With a new year underway, I thought I’d write a blog post to ‘re-introduce’ this space and shed some clarity on what it stands for. So much has changed since I started this blog back in 2012, which means that 2022 marks my 10 year blog anniversary! Since I began this space on the internet, I have written about beauty, personal style, mental health, travel and food as I attempted to establish who I was and what I wanted this blog to be. When I graduated from university in 2016, I returned to Milton Keynes and decide to shift the focus onto the independent food scene and that is the blog you read today.
Things have changed a bit…
Sophie etc. was a hobby and something I did in my spare time squeezing it in around my full-time job – A ‘side hustle’ if you like. The opportunity arose in May 2021 to go fully freelance and pursue my dream of running my own business. Sophie etc. has evolved into a platform and community beyond my wildest dreams and I never thought I’d be able to say it was part of my job! It’s evolved from content that was very much online to a wider online community that comes together in person at my supper club events.
So with that shift in mind, here’s some clarity about what I write about and the different parts of Sophie etc.
What Sophie etc. is all about
Sophie etc. is a food and lifestyle blog that helps people to discover the best independent places to eat and explore in Milton Keynes. I write about most places that sit within MK postcode, with a few exceptions that sit right on the border. In case you didn’t know this already, I will only ever feature independent businesses on this blog, not chains or franchises.
This blog is all about inspiring you to support local businesses and shop small. Not only will you find my MK food guides and restaurant reviews, but the odd post on things to do and features about other small businesses to shop with.
Sophie’s Supper Club
Sophie’s Supper Club is a social dining event hosted in collaboration with independent restaurants in Milton Keynes. Since starting it in September 2019, I’ve hosted seven in-person events with vendors including Olé Tapas Bar, The Brasserie at Milton Keynes College, Saf’s Kitchen and Chef Hat Home, as well as two virtual events with The Wine Cellar and Olé Tapas Bar during lockdown.
I love hosting these events because they bring my online community together in-person to enjoy an evening of amazing local food!
Eat & Explore MK
Eat & Explore MK is my Facebook community group, now 12,000 people strong. What started off as a very small community in 2019, exploded during lockdown. It’s a place for people to share their own local eats and adventures with fellow food lovers.
I’m incredibly proud of this group – During lockdown, people were sharing recipes and even sourdough starters! It made me realise that this platform had gone far beyond just me sharing my own experience, it was now going to be about everyone else.
What to expect in 2022
Sophie etc. was once a hobby so everything I poured into it was pure passion. I worked really hard on generating content, and I feel pretty confident in saying that I probably worked (unpaid!) around 15 hours a week on my website and social media.
Going freelance in May 2021 to set up my business, Social etc. meant that I could incorporate working on Sophie etc. into my working hours. It’s why you will see a few more paid partnerships with local businesses. This blog is a free resource for you to enjoy but it’s very easy for my audience (and me!) that it costs me money to run – not just in time but in software and tools. The paid partnerships and collaborations mean I can create more organic content so I can support and promote more local businesses.
I am not sure why I feel the need to justify this to you, but I guess what I am trying to say is that Sophie etc. is my business and I take it as seriously as a magazine editor takes their magazine! So with that out of the way, here is what you can expect in 2022.
New & improved MK Food Guides
My MK food guide is your ultimate guide to eating out in Milton Keynes. It features independents and I have you covered for most things now from brunch to date night to coffee shops. This year, I’ll be revisiting all of my guides and giving them an update with new imagery and more useful information such as price range, accessibility and dietaries (vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, halal etc.)
I will also be producing more food guides to help you find places to eat out in MK. Nearly two years of disrupted dining out has meant they have been a little delayed but stay tuned for guides to roasts, dog-friendly destinations, afternoon tea and more.
If you are an MK-based vendor and would like to feature in my MK food guide, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget you can explore MK’s indie food scene from your pocket with my MK food map.
More Sophie’s Supper Clubs!
Yes, Sophie’s Supper Club will be back! I’m hoping to host my first event in March/April. I hosted three events in the summer at Out of Office Coffee House in CMK who were brilliant hosts and accommodated the ever-changing restrictions. This year, I will return to Sophie’s Supper Club’s original model of hosting most of the events in restaurants and I’m hoping to bring them back once a month.
To stay up to date about future events, sign up to my mailing list.
If you are an independent restaurant and would like to collaborate on Sophie’s Supper Club, please email me: email@example.com.
More community content
I don’t profess to be any kind of food critic or expert – I just love eating and cooking! However, having dined out a lot, I am pretty clear on what I like to eat and what makes a good eating-out experience. I have always shared my experiences to help inform and inspire my audience, fully aware that others will have a different opinion. But I know that for some people, my experience isn’t enough, which is why I’ll be inviting members of my community and fellow content creators to contribute content for my MK food guides. I’ll also be sharing reviews from my Eat & Explore MK community in my monthly newsletter, The Squeeze.
I’ve already had some great guest posts including this guide to Buckingham from Kate Edwards and this guide to the best vegan eats in Milton Keynes.
This post ended up being a little longer than I anticipated, so if you made it this far, thank you for reading and supporting my content. I appreciate every reader, whether you’ve been here since day one or are a newbie. I’d love to know your thoughts on what’s to come this year.
You might also like:
- New restaurants opening in Milton Keynes in 2022
- My year in food: Best eats of 2021
- Independent Milton Keynes Christmas Gift Guide