Two Chubby Cubs is so much more than a food blog and that is why we’ve decided it’s the Foodies100 Blog of the Month! Two Chubby Cubs is the creation of James and Paul – two young guys who create excellent slimming food recipes alongside humour and fun.
We spoke to James of Two Chubby Cubs to talk cooking disasters and how they manage to maintain the blog alongside full time jobs. Check it out:
How would you describe your blog to someone who’s never read it before?
We believe in two things: enjoying food and enjoying life. Diet blogs are prone to being very po-faced and serious – we’re the antithesis of that. We like to cook with good ingredients and be a lighter alternative to all the navel-gazing, cutesy-poo blogs out there. Feedback on our blog is split 50/50 between people enjoying the recipes against people who come for the stories and the writing style. Dieting can be boring: we want to make people laugh.
Do you blog full-time or fit it in around another job? How do you make it work?
We both work very demanding, full-time jobs and blogging is very much a night-time activity for us. It’s as much work as you want it to be – if you want to keep your posts short and punchy, you can blog from anywhere. Our blog has a very distinct style: an article, then a recipe, then a few links – that looks easy enough, but you have to remember that there’s all the SEO, photo cropping, video filming, website maintenance, facebook work – a lot of extra bits and pieces behind just blogging. That takes up a fair bit of time, then we also admin our own facebook group! It can be a challenge but we’ve come to an agreement between ourselves that if it ever stops being fun, we’ll stop doing it. However, I like writing, he likes cooking…it’s never going to stop being fun!
We’re also in the middle of a big secret project which is taking up even more of our time – but you just have to keep going…!
One of the things that makes your blog really stand out is the language and risqué content – lots of bloggers worry about how this might seem to readers or potential brand partners, is that something you’ve experienced?
Not to our knowledge, although we don’t push for brand partnering as much as you might expect a blog with such high traffic to do so. We have run many successful campaigns with big names and our readership knows that they can trust us to be honest with our reviews and attitude. If anything, the fact that our risky language and style stands out works in our favour: we’re not just another ten-a-penny food blog. Who honestly cares what two fat blokes in Newcastle have to say about where we bought our asparagus? No-one. But write about nonsense and people love it. On posts where we do review products we make a bit of a joke about the fact we’re getting paid to do so by putting a big money-filled banner up – people can never accuse us of not being honest!
What’s your favourite post that you’ve published and why?
Our favourite post isn’t even a food post – it’s a post we put up after my gran died. That sounds depressing and macabre but it really isn’t – my nana was incredibly special to me and shared my bawdy sense of humour. The post was a gently humorous article pointing out her many quirks but is written like the love letter to an amazing woman that she was. It proves that even in death, you can find light. the life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living
Have you guys ever had a total cooking disaster? What happened?
We blame Gordon Ramsay for the fact we set our living room on fire and had the police turn up to our old, open-plan flat to give us a warning. We were making his cherry samosas which calls for melting a load of butter in a hot pan – this immediately burst into flames. With much shrieking, I did the only thing I could do – pick up the flaming pan, hurtle across our living room, opened the balcony doors and threw this frying pan out of the window in a streak of fire. The pan flew across the road and into the Tyne just as a passing police car drove underneath. They turned up to give us a stern lecture but took pity on us when they realised a) the butter had also set our living room curtains on fire and b) it was a Le Creuset pan – gutted.
At the moment Foodies100 and our sister sites are really promoting the idea of diversity in blogging – do you think it’s something we need more of?
More voices can never be a bad thing, as long as they have something to say. Diversity for the sake of diversity is pointless – a blog is anonymous after all, until you put a face to it. Let anyone who has a story or an insight tell it without fretting about whether or not they tick a box on the diversity list. We make no secret of the fact that we’re two gay blokes in a happy marriage, but it doesn’t define our blog – it just ‘is’. I love reading people’s stories and experience as long as they’re interesting and engaging.
Your site is hugely successful with a big audience and lots of engagement – do you have any tips for food bloggers who are struggling to grow an engaged audience?
Be different. Everyone has a story, tell your own: don’t limit yourself to just talking about where you buy your tomatoes or the aaaaaamazing coconut flour you use. People will listen to your voice if it isn’t being drowned out by countless others. Don’t exploit your audience: saturating your blog with tonnes of adverts and shilling for Amazon links turns people away. Don’t be tempted to steal content from other blogs: it’s hard work producing fresh material and it can be incredibly demoralising to see it stolen.
But above all else, have fun: if it becomes a chore, find a new angle to approach it from. Do some video blogging, write in a different style. Host a competition. Start a discussion on your facebook page.
Oh and don’t be demoralised by low viewing numbers: I remember being excited when we received 50 visitors – we now get over 50,000 views a day. Just keep plugging away…
What would you say is the focus of your blog over the next year – do you have any goals you’re working towards?
Just keep going! What we’re doing now works for us – we pull in a decent income, we have fun and our food is well received. What more could you want?
March is a month of diversity across Foodies100 and our sister sites. As such we’d love to showcase even more food blogs with a slightly different twist to them – let us know your favourites in the comments!