Weekly Writing Challenge: Wrap It Up – Write a year-end post that includes, for example, a “top X” list, a reflection on an experience, month-by-month recaps, or a look at things you’d like to do better next year. Include photos and statistics.
Before I start I’d like to apologise for the break. I decided I deserved a week off following NaBloPoMo, but somehow that week turned into two. But now I have holiday time so we can hopefully get back on schedule! I’m hoping it won’t happen again. Especially as my return was greeted by about 150 spam comments to sort through…
But anyway! On topic… Let’s see shall we.
The beginning of the year was when we finally got around to making this blog you see before you. It had been something we’d been thinking about for a while. January wasn’t very busy in a blogging respect… After all, we created it, actually, right at the end of the month. But we started the month in England, and had our dear friend Bambi to visit part way through the month. This month I also sent in my application for the nursing course.
I began to get into the swing of things with blogging here. Every week I posted a new recipe. Pancakes of course came for Pancake day! At the beginning of the month I had to do an assignment for the Childcare distance learning course I was doing at the time. I was also getting my mum and brother’s to look at different wedding venues for us. Much easier for them to do than us, considering we were in the wrong country! Lent began and I gave up chocolate, which is a big deal for me.
I seemed to bake a lot of bread in March. Relatively speaking at least. And my readers of course got the recipes to try for themselves. The invitations of the entrance exam arrived this month, leaving my feeling a little nervous. I think I read all the books on nursing that the library had (that were written in English at least) in an effort to be prepared…
Lent finally ended and I was able to eat chocolate again! I was amazed I managed to complete it. I certainly felt very accomplished. And then set about devouring easter eggs… The entrance exam was this month. I knew I’d only just scraped through the maths section (I made a couple of stupid mistakes), but the rest seemed to go well, so I was waiting on tenterhooks for the summer to come and with it the results of the exam! Less than a week later I flew to England alone. S had to work, and I needed to get some wedding stuff sorted in England. I sent off the final assignment for the childcare course, slightly early, and finished the course with flying colours.
Whilst I was in England I didn’t get an awful lot of cooking done… Pretty much none, to be honest. I did, with my younger brother, cook a rather tasty lemon tart with some lemons he’d picked whilst on holiday with his girlfriend. I actually think the pictures for that post are some of the best pictures I’ve taken for this blog. I did have the advantage of being able to use his DSLR, which I adore. I wish I had money to buy myself one… But that’s slightly off topic, isn’t it? I made the most of having that camera available, and was able to get some lovely pictures of the animals too. Although the black cats don’t seem to be very photogenic… Wispa and Woody are very photogenic though!
In June the long-awaited exam results finally arrived and… I passed! Although most of you already know that by now. But still, it was a wonderful thing to find out. I went wedding dress shopping, and fell in love with the very first one I tried. I got a move on with looking at the wedding venues that my family had vetted for us previously. When S joined me in England in the middle of the month (to celebrate my mum’s birthday!) we went to the two short-listed venues, and then booked one. It definitely made the wedding seem more of a reality!
Back to Finland, following that rather extended holiday to England. I tried to get back on track with the blogging, posting a recipe each week once again. This month was rather administrative I think. We had to sort my residency and confirm my university place. S was working full-time, so I hardly saw him. It meant that I was spending a lot of time at home alone, which was quite different! At least I had the cats for company.
We started the process of looking at flats. Offered one almost instantly, but after the initial excitement we decided it was impractical – far too small overall, and the kitchen was practically a cupboard. Only a few days later we were offered another flat, slightly further from uni, which was bigger and had a proper kitchen. Saw it, fell in love, and accepted it. The next few weeks were full of packing and pre-moving arrangements, not to mention getting ready for studying!
I didn’t blog at all in September. But I had a very good reason. At the beginning of the month we moved into our new flat. Our belief that we’d be fully unpacked within a week was definitely a bit ambitious, seeing as of writing this we still have some boxes waiting to be unpacked… I also started university, with all that goes with it – classes, homework, trying to make friends… We bought me a bike so that I could cycle to school; the first bike I’ve ever owned! We moved Maisi and Lola into the flat about two weeks after we’d moved, and a week later we bought home our new cat Elvis. He settled in very quickly, and now it feels like he’s been a part of the family forever.
Still no blogging. University was keeping me very busy but was enjoyable none the less. At the end of the month it was half term. It was great to have a break, although I spent much of it preparing for the upcoming exams. The end of the month also signalled my birthday! I had an up-and-down day; S made me heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast in bed, university in the afternoon for a couple of hours, after which I walked home because I didn’t want to wait half an hour for the bus… I wasn’t cycling because we’d had our first snow a day or two before, and my tyres aren’t really suitable for snow.
Oh November. This was a busy month once again! I did cycle once or twice, as the snow thawed briefly at the beginning of the month, but mostly it was too snowy so I got the bus instead. November was NaNoWriMo, which I participated in despite having decided I didn’t have time for it. Which I didn’t. Hence not actually completing it. But hey, I tried, right? I also took part in NaBloPoMo, which was a wonderful experience. It was definitely a good excuse to get back to blogging. I did one of the writing challenges and got Freshly Pressed! Watching my view count soar was such a joy. It soared again, though not quite so much, later in the month when I got mentioned in the WordPress News.
Finally we’re in the present! As I explained at the beginning of this post, I took a break following the busy previous month. Term finished yesterday, so now it’s time to get on with finishing making Christmas presents, get caught up on my school reading and Finnish practice… And of course get back on track with the blogging. There may not be any recipes until after Christmas though. That’s because most of what I have been/will be making are for presents for people, and I can’t risk them seeing them on the blog before they receive them!
We’ve got some pictures in there too. How about some statistics?
Top three posts (based on views) of 2012:
Most commented posts of 2012:
Best month for views (total): November - 1 826 (Year total as of 18/12 – 3 023)
Best month for views (average views per day): November - 61 (Year average as of 18/12 – 9)
So that’s The Joyful Soul’s year in review. And here’s to an even better 2013!
Things to look forward to next year – more frequent blogging(!), my first clinical placement, and our wedding!
Tell us about your 2012 in the comments below. Has it been everything you hoped for? What do you plan for next year?