The very talented Sarah Kemp is our next blogger interview and we’ve been really excited to find out more about Life’s Loves – a London-based lifestyle blog which has been going from strength to strength. If you’d like to be featured in our blogger series, pleased do drop us a line, but for now, here’s introducing Sarah.
Hi Sarah – thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Can you give us a bit of a background on who you are, where you’re from and what you do?
I grew up in Nottingham and moved to London to study 11 years ago. I say ’study’ loosely because at the time I was a huge indie kid and wanted to be a music journalist. My favourite bands were from London, so I wanted to move to be closer to the action and I knew at the time that London is the centre of the music industry and it is where I needed to be. I studied journalism and script writing and secured an internship at Dazed and Confused during my first year of University, but despite having a couple of articles published decided to jack in my music journalism dream and concentrate on living life. I quickly found another internship, this time as the first intern at MySpace in the UK, where I spent summers getting paid for helping the Events Manager arrange for top bands to perform secret gigs on the MySpace Bus at a number of music festivals. It’s safe to say my studies came second to all this, but I still managed to get a degree and start my career in the wonderful world of PR. My varied career saw me work for a range of consumer and B2B accounts over the coming years before leaving London at the end of 2014 for an adventure in Melbourne, where I stayed for a year before travelling back via New Zealand, Thailand and Cambodia.
Where did your blogging journey begin?
When I started my first PR job at Wild Card, I decided to start a blog to document all of the recipes that I was cooking at home with my boyfriend at the time. We cooked every night and I loved taking pictures and writing, so I thought – why not?
Your earliest memory of food?
I don’t think you can count coal as food (my parents used to catch me eating coal as a very young child), so I would probably say my grandma’s meat pie. It was a thing of beauty. She made the pastry by hand and I don’t think I have ever had pastry as good since she stopped making it!
We know just how time consuming keeping up a blog can be. What motivates you to keep the wheels turning?
It is indeed time consuming and there have been times where I have considered giving it all up, but I can’t bring myself to do it as I just love exploring and writing. I have also taken more of an editor role recently, so it has been nice having the time to think more strategically about it and taking a step back from the relentless writing.
We see have a few writers on board. How do you go about selecting who writes for you?
They are all friends! When I decided to go away, an old boss recommended that I ask one friend in particular to write for me, so I did. That friend never actually got on board, but it made me realise that other friends would love to contribute. So I asked and they accepted. What I love about it is it is a real collective of friends who share the same interests. We are giving recommendations to other groups of friends and individuals that have the same taste as us. It’s a real camaraderie and I’m so happy it turned out this way.
You recently switched the blog’s name from ‘Food for Think’, shifting the focus from just food. Can you tell us a bit more?
Ah, yes. I had wanted to change that name for years! I really want to branch out and have all of the sections as popular as each other, but I just haven’t had the time to do it. I also have great food PR contacts, so I tend to utilise them rather than making new ones. I’m always open to hearing about new opportunities though, food related or not.
You and your fellow writers have written an impressive number of restaurant reviews. How do you usually approach writing a review?
We choose which restaurants we want to review. If an invite comes in from a PR, we will check to see that it fits with the style of the blog and then we’ll decide who wants to do it. There aren’t usually any sad faces, as there is always another fun event or delicious restaurant to review.
What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten out?
I was so lucky to have been invited to Brazil in 2012 – I was with another journalist and a food photographer and we were treated to dinner at D.O.M, which is the restaurant of Alex Atala. It was number 3 in the San Pelligrino list at the time and we enjoyed so many courses I can’t even remember how many. The most impressive dish was literally two ants on a block of pineapple. We were sat at the chef’s table and Alex was watching us from the kitchen to see our reaction. It took me a couple of minutes, but soon enough I was chewing it and laughing. It was incredible and tasted like lemongrass!
Your favourite kitchen hack?
My trusty KitchenAid everything!
Where do you see your blog going in the future?
That’s a hard question and the honest answer is that I’m not sure. It has evolved organically over the last few years and it keeps evolving in its own way, but ultimately I would love to branch out into listings and interviews. I would also love to create a newsletter, which will feature the best Life’s Loves team recommendations for the month.
Do you have any top tips for budding bloggers out there?
The biggest tip I have is to be strategic about what you post. Don’t post for the sake of it and always make sure that what you are writing about is right for your audience. I would also recommend developing a tone of voice and sticking with it.