Let’s congratulate our blogger of the month, Pamela Higgins from www.spamellab.com! Pamela was lovely enough to let us interview her! Carry on reading and see what she has to say…
When and why did you start blogging? What inspired you?
My husband is a web developer and encouraged me to set one up when I first moved to Manchester in 2013 and was looking for a job in social media marketing. He suggested it would be good to host a portfolio of my past work (I have a background in social media at festivals, music/gig review writing and working at a cooking TV company) to help me stand out.
Once I found a job, it then evolved into a place for me to share my other passion: health and food. I’ve always loved experimenting with recipes and trying to create healthy versions of things (especially sweet treats, hency my hashtag #IndulgingInnocently) so this became an outlet for that. I must say though that the photos in my earlier recipes are pretty bad but everyone has to start somewhere!
My blog has build up some great relationships with brands in the health food industry over the years to the point that in September 2015, I quit my job in social media marketing to go freelance thanks to solid paid opportunities that had come through these links. Although I still post lots of recipes on my blog, I produce 2-3 recipes for about 12 different brands per month (alongside some social media and content writing work too) so I spend a LOT of time in the kitchen and researching new ideas!
What advice would you give someone wanting to start a food blog?
Focus on something you’re passionate about; whether that’s health food, a certain cuisine or way of cooking – something that helps you to stand out too. It’s totally up to you if you decide to go niche or make it a more open platform when it comes to food but at the end of the day, it’s got to reflect what you love otherwise it won’t last long!
Also, don’t just be in it for the freebies. Yes, it’s amazing that you can receive free products, meals out, event invites etc in exchange for reviews but don’t just expect that, you’ve got to work for it, build relationships with brands and see it as a nice bonus.
Another one is to make sure you have a good camera (phone ones these days are just as good as a proper camera!) and also a few nice props, crockery and backgrounds to photograph the food on. Paperchase is great for buying large sheets of textured, patterned paper to create a good effect for a few quid, while charity shops are amazing for unique and quirky objects. You don’t have to spend a fortune!
We love your #IndulgingInnocently posts, where do you get your inspiration for such deliciously healthy treats?
I guess most of my recipes come from what I want to eat – I have a sweet tooth but conscious of refined sugars and what goes into my food so I prefer to make treats myself using wholesome ingredients. So for instance if I have a craving for something peanut buttery and chocolatey, I’ll have a brainstorm of the different types of things I could make: brownies, cookies, a cheesecake etc and have a play around.
I also go on general food sites like BBC Good Food, Delicious magazine, etc to see what recipes people want to make and try and ‘healthify’ them. I’ve been doing this for so long that I feel like I’ve mastered a few basic recipes which can be adapted for different flavours but I also like to experiment, that’s part of the fun!
We love the quality of your Instagram page. What are your top tips on making your food images insta-perfect?
Thank you so much! I’d say using natural light is my top tip: Use a window and take your food there to snap. Also as I mentioned above, add a few nice props or use crockery that will help to showcase your food in the most Instagrammable way.
What do you enjoy most about blogging and has it changed your life, if so, how?
Blogging allowed me to go freelancer over 2 years ago and now that I am a mum to a beautiful 3 month old baby boy, I couldn’t be in a better position. I chose not to take maternity leave and it’s been a challenge to get into the swing of balancing motherhood with work, blogging, going to events and fitness but I’m loving it now and feel like I’m in the groove of fitting everything in! I love having the flexibility of working from home around Tom’s routine and doing what I am truly passionate about; I’m very lucky to have a supportive husband who encouraged me to go self-employed in the first place!
It’s October, Autumn is well & truly here! Please tell us what your favourite autumn treat is!
Anything pumpkin spice or with cinnamon in it! I love making healthy, comforting spiced apple crumbles, using pumpkin or squash in cheesecakes or adding to brownies…the list goes on! Although I love summer, the warmth and sunshine, autumn is wonderful for colours, seasonal produce and getting wrapped up for the great outdoors.
We love following your journey, what can we expect to see from you in the rest of the year & 2018?
Now that I have a baby my blog will evolve more as Tom grows up; I’m keen to focus on healthy eating for babies once we start weaning him so look out for baby-friendly recipes and features! And of course I’ll be sharing plenty more healthy but delicious treats on my blog and on the websites of brands I work with – let’s see where work and blogging takes me!
Sadly, that is the end of our spectacular interview, we hope you enjoyed it! Thank you, Pamela, for accepting our blogger of the month title and we wish you the best in your future ventures.