This month we are delighted to introduce London-born Fiona, a food and travel lover who writes London Unattached, as our Blog of the Month!
Over to Fiona…
What inspired you to start your blog?
After a blue chip career, working for Vodafone, TSB and others, I became a successful freelance marketing consultant and then was part of the dot-com boom, building and selling a portfolio of dating sites. It was fun, but very hectic and I spent a lot of my time working across Europe living out of a suitcase. When mum got sick, my focus turned to my family and I was completely out of touch with the developments in social media. I started my blog with the idea of getting up to speed for clients by understanding how bloggers worked. Then, I discovered I enjoyed writing and really loved some of the events and challenges, so I stayed!
Has your content changed much since you started?
London Unattached is still a little eclectic. I started writing about my balcony garden and about restaurants, shows and exhibitions in London. Initially, I wrote a LOT of recipes for smoothies with the express aim of winning a place at a Food Blogging conference. I won my place and met a group of great food bloggers. I haven’t made another smoothie since, but I carried on writing the occasional recipe and the more than occasional restaurant review. I am probably doing a little more travel than when I first started – but I think someone mistook me for a different ‘Fiona’ who just happens to be a rather famous wine and food writer. So I was lucky enough to be invited on a wine tasting trip to the Loire valley when my blog was about six weeks old…
What have your learned since starting your blog?
That there is no such thing as the right way to blog. It certainly isn’t like a normal job or even like a freelance contract and what works for one person will be totally wrong for the next person.
What has surprised you about blogging?
An apparent blurring between being contracted to do something and (hopefully) paid versus doing something that you enjoy for free. I find the ‘Don’t work for free’ concept a little confused in the blogging community. Of course if you are asked by a brand or a PR to write a specific piece promoting their product you should be paid. But, if you are a new blogger just starting out, just being offered products to review is wonderful. And sometimes if you are offered genuinely wonderful opportunity, it seems a little churlish to expect payment.
How do you balance blogging and real life?
My main challenge is balancing blogging with building a new business. Up till now, it hasn’t been an issue, but I am now working with contributors for the blog to ensure there is new content while I get on with building the business
What’s the best thing about writing your blog? And the worst?
For me, the blog is cathartic. There are plenty of posts up there which I will never publish but which allow me to let off steam about bad customer service etc. And, I’ve done some really wonderful events including previewing the Shard, tasting brandy that costs over £2,000 a bottle(!) and travelling around the World. The worst? Keeping up with all the social media!
What advice would you give someone starting a foodie blog now?
Engage with other bloggers in real life and online – go to events and conferences as much as possible and network through social media. If you get stuck, don’t be embarrassed to ask for help – most bloggers are supportive.
Has blogging brought you any amazing opportunities or experiences?
Most recently a trip to America as part of the #TasteAmerica campaign. But, if I am honest there have been too many to list. I’ve been to Sri Lanka and India, to some amazing places in Portugal and France and of course there have been great events in London too and discovered hidden gems.
Which have been your most popular posts?
Sadly, my most popular posts are recipes for diet celery soup and low calorie spicy tomato and lentil soup!
And which are your personal favourites?
Gosh, I love the posts which involve champagne. All of them. From Champagne and Fromage in Brixton to the Laurent Perrier tasting event at Harvey Nichols.
How does it feel to be chosen as Foodies100 blog of the month?
I’m flattered, especially as there are some really great food blogs out there and I’ve never seen myself as a proper food blogger – rather as someone who writes about food as part of a lifestyle blog.