2015 Round Up: Part 2

Leading on from Part 1, here are my favourite posts from the latter half of 2015... JULY:

+  I gave you a recipe for the most iconic Northern Irish treat - the humble 'Fifteen'.  You cannot go wrong, you cannot mess this up and you cannot eat just one.  I also tried to balance things out with a healthy treat in the recipe for these delicious no-bake date and chocolate squares!

Northern Irish Malteser Fifteens

+  We vowed to get out more in 2015 - to ramble, walk, climb, trek, saunter.  This day in Tollymore Forest Park was a massive highlight.  Breathtakingly beautiful.

tollymore forest park

+  I became a total podcast convert this year and covered my favourites to listen into here and here.

AUGUST:

+  We make a big batch of elderflower champagne every year and I blogged the recipe for this delicious drink here (make in June when the elderflower is fresh!).

“Mothers are the members of society that need to be given the most permission to be able do the things that ignite their own souls.” - one of my favourite posts to write and discuss with you all was this one on how critical it is that we prioritise our own creativity and the things that make us come alive.

+  I joined up with my friend Sarah and hosted a trial session of Forest School in our area and fell in love with the whole concept of Forest Education.  We hope to do something more in the Spring/Summer so stay tuned!

Forest School Craigavon

+  We announced that we are having a baby! (THAT WAS FOREVER AGO, HOW AM I STILL PREGNANT???)

SEPTEMBER:

+  I blogged our two awesome family beach holidays on the North Coast & South Coast of Ireland - such a stunning landscape we have at our doorstep here.  Hashtag blessed.

+  We organised and collected aid for refugees in Calais, Lesbos and Kos, and even though deciding to lead that operation in the thick of the first trimester of pregnancy almost broke me in two, it was a really beautiful opportunity and I wrote about how this is the stuff that we are made for here.

+  I attended my first ever Maven Session on foraging with the beautiful Mary & Dermot from Forage Ireland.  Sadly, we heard this week that Mary lost her battle with cancer just after Christmas and it is more than true that the world has lost a shining light.  I'll never forget her vibrancy and how she hung back during the forage walk to talk pregnancy and kids and not depriving yourself of the good things in life with me.  I write all about it here.

Forage Ireland Maven Session

OCTOBER: 

+  I read a book that really got me thinking about how we have seasons and rhythms in this life and it's up to us to choose what we fit on the balance beam that keeps us sane.  I share thoughts on 'doing it all' and the things that are on and off the beam for me this season here. 

+  Smoked Paprika & Sea Salt Pumpkin Seeds.  GET IN MY BELLY. Recipe here.

SMOKED PAPRIKA & SEA SALT PUMPKIN SEEDS

+  Another big hitter and huge discussion gatherer was this post on 'Positively Parenting' and how the way we talk about being parents is really important - particularly how/where/who we share the tougher stuff with.  You can read that one here.

NOVEMBER:

+  We got rid of our TV.  We really have and it's been so. flipping. good.  More on that decision here.

+  If you are in detox mode already (or even if you're not!) you'll want to give this slow roasted tomato soup recipe a whizz - such hearty goodness.

Roasted Tomato Soup

+  I started to get into Christmas mode and launched the Indie Christmas Giveaway, highlighting the most amazing indie businesses here in Northern Ireland and giving away some incredible gifts.  I also shared my top 6 tips for being ethically mindful on the lead up to Christmas.

+  I had some interesting and challenging interactions over the internet this year; some that really inspired me and some that left me feeling really hurt and betrayed and it woke me up to the reality of how this new age of social media really does not have the capacity to hold emotions or empathy well.  I put some thoughts and resolutions around this out there in this post.

DECEMBER:

+  Swooping into full scale Christmas mode, I shared 2 printable resources for families to use:  1) Advent Activities for Families and 2) 'Presence' Presents to give your child - both resources designed around building connection and creativity with your kiddos.

+  I LOVED talking through how we all do the whole 'Santa' thing with you guys, and I wrote about some decisions we've landed on with how we talk about it all here.

Simple Christmas Makings Advent Branch

+  With all the scary things we see in the media, with all the difficult relationships we face, with all the negative conversations and isolating of people who are different to us that goes on in our homes, churches, workplaces, online lives etc, this post talks about how most of what we see going on in these situations is just fear and how much better the world would be if we were a bit more honest about what we are afraid of.

Good gracious, I have LOVED this year in blogging and writing.  I've also loved the opportunity to connect with readers on Facebook - FINALLY giving in and making a separate page for my blog (come hang out with me there!)

So here's to 2016: may we all be a little gentler on the world, each other and ourselves, taking the time to find what truly makes us come alive.  

HAPPY NEW YEAR XO

Mel