ABC of 2015

As per tradition, my year in ABCs and lots of pics – featuring lots of my favourite people!

Autumn is an odd place to begin a recap of the year, but I wrote this piece about the turning of the seasons this autumn and so many of you said “me too!” to the pain and the joy in letting go. You can read it here.

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Brown Paper Packages was born in April from a dream I had of taking my doodling to the next level. It became a joint business endeavour that Dan and I work on together and has been SO. MUCH. FUN. Dan paints and I hand-letter, and we’ve worked on weddings, events, greeting cards, bespoke presents, customised homeware and even a proposal! You can visit us on Instagram and Facebook, and place your order here.

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Capture NI is my way of celebrating the beauty and richness of Northern Ireland. It’s a hashtag for Twitter and Instagram as well as a series on my blog. Catch up with my posts here. As a part of the series, I’ve LOVED interviewing local creators – you can see my posts with The Bearded Candlemakers, Lines & Current, and others here.

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Darkness was a recurring theme in how we talked about the world this year. Displaced refugees, violence, natural disasters, loss, kidnapped girls, personal sorrow, human trafficking, relationship breakdown, racism, vicious attacks – it was a dark year. I wrote about the hope I have from watching people kicking holes in the darkness until it bleeds light here.

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Ears allow us to listen, which is the theme of the Four Corners festival I’ve been so privileged to be working on in preparation for Jan/Feb 2016. I was honoured to be invited to join this passionate, thoughtful and electric team of peace-makers and can’t wait to see what’s next.

Film. I started using the video function on my camera in January of this year as a way of documenting some of the adventures Dan and I were having. It ended up being something I absolutely love and was able to use in different parts of the world this year! You can find me on Vimeo here.

Geneva: I got to show Dan around the place I grew up in at the end of the summer while we visited for my sister’s wedding. It was one of my favourite holidays so far.

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Home. It’s a funny thing. As the world got bruised and beaten this year, I reflected on that ‘wanting to go home’ feeling. I wrote about it in my second most read post of the year, which was also an Advent Reflection.

Instagram became a new favourite digital tool. I shared my top Instagram tips here – and you can find me on Instagram itself by following this link.

July was a very exciting month – after celebrating and fulfilling bridesmaid duties at my cousin’s wedding in Edinburgh, Dan and I headed to Tamil Nadu in India to work with an incredible charity out there. You can find out more and see our vlog from the trip here. I also used VSCO to store some of my favourite photos from our time in India: you can see them here and here.

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Kiki, my little sister, got married in our hometown in Switzerland and I go to be her maid-of-honour! It was a beautiful day with friends and family against the backdrop of stunning mountains overlooking the lake.

Lyric: Dan and I got to visit The Lyric Theatre in Belfast a lot this year and loved delving into the delights of the local theatre scene. You can read my review of the last show we saw before Christmas here.

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Marriage – this was our first full year of marriage and I have a lot of thoughts about how enriched my life has been as Dan’s wife – more than I can share here! I will say this: having Dan to awaken and drift off to sleep with each day, no matter what it may bring, is a profound privilege that I pray I never take lightly.

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No More Traffik had a big, encouraging AND challenging year of growth and progress, with a record number of training sessions, insightful campaigns throughout the year and an ever-strengthening network of activists across NI. You can stay in touch here.

(++ It was especially lovely to work with my friends Pete Waugh and Jude Hill on a MLK-inspired project run by Sombros and Pete K which you can find here.)

On the Longest Night of the Year was a poem I wrote for a friend whose year has been incredibly difficult. May it bring you courage as you read it.

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Privilege. I’ve tried to check mine more this year, and to listen to perspectives and voices that are different to mine. I encouraged others to do the same in my most read post of 2015, On Cake and Privilege and Speaking Up and Shutting Up.

Quiet. 2015 was the year I really became comfortable with my own introversion, having a stereotypically extroverted skill-set. And I love it! Susan Cain was instrumental in this – a mini-review of her book, Quiet, can be found here. 

Rebrand. My lovely friend Ben gave my digital media a rebrand – all the lovely logos you see on here are from his! Find his work at angelandanchor.com.

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Strategy – of the branding kind – was something I really enjoyed working on this year with various clients through Angel & Anchor (see above!) and projects I am involved in. I love working out vision and values, and then developing tools with which to communicate these and build a brand.

Tweeter of the Year 2015 – my first digital award! I wrote about my top Twitter tips here. Big thanks to Premier for the encouragement through their Digital Awards.

Uroliths. I had to Google words beginning with ‘U’ as my inspiration had run out and discovered this one that I’d never heard of. It has a rather unpoetic meaning, so let’s just leave it at that.

Veganism is something Dan and I have explored this year and hope to do more of in the New Year. Maybe it’s one too many Netflix documentaries or Deliciously Ella recipes, but it seems the right direction to take. For now, have a go at my yummy vegan peanut butter balls!

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Wardrobe clear-outs: I’ve had several this year as I’ve explored the benefits of minimalism and the space it provides. Perhaps 2016 will be the year of the capsule wardrobe – whatever happens, I’m enjoying the freedom from Too Much and Must Buys. I wrote about my farewell to fast fashion here.

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X…add an ‘E’at the beginning and let me away with ‘Exit’? I SO greatly benefitted from the act of leaving or exiting my environment for a little while several times this year, beginning with a particularly poignant 24 hours in January along with some other friends. The fresh perspective and insight being out of your context can bring to your context is a wonderful thing.

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You are enough and enough is enough. I hoped off the merry-go-round of constant self-improvement and learned that it’s something I have to do everyday. This piece seemed to strike a cord with you, too.

Z. I mean, how many usable words actually begin with Z?! So I’ll leave it hear. Thank you for taking this whirlwind tour through 2015 with me. Your friendship and engagement with the things I have written has made this year on the blog a wonderful one. Thank you. Here’s to plenty more in 2016!

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