It has been a year of huge changes, some challenges and lots of good times. As always there is a lot to reflect upon so grab a cuppa and make yourself comfortable!
Life was busy in 2014. Here is a brief summary: Sylvia started primary school. We rode bikes to school a lot. Sylvia and I got new bikes, Lots of swimming, mostly in the pool, some in the beach. Packing lunchboxes. New friends. School forms, fundraising and events. Local connections, Frozen. Loom bands. Holiday in Port Fairy. Sourdough baking. Trip to Adelaide. Stolen car, New car. Sylvia has learnt to read. New blender. Ukelele performances (E). Ukelele lessons (Sylvia).
I spent too much time on my blog and not enough. I updated the header and made the background all white. I diversified my social media platforms, made more effort with my photography and posted more street art photos. And when I got time I tinkered with my main pages. I got into a good pattern of three posts a week after my May blog break. However I am so behind with posts after the festivities, I think I need to churn them out before the blog settles back into familiar patterns.
|Sylvia on her bike wearing her lovely duffel jacket that was in our car that was stolen|
On my blog, the number of posts (176) was down a little compared to previous years. I have found myself so busy that I took a blog break in May. It was my month of Street Art posts. I even missed noticing posting my 1500 post a few months back. At the end of 2014 I have 1542 posts on my blog.
My apple slice post was the star of the year as far as blog stats went. I guess the is the power of a good photo (below) and a simple recipe. At the end of the year Google Analytics chalked up 17,139 hits for the post and Blogger more generously put it at 28,782 hits. This is far more hits than any other posts in my seven years of blogger.
However the apple slice had a life beyond my blog. It has now 2708 view from FoodGawker. In August 2014 it was number 16 (out of 10,250) for most favourited on FoodGawker. It was popular on Pinterest. Sew Much Easier shared the photo and recipe with a link to me on FaceBook. At the end of the year it has been shared 112,420 times and liked by 9507 people. Pretty amazing! Especially for a recipe buried in a long rambling post.
|My most popular recipe of 2014 - Apple slice|
Top 10 2014 blog posts
So it is no surprise to see what was my most popular post for the year. Here is the top 10 blog posts of 2014 according to Google Analytics
- Apple slice, Gluten free pastry, Strawberry and haloumi salad
- 5:2 diet - vegetarian meal plans, reflections and recipes
- Toadstool birthday cake, cake pops and party in the park
- Oat and seeds sourdough bread
- Spinach, sundried tomato and chive chickpea scramble
- Vegan flourless almond choc chip cookies
- Mostly raw double layer fudge
- Black bean cacao fudge
- Sweet potato, zucchini and olive quesadillas
- Gwyneth's Apple muffins and the rainy school holidays
|Zinc the cat: fierce explorer!|
Blog achievements and good stuff
Other than the apple slice photo/recipe being so popular, there have been other moments when my blog has made my proud and/or happy:
- This year I have been making more of an effort with photos and have had 42 photos accepted by FoodGawker.
- I have diversified my social media platforms this year. I opened a Green Gourmet Giraffe FaceBook page this year and have 142 Likes. I also started an UrbanSpoon account to share my posts on cafes more widely and because I find myself using UrbanSpoon so much when I eat out. I have also started a Goodreads account which I am only using sporadically but enjoy the list making. I am still finding Pinterest useful but use it when I need rather than for much browsing.
- I did VeganMoFo for the fourth year in a row. I love the inspiration to make interesting vegan food but it is a tiring month.
- Included on Jac's Top Ten Vegetarian and Vegan Blogs on Tinned Tomatoes for National Vegetarian Week.
- I did recipe testing for Ricki Heller's forthcoming cookbook (Living Candida Free) earlier in the year. I can't wait to get a copy of the book because I just loved making the recipes from it. I also did a guest post for Ricki on a Tomato Nut Roast with Buckwheat and Seeds.
- I also did a review for Janet at the TasteSpace on an e-book Culinary Quandries: A Vegan Dinner Party - e-book. It was another opportunity to cook some fantastic food.
- I have just seen on Noodlies listings that this year my Green Gourmet Giraffe blog was listed as number 6 food blog in Melbourne and number 62 in Australia. Wow!
|Here I am trying to keep the tide back from my blog! Literally and figuratively.|
I love blog events and love to participate in them. (Vale Ricki Heller's Wellness Weekends - one of my favourite events that ended this year!) However occasionally I notice that my blog gets around in unexpected ways! Here's where some of my recipes were featured:
- Haggis stuffed mushrooms on BuzzFeed for 24 ways to have the ultimate Burns Night Supper and Haggis nachos recipe on BuzzFeed at 9 'Better Together' ways to eat haggis.
- Cheesy Pumpkin Sausages on Top 10 veggie burgers and sausages for National BBQ Week at Baby Centre UK.
- Roasted Potato Salad with Black Olives and Greens on 100 Healthy Vegan, Gluten-Free, Whole Foods Summer Salads! at Ricki Heller.
- Vegan Lamingtons on Around the World in 12 Desserts at Travel Freak.
- My nut roasts were featured on The Peace Patch where National Nut Roast Day was celebrated!
- Pea pancakes with sundried tomatoes on 21 savoury pancakes you need in your life at Student Beans
- Toadstool birthday cake in the Fairy Issue Party Tips and Ideas zine at All About Party Bags.
- Chocolate layered fudge on The Whoot.
|Tempeh and corn soup - an oldie but a goodie!|
I know it would be great to do a list of my 10 favourite recipes of the year but I just love lots of what I have posted. Here is an overview of some of the good stuff:
- Breakfasts - chickpea scrambles, vegan french toast, smoothies
- Smoky and chocolate - chocolate bark. doughnuts, zucchini brownie, choc chip cookies
- Australian - Tim Tam brownies, haggis chiko rolls, apple slice
- Showstopper cakes - ultimate chocolate cake with green ombre frosting, Creme Egg chocolate drizzle cake, chocolate cake decorated with strawberries and musical notes
- Children's cakes - cars, toadstool, owl, monster
- Nut roasts - with strawberry bbq glaze, golden beetroot nut roast, smoky cheese and barley
- Sourdough - pizza, oat and seeds sourdough bread, hot cross buns, focaccia and chocolate cake
- Finally made - mole sauce, baked cheesecake, great vegan pancakes
- Fantastic desserts: kale cake, apple pastries with spiced red wine, peach crumble
|Christmas Eve food and baking|
And now here are some of my favourites of the year (ie what I loved this year, not what I judge the best of 2014).
- Favourite Film: Wadjda
- Favourite Children's Film: Paddington
- Favourite Australian Children's TV: Nowhere Boys
- Favourite Overseas Children's TV: The Legend of Dick and Dom
- Favourite TV Drama: The Code
- Favourite TV Documentary: Brilliant Creatures: Germaine, Clive, Barry and Bob
- Favourite DVD: The Wire boxset (we are up to Season 3)
- Favourite CD: Oz by Missy Higgins
- Favourite Books: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, Prep by Curtis Sittenfield, Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
- Favourite Children's Book: The Sunken Kingdom by Kim Wilkins
- Favourite Cookbook: Isa Does It by
- Pope Joan, East Brunswick Favourite Cafe:
|E on the road to Port Fairy|
And so as 2015 begins and we still can't believer that 2014 is really and truly over, I thank you for reading my posts, taking time to comment and email, and for your support in keeping me enjoying my blog. It has been a great year for meeting up with fellow bloggers and blog readers. It always wonderful to see my blog having a life offline. I think E for the music, the dishes and his company in enjoying good food. I thank Sylvia for the challenges and letting me know just what she thinks of my cooking. I thank family and friends for sharing so much good food and fun times.
Lastly I wish you, my dear readers, a happy and healthy new year. May it be filled with gripping books, kind people and pleasing sights. And to paraphrase Custard Pie's admirable food manifesto, may your food be compassionate, honest, surprising, curious and joyous.