We take a stroll down memory lane and remember the GWG stories you enjoyed the most this year, plus our guest editors’ top picks.

And so another year draws to a close. As a sequel to 2020, it has been of a piece, challenging us in ways that many of us could not have imagined back in the halcyon days of 2019. But even as we’ve faced hardship, there have been highlights – and throughout, the internet has provided not just a lifeline through the days of lockdown but a way to connect with one another, often in creative ways. For us, many of the highs have come in the form of all the wonderful guest editors who took the time to be grilled by us, as well as in sending out our weekly missives and hearing back from you.

These were a few of your favourites in 2021.

Our Most Popular Guest Editors



John Mitchinson



The QI elf, publisher and founder of Unbound rejoiced in the glories of the Museum of Rural Life’s twitter account and The History of English podcast, the latter on account of the fact that it ‘takes 145 episodes to reach the year 1400 and has four dedicated to the Great Vowel Shift alone.’ Can’t argue with that.


Rosemary Ferguson



The supermodel turned nutritionist shared her devotion to her Oura ring app and how the Untethered Soul on Audible helped her through the pandemic.


Gill Meller



The award-winning food writer served up his digital favourites, from Snapseed to the brilliance of vegetable gardener, Charles Dowding.


Eppie Thompson



Lockdown was good to the embroidery entrepreneur, who used the time to leave her City job behind and get crafty full time. She introduced us to the sheer joy of Bornn Enamelware.


Emma Sims Hilditch



The pre-eminent designer, founder of Sims Hilditch and creative director of Neptune told us about the pure pleasure of the House Guest interiors podcast.


Our Guest Editors’ Top Picks



If you do anything for long enough you start to be able to pick out trends, a rule that has proved true amongst our esteemed guest editors’ interviews. Certain recommendations just cropped up again and again. And so we present to you the most-mentioned of 2021.

Podcasts


Louis Theroux’ Grounded



The faux naïve interview style of the excellent Louis Theroux has delighted us in many guises over the years, whether he’s been innocently asking the penetrating questions of cult leaders, white supremacists or famously guarded celebrities. And we’ve lapped his interviews up all though lockdown, thanks to his excellent Grounded podcast, broadcast on the BBC’s platform. Our guest editors loved him too, it turns out. We especially liked the Helena Bonham Carter episode. Tune in here.


Table Manners



Podcasts have exploded in popularity in recent years, and each week there are more and more being released for our listening pleasure. Some stand out as particularly stellar and one such is Jessie Ware’s Table Manners. A particular favourite of our guest editors, it’s no stretch to see why; tuning in is akin to having a relaxed lunch and natter with a friend – if that friend were Jessie Ware and her lovely mother Lennie, and the roster of guests included the likes of Stanley Tucci and Dolly Parton. Tune in here.


Happy Place



Fearne Cotton’s podcast is now in its ninth series and explores how to find joy in the everyday, all via guest appearances from the likes of Leona Lewis and Miriam Margolyes. And who hasn’t needed a little extra shot of joy these past two years? Tune in here.


Elizabeth Day’s How To Fail



This podcast, in which often highly successful people talk about their failures, is a perennial favourite with our interviewees. Tune in here.


Apps

We use our apps to, typically, streamline our lives and make daily tasks simpler. In these past couple of years, the most popular ones are those that have kept us diverted, informed and improved us. The ones that topped our list in 2021 were BBC Sounds, Audible, Duolingo and Tortoise.




Websites

It seems that whilst we were keeping ourselves abreast of the news and conscientiously using our time at home to learn another language over on our apps, when it came to the most frequented websites, retail therapy was key this year. What was more cheering through the various lockdowns than the arrival of the odd parcel, as if by magic? The ones our guest editors loved most of all were Matches and the ever-lovely Collagerie. And when we weren’t shopping, we were – ever British in our predilections – to be found on weather websites.




Internet Heroes

Everyone needs someone to look up to and inspire them. And some people are particularly talented at harnessing the power of the internet or social media for the good – whether in the name of a vital cause or for pure entertainment value. Two names that cropped up again and again. The first was the climate activist Greta Thunberg, who has been holding world leaders to account since she was fifteen using the corralling power of the wide web. And the other? James Blunt, whose Twitter account has become a forum for batting back his harshest critics in the wittiest of ways.



Our Most Read Stories



It is a source of endless fascination to us which Good Web Guide stories prove most popular, and we are always keen to hear feedback so that we can keep tailoring content to our subscribers. In this past year, it has been a diverse crop, from interiors stories to health and wellbeing. These were your favourite reads in 2021.

9 Of The Best Kitchen Design Brands



Being at home more than ever meant an even keener interest in home improvement. Our round up of kitchen design brands hit the spot. Read it here.


Best Alternative News Sites



We have all been glued to the news to learn the latest on the developing situation with the pandemic, as well as other matters. But as well as the usual outlets, many of us have craved alternative sources, as evidenced by the popularity of this post. Read it here.


Best Sites For Online Quizzes



We’ve been at home a lot. At times we’ve been bored. What better than an online quiz to fill the time and sharpen our brains? Read it here.


6 Of The Best Radio Plays



We couldn’t get to the theatre for much of the year. But we could switch on our radios – or open our laptops – and access some excellent and diverting plays there. Our crop of radio dramas to download proved popular. Read it here.


7 Of The Best Brands For Vitamins



Keeping ourselves well has become a particular preoccupation in these pestilent times. Our round up of the best vitamin brands was a favourite for those hoping to boost their health and wellbeing. Read it here.


10 Luxury British Leather Brands



There is no more reassuring indicator of luxury than the smell of high-quality leather. This round of the best British brands purveying such artisan products was a hit. Read it here.


7 Great Cake Delivery Companies



If there is a more reliable comforter than a good slice of cake, we are yet to hear of it. No wonder then that our feature on the best cake delivery companies was a winner. Read it here.


The Best of North Norfolk



We have been bringing you guides to the counties that make up our country this year. It transpires that you, like us, are craving big open skies, vast beaches and a hint of wildness; our guide to North Norfolk proved the most popular of them all. Read it here.

By Nancy Alsop
December 2021

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Nancy Alsop

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Nancy is a magpie for the best in design and culture.

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