December coffee break – 2018 review

On a scale of ‘of course’ to ‘what a stupid question’ have you eaten and drunk too much in the last few days? Well, it’s Christmas, so it’s totally fine.  Right? As I write this, I’m drinking a cup of coffee, eating a(nother) mince pie and my parents’ dog is trying to convince me that she needs a bite. Given we’re all settled in on the sofa already, I thought that our little December catch up should also be a little 2018 review.

It’s been a bit of a year, hasn’t it? From the car crash that is global politics (don’t worry, I’m not going there), to a gorgeous summer of food, lots of travel and a fair bit of change. 

Let’s forget about the outside world though – this is how the year has looked for me, let me know how it looked for you.

The word I’ve heard the most in 2018 is pivot. It’s always been there, but it seems like I’ve heard it more this year. Just now I’m aware of it because I’ve just listened to an episode of the Food Blogger Pro podcast with Mellisa from the incredible blog, The Faux Martha, talk about ‘the year of the pivot’ (well worth a listen, especially as we head to the new year and all have a little time for reflecting on what makes us happy).

Pivot has also appeared in my job – one podcast I listen to regularly is currently talking about ‘the pivot to reality’. Sure, it was about the media and tech worlds, but it’s struck a chord. 

There’s been change on the blog. Little pivots, like more portrait-orientation photos as we’re all using our phones more and a move to more seasonal recipes, and bigger ones too. The raspberry gin recipe that’s been the most viewed post on the blog for the last few years is no longer quite so dominant, we’ll see what happens there.

Raspberry Gin
raspberry gin

Looking back though, it’s been an awesome year. Here are some of my highlights, popular recipes, favourite things from 2018 and the blogs I’ve most enjoyed reading.

Things to be grateful for: travel, adventure and friends

I started the year knowing I would be going to Lisbon and a few weddings in the summer. In the end, I accidentally went to Madrid as well on the Lisbon trip, to three gorgeous weddings, a beautiful family birthday trip to Perthshire, to Salt Lake City (for work admittedly, but an adventure is an adventure) and finally to Budapest.

The lack of coffee in Utah was a challenge, the custard tarts in Lisbon were amazing and the Hungarian goulash devine (more on that in the new year). The knowledge you get from seeing the world, and the pleasure of seeing family and friends with smiles on their faces, is utterly priceless.

Pastel de Nata - A relaxed 72 hours in Lisbon
custard tart in Lisbon

Plans for 2019 travel? Well, I would be lying if I said there were none. It’ll be three years in January since I took a life break and travelled round the world, and admitting to myself that I’m going to be 30 means a big adventure is needed. The destination is set. The logistics are next, then you will know.

My 2018 favourites

  • Experience – outside travel, seeing George Ezra live. Oh yes.
  • Music – probably George Ezra* again…
  • PodcastTable Manners with Jessie Ware, My Dad Wrote a Porno and Potterless are the big three – go listen to them all!
  • CookbookThe Roasting Tin* – it’s the one I’ve cooked the most from, read the most and splattered stuff all over. I also wrote a review of it.
  • Blog – Picking one is impossible. There’s a whole list below!
  • Reading – I’m a sucker for a spy thriller and I’ve read or re-read all of Charles Cumming’s books* in the last few months.
  • Magazine – I love my Delicious. magazine, but the second half of the year I’ve picked up Condé Nast Traveller a few times and I may be in love.
  • Instagram – I’m a bit obsessed with Insta and it’s hard to pick, but probably mostly in love with food and culinary travels of John Gregory-Smith
  • WatchedTV – I’ve been hooked on the Bodyguard*, loved Dynasties* and basically every travel programme I can get my eyes on. I also got in toChef’s Table on Nextflix, it’s well worth a binge.
  • WatchedFilm – I’m a little boy at heart, so probably Avengers: Infinity War
The Roasting Tin Cookbook

Most popular new recipes of 2018

I make a lot of food, and whilst it often takes a while for some recipes to take off on the blog, here are the top 10 from this year’s new recipes:

hot cross bun bread and butter pudding
hot cross bun bread and butter pudding
apple crumble gin
apple crumble gin

My favourite recipe from this year that’s not on that list is my grilled pork and peaches.

grilled pork chops with peaches
grilled pork chops with peaches

Looking to 2019

Whatever happens in our world, 2019 will be eventful. It feels like we’re still hurtling to an environmental abyss with Thelma and Louise up front. And – whatever side of the debate you’re on – the one thing we can agree about in British politics, 2018 has been what can best be described as an utter clusterf*ck of an omnishambles. 2019 isn’t currently looking a whole lot better and, on a massively selfish note, if we do leave the EU on the 29th March it will officially be the worst 30th birthday present ever. 

I’ve a few trips that I want to make happen, and likewise the recipe for white wine mac and cheese that I’ve been toying with for a while needs to happen. More on this in January.

There’s going to be a whole lot more going on too, so early in the new year I’ll try put it all together in one place. Yes, there are going to be a few pivots.

What about you? What was your favourite part of the blog in 2018? Your favourite recipe? Your favourite photo? We’re heading fast for the reboot of the new year, so now is a great time to let me know. Either drop me an email or let me know below what you’d like to see on the blog in 2019.

Favourite blogs of 2018

This could be a very long list, but in no particular order, here are my top 10:

Got a suggestion for 2019?

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*Links marked with an asterisk(*) are affiliate links.

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