A Year in Review – Highlights, Memories and Tasty Things from 2014

gleneaglesHappy New Year’s Eve everyone! It genuinely seems like no time and yet all the time in the world since I wrote my last post summing up Victoria Sponge Pease Pudding in 2013. It’s been an amazing year, one of my favourites, full of some real happy memories, excellent trips and holidays and of course fantastic food.

Things have changed a lot in the past year, not least with this blog. I discovered one of my images was being distributed as promotional material for a cafe without my consent after it was published in a magazine. It was a crazy time, one where I didn’t realise how much I was willing to fight for what was mine – essential the heart and soul I pour into this blog. Along with the help of friends and family, the situation was settled and I used the money to pay for my blog redesign which I absolutely love.

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At the start of the year, I also challenged myself to try 23 new things before I turned 24 that summer. The first seven months of the year I read more, took short trips out of the city and went on my first girls holiday to Barcelona, made doughnuts for the first time and changed my hair for the first time in two years. I had also planned to post all about it, including the full list but this year, My Documents has also been overflowing with half written, unpublished posts.

It’s fair to say things on Victoria Sponge Pease Pudding have slowed down over the last year. I’ve posted just 21 times, with the majority of my most-read recipes from the previous year or even older. But I’ve also become picker, only uploading images I myself feel pleased with, recipes I’ve tested to ensure they work and not just throwing any old thing on the internet that hasn’t made me feel proud to press publish. It’s been satisfying to know I don’t have to spend every Saturday morning covered in flour and icing sugar to appease an audience and that having a bout or two of Blogger Burnout (incidentally one of my most popular posts this year) isn’t the end of the world. I think it is safe to say I will be welcoming in 2015, processo in hand, in a more relaxed frame of mind both with this blog and in life.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to post my year in review as a sort of mish-mash of happy memories, nice posts and some of your favourite recipes too of course. Happy Hogmanay and I shall see you all in 2015.

Road Trippin’

One of the first things on my list was to visit the local fishing village of Stonehaven, to sit on the shingle beach and eat a fish supper from The Bay, which has won numerous prizes for its cardboard boxes filled with locally sourced fish, fat chips and wedges of lemon. I went along with my sister one Sunday and we wandered up to Dunnottar Castle, through the village and queued up for our lunch before sitting admiring the sea. It was a simple in-expensive trip but one that always makes me smile when I think of it.

stonehaven

fish and chipsI also wanted to go on a road trip and my little Victoria alter ego was quick to put her hand up to join me. We drove down to Dumfries and did touristy things like visit Robert Burns grave, wander around Caerlaverock Castle and grab a cheap deal on manicures before driving home the next day. Even if the service in the hotel was a bit rubbish and the most confusing place to find on a map, it was a really good laugh. The best part was getting on the waltzers for £1.50 as it just started to get dark and laughing ourselves silly at the entire thing.

Victoria in DumfriesApart from our family holiday to Portugal to celebrate my Dad’s birthday, the big trip I went on this year was to Barcelona with my friends Georgia and Eleanor. We saw so many beautiful Gaudi buildings, walked all over the city before eventually figuring out the underground and said ‘Vegano’ until we were all gasping for a Estrella Limon and it was all utterly brilliant. All I can say is Nice better watch out in 2015…

barcelona

cocktails

Tackling new things

I have to admit, I took my frustration out on these poor Iced Strawberry Doughnuts, which I can testify are still incredibly delicious even if you throw the dough with such force onto the counter in frustration you end up setting off the downstairs dog. Partly in frustration of having been off work again due to illness (not the sicky fluey kind, the kind you have to just deal with) and partly because the enchriched dough was so damn sticky it was driving me insane, I threw it down in a major huff. But in the end, I discovered I quite liked doughnut making and I think I’ll add it to my ‘things to bake again in 2015’ list. Without the throwing.

img_7596I dipped my toes into world of gluten free baking in 2013, but I full on committed myself to making a lemon and pistachio cake gluten free *and* delicious, which lead to no less than four attempts until the recipe was right. In the end, it was one of the most popular posts on VSPP this year. I’m hoping to expand my gluten free flour cupboard next year and try my hand at trickier bakes without the safety net of stretchy gluten.

Pistachio and Lemon Layer Cake (Gluten Free)

…And just being happy

This was the year I really took it upon myself to seek out all the people I don’t get to see enough of. I travelled across Scotland and yet didn’t see half the people I would liked to have caught up with over a coffee, bowl of chicken katsu curry or cocktail but I’m incredibly thankful that over the years I’ve accumulated some amazing friends. From reliving university with a night out in Stirling, to travelling on a megabus with a horrendous hangover, to blazing sunshine one minute to downpours the next in Cupar and just being silly with my friends from home, it’s been a year that reminded me of all those lovely and diverse people I can count on and many more besides to cheer me up in an instant.

portugalAnd of course, all that time spent with my hilarious and brilliant family. We went for cocktails and spa treatments, went to gigs, saw countless plays and musicals, enjoyed trips to see my grandparents and went on a fantastic memory-filled holiday together. They are all so special and I can’t wait for more celebrations in the coming year. And as for my new partner in crime, I can’t wait to see what happens in 2015.

I suppose I better round off this post with what you actually read in 2014. So here are your top five posts from the past year.

5. The Great Blogger Burnout Issue

strawberry-scones(sidenote: I’m so pleased with the response from this. It has been one of my most talked about posts to date)

4. Coffee and Walnut Healthy No Bake Brownies

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3. Pistachio and Lemon Layer Cake (Gluten Free)

Pistachio and Lemon Layer Cake (Gluten Free)

2. Thai Butternut Squash Noodle Soup

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1. Healthy No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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