Well, here it is – my little blog’s first birthday!

I was sat at the same table, and probably on the same chair, possibly even at the same time of day, exactly a year ago when I settled on a name and wrote my first blog post. At that point, I had not yet sat my NSCA-CPT exam, not been on my first aid course, let alone taken my Swedish massage course. I was still training exclusively in no-gi grappling and hadn’t ventured into Brazilian jiu jitsu, and I certainly hadn’t competed. I hadn’t written for Sativa Shakes or Vitality TV, I hadn’t been interviewed by Viva la Vegan! for their series on Vegan Athletes and Sports Enthusiasts. I wasn’t involved in the UK Vegan Food Swap either.

Turns out quite a lot can happen in a year!

I hadn’t even thought to look at my most popular posts – everything I write, I write because I want to write, and not to get more views on my blog. I chase achievement in so many other areas of my life that it is nice to have something that I do just for the sheer enjoyment of it. However, for interests’ sake, I thought I would have a quite look at my all-time most popular posts, and am actually quite surprised by what I found:

  1. My most popular post is one that I found to be one of my weakest: Eat smart, train hard; train smart, eat hard. It was loosely intended to address the trend of intermittent fasting, but turned into one of my well-informed but poorly referenced rants. I know a lot of people ended up there by searching for information on vegan intermittent fasting, and I don’t think that would have been the best resource for them to find. If you are one of those, I apologise. Ever since I posted that, I have meant to write a proper post on intermittent fasting. That day will come, I promise.
  2. Close on its tail, number two was another post I cringe at having to link to: Heads up was an ode to Builder’s Bars and discounted bulk buys – with a borrowed photo and a bunch of silly colloquialisms, I really wonder what people must have thought when they landed on that page. (For what it’s worth, I still love Builder’s Bars but despite giving a handful away, I still have almost 20 left to eat.)
  3. Unsurprisingly, my third most popular post was The Great British Budget Flop (or, The Great British Flop Menu). I unashamedly will admit that the reason this post is so high in view counts is because in it I linked to the blog of Ms Jack Monroe, a.k.a. A Girl Called Jack, and got a ridiculous amount of views from the pingback. Nevertheless, it got a few positive comments including one from a key participant in the TV show, which made me glow with pride and excitement. It’s the little things.

Those three come in heads and shoulders above the rest of my posts, but behind my pages on Protein and Recovery Shakes and Dark Chocolate, which I think is fairly representative of what this blog is about. In between those is my About page, so it all ties in nicely.

So that was this year. As with all projects close to one’s heart, the deeper I have gotten into this blog the more I have cared about it, and the better I get the more I see I need to learn and develop. If anything has become clear on this blog is that I love lists, so I thought I would put together a little vegan bucket list:

  • Make my own vegan cheese
  • Visit Cookies And Scream
  • Make my own seitan and/or vegan sausages
  • Try jackfruit and use it to make BBQ “pulled pork” style recipes
  • Try/test Village Pizza
  • Make my own “sundried”/slow-roasted tomatoes
  • Eat at Itadaki Zen
  • Attend a London Vegan Potluck
  • Eat at Saf
  • Find a way to use the millet flour I was given
  • Make a successful recipe using coconut flour
  • One day I want to make my own soy (or other) yoghurt
  • Extend my range of vegan, ethical shoes
  • Make a vegan omelette
  • Make vegan crêpes
  • Make cinnamon rolls
  • Try one of those 1-min microwave chocolate cake recipes

That’s just off the top of my head, but obviously there are heaps more, and especially plenty of specific recipes I have seen on other blogs that I would love to try, but those are the ones that keep coming up over and over.

Less formally, I also want to have friends around more often to cook for, and make “whole” meals complete with sides and condiments and breads. I want to experiment more with healthy wholefood recipes and raw dishes. And obviously, I want to keep extending my repertoire of tried-and-tested vegan protein powders, fat burners, electrolytes, snack bars, and other supplements, as well as chocolate.

Sport and fitness goals are a bit more straightforward: I want to win a gold medal in BJJ by the end of the year, I would love to progress to a blue belt grade by this time next year if possible, and I could do with losing maybe just half a kilo or so but that’s not really something I would focus on. Along the way, obviously, I hope for new PBs but my sessions aren’t really set up for PB-chasing these days – and besides, these aren’t New Year’s Resolutions (which I never make, anyway).

So there we go. Goodbye year one, hello year two.

As for you, my dear and faithful readers, I hope you will stay with me – please tell me what you have enjoyed the most and what you would like to see from this blog. Thank you for sticking around until now!