The Year That Was

Happy New Year!

Overseer's Cottage

We travelled locally to the Overseer’s Cottage, Mayfield Vineyard, Orange

Thank you for supporting my blog through 2015.  I appreciate you all and really love when you take the time to visit and comment.  Working from home and writing away in solitude can be a lonely affair so knowing you’re there is not only encouraging but allows me to feel I’m writing to friends – and I know I am!

Ocean pool

The year included travel to Bali

It was an interesting year at Hotly Spiced with that typical mix of highs and lows, both on the home front and on the blog.  And in this, ‘The Year That Was’, post, I’m not separating what happened on the home front from my blog because as you are aware, the two are intrinsically linked.

PM, Tony Abbott

I ran in a race with our then Prime Minister, Tony Abbott and beat him – just!

I’m always curious about which posts you find most interesting and so breaking the posts into categories of international travel, local travel, recipes and home front situs, here’s what you helped make my most popular posts for 2015.

Come on little guy

The little guy continued his love of running

My two most popular international travel posts were:

Dining outdoors in Bali

Dining outdoors in Bali

Bambu Restaurant in Seminyak in Bali.  And well deserved too; this restaurant with tables set within pools of water not only has an enviable setting but outstanding service and an excellent menu of Indonesian cuisine.

Stunning water feature at Bambu, Seminyak

Stunning water feature at Bambu, Seminyak

The next most popular travel post was my review of the business class experience on Garuda Airlines.  Flying with the Indonesian airline was impressive from start to finish.


Garuda Airlines has an excellent wine list

Travelling locally, my most popular post was our stay at The Overseer’s Cottage at Mayfield Vineyard in Orange.  Tragically this mini-vacation went pear-shaped and I think the owner’s email to me stating perhaps I didn’t have enough charm to be on the premises is the most curious comment I have ever heard from anyone in the hospitality industry.

Bird house

Bird house at Mayfield Vineyard, Orange NSW

On the opposite end of the spectrum for mini-vacation experiences was our stay at the Fitzroy Inn in Mittagong.  There we met celebrity chef Geoff Jansz who runs the Inn’s restaurant, Farm Table.  Geoff is so warm, friendly, humble and accommodating, he even offered to carry our bags up to our room.

Fitzroy Inn

Fitzroy Inn, Mittagong

My two most popular food posts were…

Lemon and Almond Basbousa Cake which is a cake I made from fellow blogger, Ally’s newly released cookbook.

Flavoured with lavender

Flavoured with lavender

My next most popular recipe for the year was Sausage Rolls with Homemade Sauce that I made for Arabella’s 21st birthday party.  Looking at the number of views, it seems few can resist a homemade sausage roll!

Sausage Rolls

Sausage Rolls

On the home front my most popular post was the passing of our precious Ruby.  I’m still overwhelmed by all your lovely messages of condolences; they meant so much to me and everyone here at Hotly Spiced.

A most beautiful puppy

A most beautiful puppy

'Parting is such sweet sorrow'

‘Parting is such sweet sorrow’

Sticking with the tragedy theme, my next most popular post on the home front was Miss Arabella being taken to hospital in an ambulance after nearly severing her leg.  The love and concern you all had for my daughter that went on for the next 10 months buoyed all our spirits.

Being wheeled into Emergency by the ambulance officer

Being wheeled into Emergency by the ambulance officer

A few drugs onboard

A few drugs on board post surgery

I would also like to thank the following bloggers for being my Top 5 commenters during 2015.  And I consider you to be not just ‘bloggers’ but very dear friends as well and I’m fortunate to have met a few of you, not just on-line, but also in person.  You are outstanding bloggers and I admire you all.

Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella

Audrey from Minnesota Prairie Roots

Debra from Breathe Lighter

Maureen from Orgasmic Chef

Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake

Party time

Party time at Arabella’s 21st

A big thank you to all my readers for helping make 2015 a very special year for me and Hotly Spiced.  I look forward to sharing more experiences with you through the coming year.

Rope swing

Family holiday to Santo in Vanuatu in January 2015

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  1. What an awesome year, Charlie! I remember reading many of your top posts, but the passing of your fur baby comes to mind most, I was walking my puppy around the lake when I read your post, I had tears in my eyes for you and your family. Love your sausage rolls very much, whipped up a batch for my Christmas party. 🙂 I’ve a hunch your 2016 is going to be amazing! xx

    • Thanks so much for letting me know, Anna. I’m so glad you made the sausage rolls. And yes, losing a fur baby is such a sad time – how we all wish they had longer lives. Best wishes to you for an awesome 2016 and I look forward to following your adventures xx

  2. I smiled reading through these, Charlie, because I remember nearly every single one! 🙂 So glad your daughter is so much better now. Wishing you all a wonderful 2016.

  3. What a huge year you’ve had! And what a privilege it has been to share it all with you 😘
    Happy New Year to you and your family,

    Gourmet Getaways

  4. I always read your blogs Charlie as I not only love your wit and stylish writing, I enjoy the food and your family. Having lost yet another of my dogs this year, I really felt for you with your loss of Ruby. With the passing of each one of them, a little more of our hearts are ripped from us, but then there is the dog left behind that brings us comfort and soaks up more love. How we wish they had longer lives. I look forward to another year of your most interesting blogs – thank you!

    • Hi Marion, so lovely to hear from you. Thank you so very much for your encouraging words. Fabulous to have you on board. Yes, it’s so very sad when we lose a dog and definitely saying goodbye rips a piece of our heart from us. I’m so sorry you also had to say goodbye to a furry friend last year. I believe we will one day meet again and I’m very much looking forward to that reunion. Yes, we definitely wish they had longer lives and if I could make that possible, I would. Happy New Year to you and your family and may your 2016 be fabulous xx

  5. says:

    Good luck in India. ….have just returned from five weeks there and can’t wait till I go back. Thank you for your blogs – aways well written and a joy to read. Hope your family stay healthy and happy..ND maybe you get a new puppy. ☺🐕🐶

    • Hi Pamela, how wonderful you have just returned from India! I’d love to hear all about it. Everyone I know who has been to India has come back saying you absolutely must get there at least once in your lifetime. Thanks so much for your support of Hotly Spiced and I hope you and all your family have a very wonderful 2016 xx

  6. There is never a dull moment on Hotly Spiced and I love reading the highs, the lows and all the bits in between because you write with warmth & humour with a side or sarcasm. Looking forward to more of the dramas and delicious food in 2016 x

  7. Happy New Year! What a big year for you in 2015 – hope that 2016 holds lots of fun and interesting travel in store. Did you ever hear any more after your feedback on the Orange vacation – and I can’t believe it was 10 months of arabella’s leg – hope it is well healed now. Look forward to more entertaining posts and good food here in 2016.

  8. What a lovely roundup of 2015 Charlie. I am looking forward to tagging along for 2016.
    Have a beautiful day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  9. I agree with Mandy, a lovely roundup of 2015. I remember and enjoyed all the posts and am looking forward to reading about your adventures for 2016.

  10. I’m also constantly pinching myself for these wonderful, world-wide friendships. I thank you too for making my blog the thing that it is for me, it surely has made the world a much smaller place.

  11. What a lovely post! In spite of the downs, the ups were pretty fabulous for you and your family! I thought we’d have no dogs at this point in our lives, only because we travel so much, but here we are with three again – two a result of my older daughter’s doing. But I also can’t imagine life without dogs. They just don’t live long enough.

  12. Always love all your stories and posts Charlie. Happy New Year! I look forward to following along in 2016 as well. Cheers my friend!

  13. Charlie, thank you for recognition.

    I always enjoy your stories–for your humor and honesty and for taking me places I’ve never seen, showing me food I’ve never tasted… Your blog is like an escape.

  14. Strolling through your year with you makes me smile, Charlie. Lots of ups and downs. Life.
    Wishing you even more “ups” for 2016!

  15. Hi Charlie, just wanted to say that although I rarely comment I almost always read your blogs. I really enjoy your posts, not only do you have a great style of writing It comes across as very honest. So just though I would leave these few lines as I as sure there are many, many other readers like me that look forward to your posts but never actually say so! Hope 2016 is kind to you and your family 🙂

    • Hi Carolyn, thank you so much for taking the time to let me know. It’s so very kind of you to be so generous with your comments and I’m so thrilled you enjoy reading my blog. I wish you and your family a wonderful 2016 and look forward to you following along on the Hotly Spiced journey xx

  16. Well Charlie another year rolls on and I look forward to more adventures and witty banter from you. I also look forward to your posts. I was so very sad to hear of Rubys passing. I understand fully the emotional stress this puts on the whole family. I wish you all a happy and successful 2016 over at Hotly Spiced headquarters x

  17. Happy New Year to you and yours and ‘thank you’ for all the posts which have landed in my mailbox – quite a bit changing together with the seasons: as Vicki says ‘life’! Am most envious about your forthcoming trip to India . . . one of the cradles of our civilization where I would love to spend far longer periods than I have . . . so much historical, spiritual an intellectual to absorb . . .

  18. What a lovely reminder of why we love you so much, Charlie! Every post of yours I read, I think, “this is my favourite.”

    I look forward to our journey through 2016 and what fun we’ll have.


  19. You have had an eventful 2015. This was a great recap. Right now, I am itching to make the lemon and almond basbousa cake …

  20. Terrific year you had there Charlie. I loved being a part of it.

  21. you have a wonderful blog and love how you share your family and life and travels.

    Have a wonderful 2016

  22. It has certainly been an eventful year for you Charlie – and I have loved following along. Thanks for letting us share in the highs and lows, and here is to a 2016 with more highs and fewer lows (especially of the severed leg variety) xo

  23. A wonderful year for you Charlie! Ups and downs certainly but hey at least there are lots of ups and they were spectacular. I really enjoyed Garuda’s business class-I love the online customs. So clever! A very happy 2016 to you Charlie!!

    P.S. I didn’t receive your card? I remember you asking if I had gotten it.

  24. What an eventful year! Some sad, difficult times, but lots of wonderful experiences. I’m honored to be one of your top commenters—and hope we get to chance to meet in real life one day!!! xoxo

  25. Thank you for sharing….. gosh looking back at some of those most popular posts, I can’t believe how time has flown by. All the best for 2016 and looking forward to following another interesting year of Hotly Spiced 🙂

  26. Love the review of 2015! Can’t wait to see what 2016 brings you. I have a feeling it’s going to be a great year! Happy 2016 Charlie!

  27. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    Happy New Year, Charlie! 2015 was a whirlwind for you, but I suspect every year is!

  28. Thanks for sharing your blog with us and for this wonderful round up of posts. I see a few I have missed and must go back and check them out. I love your witty writing and following the adventures of your family, Charlie Louie. You put a smile on my face and your posts are always worth the visit and your writing is inspiring. Happy 2016! xoxo Betsy

  29. What a great recap! It looks like 2015 was a great year for you and your blog!

  30. Happy New Year! And what a fun look back at the year that was. You reminded me of so many great posts! And it’s interesting — when I blog, I always think of all my (virtual) friends who I know will be reading. Makes it more fun, doesn’t it? Speaking of which, fun read — thanks.

  31. It’s true that losing your sweet Ruby and Arabella’s accident were two events I found myself thinking about as I went about my day! You have so generously shared your family and your lives with us as readers, Charlie, so that I can often really laugh at what you’re sharing, or as in the case with Ruby and Arabella, feel so sorry and worry about you a little bit. You did have a very big year!

  32. Well it’s certainly been an “action packed” year and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed following along. I’m definitely looking forward to another year of family stories, travel adventures and delicious recipes. All the best, Charlie x

  33. Phyllis Ryan says:

    I have been reading your blog for a number of years, and don’t comment, but enjoy every minute of your life and that of your family. This year has been interesting, fun, sad and educational (as I live in Florida and find your country fascinating.) Thank you for sticking around and hope for many more years of wonderful reading. Happy New Year.

  34. Phyllis Ryan says:

    I have been reading your blog for a number of years, and don’t comment, but enjoy every minute of your life and that of your family. This year has been interesting, fun, sad and educational (as I live in Florida and find your country fascinating.) Thank you for sticking around and hope for many more years of wonderful reading. Happy New Year.

  35. Happy 2016 to you, dear Charlie & your wonderful blog! I really enjoy your cool blog with many tasty recipes & lovely travels!!! xxxx

    Cheers to many more lovely blogging years & our friendship through our blogs! xxx

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