Are you in year-end reflection mode? How was 2017 for you?

For me, it was a good, good year. Good, not in a unicorn-and-rainbows kind of way but an expanding, gut-wrenching type of good. Challenging on many levels, but still good.

I’ll be taking Christmas off and will be back on Tuesdays with new NaNos. But before I sign off, let me share my 3 highlights from 2017.

#1 I put a book out, with the help of this group of incredible NaNoers. The process was not all smooth and there were times I wanted to quit. But in retrospect, I’m happy I steeled my belly and pushed through. Through the ups and downs, I learnt to work those determination muscles a fair bit. I developed new stamina for working on a single long-haul project consistently. I’ve always been a project sprinter, but now I know, I can do marathons, figuratively. If you’re interested, you can .

Jules and NaNophotoNicsNaNo book

#2 I launched a new site design for NaNophotoNicsNaNoers. The site redesign hit a few road bumps. I wanted to move NaNophotoNicsNaNoers to a different hosting company (for cost savings) but the customer support I encountered with these 2 other companies were either non-existent or paltry. Before I signed up they promised the moon but once I inked the proverbial dotted line, things nosedived. After a fair bit of money and time wasted, I gave up the search and decided to stay on with . They are a cut above when it comes to WordPress Managed Hosting. Lesson learnt: You do get what you pay for. Chris and the team are attentive, often going above and beyond what is required to provide answers to my way-too-many questions. I’ll be sticking with them for a long, long while.NaNophotoNicsNaNoers site redesign

#3 And one other huge highlight for me — deng, deng, deng — I bought a house! Can I get a woot, woot!? Buying a house has been on my mind for the longest time and I finally acted upon it. I searched for the better part of 2016  and early this year. Then, some time in April I found the One. But I struggled. Boy, did I struggle. I now know I have some serious commitment issues. A lot of internal work had to be done (healed and released) before I could say “Yes” to it.  In July, half-sobbing-laughing, I made it mine. Right now, I’m working on the plans to renovate it and hope to share more about the house in days to come. Can’t wait to start NaNoing stuff for it.

And that’s my three. Hope you’ll share yours with us too.

Mocktail recipes

All that sounds like it’s time to kick back and celebrate. I’ll end this post with two mocktail recipes from . Let’s toast to a year gone by and say hello a new one. Merry Christmas and cheers!mocktail recipes

Spicy Rhubarb Cocktail

  • approx 1 cm slice of red chilli
  • 40 ml rhubarb syrup (SAFT RABARBER)
  • approx. 1 tsp ginger syrup
  • 1/2 lime, juice of (approx. 1 tbsp)
  • 150 ml fizzy water
  • Ice
Ginger syrup
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 200 ml water
  • 100 ml sugar
  1. Ginger syrup: Bring the water, ginger and sugar to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Sieve, pour into a bottle and stand in a cool place. This syrup is great for all kinds of drinks and will keep for several weeks in the fridge.
  2.  Crush the chilli with a cocktail muddler in a glass. Pour over the rhubarb syrup, ginger syrup and pressed lime. Fill up with ice. Mix and top up with fizzy water. Makes about 200ml.

Lingonberry cocktail with grapefruit

  • 40 ml lingonberry syrup (SAFT LINGON)
  • approx. 80 ml freshly pressed grapefruit juice
  • 80 ml water
  • Ice
  1. Mix the lingonberry syrup with the pressed fresh grapefruit in a glass. Add ice and top up with fizzy water.

Both mocktail recipes will turn out better when mixed with a shaker. Garnish and enjoy!