Sunday 4 January 2015

Reflections on 2014

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
 Blog statistics

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
  1. Apple slice, Gluten free pastry, Strawberry and haloumi salad
  2. 5:2 diet - vegetarian meal plans, reflections and recipes
  3. Toadstool birthday cake, cake pops and party in the park
  4. Oat and seeds sourdough bread
  5. Spinach, sundried tomato and chive chickpea scramble
  6. Vegan flourless almond choc chip cookies
  7. Mostly raw double layer fudge
  8. Black bean cacao fudge
  9. Sweet potato, zucchini and olive quesadillas 
  10. 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.
Where my blog was featured
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:

Tempeh and corn soup - an oldie but a goodie!
What I have been eating
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:

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).

E on the road to Port Fairy
Happy New Year
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.


  1. You had quite an eventful year with loads of good recipes. All the best for the new year!

  2. Ah Happy New Year to you Johanna and your little family. I've been patiently waiting for your 2014 reflections. I loved the Apple Slice recipe and have it bookmarked, glad its been a little gem for you. I have other recipes bookmarked from your blog and hope to focus more with cooking recipes bookmarked and not just admiring them: your mole sauce and coconut bacon being on the list. PS I may have to do my favourite post too, I tend to do cookbooks but may widen a bit this year. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your warmth and kindness over the years, I do feel blessed having you in my life, albeit through blogging. x

  3. I always love reading your end of year posts and this was no exception. It has been an eventful year Johanna! I can understand why your apple slice post was so popular and think that even with your month off in May, you've shared a great number of recipes and helpful 'how to's'. I hope 2015 is a great year for you.

    Also, I too loved the books in your favourites list and am also looking forward to Ricki's book coming out!

  4. First of all, thank you for the oats, hazelnuts and chocolate cookies (from 2011 if I remember correctly) - they made our holidays MUCH more enjoyable! (I made them 3 times within 2 weeks ...)

    And then, I hope you have a successful new blogging year and enough time to really enjoy it. All the best to you and your family, too.

  5. Wow! An eventful and very successful year! I think I am only just beginning to cotton-on to the power of social media and I know exactly what you mean by too much & not enough time blogging. But life is so busy and trying to fit it in around a pretty much full time job (my biggest bug-bear) is hard. Well done for all your success this year (and for all those delicious recipes) and I hope 2015 continues to go from strength to strength for you. x

  6. Congratulations on how well you went with your blog during 2014. That apple slice has been incredibly successful and I do love the image so I'm not surprised it was picked up by foodgawker and then went viral. You had a very big year and achieved a lot so here's to a stellar 2015 xx

  7. Happy new Year! And what a wonderful reflective post (ps that apple slice DOES look magnifient!)

  8. What a year of achievements it has been Johanna! I'm glad that the blog has continued to be rewarding. It's wonderful how much it can mean to not only the readers but the blogger themselves. May 2015 be a brilliant year! :D

  9. Love these reflections Johanna! I'll have to make your apple cake and substitute something for the eggs. I'm glad to hear of the popularity of that post too, anyone who encounters your blog is sure to be enriched by it. As always, I have loved reading your posts this year and have even come to depend on them, they are comforting and warm and genuine, so thanks :)

  10. You have had a great year. Here's to an even better one in 2015!

  11. What a wonderful year, Johanna. There may have been some bumps but definitely looks like a great year. Here's to a wonderful 2015! :)

  12. Happy new year Johanna. I adore your reflections and recipes.

  13. How have I missed that apple slice recipe? I'm going to look it up right now. Thank you for the time and energy you devote to your blog (and your support of other people's, including mine!) Hope you have a very happy and productive 2015 x

  14. What a year of incredible achievements! Congratulations!!

  15. Happy new year! It's funny how you don't notice how much you've done until you sit down and think about all the things that have rushed by you over a year. You've definitely done A LOT! As for seeing where your blog lives on beyond these pages, I can confirm that despite being a vegan for six or so years, I never managed a decent vegan chick pea scramble until you showed me the way!

  16. Wow that's a fantastic bunch of achievements, epsecially the Noodlies! Congratulations :D

  17. what an awesome summary! Really enjoyed reading it and it inspires me to write some more recipes :)

  18. Thank you everyone for the warm wishes - it really is lovely to be part of the blogging community!

  19. Happy New Year Johanna! I think you spend more time on your blog than you give yourself credit for. You've done a lot to revamp it! I need to follow in your footsteps. I really need an overhaul on mine.
    Congrats on everything you've achieved in 2014! Look out 2015 =D


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