Wow, 2020 what a year! Who would have thought that was going to happen... As we look back on the year that was an extremely difficult and challenging one, we hope there were moments of joy and happiness for you as well. It certainly has been a surprising year, both the good and the bad. As we step into 2021 with more uncertainty, we've decided to reflect on the year that was, share the things we are grateful for, and what we are hoping to do in 2021.
Our health has been put in the spotlight like never before this year and has made us change the way we move and interact with people every day. On the home front, our parents not only faced the fears of the global pandemic due to them being in the high risk category thanks to their age, they also faced other health challenges including a triple bypass, hospital stays and skin cancer. Health has always been a huge focus in our families, we're all very active and eat really well, but this year, we've all been putting in a concentrated effort.
We gave birth to our daughter on the 20th March, right when Australia was plunged into its first hard lockdown. In the months leading up to Celeste's birth, we felt extremely anxious, scared and nervous. It was a wild experience giving birth to her while having to isolate ourselves in our hospital room, and sadly we were unable to have any visitors. But that pales in comparison to being blessed with a healthy and happy little girl. We also felt extremely lucky to live where we do, in a small coastal community - far away from the hustle and bustle of city living. Lockdown turned out to be a blessing in disguise for us as we were able to stay at home with our new baby and not have to see anyone. We created our own little bubble of bliss, and were lucky to be able to walk or drive to the beach each day to go for long walks and swims together.
As we step into 2021, social distancing, mask wearing and proper hand hygiene will continue to reign supreme. And hopefully, we'll all have access to vaccines by the time 2022 comes around.
Not having the freedom to travel has been one of the biggest losses of this year. Like so many of you, we had plans to travel overseas. We were planning on going to Ohio for a beautiful family wedding, then head over to Tulum, followed by San Francisco where we were going to visit friends in Sacramento and spend a few days driving down the coast to Los Angeles. It definitely feels very unsettling not being able to travel where and when we want, but in the grand scheme of things, it's been totally ok. We will be able to travel again and we have decided to continue saving, so when we can travel again, we'll be able to book and travel straight away. We are hoping to make it over to Hawaii late next year for the same family wedding (the venue has changed) so our fingers are crossed this happens. But if it doesn't, there is always the following year.
If anything, it's so nice to see Australians travel around our beautiful country more. Not being able to travel overseas has made everyone look in our own backyard and appreciate how amazing it is here - finally! Some of you may know that Jaharn has a travel blog called Mister Weekender. She has explored Australia extensively, has worked with most of the major tourism boards here, and has a tonne of travel guides on her website to make travelling easier. A few of her favourite destinations around Australia (and where she has stacks of info on her website about them) are Esperance in Western Australia, Port Douglas in Queensland, Uluru in Northern Territory, Kangaroo Island in South Australia, Kangaroo Valley in New South Wales, Great Ocean Road in Victoria and of course, everywhere in Tasmania. Next year, we really hope to make it to the Whitsundays and stay on Hamilton Island in Queensland. There seems to be a lot of great accommodation options as well as things to see and do, which is a bonus seeing as we will now be travelling with two kids in tow. Plus, it doesn't hurt that the Whitsundays are in the same state as where we live, which we think is key to travelling in Australia next year (in case the state borders close).
This year has been extremely challenging on the work front for both of us. We launched Smør Kitchen early December 2019 and if someone had told us that the first year of business would also happen during a global pandemic, we would have laughed at them. But that's exactly what happened. Our business was initially going to be an online destination for children's goods, but coming into 2020 we knew we couldn't sustain this for the simple fact that it's not what we loved doing. We love our children, but couldn't stomach creating and sourcing children's goods for the rest of our lives. Coupled with the pandemic hitting Australia early in the year and cooking at home more, our business blossomed into Smør Kitchen - an online destination filled with recipes, cookware, ingredients, kitchenware, field guides, DIYs, travel guides and cooking experiences for the whole family. And we are so much happier! This year we created and shared over 65 recipes, DIY projects and guides, we created the third colour in our kids bamboo dinnerware range "Celeste", and we launched over 45 new products for our cooking, adventure and outdoor enthusiasts. It's certainly kept us very busy, and very happy!
Not only to we work very hard over here at Smør Kitchen, Jason is a primary school teacher and I also have another business, called Your Creative Start, where (with my small team) we make photo and video content for our clients. Sadly I didn't get any maternity leave thanks to the lockdown right when we had Celeste. We got two days in the hospital and then I was back on emails working - but at least we didn't lose any clients. Because of this, we had to throw everything out of the window to adapt to a new normal and our clients have been keeping us very, very busy since. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the new normal, we accepted the challenge head on and thrived on pivoting everything we had done before. It felt amazing! Jason also experienced the highs and lows of home schooling his class, with a newborn and a toddler at home - it was crazy to say the least. Then he was faced with the real fear of being on the frontline when he had to go back to school and teach a small number of kids face to face in his school classroom, while simultaneously teaching the rest of his class online. And coming home to a newborn and a toddler every afternoon. It was absolute chaos.
When we look back on 2020, the fact that we have both been able to achieve anything this year has been a major miracle. There have been some major lows and some incredible highs, and we are so grateful to have each other and to be able to get through this year together. We are so thankful for having amazing parents, siblings and our babysitter come and save the day on many, many occasions. The say it takes a tribe, and it really does...
Planning for next year has already begun. Usually we like to keep things close of our hearts, but thought it would be nice to share a couple of things we want to achieve here at Smør Kitchen with you. Some of our plans and goals for Smør Kitchen in 2021 are:
And that's all we are going to share for now... But get excited because next year is going to be big! And on that note, thank you so much for coming on this epic ride with us so far. It's only been one year and we can't wait to continue this journey with you. We are so thankful for all of your support!
Jaharn & Jason