It’s always so interesting to find out which posts you’ve enjoyed at the end of each year. We love seeing what’s clicked with you over the past 12 months and this year’s no different. Here are your favourite stories of 2017.
As we compiled this year’s list of your favourite posts, Christina and I came to a sudden realisation: it’s a perfect match! We write about what we love, and people tend to read about what they’re interested in.
The strong theme of food, booze and travel runs through all the posts that you loved most this year, which makes perfect sense to us.
You guys love food, a drop of the good stuff and exploring the world. To us, that’s exactly what it’s all about.
To give you a quick run-down, here are the themes of the top 20 posts of 2017:
- 14 are about travel (8 in the top 10)
- 9 feature food or booze in some way
- 20% of posts are specifically about photography and 20% are about Australian destinations or products.
- With 1 in 5 articles being about cameras or taking photos, it seems you like talking about photography too, which works with the food and travel stories.
- Half of your favourite stories this year are lists of things – where to go, what to eat and drink and tips on destinations. We like a good list too!
- There’s also a distinct love for local knowledge in these stories, so I’m guessing you want to know more than the average chap when it comes to finding travel experiences, food to eat and drink to… drink.
- And although everything we talk about here is about doing things with the one you love, 3 of the top 20 posts for 2017 are all about romance.
Top 17 posts of 2017
Let the countdown begin!
17. 5 TV series to get you through your next long-haul flight
Surviving a long-haul flight – the necessary evil of travel – is all about finding distractions. Having a range of shows to watch is a great way to keep your mind of the boredom and discomfort.
Here are some of our favourite shows that’ll keep you busy till you get to where you’re going.
16. How to photograph food – 5 top tips from Italy
Taking photos of your dinner that make people wish they’d ordered it isn’t as easy as you think. To show you some of our favourite food photography tips, we took advantage of our time in one of Europe’s many food meccas: Italy.
Check out our tips plus our video guide of snack snapping in beautiful Puglia.
15. 11 Australian whiskies you must try
The moment Sullivan’s Cove from Tasmania won World’s Best Single Malt in 2014, modern Australian whisky has been earning the credit it’s deserved for years. Since Bill Lark started up his distillery in 1992 actually.
Now, the range of incredible whisky coming from Australia is truly remarkable – and delicious. Here are 11 that either we love personally or come highly recommended from industry professionals.
14. What does romance mean to you? Sonia Bavistock from Sonia Styling
A while ago, we noticed that not everyone thinks of bunches of roses or grand gestures to show how what’s in their heart. We started a series of stories asking people what romance and being romantic means to them.
One of our favourite people, Sonia Bavistock tells us what romance means to her.
13. A recipe for finding your photography style
It’s definitely with our photography that this site wins people over. Christina’s skills with the camera are beyond question, and she’s sharing her favourite tips in this story.
Check out our video that goes with this post too. Christina tells you some of her secrets whilst on location in the beautiful south-eastern region of Italy.
12. 5 tourist things to do in Sydney that locals love
We love living in Sydney, but we also love playing tourist in our hometown. Doing things that visitors like to do when they arrive gives you such a different perspective on where you live.
But this list is a little different from other tourist guides; this story tells you what visitors and locals love to do.
11. How much has Cuba changed – and is the romance over?
Of all the places we’ve travelled to so far, it’s Cuba that’s stood out solidly as our favourite.But we were there in late 2014. A lot’s happened in Cuba since then.
In December 2014, Barak Obama visited Havana, and eased tensions and relations between the two nations… which rhymes!
To find out the ramifications of these re-laid boundaries, we asked Cuba expert and owner of Aussie-run small tour company Cuban Adventures John Ahrens to tell us how much Cuba has changed in the past 3 years.
Now to the top 10
10. How to take your travel photography to the next level
With her photography skills, it makes sense that Christina’s tips on photography are in the top 10 most popular stories of the year.
If you’re in any way interested in photography and want to take your skills to the next level, you need to check out Christina’s tips and ideas here:
9. Driving under the ginfluence – a gin distillery tour of Sydney
We love visiting distilleries – especially the little craft ones. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times a distiller explains it, making gin or whisky still seems like it takes some kind of magic to do.
We went on a bit of a distillery tour around Sydney with Caroline Childerley (the Gin Queen). Here’s where we went, who we met and what we drank!
8. Is the best apple pie in the USA really in Julian, California?
Nothing’s more American than apple pie – but we’re asking where the best apple pie is in America. Lots of places hold the title, but one town holds more than most.
Julian, California – about 30 minutes outside San Diego – is the apple pie capital… but does it really deserve such an accolade?
7. Where to eat in Bari, Italy – 3 top tips to make your mouth water
Puglia in the south east of Italy is home to some incredible food options, but when we were in the region’s capital – Bari – we noticed it would be hard to find good places to eat unless you know what you’re looking for.
Here are 3 places we discovered that you’d never find without a bit of local knowledge – and they’re well worth knowing about!
6. A list of local secrets – where to eat in Mudgee, NSW
Mudgee, NSW is a real foodie paradise. It’s a high-altitude cold-climate wine region with a wealth of local produce. And best of all it seems like it’s a town only populated with people who really care about food too.
You can go anywhere in Mudgee and get a good meal, but only a few a really good enough for the locals. Here’s where the people of Mudgee eat and drink.
5. Where to eat in Okinawa – 5 places locals love to go
Okinawa – Japan’s most southerly prefecture and island paradise – has the same level of food eloquence you’ll find anywhere else in the country with a few (quite a few) extra bits of brilliance thrown in. We ate so well while we were there, we’d revisit Okinawa in a heartbeat… and stretchy pants!
But like all good eating travel destinations, Okinawa doesn’t give up her secrets easily. That’s why we’ve asked one of our lovely readers who actually lives there to let us into some of the local eatery secrets of delicious Okinawa.
4. What does romance mean to you? Bruce Devereaux from Big Family Little Income
Bruce Devereaux is a brave man. Not only did he put a lot of eggs in a basket to start his amazing family and lifestyle blog Big Family Little Income, that basket is also on wheels.
He and his wonderful wife Tracey have sold up and have shipped their numerous children into a converted coach. They’re currently travelling the country and loving life.
It’s no wonder then that Bruce’s story of what romance means to him is the 4th most popular post of the year. His answers to our questions of romance are enlightening, funny and heart-warming.
We’re down to the top 3
3. The secret to finding your photography vision
If you’re going to find your photography vision anywhere, I think it’ll be in Italy. This place is seriously photogenic. But taking a great photo isn’t just about being somewhere beautiful. You need to know what you’re looking for as well.
In this story, Christina shares with you what it means and what it takes to find your photography vision. While we were in Puglia in south-eastern Italy, we worked with Olympus and their amazing cameras to put together this post.
There’s also a corresponding video we think tells the story with a little more movement.
If you’re looking for travel and photography inspiration and motivation, you’ve found it here.
2. 11 reasons to put Rotterdam on your Euro itinerary
We didn’t know what to expect when we first arrived in Rotterdam. We also didn’t expect this article to be so popular, but we’re really happy you all like it so much. We’re very proud of it.
Rotterdam seems to be one of those cities that get unfairly overlooked when people are planning their travel. It’s a city that not only has a lot to offer, but also has locals who are willing to share it.
The result is a destination that gives so much that although you arrive as a visitor, you leave feeling like you’re a local.
Here are 11 reasons why we think Rotterdam does that to you and what you can get out of visiting this charming city.
1. 11 unusual things to do in Okinawa, Japan
Your most popular post happens to be one of our most favourite topics to talk about at the moment. And perhaps you picked up on that when you started reading.
Okinawa, which is the tropical southernmost region of Japan, and is actually closer to Taiwan, is known as the Hawaii of Japan. It’s brilliant blue waters, sandy beaches and relaxed way of life lend Okinawa to that reputation.
However, perhaps there’s another way that Okinawa and Hawaii share commonalities. In the same way that the people of Hawaii are in no way related to the people of the mainland, so the original occupants of Okinawa were not Japanese until recently.
In fact they still refer to themselves differently, behave differently and even look different to the mainlanders.
Perhaps because of this, Okinawa is a special place with some unique things to do, to see and to eat that you won’t find anywhere else in Japan… or the rest of the world for that matter.
Here are 11 that we found and loved – and some we thought were a bit weird too.
Beyond the list of 17 we have here, there were a few that we really wanted to include that didn’t make it but did get into the top 20 or so.
18. The best time to drink champagne
Champagne is always a good idea, but we wanted to clarify that a bit. I’d also like to share this quote with you from Lily Bollinger – owner of the famed Champagne house:
“I only drink champagne when I’m happy… and when I’m sad. I sometimes drink it when I’m alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.”
19. He Said She Said – what’s your love language?
Love Languages are a fascinating concept. It’s a system that suggests everyone ‘speaks’ about how they express their affection in different ways – giving gifts, giving words, helping with tasks, spending time with someone.
Knowing how your partner communicates (and receives) affection can really help understand them. In this He Said She Said post, Christina and I explore how that works with us.
20. 7 tips on how to drive safely in Japan
Christina and I love a driving holiday. We also love Japan. So a driving holiday in Japan is about as good as it gets, right?
We drove a lot while we were exploring the Japanese island prefecture of Okinawa, about 600km south of the mainland. It meant we got to understand the road rules of Japan quite well. Here are our top tips for staying safe behind the wheel in the Land of the Rising Sun.
21. 5 ways to celebrate your anniversary without it feeling fake
We love celebrating significant dates, but perhaps ‘celebrating’ is the wrong word. Maybe ‘recognising’ is a better word.
And that’s kind of how we approached this list of ways to celebrate your anniversary without it feeling fake. It’s not just about going through the motions or earning brownie points. And it’s not all about big gestures either.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this top 20-ish list and that it keeps you in with reads for the rest of the festive season. We’re really looking forward to making next year’s with you.
Have a happy Christmas and a superb new year.
Jim & Christina xx