1st birthday Thoughts

One year ago I mustered up the strength, vague coding skills and whatever cutsey thread of illustrator I had left in me to start this blog.

DID YOU KNOW? I only learnt to cook a few years ago. Living with my family I found little reason to as the food that pours from my mum’s kitchen, and extended family’s too, is close to perfection. I began fending for myself out of necessity when I moved out of home and soon learnt that preparing an honest meal for my friends and neighbours was one of the most humbling and enjoyable things to do. I began cooking more and more, documenting everything I did along the way so I wouldn’t forget. Eventually the scraps of paper and my poor memory weren’t cutting it and I’m certain the flood of ~food pics~ in my friends’ Facebook feed was becoming more of an irritation than some quirky fun; it was around this time I decided to create a delicious outlet of my own. The Sydney food blog scene at the time seemed a curious thing, however; super cliquey and with more emphasis on outings than to meals itself, or so I thought. I wanted to contribute to the pool with some dishes and stories of typical things I prepare at home for myself and treats I create for the special people in my life. Couple this with a drastic yearning for a career change, bringing my yuppie, inner-west lifestyle to a screeching halt in order to return to university to study something that actually resonated with me and hopefully assist in finding myself a job that didn’t have me questioning my life anytime the morning alarm tore me from my bed, so relentlessly, each and every day. Throw in a new found appreciation for digital photography and bam. Hello alanabread.

Since a year ago my photography has improved immensely. I no longer identify myself as a cupcake/macaron girl as my savoury repertoire is ever expanding. I’m working on a little book and have even submitted food photography as fine art prints for my final year of university. I occasionally intern as a café photographer for a Sydney magazine and here and there I receive little jobs to bake a box of treats for a special somebody’s event. Hey, I’ve even written a little book review. A couple of posts have won some prizes. It’s snowballing, and that’s awesome. Combined with my studies this is a great foundation of skills I’ve managed to piece together from this little blog. The above image is a chronological excerpt of every post thus far, it’s like a crazy gradient of memories and self-improvement.

The point I’m trying to make here is that putting yourself out there, especially on the internet, is hard. Weird and hard. And although I am passionate about so many things I barely possesses the ability to act on them these days, unfortunately ambition doesn’t rank too highly in my skillset (I can say the same for drive and confidence) due to a number of stupid reasons I am trying so desperately to change, so this is kind of a big deal to me (it’s been a difficult year). I’m clearly getting a little sentimental over here however I cannot end this longwinded sentiment without thanking all of my super friends, new and old, for their immense encouragement. So, thank you!! I appreciate you guys so much it makes my heart explode.

Anyway. This is getting a little too real, all I wanted to do was post some pretty pictures! Hahahahaha… ahh. Anyway, I’m going to shove my emotions aside for a moment with this small list of a things I’ve discovered and learnt as a “food blogger” over the year. They may or may not be relevant to you but I felt compelled to share nonetheless:

  • The term “foodie” isn’t a swear. It’s ok. Embrace it! Don’t shudder.
  • Did Foodgawker or Tastespotting just decline your photo? Who cares. This has no bearing on your amazing skills; they are but a couple of people with opinions. These kind of foodporn sites may attract pageviews but statistically these guys only stick around for a few seconds; true fans will visit your site over and over.
  • There’s no shame in mentioning and crediting your inspiration; don’t be that guy who rips off others! Bad reps spread like wildfire. If somebody does rip off your stuff however then try to take it as a compliment. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, etc etc.
  • Ignore the haters. For every good thing you do there’ll be somebody to try and drag you down. Whatevz! Jealousy is a horrible thing and it’s a big, big shame what it can do to people.
  • Shaking your head at Tumblr idiots who never credit your images, no matter how hard you shake, won’t make them go away.
  • Take a break if you’re too flustered to take photos after cooking! Have a rest, make some coffee, come back to it a little later. You’ll end up with a an uneditable, subpar image (and probably a sticky camera).
  • Lightroom, guys. PHOTOSHOP. Adjustment layers and all that. Post-processing is just as important as hitting the shutter on your camera. Don’t just throw a filter over all your images, zoom in and have fun emphasising all the best aspects of your images.
  • It’s better to over-cook than under-cook (I’m talking quantities here).
  • Second hand stores have the best styling props.
  • If you’re into sugar then kitchen thermometers are a must have (sugar is a harsh mistress with no time for those of us who attempt to wing it).
  • Cream cheese filling in a macaron is a no-no.
  • Salt works in everything, especially chocolate.
  • If an experimental recipe doesn’t work out then try it again some other time. Never dismiss anything even if it takes a few months to get back to that recipe.
  • If you feel as though favourite cuisine or baked good has been over-saturated or played out try and re-invent it! Make it bigger, better, tastier, cuter.

And, most importantly…

  • Don’t cook for your blog. Cook for yourself, your family and your friends, then blog about it.

Thank you for reading and thank you so much for visiting my humble blog. I mean that with my entire essence and every thread of all that is me. :’)

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  1. yummychunklet’s avatar

    Impressive! Happy 1st birthday!

    Reply

  2. chocolatesuze’s avatar

    woohoo happy 1st blogiversary! here’s to many more years to come!

    Reply

  3. Nic @diningwithastud’s avatar

    Happy first birthday! Awesome post and stunning shots :D

    Reply

  4. Barbara Powell’s avatar

    you should be very proud of yourself missy! Well done xo

    Reply

  5. Tina @ bitemeshowme’s avatar

    Happy 1st bloggiversary Alana! I’ve been a huge fan of yours, for ages now! You amaze and inspire me with both your cooking and photography skills. Cheers to many more bloggiversary’s to come! <3 xx

    Reply

  6. jessica’s avatar

    congrats on the year of blogging! i’m so glad to hear about all the great opportunities that have come your way so far, and i hope your blog brings you lots more. :)

    Reply

  7. Amanda@Chewtown’s avatar

    What a fabulous list of 1st birthday thoughts – all of which I agree with wholeheartedly… it sounds to me like you’ve figured it out a lot quicker than most.

    Happy birthday! It’s always so surprising how quickly blog milestones seem to arrive!

    Reply

  8. Nami | Just One Cookbook’s avatar

    Hi Alana! Congratulations on your 1st blog anniversary! (sorry I’m late) I have a lot to learn about photography on your blog and thank you for sharing your talent with us. We’re fortunate to get to see your amazing food photos. Enjoyed reading your tips and you are so right about a lot of things. :) Looking forward to following you on your 2nd year!

    Reply

  9. House Painters Sydney’s avatar

    awesome dishes for the first birthday………….

    Reply

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