I realise this post is long overdue. It’s been sitting in my drafts for months now, and I somehow managed to find many a good reason not to finish and publish it, until now. I knew it would scare me a little, that’s why. It is, after all, about closing a huge chapter of my life, and I just couldn’t find the right words to say what needs to be said. Not that I feel like I’m finding them much more easily now, but it’s time, so I’ll try.
You might have noticed I haven’t written anything new here for over a year. I don’t like to leave things hanging or unattained, nor do I like to feel as if nothing has changed in the past few years. They have. Intentions, ideas, ideals have certainly shifted. I am not the person I was eight years ago. But, with them, what’s changed is the way people interact, communicate and share – online and otherwise. We must listen, we must adapt. Being pliable so as not to brake…
I started this blog in 2010. I was 22 and fresh out of University. I needed a place where I could pour my creative energy in a form that my degree wouldn’t allow. I studied translation but was enamoured with food. Food blogs were very popular back then, in a time when blogs were widely read and there was no Instagram to steal the scene. I followed a few myself (some of them are still going strong, some don’t even exist anymore), read them eagerly, held them as examples of something I could strive to achieve. I had no professional training in cooking or styling, but I had a lot of drive, so I taught myself.
Some of the blogs I read had no photos in them – only beautiful, engaging prose. But many of them did, and it soon became clear that, if I ever wanted to gain some readers and, more importantly, if I ever wanted them to cook my food, I had to learn how to take good pictures of it. So I went on and bought a DSLR with my few savings (I was still a student). I enrolled in a Photography 101 course and I got shooting. The course turned out to be pretty useful, as did some books about the basics of food photography I bought after that. Needless to say, my first attempts at photographing food were poor. But at the time they looked fine to me. I wonder at which point I started suffering from impostor’s syndrome. Possibly since the day the whole blogging thing went from being a pleasurable pastime to being a professional playfield.
In the past 8 years, the blog witnessed quite a few changes. Looking back, it’s pretty clear that, though not intentionally, I made it the mirror of my life as I grew and changed. In its first stage, it was an Italian recipe blog that sat on a free blogspot domain. About one year later, it became bilingual – I wrote posts in English and included the Italian translation at the bottom. And then, eventually, it became solely in English, and I used it to document my life and my cooking exploits while living in the US, in London, in Sydney. The blog, as it turns out, became my only safe and steady space in a world that was constantly spinning.
I don’t hold many regrets, but I realise that I could have done a few things differently. For one, I had no long-term vision for the blog, no real focus, no editorial plan. I wish I knew from the beginning that I wanted it to be an Italian-inspired, seasonal recipe journal with personal stories sewn into the otherwise food-centred narrative. But this only became clear in recent times, its true nature unfolding before my eyes as I was going. Truth is, it started as an outlet for my musings, and it remained as such for the largest part of its life.
Finding my niche was both a curse and a blessing. On the one hand, I had a clearer idea of what shouldn’t be shared; it became easier to keep on topic. On the other, it stifled my voice, and sedated my sponateus bursts of inspiration. I began to post more sparingly. I deleted a good number of old posts that didn’t fit within the theme. And then, when blogs were left behind and people flocked on instagram for recipes and photos and general inspiration, I stopped writing here altogether.
We learn from our mistakes, and I think I did. And alhough it’s clear to me that everyting only makes sense looking back, I now try to ask myself a few questions before I take a step in any given direction.
Now, after a lot of pondering, I’m finally ready to take that step: close the blog and focus on new endeavours. This, believe me, wasn’t an easy decision to make. It feels terrifying and very definitive, but also pretty inevitable, like a well-placed question from an inquisitive journalist that already knows the answer. For a while now I’ve been feeling like I have outgrown this space, as if it were a ill-fitted piece of clothing one size too small.
If given the chance, I would have avoided doing this for a little longer, ignored the issue and pretended it didn’t exist. I’m a procrastinator at heart. But external “powers” forced me to stop putting it off…and on reflection, it was a good thing. Quite simply, the hosting for this site is expiring in mid February. I had to decide whether to renew it and invest more resources in it or close it. I decided it was too broken to fix, and chose to invest these resources elsewhere.
Some of you might know it already, but I realise I’ve never made it explicit here before. Less than a year ago, I have opened a new site under my name. It had a slow start. I launched it rather quietly while I was still putting the finishing touches on the design. For the first few months, my biggest goal was to not mess it up. I am still finding my feet in the new space and with all the room for self expression that it allows, but I am committed to make it bigger and better and fill it with new stories and photos in the months to come.
(Some of the most popular and valuable content will be reformatted and updated and transferred to the new space: the food guides, for one, but also some of the recipes. But most of it will be archived – thanked deeply, in perfect KonMari style, for the joys it sparked, but archived nonetheless. So, if there’s a particular recipe that you wish to save for future use, make sure to do so before mid-February.)
What will you find on the new site? Well, hopefully, you’ll find inspiration. Inspiration on a broad range of subjects, from lifestyle to travel to culture. Food, too, of course. But it won’t be the sole matter of conversation moving forward. I want to bring my whole self to the table and talk about all that sparks some light in my everyday – be that a piece of pottery or a good book, a trip to some Italian village or a glass of wine. I want, most of all, to stay curious. Because if I’m bored, you’ll be bored. So, expect to find aspirational pieces as well as real-life experiences. Travel guides or personal impressions on a place I visited. Edits on homemaking (my nomadic lifestyle has taught me a thing or two about how to feel at home in all sorts of situations), features on favourite things and people, seasonal recipes and food reportages, and more. It’s a start.
As well as on the site, I will be carrying on the conversation through a regular newsletter, where I’ll share personal notes, musings and resources on the creating process; sources of inspiration; as well as recipe round-ups, new stories, event announcements and the like. If this sounds of interest, you can sign-up here. You should receive the first email within minutes.
Thank you. Thank you for showing up and being here and for reading this long post. I will be forever thankful to all of you for your loyal following and for supporting me in this journey. I hope you have enjoyed the ride so far. And I also hope that you’ll want to continue following along on the other side. That’s where you’ll find me. I hope to find you there, too.
Here’s to new beginnings!