In less than 12 hours, 2017 will have come to an end and a new chapter will begin. I must admit to being mildly nervous at the thought of a sprawling new year, one with only a few plans and trips in place and the rest laid bare, a literal empty calendar. When I began 2017, I had no idea I would live in three different flats, move across the country to a new city and start to build a home with C. The year took me by utter surprise, yet through the very good and the utterly terrible, I’ve made it to the 31st in one piece and eyeing up a bottle of champagne as per usual.
Christmas has been rather magical this year, spent with lots of family and friends in one large party after another and while I’m not 100% sure where I will be when midnight strikes (last minute as always), I at least know I have a wonderful network behind me as I take my first tentative steps into 2018. Similar to last year, I’ve split this post into two – a round up of my top recipes and posts on Victoria Sponge Pease Pudding today and a more detailed look at the year just past in early January. I’m surprised yet again that my more personal posts have been favoured over cakes and brownies, but I’ll take that knowledge into 2018 with me when I brainstorm some new content ideas.
For now, crack open the champagne, enjoy an endless cheeseboard, first foot, dance till dawn and see in 2018 in style. Happy New Year.
For Pancake Day, I returned to my childhood with a rather colourful stack of pancakes covered with syrup, strawberry cheesecake ice cream and mini marshmallows. I also made my first GIF for the blog with this post, a rather wobbly attempt at pouring syrup over the stack but it seemed to go down well, especially on Instagram. This was also one of two recipes I shot in my second flat of the year before our move to Glasgow – I’ll never forget that teeny tiny kitchen.
Trying to keep a surprise like a stack of Nutella brownies a secret from my boyfriend proved a little difficult on his birthday, especially now that we live together. Yet he was delighted with his own personal brownie supply in lieu of a cake – luckily I remembered a candle though.
I became so attached to this banana loaf that I have lost count of the number of times I’ve remade it since, with additions of walnuts and lemon glazes. It’s the perfect no-effort-necessary bake to whip out on a Saturday morning with any blackened bananas lying around.
Another childhood favourite came to the blog in 2017 when I finally recreated my school favourite the Smartie Cookie, This post was so popular in fact, it made it into my top nine on Instagram pictured at the top of this post. These fat, chewy cookies are a delicious reminder of being little – and also one of the last recipes I shot in my old flat.
These ice cream sandwiches were an exciting post for me, as I partnered with Scotty Brand to promote their range of soft fruits in the summer. An easy no-churn ice cream was swirled with homemade raspberry coulis and bites of raspberry before being sandwiched with soft cookie dough slabs. After rigorous testing (and to claim back freezer space), I took a large bag of these sandwiches individually wrapped on a hot day into the office – they were gone in minutes.
This was a nerve-wracking bake for me, as it was the first bake-off competition I entered in my new office in Glasgow. I had agreed to take part but my genoise sponges collapsed into doughy pancakes in the oven, forcing me to scrabble together a sponge cake with just a few eggs and blocks of butter left in the fridge. I fell into bed at some ungodly hour having finished and happily won second prize for cake design. This cake somehow taught me to persevere when the odds are stacked against you – who knew cake was so wise?
I love writing these retrospective year in review posts, as it’s rather nice to look back and see how far I’ve come in the last 12 months. This particular one makes me laugh slightly, as I had no idea what would be in store for me over the next year.
2017 also unexpectedly saw me give up caffeine, my ultimate bae due to health reasons. It was incredibly difficult, perhaps more so that I went completely cold turkey, but more than six months on I can see how it has changed me for the better. A good read if one of your resolutions is to not become so dependant on the dark stuff in 2018.
I didn’t film as much as I had planned in 2017, and so I only uploaded this one holiday film to my Youtube channel. But it was truly a magical holiday spent in one of my favourite places with my wonderful family. Some people question why I still like to go abroad with them, but I hope this post explains my reasons why (spoiler: it’s because they are so much fun).
Finally, my most popular post of 2017 is…
This has to be one of my favourite blog posts I have ever written and also one of the most personal. As we marked ten years since my Grandpa passed away this year, I shared some thoughts about coming back to the village where he lived and where my father and uncles grew up. It was an emotional time and I’m so pleased I captured the feeling of arriving in this special place in writing, as I received many comments and messages from people all over the world who love Tayvallich just as much as I do.