2015 Round Up: Part 1

Goodness me, it's hard to believe we are approaching another year and an annoying few months of scribbling out 5 and getting used to writing 6 in it's place. I just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who reads this blog.  The internet is saturated with voices and opinions and big things to see, say and do and we are all such busy people with responsibilities and loved ones and endless things to attend to so the fact that you choose to stop here and read the contents of my head is a real privilege for me.  THANK YOU.  Please stay - you are interesting to ME.

I've felt really energised by writing this year - it's always been something I've done - blogging now for over 10 years - but I feel like 2015 was the year I decided to own it more, take it up a notch and give time to it and it has really paid off in lots of ways.  I've met (and not yet met) some amazing people through blogging and all its associated facets and feel like I'm finding my groove here in my own space.

For my own reflection, and maybe for those of you that have started reading along during the year, I thought I'd punctuate the turn of the year and recap on some of my favourite posts of 2015 so buckle up!

JANUARY:

+  The year kicked off with a conversation about the expectations we have on little ones to automatically have manners and how our reminders to say "Please & Thank You" might actually be hindering them from really understanding gratitude.

+  I crowd-sourced a list of things that parents have done whilst under the influence of tiredness in this post, which made me laugh endlessly and comforted me in my sleep-deprived state.  We're talking putting your kids in the bath with their socks on and scooping ground coffee into the kettle.  WOE.

+ Maybe because Christmas had just gone, but I had a good old think around the politics of toys, and the limiting gender narratives that toys can bring on our little ones.  I still feel really strongly about this and find the conversation around it really interesting...

+  Finally, in an ode to my TV BFF Leslie Knope, I shared a DIY for making soap that I gave out to my girlfriends for Galentines Day!

Galentines Day Soap

FEBRUARY:

+  I launched a little series called 'Parenthood Unplugged', exploring some of the really vast and varied ways that people are parenting around the world.  It started with an interview with Sheena, who is from here in Northern Ireland but raising her family in rural Africa.  These posts have been super popular and I have entirely LOVED hearing from all these beautiful families.

+  Capitalising on February being Fairtrade Fortnight, there was a little introduction to clothing brand People Tree - who are pioneering the ethical clothing movement here in the UK.

+  Freckle Magazine launched and I showed off this beautiful children's book on Human Rights.

MARCH:

+  I shared two kick-ass recipes this month - proper Irish Wheaten Bread and sorta healthy Coconut & Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies.  HELLO AND YOU'RE WELCOME.

+  The Parenthood Unplugged series continued with really insightful interviews from Ali, who is in the band Rend Collective, on how she manages mamahood on a tour bus, and from everyones favourite hippies, Tim & Lucy who live in a yurt on a farm in New Zealand with their brood!

+  We moved Levi into a big boy room and I shared some pictures of how we decorated and made it a fun and creative space for him!

Big Boy Bedroom Fun Creative Big Boy Bedroom Fun Creative

APRIL:

+  Some thoughts on how we teach people how to treat our kids by the energy we give off as parents and how we model parenting for others.

+  I had my first strengths coaching session with my friend Abby, which has revolutionised my work life and my personal life.  I talk here about how important it is for us to find what makes us come alive.

Come Alive Howard Thurman Quote

MAY:

+  When the general election left us all a bit deflated, I wrote a post-election manifesto and was really taken back by the response.  Seeing it shared so much made me feel less alone in my resolve - you can read it here.

+  My pal Aly Harte is a phenomenal entrepreneur and all around good gal and she shared a bit about how she balances self-employment and a busy family life in this instalment of Parenthood Unplugged.

JUNE:

+  I confessed to a seriously feeble attempt at not wearing make-up for a month and shared ALL the associate feelings that were thrown up during that experiment.

+  Leading on from the beauty chat, I shared my favourite non-toxic beauty buys that I keep coming back to - my beauty uniform, if you will!

top non-toxic beauty buys

+  I went back to the gym for a brief period.  So brief because I then got pregnant and couldn't drag my ass out of bed for most of the summer to go back - BUT - I did write an inside monologue of a gym newcomer. It's not pretty.

Of course, you can always get a flavour for the things that I've been reading, watching, listening to, buying etc on my 'Fresh Finds Friday' posts that are dotted throughout the year too.

Phew!  That was a fun trip down memory lane!  I'll be back in a few days to recap the second half of the year.

Mel