What it's like to be a blogging mum: I’m always on the go, it’s fun
Meet Jo Brigdale – she’s a freelance food writer and recipe developer, author of two popular blogs and also works part-time at a university.
The 32-year-old juggles this busy workload with being the mother of two young boys who are aged six and four.
And she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I’m always on the go but to be honest I really don’t know what I would do if I was sitting down,” says Jo who lives in Halesowen with her husband Stuart and sons Thomas and Daniel.
She began her food blog – Jo’s Kitchen – in 2009 but her love of cooking and being in kitchen first began when she was a teenager.
“My mother used to do a lot of charity treks. She would come home from work each day and then go out walking. So I would be left to cook the tea and I found that I really enjoyed it.
“Then I met my boyfriend, who is now my husband, when I was 19 and I started cooking for him too. I find it really relaxing. It’s a great way to clear your mind and when you’ve finished you’ve got something you can all sit down together to enjoy,” explains Jo, who works as a GIS and mapping technician at the University of Worcester.
Over the years her love of food and recipes grew leading her to look online for ideas and that’s when the idea of starting a blog began to form.
“I saw that people had these blogs and I thought ‘I can do that’ so I started Jo’s Kitchen and it’s grown from there,” explains Jo.
She showcases a range of her own recipes that are aimed to help families create simple but tasty meals that won’t break the bank.
These include her sausage casserole, an asparagus and cheddar tart and skillet chicken with mushrooms, bacon and spinach.
“I enjoy making and eating simple and easy food that fits into a busy family lifestyle. The idea is that it’s stuff that you can come from home from work and put together very easily and quickly. I try not to make them complicated or the list of ingredients too long,” says Jo.
For those with a sweet tooth there are a variety of desserts and cakes including a double chocolate Malteaser traybake which she says has proven a huge hit.
“Every year’s it’s my most popular post – it has been pinned 2,000 times on Pinterest. People really like that one,” says Jo.
She tells us she enjoys the challenge of making new recipes and says it gives her a great feeling of satisfaction when she successfully creates a new dish.
“It’s fun. I go by taste and will keep throwing things in to see what works and what doesn’t.
As well the recipes she creates for herself, there are sponsored ones that’s she’s been commissioned to do using particular products.
Jo, who in 2010 participated in the Masterchef Invention Test at the BBC Summer Good Food Show, also takes part in campaigns such as the RSPCA’s Freedom Food scheme, National Cherry Day in July and British Pie Week to in March.
She has also done kitchen gadget reviews for everything from a bacon toaster to a blender.
Often she will produce a video to go with the recipes for people to follow as they cook and these are uploaded to her YouTube channel.
Her two sons lend a helping hand with the recipes and feature by her side in some of her videos. “I like making the videos and doing the editing. It does take longer than you think though,” says Jo, who has a degree in archaeology and ancient history from the University of Birmingham.
Last year, Jo decided to launch a second blog – Mummy Needs Wine – which focuses on family, travel and lifestyle.
“The name is because when the children are in bed, I do quite often enjoy a glass of wine. The idea behind the blog is to show what real life is like.
“We are living in this Instagram world where life is always shown as perfect when we all know real life is not always like that. Most days I’m just happy if I’ve kept everybody alive and the house is tidy,” explains Jo.
Despite her hectic lifestyle, she manages to find the time to keep the blogs updated for her followers. “I try to write a new post for both blogs every week but sometimes life gets in the way,” says Jo.
Her tips for juggling everything that needs to be done in a day include having a family calendar to keep on top of where everyone needs to be during the week.
“When the kids bring home letters, take photos so you’ve always got a copy and write down dates on the calendar straight away. Write down any appointments and schedule everything. I also keep a to-do list,” she tell us.
Jo says she loves being busy and even finds time to keep fit doing yoga and bootcamp.
And even when she’s feeling under the weather, she finds it hard to slow down, she reveals to us. “I absolutely hate being ill and not being able to do anything, especially if I can see things that need doing around the house. I have to keep going.