Congratulations to our blog of the month, Hungry, Healthy, Happy which is written by Dannii. Dannii shares the recipes, healthy living tips and exercises that have helped her lose an amazing 100lbs.
Over to Dannii…
What inspired you to start your blog?
My blog started as a way for me to stay on track with my 100lbs weight loss. My family and friends were asking me how I did it and to share my healthy recipes, so it made sense to start a blog to keep them all in one place. Friends and family started sharing my posts and it all kind of snowballed from there. I had a Hungry Healthy Happy Facebook page before the blog and once the Facebook page became popular, a blog was the next step.
Has your content changed much since you started?
In terms of the quality of the content it has. I never really measured ingredients properly in the beginning and my photography was terrible. I would take the photos on a very old camera phone, with no styling or props. I wouldn’t even wipe round the bowl. The photos are pretty laughable looking back at them. My content has also changed as my tastes have changed and also due to working with brands to promote their products. But, I will stay true to myself and never post something that I don’t believe in.
What have your learned since starting your blog?
Time management has been a big life lesson. People who blog alongside a full-time job and children are superstars in my eyes. I am a full-time blogger with no children and I struggle to stay on top of things, but it has taught me to be more organized. It has also taught me to be more assertive too. There are a lot of people out there that try to take advantage of bloggers and get them to do a lot of work just in exchange for “exposure” and learning to say no and know your worth has been a learning curve for me.
What has surprised you about blogging?
The friends I have made and also the kindness of strangers. Some of the nicest things people have ever said to me have come through blog comments or emails from people that I have never even met. Weight loss is such a personal journey and I am very honest about the ups and downs and I think that allows me to connect with my readers and they respond well to that. I have also made some great friends in the blogging community too, which I never expected when I first started blogging. The blogging community can definitely be a crazy one and sadly too many people think we are all competing. But I really think there is room for everyone and that we should all be supporting each other.
How do you balance blogging and real life?
This isn’t something I am very good at. When I first started blogging full-time, I went 2 years without having a day off. Not my birthday, or Christmas – I even worked on the beach every day on holiday. I was working on the blog for 18 hours a day at one point and whilst that is pretty crazy, it was worth it in the end as I have got some great year long blogging contracts and I got a book deal (my book is out in January). I am trying to be better with the balance now and I make myself take one day off a week – no checking emails, no blogging. Not only is it best for my mental healthy and my marriage, but I find that I come back the next day with more motivation and ideas.
What’s the best thing about writing your blog? And the worst?
The best thing is having the freedom to write whatever I want. I don’t have to answer to anyone and I have all the creative freedom. I also get to work in my pyjamas and there are not many jobs where you can say that. It has allowed me to turn my passion in to a job and I have met so many incredible people through it. But, I think the best thing has to be the book deal, it’s a dream come true. The worst thing about it is putting yourself out there and in the firing line for criticism or hurtful comments. Some people think they are invincible behind a computer and feel like they can be mean and that happens a lot with healthy eating blogs I think. Oh, and if you are a full-time blogger it can be really stressful because you just don’t know what is going to happen. It isn’t the most reliable job in the world and isn’t overly secure either. Which just means we have to work harder to secure those long-term contracts.
What advice would you give someone starting a foodie blog now?
Do it! Don’t spend ages thinking about it, just start one and see where it goes. Also, don’t start one with the sole aim of earning money as that is really transparent. Start a blog because you want to do something creative and share your recipes and things will progress from there. Also, read the manual on your camera – that’s my top tip. Oh, and know your worth.
Has blogging brought you any amazing opportunities or experiences?
I get sent to some amazing places all around the world on press trips, I get to see a book full of all my recipes come out in January and I have worked with some of my favourite brands. It might sound cheesy, but every day as a blogger is a bit of an adventure and you never know what is going to happen. You can think it is going to be a dull day and then *BAM* you get an invite to Switzerland in your inbox.
Which have been your most popular posts?
I have a slow cooker balsamic chicken recipe that has gone a bit crazy on Pinterest and brings me a lot of traffic:
And which are your personal favourites?
These raw chocolate fudge brownies are my favourite.
How does it feel to be chosen as Foodies100 blog of the month?
I am honored! The Foodies 100 community has brought me lots of amazing opportunities and I have made some great friends through it.