MANY moons ago when I worked in journalism the end of the year would roll around and with it the obligatory Review of the Year pages in the paper.

God, I hated them with a passion. I worked primarily for local newspapers and trade magazines so my reviews consisted mainly of headlines like ‘Council sells land’ and ‘Man saves cat’. Really. It was painstaking, tedious work and by the end of it you wished simply for the sweet release of death.

It’s been a long time since I’ve worked in papers but each year around this time I raise a glass for all those journos still tied to their desks trawling through back issues of their paper trying to find something interesting that happened in June. I always swore I’d never write another Review of the Year as long as I lived, but then Sadhbh from Where Wishes Come From came up with a fun linky ’15 from ’15’ where you look back at 15 great/funny/thoughtful/whatever things that happened during the past year on your blog and I thought why not? Plus, I’m a big ol’ narcissist so any excuse to talk about myself and I’m in like Flynn. SO without further ado here are my 15 from 15.

1. Most Popular Blog Post: This year’s most popular post was from April and it was a letter I wrote to The Beast on the eve of his second birthday, detailing how I had taken my last antidepressant tablet and finally knocked post natal depression on the head. It was a hard post to write, I shared some personal stuff, but it was celebratory as well. I’m glad I wrote it and I’m really glad it was my most popular post, mainly for this reason: whenever I write about PND or anxiety I get dozens and dozens and dozens of comments, emails, PMs, DMs, the works from women all over Ireland saying ‘me too’. Me too, me too, me too. Mental health is still, despite excellent strides over the past few years, something that is seen as taboo, something that isn’t talked about or is talked about in hushed tones. And in particular post natal depression is something that is often brushed under the carpet, not talked about or seen as something to be ashamed of. You have this beautiful new baby, what have you to be depressed about? I love that every time I open up about having suffered from depression, others speak up too. I love that reading about other people’s experiences of depression, helped ME to speak up. I love being part of this conversation and I hope in 2016 that conversation continues and grows.

2. Favourite Post: My favourite post this year was this one I wrote about having my eyebrows threaded for the first time. Mainly, I love the headline!

3. Favourite Photo: I’ll admit it. I’m one of those mothers. I take endless pictures of my kid. And of myself too. I’m the selfie queen. (Lissen, I told you at the start of this I was a big ol’ narcissist.) So this is a hard one as I’ve roughly eleventy billion favourite photos, but if I had to choose one, I’d pick this, of Seán and I feeding a sheep on our holidays.

15 from 15 fave pic

4. Best Adventure: I think this year it’d have to be parenting a toddler as opposed to a baby. The bottles are gone, the nightfeeds are gone, the naps are gone, we’re having full blown conversations. It’s beautiful and terrifying all at the same time!

Favourite swearword: I’ll level with you. In the original this was supposed to be ‘Favourite Craft’ but I’m not crafty, unless you mean in the ‘like a fox’ sense so I went with swearwords instead. DON’T QUESTION ME! Anyway, my favourite swearword is geebag. It’s so versatile, it can be both negative – ‘You’re only an oul geebag’ – or positive – ‘Ah howaya geebag!’ and it’s quintessentially Dublin.

6. Most Common Theme: Yeah, here’s where the ol’ narcissism comes in again. This is very much a personal blog so the vast majority of the posts here have been about me and/or my son. Occasionally my husband gets unfairly slagged off but mainly ‘me’ and ‘parenting’ have been the themes this year. And will probably be the themes for 2016 as well. Soz!

7. Favourite Comment(s): This is a really tough one, I treasure all of the comments I get here, I really do, they’re always so supportive and positive and I love that when I mess up and blog about it, I get loads of people commenting saying they have done the same thing and they relate. I love that. My top commenter this year was Sharon from Behind Green Eyes who is a fantastic, hilarious, sharp-as-a-whip blogger and if you’re not following her blog, then rectify that immediately.

8. Favourite Celebration: The Malteasers one. Surely that’s everyone’s favourite?

15 from 15 celebrations

9. My Best Move: It’s not a physical move, not even a new job or anything like that, more a shift in my mindset. I’ve become, moreso in recent months, a big advocate of the ‘Good for her, not for me’ philosophy. Simply, I’m trying to live my life as best I can and leaving others to worry about their own lives. It means less judgement, less stress, less worry and I feel like a better person for it. I really hope to continue in this mindset during 2016, cos really, to quote the great Danny Glover – I’m too old for this shit. Sure, I still get annoyed by things, people can still be gobshites, but the vast majority of it is not my concern, so I’m just going to worry about myself and my own little family.

10. Favourite Freebie: Believe it or not, I don’t get a huge amount of freebies from blogging. (And those that do get them work damn hard for them, by the way.) One gorgeous experience I was offered gratis this year though was an invitation to the Elephant’s Birthday Party in Dublin Zoo where myself, Yer Man and the Beast went off to the Zoo with some other lovely bloggers to have a private viewing of the elephant family having breakfast before the Zoo opened to the public. It was lovely, a beautiful family day out and we just adored it.


11. Best Blog Moment: I’m going to cheat here and put down two ‘best’ moments. The first was being a finalist in the inaugural Irish Parenting Bloggers (IPB) Blog Awards in the Entertainment category. I was SO chuffed to have been nominated and then voted a finalist, by this great group of bloggers. I didn’t win on the night but that didn’t matter, it was so lovely to have been a finalist.

My second favourite moment then was being part of the Virtual Coffee Morning and blog march established by a group of bloggers from the IPB in aid of the Ireland Calais Refugee Solidarity Campaign. A group of us got together and each wrote a blog post about the mounting refugee crisis in Europe, each of us touched and saddened by the impossible situations these families found themselves in. We then decided to try to raise a bit of money for those in need and set up a Virtual Coffee Morning, on Facebook, where people could have a cuppa in their own homes and then make a donation. The Ireland Calais Refugee Solidarity Campaign was a national effort, bringing food and supplies to the ‘Jungle’ refugee camp at Calais in France and our coffee morning raised about €4.5k for this great cause. I was so proud to be involved with it and so proud of everyone who took part. My hands were shaking all day watching the money come in, knowing just how much it would mean to those stranded in Calais.

12. Worst Blog Moment: I don’t think I had one! I was disappointed alright not to make even the long list for this year’s Blog Awards Ireland but it wasn’t the end of the world. But other than that, nothing really upset me this year. I suppose you could say I had a few ‘dry’ spells this year where I couldn’t blog/had nothing to blog about so that was a bit of a pain, but nothing really bad.

13. Favourite Title: I suppose it’d have to be Holy Cheesy Orgasm Noises Muffins, Batman. It’s quite a boring post about cheese and spinach muffins (could I BE more hipster?) but the title makes up for it!

14. Favourite Blog-Series: I didn’t start any myself but I loved taking part in Bumbles of Rice’s Barefaced Beauty linky and her Barefaced dinners linky too.

15. What My Blog Did For Me In 2015: Mainly it kept me sane. It gave me a place to write, to vent, to rant and to enjoy myself. It brought me loads of laughs and it’s a little space on the internet just for me. No rules, only those I make for myself, no deadlines, no regulations, no stress, just fun. And I love it.

So that’s it, that was my ’15 from ’15’. Thanks as ever for reading. Thank you for all the likes, comments, shares and love this year, it means a lot. You guys rock!

If you’d like to read more ’15 from ’15’ articles click on the badge below which will bring you to our host’s blog. Scroll down to the end to the little blue ‘frog’ icon and you’ll be able to click in and read to your heart’s content. Happy New Year!