This week it’s Sarah from Maison Cupcake. She’s blogging royalty you know… seriously, this woman is everywhere! And so is her blog. Here’s the low down on how to reach the heights of super blog status… and to run not one, not two but THREE blogs. I feel tired just thinking about it. She even has time to help fools like me who have no idea how to use wordpress and regularly come technologically unstuck.
And I LOVE her advice to her schoolgirl self. I wish I’d known that as a 15 year old, though it was rather more 9 stone for me than 8. Read on…
What’s your name?
Where do you come from?
In London for over half my life (originally from the Midlands) and settled in Walthamstow for nearly 10 years.
How old are you?
Old enough to remember John Lennon dying but was too young to know who he was.
What’s your educational background? Did you leave school at 16 or finish with a PhD?
Chaotic. Although I came away with 10 ‘O’ Level passes and eventually a degree.
What’s your blog called?
The cakey bakey stuff lives at http://maisoncupcake.com and I blog about family food at http://dinnerwithcrayons.com . I’ve also recently launched http://lovethestow.com , a Walthamstow/London photo blog.
When was your blog born?
Maison Cupcake’s first post was 1st July 2009.
Sum your blog up in one sentence:
Time consuming. Sorry I read that as “sum up your blog in two words”
Why did you start your blog, where did you think it would lead?
I originally thought I might start a party catering business but found I preferred creating websites and taking photos. That I blog about cake was mainly because it was an activity I could do at home with my then 2 year old.
Name 3 blogs you like:
I enjoy Sprinkle Bakes and Sugar Hero. I also love the dessert tables on Hostess With The Mostess although that’s more a magazine site than blog. They’re all American sites.
What’s your most popular blog post?
Ever? My Christmas pudding cake pops had most page views although probably my (scathing) review of “Baked and Delicious” prompted the most comments.
How often do you check your blog stats, truthfully?!
I have Jetpack installed on my WordPress dashboard so they flash before my eyes whenever I log in. I don’t sit scrutinising them though. Google Analytics is a total mystery to me.
What’s your biggest kitchen disaster?
I was supposed to be making miniature religieuses (French choux pastries) for my book Sweet Bitesize Bakes but they wouldn’t stand up and ended up as profiteroles instead!
What’s your advice to fledgling food bloggers?
Realise that what you do online for YOUR audience has commercial worth to brands and that this is why they invite you to “work with them”. Funnily enough, their concept of “work with” rarely translates as being paid unless you speak up and when you do speak up they’ll generally respond “Oh the brand can afford to pay a big retainer to the PR company and for nationwide advertising but there’s no budget for that” (Not in these exact words but you get what I mean). Once you’ve seen a brand pay you to create material for them, you realise anyone who doesn’t is trying to exploit.
Is there anything you’d have done differently?
Start blogging sooner – I started on AOL Hometown in 2002 but stopped after six weeks because I thought no would ever read it. I played with making blogs on Blogger between 2002 and 2009 but never found a vehicle to run with. It wasn’t until I signed up to Twitter in 2009 around the same time as making some cupcakes for a street party that Maison Cupcake hatched. Everyone on Twitter seemed to have a blog!
Being invited to review the Raymond Blanc Cookery School patisserie course (and also stay overnight and dine at his hotel Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons). It marked the turning point when my husband finally saw a point to my online life (he came too!).
Don’t talk to me about the Panda update this year.
Who inspires you?
I read the autobiographies of, and admire both Karen Brady and Hillary De Vey. The thing I that struck me about both of them was that they’d only got where they were by regularly working until 2am, something I would never be prepared to do because I prefer to curl up on the sofa with my husband and get to bed at a decent time.
Do you have a day job?
I write for the BabyCentre blog and various freelancing jobs that come along. I’m very anti-pinning myself down these days.
What keeps you awake at night?
Nothing, I sleep soundly ever since I stopped working as an employee. I used to sleep though my baby’s cries (the husband didn’t) and now I sleep through the alarm.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Ever since my brush with death giving birth I prefer to live in the now. I make financial plans but that’s about as close to “30,000 feet thinking” that I get. My primary aim in life is to enjoy life with my husband and son and if that means I don’t build an empire or a career, I’m fine with that so long as we’re all warm, fed and entertained.
What would be your 3 desert island items?
iPad, wifi, Diet Coke.
What advice would you give to your schoolgirl/boy self?
That eight stone isn’t fat.