Celebrating 100 Blog Posts
With this post, my blog has reached the big milestone of 100 blog posts. Join me as I take a look at my ten favourite posts from my first hundred posts. These aren’t in any particular order because I found it too hard to choose my favourites.
My first two posts on this blog were the big reason I started this blog. I have wanted an excuse to start a blog, but could never decide what to write about. One day I just decided to write about anything and everything. My very first post was a cup cake recipe. I’ve done a bunch of recipes since, but none of them were as cool as this one. I had already been experimenting with the recipe, and when I made them for a friend’s birthday I was really happy with the result. I needed a permanent record of all the ingredients and proportions so a blog post seemed perfect. The basic muffin is fairly easy to make, and combines the flavours of coconut, chocolate and banana. The frosting is harder to make as it will melt if it gets too hot. The results however are totally worth it. I haven’t made these in a while, but when I do make cupcakes this is my definitive recipe.
This was the other post that inspired me to start this blog. I wrote this poem when I was living in Italy, but I drew upon my memories of living in China. I really liked this poem and had nowhere to share it, so I decided a blog was as good a place as anywhere. I was expecting that I would publish more poetry on my blog, but apart from some Pokémon haiku, I haven’t had much poetic inspiration. Despite that I’m still very proud of this poem and the story it tells. I was trying to convey a real sense of limbo, and I hope this comes across. Interestingly when I started writing, this poem was set in Italy which is why it starts with an espresso and cigarette breakfast.
This was the first of many Magic set reviews but also the most important. Guilds of Ravnica is probably in my top ten favourite sets of all time, and looking through all the cards as they were spoiled, there were so many little things I wanted to talk about. I found the set so charming and full of cool designs. My enthusiasm for the set spilled over into writing a set review. I feel this review in particular really opening my eyes to critically thinking about game design in general. There are other great sets that I’ve written about, but Guilds has a special place in my heart for inspiring me to dig into the details of a card set and explore what makes it tick.
These set reviews were a mammoth undertaking, and were a real labour of love. It was getting harder and harder to write them as well. I feel new sets these days have less interesting and novel things going on that are worthy of being included on my lists. I’m putting this series on hiatus but it will be back the next time I fall in love with a set.
The newest series on my blog is the Art Diary series. It runs in parallel with my instagram page, where I post my art. The blog series gives me the opportunity to write more about my art and the work that goes into making it. I had a lot to write about for the first few months, but going forward I think I will write this every two months instead. I have a lot of plans for my art beyond Instagram, so this blog series will be even more useful in the future. I will also continue picking out my favourite pieces of art so this is a good way to check out the best of my portfolio.
I mentioned earlier that reviewing Magic sets opened my eyes to critiquing game design in general. This top ten list is a great example. I spent a lot of time thinking about each set and how well the expansions played, and how much they add to a game of Carcassonne. I try not to write too many top ten lists but I do love writing them and they raise a lot of interesting questions and dilemmas. As I started to understand what makes a good expansion, I started to be surprised by some of my inclusions on this list. This journey of discovery made this top ten list really interesting to write.
I love writing about cover songs and I had a hard time picking just one as a favourite. This one is a worthy choice because every song is a banger. I’ve been listening to a lot of Skåld and Skameleon recently and I also included Sonic Boom Six who are my favourite band of all time. From Ska to surf-rock, or singing in old Norse to synthwave this post has a real mix of genres and styles. I’m also fascinated by strange and unusual instruments so one of these covers is played on an array floppy disk drives. I hope this post is a good example of the all the different things I try to showcase and write about when I get the itch to write about music.
Travelling is one of my favourite things in the world, so it makes sense I love to write about it too. I have only written a handful of travel guides however as I like to pick places where I have explored everything on my list, and I’m confident my list is pretty comprehensive. For example I would love to write about China but the country is so huge I have only seen a fraction of what China has to offer. Writing about somewhere much smaller like Iona lets you cover all the big attractions whilst also digging into more obscure reasons to visit. The three months I spent on Iona was a really important time to me, so it’s great that I can go back and look at reviews like this to bring back those special memories.
Another travel top ten I loved writing was my top ten guide for Italy. It was a nice way to conclude my time in Italy and look back on two great years in Italy. I also found some fantastic pictures to use in this review.
It’s been a few years since I left teaching behind me, but when I was a teacher I designing and running classroom games was one of my greatest strengths. I developed a diverse repertoire of activities to support the lesson objectives and keep students motivated. This particular post was the last in the series so I included all my favourite activities that I had been saving up for future posts. I tried to mix up the type of games I wrote about, so there are some tried and tested classics but I also included games that I created myself. I’m proud of this blog series as a record of the very best games I tried and tested over the years. The best thing about knowing a bunch of games like this is that you can often adapt them for different age groups, class sizes and different topics or student needs. It also makes it easier to improvise in the classroom.
I’ve been learning Chinese on and off for the last seven years. It can be a really difficult language to learn but also just as rewarding. The characters themselves are one of my favourite things about the language and this post is a good explanation of why they are so fascinating. I’m also proud of the graphics I put together to illustrate the article. A lot of the articles I write are mostly for my benefit alone, but this one is very educational and a recommended read for anyone with an interest in languages.
I love asking people where they dream about travelling. It’s a fun way to get to know people and you can learn about some fascinating places you might also want to visit. On the flip side, I struggle to answer the question myself. So during the first Covid lockdown when travelling became impossible, I decided to work out my top ten bucket list of places to see. This was really hard to write because I could easily put a hundred different places on the list. I think this is a very interesting read and it was also very useful for myself to figure out what my actual bucket list would include. Hopefully the next time some-one asks me this question, I’ll be better placed to answer it.