2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 68,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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January: Drama. Blues. Booze.

I thought it would be a good idea to summarise my months throughout 2012. It is set to be a cracker of a year (a great year, to all my non-English readers, or should I say readers from outside of northern England).

January started most dramatically. Bas, my husband-to-be (I love saying that), and I travelled back to The Netherlands after enjoying Christmas in the UK. The drive from England to the Channel Tunnel was horrendous. When I say horrendous I mean utterly vile. Scary. At-my-wits-end-scary. I thought my life would end at some point on that journey. The rain was torrential and never-ending. Once through the Channel Tunnel (and after a welcome 30-minute break on the train), we continued our hell-raising journey into France where the bloody rain continued. How could so much water fall from the sky? Belgium proved to be no better – The rain poured from the sky and our car barely managed to stay on the road. Driving through a swimming pool is never recommended and as the car shook, swerved and vibrated its way along, the thought went through my head on more than one occasion that skis may have been a better option than wheels. I lived to tell the tale though, so all’s well that ends well.

It was so much worse than this...

January also brings with it the worst time of year, the post-Christmas-blues. Apartments and houses look so bland and bare without the joyful Christmas decorations. Is it just me, or am I the only one who never ceases to be shocked at how bare a home can look without the decorations hanging? It never seems that bare in November…

I was back at work, greeted by a class full of happy little three-year olds all eager to see their friends again – and their teacher, of course. One little boy saw me on the first morning back and said my name with such enthusiasm. It was as though he’d not seen me for months, years – or as though he thought he may never have seen me again…. Bless.

In order to brighten the mood, we had friends over for a games evening. I love games. Bas does not. Therefore, we played games. And Bas loved them. I won’t hear a word against them. That is the basis of our relationship. I am right. 🙂 We played some great games – word games where one team had to name 10 things related to a category. The highlight of the night being when my team was asked to name 10 deserts… We looked puzzled and skipped the category. I don’t know deserts other than Gobi, Sahara… I’m struggling. We asked to hear the answers – clearly out of interest. Answer #1: Pavlova. I have to hold my hand up and admit that after a few glasses of wine I sat and pondered where this Pavlova desert may be. Possible Eastern Europe…? The penny did not take long to drop. DESSERTS! My wonderful other-half avoided reading the next answer – trifle. We would have been laughing into the early hours. I love games.

A fab game. You must play it.

Throughout the rest of January, we visited family in The Netherlands, caught up with friends, helped our wonderful friend-and-bride-to-be choose her wedding dress. Yay! We had a decorator in to plaster the kitchen (our kitchen shall be finished this year – finally); we watched Carnage and The Iron Lady (Streep must win Best Actress at the Oscars) at the cinema; and we had meals out. Good fun all round.

Oh, but then there was the party Sunday. The Sunday we shall not forget. It started with a neighbourhood borrel (drinks and nibbles) at the pub along the street from our apartment. All our Dutch neighbours were there – although we didn’t recognise a soul. Normally I know one or two – but the absence of everyone from our actual street made the stress-levels rise. I was using all my Dutch skills. Speak Dutch and survive. I survived – almost. We were labelled on entry with a post-it note from the very official looking ‘organiser’, power-dressed in red. After spelling my name repeatedly (in Dutch), I changed from Jamey to Jami to Jame where I finally gave in. I’d be Jame for the evening – for the quiet life. Jamie isn’t difficult to spell. What panicked me next was seeing the organisers hand out coloured flower stickers. There was a game to be played. Panic stations. I know, I know – I like games. But not in Dutch and not when I know that my Dutch partner is clearly not going to be in my team. We ended up separated. I must not panic. I must keep calm. Drink. Hours later, and after meeting some lovely neighbours we made our way, on bikes, to another party. You can see where this is going. We drank. We chatted. We drank and had a fantastic evening – until home time. That was when the wall of reality hit. Cycling home was an experience. 🙂

Oh – and January officially became my busiest month for hits on WordPress. Thanks guys!

What a month. January – you have been memorable.

Bring it on February!

My List for 2011: And how it went…

2011 promised to be a year of exciting events. I made this list at the end of 2010 and worked my way through them as times marched on. I wanted to save the memory so have cut it from my headings and popped it into a post.

New things need to arrive on my blog.

Total achieved for 2011: 14/35 (43%).

  1. Propose to my boyfriend. OK, this wasn’t on my blog list before I did it. It was in the list inside my head (but I couldn’t add it here until I’d done it – secrets and all). #1 on best things I have ever done.
  2. Visit Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. April ’11 – Fantastic times. Kuala Lumpur was a great city. The Patronas Towers – wow! Singapore is outstanding. I could live there! On top of those two destinations, we also made it to Bali for 5 days. A great holiday. Read my post about Malasia here and my post about Bali here.
  3. Travel to at least one European country that I have not been to before. Visited Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic in March. Great city! My first visit to the Česká republika was amazing. You can see what I discovered here.
  4. Read all of the Harry Potter books again. 29/8/11: I have read 4/7 books. Loving it. Read about them in My 2011 Books tab.
  5. Invent something.
  6. Pay off one credit card. Done. Yippeee! July 6th and the deed is done. This feels great!
  7. Learn a new skill. I should have said ‘start learning a new skill’. I’m learning how to play tennis and how to serve. I doubt Wimbledon 2012 is on the cards, but I’m surprisingly not as bad as I thought I would be.
  8. Visit at least three museums in The Netherlands (I must be more cultured in this country while I live here). Suggested places via WordPress so far have been…. De Pont in Tilburg & Waternoodmuseum in Zeeland. Museum #1 in February ’11: Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam) – Went to see the ‘Dutch Masters’ exhibition. ‘Nice’ was the word of the day. I liked the works but I was not blown away. My favourite painting was one of Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands by Andy Warhol.
  9. Go to the Eurovision Song Contest in Düsseldorf. It was an amazing experience. A spectacular production in Germany. The atmosphere inside the Arena with 35,000 people watching it LIVE will stay with me. What a party! The best Eurovision Final that I have seen LIVE. Congratulations to the winners, Azerbaijan.
  10. Make the most of my blog. I really feel that my blog is established now. I have great WP buddies. I am reaching a worldside audience and now I am understanding what my preffered style of writing is. I do need to make more effect with reading other blogs. There is so much out there to read. Great stuff. My target for hits this year is gonna be double, at least. I’m stunned. So very pleased.
  11. See my family in England more.
  12. Try harder to speak more Dutch. Working with Dutch children during a two-week summer school. The Dutch is just flowing. I’m certainly more chatty with the Dutch in-laws. 🙂 I can say I’m trying VERY hard now.
  13. Go to a least one tennis tournament.
  14. Start tennis lessons. I’ve started practising…. Lessons should begin in September (but they didn’t)… oh oh oh.
  15. Have a huge house party and invite loads of my brilliant friends (this happened in January 2012) – better late than never.
  16. Send a message in a bottle. Hmmm, I emptied a few bottles in 2011 but never managed to stay sober enough to fill one with a letter.
  17. Send a message tied to an inflated balloon.
  18. Post the replies (if any) on my blog.
  19. Make a complete and utter fool of myself. Oh what to choose…? Fool #1 To end my two-week job at the Summer School, I danced and sang in front of a room of non-English speaking parents. The songs – simple. Lots of repetition and lyrics that I won’t repeat. Did I look a fool? Hell, yeah! Fool #2 was on my camping holiday in France. I can’t dive. I tried, but I can’t. Luckily only Bas (my beloved) saw me springing from the pedalo. Thankfully. I dare not upload the photos to Facebook or WordPress. The shame would be too much. Not a classic diver’s pose.
  20. Attend a carnival.
  21. Kiss the love of my life on the top of a world landmark. Two kisses and two landmarks. Lucky me. 🙂 1st landmark: The Singapore Flyer. 2nd landmark: on the roof bar of Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Yay!!
  22. Fart in a crowded place. Done. Silent but satisfying. This is a public blog, so no details necessary… But I hope the crowd at the Take That concert are all recovering well… 😉
  23. Research 10 more people to add to my family tree. I am shocked to have achieved this by 11th January 2011. The wonders of searching on Facebook for names and surnames that you know. The links are endless.
  24. Get back into my art. Complete a picture that I am proud of.
  25. Visit someone that I haven’t seen for over 5 years.
  26. Finish redecorating the kitchen. We’ve been in this apartment for 3 years now. It is time to finish those jobs. (This has been started).
  27. Dance in the rain. (Thanks to Melanie on WordPress).
  28. Read a book that is considered a ‘classic’.
  29. Enjoy a weekend away with Bas (and stay somewhere unusual).
  30. Write a letter to Santa.
  31. Sing karaoke. (Thanks Jim Chaney, I borrowed this one from your list).
  32. Reach 10,000 visitors to my blog, One Life – before December 31st 2011. Wow, wow, wow…. I don’t know how it happened but I’ve reached my target. It’s 18th May 2011 and today I passed the 10,000 visitors total. Thank you visitors for stopping by and reading my blog.
  33. Write a poem. I wrote some drunken limericks way back in Spring. I must type them and load them onto WP. Coming soon…
  34. Start doing some exercise (sit-ups will be a good start). (Thanks to Tilly Bud – for having a similar challenge on her blog). I am trying – I now have the ab machine, but still don’t have that wash-board stomach that I wished for…
  35. Try 3 new recipes (I’ll let you know how I get on with them). Receipe #1: Biscuits – I made these with the children I was working with on Summer School (a two week course for children to learn English). I’ll have to blog about it. Watch this space.

Peering into Terri’s Little Corner

One thing that I have noticed in my first year of blogging on WordPress…

 Some bloggers come and go. Others stay around and make an impact on the way you look at things.

This post is all about someone who I have never met.

Yet.

(Possibly some day).

Terri, from Terri’s Little Corner is the main feature of my blog, today. Yes, that’s right – she’s the lipstick lesbian, pin-up girl WordPress wonderess, right now… In a literary way… Big her up – Big her up!

Terri - giving the look to all you lucky readers.

I wanted to shout from the rooftops blog about Terri for a few reasons – and here they are:

  • Terri was my first blog friend
  • She paid me to write nice things about her Just kiddin’
  • She is simply terrific
  • She is possibly one of the nicest American’s that I have ever known (I mean it in the nicest of ways)
  • Tantalising Terri has supported me more than anyone (online and offline included) – thanks Terri. You have ‘officially’ commented on and responded to more posts that anyone else.
  • Her blog ‘Terri’s Little Corner’ is a corner of delight, sarcasm, hilarity and unexpected entertainment – It’s on my blogroll, so take a look and bookmark it.

Terri and I are quite similar in many ways… I’m scratching my head and thinking of how…

  • Both gorgeous – clearly you didn’t that pointing out…
  • We both love WordPress  – what’s not to love.
  • I think I can safely say that we both spend too much time on WordPress
  • We both have a love of writing – and that’s what I really enjoy. Terri recently started writing fiction for NaNoWriMo. Sounds like a mouthful, I know – but it’s short for National Novel Writing Month.

On Terri’s blog, you can read about her novel-writing. It started with her saying this at the beginning of November –

“Basically, I have 30 days to write a 50,000 word novel.  I pulled my calculator out and did some complex math computations.  Let’s see, 50,000 words divided by 30 days.  OMG, that is 1666 words per day, IF I write every single day”.

So, I wonder how she’ll get on. It got me thinking.

I used to LOVE writing stories. When I was 9, 10, 11 years old I was always scribbling away – writing stories, poems and anything else that I could think of. I wrote a couple of novels – I use that term very loosely.

I called my first book ‘The Bag Basher’ – I cringe just thinking about it. I found it the other day in one of my many ‘hoarding boxes’… I have decided to share it with you all on my blog.

Watch out! The Bag Basher is coming to ‘One Life’ soon (you’ll love it)…

In the meantime, get yourselves into Terri’s Little Corner!

Over and out.

My ‘One Life’ Blog Reaches 20,000 hits!

How fantastic that this milestone also coincides with my 150th posting on One Life. I am utterly stunned that so many readers have read, and continue to read my scribblings on WordPress. I have calmed down somewhat from ‘eager poster’ to the more chilled ‘reflective blogger’.

I’ve spent lots of my time scouring through the wonderful words from others online. There is so much great content out there that it’s almost impossible to pick something to share.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has been reading. I’m not going away! I’m here to stay – I’m have too much to say. I only expected to reach 10,000 by the end of 2011, so this is such a wonderful shock.

I couldn't resist the snapshot.

I’ll finish with a question. Feel free to take part in answering with a comment (if you wish).

Which three words would describe my blog best?

Keep it friendly. It may to spark a new post for the near future. xx

🙂

I have the answer to everything. Well, sort of…

I’m so glad that I asked for some questions on my blog last week. I’ve had some great responses. I widened my question-search a little wider with the use of Facebook and Twitter. Thanks to all those who helped. Your questions and responses are below. Don’t expect anything profound. It’s light hearted reading. Here goes…

This was me. Deep in thought. 🙂

Kiwidutch was first to respond with the ice-breaker question:

If you had total freedom of opportunity to really follow one of your passions and leave a lasting legacy behind you that benefited the city/country/world, what would you do and what would your legacy be?

Okay – I need to draw a deep breath before answering this one. Talk about starting with a toughie! If I had total freedom of opportunity to follow a passion it would involve children. I’ve always wanted to work with children, so that part is already coming true. I’d like to be involved in developing schools (I used to think that I could only do this in the UK, but since working overseas I realise it can be done anywhere). With enough money and support I’d like to develop education and opportunities for children all over the world. The Jamie Foundation: providing hope for the future….. I’d hope that the children would be the lasting legacy.

Image from Wikipedia

Ashley with her cheeky 2-in-1 questions:

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be? Why? Oops…… Looks like there’s 2 questions here. Don’t mind the why then. It could be anything, of yourself or the world history.

Cheeky Ashley indeed sneaking in two questions. Time travel: A dangerous tool to have, but one I would love. On a personal level it’s tricky to choose. All the things that have happened in my life, both positive and negative have helped to make me the person I am today. I would possibly choose that my grandparents had not died when I was a baby. I never knew them and I would have loved to know them.  In world history: I would choose that Adolf Hitler had never been born.

Picture from Google.

Terri (pushing it with three questions, but because it’s Terri I’ll allow it….)

My questions for you:
1. When are you coming to Vegas? Would love to meet you!
2. Do you have any pets?
3. If you have dinner with one famous person, who would it be?

Ah Terri, three questions (naughty).  So, Q1 includes an invite to Las Vegas? Wow, you never asked me….. Haha. I would love to come over to USA and see more of the sights. Would love to meet my first blog friend too.
Q2 Pets: I do indeed. I, well I should say we….have two cats. Fudge and Cooper. They are adorable. I miss Eddie terribly, he was Fudge’s brother but was knocked down by a car outside our house when he was 18 months old.
Q3 Dinner: I would throw all sensible invites out of the window and invite……Alex Pettyfer. Of course it would be for the high-brow conversation…..

"Hello Mister Dinner Date!"

Sarsm (my happy WordPress friend):

My question is: If you could visit 5 countries in the remainder of your lifetime – which countries would you choose and why? (can be somewhere you’ve been or somewhere new)

The travel question (yay!).I’ll choose 5 countries that I have never visited.
Japan: I have always wanted to go there. I’d love to discover more about the country as I really don’t know that much about it. I had friends who lived there, but never managed to go.
China: The future super power of the world. China has so many wonderful things to see. How could it not be on my list?
Brazil: I want to visit Rio de Janeiro. Oh to stand at the foot of the Jesus Christ statue and look out at the coastline. Immense!
South Africa: I’d choose any African country to visit (having not been there). I want to travel through Africa by train, do the safari and experience something entirely new.
…..and the last one……. This isn’t easy…..
Australia: I want to see the Great Barrier Reef. That means diving, which I’ve also never done. But I would find it so exciting and invigorating.

Who doesn't want to go here?

Helen C (Work colleague and Twitter friend).

If you were to make your favourite three course meal, what would the courses be?

Food question – Yum!
Starter: An set of amuses to begin with. 3 shot size glasses each with different tiny soups. I always love that for starters.
Main Course: Duck. It’s my favourite meal. Not the crispy duck, although I adore that. It would be roast duck with a fruit sauce. Carrots (mashed with orange and brown sugar) and potato gratin.
Dessert: Warm chocolate and fudge cake, drizzled with extra hot chocolate sauce.

Okay, now my mouth is watering.

Lekker!

Chris S (Fellow Actor, world traveller and blogger).

How do I make my blog as good as yours?

8 months of practise and watching ‘what’ people are reading. The blog I set out to create has continued to evolve since Day 1. People don’t always read the blog posts that have taken the most time and effort. It’s all about keeping with the readers I suppose. ‘Know your audience’.

WordPress - the place to be.

Liz J(Work colleague, friend and IT whizz).

How do you see the handheld device in five years?

Seamless technology that has replaced PCs, mobiles and other technology. Used in schools, homes and in the wider community. Will it work by finger? Will the mind be controlling it by then? Will they indeed be ‘handheld’ at all?

Using handheld devices.

Louise G: (Work friend and glamous puss).

If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why? X

Living: see above answer. Dead: Diana (just because).

Diana, Princess of Wales.

Liz J: Back for more…..

If you could invent something really handy what would it be for?

I would invent a fool-proof system for ensuring the fairest possible outcome in the Eurovision Song Contest.  That would be really handy eh?

Ah, yes ESC. Who could forget it?

I hope you enjoyed reading the questions. Did I get all the answers you wanted? Feel free to share or to ask me more questions in the comments section below.

I’ll Answer Your Questions….. I think.

So far my blog has been about my experiences, my observations and other general bits and pieces. I was scanning through WordPress this evening, reading other people’s blogs when the idea came to me….. Why not ask the readers to participate?

Here I am. Asking you to take part. Simples!!!

All you have to do is comment below and ask me a question. Any thing you like. My next post will answer ALL of the questions (to the absolute best of my ability). I just hope I get some responses. It’ll be a rather dull ‘next post’ otherwise.

I leave the questioning to you. An open bag! How exciting. Who’s knows what you will ask, want to ask or will dare to ask.

Time starts now!