The average Australian works a minimum of 48 hours a week. But Lorraine Elliott, otherwise known as Not Quite Nigella (a.k.a NQN), decided to give that up as soon as she realised she was blogging about something people loved reading about: Food.
It has been eight years since Elliott first shared with her now-quarter-of-million monthly readers about her love for cake and enthusiasm about food. Her stories since have not fallen far from that, building a database of cake recipes, personal restaurant reviews both locally and internationally, as well as profile interviews of people in the industry.
“I guess the blog really reflects my personality and what I like to cook and eat…but I enjoy that I just write about what I love,” she said.
Food has always been a topic of a conversation for Elliott when growing up. She reminisces about her fondness of school fetes where she enjoyed honey joys and toffees covered in hundreds of thousands, but stayed well clear of chocolate crackles.
And being born to a Singaporean mother and a father who is from Hong Kong, it was in her blood.
“Singaporeans are really opinionated about food and Hong Kong are similarly obsessed,” she said.
“It felt almost inevitable!”
Formerly working in advertising as a consultant and a media strategist, Elliott’s desire for a more creative opportunity was the initial reason behind the launch of the blog.
“It was actually boredom at work,” she said.
“I was working in the media department at an ad agency and it just wasn’t creatively fulfilling. My husband suggested that I start a blog, and I thought that food seemed like a good topic as I was so passionate about it.”
The leap to run Not Quite Nigella as a full-time gig came just under a year after starting when her husband, who she often refers to as Mr NQN in her posts, said he “could feel that things might happen”, unlike Elliott who was too close to the project and wasn’t as sure.
Taking on the positive feedback from her husband, Elliott ended up using her background in advertising to help build the blog into a sustainable paying business – an advantage she had compared to many others as “often bloggers don’t know and end up taking really low offers just because they don’t know what they should be paid”.
But like any form of achievement it takes hard work, Elliott said.
“I know that a lot of people are interested in becoming bloggers but want to know the pitfalls.
“It’s easy to see the rewards but behind every blog there’s a lot of hard work behind it. It’s not sitting down every week for an hour, there’s so much more work than that.”
The success of the blog has allowed Elliott to publish her own book Not Quite Nigella, which shares the memoirs of being a blogger. But Elliott modestly said it was never part of the plan.
“It was never a long term goal or a goal in fact. I never really thought that I would have a book in me but it turned out to be a wonderful experience,” she said.
“It was more at the suggestion of others including a literary agent that I write it but the feedback has been amazing and people have been so supportive.”