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Can WeTalk?




I've been thinking a lot lately about blogging and food blogging in particular.  I started this particular food blog about 11 years ago now, but have been food blogging in general for I guess about 15 years altogether.  For most of that time I have blogged about food just about every day with very few exceptions.  I cook and eat every day, so why not write about it??? 

Since I started this blog 11 years ago, I have posted 3886 blog posts, and I am proud to say that for the most part each post contains a recipe.  I have learnt along the way and I like to think that as time has gone on I have gotten better at this lark.  I still don't have the most aesthetically pleasing, well-thought-out food photographs. Photography has never been my strong suit, but I do try to present to you food that is pretty realistic. I don't use filters or edit much except to crop.  Some days you get my laundry in the back ground, and some days the kitchen bin (and trust me when I say I have heard about that from some people!)  What you get is real food, in real time. 

One thing I have always prided myself on is that you don't have to jump through a bazillion hoops to get to a recipe on my page.  You land on the page, and yes . . .  admittedly I do post a lot of photographs in between the information and chit chat, but you all know that if you can't abide chit chat, all you need to do is to scroll down the page and a printable recipe is right there waiting for you.

Nothing jumps out at you.  Nothing obscures the recipes.  You don't have to click on accept this, or that.  Its just my chit chat, the photos and the recipes.  In a world where there is far too much advertising and lets face it fake crap  . . . I like to think that what I present to you is fairly direct and succinct, despite the chit chat. 


Admittedly there are a couple of ads.  One in the right handcolumn and one beneath the posts.  But I still think they are not very intrusive and if I thought they were intrusive in any way I would take them off. I make a few pennies a week from them from google. I get a little payment from them about every 4th month which amounts to about $60, which isn't an awful lot when you consider how many people I have visiting my page each day, which in all honesty amounts in the tens of thousands each day.  Sometimes it is upwards of 50,000 and sometimes about 30,000. Its never been about money for me.  Its always only ever been about food.

Occasionally (and I try not to make it too often) I will share something with you which I have been sent to try out.  Back when I first started I used to share these things more often than I do now.  I only share occasionally now.  I get a Degustabox once a month, which has a variety of different products in it for me to try and I share my findings with you on that, and I may share the odd thing now and again, but for the most part, I try to make all of my posts sincere and just about food.  I probably have offers every second day or so from companies wanting to send me this or that, or to visit here or there.  I turn most of them down.  I am just not interested in travelling very far these days (and at my own expense most times) or having an abundance of kitchen goodies in my already too small kitchen. 


Some bloggers fill their posts with hyperlinks.  I only occasionally add a link to a post and that is because I think it is something you might find interesting or will use.  I don't get paid for them. I'm just sharing.  Some bloggers only ever rarely write fresh content.  What you get from a lot of them is the same old stuff reconfigured to look like a new weeks worth of menus and recipes and they will send them out at the beginning of the week, but it is the same old stuff that they have had all along, presented in a new manner.  I try to write fresh content every day, and only ever very occasionally have I written something which is a compendium of a variety of recipes that I have already shared.  On special occasions for the most part, like Pancake Day when I think you might want to have a choice from a multitude of different options, or around Christmas when I might post the links to all my Christmas Recipes.  That's done just to make it easier for you to find them.

Had I known back when I started what I know now, I would have started off with an index.  Unfortunately I didn't and so I think a post where I share all or my best pancake recipes, or my holiday recipes is not entirely a bad thing!  It would be just too difficult for me to now go back and index all of my recipes, there's far too many of them.  But often if someone asks me if I have a recipe for this thing or for that thing, I will go to the effort of digging it up for them! 

Occasionally I have written little cookbooklets that I sell to make a few pennies. They are in the cookbooklet Tab up at the top of the page.  Again, I am not tecchie saavy enough to be able to present them to you as instant downloadables.  I sent each one out individually, so it can take a few hours sometimes for me to get them to you.  First Paypal has to let me know you've bought one, and then I have to be online, and I do try to sleep at night so sometimes I am in bed and it has to wait until I get up before I check my e-mails and send them out.  But again, I just do this because I enjoy putting them together and sharing them with you.  I've never had any complaints, and everyone who has ever bought them has really enjoyed them and found them to be a fair value for money spent. 

I find myself getting a bit more tired these days. I am not sure why. I reckon for every post I do, I spent the time it takes to cook the recipe, the time it takes to take photos of the recipe, and then the time to crop and edit them, post them and write about them.  To make things easier this year I signed up to Recipes Generator so that you could have decent printable recipes.  This does cost, but not as much as some sites cost.  I wanted you to have something decent to print out and keep.  I may not be able to keep it up next year, which in and of itself presents a bit of a conundrum for me, because I just started wondering recently what happens if I can't afford to keep it up next year?  Does that mean that all of my printable recipes disappear?  Food for thought there and I may find myself having to go back and make sure that I have another free alternative that I can slip into place should that happen.

I am not bored with cooking, but I am tired.  I find since my mom passed away a bit of the spring in my step has disappeared.  I may find it again, I hope so at any rate.  And I am finding it a bit expensive to keep presenting fresh content on a daily basis, so I guess I am really thinking about how to go forward with all of this. I find that most days I don't have a lot of time for much else.  How I ever wrote that cookbook a couple years ago, or even how I ever worked full time and kept this up I will never know!  It beats me. But then if I didn't food blog, how would I fill all those hours???


 


So I guess what I am asking is this. What about this blog do you like?  What would you like to see?  What would you not like to see.  How should I go about moving forward?  I'll be honest. I am not TRENDY!  I don't follow fads, in fact I highly dislike them.  I only ever want it to be about the food, and real food, and I want it to be about food that I enjoy cooking and that you will enjoy reading about, trying for yourself and eating.  Maybe this page has run its course?  I'm not sure!  What do you think?  I really want to know! Lets start a dialogue!  Thanks so much! 




 





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Marie Rayner
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38 comments:

  1. Oh Marie..I have no suggestions..I see blogging as a journal for me..and to share tips and recipes and ideas.I love the connections I have made .But I have seen the number of bloggers wane..the comments wane..
    I dislike having to jump through so many pop up ads on blogs..I even stopped following them.
    I have no words of advice,as I don't see a huge future in Blogging.I never wanted a future though in it..nor IG..again for me it's the connections and keeping my mind and hands busy in a creative manner.

    I personally don't know how you keep 2 blogs going every day.Maybe combine both? And post once a week..or bi-weekly? It would cut your costs and time a lot?
    Your recipes are so good..And you put your heart into all this..and I fear everything is getting instant gratification now like IG..?

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    1. I actually had a friend who quit her job to make her blog a job a couple of years back Monique. I wonder how she is doing. I wonder if it paid off for her. What I love most about blogging is the lovely friends I have made, of which you are one that I treasure! xoxo

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  2. Marie, I love your blog. I don't comment often but I do cook many of your recipes. I like that you make "normal" food that my family enjoys. If you need a break, take it. Everyone deserves it. Thank you for sharing all your great recipes.

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    1. Thanks so much for your words Ginger! I did enough "fancy" when I was working at the manor! I loathe fancy now. I embrace "normal! and I am happy it is appreciated! xoxo

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  3. I love your blog! It is wonderful to see a new recipe every day and I know it must take a tremendous amount of time and commitment to make that happen. I love that you are NOT trendy, but are presenting real, delicious, every day food. I look at many food blogs but yours is the one that I actually cook from the most. I also enjoy your writing. It is friendly, helpful and accessible. Selfishly I hope you continue as you have been. But you should do what feels best for you, and only keep dong it as long as it is enjoyable and your heart is in it. With anything any of us do, if the burden begins to outweigh the joy, it is time to rethink!

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    1. Sarah, your words made me smile. I still find a lot of joy in it, but it is the expense that is getting me down a bit, and I don't get a lot of feedback so I never know if what I am doing is being well received or not. I will probably always do it to some degree though. It makes me far too happy to ever stop doing it completely! xoxo

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  4. How about taking a blogging break for a while? No need for making deadlines about it, just stop then see how you feel in a few weeks or so. It might work; your blog is too good a resource for it to die, should your regular readers make a regular contribution to your costs? I shall be more than willing to do so. x

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    1. I won't lie and say that the cost of this doesn't weigh me down at times, but I have always only ever wanted it to be about the food and my love for preparing and eating it. Thanks for your validation ToffeeApple! xoxo

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  5. I read your blog every day but have never commented. Your recipes are wonderful and I like the little snapshots of your life that you include as well! Please continue - maybe not as often but I'd certainly miss you if you stopped altogether.
    Joanie in Northern Californnia

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    1. Thank you so much Joanie! I never know if my words are coming across as trite or if people even read the dialogue. Sometimes I worry that someone is going to comment to me that I write a lot of nonsense and to stick to the "meat" of the matter. I like to think that it comes across as a conversation between friends! xoxo

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  6. I like to have a quick look at your blog daily-I'm not interested in anything with meat or poultry but your cake and desserts always look so lovely. hope you get your mojo back but if not maybe you need a break for a while?

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    1. Thanks Jay! I do try to make it a bit of a mix for everyone! I am still pondering what or how to move forward! Your input is always appreciated! xoxo

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  7. I check my facebook page everyday. I am a quilter and follow a quilt teacher. I get so excited when your page comes up with the varity of recipes. I love to read your blog, save your recipes on my pinterest page to try. Some are familiar to me from when my mother used to make them when I was younger and some are so new that I need to look up the ingredients to know what they are. I am fairly new to your blog and love reading about you and your recipes. I was very happy to learn that you do all of the wonderful and cute pictures for your blog. I would love to have all of your booklets for your recipes and the art. I do have a soft spot for cookbooks. I was glad to know you are LDS. My Mother raised me and my 2 brothers LDS and I feel like I have a sister across the pond so to speak. I would miss you if I didn't see your blog and recipes everyday but if you need a break or need to slow down....I can totally understand and relate. I have slowed down quite a bit since I have retired recently. You need to do what is best for you. You can't please everyone and there is always going to be a negative Nellie out there somewhere. Big Hugs to you for all that you do. Carol M from Southern California...

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    1. Thanks so much Carol! I appreciate very much all that you have said. Oh, I have a cookbook fetish for sure. I keep trying to get rid of some, but then I start looking through them and that is as far as it goes, lol. They are all like good friends to me! I am taking your comments on board, and will figure out how to move foward with this. I don't think I will ever stop completely so long as I have the ability to write and share! xoxo

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  8. Well, I probably have no business even giving my two cents worth as I am one of your newest followers and I am a totally different “type” of blogger than you (and probably most of your followers), but that’s not going to stop me LOL. I found you through another blogger and I liked what I saw and stayed because of it. Yours is the only food blog I follow actually. Now that it’s just my husband and me, we don’t cook a whole lot anymore these days, but occasionally we do and I like to try something different. I like that I know you have actually made and tasted the recipe. (There have been recipes that I have tried and it makes me wonder if the author even tried it...and it’s not because I can’t cook.). Anyways, I like that...and I like knowing there’s a real person behind the blog. To be truthful, I don’t notice the ads... I don’t comment every day because, frankly, I can’t keep up with even reading my regular blogs on a daily basis. And I do know it takes time to put a blog post together (even without having to cook something for it first). I have blogged for about 10 years, but took a long, long, break and only returned this year. It was disappointing to see so many bloggers have given it up, and I truly hope you don’t....but perhaps just don’t strive to do it daily? And wow can I relate to that “I don’t know how I did all this and worked full time too” thing.... Hope you can reach a healthy equilibrium.... ~Robin~

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    1. Thanks Robin! I know a lot of my old blogging friends have given it up. I can't see me giving it up completely as I enjoy it far too much. I do try everything I write about and the often crappy photos prove that, lol. You don't get to see my failures! Just the successes! Maybe I should show some of my cock-ups as well? I don't know! xoxo

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  9. You are a talented food blogger, wonderful recipes, hope you find where you go from here.

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  10. I always go to your blog first! I love LOVE LOVE your recipes, I feel like you have written them just for me and my family. IF you were to quit (please, no.) I would really miss you and your great ideas. I rarely comment but I do love the recipes and your helpful information. Please keep going at the blog!! Thank you so much.

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    1. Don't worry Lefting, I am not ready to quit just yet! Thank you so much for your kind words! xoxo

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  11. I love your blog because as an English gal living in America I crave practical real food recipes that are from home. Love your blog. Thanks for all your effort and hard work

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    1. Thanks so much Liz! I really appreciate your input! Its nice to know that my efforts mean something to some people!! xoxo

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  12. I've been awol as a commenter recently because of ill health, but I do read your blog each day I am able to be online and also try out many of your dishes, as they are always delicious and reliable. Many, many of your recipes are part of my regular meal plans and everyone loves them.

    I would hate to see your blog disappear as it's so lovely, friendly, helpful, genuine - just like you. But I understand that it takes many hours and is not exactly cost free for you. Someone suggested asking people to contribute to the cost and I'd be more than happy to as well because I gain so much here. Perhaps something for you to consider. I know that's not the whole reason for your wondering about the blog's future, but it might help steer you towards continuing.

    I'm very grateful to have found your blog (back in the old aol days) and am in awe of you continuing to write and generously share these things with all of us. I often wish I could do something for you in return. Thank you for everything you do - I don't think I say that to you enough.

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    1. Oh Marie, I am so happy to see a comment from you. You have been very much on my mind lately. I do have something to mail to you but things have been a bit tight. I hope that you are feeling better. Thank you for your words. Cost is a contributing factor. I do like to keep things fresh and current, but I also don't want the advertising that plagues so many pages. I find it irritating when I visit them and I don't want people to ever feel irritated when they visit mine. I want them to enjoy their visits here! I also don't want to put out the begging bowl either, which I think could get annoying really quickly. That's why I have tried to do the cookbooklets, and artwork, dolls etc. So that people get something in return. It is pretty much a full time job these days though. But I do so love it and I love the wonderful friendships and relationships with people I have built through the years, which to me are priceless! xoxo

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  13. I really like your blog! And the heading is always clear. That means a lot to me so I can skip a post if it contains something I really dislike (like lamb eg, lol). But just a few minutes ago I've put everything at the ready for the spinache/feta oven omelet. The pictures are very helpful.
    What I'm really saying is: please continue ;) Love from the Netherlands, Marleen xxx

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    1. Oh, I really hope you like the oven omelet Marleen! I am not going to quit by any stretch but I do ned to find a way to move forward with it in a way which I can afford and still be attractive for others to read with recipes they want to cook! My goal and aim is to try to keep it current and fresh. xoxo

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  14. Oh Marie, a day without your posts would be like a day without sunshine. I have NEVER commented on a blog before but I need to let you know that your hard work is appreciated. I have cooked numerous recipes and they are always a hit with my family and easy for me to follow. I cannot imagine how much work and expense it is for you to experiment as well as post daily. I enjoy your stories and your pop up free site. I have stopped visiting numerous recipe blogs because of the prolific pop up ads and videos. Would it be possible to present new recipes once or twice a week and perhaps re post old ones on other days? ( I am relative newbie to the blog so I would love to see older favorites ) I have also used your Oak Cottage archives and love those recipes too, I am not tech savvy by any means but could you possibly re post those or send a link on days you don't post a new recipe? I am grateful to have found your delightful blog and hope you find a solution that works. It is never wrong to follow your intuition and your heart!

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    1. Thanks very much! I love hearing from readers who have been around since the beginning. I get really annoyed with all of the pop ups etc. that I find on other blogs and like you, shut them down immediately. I want to be able to get to the recipe without all of that faffing about. I don't even read the dialogue because so much of it is interspersed with ads and popups that you daren't click on the screen. That is far too much trouble to get to a recipe! I will take your suggestions under advisement! A lot of the photographs that I took back in the old days are not very good though, so I will have to re-cook and photograph many of them. I really appreciate your input! xoxo

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  15. Well, I don't know where to begin, apart from the fact that I do hope you don't decide to abandon ship because I love coming here. I try to comment most times although when it gets a little hectic, I might not. But I only follow two food bloggers (and one is as much a painting/lifestyle blog as food, even though she does a ton of recipes.) Yours are the recipes I cook from and I've never been disappointed.

    I understand the "feeling tired" and when I think of it, you really have had a lot that could contribute to that (that I know of) and who knows what you might not have shared that adds to that feeling. We all have our periods where we're less "ta da!" than usual but grief can drag us for a longer time that we think and I know the death of your mom is still pretty recent.

    So I'm trying to think of things that might make blogging easier for you and less of a drain -- because it shouldn't be a drain. It should be something we love to do and not dread meeting a self-imposed deadline. Maybe fewer posts a week would help. Two or three. Or maybe breaking up your food posts with something un-food related just for fun (I'd love to see a post about your town! Where do you shop for your food? Markets, the grocers?). What is your kitchen like? I hope it's not as tiny and cramped as mine.

    I think in summer blog readership drops a bit anyway, what with peoples' holidays. Maybe it would be a good time to try. (And from a personal perspective, I just can't keep up with bloggers who do it every day!)

    I noted someone above mentioned highlights from your archives. I think that's a great idea for those of us who have only been with you a couple of years.

    You talk about the expense and I'm wondering how much of that is financial expense (paying for recipe generator) and "personal" expense -- time to do anything else. Fewer posts per week might help with that. Is blogger a free platform in the UK? It is here in the states (which is why I'm not wordpress or have a separate .com.) Does the cost come from testing recipes? Just curious.

    I have to say I really appreciate your lack of intrusive ads and pop-ups (I hate that on so many blogs!) and love your warm, personal tone. I also love all the photos, although if that's part of the time factor, you could probably do with fewer of them and still have the same look and feel. I'd love to know some of the cookbooks you love (or hate). I enjoy some of the product samples (although I can never get them here -- I have to say I almost spent an EXTRAORDINARY amount to order Thomas Fudge's milk chocolate flapjacks online because after I learned about them from you and tried them in England I became hooked!)

    I would be sad indeed if you stopped blogging altogether. You inspire me to be a better, more inventive cook and I enjoy that tremendously!

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    1. Thanks Jeanie. I thought I had already responded, but I guess I didn't! My apologies for that! When I talk about expense, I am talking about the financial expense. People like to see something new and possibly exciting. I am finding it harder to keep up on Todd's basic pension. Its not a lot, and of course I have been unable to work outside the home in recent years due to my disabilities. The cost of good food is sky-rocketing, and I think you would all get bored with seeing 365 ways to cook an egg, or beans on toast every week, lol. I would be bored with it as well. Love all of your suggestions, and really appreciate them however! If I have inspired you to be a better more inventive cook then that makes me happy because that is my primary motivation in doing this, inspiring others to want to cook and not just dump something out of a can or a box! Yay!! xoxo

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  16. I have been following your blog for just a few months and LOVE it. It is the only food blog I have ever followed on a regular basis. Most food blogs are too trendy or not to my liking but yours is common sense cooking with just enough flair at times to be fun. I would miss the blog if you stopped as I read it just about every day. Thank you for all your efforts.


















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    1. Thanks so much Julia! I am not trendy in the least. Not faddish either, not in my clothing, furnishings or cooking/eating. A stick in the mud that resists change, lol. xoxo

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  17. Marie, I have been following your blog for quite a while now. I love the simplicity of the dishes that you post. Most of the time I either have all the ingredients or even if I don't I don't have to go out of my way to buy them. The dishes turn out just the way you describe them. I do not think I ever had a recipe that I was disappointed with. I live in Canada and every time you mention Canada in your post it makes me smile and it feels like we share something others wouldn't understand :)) I wouldn't mind if you posted once a week only or whatever other schedule you would prefer but please keep blogging as I look forward to every recipe you post. I love reading the stories that come with those dishes as they give a glimpse into your everyday life making the whole thing more personal. I agree with another reader who suggested re-posting old recipes especially if that makes it easier on you. Thank you so much for the cozy and comfy place you have created here!!!

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment Anastasia (might I say I love LOVE your name, you must have had a very whimisical mother.) I like the things I cook to be somewhat exciting, but not unachievable and to not contain a bazillion idiotic ingredients like poached yak knuckles or sun dried periwinkles. I have only ever wanted it to be about real food that real people can cook. That's probably why I don't spend a lot of time setting up my photographs either. Its just real food and you see what I see and what I eat. I do love the interaction between myself and the readers, even if I don't get many comments, I know you are there. I love to tell stories and I love food with history, and I love sharing that with you. I am so pleased and happy with your input! Thank you very much for that! xoxo

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  18. I like your blog. I like your recipes and the things you write about. If posting every day is getting to be too much, maybe post every other day or twice a week.

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    1. Thanks very much for your suggestions! Much appreciated! xoxo

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  19. Hi Marie, l love your recipes (they work and taste good) unlike some other websites l have looked at. I used to have a Facebook group and blog about an actor but due to some trolls, money issues and health reasons(l got breast cancer) l quit. However, although my admiration for this actor was not strong enough to continue l do see in your blog the strong love for cooking and l would find that a hard choice not to continue blogging about. I am not sure which way forward you can go on this but your health and fiancial/life priorities are the up most importance. Maybe showcase once a month on your blog the best of what you have cooked that particular month (maybe 3-4 dishes) could be one idea. Whatever you decide do it for you. :)

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    1. Thanks for your input Melanie. I am so sorry you had to quit your group and blog on the actor. Trolls online are inevitable to be sure. I can't tell you the number of horrible comments I have gotten through the years. Some very personal and it really can bring you down. That's why I have total moderation now. I do love to cook and eat (that latter one is my great weakness!) and I can't see me stopping blogging as long as I am physically capable of doing so. I may move forward in a different day however. We shall see! In the meantime thanks for your kind words! I try to make my blogs like myself, approachable and helpful! xoxo

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