2014 resolution recap

We’re already a week into 2015 and I’m only just getting round to recapping my resolutions from last year! Oh well, the new year doesn’t properly start until I’m back at work anyway, and while I was technically back on Monday, yesterday was another holiday in Germany so I’m only just starting to get back into a routine now. That’s my excuse anyway 😉 So how did I do on last year’s resolutions? Well, I actually only made three, and I managed to stick to them all. Here’s a recap:

  1. Travel more. I wanted to at least make an effort to go on day trips, and I managed that plus much, much more, spending time in 8 different countries over the course of 2014! Taiwan and Vienna were just two of the bigger trips I took, with a few day trips to France (Colmar), Switzerland (Basel) and some new-to-me German towns (Bad Bergzabern) thrown into the mix as well.
  2. Keep not biting my nails. Most of my nails are still not long because they insist on splitting, getting caught on things and just generally being annoying. But I can honestly say I haven’t bitten any of them off. Success!
  3. Enjoy the time I have with my boyfriend and stop worrying so much about the future. It’s difficult for me not to worry about the future… I need to know that what I have right now isn’t all there is! But I think I’ve done a reasonably good job of living in the moment and not nagging about what’s next. And no sooner did I manage to starting living in the moment than something came up that meant Jan had to make a decision about our future together anyway. Oh universe, you’re such a tease!

So that’s three resolutions made and three kept. I do have a number of goals for this year, but I’m still busy finalising and thinking about them, so you’re just going to have to wait for that post – by which time I’m sure you’ll all be completely sick of resolution posts anyway so you’ll most likely never even read mine ;-). Oh well, c’est la vie as the French would say.

 

2014 on Confuzzledom

I’m fascinated by blog stats, particularly search terms, which are often hilarious. So here’s a look at my top search terms and most-viewed posts for 2014:

My top posts in 2014:

  1. Chicken, leek and bacon mashed potato topped pie. This post from last year randomly started getting loads of views in October and has featured in my stats every single day since then. It was viewed a total of 365 times from 28 December 2013 to 28 December 2014.
  2. I Wouldn’t Thank You for a Valentine. Usually this is my most viewed post, but this year it lagged behind with a mere 247 views. I wonder if that means teachers have stopped assigning it for GCSE?
  3. German Foods I Love and Loathe came third with 171 views, proving that you can never go wrong with sausages and potatoes 😉
  4. Sukie’s Cake Shop, Karlsruhe. A relatively recent post this one – I only wrote it in September. But it still managed a whole 164 views between then and now. Which just goes to show how few people are blogging about things to do in Karlsruhe!
  5. So You Want to Learn German? This post got 137 views. I just hope it was useful to someone…

And now my top search terms for the year

  • The mysterious woods of whistle root pennell
  • confuzzledom
  • give me something to do
  • rewe cafeteria frankfurt airport
  • nagold old church

Nothing particularly exciting there – the good search terms are usually the ones that only come up once. But it’s still interesting to see what most people who end up on my blog are looking for.

And now, in no particular order, my five favourite search terms that have found me this year. None are quite as fun as last year’s, but luckily I’m easily amused 😉

  • marketing xmas cards from ex colleagues
  • playmobile wino
  • linda the giant sausage
  • mmm stinky foot
  • xxx girl bum

Now it’s your turn… tell me about 2014 on your blog! Or alternatively tell me what your favourite search term is that’s led someone to you.

Friday letters + links

Oh, hello! It seems it’s Friday again already, and we all know what that means…
Well, this week I was back at work as normal again since the train strike was over… and a good job too! Jan set up our new computer at the weekend and I had to actually go to work to be able to get the addresses for setting up our remote server again. Everything’s on the new computer now though, so next time there’s a strike I’ll be able to work from home again! Other than that, it’s been a pretty uneventful week. Jan worked late Monday and Tuesday so I ended up spending the evening alone both days. In fact, on Tuesday I was already in bed by the time he came home! Yesterday, being Thursday, he had choir practice as usual so I’ve barely even seen him this week. Hopefully we’ll get to spend some time together tonight, although I suspect it will end up being the two of us plus a whole bunch of other people because a friend who use to live in Karlsruhe is in town for the weekend and wants to go for a beer. Then tomorrow Jan’s choir is performing at a concert for charity, so of course I will be going to that. Phew, busy-ness! Work-wise things have calmed down a little for me now – I still have plenty to do, but I’m now at the stage where my days are just full enough rather than bursting at the seams. I haven’t even done any overtime this week, which is rare lately!

OK, that’s enough rambling. I know letters is what you want 😉

postbox

Dear winter reading challenge. So far, you’ve been so fun! I love the categories that were picked this time round. Now I’m hoping the rest of the books I’ve ordered arrive soon!

Dear Karlsruhe Christmas market. Why do you always seem to start later than all the rest? Some towns’ markets are opening on Monday, but we have to wait all the way til the 27th. No fair!

Dear 2014. I can’t believe we will be entering your final month in a mere two weeks (on Monday)! Between my grandpa dying and an amazing trip to Taiwan, this has been a real rollercoaster of a year, and I’m not actually sure I’m ready for you to end yet!

Dear chestnuts. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to discover you in forms other than roasted and in a paper bag, but now I have I’m making up for lost time! You are DELICIOUS fried together with pumpkin!

Dear cousin, dad’s cousin and Jan’s mum. Happy Birthday!! (Apparently 14 November is a popular day for birthdays!)

That’s all I’ve got this week, so here are some links to tide you over:

  • Here’s a list of 18 foods all British people miss when they’re abroad. I can’t stand Marmite or Branston Pickle and I’m not too fussed about custard creams, but the rest gets a huge YES from me. Especially the Indian takeaway. I would love a decent Indian right now. They missed out (savoury) pies and gravy granules though!
  • This list of the top 10 imaginary friends in fiction inspired me to add even more books to my want-to-read list. Because clearly it’s not long enough already.
  • Speaking of books, according to The Telegraph these are the best young adult books of 2014. Surprisingly, I have read precisely zero of them, which means there are now even more books I want to read!
  • The backpackers among you might be interested in this 30 second manual washing machine. Personally, I think it sounds a bit odd but I suppose you shouldn’t knock things til you’ve tried them. Also, I’ve never actually backpacked so clearly I have zero idea what I’m talking about anyway 😉
  • And finally, something on my own behalf… I’ve created a Facebook page for Confuzzledom (mainly so I can like other people’s pages without having to give away my real name to all and sundry), so if you want to like it that would be nice. Just click the purple writing then do the likey thing. Ta very muchly!

 

A “smashing” idea

(I’m sure that joke in the title has been used a million times, but I never claimed to be original. Plus, I like it… so it’s staying :-P)

I had never heard of a smash book until Ari from What Ari Said started posting photos of hers on her blog. I’m not particularly creative, but seeing all the different things she was doing with her smash books inspired me and made me want one of my own. I was even contemplating buying one from Amazon (where they are pretty expensive), but then Ari offered to send me one that she had going spare. I know… how nice is that? The blogging community is just the best 🙂 My parcel was sitting waiting for me when I arrived home last night and I couldn’t wait to get started!

A smash book is basically a scrapbook, but with ready made pages so all you have to do is open it up and starting sticking things in (or “smashing” them in, as they say). It comes with a back stick that’s a pen at one end and glue at the other, you you don’t even need to look for glue. Just grab the things that you’re always wanted to stick in a scrapbook and get started. There are all different kinds of smash books, with different themes and things. The one Ari sent me is “365 style”, which basically starts at the beginning of the year with winter themed pages then goes through the seasons, ending up with New Year. The theme seemed to lend itself perfectly to some kind of record of the year, so I decided to make it about my journey to eat well and think positively this year. I’m calling it “2014: My Year of Happiness and Health”. Here are some of the pages from the book… mostly blank because I haven’t really done anything with it yet.

Ari was also kind enough to send me some accessories – washi tape, a stamp with various sayings, little sticky notes and a little book where you can write down quotes and things you’ve overheard. The kindness of bloggers never fails to impress me 🙂

I’ve always wanted to be a scrapbooker, but I’m not creative enough for that kind of thing.. I even tried to make a srapbook of my year in Austria, but quickly gave up because I ran out of ideas and what I had managed to do looked crap. I’m hoping a pre-made book will work out better for me.. and once it’s done (if I get that far!) I’ll have a nice collection of positivity that will make me smile every time I look at it. I’ll let you know how it goes…

First Friday letters of 2014!

It’s not the first Friday of 2014, but it is the first one on which I’ve a) been in Germany and b) had access to a computer, so these are my very first Friday letters of this year…

Friday letters

Dear Madeira. You are beautiful! I wish we’d had a few more days to spare so we could do more hinking and maybe go on a whale watching trip, but alas work called.

Dear ticket collectors. I would appreciate it if you could announce your presence before you’re standing directly behind me, so I could get my travel card out in advance and not be left scrabbling for my purse in a panic while you stand there staring at me.

Dear Banoffee Pie. I’ve never made you before, and I’m planning to try you out for the first time tomorrow. You’re coming with us to a birthday party, so please work out okay!

Dear weather. I have to admit you are worrying me slightly. Temperatures have been almost Spring-like this week, which leads me to suspect that winter will creep up when I’m least expecting it. Probably in April…

Dear 2014. So far, you are a clean slate! I have no firm plans for you yet, only a few tentative ones for March and June. I want you to be a good year so it’s time to get my thinking cap on! I still have another 8 trips to plan for starters!

Dear readers. It’s nice to see that some of you are still there, despite the fairly long break I took over the holidays. I’m still playing catch up with my comments, but I’m sure we’ll all be back in the swing of things soon. Here’s to a fabulous year, both in blogging and outside it!

Resolutions 2014 (and a recap of last year’s)

I was going to start telling you all about Madeira today, but the computer is refusing to register the fact that the card reader is plugged in and contains a memory card, so resolutions it is. First, a recap of last year’s (which you can read about in detail here if you so desire):

  1. Get back to doing my exercise DVD. Nope! Failed on this one. But I did start doing sit ups and jogging on the spot, so that’s better than nothing…
  2. Keep on top of the housework better. Hahaha. As if! I kept this up until about mid-February (which has to be some kind of record, to be fair) then decided at various points in the year that I really, really would make an effort to keep the place tidy from now on… it never lasted longer than two weeks though.
  3. Become a better translator. I’m pretty sure my style is still terrible, but I have at least got faster. And this year I’ll be doing all the translations anyway, including the ones that need to “sound good” as well as being correct. My colleague is now on maternity leave for the next year so I’m the only one left to do them! Hopefully there won’t be any complaints…
  4. Finish visiting 30 German towns before I turn 30 and blog about them. Yessssss! This one I actually did, and great fun it was too! You can find a page with all the towns I visited under “Places I have been” at the top.
  5. Save up and do some OU courses. I saved up, but actually spent the money on flights to Madeira (they were expensive!). I did make a list of the OU courses I want to do though, so maybe some time I’ll actually get round to them…

That was all my resolutions for 2013, and I managed to keep a grand total of one out of five. Ooops! Maybe I’ll do better in 2014? Here are my resolutions for this year:

  1. Travel more. Looking at my review of 2013, I did actually travel quite a bit… but it wasn’t enough! This year, I want to make even more of an effort to at least go on day trips. Participating in the Take 12 Trips challenge should help with this one.
  2. Keep not biting my nails. For years and years, my New Year’s resolution was to stop biting my nails, until I finally realised that I was doomed to not keep that one. But when I had my wisdom teeth out this year, I managed to grow my nails simply because I was physically incapable of biting them! I’ve managed to keep most of them long since then (the others were victims of splitting and snapping.. how does everyone else avoid that?!), so this year my resolution is to try and keep them unbitten!
  3. Enjoy the time I have with my boyfriend and stop worrying so much about the future. I’ve decided to stay with Jan, despite the fact that he still doesn’t know what he wants and it’s looking less and less likely that I will ever have children. But even if I leave him, there’s no guarantee that I’ll a) find someone else. b) find someone else who wants to have children (either at all or with me) and c) even be able to have children. The few weeks before Christmas were fantastic and I was really happy… and I don’t want to throw away that happieness just because some arbitrary deadline has arrived. So I want to try and enjoy what we have and not worry about whether I will ever have children. I’m too late to be a young mother anyway, so even if it happens I’ll already be the kind of parent I never wanted to be!

That’s all. Only three this year… I think that’s enough considering I still have my 35 before 35 list to be working on as well! And what about you? Any resolutions for 2014? Or have you taken the more sensible route of not setting yourself goals so early in the year? 😉