Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 in review ❤

Hello chums, I know that in my last post I mentioned that the next one would probably be Star Wars themed... but as you can see, this is not the case. Since 2015 is now drawing to a close, I thought I'd keep up the annual tradition of taking a look back at the year gone by and writing a little bit about it. 

rest assured I WILL definitely blog about Star Wars in the New Year. I'm going to see 'The Force Awakens' for the third time next week (yes, really) so I'll make time to write about my love for all things Star Wars then instead.

so, on with the post. 2015 was a funny old year, as always there were some highs and lows along with plenty of laughter and tears. But then isn't every year like that?!

this is usually the point where I launch into a list of bullet points highlighting some of the ups and downs of the year... and you know what, I'd hate to disappoint so here you go!

this year I...
  • spent two weeks in Larnaca, Cyprus with my lovely parents back in February. It was a really nice trip and it was also the first time I'd been back to Cyprus since I was a child. I got to visit a beautiful 9th Century BC church (read about it HERE) all while enjoying the balmy Cypriot weather.  
  • was officially diagnosed with Aspergers. After 10 years battling with ongoing depression and anxiety I finally got some answers this year when my therapist suggested that I might have Aspergers. This kicked off a spate of written, audio and visual tests that culminated in a 3 hour interview in August where I received my diagnosis from a clinical psychiatrist and consultant psychologist from the UK. It's been fascinating learning about it all and why I'm the way I am. 
  • got discharged from the local Mental Health Service. I originally started treatment back in February 2014 and I'm happy to announce that I was discharged in November of this year. I know that things won't be easy without the regular help of the service, but I'll do my best to get on with things by myself.  I'm hoping regular walks to the Glen will help.
  • saw a great increase in online sales. In 2015 I really pushed myself to promote my work online, especially via Instagram, and eventually it started to pay off because I've had a definite boost in international sales this year. To put it into perspective, this time last year I got 5 orders in the whole of December, whereas this year I've had 111 orders since December 1st. 
  • became a Godmother to a super sweet little girl. Back in September, Hayley one of my best friends from my college days kindly asked me to be Godmother to her youngest daughter Imogen. Obviously I said I'd be totally honoured and the Christening day was so lovely (read about it HERE if you like). I'm so grateful to Hayley for letting me be a part of her children's lives, I really love the afternoons I get to spend with her and her lovely girls. 
  • dressed up as a 50's style Ghostbuster and spent the day walking around town on Halloween in my customized costume. Yeah I know, I'll never grow up, but this year I literally did not care what people thought of me, and I rather enjoyed my day as a Ghostbuster, I'm sure I'll crack out the outfit again when the new Ghostbusters movie comes out in 2016. 
  • read 101 books. This year I managed to complete my Goodreads challenge to read 100 books, next year I'm thinking I might try and push myself to 120, but we'll have to wait and see. It's hard to say what my favourite book of 2015 was, maybe 'The Library at Mount Char' by Scott Hawkins, it was bizarre but brilliant, with an interesting mythology and some brutal characters + well written. 
  • reached over 15k followers on Pinterest alone. I'm constantly striving to expand my online audience, it might sound petty and pointless to you if you're not big into the whole social media thing, but I definitely see an increase in sales when I get more followers online so It's worth the work and upkeep. This year my total reach went beyond 21,000 for all of my profiles combined, so fingers crossed that 2016 brings lots more new customers and sales (yes please!).  
  • went on local radio and talked about my Art and Aspergers. Yes it might seem odd, but in October I was invited onto the 'Women Today' program on Manx Radio, it was a live show and over the course of an hour I spoke about my artwork, what inspires me and explained a bit about my recent Aspergers diagnosis. It was a lot of fun, a bit nerve-wracking opening up about mental health on live radio but a great experience regardless. 
  • still didn't get a new job. I lost my job at the library in May 2014, and I've yet to get another job. I applied to another library but I never got an interview. And to be honest, other than that I haven't even really tried! At first it panicked me, I was starting to struggle financially, but now that the year is nearly over I'm not as down about it all as I probably should be. Yes I have no stable income BUT I get to spend every day doing what I love and that might be a naive viewpoint but It's more positive than getting all 'doom and gloom' about the situation. You never really know what's around the corner, who's to say I won't find a great job in 2016? Or maybe I won't, maybe I'll just continue working for myself instead. Who knows. 

 I can't really think of any more bullet points. But art and design wise, it's been a busy year. In 2015 I produced 100% girly and feminine work because I don't see why I should pretend that I want to design stuff for boys (newsflash, I don't). I added more new members to the 'Candy Doll Club' + developed brand new sticker, patch and pin designs and patterns to expand the Candy Doll Club as a brand. Feedback has been really positive and I love getting messages from customers sharing snaps of their new Girl Gang goodies. So yeah, I think I'm getting there, it might be rather slow progress but it is progress nonetheless. Here's a look at 12 of the new Candy Doll additions from 2015.


as always, it's also been a year of selfies! (For my views on why I think selfies can be super positive, check out this post HERE) Wherever I went on my travels, I made time to snap a pic of my face (I like to remind my Instagram followers that I'm a real life actual person, not just a machine mindlessly churning out girly illustrations) and like I've said before, I don't get many days where I feel good about myself so on the occasions when I look in the mirror and don't burst into tears, I like to take a photo to remind myself that I too can look like a mostly normal human being from time to time! So here are a few of 2015's selfies...


so that was 2015. Books, dressing up, Larnaca, Coventry, Dublin, Cork, France, Andorra, shopping, painting, packaging orders, good friends, great family, medical stuff, psychiatric stuff, airplane rides, boat journeys from hell, road trips, floods, good times and not so good ones. All in all, not a terrible year.

come on 2016, you can do better, I KNOW you can, don't let me down!

I don't have any plans for New Years Eve tomorrow night, my friends are all busy I think. I'm not sure whether or not to make an effort and leave the house, or just lock myself in my room and sleep through the midnight countdown etc. NYE isn't a great night for me to be without plans, I tend to go a bit loopy, I've no idea why but NYE just has that effect on me. It's like everything that's happened in the year comes crashing down on me and It's a bit of an emotional overload that I can't always deal with.  

I'm a bit scared to be honest, but hopefully this year I'll handle things a bit better than I did last year.

thanks for visiting, see you next year...