2015 was an epic year for New Girl in Toon and I've had some wonderful experiences and opportunities. There are so many highlights - being named one of the region's most influential tweeters in the Journal's Twitterati, a record number of page views in the Summer and becoming a regular writer for Wow 247 being just a few.
Ask an 18 year old girl with little confidence what career she wants and she'll probably shrug her shoulders, look at the ground and do anything she can to fade into the background and avoid the question. I was that girl. I never knew what I wanted to do and being painfully shy held me back for so many years.
This blog has given me the confidence I never had and I now love meeting new people, making great friends, working with fantastic brands and supporting local business. This shy girl can now network with complete strangers, have meetings with brands and has finally started to admit to herself that there's a hell of a lot of things she can do!
It makes me giddy with excitement to think about what 2016 could bring.
But for now, here's a look back at my Top 10 most read blog posts of the year. Click on the title to read each post and enjoy!
1. Budgeting for your House Move - 21 August 2015
In 2015 Simon and I became homeowners. I will admit there were times when I thought we'd never be able to do it and I wasted many tears of frustration every time I sat down and thought about how much money we'd need. But we did it and you all came along for the ride!
2. Afternoon Tea at the Running Fox, Felton - 27 March 2015
On my birthday this year we decided to take an epic bus journey out into Northumberland for afternoon tea at the Running Fox. It was absolutely amazing and all these months later I still dream about those huge wedges of pie.
3. North East Staycation: Afternoon Tea at St Mary's Inn - 29 July 2015
Lack of funds saw us holidaying in the North East and it seems having a staycation in this beautiful part of the world is very popular as blogging about our day trips brought record numbers of readers to New Girl in Toon. Visiting St Mary's Inn for afternoon tea was a much welcome rest from all of our adventures.
4. Manny's Pizza Deli - 26 May 2015
2015 saw many new restaurants opening in the Toon with Manny's Pizza Deli being the favourite with my readers. We enjoyed mammoth slabs of delicious pizza and I got an embarrassing amount of cheese on my chin.
5. North East Staycation: Alnwick Garden - 27 July 2015
Our Summer staycation was the perfect excuse to visit places that had been on our Northumberland Bucket List for ages. Our first trip to Alnwick Garden was a great success and we spent far too long playing about on the rope bridges at the Tree House!
6. North East Staycation: Beamish - 28 July 2015
My obsession with Beamish has officially begun. Having not grown up in the North East I didn't get to have the experience as a child and seeing it all for the first time back in the Summer was fantastic. As soon as we have a car we'll be buying ourselves a pass and going back time and time again!
7. Man Vs Food, Heaton - 27 August 2015
I think we all know that Simon and I love eating so we were very excited to hear that a Man Vs Food was opening in Heaton. The portions are epic but we're still yet to attempt one of the food challenges.
8. Wedding Chat: Budgeting for your Big Day - 28 October 2015
As if buying a house wasn't enough of a life changer, 2015 also saw Simon and I getting engaged. So far I have loved every second of planning our wedding and I think there's going to be a fair bit of wedding related chat on the blog as the big day creeps nearer.
9. Why you should relocate to Newcastle - 30 September 2015
It's no secret that I'm more than a little obsessed with Newcastle and I decided it was about time I let you all into the reasons why Newcastle is the best place to live and why you should relocate!
10. Newcastle's Best Grab and Go Lunches - 27 February 2015
I set myself the challenge of finding the very best independent sandwich shops in Newcastle and it was a great success. Any ideas what my next challenge should be?
.... and that brings us bang up to date and ready to start 2016!