Helen Best-Shaw is a former financial analyst who works full time as a food writer, recipe developer and the voice behind Fuss Free Flavours, one of the UK’s most popular food blogs. Grounded in her firmly held belief that everyone deserves good food, and her mantra, “tasty stuff without the fuss,” Helen’s recipes aim to be achievable, affordable and delicious.
Helen Best-Shaw founded her food blog, Fuss Free Flavours in January of 2007 after food shopping one Saturday.
Walking back to her West London flat weighed down with her bargain bounty of fresh fruit and vegetables from the local market, Helen was struck by the number of people carrying bags from the cheap supermarket. She could see the cheap ready meals and unhealthy food through the thin carrier bags.
This led her to consider the definitions of cheap and value, bargains and promotions. She realized that there is a huge difference between eating well cheaply and eating cheap food.
Helen’s insight that day was the catalyst for starting her blog. She wanted to share simple recipes for delicious meals that were achievable and affordable. For Helen, the fuss free approach to cooking works best. She does not have a large or grand kitchen and often writes about the effort-to-glory ratio; that is, dishes that are impressive but, when you know a few tricks, are very easy to prepare.
Her simple mantra for fuss free food and healthy eating is, “Eat a generous portion of (raw) vegetables with every meal whenever you can.” If you can follow that rule 80% of the time, as well as the wise words of Michael Pollan, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants,” you cannot go too far wrong.
Helen loves great quality meat, fish and dairy as well as cakes, puddings and other treats. She simply prefers to eat and enjoy them in moderation.
Since its early days, Helen has grown Fuss Free Flavours from a .blogspot domain where she posted recipes with no photos to a full-time, freelance business, working with brands like Nespresso, Popchips, Weight Watchers and a number of supermarket chains.
Helen lives in West London with her partner Edward and Herbert the mini sausage dog.
Helen Best-Shaw Show Notes
Fuss Free Flavours
Katie Stewart Cookbooks
What did you do before you became a food blogger?
Did you have to go to Germany?
What made you start to think about food blogging?
Can you expound on that a little bit?
When did you start your blog?
Why did you name your blog what you named it?
You talked about going to the market and getting food that is not very expensive but healthy, can you talk about that?
Was it a lot of processed foods you were seeing people with?
When you first started, how many times a week did you publish a post?
Do you think you posted multiple times a week?
How long did it take you to start making money on the blog?
Do you have your email address on the site now?
Do you feel it was easier years ago because you didn’t have to do all the social sharing and the things we have to do now?
Do you find yourselves following trends?
How many iterations of the website have you had?
Did you have someone design it for you or did you do it yourself?
Do you have someone to help you with your company?
What do you find is the hardest thing about food blogging?
Do you do your own SEO?
What is your favorite marketing tool?
Do you have to say, “period”, “question mark” and stuff like that?
What is your biggest food failure?
What is your favorite cuisine?
What is your most popular recipe on your blog?
What is the one thing that you can’t live without in your kitchen?
If you were to give some advice to someone in their first two years or so of blogging, what would it be?
I was interested in the program Helen mentioned that she used for Instagram scheduling. Did you get that? She is very interesting! Another great podcast, Elaine!
Thanks Beth! I haven’t gotten it yet. But I want to.
I really like your podcasts! They are captivating, interesting and with lots of useful insights!
Thanks so much Helena!! I appreciate it.
Good to hear a familiar blogger. Amazing Helen, we were probably shopping in the same supermarkets, I was living around there from 2003 til 2009. I should have started blogging back then.
Hehe Laura!! Thanks for your comment!