And that's a wrap ... almost! I've just celebrated my first year at the helm of Life & Style at the NZ Herald online - what a whirlwind it's been! Babies, bunnies and books - it's all been going on.
I was having a good think about what the biggest stories of the year were for me. Then I decided to dig up details on what you guys, the readers, thought were the most clickable stories over the last 12-months. What came back was a pretty mixed bag.
My top five for 2012:
1. Price William and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton announced they're expecting their first baby. Oddly enough, a couple of days before the baby news broke, my editor suggested I start fleshing out a timeline of the young royal romance. She said she had "a feeling" baby news was on the way. I had it penned in my diary for Tuesday, December 4 - that very day the world found out Kate Middleton was preggers and was in hospital because of some terrible morning sickness. I'm looking forward to bump watch continuing in 2013.
2. The controversy surrounding Miss New Zealand. It all kicked off when South African-born beauty Avianca Bohm was stripped of her crown because when her fast-track bid to gain New Zealand citizenship failed. There were claims by contest director Val Lott that she had explicitly explained to the judges that the South African was not eligible to win because of her nationality. Runner-up Talia Bennettrom from North Harbour, took on the tiara but said she couldn't shake the controversy. Lott retired and jubilant Bohm declared: "I am still Miss New Zealand."
3. Charlotte Dawson and the Twitter troll: The Kiwi expat and TV personality ended up in hospital after waging a war against internet "trolls". Dawson appeared on Australian TV exposing vitriolic Twitter bullying this week, with many followers calling for the celebrity to "please go hang yourself." The former-model was hospitalised soon after. She took a short hiatus from Twitter, but is back online.
4. The Fifty Shades explosion: The erotic trilogy became the fastest selling paper book ever. It flew off shelves and inspired the phrase 'mommy porn'. Talk of film rights, starring roles and soundtracks is underway - who will play the sexy, dominating billionaire businessman Christian Grey? Personally, I thought the work of EL James was lame and repetitive and the character of Anastasia - probably one of the most annoying people I've every encountered. But the books do scratch an itch, I spose.
5. Playboy bunnies bounced in to town. To the applause of Kiwi gents, menswear label, Hallenstein Brothers, flew over a trio of Playboy bunnies to boost the brand. Expert views were mixed, with some saying the publicity ploy was "obvious", "cheap" and "sexist", but others claimed it worked a charm with its target audience and has helped the brand's image rather than hurting it. Sex sells.
Your top five for 2012:
1. Rebecca Kamm: The $2250 orgasm injection: The newest addition to Life & Style blog role, Ms Kamm, took a look at LA's "latest lunchtime craze" - a shot that involves pumping filler in to a woman's G-spot, increasing its size, making orgasm easier to reach and more intense.
2. Fat list: 49 foods to avoid: A blacklist of foods heavy on calories but light on nutrition was drawn up by Otago University to help combat obesity. Honey, muesli bars, whole milk and frozen yoghurt are all included on the list published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, as part of a treatment research programme for obesity.
3. Naked Kiwi makes waves on the Sunshine Coast: A quirky Kiwi woman made waves in Australia by taking to the surf wearing nothing more than a smile. Naked surfer Marama Kake described her brave choice of bathing outfit as her "sustainability suit" and says she wants to spread a message of sustainable surfing.
4. Five goods Kiwis want back on the shelves: A Kiwi mum made history with a successful campaign to bring back 1980s favourite Choco-ade biscuits. Supermarkets started restocking the orange-filled chocolate biscuits after nearly 15,000 people voted for them to return on a Facebook page started by Upper Hutt mother Amber Johnson. Other campaigns for the return of beloved Kiwi products have met with varied success. We took a look at the other battlers who have clamoured for the return of their favourite comfort foods.
5. Miss NZ elbowed aside at beauty pageant: Auckland teenager Collette Lochore was taking part in the Miss World pageant in China when cameras caught Miss Malawi, Susan Mtegha, jostling with the Kiwi contestant on stage. Words were exchanged between the two, then Miss Malawi elbowed the Kiwi out of shot and stood smiling, with her hands behind her back. Miss NZ could just be seen standing to the side, also continuing to smile.
I'd love to hear your feedback - what have been the most memorable Life & Style stories for you? What would you like to see more of on Life & Style in the new year? How can I improve the section for you?
Life & Style will keep kicking over the silly season and I'll be back with plenty more words, chats, galleries and competitions in 2013.By Nicky Park @Nicky_Park Email Nicky