I have been absent here for a long time now. In fact, I can’t quite believe the last post was in November – although perhaps it makes sense that this was the last Sunday before the election. There are a few reasons for this, and I wanted to take some time to explain them here. Also, I felt the lack of a 2016 round-up, and Rachel’s late post felt like it helped justify my lateness here too.
The biggest reason is that I am now 16 weeks pregnant, and while my first trimester this time round was a considerable improvement on the last round, it was still exhausting and nauseating enough for me to want to let go of anything that wasn’t necessary to get through it.
On top of that, I will be starting a new job in February, and we are also starting to build our new house this year – 2017 is looking like it will be a big one.
In considering all of these (somewhat daunting) plans, I have been giving some real thought to whether I should continue writing here. I think the conclusion I have come to is that I’m not sure I can stick to my commitment of a weekly post, but that I would miss the opportunity to write sometimes, so I’m going to keep the door propped open here and post when I can.
Looking back on 2016 has been with mixed feelings. There have been so many moments where the world has seemed to be heading in the wrong direction. But also so many moments to appreciate how fortunate we are to be healthy, happy and secure in our lives. I am trying not to dwell on the ‘what ifs’ of the year ahead, and to be hopeful about the possibilities.
Anyway, here are some of my favourite pieces of writing from the last year. I have deliberately excluded any of the obituaries or political pieces, although many of them were excellent too. This is a list filled with hope and ideas:
Rachel Roddy’s food from Rome column in the Guardian’s Cook supplement has been one of my favourites of the year. Bookmarked recipes included: a door-stopping vegetable bake (ie one that makes people stop at your door); an evocative post about pizza bianca; soft almond biscuits; and one of my favourites from her book Five Quarters, twice-cooked broccoli and pasta.
Serious Eats has been a source of inspiration this year, especially J. Kenjo Lopez-Alt’s columns that investigate how recipes work. This one on making Yorkshire Pudding is a classic example of his style and the practical tips he comes out with.
Cookbooks I have referenced the most this year include:
- Anna Jones’ A Modern Way to Cook – its organisation by time available is really helpful.
- The Five O’Clock Apron – lots of practical family cooking, with a foodie edge
- Food52 A New Way to Dinner – this one I only got at Christmas, but has already been pored over, and I have made lots of things from it already. I can see this forming the backbone of my cooking this year.
Angry Mummy: Try again. Fail again. Fail better – on the importance of being a crap parent, and owning up to it, by Rachel Jeffcoat, aka Make a Long Story Short. Other brilliant posts this year: Anyone who says their two-year-old wasn’t a tiny insane tyrant is lying. Let’s kick our inner smug mums to the kerb this summer.
I Quit – the seminal post from Mother Pukka, that describes her decision to quit her job in favour of striking out on her own and making time for her daughter. Anna’s writing has been some of the most honest and real I have read this year: from posts about miscarriage, pregancy after loss, her Flex Appeal campaign for flexible working support, and just general all-round real parenting.
Getting stuff done
I am a sucker for anything that promises I can get more stuff done with less faffing and more organisation. Some of the things that I tried out this year:
Bullet Journals: An introduction to bullet journals
Bullet Journal + GTD from Boho Berry
Bullet Journal: what I’ve learned in 4 months from Sarah at Taming Twins: