The Kitchen Thyme Blogger Spotlight Series is a way for you and I to get to know and support the wonderful Food Bloggers who share their delicious recipes at Kitchen Thyme.
Meet Sarah from What’s Eating Manchester!
Check out Sarah’s recipes at Kitchen Thyme!
Kitchen Thyme: Hey Sarah! Thank you for being part of our Kitchen Thyme Blogger Spotlight Series! Tell us where you’re from and how you got into blogging?
Sarah: I’m from Manchester in the North of England and I got into blogging as a way of marrying both of my hobbies, baking and photography. I’m a full-time photography assistant and bake in my spare time. Food photography is always something I have loved so it just seemed natural to combine the two.
KT: How did you come up with the name of your blog?
Sarah: I always knew if I had a food blog, I would name it What’s Eating Manchester. It’s a kind of play on words, a play on the phrase what’s eating you.
KT: How long have you been blogging?
Sarah: Since around August 2018. I started around a year after I moved home from Australia.
KT: Would you like to be a full-time blogger?
Sarah: Yes, it is my ultimate goal to go full-time.
KT: How many recipes do you publish each week?
Sarah: 2 Recipes a week, Friday and Sunday and recently I have added a bonus post on Wednesdays for a baking 101 post where I offer home baking tips and recipes, I think every home baker should know.
KT: After you publish a recipe on your blog, walk us through the steps you take to get more eyes on that recipe. What sites do you submit your recipe to? Do you use a spreadsheet to keep track of where you share your recipes?
Sarah: A spreadsheet! I never even thought of that! Mind blown! I currently use my browser bookmarks and have all of the sites I submit to bookmarked. I post my recipe, post the link to my personal Facebook page, the What’s Eating Manchester Facebook page and to a few baking groups. I then use Tailwind to schedule Instagram and Pinterest posts including posting to some Pinterest groups. Then I move onto Tumblr, Yumly and Mix as they’re an easy 1 click. Next comes food sites, I’m actually only using 4 at the moment so if anyone knows of any good ones please let me know! I use Foodgawker, Kitchen Thyme, Fridge and Food Yub. Those are the ones I feel get me good traffic, I have tried several others and I’ve found that they aren’t worth the effort for the amount of traffic. I’m a pretty new blogger so I’m all about trying to get more traffic at the moment.
KT: What does a typical week look like for you? Do you create recipes and blog posts on certain days of the week?
Sarah: I write and do maintenance during the week, then bake and photograph on the weekends when I have more time. I do a lot of food photography at work, so a full 8 hours worth of cooking and taking photos, come home, make dinner and clean up means I can’t face any baking. Weekends are for baking and photography. Once a month, I get around 10 recipes written up on a Saturday when my partner works. He only works one Saturday a month, so I utilize a day to myself, surround myself on the couch with nibbles and my rats come join me and smash out a month’s worth of recipes in one day.
KT: Do you have a good blog/life balance? Do you unplug at night or on the weekends?
Sarah: I try to limit myself to an hour or two after work but I have to say I’m pretty unbalanced, I work on the blog most of the weekend and if I’m not working on the blog I’m cooking, cleaning, being a rat mum or helping out my partner with his videos. Hopefully in the spring things will get a little more balanced as I’ll have more daylight to work with. Winter is pretty hard on us food bloggers and we have so few precious hours of daylight.
KT: How much time do you spend on Social Media each day? Do you use any schedulers for Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Do you have a Virtual Assistant to help you?
Sarah: I don’t think I need a virtual assistant just yet. I do try to limit my social media time. I try and utilize my break at work for that and get it out of the way then. I use Tailwind for Pinterest and Instagram scheduling but I’ve tried Hootsuit and like them both.
KT: What social media networks/websites give you the most traffic to your blog?
Sarah: Pinterest is more consistent but I get really awesome days from Tumblr, it’s just few and far between. I’ve always found that Instagram is the hardest to turn likes into page views.
KT: What AD networks do you have on your blog?
Sarah: I have Gourmet Ads.
KT: What are the main sources of income from your blog? Sponsored Posts? Advertisements? Affiliate Links?
Sarah: Advertisements currently but I haven’t been focusing on income yet, I want to concentrate on producing good content and growing my audience.
KT: Do you have a long relationship with any particular Brands?
Sarah: No, but I would love to in the future.
KT: Do you enjoy going to Blogging Conferences? If so, which ones do you recommend for Food Bloggers?
Sarah: I have never been to a food blogger conference, but I would love to go.
KT: Where do you find inspiration to create new recipes?
Sarah: Pinterest! Isn’t that where everyone goes for food inspo? I also love to have a look at my friends Insta feeds, I’m very lucky to have worked for some really amazing restaurants and a lot of my friends are foodies or chefs so they’re always posting food photos. I love to check out what they have been eating.
KT: What are your top 3 favorite recipes on your blog?
Sarah: I would say Spiced Pear Cake with Brown Butter Buttercream, Chocolate Salted Caramel Tart and Vanilla Cranberry Panna Cotta with Cranberry Curd.
KT: Do you have great lighting in your house for photos or do you need to use artificial lighting or filters?
Sarah: I have both. I have a small set of flash heads with big softboxes that I use when the lighting isn’t great but I also have an amazing low window in my bedroom with lots of space. It’s perfect for food photos.
KT: What advice would you give to new food bloggers when it comes to taking photos of food?
Sarah: Good lighting can make or break a shot. If you don’t have a good window there are loads of options. My strobes were really inexpensive from Amazon and there are thousands of Youtube videos that will help you get better lighting.
Never just use a normal room light, if you’re really in a pinch you can use a lamp and colour balance the photo later.
Propping your photos is also really important. Flea markets and charity shops are the best places to find cool kitchen stuff to prop your shots.
KT: Do you have a favorite cookbook?
Sarah: Baking Illustrated by the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated magazine. Such an amazing book. It goes into the science of recipes and tells you why you have to use each specific ingredient.
KT: If you could cook with a famous chef or celebrity cook, who would it be and why?
Sarah: It has to be Heston Blumenthal. His creations are legendary.
KT: You are constantly working with food. What are a few ingredients you cannot live without?
Sarah: Lemons, they work in so many dishes and make a great photo prop for almost anything. Eggs, in a cardboard eggbox, for baking, for props and my rats love playing with them once I’m done.
KT: Do you have any advice for someone starting a food blog?
Sarah: Self host from the start. I had such a nightmare switching to self hosted. I would also try and learn as much back end site stuff as you can to avoid panic and meltdowns when something doesn’t work.
KT: Thank you so much for joining us at Kitchen Thyme! Where can our readers find you?
BLOG: What’s Eating Manchester