Just thought I’d share a few thoughts on 2012 the year I started Fab Food 4 All. I can honestly say that it’s been the most personally rewarding thing I have ever done and if it was taken away from me I would be devastated. I started my blog after reading an article in Good Housekeeping about making money from home and then my husband also mentioned that there was fab blogging software called WordPress. So he set my site up, helped in the initial stages and we both kind of learned along the way, but I still turn to him when I get stuck as he is Mr Computer!
Back in March 2012 I started blogging and was enthusiastically putting my family’s favourite recipes out into cyberville and was pleased that my hit counter was gaining thousands of hits from around the world. I would leave messages on other bloggers web sites and occasionally they would leave comments on mine but these were few and far between so I started to feel a wee bit isolated and lonely. The biggest boost I had was when the Diamond Jubilee came along and my cakes and pavlova were huge hits but still no-one left a comment. One day I had a technical issue that I couldn’t resolve and as my husband was busy I decided to contact another blogger whom I’d discovered via a comment on a food blog and who also used WordPress. That person was Jacqueline at How to be a Gourmand. We were soon e-mailing each other about all sorts of blog issues and she went above and beyond the call of duty in helping me and advising me to join Twitter and Facebook to improve my blog reach. I joined Twitter and she guided me through it like a toddler taking her first steps. Well this marked a huge turning point as now I was able to connect with other bloggers in a more personal and instant way and soon I was joining in with blog challenges and I was getting comments on my recipes which made it all the more worthwhile. I do believe that Jacqueline has commented on every recipe I’ve posted since we first met in cyberspace and always has something very nice and intelligent to say! So if I were handing out New Year’s Honours then my first one would have to go to Jacqueline for be being so very nice to me, propping me up when self doubt crept in and holding my hand on my first steps into social networking. As well as all that her recipes are fab and my favourite one to date which I tell everyone about is Warm Halloumi, Lentil and Tomato Salad I’d never even had Halloumi until Jacqueline introduced me to this wonderful Greek cheese!
So now I’m tweeting, posting recipes and finding my feet with brands like Oxo and Mermaid who were so very kind to me a fledgling blogger and providing me with fabulous products to use and give away for competitions. My first few competitions were tiny affairs and you probably could have fitted the number of entrants in a small room but the Lenny Agency stuck by me and were so very lovely to me it brought a tear to my eye one day when out of the blue they sent me some Chocolate Brownies for being a fab blogger! They also went on to make me their blogger of the month back in October which again I was completely taken aback by! They gave me the confidence to approach other companies and although some of these fell on deaf ears many of them were also lovely people and would provide me with products that I wanted to review and share as prizes with my now growing readership. So the honour for loveliest PR Agency would have to go to The Lenny Agency for helping a new blogger with tiny ratings (at the time) grow in confidence in this bewildering bloggersphere!
Then finally my last honour would have to to someone who after Jacqueline took me under their wing and helped me find out all the ins and outs of blogging. I still don’t know most of them but the key ones she taught me, like no-follow links and basic blog etiquette. She is such a busy lady and so very successful that I don’t know how she has the time to help not just me but many others too. She freely introduced me to one of her contacts recently and I can thank her for the hamper of Christmas food that came our way from Knorr (as well as a previous one). Her passion and knowledge of blogging, social media and all things food industry related are second to none. If ever I felt put upon I would think what would Helen to in this situation! She made me feel it was right to stick up for what you believe in and never put up with any nonsense! So my last honour of the New Year goes to Helen at Fuss Free Flavours for her untiring generosity to not just me but the whole blogging community! Here’s a delicious recipe of Helen’s that I’ve got on my to make list: Apple & Quince (Syrup) Crumble.
I also just want to say thank you to some of my other blog friends that I met in the beginning of my journey and who have helped me be the blogger I am today (in the order that I met them):
Gitte @ My Danish Kitchen – a real inspiration (please join Twitter)!
Jo @ Jo Blogs Jo Bakes – you’re just too clever and a fab blogger!
Karen @ Lavender & Lovage – yours was the 1st challenge I entered, lovely lady!
Jacqueline @ Tinned Tomatoes – for great banter and blogger generosity (& Cooper)!
Filipa @ Gourment Mum – lovely, wants me to write a book but I’ll wait for hers first!
Jen @ Blue Kitchen Bake – always lovely, chatty and helpful!
Kate @ Turquoise Lemons – such a fun, skilled & crafty lady!
Sophie @ Totally Caked Out – sweety & even gave one of my knitted hats a home!
Mich @ A Piece of Cake – far away but always leaving lovely comments!
Mark @ Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w /luv – he works so hard I almost feel bad! #Madewithluv
No doubt I will have left someone out but after no sleep last night and a poorly daughter please do forgive me. I would also like to thank all the readers of my blog because without you I simply wouldn’t be able to do something that I love. It’s great to know when someone has made your dish and enjoyed it so keep up the comments as they make my day!
Wishing you all a wonderful New Year!
PS: And a huge thank you to Nigel Slater for tweeting with me on my first day on Twitter (and ever since) and being such an inspiration and all round good egg!