One of the best side effects of blogging (for a lot of people) is that you meet people. The whole point of food blogging, really, is to share your thoughts with a bunch of other people who love food, love making food and enjoy sharing recipes. But every once in awhile you meet someone who becomes a real friend. And for me, that’s definitely been the amazing Tash of The Velvet Moon Baker. We’re a bit kindred spirits – we both followed the loves of our lives across the Irish Sea, both obsessed with American baking ingredients and both trying to overcome our innate couch potato baker and get some exercise (although she’s been way more successful with her rowing than I’ve been with my running.)
But the two of us decided to team up to tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about us and blogging!
What’s the best thing that has happened to you since you started your blog?
Tash: Aside from meeting some lovely people and making firm friends, something I really wasn’t expecting, I would have to say learning how much I love cooking. Even though The Velvet Moon Baker is all sweets, cakes and cookies I’ve become really passionate about any form of cooking and I really think that’s all down to starting a blog. It’s really made me push myself.
Nick: Cookbooks. I know there are a lot of bloggers who won’t review cookbooks, but I happen to *love* them. I love the feel of a new cookbook, I love the idea that each one introduces you to a new way of thinking about food and creating that you wouldn’t ordinarily have. So the fact that, for me, my blog has led to people actually want to hear my thoughts on cookbooks has been an incredibly cool ego boost.
What’s your favourite post and why?
Tash: These Bounty Stuffed Snowballs are definitely one of my all time favourite bakes. So naturally I’d have to say that post is up there in the favourites category, Plus this was round about where my photography was starting to get better and I started to cop on to all this lighting stuff that makes your food look yummy on film. Without a doubt, my favourite post from Nick’s blog has to be her Blogiversary and Engagement post, I’m a sucker for the romance of weddings. Yes I admit I’m not a pure feminist and even though I’d know a little while before hand I was so excited to see that Nick had put it up on her blog, and all at the same time as her 1 year blogiversary – Bonus! (Nick’s note: Tash might not identify as a feminist, but I’ve been constantly inspired by her and how much she demonstrates the innate strength of women!)
Nick: I have a certain sentimental attachment to my Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies. Probably because I felt like it was my first recipe where I was able to twist it to find the exact cheesecake flavour I wanted (with the cheesecake pudding and chocolate graham cracker crumbs)
As for Tash’s, I’m not sure it’s on the blog, but I love her brownie recipe which she shared with me. It’s now my go-to brownie (hey, her blog recipes are great, but some times you just need a staple recipe!) (Nick’s note: Sorry, Tash, but I think you’ll have to share it now!)
What aspect of writing a blog have you least expected?
Tash: Cookbook reviewing. It’s certainly not something I started the blog to do but now that I’ve got my first one out of the way I’m a little addicted to trying as many new recipes from as many different cookbooks as I can.
Nick: That it can turn you into an unbelievably boring person! I really appreciate that my friends and Beardy Fiance are understanding about tasting recipes for the third and fourth time or about sitting there while I photograph their food in restaurants. On the upside, it means I know have a lot of food to give away, which certainly sweetens the deal!
What is your most cringeworthy memory?
Tash: Oooo probably one of the last times I headed out with Himself for a night of child free booze filled fun. Me thinking I looked hot stuff only to, in the middle of the cobbley road which is on a slight hill so I was in perfect view of everyone, stack it in my lovely, brand spanking new heels. Luckily their were no twisted ankles but there was a lot of skirt pulling since the bottom of my dress also decided to hike up too many inches at the same time as my stumble.
Nick: The time I asked an acquaintance who I hadn’t seen in a long time when he had shaved his head. Apparently during his cancer treatment when it had fallen out. Open mouth, insert foot. I *still* cringe remembering that one – I’d had no idea he had cancer or was undergoing chemo.
What’s the bravest thing you have ever done?
Tash: Moving to Ireland when I was only 19, and had only known himself for 3 months. Looking back it was a ridiculous thing to do. It made no sense and it’s definitely something I wouldn’t have the insanity to do now. Thank goodness it worked out for the best and here I am 4 years later settled in a little fishing town with himself and our beautiful 2 year old.
Nick: Move to Ireland, on my own, at seventeen, without knowing a single person. Of course, the reason I was able to be brave was I had no idea what I was doing. If I’d been more sensible, I would never have done it.
Tash: I’m actually quite proud of my blog at the moment but if I had to change anything I would probably get a professional to re-do my layout but not anything crazy different. Just a more professional looking version of what I already have. I like the simplicity of my blog layout.
Nick: Well, I’m not quite happy with the theme and design, but I’m a bit stuck within WordPress. Also, I’d like to be able to come up with a bit more of an index – but most of that will have to wait until I migrate to WordPress.org!
How much time do you actually spend baking?
Tash: Too much time, But no really I don’t have the fabulous will power that Nick does and I can’t stay away from anything I bake. So I try and limit myself to 2 bakes a week, well unless I have a particularly imaginative week and then you could find me baking everyday of the week. My waistline is not as excited about my blogging as my stomach is, let’s put it that way.
Nick: Honestly? At least four hours during the week and probably about eight hours on weekends. That does not, of course, count the time I spend photographing, blog writing, or thinking of food combinations (which is pretty much how I spend my morning bus rides), but the baking is my favourite. I find it incredibly relaxing (it’s my me-time) and to be honest, if you don’t love baking, you have no business starting a baking blog.
What’s the hardest thing about living where you are?
Tash: Having limited access to anything baking related apart from the odd bag of chocolate chips, I f I want to make anything along the cookie butter, limited addition oreo, butterscotch chip route I have to either travel to Dublin (Not going to happen) or rely on wonderful friends to supply me with said goodies. Plus living away from any family members can have it’s downers, seeing my sister and her family only once a year can be pretty tough especially on birthdays and at Christmas.
Nick: Probably the price of everything. London is *really* expensive. Also that I can’t get the American stuff I love – I miss my comfort food and I miss baking with the things I love most!
What brought you to where you are now?
Tash: A moment of madness and a rather tortuous pregnancy. If it wasn’t for me moving to Ireland on a mad whim all for one man (feminists must be screaming at me right now) and then falling pregnant. I wouldn’t be in the country I’m living, with a family I adore and controlling a blog I love. (Nick’s note: register to vote and the Pankhursts will forgive you)
Nick: I suppose I could look at that question philosophically (a lot of things outside my control), the real reason is that at the age of seventeen, I was far too stupid to realise that the reason so few people pack up stakes and move to a country across the ocean in which they know no one is because it’s quite an adventure. But I did and while at college in Ireland, met my now fiance. After finishing my masters in Edinburgh, I followed him to London, which is where we live now. It’s an amazing city, full of culture and excitement, but I definitely miss the easy access to family and food!
So that’s a bit about me and Tash! I hope when you’re done, you’ll have a look at The Velvet Moon Baker and please tell me in the comments – do you have a blogger bestie?