Congratulations to June’s Blog of the Month…Gluten Free Cuppa Tea written by Becky. Becky is a gluten free blogger and YouTuber, specialising in free from recipes, vlogs, travel guides and restaurant reviews. Her blog shows that life doesn’t have to be a struggle just because you can’t eat gluten and that you can still enjoy food and eating out.
Over to Becky…
What inspired you to start your blog?
I started my blog at a time when gluten free food was still quite hard to come by in supermarkets and restaurants. So, as you can imagine, finding a new gluten free product became this sort of wondrous occasion that I wanted to share with the world! I guess my main inspiration was just to help other people like me, especially those who were new to being gluten free, as it can be daunting being thrown in at the deep end.
Has your content changed much since you started?
I suppose it’s evolved quite a bit since starting in 2013, even if it’s so gradual that most people may not have noticed! My writing generally has improved a lot and so has my food photography. I started off just reviewing products or restaurants but I’ve transitioned into more recipe creation and vlogs. I’ve never really wanted to be thought of as a ‘critic’ or anything like that, so I’m much happier writing recipes and filming my everyday life.
What have your learned since starting your blog?
Blogging has become the sort of silent motivator that pushes me to learn new things I probably would have never known (or needed to know) otherwise. Like I said, I’ve invested a lot of time into teaching myself the finer points of food photography, but more recently, videography and editing too. But in terms of life lessons, there’s a massive learning curve. When working with brands, you sort of double up as your own manager: negotiating fees, maintaining relationships and keeping an eye out for new opportunities. I guess you ultimately have to evolve to become this wonder woman-like person who can do anything and everything!
What has surprised you about blogging?
I was always surprised (and still continue to be surprised) by where blogging has taken me, online and offline. I’ve been invited to some amazing events, food festivals and even been on national radio too, all just by tapping away on my keyboard at home. My blog has also been surprisingly helpful in the job market, with all my previous employers being impressed with what I’ve built purely in my spare time. My past jobs have always been in PR, digital marketing and social media, some even at the gluten free brands I was writing about. Because of my blog, people saw me as sort of an expert in that area which I definitely never expected or planned.
How do you balance blogging and real life?
It’s something I’ve really struggled with at times. My most recent full time job as a digital marketing manager is possibly the best (and most demanding) job I’ve ever had. Yet, my blog has also been doing the best it’s ever been in recent months too. Balancing both a full time job and blogging has always been a bit of a juggling act and whilst it’s very possible, the lack of focus on one or the other brings plenty of frustrations with it. That’s why as of this month, I’m taking the plunge and going full time as a blogger/freelancer. It’s been a big decision, but life’s too short to not do what you love every day. I bet there still won’t be enough hours in the day to get everything done though!
What’s the best thing about writing your blog? And the worst?
One thing I enjoy the most is just the pure joy of helping someone like myself. Nothing beats a simple tweet from someone saying “hey, I went to Brighton recently and your gluten free guide really helped. We had a great time.” All I ever wanted to be is someone who shares their experience and hopefully help others in the process in doing so. I’ve met a lot of people who find being gluten free an absolute nightmare and very tough to cope with. Through my vlogs and recipes, I try to show how it’s still possible to love food and be happy even despite dietary restrictions. The worst part of writing a blog is probably the constant feeling that you should be non-stop churning out content every waking minute. The Internet is a competitive place when it comes to blogging and it’s so easy to look at others and feel like you should be doing more. I find that setting myself a few rough quotas a week and sticking to them to be the best idea to combat this.
What advice would you give someone starting a foodie blog now?
Just do it! It’s so easy to talk yourself out of it, with such examples including: “my photography isn’t good enough”, “I’m not a good writer” or even just “I can’t think of a good name.” You’ve got to just start and allow the evolution to take its course. Trust me, you’ll always look back on your first post and cringe, but that will only be because you’ve improved so much since then. Every bad post you do is just another step to getting where you want to be, so don’t be afraid to take those initial first steps. My first post is still on my blog today and it’s probably horrific!
Has blogging brought you any amazing opportunities or experiences?
I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to a lot of events in London over the last few years, but I’ve definitely got my personal faves. Being on national radio talking about living a gluten free lifestyle was a first I’ll never forget. I was also recently invited to the Taste of London Food Festival – an amazing foodie event I’d probably never have known about if it wasn’t for my blog. But probably my new favourite (and surreal) moment happened last week when I found myself walking around London with a film crew following me. Now that’s something I didn’t think would happen off the back of my blog!
Which have been your most popular posts?
My gluten free guide to Amsterdam has been a massive success on my blog. My boyfriend and I always hunt down the best gluten free and dairy free places to eat out whenever we go away out of necessity (otherwise we might starve!) So it sort of made sense just to list all of our favourite places in a blog post. Never did I realise how much I would go on to help other people too! I made a video to go along with it as well, showing where we ate and how awesome Amsterdam is in general.
And which are your personal favourites?
I love all of the gluten free city guides just as much as everyone else too! They’re so much fun to make, as well as actually use when I’m revisiting a city. All of the places on the list, I’ve been to myself, so I take great pride in recommending them to others. I could so easily just sit at home on Google and make a guide to somewhere I’ve never been to, but that sort of defeats the point for me. It’s quite sad really, I look forward to our next holidays just so I can make another one!! Video-wise, I’m immensely proud of the vlogs I’ve created in the past year. My What I Eat In A Day videos feature three or more recipes and they’re just so much fun to make. I take it as a compliment that people are so interested in knowing what I eat personally from day to day!
How does it feel to be chosen as Foodies100 blog of the month?
It’s amazing!! I’ve been a part of Foodies 100 for years and years so that’s a lot of months of past disappointment for me… until now! But seriously, it’s so lovely just for someone to acknowledge that my blog exists as I never expected more than my Mum to read it to be quite honest! Foodies100 has brought be a lot of amazing opportunities through my blog, so I guess this is where I finally get to say thanks. Thanks!
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