Don’t worry guys, I haven’t lost the plot over the last year-and-seven-months. I still think salmon pink is a revolting colour. Purple 4 lyfe. Et cetera. I’m talking about the fish, the food. Yes, the food.
I’ve been wondering what to do about this blog for far too long. It fell by the wayside quite a while ago as I concentrated on book blogging and vlogging. Originally this blog was supposed to be about fashion and makeup, because they were my major obsessions at the time. But eventually I decided that I’d watched enough makeup tutorials to be able to do everything I wanted to do in the field of eyeshadow. I don’t give a crap about contouring or strobing or anything cheeks-related really – most of the time I don’t even bother to wear blush, or blusher as it used to be known – so I moved on. And fashion blogging…well…to take off as a fashion blogger you need three and/or four basic things:
A) A boyfriend/flatmate/family member who is good at photography, or amazing self-timer skills
B) Enough space in your home to stand far enough away from the camera to get a full-body shot, in a location with good lighting
C) The time to set this up several times a week
D) Enough space to leave your camera set up all the time
Trust me, I know. I’m a vlogger. I have enough space in my current flat to leave my tripod assembled and at the right height all the time – and this saves an enormous amount of time as all I have to do is plonk it at the right distance (measured against my kitchen tiles) test it once to be sure I’m in frame, and go!
But I do not have enough space for fashion blogging, still. I didn’t have enough space for fashion blogging when I lived with my parents. I also still do not have A). I have quite an unphotogenic face. If I’m taking pictures of myself I have to take dozens just to get one decent shot. This is not a cry for compliments – I think I look perfectly fine in real life and on video, but still photography is another beast entirely. I just can’t replicate the perfect facial expression on demand.
|Some of my extremely high quality fashion blogger photos from back in the day.|
And all of this doomed my attempts to be a fashion blogger. There was a little while, at the start, when mirror photos were totally acceptable, and I kind of miss those days. I do occasionally put a mirror photo on Instagram, or just take a photo for myself. But it’s not going to get me an audience, and I’m not one of those people who is happy to do this without an audience. I want people to read my posts. I want them to be useful or at least interesting.
So after several years feeling stymied by my lack of basic fashion blogger resources I have decided to go back to what this blog was supposed to be all along – a catalogue of my obsessions. Because I am still a woman who flits from obsession to obsession, eight years later. And when I started the blog, that was the idea at the forefront of my mind. It was supposed to be a place where I could write about anything I was obsessed with.
The thing is, my obsessions have changed a lot over the last eight years. I still like eyeshadow and nail varnish and purple and poofy skirts. But I am also obsessed with houseplants and cooking and business advice and other grown-up things. And that led me to another concern that held me back – would people give a crap now? But my 2016 blogging resolution is to just go for it, because worriedly procrastinating will not help.
So today (after nine paragraphs of preamble) I bring you a post about food.
The salmon obsession had been building for a while. Since moving in with my boyfriend, I have become obsessed with Lidl. The random homeware goods. The cheap herb plants. The cereal that is clearly Dorset Cereals under a different name and for a much lower price. SEED MIX!
I’m not alone. Lots of people are obsessed by Lidl. You mention Lidl and either people turn up their noses because they’d never shop anywhere less middle-class than Waitrose or they react with unbridled enthusiasm. And one of the things other people raved about is the fish.
At the same time I’ve been worrying a bit about getting older. Now, as a feminist who thinks her 58-year-old mother is one of the most beautiful people on earth and is always reassuring friends and strangers that they look lovely because I genuinely think they do, it feels wrong to admit this. But I wasn’t always a pretty person. I was an awkward lanky teenager with greasy hair and enormous glasses and limbs that were too long and skinny. I think I started to turn pretty at age 18 and I’ve been very happy with the way I look for several years now, to the point that I barely think about it anymore.
I think is why the idea of getting older has increasingly been playing on my mind. Because, I guess, I know what it was like to not be pretty. And I don’t want to go back. It still feels like I’ve only just gotten to be happy with the way I look, although actually, it’s been eight or so years. The halo effect is real. People do treat you differently if you look attractive. But even if they didn’t – and they shouldn’t – I like that when I see myself in the mirror, I smile. I like that it doesn’t take up a lot of my time. There’s a paragraph in the conclusion of The Beauty Myth that made me cry when I read it, that basically said, imagine all the things women and girls could do if they didn’t spend so much time on the pursuit of beauty. And for years I’ve been living that paragraph!
But recently I’ve found myself spending hours poring over SkincareAddiction on Reddit, partly because I had some pesky cystic acne and partly to find out about anti-ageing stuff. Facepalms all round – though it turns out that a lot of the stuff that is good for your brain is also good for your face. So I don’t have to feel so shallow, do I? One of the really good things, apparently, is omega-3 oils, which are best consumed via oily fish like salmon. And so the idea that salmon is a good cheap food from Lidl collided with the idea that salmon is good for your face and brain, and I got totally obsessed, and that culminated in yesterday’s dinner!
I spent ages looking up salmon recipes and then of course my sister sent me the perfect thing, this recipe from a Jamie Oliver website. It was perfect because it also gave me an excuse to make pesto, something I’d been planning to do for ages – I had two ready-to-harvest basil plants.
|I’ve got the hang of book photography, food photography must be next! View on Instagram.|
This recipe is really flexible because if you don’t like pesto, you don’t have to use it. And if you like a stronger flavour, you can double the amount of garlic in the pesto, like I did, or add a red chilli pepper. I also have a chilli plant so I might try that next time.
I’ve bookmarked a whole load more salmon recipes to try in the future once I invest in a grill pan, but until then I think I’ll be making this on a regular basis!
Have your interests and obsessions changed as you’ve got older? What has this meant for your blog, if you have one? How do you stop yourself worrying about aging? Do you have any salmon recipe recommendations? Let me know!
HannahJanuary 14, 2016 at 10:47 am
I certainly relate to you about blogging. I started my own loosely as a cross between a personal style blog and catalogue of ramblings and obsessions, and still do flit from topic to topic, but the reason I started it was to try and figure out what ACTUALLY suited me, what I actually liked wearing, how to wear those tricky items I hoarded in the wardrobe that never saw the light of day because I had no confidence to wear them. What I guess I hadn't bargained for was how competitive it all was… the squabble to receive PR samples, and "follow for follows" and bitchiness and supposed "how to be a PROPER blogger rules" and all that stuff where you suddenly think "shit I need to up my game because it's all about growing the blog and others are going to judge me." But now, actually, I'm back to page 1 and sort of stopped caring about what people think. Not least about whether I post once a week or once a month. My obsessions have changed over the years too, I'm less into clothes and really into makeup where I wasn't before other than "I like wearing it" (although actually as a side note, though you don't wear blush[er] you should certainly check out Well Dressed by MAC as a purple lover, it's a highlighting lilac shade and I think it would look amazing on you!) Anyway I guess the point I was making was that I started reading blogs back in the day when mirror photos WERE norm, there were long paragraphs not interrupted by large high res photos and spattered with affiliate links, when people wrote about what they LOVED rather than what they were being sponsored to love. They were also 3-dimensional so did flit more across different topics than "today's gifted products, repeat repeat repeat." It was so genuine and I felt like I really truly knew the writers of the blog rather than these generic blogs with interchangeable authors (NOT knocking the hard work that goes into them, and blog content has definitely improved, but there is so much more common ground and less personal content nowadays and part of me prefers something that is a little DIY than editorial standard) – for this reason I love blogs like yours, as you're staying true to yourself and sharing different interests, covering way more ground, and things that you recommend I'm way more likely to actually be into as it's not repetitive – if you're going to feature something, you'll have deemed it worth writing about. Which in turn gives your posts so much more interest and insight into your personality.
… Christ this comment escalated didn't it! Sorry for the essay! xx
JulianneMarch 21, 2016 at 1:50 pm
I love a good essay comment! I think Well Dressed by MAC is going to go on my Christmas list for next year, it looks gorgeous. I have been finding a few new blogs lately actually – if I stick to new and DIY blogs the content is more genuine I find. But the old ones are the best! 🙂