2015 – my year in review
2015 for me has been a great year! I have had so many opportunities presented to me, and my life has completely changed (for the better). Let’s have a look at some of the highlights for 2015!
Became a STEM Ambassador – In January I registered as a STEM Ambassador with the Museum of Science and Industry. This meant that I could get more involved with encouraging young people into careers in science, technology, engineering and maths. Since then I have helped out in local Code Clubs, a Forensic Science Club, CoderDojo, and it has allowed me to develop and facilitate workshops for children through my work at MadLab, including the Code & Craft workshops and Hour of Code 2015.
CodeUp Manchester – February saw the first session for CodeUp Manchester, the Code Club for adults I c0-founded at the end of 2014. Since its first session in February, CodeUp has gone from strength to strength, and through regular monthly meetups, and additional workshops, we have supported over 500 adults learn how to code!
Escape Room UK – Manchester’s newest escape game opened in February 2015, and has solidified itself as one of my favourite ever companies throughout the year. Playing three rooms at their Manchester site, and one at their Preston site, I have loved all of their rooms, with Room 13 in Manchester currently coming out at the top of my all time favourite rooms list!
Moved into our new house – Although we technically purchased our first home together in November 2014, it wasn’t until March that the house was completed and we could move in. We absolutely love our new home, and we’re excited that we’re almost one year in to our life with a mortgage!
City Dash – March was the first time City Dash came to Manchester, and this was a great pervasive street game that we enjoyed so much, we ended up playing again when they returned later in the year. We’re also hoping they come back in 2016 with their rumoured zombie chase version of the game!
Leeds Horror Film Festival – Previously the Leeds Zombie Film Festival, this year they branched out to include all sorts of different horror styles. This is always a fun film festival for us to go to, and we’re really liking the changes they have made.
Digital Skills for Women – A program launched by MadLab ran for its second year, and I was brought in as one of the Digital Skills Facilitators, running two day workshops on Social Media and Intro to Web Development.
Kezie Foods – In May we finally took the plunge and spent £60 on exotic meat from Kezie Foods. We have craved horse since leaving Iceland, and this was a great opportunity for us to try out a bunch of new meats.
Started my own company – Rather than put my work through self employment, I decided to take the plunge and register my own limited company, GirlGeekUpNorth Ltd, which will handle jobs for digital skills facilitation, as well as other services I can offer.
Persepolis Ingress Anomaly – After participating in the Helios Anomaly in 2014, we found that this side of the game was much more enjoyable than general day to day play. Since then, we hadn’t played much, but we were excited to join another Anomoly, and had a great day out in Liverpool with the Manchester Enlightened team.
Got my dream job – In July I made a deal with MadLab to quit my job and go full time with them, and it’s been a whirlwind ever since. I’ve never had a job that I really love before, and MadLab has brought me some amazing opportunities.
Spartan 5k – I also ran my first 5k Obstacle Course race in July, and it was a great experience. It’s something completely different to everything I have done before, but it was right up my alley getting stuck in and trying something different. I may have been battered and bruised by the end of it, but it was so much fun, I’m excited to possibly run this again in 2016.
Trapped Up North – Just when we thought Manchester didn’t need any more escape game companies, another comes along who manages to add something new and exciting to the mix. Being a lover of horror, I adored how House of the Dead combined the escape room and scare attraction experience into one.
CodeBug – August saw my CodeBug kickstarter finally arrive! I loved this little programming electronic device, and the simplicity of the drag and drop programming drove me to develop workshops for children through MadLab to deliver all across Greater Manchester.
National Coding Week – For National Coding Week 2015, I pulled together both CodeUp Manchester and MadLab to develop and deliver five short digital skills workshops to almost 100 adults in one day.
BarCamp Manchester – My second run at the annual technology unconference was amazing, and the feedback indicated that it was the best one yet. Over 200 people attended over the course of the weekend, the food was amazing, and we even had Google Cardboards to give away in swag bags!
Esdevium Games – September also saw me connect with Esdevium Games, a board game publisher, who I work with to sample and review a selection of their games. I’ve loved working with Esdevium, and have been lucky to have been sent some amazing games such as Pandemic The Cure, Saboteur and Ticket to Ride!
Grimmfest – This year I was very excited to be able to cover the Grimmfest Horror Film Festival, and I even had the opportunity to interview some of the cast and crew! Stand out films for me by far were Turbo Kid and Howl, and I loved interviewing Paul Hyatt the director of Howl, and Dominic Brunt and the producers of short film The Box, who were all really lovely. We also saw the World Premiere of DxM, which unfortunately seemed to miss the mark, and made for a slightly more awkward interview with the director and producers, but the experience on the whole was amazing, and I would love to be able to do it again in 2016.
Halloween – When the Scare Parks open is one of my most favourite times of the year, and in 2015 all the attractions I visited were on top form, making it a very enjoyable season. In fact, I’m not even sure I can pick a favourite this year between Farmageddon, Scare Kingdom (and Psychomanteum) and House of the Dead, the North West certainly had some amazing attractions this year.
Manchester Science Festival – I was excited to cover the Manchester Science Festival this year, and by far my favourite bits were the adult ball pool (even though I sprained my foot jumping in) and the Infinite Monkey Cage with Professor Brian Cox.
Arduino – After my failed attempt at projects using arduino in 2014, I was excited to be able to attend the MadLab Intro to Arduino Workshop, and I finally managed to let loose and have fun with my blinking lights. It gave me a whole new outlook on programming, and now I’m much happier hacking away and experimenting with epectronics.
Watch the Skies – In November we ventured to Preston to play our first ever Megagame, and we loved it! The roleplaying aspect was a little difficult for us to pick up, as it’s much more involved than Werewolf, and we were confused for quite a lot of the game, but we had a really good time, and we’re definitely signing up to the next one.
Business Growth Hub – I was super happy in December to start facilitating workshops on getting started with WordPress as part of Eveolution by Business Growth Hub. December saw the first of several upcoming workshops, and these will continue into 2016.Thanks for reading!
Like me on Facebook - Follow me on Instagram - Follow me on Twitter