A Belated Year in Review

As I mentioned last week, Beth from plasticrosaries.com recently tagged me in her ‘2013 in Review‘ post, and even though I’ve already summed up 2013 elsewhere, I thought I’d play along anyway…

A belated year in review

1. Your top 5 new favourite blogs to read in 2013  (you’re totally tagged if you’re listed here – no pressure of course but putting it out there…)

Satchels and Pearls (ok, I’m biased. This is my friend Michelle’s blog, and she gets bonus points for making me Auntie to the cutest dumpling ever!)

Girl XOXO (I love the combination of bookishness and blogging tips. She takes really great photos too!)

iHanna (Her blog is just full of creative inspiration, and her archives are filled with fab tutorials!)

Rae Missigman (A fairly recent discovery, but now she’s definitely one of my favourite mixed media artists)

The Tangerine (The brain behind the Book Chat)

And of course there are the great blogs I mentioned in my last round up post, and thelovely lady who tagged me in this post.

2. List Your 5 most read blog posts in 2013

The Art of Benin (I still can’t understand why you keep coming back to this one!)

Myth and Magic Notecards (I have the fabulous Julie Fei-Fan Balzer to thank, as she featured my tutorial on her awesome blog)

Documented Life – Staying Organised in the New Year (I’m pretty impressed… this one ranked at number 3, despite being published 5 days before New Year’s!)

De-stressing with Doodles (My oh-so-sophisticated method of stress management…)

{21 Secrets} Doodling Our Way (And the first installment of my 21 Secrets 2013 portfolio)

3. Name one blog you wish you had found sooner

Hands down Jo Gifford a.k.a the Dexterous Diva – I think I’d have mastered the art of blogging waaay sooner! (Plus, she’s lovely!) Did I mention I’m guest posting on her blog today?

4. Your favourite blog post of 2013  

I really loved creating the art for The Good, The Bad, The Ugly and the Giraffe Note Cards Tutorial and I LOVED taking part in Love Triangles 101, check out my review of Before I Met You or When Love Triangles Just Don’t Count for a taster!

5. What would you like to improve (if anything) on your blog next year?

Plenty! I have a list of goals for my blog that I’m constantly adding to. One of my aims for the year is to write 10 guest posts (if you’re interested, let me know!) I’d also love to hear any thoughts you have on how I could improve Doing it the Open Way. Is there anything you’d like to see change?

6. Name one blog you have a blog crush on.

Alisa Burke’s blog is amazing – her outlook, her design, her voice, her imagery, her features…. everything is just gorgeous! She’s currently running a course on blogging if anyone’s interested?

7. How often do you post?  

I go through phases… I vary between every other day and once in a blue moon. One of my aims for 2014 is to become a much more consistent blogger.

8. Share your first post of 2013

Bienvenido 2013 (also known as an introduction to my whimsical reading challenge!)

9. Name one thing you would be doing if you weren’t typing this post right now.

Coffee! And probably working…

10.What have you loved the most about blogging this year?

I’ve loved getting my mojo back – I actually want to blog now! I’m really enjoying learning how to do new things and make little improvements. I know it’s a slow process, but I’m feeling very inspired!

And with that I conclude the looking back, from this very second, it’s all about 2014!

D x

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Documented Life – Staying Organised in the New Year

Untitled #9

Well Christmas is finally over (and I really enjoyed my non-Slimming World friendly dinner J) – I hope you had a fabulous day filled with family, fairy lights and festive foods! I’m currently sat on the sofa in my onesie (thank you boyfriend, best present ever!) thinking about all of the projects I have to look forward to next year. I’ll write more in-depth about all of them at a later date, but today I just wanted to tell you about Documented Life.

Check out this post by Rae Missigman, where it is explained much better, but essentially it is all about spending the next year building an art journal/planner with weekly prompts, and a great community of artists to chatter with on Facebook.

While getting excited about getting started, I’ve also come across a few other posts about becoming more organised in the New Year – I always say it’s very important to think about what works for you… if you copy somebody else’s way of organising their life, it could just mean creating more stress and less time for you in the long run (which totally defeats the object!). I usually make a binder like this, but for 2014 I fancied something a bit different.

Here are a few ideas of other creative ways to get your year in order:

Alisa Burke shows us a snapshot of her gorgeous yearly planners, with sections for monthly calendars, blog post ideas and to do lists.

Traci Bautista shares a tutorial for her favourite way to plan and schedule blog posts (and I’ve tested this method – it really works!)

iHanna has a collection of DIY planner resources here, as well as a tutorial for a cool and quirky diary made from an old binder.

Or if you fancy something less homemade, check out Gala Darling’s ode to the filofax .

Lisa Jacobs has a 2014 Workbook and Creative Business Planner for sale here (it’s available in both printed and digital format).

How about you? Do you have any grand ambitions of being extra organised next year? I’d love to see the different ways you keep on top of everything 🙂

D x

Best in Book Blogging 2013

2023 - the best of book blogging

So this is the second instalment of the bookish survey I found on the Perpetual Page Turner (for the first part, click here).

New favourite book blog you discovered in 2013?

Hmmm… there are a few… I really love A Novel Idea (I participated in their event ‘Love Triangles 101‘ earlier in the year, which was a lot of fun) and Semi-Charmed Kind of Life (which hosts some really great reading challenges).

Favourite review that you wrote in 2013?

I don’t really have reasons why, but I think my favourite was Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende. However, the ones that you guys seemed to enjoy the most were The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke and The Sculptor by Gregory Funaro.

Best discussion you had on your blog?

I really enjoyed the Non Fic November discussions we all had, I think this one was my favourite. I also had a lot of fun debating the pro’s and con’s of love triangles with you.

Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

Ooooh that’s a tricky one… Armchair BEA was amazing… I just wish I’d have found out about it sooner, I ended up cramming it all in over a couple of days. I also really enjoyed the Mother’s Curse/Daughter’s Justice blog tour (partly because I got to rediscover my love for fantasy, partly because the author interaction was great).

Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2013?

I think maybe my best book blogging moment was pulling off Non Fic November… it was such a lot of work, and I was so unbelievably glad when it was over, but I definitely got a little buzz from pulling it off! The best moment from my ‘book life’ was reaching my reading goal on Goodreads… over the past few years my reading habits have slowed a lot, but this year I really managed to pick up pace again 🙂

Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

My most popular post of 2013 wasn’t even one that I wrote this year… and it definitely wasn’t one that I’m particularly fond of, but The Art of Benin is a popular with those studying the Arts Past and Present with the Open University. The next two most popular were two of my arty posts, the ‘myth and magic’ note card tutorial I published a while ago, and how doodling helps me to de-stress.

Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Is that a trick question? All of them!

Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I discovered a couple of really fun book memes this year, particularly Top Ten Tuesday and Book Chat – they’ve led to me making some great book blogging friends, and helped me to find some fab new blogs to add to my daily reading list! I also discovered NetGalley this year, which has been a really good way to discover new authors, even it has added a lot of ‘review pressure’.

Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Well as I mentioned before, I managed to complete my goal of reading 50 books this year. I also stuck to one of my New Year’s Resolutions by hosting my own reading challenge (that I will be continuing with next year).

All in all, I’m glad with the way my blog has developed over the past 12 months, even if it is getting progressively less ‘bookish’ and leaning more towards the creative side of things… I’ve really enjoyed redesigning the layout of my blog, and learning so much more about how to generate great content and work on the visuals… I’ve even become brave enough to share Doing it the Open Way with everybody I know (which was a HUGE step for me). How about you? I’d love to hear what you’ve enjoyed doing to your blog this year. Do you have a favourite post you’d like to share?

D x