Sassy is the founder of online healthy recipe and fitness website Naturally Sassy. She is also a food blogger, cookbook author and the creator of Ballet Blast: a fast paced ballet inspired cardio workout.
As if this wasn’t impressive enough, Saskia is also a professionally trained ballerina — so she knows a thing or two about fuelling your body the right way!
Growing up on a diet of low calorie, low fat foods paired with sugary energy drinks, Sassy was often ill and left dealing with numerous dance injuries and health upsets. That’s when she decided it was time to change her diet around and cut out dairy, meat and refined sugar completely. Endless bowls of iceberg lettuce, oatmeal and soup? Oh no — Saskia launched her Naturally Sassy food blog and got experimenting in the kitchen. This lead to a devoted following recreating her recipes and changing their diet for the better too.
Last year, Saskia published her own recipe book to show people how easy it can be to make affordable, healthy vegan recipes that taste just as delicious as their unhealthy versions.
Saskia started her blog in May 2014 after working on the concept and the idea for a year or so prior to the launch. Before starting Naturally Sassy, she was working with her sister (founder of Hip & Healthy) creating recipes for her online magazine. This exposure gave Saskia the platform to really build a loyal following that inspired her to create recipes on a larger platform.
Creating her own web-space was the natural next step.
The inspiration for her recipes has always come from dishes and sweet treats she used to love growing up: “I’m continually inspired to recreate unhealthy classics in a healthier way! It’s such fun sharing the creations with friends and seeing their surprise when you list the guiltless ingredients.”
How did you learn how to blog and engage with your audience?
I’m not sure I ever truly ‘learnt’ how to blog, I instead decided to create the content that I as a reader would want to see. I’ve always been very true to my own voice, and kept the blog very personal and informal. Engaging with my readers has always been my favourite part — I love hearing feedback, seeing recreations of my recipes or meeting readers at events; It makes everything I do feel worthwhile.
The best advice I’d give to fellow bloggers about recipe development is don’t post a recipe on a whim, make sure it’s perfect and there’s absolutely no tweaks you need to make. To get a loyal following you don’t only need a genuine voice, but a collection of faultless recipes. But most importantly, be you, and create content you want to create. Never feel the pressure to fit into a stereotypical food blogger ‘mould’ – your readers want to know you!
What is the genesis of your cookbook?
The idea behind the cookbook stemmed from everyday eating. When I first started eating healthily I bought tens of cookbooks. After trying one recipe (that required 5 different pieces of equipment, loads of ingredients, and an hour of my time), I never opened the book again! I wanted to create something that could seamlessly fit into a busy day.
There are sections like ‘one pot wonders’ and ‘15 minute meals’, as well as lots of ‘how to’ pages, so you can use whatever ingredients you have lying around!
What did you learn from publishing a cookbook?
The 12 months working on my cookbook was a total game-changer for me, I learnt so much in every aspect of the project. Everything from coming up with the initial idea, to developing the content and planning the marketing. The thing they don’t tell you however is just how much work goes into every single page, every sentence, and every measurement! The editing process took months and was very tricky for me.
I grew up in the US and have since done all my food measurements in cups, having to go through and convert everything into grams was the most mind-numbing process! They also didn’t tell me quite how attached I’d become to everyone I worked with on the team; The food stylist, photographer, prop stylist, copywriter, proof-reader, editor.. the list goes on.
I made so many new connections and learnt invaluable tricks from all of them to help grow and develop everything I do with Naturally Sassy. Overall, it’s made me a better business women, with a much greater understanding of my brand.
How did the idea for Ballet Blast come about?
During 10 years of professional dance training, being taught by and working alongside some of the best athletes in the world, I developed a workout programme that kept me strong and supple, and at peak fitness. I was severely injured during my last year dancing, spending more time in rehabilitation than on stage. The physio rehabilitation programme I was doing didn’t give what I wanted, and my fitness level dropped dramatically. It was then that I started to unknowingly fuse classical ballet work with strength and cardio work in an attempt to create a programme for myself. I started working through these routines on a daily basis, teaching my friends and co-workers; It was a hit. Ballet Blast was truly born after hanging up my pointe shoes to work on Naturally Sassy full time, and has been growing ever since.
What is Ballet Blast? Who is it aimed at?
Ballet Blast is a fast, ballet inspired cardio workout that fuses high intensity interval training with classical dance principles. Unlike many fitness classes that feel like you’re clenching and shortening the muscles to feel the effect, this method is all about working at length and visualising your extremities to create long lines and work all the muscles throughout the body.
This method is by no means exclusive to dancers; it’s about getting the most out of your fitness class, whatever your experience level, and about coaxing your body into new and challenging positions that will create beautiful long, lean muscles. If you want to work on your balance, flexibility, stability, strength and stamina this class is for you.
What’s up next for you?
I’m working on a few big projects, but my primary process is growing Ballet Blast. Having the method accessible online and in different gyms around the UK. I’ve got some big plans, so watch this space!