The celebration of the New Year is one of my favourites. Not the lifting of a glass of champagne (though I won’t say no), but because of the sense of renewal one gets. I am not one for harking backward, not even to review a job well done, but rather I get excited about what the new year can bring.
A Thankful Reflection on the Old
2017 was a hard year, and one in which I have never been pulled in so many directions at once and yet also laughed so much. The animal antics rank high in the laughter department and there is not a day that goes by I do not realise my luck and joy in having them all in my life. They are so special, making me take time to think, regroup and keep a focus on what’s important in our life. They are truly deserving of being the focus of our 2018 New Year graphic! (Something else I learned how to do this past year.)
We had a lot of goals here at Pumpjack & Piddlewick in 2017, and reflecting back we are on track! Hip hip hoorah! (Though we may have swapped donkeys for ducks.) It was only this time last year when I launched the new web site and redeveloped our Etsy shop, making it much, much bigger and so much better. Pumpjack’s wine making business came on line and we saw most of our wine sell to the UK. And – teaser alert – we are going to open another online shop very shortly. (Go on twist my arm…)
New Year’s Resolutions
I think the concept of using the new year as time to mark and make resolutions is a good one. Deadlines always help one focus the mind. Personally, I am more one for achievable goals than resolutions. I find them easier to remember in 6 months time, let alone easier to stick to.
Our 2017 goals carry on from last years. We hope to move into our new home this year, giving lots of space to our animals, as well as ourselves. If all goes to plan, it will be a fixer upper, so that work will be mixed in with our on-going businesses. The flip side is we will go back to penny pinching until we feel the ground under our feet again. Appropriately a couple of the most popular blog posts from 2017 were 3 Easy Tips to Save Money and Cut Down on your Food Bill and How to Live Well and Healthy on 50 a Week. Definitely will be re-reading in our case.
What about our Wine?
Wine remains a focus for us in 2018, mais oui! We plan to move closer to the vines to make life easier for Pumpjack, but the flip side is we may have to give up the vineyard he has been taking care of. Our wine journey has truly had its up and downs, tears and sore muscles, especially in the harvesting of those vines.
We love the interest and support we have received from our readers, and wine drinkers, and this reflects in the popularity of this subject on our blog. Our First Harvest, Harvest Widow, To Stress or Not to Stress and What is Terroir peak as the most popular posts. If you would like to read about the wines we have made, check out Pumpjack’s own website Terroir-au-Verre.
Learning (about the) French
Life is all about learning new things, and besides learning French (Pumpjack is a whizz now, as for me… ), and because we are learning French, we are understanding more about what makes this country and its people tick. As with any new culture, there are areas one likes and one doesn’t. Yes, French paperwork fells trees. But, big on the plus side, is its people, not to mention food, countryside, and so much more.
I have been slowly refocusing our website this year, partly to fit better with the refit of our shop, partly in response of what our readers like to read about, in particular what living in France is like. Consequently we have re-branded (that’s my marketing background speaking) from Discover French Country Life to Fab & Fun French Finds (and because I like alliteration). Speaking of, as opposed to in, French, Is French Life Better, and Discovering France in a Rambling Walk were this last years most popular posts.
Un Bon Livre is actually Good
As I write this and revisit the website statistics for 2017, what surprised me is the interest in our Vive le Livre Book Club. I had begun to give up on it, because I wasn’t paying attention to the fact that people were actually reading rather than commenting. As a consummate reader, and especially of (fun) books about France, I started sharing reviews of the books I felt I could/should recommend. So, for those who are arm chair travelers, or those who adore visiting or already live here, I will be endeavoring to provide more regular offerings to the club (and if you have a book you would like to review, we would love to hear from you, whether you live in France or not.)
Peppered throughout our most popular posts, the most popular books were – Why French Women do not get Fat (yes, it is actually a jolly good read), French for Cats (a truly helpful book) and French of Foe? (my go to book on French culture). We provide links to amazon (an affiliate partner), in the review, if you like the sound of any the books we mention and would like to read them yourself.
In with the New Year
Yup, I truly adore the change to a new year. It helps me focus, prioritise and makes me really excited to begin new ventures. In fact, I wish we could have new year’s twice a year. The opportunity to reflect and refresh is just so invigorating. So, if you can’t tell already, I am beginning this new year with a big smile.
A big heartfelt Thank You to all our readers, surfers and even those google spiders. We hope you will continue to join us in our Findings from France. And, we truly hope 2018 brings you happiness and your own enjoyable or exciting adventures.