2015 - A Year in Review

2015 has been a rollercoaster of a year. There have been so many ups and quite a few downs. It’s been a year of change. But more than anything, I feel like it’s been the year when I’ve finally found myself.

Looking back, I can’t believe how much has happened this year and how much I’ve accomplished. I’m so thankful for the opportunities that have come my way and that’s what I want to celebrate today. I’ve seen these 2015 review posts around the blogosphere lately, so I wanted to join in and share my own highlights.

2015 - A Year in Review - A Branch of Holly

Top 5 Highlights of 2015

1. Getting the best job I could wish for as a Marketing Coordinator at a local sixth form College.
2. Seeing the sights, drinking cocktails and watching the sun go down in Nice, with Tom.
3. Our first family holiday in a long time to the beautiful Penrith.
4. My brother, Michael, getting a fantastic degree and going onto do a Masters.
5. Seeing Chvrches live in Newcastle, which was one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to.

Blogging Achievements

1. In Summer, I finally made the decision to up my blogging game. I transferred ABOH from Blogger to Squarespace and designed the whole site myself. I was scared at first and there were a few tears. But with help from Tom and support from my family, I did it. Six months on, I know it was the right thing to do. My confidence is definitely growing, because I want to make even more changes now!

2. I also feel like this was the year when I found my blog direction. At the start of 2015, I felt lost, confused and just didn't know what to do. There was even a point when I felt like packing it in altogether. But I’m glad I didn't - that was what I needed to finally find the right direction. I’m planning on going even further with it next year.

3. I’ve been blogging since September 2013, but this is the first time that I’ve felt like I’m really nurturing a community. I’ve made friends online and there are people who regularly visit this space that make it all worthwhile. Here’s to growing our friendships and the community next year!

4. My knowledge has continued to grow. It amazes me how much I’ve learnt from running my own blog. Some people give bloggers a lot of stick. But you need determination, motivation and passion to do what we do. It’s not easy to run a website, manage social media, come up with ideas, take photos and build a community. I’m learning everyday and I love that.

5. I also feel like I’ve gained a lot more confidence with my blog this year. I’m not afraid to reach out to people and start conversations now. Two years ago I would’ve been. I’m glad that’s changed. I’m even thinking about taking a step into vlogging…

6. The last achievement is some of the milestones I’ve reached over the past year. I had two main goals I wanted to achieve by the end of this year. 1000 Twitter followers and 100 email subscribers. I’ve exceeded both of these. I’ve now got 1,271 followers on Twitter and 106 of you are on my VIP list! I’m planning on doing things to make those numbers even bigger next year.

2015 in Numbers

12: Places I’ve visited this year, including Lancaster just up the road, the Cotswolds and France, across the sea!

48: Hours it took to transfer my blog from Blogger to Squarespace

1: Gig I went to this year

3: Jobs I’ve had this year - thankfully I’ve found the right one now!

4491: Tweets posted over at abranchofholly!

Some Personal Goals

1. Getting my job as Marketing Coordinator is definitely my biggest personal achievement this year. I never thought I’d be able to go through such a gruelling process and come out at the very top. I’ve turned from such a shy girl into a confident, assertive woman and I honestly couldn’t be more proud. 

2. I became totally sure of myself. This is the first time when I’ve felt completely comfortable in my skin and sure of who I am. I’m more independent and don’t worry as much about doing things for myself.

3. I’ve also not been afraid to take steps to build the life I want to live. I exercise everyday to look after myself. I eat well, but still treat myself, because I know how important my body is. Everything I’m doing now I know is leading directly into the life I’ll be living when it’s time to start my own family.

4. I got my first public speaking gig because of my blog. I did a one hour lecture to a group of Journalism students about building yourself as a brand, as well as a two hour workshop on crafting headlines and writing brand statements. I enjoyed it so much and it’s something I definitely want to do more of in the future.

5. Tom and I decided this year that we want to move into a house together. We’ve been saving up for just over a year now and we’re getting to the stage where it’s time to start looking. We celebrated two years together in September and I can’t wait to share my home with him. Here’s to many more years with each other!

The Sad Memories

This really has been a year of change. We lost my Grandma to Alzheimers in July, a few days before her birthday. We spent so much time with her in the six months before she died that a huge hole has been left for all of us. I think about her everyday.

This also meant that Christmas was going to be very different for us as a family this year. Usually, my Grandma and Granddad would come round for Christmas dinner. When we lost my Granddad in 2009, it turned into just my Grandma coming. But this year, neither of them would be there, so we went away. We knew we couldn't spend Christmas at home because there would just be too many hard memories. But we always try and remember the brilliant things about them.

My Nana also suffered a battle with breast cancer this year. We’re blessed that’s she’s been given the all clear now.

In 2015, I Discovered…

  • Benefit mascara. I know - where have I been?! It is seriously the best mascara I’ve ever used. Major boyfriend points to Tom for buying me a new tube for Christmas!
  • My own style. I know what suits me and I know what I want. That has come with falling in love with exercise, which I’m definitely keeping up in 2016. Which leads me onto…
  • Fitnessblender - easily the best fitness site ever. The amount of workouts on there is amazing. I never get bored. There are so many on there and that’s what I love. My body never gets bored or complacent, because there’s always something new.
  • Shellac nails. Yep, I’m officially addicted!

 

Thank you to each and every single one of your for your support this year. It’s been so much fun and you’ll never know how grateful I am for you. I’ve made some special friendships and I can’t wait to get to know even more of you in 2016.

The only thing left is to find out more about what you want! Do you think I should venture into vlogging? More lifestyle content? Social media tips? Creative content? Anything else? Let me know!

And remember, you’ve still got a couple of days to tell me what you think in my reader survey. Just click right here to get started. It’ll only take you two minutes, I promise!

 

I really do wish you all the best for 2016. See you in January for the #BloggingBreakthrough challenge!

 

What have been some of the highlights of your year? Let me know in the comments!


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