Taking stock and a bit of a blogging reset
It’s safe to say my poor little blog has been a neglected recently. I guess it’s great that my day job, which also happens to mainly involve writing about food, has slightly taken over and my posts have been sporadic to say the least. I remember a time (a long way back) when I was managing to post three times a week and now we’re lucky if it’s once a fortnight.
Sadly, my two-year anniversary with WordPress, which was the time that I really started taking my blog seriously, passed a few months ago without a celebration and while I’ve tried my hardest to keep on giving you guys who take the time to read Eat with Ellen some interesting posts about places we’ve tried, I know I’ve not quite managed the same passionate approach that I once had.
I guess it happens, we get distracted by real ‘life’, dragged away from the blogging bubble, and life just kinda throws curveballs at us. I suppose I also got stuck in a bit of a rut – accepting invitations, writing about places we discovered, and maybe in a tiny way just going through the motions of something that has become such a regular fixture in my life now that I forgot what really started it all.
And then someone poked me. Not physically. That would be weird. But poked me across the social media world and it made me sit up and think. We may not have agreed (in fact, we definitely didn’t agree) on what they were saying, but what it did do was give me a kick up the backside and reminded me exactly why I started writing this blog in the first place.
You see, I started a blog for two very simple reasons. And before you say it, neither of those were about getting free stuff. Quite simply, I love food. It’s probably mine and Mr M’s favourite pastime, although we’re currently trying to slim down our waistlines. I love finding new places, trying new foods, and sharing the experience with friends. These days you can pretty much forget clubbing, the cinema or a drink down the pub. I’d much rather be trying out a new eaterie.
The other passion that ignited my little corner of the internet was my love of writing. It’s my career of choice as a journalist but as a news reporter for over a decade and now a freelance journo, I don’t exactly always get to choose exactly what I write about, how I write it and where it appears. My blog is where I can do that. I write about what I want, when I want, how I want, and it’s MINE.
My little rut and the recent ‘poke’ got my thinking about all that – about what I write about on the blog, why I write it, and who I’m writing it for. And while I’m not sure where the time is going to magically reappear to start writing more regularly (though I plan to – look out for two posts a week from now on folks!), a few things are clear.
Firstly, this blog is not going anywhere. It’s become such an important part of my life and it’s given me so much – from the sense of achievement of having created something myself to the opportunities it’s brought to me – that I’m just not ready to let go of it.
Secondly, while I plan to revamp the regularity of posts and give you even more to get your teeth into (yes, I did write that…), not much else is going to change. I’ve never been a cook, we all know that, so don’t expect a sudden surge of recipes or gourmet meals I’ve cooked myself. And while I might not be going to quite so many events and launches these days, Mr M and I are still checking out places across the UK all the time.
Yes, I get offered freebies and if I think they’ll fit this blog and what you guys might want to read, then I’ll take them and I’ll always tell you when we’ve been given a complimentary meal. But you can rest assured that I’ll never accept a freebie if I don’t think that someone, somewhere who might stumble upon my little blog might get something out of it.
That means it won’t always been Michelin-starred meals or fine dining experiences. Yes, I love them, and I’d say Mr M and I have parted with far more cash than we’d even like to think of on great meals at top notch places. But there’s plenty of room for a whole range of cuisine – in my life and in other people’s. I’ve always wanted this blog to be about variety. About balance. And about remembering the whole picture.
I’m not a celebrity, a rock star or a member of the landed gentry. I’m not a millionaire, not even close. And my friends or my family aren’t any of these either. So that means that while I get over-excited about some of the treats we’ve had, whether gifted to me or paid for with my own grubby little mitt, I also enjoy a casual bite at a mainstream chain on a Tuesday night. It’s not all steak tartare, flights of wine and foams and emulsions in my world. Sometimes it’s about cheap and cheerful and easy.
No, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to start blogging about all my visits to Greggs or a Saturday morning fry-up, but if I go somewhere that I think might pique people’s curiosity – whether they’re regular ‘eat-outers’ or someone who only gets to have a meal out once a year – then I’ll write about it, even if that happens to be a chain. Because while this blog is basically about my experiences, it’s not really just about me. It’s about you too, and what you’re interested in.
If you’re that person who’s never tried a certain cuisine before and I happen to write a post about a chain that offers that style of food – however ‘inauthentic’ or ‘mainstream’ that may be – that tempts you to try it and perhaps starts you on your own foodie journey, then I reckon I’ll have done a good job.
Eat with Ellen is supposed to be about sharing my love for food with a whole load of people (or as many as I can persuade to read this blog) and hopefully igniting the same passion in them that inspired me to start this in the first place. A passion, I’m pleased to say, that is very much BACK.
Pop back soon folks – LOTS COMING UP!