2018 review

The year I turned 30.

Me with birthday balloons

Things I did this year

  • Slept in our backyard in a sleeping bag one night in January
  • Made my first Apple Watch app
  • Got a puppy!

Samoyed puppy

  • Had my first pull request accepted
  • Submitted my first pull request with actual code (my first three were typos)
  • Started my first major iOS refactor
  • Restarted gymnastics classes & started going regularly
  • Baked croissants from scratch
  • Went to Dev World conference
  • Did my first chin-up
  • Started learning Android development & Kotlin
  • Released my first open-source app
  • Moved to Melbourne's inner west
  • Turned 30!
  • Joined a gym and started weightlifting
  • Wrote 16 posts for my blog
  • Read 17 books
  • Went to a Nerd Nite Melbourne event
  • Got an undercut

My haircut

Things that made me happy this year

According to Exist, the things that most correlated to a better mood for me this year were:

  • Drinking alcohol
  • Eating out
  • Drawing
  • Spending time with my little sister
  • Working on side projects
  • Receiving fewer emails
  • Climbing more floors (this is just a measure of changes in elevation, so it probably means being out of the house doing interesting things)
  • Practising piano


✔️ Release Larder for iOS

This is currently in public beta. Apple won't let us publish it to the App Store unless we let users buy a Larder account with in-app purchase so Apple gets their 30% cut. We're not willing to do that right now (it's not only a lot of work upfront, but it makes our accounting much harder, and it just sucks that Apple gets away with forcing developers to do this). So it's in public beta for now, but I'm counting this goal as complete.

✔️ Move house

Here's a sunrise in our new suburb a few days after moving:


We moved to Yarraville (inner west of Melbourne) from the very far away northern suburbs of Melbourne. It's so much better to be close to everything again!

Exist goals

✔️ Release weekly graphs feature

✔️ Release meditation minutes syncing from Apple Health

✔️ Release weight syncing from Apple Health

✔️ Release Trends screen feature

It's hard to quantify, but beyond simply shipping new features, my code has come a long way this year. I've been working full-time for Hello Code for over a year now, and not having to divide my time and attention has really paid off. I learned a lot this year, wrote better code, started using tests to improve my code and the reliability of my products, and started a bunch of side projects with my new-found confidence.

Things I want to do more of

✔️ Cooking new recipes

I started baking on most weekends, and tried out lots of new recipes that way. We also cooked some new dinner recipes a few times. Here's what I cooked this year:


Breakfast biscuits


Sticky date pudding

Caramel slice

Lemon cheesecake

Rondo bites

Vegetarian sausage rolls

Vanilla slice


✔️ Write more Swift

I went from 0% Swift in my main app, Exist for iOS, to around 30% right now. I also finished Larder for iOS, which is 100% Swift, and started several side projects entirely in Swift.

✔️ Unit testing/functional UI testing/TDD

I've been adding tests to my main app, and working on using TDD more often. Now that I've sort of got the hang of TDD, I find it really improves my work and helps me avoid mistakes.

✔️ Switching off from work on weekends

I managed this through a few specific strategies for weekends:

  • Made weekends "no non-urgent work" days
  • Started baking most weekends
  • Watched more TV on weekends
  • Took our puppy to training on Saturdays for a while
  • Made time for practising piano, drawing/painting, and working on side projects on weekends
  • Went to gymnastics classes on Sundays sometimes

✔️ Socialising

This one was really tough, but it's been much easier since moving house. Here are the ways I managed to increase my socialising time this year:

  • Went to a Cocoaheads meetup
  • Had lunch with my sister
  • Took our puppy to puppy school
  • Took our puppy to dog training
  • Lunch with family in May
  • Lunch with a friend in June
  • Went to gymnastics classes weekly for a while
  • Went to the Dev World conference
  • Joined a gym and went 3-5 times/week
  • Went to a Nerd Nite event
  • Had a few people over to help celebrate my birthday
  • Two lunches and a dinner with family in December

✔️ Drawing and painting

I haven't painted much this year because I've been let down by my lack of drawing skills. To fix that, I started doing the Drawabox lessons seriously (I'd tried them not-seriously a couple of times already) and paid for critiques. I'm still on the 250 box challenge, and it's taking forever, but I'm slogging through it on weekends.

✔️ Saving mementos and taking photos

Jibun Techo

My Jibun Techo (pictured above) tells the story of how well I did at saving mementos—especially when compared to my Jibun from last year. I was given a photo printer for my birthday, which I'd been really hanging out to buy, so I'm planning on printing lots of photos in future to stick in my journal. But getting a puppy and baking both really helped increase how many photos I took, and I've tried harder to remember to grab stickers and business cards when we're out, and to keep tickets and the like throughout the year.

✔️ Spending time outside

Again, getting a puppy made a huge difference here. We took him to a few training classes that were outside, and I walk him every day, but we also spend more time outside at home because he likes to play and explore outside.

✔️ Self-compassion

I've tried hard to notice when I'm thinking obsessively or when I'm feeling anxious about something, and to be understanding and soothing to myself rather than critical. I've come a long way in that area, but it's not automatic and there's plenty still to do.

✔️ French

This is sort of a half-pass. I did practise French every day for a couple of months around mid-year, but after a while I found myself losing motivation to keep it up and eventually stopped pushing myself to do it.

✖️ Piano

I've been really lax about making time for piano. I don't find it super comfortable, since my back gets sore and I get really hot when I play, but I'll never get any better if I don't make time for it.

Favourite media


Daughters of Destiny

I love a good docu-series. This one is about a school in India set up to help Indian children overcome the caste system and drag their families out of poverty. I wish there were more episodes.

Stories from Norway

I was nervous about this show, but one episode had me hooked. The comedians who wrote What Does The Fox Say (which was meant to just be an ad for their comedy show) did a great job creating a musical series based on bizarre stories from Norway's recent history. Full of clever jokes and fun songs.

8 Out of 10 Cats does Countdown

If you like QI, you might like this show. A lot of the panellists are the same, too! It's a crossover between 8 Out of Ten Cats and Countdown, and is bizarrely great. It's essentially a naughty version of Countdown (which is called Letters & Numbers here in Australia).

The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel

I've been let down by the first few episodes of the second season, but I really enjoyed season one of Maisel. It's great for a bit of escapism, as even the worst parts of it seem unrealistic and hilarious. Unfortunately the second season has taken the unrealistic part too far.


This is exactly my kind of comedy. It's made by the creator of Him & Her, which I devoured in a few weeks, and has a lot of similarities. It's a quiet, British comedy that's really made by the characters.


Tim’s Vermeer

This was quite an experience. I knew nothing about Vermeer before watching this, but it didn't matter. Just like I love reading books about one-year experiments (The Year of Living Biblically, etc.), I love watching docos about people undertaking huge projects. I really enjoyed this.

The Handmaiden

This movie was super strange, but really engaging anyway. I wasn't sure it would be my thing, but all the twists and turns were a lot of fun.


I found the emotions of this movie really relatable, even though I can't relate to the specific circumstances, so it left a strong impression on me.

I, Tonya

Again, I found this relatable and felt really strongly for Tonya. I didn't know anything about this story, so it was interesting to learn all about it.


Radium girls by Kate Moore

I tend to like narrative nonfiction, but I really expected this book to be more dry and less engaging. It ended up being a great story that got me hooked.

House of Cards by David Ellis Dickerson

I think I found out about this book in a MetaFilter thread, but I'm not sure. It's very obscure, and I didn't have high hopes for it, but it turned out to be hilarious and cringe-worthy the whole way through. It's almost too honest in the kind of horrifying-but-hilarious stories it tells, and the writing style worked well for me.



  • Finish drawabox (I'm not sure this is feasible, but I don't know how far I can get, so it's easier to just say I'm aiming to finish it all)
  • Release 12 Hello Code podcasts
  • Publish 30 blog posts (across my blog, Hello Code, Larder, and Exist)
  • Make 12 code-related releases (across Hello Code products and open-source projects)

Things I want to do more of

  • Save money
  • Reduce waste
  • Read books
  • Eat vegan
  • See fine art and theatre
  • Meet new people

See you next year!

Samoyed puppy