I still remember the day that I casually told my friend in passing over dinner that I thought I might want to start a blog. At the time I had exactly no idea what that really meant. I didn’t read many blogs, and I had no idea what I was going to write about. But I knew I wanted to write, and that was enough.
So the next day I created a free wordpress account, picked a theme and a name. At the time I was in the middle of making a Christmas wreath so I decided to take a few photos and publish them. This became the very first post on my blog 4 years ago on the 13th of December 2014. Yep 4 years ago today…and because so much has happened from that moment to this one, I felt the need to acknowledge this anniversary with a post of it’s own.
At that moment of pressing publish the first time I could never have known how much I would grow to love my blog. To enjoy not only the writing but the whole content creation process. It is through this blog that I have been able to do so many things that I could never have expected when I started.
I did not expect to be able to leverage the skills that creating my own website would give me to get a full time job in digital marketing, project managing website development. I did not expect to fall so deeply in love with photography. And I did not expect to get so much joy from creating food that excites me and then getting to share that in such a new way.
All of these things that have evolved in my life over the last 4 years is through my decision that day on the floor of my little apartment to press publish on that first blog post.
I have put more hours into this blog than I can count. Certainly more time than I have spent on any other thing outside of my job. I have read what feels like the entire internet some days, learning and absorbing what others have done and brainstorming new ideas. I read articles, spend countless time watching photography tutorials on Youtube, and am always on the lookout for inspiration and new things to try and learn to make myself and what I create just that little bit better.
The evolution of this blog as been vast. When I started I had no direction and no idea. All I wanted to do was write. Then I got caught up in everything I read and learnt and listened to people tell me what I should be doing. Then, I decided to throw all of that away and just do what I wanted to do. In hindsight, there was so much back and forth with how I was feeling about what I was doing when I really should have been focused just on writing and creating what I enjoyed. But I guess I had to go through all of this to find the place that I am in today where I am feeling much more confident and comfortable with the quality of content that I press publish on.
Through all of this back and forth over the first three years as I looked to find some direction, I didn’t have a lot of people visiting my website, but if you were following me through all the times I changed my mind (and my website design) than I thank you for that as it really was all over the place.
The really big shift for me with this blog and the way I felt about it came in July 2017 when I changed the name to Eight Forest Lane. It was a decision that made me feel empowered to keep creating and to feel proud of the online community I was developing.
From here, I still didn’t really have any clarity about what I was doing. That was until January 2018 when I had some sort of epiphany that caused me to make the conscious decision to follow my biggest passion which is food. I took a step back from trying to be a well rounded lifestyle blogger and went head first into the world of food blogging, maintaining some lifestyle and travel content on the side.
I love writing about travel and about topics that I am passionate about, and that will never change. But what I found is that my passion for blogging turned up a level when I started focusing on food. I found a community and I learned a whole new set of skills. Not to mention the photography thing. Photographing food challenged me to relearn everything about my camera but became so rewarding and the part that I look forward to the most when creating a new post.
Now, I find my resting mind drifting to new recipe and content ideas. To thinking about ways I can photograph food, the right colours, the light and the compositions. I am excited by the possibilities that I can create.
And with this shift in my focus (or really just developing something of a focus at all), I have seen my little blog start to grow and more people are visiting my site everyday solidifying that I must be doing something right in the way that people find it helpful. I am so grateful for this and to have a creative outlet that I can share my creations and passions with the world. To everyone who has visited my site, I cannot thank you enough for giving me the motivation to continue.
Because of the high level of emotional attachment that I have to my blog, I have experienced my fair share of highs and lows over the last 4 years. I have experienced joy and excitement when someone shares a photo of a recipe of mine they have made and loved, or when a post I worked really hard on got shared by a big page on Facebook bringing with it my highest day of traffic.
I have also got frustrated and cried when things did not go to plan. When I got too excited and broke my website leaving me feeling so out of my depth that I had no idea how I was going to get it back and that I should just give up. Only of course to work it out a few hours later and feel triumphant once again. I have had work that I have spent hours on be deleted in an instant, only to have to start over again.
But through all of the set backs, I have still always woken up the next day with a desire to keep on going.
So while the blog that you are seeing today is nothing like the one that I started 4 years ago, what remains is my core motivation of wanting to write and to create and to share that with others to hopefully pass on some of the excitement I feel when I travel to a new place or make a cake that just looks so pretty!
Food to me is more than just something that we need to sustain ourselves and I strongly think that everything we eat should be an experience, so I hope to bring some of that passion into your kitchens and your life.
I cannot say what the next 4 years or even the next 12 months will bring for Eight Forest Lane, but I can say that as long as I still get excited about creating and sharing, I will still be here doing just that.
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