After recently jazzing up my tapas sites (as well as this blog and We Love Tapas), I had a look around for a new look for my travel sites. I wanted some continuity between them, and also a functional and easy to navigate theme. So far I’m happy with these, which I tinkered with a bit more this week. What do you think? Click on the pics to visit the sites.
Well, nine years and 10 days to be exact. I actually forgot my blogoversary this year but was reminded this morning when I saw my friend Craig’s Facebook post about how he met me (and many others) on H2G2 14 years ago. So yeah… 9 years and 10 days ago I started my first ever blog, which has since turned into my daily scrapbook. Since May 1, 1996 I’ve had almost 734,000 visits, with 1885 followers (who are all you guys?) and I’ve published 3238 posts. And, like Craig, I’ve met some pretty amazing people.
Cheers everybody! Thanks for sticking around.
It was lovely to see my friends Anna @annalibera and Jorge @jorgeguitian again during their visit to Sevilla this week. And extra lovely to celebrate Jorge’s 10th Blog Anniversary (which will take place at their home in Galicia) a few days ahead of time by taking them out on an impromptu tapas tour. I say “impromptu” because when we met up at the fabulous Eslava I wasn’t sure if we were going to just stay there or move on. But move on we did. Next up was a quick bite at Bar Europa (we’d tried La Pepona but it was closed because of having stayed open for the public holiday on Sunday). As a result of this holiday Bar Europa was pretty much out of more than half its menu – no complaints here as this means their stuff is brought in fresh – and so we had a lovely tapa of baba ghanoush before moving on. Then, since fairly new Mamarracha was open, we stopped in there but were treated so badly (“no you can’t sit at that nice table for 4, you have to squeeze into this horrible table for 2 in the dark room at the back…”) so we said FUCK THAT and moved on. Really appreciated Ann mentioning this on her Facebook account – so often I’m the only one who “complains” (aka: tells it like it is). Thus we ended up at the always fabulous La Azotea. It was fairly busy (as busy as Mamarracha had been) but without hesitation (or us having to ask) the waiter put two tables together so the three of us would be comfortable. And of course the food was fab too.
Great seeing Anna & Jorge again, which left me wishing they still lived in Sevilla. On the other hand, I always have a place to go – with two expert guides! – when I finally make it to Galicia. Check out their new project (in English) @thekilomEATers.
Don’t worry, it’s not a new blog! It’s the same azahar’s kitchen that I’ve had on WordPress.com for years, but now that I’m “housecleaning” I’ve decided to put it on my new Spain site (continuity, etc, blah blah). No pesky ads, nice clean layout. What do you think?
I was also going to move my photo blog over to azahar-spain.com since, like the kitchen blog, it isn’t “city specific”, and then only have Sevilla Tapas and Azahar in Sevilla on azahar-sevilla.com. But I had a few issues with the photos not importing properly and I can’t spend time re-doing the whole thing, so for now at least, it will stay where it is. Phew! It will all be worth it in the end…
Hello, my name is Shawn and I’m a blogaholic…
Except I’m not really. But I think some people are a bit confused about the way I run my online presence. So I hope I can explain why I do things the way I do here…
It actually all started with this blog – casa az – in May 2006, after leaving my first ever online community h2g2 (originally started by Douglas Adams). There was no real plan or purpose to this blog, it was just going to be bits of my life here and there. Then after I got sick with cancer it became something more important (at least to me) when I gave myself the challenge to post something here every day, no matter how silly or trivial, no matter how sick and awful I felt, just so I could feel I’d done something with my day. And since then I’ve maintained the one-post-a-day policy, which really makes this blog a scrapbook of random snippets that end up being just like anyone’s life. I make no claims that any of it is interesting so it’s a mystery to me that so many people are subscribed to this blog, and then almost nobody leaves comments. But whatever. I do this for me. If you like it too, hey that’s great, and welcome.
Then in 2007 everything changed for me when I posted a few photos of my tapas lunch and suddenly everyone wanted to know about tapas. This eventually became Sevilla Tapas, which went through a few versions before finding a permanent home on my first ever self-hosted site azahar-sevilla.com
I was very new to this whole self-hosting gig back then and so I decided that azahar-sevilla.com would be the MAIN website (about what I wasn’t sure yet) and I would run other blogs on that site, which ended up being Sevilla Tapas, Azahar in Sevilla, Viva Las Tapas and Azahar’s Photos. As I didn’t know any better I set all these up as separate WordPress installs, so in fact they were each their own websites, but still connected to the azahar-sevilla domain. I’ve since been told that these didn’t need to be separate installs, and that the way I’d set it all up was very messy, but I actually found out differently later on.
For the past couple of years I’ve been thinking about diversifying and especially about being able to offer a specialised trip planning service for Andalucía. This stayed on the back burner until recently when I felt ready to get it going. But of course it couldn’t be a part of azahar-sevilla.com… it couldn’t be “city specific”. And to be honest, I am starting with Andalucía because that is what I know, but this could end up being a whole Spain thing. And so I came up with azahar-spain.com, which can encompass a lot.
My first thought was to incorporate azahar-sevilla.com with my new azahar-spain.com site… except azahar-sevilla.com actually has a very good Google rating and I’d be stupid to throw that away and start over from scratch. And anyhow, it made sense to keep them separate. Plus, although I very happily live in Sevilla now, I may choose to live elsewhere in Spain in future… so this is why I decided to diversify and also start the new website azahar-spain.com.
For those of you who find it confusing, it really isn’t. It goes like this – just two domains with their blogs and with obvious ways to link back to the main pages.
I was told by my friend and SEO guru that I could actually incorporate blogs into my original WordPress install (so I didn’t have to create a separate WP install for each blog) but it turns out – as far as I know – that these are more limited blog-page “category” options and you are only allowed one of this sort of thing for each WP install. This is actually set up on the new website, but there were some glitches moving the existing content over to the older azahar-sevilla site so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to fix that.
So there you go! All clear now? ;)
This should have been the “piece of cake” part, after sorting out the way I was going to structure my new website (with the help of my pal – and SEO guru – @IrlandesnMalaga. I was even quite pleased with myself that I managed to install all the blogs onto the new website myself. The thing is, I have three blogs on one domain that I want to move over to the new one… no problem, right? Everything is on WordPress, I’ve done this many, many times before without a hitch. But they HAVE ALL GONE TERRIBLY WRONG. Like, seriously wrong. I’m at my wits end. So now everything is at a standstill, probably until I get back from Antequera/Archidona. Ah well…
I have been very busy! The first step of getting my Trip Planning biz up and running meant having rethink my “brand” and, while I am still going to continue with azahar-sevilla.com and Sevilla Tapas, I felt some restructuring was needed so the new venture would not be city specific. Thus azahar-spain.com was born. The new domains have already been purchased and now I just (just!) have to get the new website and accompanying blogs set up. Most of the initial content is ready to upload but I want to talk to my SEO guru first to make sure I structure it correctly.
The easiest step was creating new social media accounts for the blogs, so please go ahead and follow/Like them. Thanks! :)
Back in January I offered to help my friend Fiona @Seville_Writer move her blog from WP.com to self-hosting using WP.org. No problem. Have done it for myself and also for a few clients. Easy Peasy. Except… it wasn’t. After a few frustrating hours we gave up and planned to get back on the case once I got back from Barcelona. Which ended up not being until today!
I don’t even want to go into detail about WHAT WENT WRONG (prefer not to relive it). In the end it turned out to be something (well, a couple of somethings) relatively simple, but ones that were only and finally resolved by my friend David @IrlandesnMalaga, amazingly helpful and wonderfully patient guy that he is. Half-way through our ordeal today I opened up this fabulous bottle of fino that I was given by the owner of the bodega at a sherry tasting last month. It helped. But mostly David helped.
So between me, David and Carmen, Fiona has a new self-hosted blog!
Last month I helped my friend Reyes get set up on Twitter and Facebook as well as create her first ever blog Gollerías (a “gollería” is a frivolous but exquisite delight). You see, Reyes is the woman behind all those amazing desserts I keep posting on Twitter from the Vineria San Telmo, including the best lemon meringue pie in the universe. You know the one I’m talking about. She is also the woman behind Juan and the reason he left the life of a rootless world traveller to become one of the most successful restauranteurs in Sevilla.
Anyhoo, after the initial set up we had planned to get together again soon for a couple of “blog classes” so Reyes could get the hang of putting stuff up there on her own, but with Christmas holidays and then me being sick in bed for a week, that day was put off and put off until we finally managed to get together yesterday at my place. Reyes breezed in carrying a massive shopping bag and telling me all about how she’d somehow managed to throw out her iPad with a stack of magazines the other day and then stopping when she realised she’d also forgotten to bring her laptop to “class” (this is Reyes, a genuine force of nature, witty, intelligent and beautiful – and so nice that you can’t even hate her for it). So I showed her how to do some Twitter and FB stuff on her iPhone and explained a few blog things using my laptop, but we’ll still have to do one more class with her computer using her own photo files, etc.
Which leaves what was in the massive shopping bag. Yep, it was this massive plum cake. Thing must weigh at least 2 kilos. And well, you know I’m not big on sweet things but I did really appreciate that Reyes had brought this for me, all prettily wrapped up and all, and so I thanked her for the gift while thinking that Peter was going to be eating a lot of plum cake over the next week. Should’ve known better. We’re talking Reyes after all. First taste of this gorgeous cake this morning and it became clear that Peter will be lucky to get any at all. Turns out it’s perfect for breakfast with a nice hot cup of coffee. A true gollería.
As you can imagine, since I can’t seem to get out of bed for more than an hour or so at a time, I’ve been spending far too much time on the iPhone and iPad the past couple of days. So you can imagine my delight when links to this blog popped up again on Twitter (it’s been mentioned there quite a bit lately). And so I thought I would share it with you because it’s immensely entertaining, riddled with quotable quotes and soooo… well, you decide. Do share some of your favourite bon mots here, if you like.
Betcha can’t stop at just one. ;)