The Year That Was: 2011

The year that was

Do you often wish you could get more done? Or feel that time is being wasted?

I can never decide if I’m an under-achiever or an over-achiever which probably means I’m stuck in the middle somewhere.

But here’s what I actually did in 2011 as opposed to what I wrote.

1. Set up my new blog Successful Blogging.

2. Joined Toastmasters to practice and overcome my fear of public speaking. I spoke at workshops, business groups and conferences including the prestigious Walkleys Media Conference and to over 200 people at the Sunshine Coast Creative Collective.

3. Broke my toe. I really wish I’d broken it falling off a bar while dancing but sadly I just stubbed it on the sofa exceedingly hard. Ouch. I was limping for weeks.

4. Went to England to revisit my family, see Stonehenge and feast my eyes on the beautiful spring flowers including the purple wisteria vines that clung to so many old buildings.

5. Got paid to have a massage. By my local tourism board Sunshine Coast Destination Limited which was a lovely job.

6. Learnt how to make a podcast with much needed help from the Podcast Guy.

7. Ate black squid ink risotto for the first time and loved it.

8. Wrote my first sponsored blog post for InsureandGo.

9. Spotted a wild koala walking along the ground which was exciting. Normally they’re up a gum tree not doing much but this fine specimen was lolloping along the ground.

10. Moved house – only about 200 meters to the next road but it was still extremely time-consuming and rather painful. We’re here now though and we have a much bigger house with five bedrooms, an office for the Mucho Man and two spare rooms!

11. Hung out in Melbourne and stayed in a luxury hotel before, during and after a blogging conference.

12. Became the mother of a teenager. Not a teenaged mum. My oldest son turned 13.

13. Cried because all my children got such good school reports.

14. Splashed out on a pair of J Brand skinny jeans. I’m not much of a fashionista but I had to have a pair of these in cobalt blue. Love them.

15. Improved my writing and focus by practicing them daily. Still lots of room for improvement but I’m working on it.

16. Picked up hitchhikers at night even though I know I shouldn’t and I’m never going to do it again.

17. Slept under canvas on our camping holiday.

18. Drank 1,780 cups of chai. That’s a rough estimate but it’s probably about right. Call it five cups a day. I rarely drink water. Just decaffeinated chai. I’m a bit of a hippy like that.

19. Experimented with writing techniques, styles and tones.

20. Played cards with my kids and poker with my friends.

21. Transformed myself into a giant blue jelly fish on halloween.

22. Read a lot of fiction, personal development, ebooks and of course blog posts.

23. Took my son busking. He plays the guitar. You have to get a busking  license and if it’s for a child a parent has to supervise. I try to hide behind a tree.

24. Felt mortal and sad as more friends battled cancer or were diagnosed with it for the first time.

25. Forgave myself for being imperfect and impatient.

How about you? What did you eat, do, experience or learn in 2011? Leave a one word answer in the comments or write a whole blog post about it. I’ll be reading.

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  1. Aussie in France January 7, 2012 at 1:08 am - Reply

    I really enjoyed that. I wrote a similar sort of post but I like the way you did it as a list.

  2. barbara January 7, 2012 at 1:24 am - Reply

    Your broken toe made me laugh! I had a similar experience once… I fell asleep on the sofa and when I got up I didn’t realize my foot was numb (it had also fallen asleep) and broke my toe when I stood up. Not nearly as exciting a story as falling off a bar while dancing!

    A local restaurant here has lobster ravioli with a squid ink sauce that is delicious. The first time I had it I almost had a stroke the next morning when I went to the bathroom… thought I had some dread disease but it was just the ink coming through!

    Many of the things on your list have inspired me to push the limits this year. Always an inspiration Annabel!

  3. Sue January 7, 2012 at 1:59 am - Reply

    Hi Annabel,
    It sounds as though you had quite a busy year! Sorry to hear about the toe. Ouch!

    Nearly 1800 cups of chai?! And I thought I was a chai addict! :-) Do you make your chai using a teabag with the spices in it, or do you make it from scratch (i.e., chop up fresh ginger root and boil it with whole spices and the water in a saucepan, add tea and powdered spices, milk and sugar)?

    I haven’t been for anywhere nearly enough massages over the last couple of years. One of my friends was concerned that I wasn’t making some aspects of the self-care a high enough priority, so she gave me a coupon for my birthday to go and get a relaxation massage. I shall be taking advantage of that coupon probably by the end of this month.

    All the best for a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012.

    • Annabel Candy January 13, 2012 at 8:20 am - Reply

      Hi Sue,

      I’m sorry to say I just use some Healtheries caffeine free tea bags! I should get into making it myself. I loved the real frothy version in India:)

      Mmmm, enjoy your massage!

  4. Amy Parmenter January 7, 2012 at 2:07 am - Reply

    I wish I wrote this post!! I love the idea of focusing on what you DID do or DID accomplish, rather than how or where you fell short. But I’m so sorry about your toe!!! Ouch.

    I, too, became more forgiving of myself.

    I led a ‘track’ and BlogWorld Expo in New York and continued to expand my ‘social media circles’.

    Missed Annabel Candy!

    I went to bed every night grateful that a woman who stole from my dying brother was still in jail.

    I did some reporting work I’m really proud of and which, rumor has it, will be nominated for an Emmy.

    I found another woman’s underwear in my bedroom.

    And I let me husband buy me a really expensive pair of shoes (NOT related to the underwear story!) and just appreciated his kindness rather than feeling guilty about the expense and suggesting we return them because I don’t ‘need’ them. Strange as it sounds, receiving has never been easier for me.

    Went to Puerto Rico and did nothing but relax.

    Thanks for the walk down memory lane!!!


    • Annabel Candy January 13, 2012 at 8:23 am - Reply

      Hi Amy,

      Oh, so impressed to hear about your BlogWorld work. I wish I’d been there.

      Blimey, what’s the story with those undies?!

      Congrats on that reporting. I hope the Emmy comes your way, that would be an incredible achievement and Puerto Rico sounds right up my alley:)

      Miss you too and hope we get to meet again this year!

  5. Sally Foley-Lewis January 7, 2012 at 2:30 am - Reply

    25 reasons why I follow you and read your posts!

    This post sure does give one pause for thought … I too have done quite a bit in the last 12 months! *Snaps for Annabel & Sally* :)

    • Annabel Candy January 13, 2012 at 8:25 am - Reply

      Hi Sally:) Thank you! Here’s to another busy and productive year ahead. With lots of fun too!

  6. Sonia Marsh/Gutsy Living January 7, 2012 at 3:03 am - Reply

    Annabel, thankfully I’m sitting down while reading all the stuff you’ve done. I suppose I could write a list, but that sounds like another writing project, and I have a major one to finish so my line editor can get started and I can finally publish my travel memoir in 2012.
    To go along with your toe story, my wedding ring finger got twisted by some stupid boxer that ran across the street and tried to attack my dog. Hence, my rings no longer fit. I’ve always been proud of my skinny fingers and now I finally paid $126 to get both rings expanded, as I didn’t want to look divorced any longer. Funny thing is my husband’s finger must have expanded at the same time as mine, and so he had to get his ring re-sized too.

    • Annabel Candy January 13, 2012 at 8:24 am - Reply

      Hi Sonia,

      That’s a strange story. Poor you. I guess your fingers are still skinny though, just a bit twisted. Ouch.

      Looking forward to reading that memoir and so glad you’re focusing on that:)

  7. JoAnna January 7, 2012 at 7:08 am - Reply

    I love this look back on your year. I keep an active list of new things I do every year too. It’s called the 100 Challenge, and the goal is just to seek out new experiences, whether they are exciting or mundane. My favorite thing on your list is that you took your son to go busking ~ that is a sign of a very cool mom!

    • Annabel Candy January 13, 2012 at 8:26 am - Reply

      Hi JoAnna,

      Oh that sounds like a great idea. I didn’t feel cool taking him but hey, you got to do these things:)

  8. Dave Doolin January 7, 2012 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    I taught myself a new programming language and a new web application framework, and built a web application, and started another web application.

    That kept me pretty busy.

    This year I’m bringing the so-sadly neglected Website In A Weekend back up to speed. That’s going to keep me pretty busy as well.

    • Annabel Candy January 14, 2012 at 3:11 pm - Reply

      Hi Dave, glad to see you’re keeping yourself out of trouble:)

  9. Seana Smith January 8, 2012 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    That’s a lot of chai!! I’m inspired, wonder if my son would like to go busking with his bagpipes!

    I’d love to see your plans for 2012, Annabel. Look forward to seeing them unfold.

    One of mine is to start a simple, personal family food blog, not anything professional, just for fun. All part of my aim to be a Buddhist foodie when I grow up!

    • Annabel Candy January 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm - Reply

      Hi Seana,

      Lol, bagpipe busking. Yes! Mmmm, I will be joining you on that Buddhist foodie blog it sounds good. I’m sure my plans will be unfolding here. Mostly I plan to enjoy the year. I hope we all do:)

  10. Nikki January 9, 2012 at 6:09 am - Reply

    I have been so busy looking forward that I forgot to look back and celebrate. What a great reminder. I had a wonderful year but the best thing was that I finished my book and got it out for sale.
    It is time I sat down and made a list like yours. I love it.

  11. Penelope J. January 10, 2012 at 4:57 am - Reply


    Yes, I wish I could get more done – all the time. I salute you, getting all those things done plus having a husband and three kids. Thanks for sharing. When you mentioned the 1,780 cups of chai, it made me think about my approx. 1,825 mugs of decaf Typhoo. Like you, I don’t drink much water but recently, for health reasons, I’ve reluctantly started to down 3 and maybe 4 glasses and cut back one mug of tea. Also, being a fellow Toastmaster, I know how this can help give you the skills and confidence to become a good public speaker. As for your writing, keep at it. In the end, after your kids, it may be the most important thing you can do.

    As for 2011 achievements, they were few. I spent most of the year in the doldrums for reasons I won’t go into but came out of them at the end, overflowing with book projects (four) for 2012, not least of which is the imminent – by April May, I hope – publication of “Don’t Hang Up!” – finally, and an e-book, a historical, time travel romance set in medieval England, plus a memoir I’m ghostwriting, plus rewriting/editing my BIG BOOK for the 11th and I hope, last time. That said, I’m a lot older and unfortunately, slower and less able to multi-task than at your age, but one has to have expectations and goals – more because I have so much to achieve in so little time.

    Keep up with your fun, entertaining, interesting, and as they would say here, awesome blog posts. Congrats on having two. That’s a big deal.

    • Annabel Candy January 14, 2012 at 3:14 pm - Reply

      Hi Penelope, wow, you are doing a lot of writing. I want to do more writing too this year and streamline the other things like business and emails.

  12. vir January 11, 2012 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    Your drank 5 cups of chai everyday. I am from India and even I can’t get pass this number.

    • Annabel Candy January 14, 2012 at 3:14 pm - Reply

      Hi Vir, what can I say? I’m a chai-drinking champion:)

  13. teresa January 16, 2012 at 12:20 am - Reply

    My fav was the jellyfish…We should do more stuff like that in life…at least I should: Here’s my year summed up in 20
    1.) Found out I was very happily pregnant
    2.) Moved to Costa Rica with my lovely boyfriend
    3.) Went quad riding and other adventures
    4.) Started running a pizza business with my boyfriend
    5.)Bought a pet chick, solely for taking out on adventures with me ;)
    6.) My dog got attacked by american bulldogs and mauled to an inch of her life
    7.) A tree fell on my new car (brand new/no insurance!) Crushed! (Me and the car)
    8.) I found out my beloved boyfriend was sleeping around with the locals…
    9.) Was robbed…everything of any value taken, including laptop with photos when I went to my friends for support
    10.)Had heart broken
    11.)Moved to England
    12.) Was overwhelmed with love and support (also my ex came to England to support me in anyway I could accept)
    13.) My role-model/my friend/my grandad died :( (40 weeks pregnant)
    14.) Moved into a wonderful apartment
    15.) Had the nursery I always dreamed of with a little help from my friends
    16.) Had my son, Leandro (Lion-man/strength) the love of my life
    17.) Recovered from caesarean
    18.) Lost baby-weight (well almost) dyed hair (natural blonde haha) Incorporated healthy eating in my lifestyle
    19.) Started a small business in bath bombs etc..
    20.) Got my shit together!

    It’s been a funny year. The happiest and saddest of my life. But it has taught me to be happy! And if you are not…GET HAPPY! And then, when the shi*t hits the fan you would have enjoyed the stuff in-between and have the strength to deal with whatever is in your path more easily.

    I love life!

    This year I have written a list of things I am GOING to make happen! I hate to say it (and I wouldn’t wish this last year on anyone) but Strength seems to come from overcoming pain! Or at least trying to overcome it!

    Women are cool! Celebrate the strength of a woman!
    (Sorry Ani I seemed to have written a mini-blog here myself)

    • Annabel Candy April 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm - Reply

      Hi Teresa,

      Lol, blimey you have been busy:) What an incredible year for you and many congratulations on the birth of your baby and holding it all together through all of that! I am celebrating your strength and drawing on it:)

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