Something New Every Day

A record of doing a new thing every day in 2011

Epilogue Wednesday January 4, 2012

Well that was fun wasn’t it?

I’m not sure if I’d have known when I started how much this would take over my life, I would have even begun, but now I’ve reached the end of a year of new things what have I learnt?

Other than the stress of having to do something new (and vaguely interesting) every single day, it has been a worthwhile experience. I definitely think I’ve changed a little for the better, and I’m certainly more likely to choose the novel option if offered a choice rather than the safe one. This is a good thing, although for the first days of 2012 it’s been nice not to have to do it so obsessively!

The main thing I’ve learnt is that if you want to do something that requires some commitment, then stating in public what you’re going to do is a hugely motivating factor. The feedback from friends was very useful, even if most of it was along the lines of “that was a bit shit yesterday” or “that cooking didn’t look very well presented” :-)

Following the same principle of public commitment, by real achievement this year has been to lose over 20 lbs in weight via dieting, as can be seen from my public spreadsheet tracking my weight.

I’m not sure what my favorite posts of the year were. I most enjoyed the travelling to new countries (Sweden, Denmark and Germany), and many of the things I cooked were honestly much better tasting than they looked!

I also enjoyed the experience of writing something every day, and even managed to squeeze a few weak jokes in there too.

So what’s next? I’m definitely not carrying on, and have really enjoyed the year so far and have been able to cook something I’ve done before and know will taste nice!

What I am going to do - as I posted in October - is try to ship 12 different pieces of software in 2012 (obviously one a month), and see if I can start up something interesting. Even if they all fail I hope it will be interesting doing so, and I’m hoping to share how I get on at via my website at

So that’s it. I hope you enjoyed reading about my adventure a little bit, and maybe it’s inspired you to try something new every now and then?

New Year in Spain (365/365) Saturday December 31, 2011

Made it! Saw the year out in style by spending a great day eating and drinking in Valencia.

There were actually lots of new things done, but the most memorable was the Spanish tradition of eating 12 grapes as it turns midnight, one on each chime of the clock in Madrid (equivalent of Big Ben’s chimes). This wasn’t the easiest of things to do especially after a few solid hours eating and drinking behind us, but a great tradition none the less.

Thanks to Frank and Josie for arranging for us to go to Jamon Session, and also to Frank for making the tree-mendous Onion Bhajis and Dhal.

One more post to come when I’ll try to write a suitable conclusion to the year of new things - but it’ll have to wait a bit until I feel a bit less hungover.

Walked on a Grand Prix track (364/365) Friday December 30, 2011

A nice sunny day here in Valencia (around 20C in the sun) so we headed down to the waterfront for a stroll and a bocadillo.

I’ve been down here a few times before, but I hadn’t been down to the harbour that was built for the America’s Cup and is now the Grand Prix race track too. It was nothing particularly exciting to see, but it was a little strange walking across the road where the Formula One cars go racing around.

It wasn’t the only new thing yesterday, as we went to a new place for me (Momofuku?) which served tiny but quite tasty veggie burgers, but for the penultimate post I’m sticking with the sporting themed one.

Air Europa (363/365) Thursday December 29, 2011

Back to Valencia for New Year with Frank, Josie, Hilary, Mandy and Sarah, which will hopefully provide a good finale to the year.

We spent most of the day travelling, but for various reasons we came by a different route than I’ve done before - Newcastle->Paris->Valencia.

I could get to hate Charles De Gaulle Airport as it’s very big and seems to take ages to get anywhere.

We booked with Air France, but the 2nd leg was actually with Air Europa who I hadn’t travelled with before so I’ll call that out as the “official” new thing. They were OK, but was slightly disappointed the in-flight food and drink had to be paid for RyanAir style.

There was a beautiful sunset when we arrived in Valencia which I couldn’t do justice to on my camera phone so I won’t share here, and then we headed out for a nice evening of food and drink.

Silverlight in Style (362/365) Wednesday December 28, 2011

I had a few hours free yesterday while Hilary unfortunately had to go to work, so in between a trip to Kwikfit to get my dodgy wheel looked at I managed to spend a couple of hours on version 3 of my Bedside Clock app - which is making a final appearance in the blog (of many!) this year.

What I did learn was how to use styles inside Silverlight to better encapsulate the display settings (color, font size etc.) in one place. This is obviously good practice, and the only reason I haven’t done it before is that I wasn’t 100% sure how.

The app itself is coming along nicely, and I’m hoping to get an improved version out early next year.

I’ve already mentioned that 2012 will be my “Year of Code” when I’m going to try to ship something every month, and I’m not sure whether this will count as Miss January :-)

Gums vs. Pastilles (361/365) Tuesday December 27, 2011

It’s the time of year for sitting in front of the TV and doing as little as possible, and I’ve been succeeding very well in doing that.

However I have to do something new, so I managed to do this without spending much effort yesterday in the following way.

I had a packet of what was called “pick and mix” sweets, but was actually just Fruit Gums, Fruit Pastilles and Tooti-Fruttis. First I separated the Tooti-Fruttis and “donated” them to Hilary, but I was happy as I like very much both Fruit Gums and Fruit Pastilles. They both have different techniques for savouring, but at one point I tried something extremely novel and had one of each at the same time.

I can report that this didn’t enhance the experience of either particularly, as it just tasted like having a gum and pastille at the same time. Still someone had to try it.

Just 4 days of the year left now, but I can assure you things will pick up for the last drips of 2011 :-)

Eton Mess (360/365) Monday December 26, 2011

Eton Mess

Boxing Day party, and instead of my usual Banoffee Pie I decided to do something new and made Eton Mess.

I followed another Delia recipe, and the only slightly complicated bit was making the meringues (which turned out pretty well). The rest was just pureed strawberries, lashings of cream and sliced bananas all over a bed of smashed up meringue pieces. Simple and lovely.

Xmas Talking Dart Board (359/365) Sunday December 25, 2011

Very hard to do something new on Xmas Day, as half the point and the enjoyment is doing the same thing as usual. For us this meant having a lie-in, opening presents, phoning the family, eating too much food at Hilary’s parents, me falling asleep and Hilary going for a post-meal walk, tea, walking home and then slobbing out in front of the TV.

Anyway I did have something new thanks to my sister Jenny who got me a fun present just so I could have something new (a most thoughtful gift!) - a dart board that shouts out when you hit different areas of the board. Good fun, and goes nicely in my office as a fun desktop distraction.

Corbridge Level Crossing (358/365) Saturday December 24, 2011

Slightly telepathic one on Xmas Eve.

I was dropping Hilary off for her pre-Xmas drinks in Corbridge and was thinking I’d never had to stop at the level crossing just outside the town before. Then on the way back you can probably guess already that I did have to stop as a train went through.

Even weirder, when I picked her up a few hours later exactly the same happened - twice in the same day!

I now realise why I’d never seen it happen before because the barriers are only down for a few seconds, and there is only one train every half-hour or so, so the odds of it happening twice in a day are pretty high.

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Souffle Omelette (357/365) Friday December 23, 2011

It’s officially Xmas and my diet is on hold, so the serious eating has begun.

I was browsing around t’Internet looking for stuff to make for Boxing Day, and happened upon Delia’s website and a recipe for Souffle Omelette. Sounded like something nice (and new!) for lunch so I gave it a go.

I’d have never have thought of making an omelette like this, and it was delicious. Very light, and with the 3 different types of cheese in it very tasty. Let’s be ‘aving you!