Hello again, from London; it feels as if I’d left yesterday, and yet I’m back after a two-week break. I’m relieved that 2014 is just a few hours away: 2013 has been a hard, trying year, and I can’t wait to leave many of the disappointments it brought me behind.
I’m starting the new year with one big resolution: leaving my job, and looking for a new, more fulfilling career. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a quite radical change – and as far as I’m concerned, with change comes far too much crippling self-doubt. Am I ready to face this, right now? Am I capable enough to make it happen?
I was on the verge of letting go, caving in to the temptation of spending a few more days in the safe haven of my hometown – and then, I remembered something that instantly cheered me up. That “something” is a big daily planner with a red leather cover, buried in my desk drawer at my parents’ house. I got it for Christmas in 2005: a year that felt like the quintessence of awful to my eighteen-year-old self.
I used that diary to record everything that happened to me, every day, until May 2006. Not that the life of a lone teenager who lives in the Italian countryside is any exciting; still, if anything vaguely positive occurred, you could be sure to find it there, circled with lashings of lilac pen. Ready for me to look at every time I needed to remember how good life could be.
It dawned on me, as I once again mulled over the past year’s misfortunes, that it’s easier, so painfully easier to remember your mistakes and shortcomings, than to be grateful for the good in your life. And heck, despite all that happened in 2013, the count of my blessings is still quite high. Maybe I should get myself a new notebook, and start writing them down again. Meanwhile, I thought I’d remind myself of all that got me through the past year: it’s never too late for happy memories.
Whatever Gets You Through 2013: Highlights From Last Year
- My year started with a bang, as my partner and I moved out of our shared house, and into a one-bedroom flat. Twelve months in, it still feels great: it’s our place, and we love taking care of it together. Plus, Portobello Road‘s only a 10-minute walk away. What’s not to like?
- In March, I attended Loretta Liu’s macaron-making masterclass. I’ve since been collecting all the equipment I need to recreate her award-winning recipe: making macarons is one of my foodie resolutions for 2014, so watch out!
- Spending one week in Prague was a real pleasure. It’s a magic city, with a charm I never experienced in any other European capital.
- I also had the chance to attend Phoenix’s London gig. Phoenix are one of my favourite bands, and hadn’t been touring since 2010, so I was fearing I’d never get the chance to see them live. They’re back in February, and you should get a ticket – they’re bloody damn amazing.
- I’ve been cooking up a storm in June, creating three recipes for Chobani’s CHObrunch contest. Making butterless pizza muffins, honey nut muffins and yoghurt parfaits with homemade granola was great fun; better still, I won the competition. Well done me!
- As my competition prize, I had the chance to attend Food Blogger Connect 5. Cue three days of inspiring talks, chats with new food blogger friends, and awesome food tastings (including the recipes I created for the contest).
- As far as cooking’s concerned, my year got better and better, and in September I made what I believe to be my best bake so far. Be warned: once you try these gluten-free hazelnut and ricotta tartlets, you’ll be hooked for life.
- Finding the time and funds to visit more than one new city in one year is quite unusual for me, and travelling to Edinburgh in October was a happy exception to the rule. The city is a real gem, full of fascinating sights, and lovely culinary experiences.
- November brought about another string of culinary delights, topped by the meal of my life. I can only describe Boopshi’s wiener schnitzel with the word “superb”. Make sure you try it, if you haven’t already.
- 2013 ended on a sweet note, with the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. I received a total of thirty-six biscuits from three food bloggers, meaning there was no dessert shortage at home until Christmas – and was delighted to hear that my matches enjoyed my butterless crunchy nut biscuits, too.
As for 2014, I’m looking forward to new adventures: finding a new job, ticking off a few more destinations in my travel wishlist, and of course, growing my blog. From taking the leap to self-hosting, to launching a new series of posts, to enjoying new edible experiments, there will be plenty for you to keep up with. Speaking of which, if you liked what you saw in 2013, don’t forget to give my blog a vote for the Food and Drink category of the 2014 UK National Blog Awards.
Whether you’re a lifelong follower or stumbled across my blog for the first time, I wish you an exciting, fulfilling, happy new year. Hope to see you again in 2014!