Our next guest blogger on ‘Lets Blog Together’ is Donna from A Cook Book Collection.
You have to follow Donna on Instagram and Pinterest because your Instagram feed can never have enough Food Porn! Dedicated food bloggers just like Donna do us a huge favor by testing out various recipes and adding their own twists, and posting results and instructions for everyone else to try out! Donna’s own AMAZING FOOD reciepes and pictures are not too be missed 😍 Donna provides many useful tips, links and detailed blog posts with methods to help you make many varied dishes in the kitchen. Just take a look at Donna’s Pinterest below and you will know what we are talking about!
We are delighted to have Donna taking part in this feature. Thanks again Donna!
Learn More About Donna:
Please introduce yourself?
Hi I’m Donna Hennessy and my food blog is ACookbookCollection.com. I live in Youghal with my husband who is my chief recipe tester and I work in Cork City. I have always been interested in experimenting with food and in 2013 I decided to start a food blog. Originally I started it as I was printing out recipes that I found online and writing ideas down on scraps of paper. The kitchen was a mess! When I joined Twitter in 2011 I discovered a whole community of food bloggers and decided to dip my toe into the water. I thought it would be the best way to save my favourite recipes. I approached a couple of food bloggers for advice and they were so helpful and supportive, Rosanne Hewitt-Cromwell (https://twitter.com/likemamuse2bake) and Aoife Ryan of babaduck.com. They gave me the confidence to start and it went from there. I started sharing recipes from cookbooks that I put my own twist on. As time has gone on though I’ve become braver and trust myself a bit more so the recipes now are my own but inspired by my ever-growing cookbook collection.
I thought my obsession with food would wane, I’m known for taking up several hobbies and losing interest after a while. However, I think it’s getting worse. I went to London for a month last year to attend Leiths Cookery School and I just loved it. I’m constantly thinking about what I’d like to eat and I spend my lunch hour looking up recipe ideas or pottering around The English Market annoying stall holders about where to find obscure ingredients. I try to keep the ingredients in my recipes easy to find or I suggest alternatives if they are difficult to get hold of. I adore Middle Eastern food however so sometimes a bit of online shopping is needed. I also try to keep the recipes simple so that anyone can try them, or at least explain methods well enough so that it doesn’t seem too daunting. I don’t claim to have authentic recipes from different cultures. My blog is a snapshot of how we like to eat at home. It’s just food the way I like it.
What is your advice/tips for a person just starting to blog for the first time?
The best I advice I can give to someone is just do it! Your blog is your blog and you can’t get it wrong. You will certainly learn a lot as you go but no one starts blogging knowing everything. You will gradually develop a style you feel comfortable with. There are so many helpful people out there when you are stuck. I am a member of a couple of blogging groups on Facebook and everyone there is so kind and supportive. You will get plenty of feedback from other bloggers and technical advice when needed. Also, I would recommend taking your time drafting your first blog posts. I see so many new bloggers putting up loads of posts to build their content quickly but often the quality of content is poor when it is rushed.
Who have you worked with and what advise would you give bloggers who want to collaborate?
Honestly, I’m not the best person to advise with regard to collaborations. I treat my blog as a hobby and just do it for enjoyment. I would like to eventually work in food but I don’t plan to make money from my blog. I have only done a couple of jobs in the past and both times I was approached by the companies. So I suppose the only advice I can give is make sure your content promotes you in the best possible way. If you have poorly written posts no brand will want you to represent them.
Sue Jordan of cherrysuedointhedo.com has written many great posts about collaborating with brands that would be worth checking out.
Donna’s top 3 Blogging tips
1. Only post content that you are completely happy with. I tend to schedule posts and come back to them just before they are due to publish to check spellings and links. I used to rush out posts but now if I’m not happy with pictures etc., I will wait and do it again before publishing.
2. Reach out to other bloggers. They will be the best source of advice and support to you, so long as you give something back in return.
3. Be honest and true to yourself. Readers will easily spot when someone is looking for or has received a freebie. Don’t gush about a product just because you got it for free or your opinion won’t count for much.
Donna’s Photography Tips
What do you use to take pictures/videos?
I have an old Nikon DSLR that I use for taking pictures. However since I bought a Samsung phone I am so impressed with the camera on it that I use that when I am feeling lazy. You really can’t beat the pictures from a proper camera though.
What apps do you use to edit your pictures/videos?
I use Pixlr to edit my photos. It’s great for cropping pics and changing the colour balance. I also use it to ‘watermark’ the photos with my blog name so that my pictures can’t easily be used without my permission. That does happen. I would not recommend Instagram for editing blog photos as the quality is not usually good enough.
Favourite beauty brand?
Clarins for skincare, Urban Decay for makeup
Favourite fashion brand?
Favourite place to visit in Cork and why?
The English Market. I could spend the day in there buying food and talking to the various stall holders. They are all so helpful and enthusiastic.
Favourite restaurant in Cork and why?
I can’t choose just one as it totally depends on my mood! My favourite is probably Greenes on McCurtin Street. I also love the Cornstore, Fenns Quay, Electric, Market Lane, Orso, Jacques, to name but a few.
You can find Donna at the following:
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