blogger spotlight: the flourishing pantry
Welcome to the first of many 'Blogger Spotlights'!
I decided to create this new section for 2018 as I feel I have met so many wonderful and genuine bloggers in 2017. Blogging is now a huge industry so sometimes getting yourself out there can be difficult (especially when social media likes to play silly algorithm games). I want to show some love for my fellow bloggers so every month there will be a new blogger showcased on my blog. It will give you all a little insight into the different kind of bloggers out there, you will get to know them a little better and learn what makes them tick, gives them inspiration and what generally makes them so wonderful!
I am kicking off the first spotlight with a BANG! Please say hello to the lovely Vicky from The Flourishing Pantry.
The Flourishing Pantry
Instagram | @theflourishingpantry
Twitter | @flourish_pantry
Facebook | @theflourishingpantry
Pinterest | @flourish_pantry
What kind of content can we find on your blog?
I like to think of my content in three categories: Discoveries, Recipes and Inspiration.
Discoveries is where I share some of the things I’m learning along the way through a healthy eating journey - science, concepts, even mistakes I’ve made! It can be anything I’ve come across and found interesting.
Recipes I post weekly every Monday and they cover everything from breakfasts and smoothies, to main meals, snacks and desserts. Mostly my recipes are high in veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds, unprocessed meat and fish. I don’t stick to a particular diet plan but my recipes are tagged as vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or dairy free so they’re easy to search. They’re designed to be healthy, tasty and easy to make.
Inspiration is just that - collections of great ideas or content or accounts that are really getting me fired up and informing me about how I can lead a healthier life. I’ve done blog posts on my favourite podcasts, best Pinterest boards and amazing under 10k Instagram accounts.
How long have you been blogging?
I’ve been blogging since mid-2016 and finally went ‘public’ with my website and name The Flourishing Pantry in September 2016. At first I just wanted to do it privately and hide it in the internet where no-one could find me! But then I realised what an amazing and supportive community was out there on social media and through networks like the Health Bloggers Community and I’ve never looked back.
What made you choose to start a blog and why did you choose the subject/s you blog about?
I suffer with IBS and after years of symptoms and very little support from the NHS GP I started to take things into my own hands. I did a food intolerance blood test at home and it told me I had a yeast intolerance. That opened a can of worms and I got sucked into things like anti-candida and yeast free diets.
I started the blog to record my recipes and learnings. It’s become a really honest account of my discoveries - where I’ve got it right and where I’ve got it wrong. I’m not an expert, I’m just a normal girl trying to work out what’s healthy to eat and might help me tackle my IBS and that’s what I wanted to share with the world.
Where do you find inspiration from for your blog?
In terms of recipes my main sources of inspiration are Instagram and Pinterest. There are so many people doing incredible things with food and as an adventurous cook I’ve really enjoyed getting stuck in and trying new things that I’ve seen online.
For my blog posts ideas come from anywhere. I once heard someone say the trending topics of today are what you’re talking about with your friends when you get together for dinner. I often spot themes and reoccurring ideas in my life or on socials that I feel really compelled to write about from you own experience, or to do a bit of digging to discover more about and then share. I’m a real knowledge junkie (I studied history at university!) so it’s fun for me to do the research and then find an engaging way to present it to my readers.
I never want to over-step my expertise though - I’ve stopped doing purely science-based posts about nutrition unless I have an expert collaborating with me. There’s too much rubbish out there on the internet already posted by unqualified ‘nutrition experts’ and I don’t want to be associated with that.
Do you have any big plans for your blog?
My blog has been a hobby up until recently. I’ve spent 10 years working in the music industry, setting up concerts and tours worldwide for orchestras and classical music ensembles. But after moving to Ireland earlier this year I’ve quit my full-time job and am starting to create a career based in health and wellness with the blog as the basis for that so I’m excited about where it’s got me all ready!
Looking into the future my main focus is going to be on hosting events for bloggers and brands in Ireland in collaboration with the Health Bloggers Community. But I still want to keep the blogging going too and one of my goals for 2018 is to produce an e-book about stocking your kitchen for healthy eating and also do a cookery course to really up the level of recipes I’m providing to my readers. I’d love to do some more brand collaborations too, we’ll have to see what the New Year brings!
Tell me about your proudest blog achievement
Without doubt that has to be winning the Free From and Illness Recovery category at the Health Blogger Awards 2017. I have met an incredible group of people through blogging and knowing that what you are doing tapping away on your computer at home is appreciated and now celebrated amongst that community was a massive boost. It really made me think about what I want from the blog and where I could take it next.
What has been your biggest blog disaster?
I think what I originally saw as a disaster actually turned into a blessing in disguise.
I started the blog originally to follow my discoveries on a ‘yeast free’ diet, and everything that anti-candida proponents had to offer. However as I became more savvy, reading more widely and following more reliable sources online, I slowly started to realise that there was very little backing to the concept of candida overgrowth and that what I was sharing was based on bad science.
It really shook me but I felt I had to write a blog post to share with my readers what I had discovered. I didn’t know what it would mean for the blog or my credibility and was worried about posting it. But the reaction was incredible and the post got shared by amazing people like Angry Chef, Laura Thomas PhD and the Rooted Project ladies - all of whom were so complimentary that I had been honest about what I’d learned.
I think it’s definitely possible to come back from blogging disasters - it’s just about how you frame them and accept if you’ve made a mistake.
Time is always a big discussion point between bloggers, how do you manage your time?
Moving to freelance work in the last few months has been a real revelation and a challenge without the discipline of office hours to manage my time effectively.
Ultimately every hour of my day now working freelance is time that could be spent earning money for a paid client, or planning an event where I need to contact exhibitors and sponsors. So it means I have to prioritise the paid work, over the (mostly!) unpaid blogging. I plan my time by writing a list each Sunday evening for both the blog and my work-life, and ensuring I’m doing something from those lists at all times. I’m always thinking “what’s paying me right now?” and focusing on delivering for my clients and making my events a success before I slip into blogging. Blogging is like my treat to myself!
So for my blog I squeeze time in here and there, mostly evenings and weekends. Though food photography has to be done middle of the day at the moment in winter because I need the natural light. It’s a nice lunchtime project!
To be organised and make the most of my time I have a blog schedule looking ahead 2-3 months with recipe plans and blog post title ideas which I’m constantly adding to, and promotional things I do on a weekly basis like creating pins for Pinterest, sharing blog posts to Twitter and Facebook. I’ve created little routines for each blog so it’s easy to replicate each time I have a post ready to share.
Lastly, where do you see your blog in 5 years time?
Oh gosh, what a question. 5 years ago no-one had Instagram so imagine what the internet, social media and technology is going to develop to in another 5!
I’d love to think that the blog will still be there - that it will have an even bigger set of posts and resources for readers, that it will still be relevant to people that want to eat healthily without being shouted at and want to get advice and inspiration from someone who is just like them. I’d love the brand of The Flourishing Pantry to be synonymous with honest and engaging content that leads to personal growth for readers looking for better ways to nourish themselves.
I hope I’m going to get braver at doing things on camera as video becomes king, but that writing will still be at the core of what I do and share. I’d love also to think the blog can continue to be a spring-board for the events I want to organise, and maybe one day the blog will manifest itself into its own event / food space.
HUGE thank you to Vicky for taking part in my first ever Blogger Spotlight! Everyone needs to check her out on social media and over on her blog for some delicious recipes and awesome blog posts!
All images on this q&a by Vicky :)
the girl behind fitness forster
My name is Amie and I am the face behind Fitness Forster.
I am a freelance recipe developer, content creator and qualified personal trainer. I developed this website to share my passion for healthy recipes, fitness and travel.
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