It never gets easier, you just get better!
I remember the day I started the Arugula & Rocket blog. It was a day of elation, frustration and contemplation. I had no idea what I was doing, what I was going to write, and worst of all, if anyone was actually going to read it – hello, is anyone out there?!
Two years on and I am still fumbling my way through recipes, creating a mess of apocalyptic proportions in my kitchen and blithering about my experiences to you all. So you can imagine my joy – and surprise – when I received a message nominating me for the Blogger Recognition Award – say what?!
After looking for a catch, a request to send over my bank details, or a potential link to a virus that would send my online world spiralling into the Bermuda Triangle of IT, I realised that there was no mistake or confusion, it was genuine – so a huge, huge thank you to Fran from Finding Mum Time for nominating me, what a fantastic compliment!
I initially started the Arugula & Rocket Blog as a productive way to fill my time and learn new skills while my US VISA was being processed. Today, Arugula & Rocket has become a “proper” blog with hundreds of followers and an online store to boot.
For any of you out there who may be considering starting your own blog, I would offer the following two pieces of advice:
- Write about something you are really passionate about. Blogging is time consuming and it takes much longer than you would imagine to build an audience. Considering the man – or woman – hours you’ll be devoting to it, you need to enjoy doing it.
- Be true to yourself – wow, that sounds all grown up and serious, doesn’t it?! Find your niche, focus on what you love and write in your own voice – you are unique and people want to connect with YOU. So let your true personality shine through – because you’re great!
To reward my fellow bloggers and to engage and inspire you all further, here is my list of the best bloggers and my nominees for the Blogger Recognition Award…
Carina Blum from Searching for Spice:
Carina’s blog is awesome. She focusses on easy, healthy, family-friendly recipes. I love the clean, crisp layout of her site and her food photography is visually delicious – check out these simple to make, yet impressively spectacular Breadstick Wands! She also participates in Cook Once Eat Twice, a monthly food blogging event that showcases recipes that taste just as delicious if warmed up and eaten another day.
Erika from Southern Souffle:
I love Erika’s blog. She writes from the heart and with humour. Her wholesome soul food will inspire you want to throw on that apron and shout hallelujah! Erika’s food styling and photography skills are also top notch. In fact, so much so, you’d be forgiven for thinking her recipes should only be reserved for the most talented of cooks. But this is certainly not the case and her recipes are surprisingly straightforward.
Megan-Crayford Noble from No Mean Feast:If you live in, or are visiting London, Megan-Crayford’s blog is for you. She writes honest and detailed reviews of fine food and restaurants in London. Her posts cover everything from pricing, her fave dishes, what dishes to avoid, and even the nearest tube station to help you get there.
Monique from Divas Can Cook:Monique is a fun, Southern home girl who likes to cook from scratch. I cannot emphasise enough how much I LOVE this blog. Not only do you get mouth-wateringly irresistible southern soul foods, but it is impossible to leave her blog without a smile on your face. You must check out one of her many video recipes, her voice-overs are hilarious. Monique, your style is inimitable – keep it up y’all!
Elinor from Beach Hut Cook:
If you feel like you need to get away, this is the blog for you. Elinor spends much of her time in her delightful beach hut beside the sea. Her recipes focus on dishes that are easy to make in the small kitchen of her super cute beach hut, or on a campfire on the beach. If her recipes don’t tempt you, her coastal set food photography certainly will – oh I do like to be beside the seaside!
Ali from Gimme Some Oven:
I love Ali’s blog. Fresh, clean and easy to navigate, she clearly categorises her recipes by course, occasion, cuisine, dietary needs, and ingredients. So you are never a short click away from finding the perfect recipe.
Jessica Merchant from How Sweet Eats:
In spite of its’ name, this blog covers everything from healthy recipes, to comfort food, to indulgent desserts. Jessica’s passion for using seasonal ingredients is evident, her photography and food styling is stunning, and her recipes creative and mouthwatering – check out the Maple Pumpkin Gingersnap Tiramisu Trifle to see what I mean!
Heather from Flourishing Foodie:
A fellow Seattle-ite, Heather is a joy to follow. Her recipes are quick, wholesome, nutritious, and require minimal effort to make – who doesn’t like that?! She started her blog back in 2010 so her compendium of recipes is exhaustive. It is literally impossible not to find a recipe that appeals to you on this blog.
Kristin from Iowa Girl Eats:
Mom of two, Kristin was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2013. Her blog shares delicious, easy-to-follow, gluten-free recipes that do not compromise on taste. As a slow cooker fan, I absolutely love that she has an entire section devoted to crock pot recipes – for the first time, I’m actually excited for the winter!
Hannah Pardon from Sweet Pea’s:
As you all know, I was hit by the wand of the sweet toothed fairy when I was born. Therefore, Hannah’s blog hits me right in my G-Spot – with G representing Gob (English slang for mouth!). Her no-nonsense blog offers easy-to-follow, step-by-step recipes for inspiring and truly delicious sweet things.
My second love in life is animals. From early childhood, dogs and cats in particular, have played a huge part in my life. I am currently working on a new venture D&C Pet Couture to bring me closer to the pet community and have also been actively following some rather cute and hilarious animal bloggers. Here are my top 5:
- Dog Shaming – a hilarious exposé of mischievous dogs and their shameful wrongdoings.
- SparkleCat – details the adventures and silly cat humour of Summer the Sparkle Designer Cat.
- Crusoe The Celebrity Dachshund – a hilarious blog that follows Crusoe, a canine internet celebrity.
- You Did What With Your Wiener? – this blogs follows the adventures of two hiking Dachshunds. The name alone, is enough to win this blog an award!
- Storm the Cat – this Instagram microblog features Storm, an adorable 2 month old Scottish Fold kitten – warning: this site contains crazy levels of cuteness!
I also couldn’t resist sharing one extra special guest blog:
- Goats of Anarchy – ok, so this isn’t a dog or cat blog, but who can resist cute special needs rescue goats?
Blogger Recognition Award Rules:
The Blogger Recognition Award is nominated by bloggers to bloggers. It’s a way to give recognition for their hard work. To accept the award, you must follow these rules:
- Thank the blogger who nominated you and leave a link to their blog.
- Write a post to show your award
- Give a brief story of How/Why you started blogging
- Give two pieces of advice you would give to brand new bloggers
- Nominate 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to
- Comment on each blog letting them know you have nominated them giving the link to the post you have created