5 little lessons I’ve learnt from blogging

apples || cityhippyfarmgirl

This little blog is now five years old. I’ve been writing, musing, dropping kitchen crumbs, taking pictures and sitting under the name cityhippyfarmgirl for five years now. Now how did half a decade zip by while I sat next to my computer? Well to be honest, I’m not really sure. What I do know though, is that five years is a wonderful amount of time to have learnt lots of bloggy lessons…Lots of them!

If you would like to pull up a chair, grab an apple or perhaps a slice of shortcake and linger awhile, I’ll share with you five lessons I’ve learnt in that time.

1/ Always write down your thoughts or recipes as you go along.

For recipes, I will never, ever remember the quantities and cooking times of what ever I am making. For thoughts, that seem so clear and unforgettable, they seem to disappear without even an audible “poofff” (despite all the very best intentions.) Five years on, you think I would have had this one firmly embedded in my brain. Nope, it isn’t though, I still occasionally forget and think that my memory can’t honestly be that bad, and of course I will remember. (It is that bad, and I do forget.)

Note to self, don’t forget, that I…well, forget.

sourdough || cityhippyfarmgirl

2/ There is always more to learn with bread baking.

What an amazing thing bread baking can be. To be always learning from and tweaking something as simple as flour, water, salt. I still get bubbles of excitement bringing a loaf out of the oven. What will it look like, how much of a spring will it have? No loaf is ever the same. Never. Not a one.

Life gives different loaves. In ways of weather, timing, distractions, commitments, forgetfulness, ingredients, new flour- they all play a part in my sourdough being different every single time. And really, how awesome is that!

3/ Photography, another big lesson.

I look back on photos I thought were pretty much ok, and can’t help but chuckle. Cameras have been and gone, techniques have changed along with them and knowledge is still to be gained in abundance with my photography. What I do know is that I get a kick out of taking photos and I can’t imagine that changing for a long time. I don’t think this photo from my first month of blogging back in 2010 would have been pinned too often. I do know it was a delicious pie though (recipe here) and remember all of us eating it with much gusto.

cityhippyfarmgirl

1st edition Jan 2010

cityhippyfarmgirl

2nd edition Jan 2013

apple shortcake pie || cityhippyfarmgirl

3rd edition Feb 2015

4/ Which leads me to my next lesson. Remembering.

Now I’ve already established at times, I’m not so good at remembering things. This is where having a blog is truly wonderful. It does the remembering for you. It’s my online diary of a sort. It stores many more day to day things, words, pictures, memories than I would have ever thought to remember.

Not to mention my recipes. I cook and bake a lot. Before having a blog I would have countless scrappy bits of paper dotted about the place, usually being lost between other bits of paper. Now I have them all here. Sure It’s a little weird having to go to the internet for your own recipes but hey it seems to work. I usually put a lot of time and effort into my recipes, bringing a concept to life, tweaking, changing, experimenting until I’ve got it just right. Sometimes they can be months and months in the making. I still feel slightly uneasy about other people using those recipes and putting them up on their own site without any reference, words or thanks given, a recipe now it’s their very own- it seems a murky copyright world, with well pretty much everything these days. So all I can do is know that what I’m doing sits right with me, and that’s what matters right?

Another wonderful thing about having a blog to help you remember is the feelings and emotions that might have slipped between the metaphorical pages. Tiny moments captured, which in another time would have been swept away to live only in my own memory bank…or to simply slip between the cracks altogether.

community || cityhippyfarmgirl

5/ Community.

I’ve waxed lyrical about the online community many, many times before. It will never get old speaking enthusiastically of all the people who make up this always evolving digital community. It’s pretty wonderful to be a part of that. When digital names spill over to lovely long emails, or names on the backs of envelopes, plump packages from people half a world away. Or coffee and picnics with people who were once just a gravatar. That’s pretty darn wonderful.

Through the online community I’ve also discovered more and more small businesses and people who I want to support with my careful dollar. Conscious shopping the way it should be- Instead of those coins going to a blank face that means nothing to me. I will repeat these words a thousand times, as it really is incredibly important to me.

apple pie || cityhippyfarmgirl

6/ Evolve and make your own rules up.

Now wait a second, didn’t I say this was to be five? Yes, I did but this is the beauty of lesson number six. If I want to put six up I can, I can do that, I can make my own rules up here. Yes I can.

I’ve also learnt to roll with it all. If something is bugging me I’ll change it. If I don’t want to do something, I don’t. I’ve learnt over these five years that for a blog to evolve you really have to ride with it, social media is an ever evolving thing and with that, well you have to be as well.

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How about you, if you have a blog what lessons have you learnt as a blogger. Or, if you are a reader what lessons have you learnt from reading blogs?

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Changes

cityhippyfarmgirl.com

There has been a few changes round these bloggy pages of late. Some are obvious and some not so obvious. After nearly five years of cityhippyfarmgirl stories, recipes, simple living tips and general waffle, it’s this year that has been a big one for me. Opportunities have jumped up, friendships have been cemented, and some things I’ve had to cut loose.

When I first started blogging, I didn’t do instagram and didn’t do facebook. While I’ll always be a little unsure on the merits of FB, Instagram I’ve loved every inch of. With the addition of both of these social media avenues, along with “everything else”. My posts have been slowly cut to two a week. Gone are the days when I posted every second day. I simply couldn’t keep up. The blogging environment has changed as well, I’ve noticed a massive shift even in the time since I first started. (See this post here, if you are interested from another bloggers perspective.)

So with posts, getting less so, social media time divided, what else am I doing?

earth garden || cityhippyfarmgirl

Well along with ‘other real life stuff’, I was tickled pink to be asked to join the Earth Garden team. I’m now very humbly a regular story contributor to a magazine that I hold in the highest of regards.

EARTH GARDEN is Australia’s original journal of sustainable living for householders seeking a more eco-conscious lifestyle. For more than 40 years the supportive network of Earth Gardeners has been guiding and reflecting the movement away from high- consumption lifestyles. 

If you are a long time reader of cityhippyfarmgirl, you’ll probably guess at how excited I am to be a part of this.

This year, you might have also seen me in Organic Gardener Magazine. This was a one-off, but a really happy one off to be even asked.

Recently you might have seen my name pop up over on the (forever wonderful) Milkwood blog, (excuse me a minute while I squeal with joy) and it might even pop up a few more times!

MILKWOOD We’re dedicated to awesome homesteading skills for city & country – keeping life simple, organic and deliciously real…

Some truly wonderful opportunities indeed, and something I’ve worked really hard for. Writing round these parts is mostly done in snippets, and quite often with a sleeping toddler in my lap. Photographs are taken on the run and emails are returned with an eye on a cooking pot and baking oven. This is how I get things done at the moment, and amazingly… it all seems to work in an odd patchwork kind of work process way.

One thing that remains the same of this tiny corner of the blogging world is you guys, the readers. The people that I have connected with over time, the people who taken the time to comment, and the people who have been so unfailingly supportive. At times I’ve felt like my heart is going to explode with how blown away I’ve felt with your generosity of time, words and incredible kindness. Those connections are gold.

That’s what makes blogging. Right there. Community.

It’s an online community that differs from a real life one, but on so many occasions it’s trickled through to being much more than that. Real life connections, and damn, I’ve loved that.

So thank you for hanging around for the changes and as always, you guys rock- and I’m incredibly thankful for that.

afternoon light || cityhippyfarmgirl

 

 

four years on and a giveaway

four || cityhippyfarmgirl

I was flicking back through my blog recently, looking at what changes there had been made in the time since I had first started writing. Not surprising, rather a lot. There had been changes in my thoughts, ideals, photos, recipes and even the way the words tumbled out…but then, in a funny way there hadn’t been many changes either.

The essence of why I had started blogging was still there, and still the same. A year ago, not a dramatic difference, but certainly subtle changes that I know have been for the better.

The one change that had made itself incredibly apparent to me in the last twelve months, is realising just how important community is to me. I always thought it was important, but now I know, it’s really, really important to me. Whether it be as a physical presence or in a digital sense, (both here in blog form or instagram-where I can be frequently found lurking) connecting with like minded people and engaging in conversations keeps me going. It grounds, gives a sense of belonging and quite often adds a hell of a lot more meaning to my day.

With that in mind I wanted to give a little something back. Drawing from people that I’ve discovered because of my blog, and to pay that forward to others (well one anyway) that is a part of this little community.

This bloggy community rocks, and with that I wanted to say, a huge thank you. Really from the bottom of my heart. Thank you to all those who read here, pop in and out and take the time to comment. Without you all, well it definitely wouldn’t be the same.

So to the giveaway part. A little giveaway of stuff I really do like. 

chai tea || cityhippyfarmgirl

My day doesn’t start without a pot full of chai, and if by chance it does begin without it…well it’s not a very good day. I love this tea. Love, love, LOVE it. (one box of original chai tea)

Apiwraps. The plastic wrap alternative that I’m also lovvvving. Anything that decreases on the amount of kitchen plastic being used, is a good thing. A really good thing. (apiwrap pack x3)

environmental toothbrushClean and shiny teeth. Yes indeed, teeth are super important and what you brush them with is important too. As these are made out of bamboo, they will slowly break down as compost and not like their plastic cousins, sit around in landfill for a thousand squillion years. (one adult sized toothbrush)

So if you would like me to send you this little packaged giveaway, I would love to hear about your “community”. What the word means to you, an example of it, what you would like from it, a photo, a story or a tumble of words that instinctively fall from your mouth at just the mere mention of the word. Share it here within the comments of this post, or on instagram with the hashtag #cityhippyfarmgirlcommunity by Thursday 20th February, I would love to hear about your community.