There's no time to write a round up post than the start of a brand new year!
My 2015 started off in a rather stressful manner, my partner and I had just moved into our first house, a serious do-upper, with no central heating or even running water in the beginning! This move was also my fourth in 18 months and at the time, just felt like another unnecessary upheaval in my life.
Things also felt quite chaotic on the business side of things, I was unsure of where I wanted to go with both businesses and which direction was best. This lead to a lot of indecision and stagnation, especially when coupled with a serious case of self doubt.
I find it very strange how much the following also had a real impact - I started off the year having pretty much shaved my head (my hair was about 1 - 1.5" long.) This was quite liberating in one sense, as short hair is pretty low maintenance, however it resulted in me feeling quite self conscious and unsure of my general appearance.
As the year wore on, I definitely found my feet and started to move forward with my life! Like most things, there was no "aha!" moment, just a series of small developments which slowly pushed me forward.
There are however definitely are some highlights which are well worth singling out!
So here is what I got up to in 2015!
1. I finally felt comfortable in my own skin
I think this transition occurred quite late on in the year, around July/August perhaps. It wasn't exactly revolutionary, but one day I woke up and just felt OK about myself, who I am and what I'm doing.
The massive load of self doubt I had been carrying around for so long simply seemed to gently lift from my shoulders, I barely even noticed it happening!
What I did notice however was that I could finally get on with my life without questioning every decision 1000 times, or feeling like I couldn't stand up to the challenges I was facing.
I can't really explain why it happened either. If I were to hazard a guess, I would say that this change was a result of slowly trying to challenge aspects of my mindset and really working through negative thoughts in a rational manner.
2. I found my Tribe
This has to be literally one of the best things that happened to me in 2015 - meeting two very passionate and talented people, who I now consider friends as well as colleagues!
I met Ben and Grace, my co York on a Fork'ers, in late 2014. We published the first tentative issue that December, with no real expectations of readership or success.
2015 saw the magazine, which chronicles the vibrant York Food scene, go from strength to strength!
Not only did we manage to reach issue five, but we also moved from an online e-zine to a printed magazine, which can now be found across the city!
We also came highly commended in the 2015 O2 Media awards, a result which was beyond our wildest expectations for a publication in its first year! We plan to enter again in 2016 and maybe even take home the winners trophy!
I continue to be so proud of everything we have achieved and feel so lucky to count these two as close friends! I have a feeling we are going to be pretty unstoppable in 2016....
3. I launched New Products
Vincent's Coffee launched a brand new blend just in time for Christmas this year, complete with a beautiful new label design.
Despite being a real premium product, which meant it consisted of higher grade beans and therefore was slightly more expensive, it proved to be an absolute best seller.
Northern Star has also become my favorite blend, it's pretty much been exclusively in my hopper since we introduced it - it turns out that it's not hard to sell something which you love!
5. I worked for something I believe in
This applies to both Vincent's and York on a Fork, however I feel it was especially apparent in my work on Bright Ethics.
The thing is, I really do believe that Bright Ethics will help to create a more equitable, productive and profitable business environment here in the UK.
We ensure that consumers know if an organisation is really delivering on it's ethical promises and help those organisations develop better working conditions, create more environmentally friendly processes and really asses their supply chains for ethical conflicts.
This vision continues to drive me forward, especially when faced with the never ending cycle of ups and downs, which inevitably form part of the new business experience.
6. I met of interesting people
This year I have had the privilege of meeting a wide variety of individuals, in both a personal and business context.
Taking part in several business competitions, including The Pitch, was a great way to meet fellow entrepreneurs and really build a network of passionate and driven people. I would recommend the experience to anyone!
I'm really hoping that these new relationships will continue to grow and develop in 2016!
7. I explored the world with my favorite person!
I don't like to talk too much about my partner on here, as I want to respect his privacy, however I can't talk about 2015 without mentioning Des and all the adventures we have been on over the past year!
Whilst our schedules have made travelling quite tricky at times, we still have managed to squeeze in a few trips here and there. My absolute favorite has to be the time we spent in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Northern Spain.
If I'm honest, most of the week was spent eating and drinking our way through the city streets, interspersed with some sightseeing. This is a pattern I am hoping to repeat in 2016!
8. I ate a lot of very, very, good food
From wine tasting in Spain, trying out new recipes at home, or sampling the best restaurants in Yorkshire, 2015 was definitely the year of culinary delights!