It’s been a year of mixed emotions and a year of ups and downs. Over 2012 I’ve cooked 52 recipes, taken 366 photos and read 12 books.
I set out on this challenge wanting to improve who I was as a person, develop existing skills and learn some new ones along the way. I also wanted to challenge myself and take the routine out of the daily grind… The challenge has been hard but there have been lots of good moments along the way.
To say farewell to my Eats, Shoots & Reads challenge and 2012 here are my highs and lows of the challenge!
I’ve always been obsessed with cooking programs and if you’ve seen photos of me you’ll know I like my food! Although I find cooking stressful it’s something I’ve always enjoyed… Instead of continuing on as one of those people who make excuses for not cooking (I don’t have the time, ingredients are hard to find, it costs too much, there’s no point for 1 person, etc…) I decided to do something about it!
All my recipes were randomly selected (using an iPhone number generator) from Jamie Oliver’s, Cook With Jamie cook book. No matter what the recipe was I had to cook it… despite the temptation to hit regenerate on some of the recipes!
Over the last 12 months I’ve cooked various dishes from The Ultimate Fruit Meringue to Roasted Cauliflower! I’ve even had to cook a whole duck and chicken just to shred the meat and use it for something else! Some recipes we’re a success, others a complete disaster!
Overall the recipes have been fun but challenging and I’ve eaten some really tasty dishes as a result. I’ve also learnt some new techniques and tips and discovered the importance of seasoning and balancing flavours.
Although enjoyable, some days (after a long hard day in the office) the idea of shopping for, and then cooking, a recipe filled me with dread. Some of the ingredients were ridiculously hard to find and I had to make some substitutions but overall I followed the recipe to the letter.
I’m still a cautious and stressed cook but my new found skills have helped me to calm down in the kitchen and take control. I think I have a natural tendency towards cakes and deserts as they were the best executed recipes.
In the future I’d really like to do a cooking course and fine tune my knowledge and would love to make cooking more permanent in my life. This challenge has definitely re-awoken a passion for cooking and I plan to carry on my culinary journey so expect to see more blog posts in the future.
Photography is one of those arts I find fascinating… How the simplest of moments can be captured and made beautiful. I’ve always loved the way it documents life, thoughts, emotions and captures memories so I was more than happy to start on a journey of photographic exploration!
The challenge was to take a photo everyday! It could be a photo of absolutely anything, completely random as long as it was taken on the day and by me.
As 2012 was a leap year I had 366 photos to take, each with a title and caption. I have to admit that this challenge was probably one of the most frustrating. Trying to find something interesting every single day to photograph was hard work! Some days all I did was get up, go to work, go home and sleep – what’s exciting about that!
It was also difficult sticking to the “take the photo on the day” element of the challenge. Although I always took the photo on the day I couldn’t always publish it to my blog. Some days I was too busy, forgot, had no wifi or was out of the country – hopefully my readers will of forgiven me for that.
I also slipped up on one of my photos as it was a photo of me instead of one taken by me but as it was a photo of me and my beautiful god daughter I think it still counts.
Overall the challenge was really fun and it’s lots of fun looking back on a year of my life in photo form. I also think my skills have improved and I’m much better at spotting a photo opportunity than I used to be.
I plan to carry on with my new found skills and will continue to post photos on my blog but at a more leisurely pace. I’ve also considered a twist on the photo a day challenge but I’ll keep that secret for now!
Reading is something I’ve always enjoyed but found frustrating. I’m quite a slow reader and I never seem to find time in my day to pick up a book and lose myself in it’s pages.
I wanted this challenge to push me to a) finish the books I start and b) read a variety of genres, styles and authors.
The challenge was to read a book per month selected by a friend based on the last letter of the previous book. A system that, as it turned out, wasn’t the best thought through. By using the Christian name of my friends I had a lot of repeating letters, especially E, S, N, D. Fortunately I built in a way of dealing with this (by simply working my way back through the letters until I found a suitable letter) and although this worked there were a few disappointed friends who never got the opportunity to select a book for my challenge.
Over the 12 months I’ve read a variety of genres including autobiographical, horror, fantasy and thrillers. I’ve read books that are classics, loved by many and others that I’ve never even heard of. Some books have been a pleasure to read (A Spot of Bother, The Secret History, The Time Travellers Wife) whereas others have been hard work (Wuthering Heights, To Kill A Mocking Bird).
The positive of 12 months of reading is that it’s got me excited about books again. There are plenty of books I’ve wanted to read for a long time and I finally have the passion to give them a go… Although, if I’m honest, I won’t be pushing myself to finish as quickly as the challenge demanded.
This is a challenge I started with some fear, dread and anticipation and it was a tall order from start to finish but one I’m very happy to have accomplished. It’s been difficult, costly, stressful and frustrating at times but overall it’s been a pleasure and has developed my personal skills and given me new experiences.
I’d finally like to thank all of my readers, followers, random bloggers, friends and family for following my journey and I’d like to take the time to give a special big THANK YOU to; those who recommend my books (and wrote their own reviews), those who sampled my culinary skills/disasters and to my loved ones for putting up with me nattering on about my challenge day-in-day-out.