I’ve been invited by Dr Gary Lum from yummylummy.com to join in a writer’s blog hop, along with another Canberra food blogger Michele Walton from Fineeating. The blog hop is a chance to gain a little insight into the motivations of bloggers and an opportunity for the blogger to reflect when answering the questions.
What I am working on?
Probably too much. Between work and family commitments I don’t get a lot of blogging time and I do wish I had more time for blogging! As well as the food blog CBRfoodie which I started earlier this year, I am in the early stages of putting together a blog about political campaigning, which is closer to what I actually do for a living. Down the track I hope to be able to do a bit of both without upsetting my partner or children!
How does my writing differ from others in its genre?
Probably not by much, although every blogger I have met recently has a different approach. I think good writing is essential in any form of communication, but food blogging also relies on a sense of aesthetics as well. The good bloggers (or those that take it a bit more seriously or have been doing it for longer) seem to have a more elaborate approach. Their equipment is usually a bit more serious (DSLR, WordPress, Instagram and tricky apps for quickly manipulating and posting images). I like to take a positive approach to the writing as well. I usually don’t post negative comments and devised a rating system whereby even the lowest rating was still basically a recommendation to try the restaurant, but I use “Canberra Beanies” instead of Chef’s hats or Michelin stars.
Why do I write?
I write primarily for the creative outlet it provides. I also enjoy searching for and eating affordable food. Last year I decided to resuscitate an abandoned research/writing project on political campaigning via a blog, however it quickly became apparent that blogging is not as straight-forward as it might initially seem. I realised I would need to teach myself some basic WordPress skills and that it would take some time before I felt my technical inability would not hamper the writing and blogging process. Having worked in the city for a few years I was aware that there was a lack of information about affordable food and thought a “cheap eats” style list for Canberra would be an achievable blogging project to develop the skills for a more elaborate blog. That said, the food blog has been more fun than I expected and has developed into a hobby all of its own. If you’d like to read a more intelligent and considered explanation about the motivations and challenges of food blogging, here is an awesome article from Zoe at Progressive Dinner Party. It has some very interesting and helpful links for new bloggers.
How does my writing process work?
Realising I needed a critical mass of content before I started the WordPress blog, I made an effort to start Tweeting and posting on Facebook to build a supply of content a couple of months earlier in November 2013. My initial approach to the micro-blogging was very simple: I’d get hungry. I’d look inside my wallet, to find a few notes and coins. I’d buy food and usually take a couple of iPhone shots with the camera. I eat and pay for my meal. If I have a few minutes to spare I often tweet something that day and if I remember post it on Facebook that night or next day. Once or twice a week I blog about the lunch and try and promote the blog again through twitter. As I progressed however I remained more comfortable with Twitter, which is where I still share most of my tips and conversations. I’ve developed a comprehensive twitter-based list of Canberra foodies. I’ve also developed a couple of aspects to the blog which I hadn’t anticipated: a comprehensive list of Canberra food blogs and a series of interviews with other foodies. The list of blogs has been a great source of ideas and conversations, particularly with visitors to Canberra who want to know about food experiences from local foodies. I think the interviews have been popular because they represent a very human aspect of the blogging and foodie experience and have been a great way to meet more experienced food bloggers and learn from them.
Now I get to pass on the blog hop baton to two other bloggers who I will briefly introduce:
Tara Cheyne is one of the proudest advocates for Canberra I have met in recent years. Her well-regarded blog ”In the Taratory” started as a creative record of her adventures discovering Canberra’s hidden tourist gems but has evolved over a few short years into a reliable source of information for locals and tourists alike. Tara is also a community activist and is Secretary of the Belconnen Community Council and also on the Board of the Belconnen Arts Centre. If you want to know ANYTHING about Belconnen she’s one of the best sources you can find! Make sure you follow her on Twitter! I love this photo of Tara stomping on grapes at one of Canberra’s many regional wineries.
James Tew moved to Canberra late last year through his work in the Navy. In his spare time (or what little he has) he blogs at “ three daughters” and also runs @TweetCanberra which he has turned into a fantastic news source and blog about events and people across our city. James also ran the highly successful SMR2014 (Social Media Revolution) Seminar a few months ago and has single-handedly raised the bar for social media networking in Canberra, bringing together professionals, amateurs and aspiring newcomers into the exciting and evolving world of social media in the most well-connected city in Australia. The photo below was taken by me when James and I decided to treat our daughters to a day of toffee apples and cider (non-alcoholic of course!) at an apple-festival near Canberra!
Thanks to Gary for inviting me to be part of the blog hop and thanks to Tara and James for agreeing to participate and accept the batons!
My wife, five daughters and I recently joined @James_Tew and his three daughters for brunch at the Ha Ha Bar at Emu Bank in Belconnen. Although my wife had been there previously for drinks with friends this was our first meal there and we were pleasantly surprised. The small façade facing the car park opens up to a larger eating area and impressive deck overlooking Lake Ginninderra.
Although they weren’t set up for kids we had no trouble ordering them meals. I ordered an eggs benedict ($16 with extra bacon) and my wife ordered a big brekky ($18) and shared some with me and the little ones.
I immediately tested the consistency of the eggs and they were appropriately runny. I’m not an expert on eggs benedict but it tasted great and I would recommend it again.
James ordered himself a very attractive breakfast pizza – I might try that next time!
We had some delicious coffee as well and enjoyed watching all the girls devour their specially-made pancakes and enjoy their orange juice. This meal was more expensive than my normal fare however its important to occasionally take out the family for a special treat in a new environment and give the young ones a chance to make new friends and get out of their comfort zone. We had a great time and we will definitely be back. TWO #Canberra beanies.
One of the best things about the Ha Ha Bar was its proximity to one of our favourite kids’ playgrounds at John Knight memorial Park. The girls had a great time and we all got to enjoy a sunny Sunday afternoon watching the kids socialise and play.
We’re looking forward to return soon to the Ha Ha Bar and trying the rest of the menus, and if I can wrangle some baby-sitters, the cocktails as well!
…and we’ll visit the Lake Ginninderra ducks again too
If you just read my previous re-post from James Tew’s blog http://raising3daughters.com/haha-bar/ you will know that as well as being a social media gun he’s an unfulfilled foodie! (which gives me an idea for another post – “what is a foodie?” – stay tuned for that one). James has recently burst onto the #CBR twitter scene after being sent to Canberra by the Navy from Perth. And Perth’s loss is our gain. Last Sunday I had the pleasure of enjoying a great brunch with him and his lovely family (wife Christine and three delightful daughters) at the Ha Ha Bar in Belconnen, where Christine works. We had a lot to talk about.
Who are you James? Well where do I start? I’m a Dad to three daughters, a husband to a function manager, an Australian Defence Force Officer, an online content manager at Tweet Canberra, social media coach, blogger, university student and an amateur bbq’er. I love social media, I love how I can connect to anyone and everyone at the same time. I specialise in Twitter and blogging and have been known to run a few workshops on those topics here in Canberra. I started Tweet Canberra on the 18th of Jan 2014 and I’ve taken it close to 1,000 followers (as of the beginning of March). It’s going from strength to strength but the general idea is that it connects the Canberra community on Twitter. I’ve seen a lot of support for Tweet Canberra, it’s solved lots of problems for people and has created a lot of value in this short period of time.
Age? 25 (26 next week)
Where do you live? Dunlop, Canberra.
How long have you been blogging? 2 years. My primary blog (raising3daughters.com) is coming up on 1 year but my personal blog (jamestew.me) where I talk about social media is going on two years. It’s under going some re-development at the moment, to make it mobile friendly and content rich.
Other hobbies? I’ve got three kids, they are fair non existent. I like reading, golf and barbecuing
Apple or Android? Real men have android. I was a Apple fan boy for many year, I still use a MacBook Pro but my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 runs my busy life.
Car/Bus/Bike? My bike has a flat tire and I haven’t fixed it so car. Plus I can’t put three girls on the handlebars.
Favourite TV show? At the moment I have a couple: Last man Standing (I see myself as Tim Allen in 20 years), House of Cards, Arrow, The Crazy ones, The Tomorrow People and I’ve just started watching Q and A
Favourite Device? My new MacBook Pro and Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Can we take a peek at your home screen? I like to keep it clean and minimal.
Most used app? Hootsuite followed closely by Gmail
Favourite Social Media? Twitter hands down. They don’t use an algorithm to tell me what I like to see (cough Facebook cough)
What’s the first thing online you check each morning? I open three tabs in chrome (they stay open all day) Gmail, Calendar and Hootsuite.
What do you worry about at night? I wonder what ungodly time my kids will wake up tomorrow…
Most exciting recent news? The Rum Bar is doing buy 1 get 1 free drinks for Tweet Canberra followers
Ideal Career? Social Media adviser/social media coach/blogger/public speaker/stay at home dad so I can all of them whilst spending more time with my girls.
Recent Book you recommend? The war of Art by Steven Pressfield
Recent online video you laughed at? Robin Williams is the star of the Crazy ones and in episode 7 of season one he takes on an advertising account for Australian Tourism. Needless to say he gets frustrated and does this http://youtu.be/v0NTYlR3Fhw
Favourite Food? I am a sucker for tapas but I love slow roast meat on a webber!
James is a great guy to follow if you want to keep up to date with news and happenings in Canberra. @TweetCanberra or if you want to share some daddy blogging or ideas @James_Tew. His blog is very impressive for a blogging newbie like me (it has all the bells and whistles I aspire to understand and utilise) raising3daughters.com
If I had less children I would have posted this earlier! But James beat me to it
I will follow up tonight hopefully with my interview questions, revealing more about James and his superhuman blogging and tweeting efforts over the past few months since he launched Tweet Canberra and burst onto the local twitterverse.