The Dopey Vegan Turns One!
One year ago today I clicked post on this little blog for the very first time! I had made a sweet potato noodle ramen with miso roasted vegetables the night before, for my family and a friend. I remember spending ages agonising over the dish and didn't even think for a second how I would photograph and present it. To celebrate my little blog becoming a whole year old, I decided to recreate the dish and rephotograph it, just to show myself how far I have come.
I had been wanting to create this blog for at least a year if not longer before I actually did. I had been close on a couple of occasions but then never had the confidence to actually do it. I kept just thinking who would care? who would even read it? and the classic I'm not good at it so why bother? It wasn't until this time last year, thanks to spending the previous year rebuilding my confidence and self esteem with help from the most loved people in my life, that I was actually able to take the leap.
I posted on Facebook asking for wordpress help, and a lovely family friend, Sian, offered her knowledge. She runs workshops for Wix, the platform my blog uses, and with her help and guidance I managed to create a web page that had the aesthetic I had envisioned. Once the blog was built it was just working out what to post! I can't remember why I went for this ramen, I had never made it before and never made sweet potato noodles but I had a vision and it ended up damn tasty.
Was it all smooth sailing from there? Well no. I'm a constant self doubter and worrier, every time I post something there is usually at least one panic attack associated with that post. I am a perfectionist, and I constantly notice flaws in my work other people don't. But I have learnt sometimes you just have to force yourself to post something, I can hate it, but every time I share something the lovely positive response I get (particularly on Instagram, where the vegan community is so so lovely) makes me feel a million times better.
When I first started this I had no photography experience at all, I was using my mum's DSLR (I still am!) but I really didn't know how to get good shots. It has taken time and patience to get photos I'm proud of. I'm still improving, and I am in no way there yet. The first big improvement came when I realised I could get better light if I photographed my food outside. So the back of my garden became my studio for a while. Then this Christmas I was very very kindly given lights and a tripod by my sister and dad. Since then I am shooting inside again, but this time with improved light. And giving more thought to backgrounds and how I style my photos. I've also read this book from cover to cover, I found it really informative and helpful. Some of it is definitely aimed at more professional food stylist, eg. working in TV, but the little hints and tips I picked up are great and have definitely made me consider my photos in a new light. (Word of warning, this book contains sections on how to dress and style meat, if you don't want to see photos of dead flesh this isn't the book for you.) I think if you compare where I started to where I am now you can see I have come a long way. But where to next?
Well I'm currently working on a project that I can't reveal right now but will be done by the end of March. I'm very excited about this, and can't wait to share what I am doing with you. I've also been in contact with a professional food photographer, he has very kindly offered to give me some of his wisdom and advice. So I'm hoping you may notice another improvement in my photos soon! I'm also hoping to continue collaborating with the lovely Revival Collective, whom I did a pancake recipe with for Shrove Tuesday. All in all I'm going to keep plugging away at this little blog and see where it can take me. It's taken me so far already.
Before starting this blog, I was utterly defeated. I had no self worth, and I had no idea how I could make a life for myself. Everything seemed hopeless. Now most days I'm positive, I can imagine a future for myself and this blog plays a big part in that imagined future. Who knows what's to come next, but I can safely say whatever it is, I'm excited.
If like me you love a trip down memory lane you can find my first ever blog post here! Upon making it again, I found it was still really tasty and delicious. And still a recipe I am very proud to call my own.
Now to say a few thank yous, because I honestly never could have done this on my own! Thank you to everyone who follows me on Instagram, or Facebook, or reads this blog. You are the people who proved I could do this, you are the people who make all the blood sweat and tears worthwhile (yes there has been all three bodily fluids, you slice your fingers open quite a bit cooking if you are anything like as clumsy as me). Thank you to my friends, who are wonderfully supportive and eat my food at any given opportunity, particular shout outs, to Aurora, Divya, Ellie and Nikki. Thank you to my Grandma, who has inspired a dish, and provided backgrounds for many more. Thank you to my mum, dad and sister, who all have had to suffer me freaking out for the last 25 years, and who have been rooting for me since day one. My dad in particular has helped me so much with this blog, he provides endless advice and ideas and I will never be able to thank him enough. Alice (my sister) is my personal photographer and makeup artist, she's the one who got me looking so great for these photos, she's a star! And finally a thank you to Jamie, who is always there to calm me down and tell me things will be OK. He provides ideas, inspiration and love when I need it most and without him I never would have had the confidence to start this blog!