Claire Jessiman aka The Foodie Quine is a passionate Scottish freelance foodie. Now living in Aberdeenshire with her husband and two children, Claire originally hails from The Black Isle. With a farmer Dad and cookery demonstrator Mum her foodie adventures started at an early age. She’s been blogging since 2012 and also undertakes freelance food writing, cookery tutoring & demonstrations, media & presenting, recipe development and runs outdoor food and foraging events. She is a self-confessed social media junkie and is passionate about food education and the use of local and seasonal produce.
How did you get into blogging and was it something you had always wanted to do?
I’ve been blogging since August 2012. It was suggested by one friend in particular that I should share my ongoing adventures in food on the interweb. Bet she wishes she’s kept her mouth shut now! Foodie Quine started out as a way to catalogue my personal adventures in food, it was, and still is, all about my passion for the subject. I never set out with the aim of carrying sponsored/paid for posts and knew very little of their existence within the blogging world. I aim to communicate, share, inspire and be inspired through my blog and I hope that shows in my content.
What is the most rewarding aspect about it?
I’ve been able to meet some amazing people and have some fantastic experiences all because of my blog. A couple of highlights would be cooking breakfast on the shovel of a steam train at Deeside Railway, hosting a Q&A with GBBO finalist James Morton, learning how to make Aberdeen Butteries and spending the day at River Cottage . I’ve absolutely loved being a regular contributor on BBC Radio Scotland Kitchen Cafe and Garden and seeing my recipes and articles in print in publications such as Sainsbury’s Magazine and The Daily Record.
The blog has also brought me a platform for my food education work with both kids and adults which is something that I am really passionate about. The friends that I’ve made and the support that I’ve received has also been great. There is an amazing community of food bloggers out there many of whom I feel lucky to now have as my friends and colleagues.
However possibly the most rewarding is when someone gets in touch to say that they’ve made one of my recipes and loved it. Having a post go viral on social media, which happened with my Irn Bru Pulled Pork and Pimm’s Ice Lollies, was also rather rewarding but surreal.
What challenges do you face regularly in the world of blogging?
The best thing is being my own boss but it’s also the worst thing! Motivation can sometimes be tricky and it can get lonely working on your own and not having someone to bounce ideas off. Procrastination and social media addiction are my biggest downfalls. My geographical location in the North of Scotland also makes things tricky, as much as I’d love to attend events in London it’s seldom possible or practical.
In terms of workload it’s either a feast or a famine which can be scary. I’m a bit of a technophobe so HTML and SEO are my idea of hell but thankfully I’ve picked up just about enough to get by. Working with PR’s and understanding the value of my blog has been a steep learning curve but I’ve become much more confident in pitching to brands and saying no to working purely for exposure when everyone else in the chain is being paid.
In terms of my design and logo I’ve been lucky enough to work with Aberdeen designer Mimi Hammill who completely overhauled my previously non-existent image and gave me a consistent look and colour scheme that has helped to build a recognisable Foodie Quine brand.
What does a typical blogging day involve for you?
I don’t think there is a typical day! Blogging has pretty much taken over my life. It’s my full time job 24/7. I now describe myself as a ‘Freelance Foodie’. Basically I’m a blogger, food writer, cookery demonstrator/tutor and I also run outdoors food and foraging events for adults and kids. Plus anything else that comes along! Officially going Freelance and being self-employed was a wee bit terrifying (and I don’t just mean doing my tax return!) but it also gives me lots of flexibility which suits my family life.
What does the future hold for Foodie Quine? (This is your chance to shout about any exciting projects in the pipeline)
Gosh that is such a tricky question! My real passion lies in food education, particularly for Children so I would love to do some more with regards to that and hope to get the opportunity to do so in CFINE’s new Cook in the Nook community kitchen facility. I also absolutely love Radio so would be interested in pursuing that direction further if possible.