What I did know from day one was three things: 1) I wanted an outlet for writing and receiving feedback; 2) I needed to create something outside the realm of mum and wife; and 3) being a committed plan-aholic, I craved a distraction from the growing realisation that our oldest daughter will soon be leaving home (yes, I know it’s still 5+ years away).
A few magazines offered me column space but I’d been down that road before and the deadlines, directed copy, and little or no interaction with readers left me wanting something more intimate and flexible. The blogosphere seemed an ideal fit for all my needs. But how?
The “how” question was overwhelming at first.
How do you start a blog? How do you build a following? How do you know what to write? How do you decide on a blog publisher? How, how, how?!
For a few months I played with ideas and read other blogs. In the end, against “traditional” blog thinking of niche writing and branding, I launched into writing about the things I love (cooking, family, Ireland, gardening and traveling) and decided the rest would sort itself out.
Luckily, things have been great. I settled on WordPress to host this blog and LOVE it! I learned to embed video into a post. I figured out how to use Flickr Creative Commons. I reached out to people I never would have called on. I picked up my Nikon D80. And, I met some lovely, encouraging, people from all over the world.
It’s been a fun first year but there’s still so much room for improvement. For example, my photos are pretty wretched. Somehow I’ve got to learn to use the camera “properly”. Also, I have to write more authentically. The subtitle of this blog is, “What Life is REALLY Like Behind the Hall Door”. So many times I’ve wanted to write about an experience and haven’t because I was afraid of the repercussions. Living in a small community, and having a big voice, can come back to haunt you.
Thankfully, there’s always next year…wait…that’s this year. Oh well, we’ll see what the next twelve months bring.
In the meantime, I hope you will continue this journey of adventure, living between Ireland and America, cooking, raising a family, gardening organically, and traveling with me. Your company is uplifting. Your feedback is motivating. Thank you. Thank you!
And finally, in celebration of a successful first year, here’s a recipe for Rocky Road Biscuits from Avoca Handweaver’s Tea Time cookbook. These more-ish chocolate treats are worthy of any special occasion and they’re absolutely a doddle to make. Enjoy.
Rocky Road Biscuits
480g milk chocolate, broken into pieces (I used a combination of dark and milk chocolate)
100g digestive biscuits (works out to be 7 McVitie’s or 7 Graham Crackers)
2 cups marshmallows/80g to 100g (if using large ones, cut them in half)
¾ cup/80g shelled hazelnuts, skinned and toasted
1. Place the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Melt slowly, stirring occasionally.
2. Line a lightly greased Swiss roll tin with parchment paper.
3. Roughly break up the biscuits by hand and put in the bottom of the tin.
4. Dot half the marshmallows and all of the hazelnuts around the biscuits.
5. Pour the melted chocolate over the top, and shake the tin to get an even mix.
6. Dot with the remaining marshmallows over the top.
7. Chill in the fridge until just set. Remove and cut into squares using a sharp knife.