Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Chez Maximka is 5: looking back

Five years ago I was sitting and staring at the blank screen on my laptop. I suppose Sasha was at school, and baby Eddie must have been asleep. I wanted to write about Eddie's birth. You see, I did have a papercrafts blog before my second son was born, and enjoyed making cards and writing short posts about them. Once Eddie was born, I have lost interest in crafting. But I did feel a gap in my life. I was also pretty much on my own, what with a special needs older child and a newborn baby, I had neither time nor opportunity to socialize. I also wanted to record some of the milestones and tell my family stories. And thus Chez Maximka was born.

If I were to do a blog from the start now, I'd go with a different name, one that is clearly understood by most people. I did fiddle with a few titles. I wanted something related to my baby as the blog was supposed to be about living with a newborn. Maximus sounded way too serious for a little mite, Maximka was better, a Russified version of the name Maxim(us). And of course, there was a famous restaurant Chez Maxim's in Paris. Chez Maximka would be my mini-restaurant, as I love having guests for a cup of tea or coffee.
At first it was mostly snippets of our family life, with a few odd poems, like an Ode to a Rocking Chair.

Then the recipes and reviews started to emerge on a regular basis.
You might try your best to post the most intricate or exotic recipes, yet the quick and easy recipes rule the roost, stats-wise. and there are some big stats contenders which totally baffle me, like Pasta bake with Campbell's cream of mushroom soup.
As for the more unusual recipes, there is a great interest in the Russian cuisine, like Golubtsy, the ultimate comfort food from Russia, Kulich (Russian Easter cake) or Salad Olivier and the ghosts of past new year eves.


There are trends and popular themes which bring the numbers of readers, like diet foods (5:2 Revolution with LighterLife Fast), gluten free and dairy-free recipes. There are seasonal waves of interest. Right now the pickles and jams are sought after, for example, Best ever pickled baby cucumbers and Apple and orange jam.
Popular children's characters and toys are rated highly in the search: the Snowman and the snowdog, Minions, Scooby Doo, Lego.
Peppa Pig is another contender - One happy boy and a Peppa pig cake is still visited after two and a half years.

This photo always make me smile

I am not an expert on tea, but a great tea lover, and my tea reviews are high-scorers.

And my most popular, most viewed post is One chicken: Three Meals, which was mentioned in The Guardian, and thanks to this endorsement is regularly visited. Whenever I have a glance at my LiveTraffic, there is someone looking at this post, yet it didn't receive a single comment. Makes you wonder.

What have I learnt in five years of writing a lifestyle-family-foodie blog? Although a niche blogging is considered to be The Thing, do whatever you are personally comfortable with.
I do have my moments of doubt: am I a parenting blogger or a foodie? But then that's who I am, an eclectic person, with eclectic interests. I love cooking, reading, art, and my blog reflects that. And though I often introduce myself as a foodie blogger, I think I'm a-bit-of-everything blogger.

Though I am fond of my cooking and recipes, if I were asked to choose my personal favourites, these would all be family-related posts. It is not always easy to share my life with the world, and it does make me feel vulnerable at times, as I let total strangers inside my heart and soul. Yet I'm not a kind of a blogger who literally bares it all.
As you might know, my older son Sasha has autism, and most of my favourite posts are about him. If you missed my writings in the past and would like to gain more understanding of what it is to have a child with autism, I might offer you once again Boy-Island, Running with Sasha (This post has been written to support The Very Special Children of 2002 campaign), The fragmented world of Sasha, Silent World of Autism and How Frozen Saved My Sanity at Christmas time. Some of them were very painful to write, but they are all true. These are the posts I am proud of. If I were to stop writing altogether for whatever reason, these are the posts I'd like to be remembered for (I know it sounds grand and even a tad affected).

Please excuse my little exercise in self-indulgence.
Happy 5th blogversary to me!
Let's hope I will retain at least some of my mojo to keep the blog running.

Sasha's selfie


  1. Congratulations Galina. Five years is really something. It's been interesting finding out more about why you started the blog and how it evolved. I'm sure it will evolve again in the next five years, but I hope it will still be there.

    1. Thank you Choclette! Not sure where my blog might lead. :) Hopefully it will be still here in 5 years.

  2. Happy bloggyversary ! It's funny that you started writing your blog around the time of Eddie's birth - I was the same, mine was just before the birth of Pierre (although I had a totally personal family blog before that). That means it was over six years ago - time flies !!

    1. Thank you Cheryl! To me it seems you've been much longer on the blogging sphere. I certainly read your blog before I started mine. :)

  3. Happy Blog Birthday. You were the first blogger I ever met in real life and I've loved reading your posts, I wish I could cook like you do. I look forward to following your journey over the next 5 years x

    1. Thank you Mary! We should meet up again, with you and Monkey.

  4. Happy Blog birthday. So nice we met each other via blogging