Welcome to LittleSugarSnaps. My place for sharing enticing and easy sweet and savoury recipes with a side helping of cocktails.
I'm Jane, mum to two fun-loving and food-loving girls and wife to my carbohydrate loving (obsessed) husband. I live with my family in the Chiltern Hills, England, about 30 miles north of London. I've been blogging since October 2014.
I grew up in Nottinghamshire, spending every minute of my free time either pestering my Mum for permission to bake (again) or working in my Dad's supermarket on the border of Derbyshire.
My favourite job was serving fruit and vegetables to customers - back in the days before self-service and plastic took over.
This stand also served coffee beans ground to order. I remember being desperate for customers to ask for this just so I could enjoy that satisfying coffee aroma.
I guess my two childhood pass-times helped shape my future. Food has been a big part of my life since before my memories begin.
I accidentally moved out of the Midlands permanently in 1998 when I went to Exeter to complete a masters degree. I was due to head to Birmingham afterwards to undertake a PhD but, after a challenging year, I had a very last-minute change of heart, backed out and took the first job that came along instead. I didn't give much thought to whether the job was right for me or where I really wanted to be - I just didn't want to be unemployed!
Whilst I'm glad I didn't do the PhD I have always missed the Midlands (especially the way Midlanders speak - in particular, the short vowels). But my family would not be on board if I suggested a move now! However, watch this space during 2022 as I'll be paying homage to my roots with a bunch of recipes from the East and West Midlands.
It was while I was working as an economist in London that my interest in photography and food writing took shape. I'm not sure exactly when I started tinkering with recipes and coming up with my own creations but it pre-dates this blog significantly. It was only when my passion for food photography was truly ignited that I considered blogging.
Running LittleSugarSnaps has been a significant achievement for me. I'm a naturally shy person & I've never had an abundance of self-confidence in public. Sometimes getting my voice across can be a struggle, but on here I can talk about the things I love, in detail and with confidence. And the best part is that I don’t have to do this in public (flashback central - oh the stress presentations at work caused me!)
What you will find on LittleSugarSnaps
LittleSugarSnaps is a place to find a bounty of decadent home-baked sweet and savoury goodies mixed in with a few cocktails & non-alcoholic drinks along with a small, but growing, collection of lunch & supper dishes suitable for the whole family.
My style of cooking is homely and fun. I will often take a popular recipe and add my own unique twist to it. And all of my recipes are achievable at home with the minimum of fancy equipment.
In short, LittleSugarSnaps is a place to find inventive and achievable recipes for the home cook for just about any occasion.
How I Feed my Family
I’m a firm believer in teaching my children how and why to eat healthily. Though you’ll find a whopping stash of sweet treats on this site, those recipes are exactly that: treats. We eat healthily for the majority of the week and enjoy our indulgences on the weekends, celebrations and holidays. Or when somebody needs cheering up. My view is that treats should remain sacred - something to look forward to – and never taken for granted.
Though I am not on a restrictive diet, I fully respect anybody who is. On here you will also find a handful of vegan and gluten-free recipes along with plenty of vegetarian dishes too.
Each and every member of my family takes regular exercise, from swimming, cycling or hockey to long hikes. Healthy food, exercise and occasional treats seem like a good balance to me.
Why You Can Trust My Recipes
Quite simply, I have been baking for as long as I can remember. I learned the basics at a young age from my mother, who can testify that I could never quite satiate my appetite for baking. You can trust my recipes because:
- I am self-taught. That means I've learned my skills on the job (the best kind of experience in my opinion). I learn from my mistakes and I'm always keen to pass on my knowledge of how to achieve success with a recipe and what pitfalls to watch out for.
- I only ever publish recipes that have been tested thoroughly and I know can be relied upon to give good results. I have a healthy supply of willing family and friends happy to relieve me of my bakes in return for their reviews. And if there's a hung jury? It's another tweak to the recipe to win over those not quite convinced.
- If a recipe I am developing doesn't quite work first time, I have an inner determination to understand what went wrong and try to resolve that issue. The majority of my recipes work out just fine first time - perhaps with just a minor tweak necessary to take them up a level. A handful of recipes take several attempts to get to perfection, but a few do not make the grade and get consigned to the scrapheap.
- My promise to you is that the nearly there or total fail recipes will never appear on this blog. Only the recipes I have 100% confidence in will ever make the grade.
- If I feel that somebody else is better qualified than myself to talk you through a particular technique, then I will happily provide links to such resources in my posts.
- I also welcome your questions and feedback - either before or after you've tried one of my recipes. Preferably before if you need clarification on anything within a recipe.
There are so many awards food bloggers can be selected for. But by far my proudest moments have been when my images have made it to the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year finals. I've managed to get a place in this prestigious competition final 4 times.
In fact, getting a photograph into the very first competition back in 2012 was what spurred me on to put aside my notions of going into family portrait photography and declare myself a food photographer instead. This was honestly, the best career decision I could have made.
Aside from that, my Winter G&T was awarded 2nd place in the Drizzly Blogger Awards 2017 in the best reinvention of a classic category. More recently, my Hearty Beef Stew was selected by Opies as the winning recipe in a competition they ran in 2019.
And finally, one or two of my recipes have been nominated in the Best of Pinterest UK Food & Drink Awards 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Brands and Press
I do love developing recipes for brands, but I will only ever feature those that are a good fit for this blog if I also rate their products highly. I feel privileged to have worked with the likes of Thermapen, Portmeirion, Kerrygold and Primula to name a few.
You can also find my recipes featured on a wide network of well-established online sites.
Have any questions?
Phew, we made it. Who knew there was so much to say about myself and LittleSugarSnaps?
So it's over to you....
I LOVE to hear from you - whether you have a question about a recipe or just want to say hi to let me know how you got along. I'll always do my best to reply to you.
Aaaand pens down. That's it!
PS: Some fun facts about me:
- I detest bananas - you will never find a recipe on here that features them
- I'm left handed, allergic to furry friends and I'm prone to cracking jokes that only a small child (or my Dad) might find funny
- Favourite food: peas... and cake... or maybe ice cream... Did I mention my indecisiveness?
- Favourite drink: tea - in abundance thankyou very much. And if it's loose-leaf and served in a dainty teacup with a saucer then I'm in heaven
- I hate being in front of the camera, so you won't see too many images of me splashed around
- Favourite animals: equal between cats and elephants