Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Reflections on 2013

So there goes 2013!  Full of interesting times.  Full of change.  And yet again I find myself amazed at how much is on my blog this year and struggling to sum it up.  It can't be done quickly.  Pull up a comfy chair and let's chat about the year that was.

It was certainly an unsettled year.  It started with a car crash that resulted in us buying a new car.  Then someone ran into our parked car, we got a nail in one tyre and someone even left their foot off the brake and rolled into the car at a red light.  I left a long term contract job and did some consultancy work and some volunteer work.  It meant more time with Sylvia in her last year of kindergarten before starting school.  E had a stressful restructure at work.  Our verandah flew off along the back lane in strong winds.

Unsettled isn't all bad.  I had a work trip to Auckland and we holidayed at Port Fairy.  I bought my first smart phone.  Sylvia and I did lots of craft and decorated a dolls house.  I had time to bake sourdough bread and create a gingerbread house.  E and I were winners.  I won a book (Ottolenghi's Plenty) in Louise's birthday bash, Dreena Burton's e-book from Janet and a Kez's Kitchen snack pack from Cass.  E won a JB Hi Fi gift voucher this week after doing a survey some time ago.

Blog achievements:

Best of 2013*

Best film: Philomena
Best DVD film: Blessed  (starring James Nesbitt)
Best DVD series: Borgen (Danish political drama)
Best overseas TV show: Endeavour(The young Inspector Morse)
Best Aussie TV show: The Time of our Lives
Best overseas book:  The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffen
Best Aussie book:  The Daughters of Mars by Tom Keneally
Best kids DVD: Brave
Best kids book: The Magic Faraway Tree - Enid Blyton
Best cafe: East Elevation (will blog some day)
Best out of town cafe: Clonmara Tearoom

*Best that I have seen or read this year rather than best of the year's releases.

Best of blogging
The most popular of the 2013 posts (according to Google Analytics):
  1. Plane food: a tale of two vegetarian meals
  2. Vegan sushi stacks
  3. Vegan Victoria sponge birthday cake
  4. French lavender salt recipe
  5. Pirate treasure chest birthday cake
  6. Animal cupcakes: chicks, pigs, frogs and mice   
  7. Chocolates with a peppermint filling
  8. In My Kitchen - April 2013
  9. Drop down menus and blog changes
  10. Baked porridge

My blogging highlights extend beyond a Top Ten so here is an overview of some of the good stuff:

Technology and changes:
  • My biggest technical achievement this year was to install drop down menus.  It was challenging but worth it - even if it muddies the stats slightly.  Sadly, the way I installed it makes navigation harder on a mobile.
  • I updated my Recipe Index in line with the drop down menus.
  • Google reader closed and with it went my oodles of bookmarked blogs.  I now just look at the blogroll on the sidebar of the blog.  It is more relaxing as I just look at the most recent blog posts (apologies if I miss yours, especially as the blogroll sometimes ignore some blogs).
  • I quite enjoyed using a Recipe Planning page to remind me of bookmarked recipes at the top of my to do list.  It is quite helpful when I am lacking ideas but less helpful when too full of ideas.
  • I changed my Search This Blog field at the top of my sidebar.  It hasn't been working very well lately.  Any advice on a better one to install?

Happy new year
We are living in interesting times.  Sylvia will start school this year and our work situations are still unsettled so I expect there will be big changes this year.  How this will affect blogging, time is yet to tell.  Hopefully I will continue to find time.

I have gained a lot from blogging.  I love the constant inspiration I find in the blogosphere, the connections I have formed and being part of such amazing change in how we share information.  I enjoyed meeting up with some bloggers offline and was touched by kindness in comments and emails.  Thank you whether you have been reading my blog, giving me feedback and/or extending your friendship.

As always, many thanks to E who shares my food, does the dishes, and supports me in many ways.  A big hug for my little Sylvia who loves the sweet stuff and is starting to taste more of the savoury.  My mum, family and friends also have been great in discussing recipes and tasting food with me. 

I am not one for resolutions.  I do want to make an effort to use my cookbooks more and spend a little more time offline.  I have plans to write more posts about festive food and healthy food.  (That is balance, isn't it!)  I also have a few catch up posts to share about cafes and recipes I haven't had time to share over the past year. I am looking forward to clearing up my blog backlog to make room to share all the good food I hope will come my way.

Finally I wish you a very happy new year.  I hope you ended last year well and will find 2014 full of good food, good company and good fun.

31 comments:

  1. Happy new year to you, too! I look forward to seeing you online and offline in 2014.

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  2. It sure has been some year for you, Johanna!!! Your blog has evolved through the years with more goodness and creative posts!!! It has just been wonderful getting to know you and your lovely family through your blog posts.

    I can't believe Sylvia will be going to school. I remember the first time I saw her tiny fingers on your blog:) The blogging world is forever changing and growing. It just doesn't seem possible that the world could be getting smaller and so intimate. It's all so fascinating!

    I'm looking forward to another year of sharing your ups, downs and Kudos!!! It's going to be a GREAT year. Wishing You, E. and that precious Sylvia a Happy, Safe and Healthy New Year!!!

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    1. Thanks Louise - the blogging world always fascinates me and gives so much more than I ever expected when I started out - and my blog is certainly continuing to develop - look forward to another interesting year - more ups than downs would be nice this year :-)

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  3. I love recap posts, especially when they are as detailed as this, Johanna. Blogging is a form of journalling my way through life as well, and it is nice to share the highs and lows.. because it is quite amazing what you have done throughout the year. I try not to let blogging dominate my life, especially when real life takes precedence, but lists like yours make me want to do more. :) Here's to a fabulous new year!

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    1. Thanks Janet - I love recap posts too - I actually started doing mine because there was a blog event on recap posts which was a great way to find out about blogs. I like your description of blogging being a way of journalling your way through life - me too. And for all that I seem to blog a lot - there always seems to be so much more offline than never gets blogged

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  4. Happy new year! Sounds like quite a busy and wonderful year was had. I always love reading your blog, and your recipes are always so inspirational. All the best for 2014!

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    1. Thanks Reanna - very kind of you - so lovely to have you visit :-)

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  5. Wow, you put a lot of effort into your review of 2013! I hope 2014 awaits you and your family with lots of happiness and joy!

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    1. Thanks Kath - I actually started making notes on this post months ago but yes it did take a bit of work - it helps give me an overview of major changes in my blog if I want to look out such things.

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  6. Happy New Year! I'm sure your 2014 is going to be glorious. I can feel it in my waters. ;) And golly gosh, I will never stop being amazed at how grown-up Sylvia is getting!

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    1. Thanks Hannah - I am sure my 2014 is going to be interesting - an less convinced it will be glorious but as you feel it in your waters then I think you are probably right :-) How could it not be with my gorgeous Sylvia who just seems such a big girl now!

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  7. Lovely post Johanna - it was indeed like having a chat (albeit one sided; I listened!). You have had a wonderful year and yet I know there have been challenges too. It goes to show that life is not a straight line and we can not plan for everything. I have enjoyed seeing your crafts with Sylvia as well as all of your recipes, and think the top 10 posts are well deserved.

    As for the search feature, mind has being playing up recently too - it's on my list of things to try and fix as I do blog house keeping before returning to work next week. The only idea I have it to uninstall what I have and re-install it, which is perhaps unduly hopeful as a strategy! I'll let you know if I do hit on anything though.

    Happy new year!

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    1. Uninstalling and re-installing the Blogger search gadget didn't work, so I have created one using the code on this website instead - http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2008/07/help-your-readers-search-your-blog.html . It is generating results which is more than the last one did so shall stick with it for now!

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    2. Thanks Kari - it has been a year of ups and downs - happy to chat about it with you - thank goodness for comments to make it a little less one sided :-)

      Thanks for the info on the search - I have hunted out some old code I used to use (and sent it to you) - real shame the blogger automated search not working as I preferred it but maybe they will work on it.

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  8. It sounds like you had a very mixed year! But definitely some great recipes and other highlights along the way :)

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    1. Thanks Rachel - yes - definitely a mixed year but a good one for recipes

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  9. Gosh what a year. Very well done on all your blogging achievements - well deserved. Clearing the backlog of posts is one of the many things I want to get sorted, but I think I said that last year too !

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    1. Thanks Choclette - I still need to find time to get to my backlog and just clear it out - I lose interest in drafts once they get too old but often would like to return to the recipes (and sometimes doe)

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  10. what an inspiring post - it's so easy to remember just the low spots in a year and forget achievements are all the sweeter when hard come by. Well done for all you've achieved. And blimey, Sylvia's starting school this year, where has that time gone!

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    1. Thanks Nic - I try and make notes along the way to make sure I don't forget the good stuff (but even so I couldn't find one link this year). And yes it is amazing Sylvia is old enough to go to school - seems she was just a wee baby just yesterday

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  11. Wow! What a year. You crammed so much in and I'm sorry it started with so much car trouble. I love the sound of your lavender salt. It sounds like your blog has done really well through the year and congrats on getting a few images selected on foodgawker - not easy, I know xx

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    1. Thanks Charlie - the lavender salt is fantastic as an all purpose seasoning - and is all the more special to me for being my first photo on food gawker - it is still a mystery as they accept ones I think will never make it and reject others I think are a dead certainty!

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  12. Great post Johanna. A great and a bloomin' heck year! It all happened. I am wishing the three of you and your blog a fabulous year in 2014 xx

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    1. Thanks Jac - amazing to think we are in 2014 already

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  13. Happy new year chica!! I am still shocked that I don't remember all the car drama your year started out with! Crazy. Here's to 2014 starting out with less of a bang...but still being awesome.

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    1. Thanks Joanne - the car drama was crazy - probably a lot more offline than online for which you would be grateful (you would not have wanted to hear about all my phone calls with insurance companies - that was crazy!)

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  14. Great roundup post! Happy new year!

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  15. HAPPY NEW YEAR! wow it certainly was a busy year for you! Maybe I should do a summary too. It definately makes you think. Congratulations on all of your achievements :)

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    1. Thanks Cass - yes you should do a summary - well I would love to read it - I love looking back far more than looking forward

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