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My eight year blog anniversary, popular posts and what’s next

February 3, 2018

a jug of custard

My blog posts are like buses these days; you wait for ever and then two come at once.  And the thing I hear ALL the time about the key to a successful blog is consistency. To keep turning up.

So I’m going to forgive myself for being a bit haphazard in my posting schedule and pat myself on the back for creating and publishing in this little space for eight whole years today. Eight years I kept turning up (if sometimes a bit erratically).

And to say thank you to you. For turning up too.

How it started

Eight years ago I was at a crossroads, between jobs, reassessing my career, and training for a charity challenge, blogging about it, loving it. On a whim, inspired by other food blogs I was reading, I hurriedly set up another blog and My Custard Pie winged its way into the blogosphere.

Rewind even further, my first venture online was to create a ‘family website’ on the, now defunct, Yahoo Geocities (circa 2003?). There were some the girls’ paintings (I was a proud Mum), some travel stories and a few recipes. I had to learn html in those days and resizing images was a real faff. I posted a gif of a cracking egg thinking I was so cool. When I shared the link with friends and family, one person’s response was “Sally, you need to get a life”!

Little did I know that this would become such a key part of my life and the journey I’ve followed due to my adventures online was something I could never have imagined.

And back then, I entered the world of blogging to share my passions to a few people somewhere out there in the ether. No Facebook pages, no Instagram, no Pinterest, no monetisation, no sponsorship, no distractions! The new bloggers of today have the promise of so much potential it must feel daunting at the same time, it’s a privilege to have started in such simple times.

Surprising things about truffles with Georgio Locatelli.

With Georgio – always a great chat about food provenance

How this blog has changed my life

Community: You! I’ve met some incredible people all over the world both online and off – and the friends I’ve made in Dubai have changed how I view and live in this city irrevocably.

The food and drink I’ve tasted: from a vile worm that lives in bark in the Philippines, sheep’s brains, the finest caviar, a £300 cocktail, raviolo filled with a soft egg yolk, incredible sushi, phenomenal feasts (Georgian supras being the pinnacle) and so much more. My taste buds have been blown and my food knowledge expanded (to the same degree as my waistline).

Exploring the world: I’ve been called an enthusiastic traveller on more than one occasion and this blog has enabled me to be just that.  It started my love affair with Georgia too…

Meeting the famous: while this isn’t something I ever wished for or sought out, I seem to have met (and sometimes cooked with) a rather long list of well-known chefs including Nobu, Jason Atherton, Tom Aikens, Gary Rhodes, Ed Bains, Madhur Jaffrey, Athul Kochar and Thomas Keller to name a few. Diana Henry, the acclaimed food writer and Georgio Locatelli are the ones I value most for their integrity, charm and skill as well as their wonderful food, of course.

Learning from the best: I’ve honed the craft of writing and photography (and I’m still on that journey) with workshops from people at the pinnacle of their game including Dianne Jacob, Ellen Silverman and Matt Armendariz to name just a few.

My career: while I don’t earn an income from this blog or my social media channels, it’s acted as my shop window. It demonstrates that I understand the strategy and implementation of digital in a way that my  marketing communications CV couldn’t achieve alone, giving my clients confidence that I can advise and create content for their platforms. It’s also opened the door to writing for other sites and publications. Keeping updated on the ever-changing online world benefits my blog, my clients and my own personal development.

Boat ride on Lac Leman

The next step for My Custard Pie

So what next? Blogging and all the things that go with it takes a huge commitment in terms of time and energy, especially that hungry monster Instagram. Over the last year, I feel that I’ve not spent enough time here, connecting with you my precious audience.  I’d like to shake things up and share the gazillions of ideas, recipes, stories, images, experiences and learnings that are in my head (and unpublished in my drafts) especially on topics you have particularly requested or responded to.

What would you like?

I’d love to know where to put my energies in the coming year and appreciate your feedback. Would you spare 3 minutes of your time to fill in a survey?

Fill in the mycustardpie blog survey here.

The comments section is also a great place to have a conversation with too if you’d like to raise something.

Mocha stout muffins on

A regular serving of custard

I still subscribe to a whole range of newsletters and email updates even though my inbox is a bit (OK a lot) overwhelmed. There’s some wonderful information, writing, tips, stories and inspiration out there and an email makes sure I don’t miss it. I’d love to do the same for you with a regular update in your inbox.

Based on my ideas and your feedback they’ll be some things I only send to my email list that are a bit special which I think you’ll enjoy.

Subscribe here (and unsubscribe at any point).  Sign up for a slice of my custard pie.

Note: you will continue to receive every blog post in your inbox if you already do so via WordPress.

Most popular posts

These are consistently the top most visited posts. If I followed a lot of blog advice, I’d niche down and become a ‘guide to Dubai’ blog. However, there’s no chance of that with so many other interesting things in the world!

Where to take visitors to eat in Dubai – on a budget

Buying booze in the UAE

Visiting the Sulphur Baths in Tbilisi

Visiting Dubai? Top tips on what to do before you travel

Food Photography

My most popular recipe is:

Tomato, lentil and spinach lasagne

Thank you

And that’s it really. A diving board back into these uncharted waters that change constantly. A journey of life and the internet; I’m so glad to have you with me.

Here’s to 2018 and beyond.

  1. February 3, 2018 7:20 pm

    Congratulations on eight years! Thats an amazing achievement – and your blog is wonderful, so well deserved too!

    • February 4, 2018 9:53 am

      Thank you Mairi – your blog is beautiful. Glad to see we share an interest in seasonal produce.

    • March 23, 2018 11:04 am

      This is amazing for sure. Have a great year ahead.

  2. February 3, 2018 11:49 pm

    I find your post very inspiring. If you don’t mind having spend time and energy in your blog without monetizing, that makes me feel much better since I’ve blogged since 2015 (with more or less consistency, I have to admit) without reaching any particular goal but building a wonderful community of friends, a lot of computer experience and so many information I would have lost If not part of WordPress.
    So thanks for sharing, and cheers to your eight years!

    • February 4, 2018 9:55 am

      I feel the same – that the rewards are the journey and the connections. More riches than just money.

  3. February 4, 2018 12:02 am

    Well done you, your blog is lovely ! It is clear that you enjoy what you do and write about it with enthusiasm and good cheer. And the world needs plenty of that.

    • February 4, 2018 9:59 am

      Thank you Josephine – I really appreciate this and I definitely feel a connection with you in your celebration of beautiful regional cuisine.

  4. February 4, 2018 3:23 am

    Congrats Sally on such consistency and passion over 8 years – and for continuing to adapt to the ever changing digital world! PS I love the custard jug in your first photo – now where can I get my hands on one of those?

    • February 4, 2018 10:01 am

      I know! This jug is from Marina Social – Jason Atherton’s restaurant here in Dubai. Needless to say they actually don’t use Bird’s custard in it! I think they ship them from the UK. Thanks for the kind words – a pleasure to ‘feast wisely’ with you Laura.

  5. February 4, 2018 5:20 am

    Many happy returns … however you choose to make them!

    • February 4, 2018 10:01 am

      Thank you Michelle – and thanks for inspiring with your amazing online space too.

  6. Dave Reeder permalink
    February 4, 2018 5:26 am

    Always readable, always unmissable – keep going!

    • February 4, 2018 10:01 am

      That means a lot Dave – really appreciate your comments and support … always.

  7. mita56 permalink
    February 4, 2018 7:08 am

    So lovely to have known you through the blog and meeting you in person. I hope you celebrate many many more years. I usually do all my reading through feeds. but will subscribe to your newsfeed if there is extra something.

    • February 4, 2018 10:03 am

      Such a pleasure to get to know you too Mita – it’s that richness of Dubai life that I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. My newsletters – or whatever form they take – won’t be very frequent… i.e. promise not to Spam you!

  8. February 4, 2018 10:02 am

    Always enjoy reading your posts, Sally. Congratulations on your blogaversary! Cheers to many many more.

    • February 4, 2018 10:04 am

      Thank you SO MUCH Nancy. I really feel incredibly fortunate to meet such lovely readers.

  9. February 4, 2018 2:52 pm

    Happy birthday My Custard Pie! You were my first blog follow Sally when I was researching food blogs in Dubai and have continued to inspire me (seven years for me this week!). Many happy custardy returns 🙂 x

    • February 11, 2018 4:14 pm

      We’ve come a long. long way together… It’s been such fun. Respect and source of inspiration very much for me too. Congratulations on the amazing platform and business you’ve built.

  10. The Real Geordie Armani permalink
    February 4, 2018 3:32 pm

    Eight years for me too, a journey we have shared many memories on. I have completely lost interestest in my blog at the moment. When I didn’t have the time there was so much I wanted to do, now I have the time and it just doesn’t seem to be happening. xx

    • February 11, 2018 4:15 pm

      Sometimes we have to move on to the next chapter. For me I’ve got a new lease of life with this space. Whatever you decide, good luck with the next phase – (and see you at the Lit Fest!)

  11. February 4, 2018 7:30 pm

    Happy 8th Blogoversary Sally. Your blog has always been a treat to read the past few years.
    Best wishes for the next 8.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    • February 11, 2018 4:17 pm

      So many ‘Simple and in Season’ posts shared – so glad to get to know you Mandy. Thanks for the kind words. Always a please to visit your lovely space too.

  12. February 5, 2018 4:16 am

    Congratulations and keep up that erratic pace, that we all enjoy.

    • February 11, 2018 4:18 pm

      Thank you! I’m a bit messy in real life so maybe I just can’t be regimented!

  13. Jheelam permalink
    February 5, 2018 10:44 am

    I am quite a ‘recent’ follower to your blog and loving everything up here. Congratulations for completing 8 blissful years in blogosphere.

    • February 11, 2018 4:22 pm

      Thank you Jheelam – so nice to meet you in this space. They have been blissful indeed.

  14. February 5, 2018 7:34 pm

    Happy blog b-day! 🙂
    Eight years is quite an achievement 🙂
    I am so incredibly glad we ‘met’ all those years ago through our mutual love of baking 🙂
    Here’s to many many more years of good food, travel, and writing!!!!!!!!

    • February 11, 2018 4:26 pm

      Always great to hear from you Tina. Alas I bake very little these days – I love it when I do though. I live vicariously through your perfect creations.

  15. February 5, 2018 7:35 pm

    Happy blog b-day! 🙂
    Eight years is quite an achievement 🙂
    I am so incredibly glad we ‘met’ all those years ago through our mutual love of baking 🙂
    Here’s to many many more years of good food, travel, and writing!!!!!!!!

  16. February 6, 2018 8:08 pm

    Happy 8th Blog Anniversary!! Today is my first day checking out your blog & it’s quite entertaining…especially the deserts!!! Keep it up!!

  17. February 7, 2018 2:26 am

    Congratulations! Happy 8th Blog Anniversary…..

  18. February 9, 2018 5:50 pm

    Happy blogoversary Sally! One of the things I like most about blogging is meeting the people I did in the early days, like you. In recent years I feel blogging has changed so much, moved to Instagram a lot, and a lot of the community feeling got lost. It will never be the same as those first years when we all met up at FBC. Times really were different then. I fell out of love with blogging for a while, especially because I felt people weren’t making an effort to read anymore. But I decided I blog for me, so I blog when I want to. But I don’t call myself a blogger anymore because most bloggers in my country at least are freebie bloggers, who blog about the free stuff and experiences they get which is nothing compared to creating content from scratch time and time again like you do and I. Keep up your beautiful blog Sally! Hope to see you some place some time again!!

    • February 11, 2018 4:31 pm

      Thank you so much Regula. I think we were so lucky to start blogging when we did. I don’t say things are wrong now but times are very different. Our much smaller, more expressive, intimate community was supportive and inspiring (and much less competitive). It’s been wonderful to connect and to follow your amazing journey. I do hope we’ll manage to meet up again someday soon.

  19. February 9, 2018 8:36 pm

    I always smile when I see you in my inbox, especially if it says anything about travel. Ignore any clamouring to become niche to Dubai. I absolutely love to read about all of your adventures, read and be tempted by your recipes and hear your wisdom on a wide range of topics. Stay just the way you are! I am now a happy new subscriber to your newsletter xx And congratulations on 8 brilliant years. I’m a mere stripling at 7, next week 🙂

    • February 11, 2018 4:33 pm

      And it’s always a joy to receive anything from you too Kellie. It’s hard to stay focussed on being yourself sometimes with all the ‘to be successful you must…’ advice. So your wise and kind words mean a lot. Congratulations on 7 vivid, bright, inspiring and delicious years.

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