The other day I posted that I was excited that I was going out for a meal with my in-laws as it was a while since I had eaten out. You can read that post here. As promised, I can now review the restaurant in which we ate.
We visited the Whitegate Inn which is part of the Beefeater chain of restaurants in Failsworth, Manchester. There were ten of us eating and we hadn’t booked in advance. As a result, we didn’t have a table straight away but we were happy to wait and enjoy a drink in the bar area.
Once we were seated, our lovely waitress quickly took our order. My partner and I both ordered the sirloin steak with chips and pepper sauce. Most others around the table also ordered various steak options, although two of our party opted for burgers.
As the restaurant was so busy, it took a while for the food to arrive. This gave me time to assess the restaurant better. Everyone in the place seemed to be having a good time and I couldn’t see any food being returned- always a good sign. The place had a comfortable and fun vibe and there were several families with children eating at the restaurant. Our waitress kept us topped up with drinks until our food arrived.
When the food arrived, the steaks were cooked perfectly as requested. Everyone at our table was happy with the meal they received. Some went on to order puddings, but I was full.
Overall, the food was what you would expect from a chain steakhouse and the prices were reasonable. The waitress was friendly and helpful, answering all our questions and bringing us extras and sauces. A good time was had by all.
One of my main plans on this blog was to write reviews of various eating establishments as I usually eat out on a fairly regular basis. Unfortunately, a number of things have stopped me from doing so recently.
- My dad died earlier in the year and I haven’t felt too much like going out.
- I was made redundant from my second job and this has impacted on my family financially and put a stop to eating out.
- My partner and I booked a meal out locally for Valentine’s Day and he came down with a stomach bug so the meal was canceled and I ended up drinking wine and watching TV on my own.
Finally, I am getting the opportunity to eat out tonight! It is my sister-in-laws birthday and we are traveling to Manchester and staying overnight at her home as she lives about a two-hour drive away from our home, which is between Lancaster and Blackpool in Lancashire. This will allow us to have a drink while we are out.
I am not entirely sure where we are eating yet, but no doubt it will appear on my blog over the next few days. It is more likely to be a pub meal than a fine dining experience, I would think. I can’t wait!
I think people assume because I write a food blog and because I have a past working in catering that everything always runs smoothly in my kitchen. However, that is not the case at all.
My main problem is a lack of focus and concentration. I can cook restaurant standard food when I stand and concentrate on what I am doing. Unfortunately, there are many distractions around me. I work from home and I have four children. That usually means that I am making the evening meal while trying to help with homework, find missing items of uniform and answering work-related emails. I also live in a one-hundred-year-old house that needed a lot of work when I bought it and seem to have lived in a building site for most of the past ten years while jobs are completed.
The result of all these distractions when I am cooking leads to many accidents. I wander off to deal with a situation and come back to a pan boiling over or mashed potatoes stuck to the bottom of the pan. I have also set countless things on fire over the years. fortunately, I am not phased as putting these out!
My biggest issue is toast. This may seem odd as I cook plenty of dishes that include lots of ingredients and can balance herbs and spices perfectly. I can make delicious sauces and cook meat to perfection. Yet, toast is beyond me. It is standard practice in my house for the first lot of toast I cook to get thrown in the bin after a bout of cremation. It usually happens because I think I have a few minutes spare to do something else and forget that I have put the toast under the grill in the first place. If you are reading this and wondering why I don’t just make toast in a toaster, it is because I set the toaster on fire!
Focusing is something I am working on in the kitchen!
Not wanting to bore all my Facebook friends who are not interested in food and cooking in the posts from my blogs, I have set up a separate Facebook page devoted to food and drink. I intend not only to share my own posts on this page, I will also use it to post other articles and videos I think are interesting about food. I also thought it would be a great opportunity for me to share some of the many fantastic food blogs I have read on WordPress since I started this new blog.
I would welcome any of my followers on here liking, sharing and inviting others to this page. The link is here https://www.facebook.com/TheFruityTart/. Also, if you are interested in me sharing some of your blog posts onto this page, feel free to show interest in the comment section below. I am looking forward to giving other people the opportunity to read some of the fantastic posts and ideas that I read on here every day.
The whole food blogging business is a lot harder than I had anticipated. I started the blog as I have spent years writing for other people’s blog and decided to do it for myself for once. The reason I chose food is that cooking is something I enjoy and spend a lot of time doing every day.
The first problem I have faced is the amount of time it takes to write for the blog and then promote it on social media. Fitting this around looking after the children and my full-time work as a copywriter is difficult; far trickier than I thought. Thinking of new ideas constantly is another aspect I have found challenging.
It has also involved me sorting out my social media pages. For example, I have been on Twitter for years but have gone through phases where I have hardly needed it for work. For that reason, I have made no attempt whatsoever to connect with people and had only a low following. I have gradually worked on increasing this over the last month.
I have also felt completely overwhelmed with the task I set myself when I first started the blog. My initial intention was to add every recipe I know and then create many more. I have started with the basics, such as sauces and pastry. I have suddenly realized how many recipes I know and just how long this will take me to write.
Another of my intentions was to regularly write reviews of restaurants in which I have eaten. Time constrictions have prevented me from reviewing the places where I have eaten over the last few months and my financial situation at the moment is preventing me from eating out at new places.
There have also been some issues along the way, such as when I needed to change the name of the blog for legal reasons and having problems with adding photographs to the blog.
I am not saying I am giving in as I love a challenge and always see things through. However, I really anticipated what a huge task I had set for myself. Unfortunately, being overambitious has always been one of my worst traits. It is over a month since I started this blog and I intend to keep it running for at least a year before deciding whether to continue. I know full well that I will feel so attached to it after putting in a full year of work I will keep it going.
So far, this blog is going well, although it still needs some work. One of my main issues is photos. The images used on blogs make a difference to whether or not a post attracts readers or not. To be honest, my images aren’t great. I would love to take my own photographs for everything I post on here, but so far this isn’t happening. I reckon about 10% of the images I have used on this blog so far are my own and the rest are images from the Internet that are free to use commercially and modify.
There are several reasons for the issues I am having with phots:
- Sometimes the hustle and bustle of cooking meals while looking after four children and work at the same time mean I simply forget to take a photograph of the food I have made.
- I don’t necessarily write about food that I have made recently, so I have to use other images.
- I don’t have a camera, so any photos I do take are on my mobile phone.
- The lighting is bad in my kitchen and dining room. The food looks fantastic on the plate but the photos do not reflect this at all.
- There are lots of images available online until you try to search for ones that are free to use and then the selection of decent photos gets much smaller.
I would love some tips from other bloggers, either on how to take better photos on my mobile or places I can find good quality images of food on the Internet that are free to use. I currently use the advanced settings on Google Images, Flickr, Pixaby, and Pixels.
I have just received an email informing me that it is now a month since I started this blog. Wow! That has gone fast. I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone that has read my blog, commented, liked, shared and followed. The photo is me saying ‘Cheers everyone!’
I have plenty more to write about- reviews, recipes, lifestyle, and tips. However, what I have enjoyed the most is reading other people’s blogs. There is such a diverse range of talents, knowledge, interests, and opinions.
I am looking forward to the rest of the year blogging on here. The mini-mes would also like to say a big thank you for supporting their mum in this new venture: