be yourself whilst engaging with other bloggers and be sociable.
Has blogging brought you any amazing opportunities or experiences?
It certainly has. My most exciting experience is when I won the Uniform Foodies blogging challenge with Michael Caines and when I made pasta with Mr Giovanni Rana, the guru of pasta in Italy.
Which have been your most popular post?
My top post is gluten free almond, ricotta and lemon cake followed by Individual tiramisu’ which has had many hits too.
And which are your personal favourites?
Aubergine rolls norma style, and cheese making step by step which is my experience of watching how cheese is made in a very small Italian village dairy. I enjoyed that very much.
How does it feel to be chosen as Foodies 100 blog of the month?
It feels great! Thank you! 🙂