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Annyeonghaseyo, 2024! (Yes, that is Korean.)




How is it nearly the end of January?

 

I’m utterly convinced that someone is hitting the fast forward button on life because it’s currently January 23rd but I’m certain it was only New Year’s day yesterday! Maybe it’s a sign of getting older and busier which makes the days fly by. Therefore, I’m glad for days like today where I can sit in my cosy jumper with the rain trickling down my window as the smells of spring (provided by very nice Yankee candle) fills the room. Whilst in this suspended state of Zen, I feel it’s a good opportunity to catch you all up on what I have been doing this last year.


Contrary to the promise I made for myself, I did not write on this blog as often as I would have preferred to. I had every intention of doing an in-depth series about my travels and the various things I was cooking and baking but I never sat down to write. I would like to say it was because I have an immensely busy social schedule which means I haven’t the time to put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard?). However, in honesty, I think I still have a bit of trepidation when it comes to sharing my writing with others. I feel like every sentence must be grammatically perfect and I have to come up with extravagant, exotic ways of describing a meal. Or I feel like I can’t write about something that I’ve made if the recipe came from the Internet. I essentially was putting many pressures on myself in order to fit the image I had in my head of a “proper food blogger”.


However, something that I am slowly realising this year is that I have a habit of setting standards for myself are far too high. I am a full supporter of striving to do your best but I am learning that my best doesn’t have to be… perfect. It’s far better that I write a blog post that might make the grammar police twitch or could be judged by some stranger online, than to not write anything at all.


It’s very rare that I say the phrase but I believe “New Year, new me” might describe my attitude to the blog this year.


Therefore, in that vein, let me catch you up on my travels in 2023!

 

Of course, I was able to set foot/wheels on Disney property in Orlando, Florida for the first time since I was nine years old. It’s safe to say that I had a very good trip. It was emotional because I am a proud adult Disney nerd and it felt nice to be surrounded by other proud adult Disney nerds. The weather was amazing and the food was decent. I have to caveat the amount of sugar in American food is astonishing compared to the UK but I would still go there to eat if given the opportunity. If you want the details of my trip, you can find them on my Instagram account (@diaryofahopefulcook) where I posted a few vlogs and provided some commentary on the food. I’m going to attempt to write some proper posts in the coming weeks – thankfully I documented a lot of what I ate and did so it shouldn’t be too difficult… Fingers crossed!

 

I also went to Florence, Italy! I sense some of you might be scouring my Instagram feed but alas, you will find nothing on there. I took the trip in October and did not post anything online. It was a slight spur of the moment trip in the sense that it was originally meant to be a trip to Geneva before my friend and I realised we could not afford Switzerland. I will hold off my Swiss chocolate dreams for now… However, I can’t complain because Italy was really nice. We stayed there four nights in a really nice hotel in the centre of the city. All we did was eat and look at museums. I’ve always loved the vibe you get in Italy – beautiful architecture, expansive piazzas, street performers – but not a big fan of the narrow pavements for pedestrians. This too will be a blog post although this will be more about accessing Florence as a wheelchair user. It takes some forward planning and acceptance of a few things which I wish I had known before I went.

 

Outside of travelling, there wasn’t anything too interesting that I think you would need an update about. I’m still volunteering with Citizens Advice, still an avid book reader & still have a podcast that talks about all things Marvel. Oh, wait, there has been one new thing… I may have joined the BTS Army. I know, shocking right? I did not have that on my 2023 bingo card – yet here we are! It’s mainly due to a newfound interest in Korean dramas which slowly drifted into Korean pop music territory. Next thing I knew, my best friend and I were discussing ways that I could marry a rich guy in order to afford BTS tickets for 2025. It’s become a thing and at the moment I’m okay with it.


However, one good thing that has sprung from my new obsession of all things South Korea is I’m learning a lot about South Korean food. After watching the entire season of Business Proposal (highly recommend if you are looking for a quirky rom-com), I decided to make my first Korean dish of tteokbokki. This dish consists of tubular rice cakes cooked in a dashi & gochujang broth until it becomes thick and glossy. This dish got me hooked on gochujang and I have put it in absolutely everything! Stir-fries, macaroni and cheese, stirred through instant noodles – even as a marinade on roasted meats and fish. I’ve been seeing so many Korean dishes and ingredients all over the Internet lately so I’m happy to know I’m not the only one who is somewhat fascinated and wants to know more about the cuisine. Korean food is having a moment and I am here for it!

 

I think that everything I needed to say in the inaugural 2024 post. Thank you to everyone who reads through my blog, I appreciate your support. I cannot guarantee a set schedule for when I will write posts because… life… but I will endeavour to try and post twice a month as much as possible. If I slip up, feel free to come at me on my Instagram account!

 

I wish you all the best. Stay warm, stay safe and let eat some good food this year!

 

Mary

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