Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Reflections on 2012

Welcome to 2013.  I hope you are feeling a lot more prepared for another year than me.  Honestly, I am still trying to get 2012 organised.  How will I ever find time for another year!  I know that lots of bloggers are doing nice simple New Year posts with the best of 2012.  My New Year posts is a more rambling chat about things I loved, more in the style of my blog.

2012 was a mostly a good year of excellent holidays, fine foods, fun crafts, new friendships, lots of ukelele music in the background.  We started the year with a great beach holiday in Lorne and ended it with an amazing wintery holiday in Edinburgh.  The year wasn't without some tough times, especially the sadness when Sylvia lost her own Dolly.  Her sadness about Dolly was matched in her joy at seeing her Irish cousin Dash on three separate occasions this year.

We were worn down by planned obsolescence and found ourselves with a new telly and a new computer (as well as the new camera at the end of 2011 after a camera drowning incident).  We grew flowers from seed.  We  welcomed a new niece.  We celebrated significant birthdays.  We got new bathroom flooring.  We sometimes just danced in the loungeroom in the middle of dinner.  I could go on and on, but you really want to know about what happened on the blog, don't you?

Blog Activity and Achievements

Blog Statistics
This year I uploaded 211 posts.  I passed the amazing milestone of 1000 posts in March.  Since beginning the blog in April 2007 I have now posted 1,155 posts and have published 14,154 comments (let's not mention all the spam I have deleted).

My all time stats are a bit hard to measure because I didn't start counting from the beginning of my blog.  According to StatCounter (set up in March 2008) I have had 937,099 page loads.

My most popular posts of all time do not include any 2012 posts.  It stands to reason, given that they have had more time to accrue stats.  But here are your ten favourite posts of 2012 (according to Google Analytics):
  1. Chocolate pumpkin digestives
  2. Dinosaur birthday cake
  3. Vegan cheese
  4. Chickpea and hempseed cheese
  5. Tofu bacon (and fried rice)
  6. Skye's tomato and pumpkin curry (and copyright)
  7. Reflections on 2011
  8. Vegetarian Christmas dinner in Scotland (Stilton nut roast and cranberry chestnut stuffing balls)
  9. Butterless butter cake
  10. Chocolate polenta cake

Best of 2012
  • Favourite DVD - the Railway Children
  • Favourite kids tv show - Peppa Pig
  • Favourite CD to dance to (with Sylvia) - The Fratellis
  • Favourite Aussie television series - Puberty Blues
  • Favourite foreign television series - Call the Midwife
  • Favourite film - Hugo
  • Favourite book - Secret River by Kate Grenville
  • Favourite tourist attraction - Jirralinga Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Favourite event - Open House Melbourne

Best of Blogging:
Having a 3 year old around makes the same old meals rather important for comfort.  I managed to make lots of other food too, thanks to inspiration from many other bloggers.

Technology and Housekeeping
My annual New Year post has become an opportunity to reflect on the developments in the blog.  Maintenance and navigation on the blog are quite a bit of work and I wish I had more time for it.  (In fact, once I have this post up, I must update my recipe index.)

I have made a few changes to the blog:
  • I created an About This Blog page on my header menu
  • I now have a Top 10 list on my lefthand sidebar - I find this list fascinating because it changes so much as it refers to what is popular each month.  Dash's Airplane Cake and my Chocolate Crackles post are consistently in the list.
  • I posted an updated blogging resources list to replace the one I posted in 2008
  • I changed my banner so it fitted better and took on a new background (see previous blog designs)
  • I regretfully started using captcha for my comments to combat the ever-increasing spam.
  • I created a favicon for gggiraffe.blogspot.com.au (thanks Rachel).  It is not ideal but I was just playing and haven't found a better one yet.
This year, there have been quite a few changes that were prompted by Google, not all welcome.  I love the function that allows me to reply directly to each comment.  I still am very unhappy at the blog url being different depending on where you read the blog (ie it is gggiraffe.blogspot.com.au when I am in Australia and gggiraffe.blogspot.co.uk in Scotland).  This and other minor changes have created broken links, mean my stats are messy, and make it harder to keep track of pingbacks.  And the changes to spacing make old posts look terrible.  More about Google in my post on The relentless tide of technology.

I dived into "social media" after some resistance.  I have a flourishing Pinterest account and love it.  It has joined Delicious as a great bookmarking tool.  I have joined Eat Your Books which I like in theory but still find a bit overwhelming.  I still am finding some of the online copyright issues can be difficult as I have written about this year.

It was also a year of great change in photography.  I moved from using a compact automatic point and shoot camera to wielding a much bigger DSLR with three lens and a tripod.  Setting aside the expense of accidents or how large it feels in a restaurant setting or heavy to carry about, I love it.  I don't use it to its full potential.  Maybe next year I will learn more about the manual settings.  But I hope you will agree it has helped to improve my photographs.  I have even started using picmonkey for collages when I have too many photos to cram into a post.  (See the picmonkey collage of some favourite 2012 photos at the top of this post.)

Happy New Year
Last but by no means least, this post is not just about me.  It is a chance to say thank you to all my readers and supporters.  Thank you to everyone who has linked to me through your blogroll or by acknowledging this blog as a source of recipe or inspiration.  Thank you to everyone who has left a comment, sent an email or stopped by to browse.  Thanks to those who give feedback on recipes, suggestions for meals and your kinds words about the blog whether online or in the real world.

In particular, thanks to my family and friends who share meals with me, thanks to my mum who continues to give advice and is always happy to discuss a recipe, and thanks to E and Sylvia for their willingness to try and/or give frank and fearless feedback.  It is always a pleasure to share food with important people in my life.

I am not one for resolutions.  I have had such a whirlwind end of year, I have barely had a chance to think about 2013.  I hope there will be lots of good food and companionship.  I would love to read more of the hardcopy kind.  I hope I will still find time for blogging but possibly with a few less posts.  What I can say is that it holds many mysteries, much change and a lot of planning.

Whether you have resolutions or not, I hope the year ahead is full of joy, that you weather the tough times with courage and embrace the good times with delight, that your problems are few, your surprises are delightful, and you find much to make you smile and laugh.  Happy New Year!

26 comments:

  1. Happy New Year, Johanna! You truly packed 2012 with some wonderful food and so many other things. Wishing you more happy adventures this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nupur - it was a full year - never a dull moment :-)

      Delete
  2. I just stumbled across your blog, but I can tell I've stumbled on the right day, as this post was a wonderful re-cap of all the best posts! I am itching to try that lime sweet potato, and of course, the Pumpkin digestives!

    Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dayna - glad it was a useful post - I am sure there are other great posts I glossed over :-) hard to decide what is in and what gets left out - but I agree it is a good one to catch up on

      Delete
  3. When you summarize everything like this, you have accomplished so much this year! Congratulations! Smiles and laughter are on the horizon for me this year, too. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Janet - it does seem a lot when put together like this - enjoy 2013

      Delete
  4. What a wonderful write up. I love how you put your own style on it. Wishing you a very happy and healthy new year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Katie - I sometimes wish my style was shorter but I always have lots to say :-)

      Delete
  5. It's been a busy year for you. Here's hoping 2013 brings you lots of joy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cakelaw - busy indeed - feel like the end of the year never let up

      Delete
  6. Happy New Year to you, E and Sylvia, too, Johanna! Awesome review. You have had a busy and successful year! Congrats on all the achievements. And wow, that is an inspiring list of recipes. (I hadn't realized how often I picked your recipes--guess I just love them).

    Wishing you an even better 2013, and reaching that ever-elusive state of "being organized" (can I get there with you??) :D xo xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ricki - I was quite surprised that you had chosen a few of my recipes for Wellness Weekends favourites - and very pleased - if you find out how to get organised and stay sane please let me know :-)

      Delete
  7. I love your rambling chat style, and I loved this post. In fact, if you'd posted it before I did my own, I may have written mine in a completely different way! (Perhaps it's for the best you didn't, so I didn't need to worry about copyright in end-of-year post styles!). I liked your blog points but also the reflections on your year more generally; some things I'd forgotten and some I may not have known. I am also really impressed that you were featured in Cakes and Bakes - congratulations!

    Congratulations on 2012 more generally, too, and wishing you the very best for 2013.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kari - of course you would be welcome to do your post in a similar style (imitation and flattery and all that) but it took me quite a while and I thought maybe a short snappy post might have been better for my sanity :-) the post does repeat some stuff but it is useful as I often have so much to say that things like cakes and bakes magazine can get lost in the all the talk :-)

      Delete
  8. i love reading about all of your favorites and the way in which you've written this post. Sounds more like we're talking about it over lunch than just reading about it from miles away!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Joanne - wish we could sit and chat about the year over lunch but given that we are too far away, am glad that you enjoyed this :-)

      Delete
  9. Happy New Year, Johanna! I always love and marvel at these posts. To be this organised and this thorough... I take my imaginary hat off to you, my friend.

    Loved reading about your trip to Scotland. I tried to comment a few times but my computer was being weird about allowing me to communicate with others so it never worked. Hope that next time you're across you'll make it up this way. :) x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Wendy - seems so silly to be so close to you and yet it is still too hard to travel - but we didn't even get to glasgow - glad your computer let you comment on this post - maybe next time we will finally meet up

      Delete
  10. I do love reading of your years relfections JOhanna, you can them ramblings I call them considered and thought provoking. And in this space you have informed me of things I have missed in the last few months - bye bye to PPN for a start. Anyway, it was So lovely to hear from you. I have been coming by your blog and reading when I have time, just have not had the time to comment with consideration, I must say I did wish i was back in Scotland because i know we would have made a point of meeting up whilst you were there, but hey that's life. Wishing you a good 2013, and Thank you as always for staying true and supporting me throughout my blogging years, even though the last year was poor for blogging on my part, not yours :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shaheen - lovely to hear from you after all your hard work this year - it is an inspiration to me to see where you have got yourself. I too was sorry you weren't in Scotland - that might have got us over to Glasgow after all if you were still over that way

      Delete
  11. Tofu bacon! I'm going to have to check that one out. It's hard to find good substitutes for bacon, which is one of the few meats I actually kinda miss. It sounds like you had a wonderful 2012--here's to an even better 2013! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kiersten - yes you should check out the tofu bacon - it is easy to make - I often make it around when I make dinner and have leftovers in the fridge that always gets used - and it is so yummy - once I discovered all the smoky food that wasn't meat (liquid smoke, smoked paprika etc) I realised it was the smoky flavour rather than the bacon that I missed

      Delete
  12. Happy New Year to you! So pleased that the pumpkin curry is still a favourite, so sad that you were never reunited with Dolly. Hope 2013 brings you much happiness, both on GGG and in real life too Lucy x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lucy - it is sad that Dolly seems to be gone but at least we have had lots to make us happy too, and we have pumpkin curry - hurrah!

      Delete
  13. Happy New Year Johanna.

    Poor dolly. I had a book called Ratty Tatty for Sylvia, that is about a lost rabbit, but by the time I saw you, too much time had passed and I thought it might just open old wounds.

    Cooper has that same quilt cover on his bed right now!

    What a fabulous year. The highlight for me was meeting the three of you xx

    ReplyDelete
  14. Happy New Year Johanna, I enjoyed reading your comprehensive write-up of your huge year in 2012 and love that you are so into the tofu bacon (we still are too)! BTW - Hugo was my definitely one of my favourites films last year too!

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you. Please feel welcome to share your feedback and questions. I have started using word verification recently to combat an avalanche of spam. Apologies for the hassle of reading the mysterious captcha code (refresh to find an easy one).