candids by Jo » a lifestyle blog that centers on food, travel and leading a creative life.

A toast to 2015

pouring beer bloody mary cocktail photopintopinterest2015 was not meant to be a remarkable year, not for me anyway. When I sat down to write my 2014 highlights I was a little dubious as to what the next 12 months could possibly bring after I so boldly claimed in my post that I experienced one of the best years I’ve ever had. That still stands true but I didn’t realize that in about 4 weeks’ time life was going to get a little more interesting, 10 shades more intense and leave me with a bit of whiplash.
Beer bloody mary styled with West Elm productspintopinterest

I was made a suggested user on Instagram at the beginning of the year. With that doors opened and various opportunities arose further escalated from being included in other lists & notable publications such as Delicious MagazineLondon Evening Standard and Time Out London.

It’s been a whirlwind, in good ways and bad; I have felt equal parts in awe (at the sheer amount of people who follow me) grateful (for the all opportunities that have come my way and the people I have met), overwhelmed and harried (with how much time I spend on this app and other social platforms, the quick paced nature of this bubble I’m living in and at times feeling like I’m never going to be able to catch up). But while newfound instafame was a huge part of my year what I value the most is something entirely different.
beer bloody mary with olives photopintopinterest

Where 2014 was a year about new beginnings, the spirit of 2015 was about finding my tribe. To quote a passage from The Element: How Passion Changes Everything (a book I highly recommend, not only to creatives but to anyone who has ever felt like a bit of an outcast):

“What connects a tribe is a common commitment to the thing they feel born to do. This can be extraordinarily liberating, especially if you’ve been pursuing your passion alone… Finding your tribe brings the luxury of talking shop, of bouncing ideas around, of sharing and comparing techniques, and of indulging your enthusiasms, or hostilities for the same things.”

I know surrounding yourself with like minded people isn’t anything new but for an expat who leans on the shy side and lives in a city as transient as London, it’s not really as easy as one might expect. For example, of the four friends I made during my first year in London, outside of the office and not counting the Brit’s friends who have become my own, three have already moved away.

Festive cheese plate styled with West Elm products photopintopinterest

My tribe consists of a melting pot of people who hail from different countries (mostly expats) with a passion for food, travel and/or photography. I was lucky enough to collaborate with many of them – whose work I admire and respect – in these personal projects over the year:

Another part of my tribe comes in the form of great travel mates: Jacintha, Giulia and Jess. This has been the year of what seems like nonstop travel for me. I’ll admit I’m grateful for a bit of a break over the next few weeks but the adventures I had and quality of the company I kept is far beyond what I expected for the year.

Gin fig elderflower tonic barcart styled with West Elm productspintopinterestBy now you might be wondering how all these photos tie in with this post or you just might be getting really thirsty. Sarka (my tribe-mate) and I thought it would be fun to end the year with a cocktails photoshoot. Despite being extremely short on time to prepare we had a lot of fun going with the flow taking turns mixing drinks, styling with West Elm barware and photographing these scenes and snapchatting along the way. I’ve included my recipe for an elderflower gin & tonic below and you can find the beer bloody mary on Sarka’s blog.

Gin elderflower tonic cocktail styled with West Elm products photopintopinterest

Gin & Elderflower tonic
serves 2

120 mL gin
50 mL elderflower extract
360 mL tonic
fresh lime juice
sliced cucumbers
sliced figs (optional)

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice add the gin, elderflower extract and a spritz of lime juice. Give it a good old shake and pour with a strainer into two glasses filled with ice. Add cucumber and fig slices as desired.

I haven’t really had a chance to think about what my goals are for the coming year but for now I’m just going to wrap myself in the comfort of all the good tidings that came my way. Cheers to a happy & healthy 2016!

Note: Special thanks to West Elm for providing their beautiful barware & bar cart for our photoshoot.

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  • ChicagoRed

    Your Chicago tribe awaits you in 2016! 🙂 Happy new year Jo!ReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      I cannot wait for our tribal reunion, haha!ReplyCancel

  • You are most definitely welcome to join the west elm tribe any day Jo! We adore this post – thank you to you and Sarka for being such talents! We can’t wait to work with you more in the future!ReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      Thank you! Look forward to more projects in the upcoming year.ReplyCancel

  • Kerri

    May 2016 be your best year yet! Sending love and well wishes from your Boston tribe 💜ReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      Likewise, I also hope to see my Boston tribe sooner than I think. Have a happy New Year Kerri!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth

    I am in awe of how you always pull together awesomeness. Cheers to an amazing 2016!ReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      Ha! I am too to be frank. Enjoy spending new years in the Hague Liz!ReplyCancel

  • Congratulations on your fantastic achievements on Instagram!ReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      Thanks Angie, appreciate your support! xxReplyCancel

  • My dearest Jo, you photographing my book and working (and playing!) with you was so much fun. May 2016 bring us books fruits of our labour xReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      Not only am I excited to see it in print, I also can’t wait to cook from it 😉 xxReplyCancel

  • The Gin & Edelflower Tonic looks so tasty 😉

    Hope you had a nice Christmas!

    Lisa | Joy Della Vita TravelblogReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      Thanks! The bonus of having the photoshoot is to be able to enjoy our creations 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Awww….thank you for the lovely mention, Jo! I am so glad we got to travel together many times this year, and we got to know each other better! You definitely deserve your “insta” fame, but I know you will achieve so much more this year! Your talent is great and I bet 2016 is going to be amazing!ReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      Our trips were such an unexpected surprise, so glad I got to experience Berlin, Venice and Sarlat with you. Hope there will be more in the new year! Happy New Year Giulia xxReplyCancel

  • A gorgeous post Jo. Beautifully written and shit (of course!) Enjoy a fabby new year xReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      Thanks for your support Michelle & have a wonderful new year! xReplyCancel

  • Unexpectedly good is usually the best kind! Definitely sounds like the recipe for a good year 😉

    I’m having a low key NYE but I’m thinking that the gin & elderflower cocktail definitely needs to feature in it!

    Hear’s to great 2016! xReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      It’s nice and zesty, perfect to ring in the new year with 🙂 Have a great one Laura! xxReplyCancel

  • What a fabulous 2015, Jo! The gin and elderflower tonic looks like the perfect drink with which to toast the arrival of 2016!ReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      Thanks Suze, hope you’re having a great start to the new year!ReplyCancel

  • Cheers to 2015! Was a great year for you, and your photography skills have taken you from strength to strength! Looking forward to seeing how 2016 unfolds, and hopefully we will get the chance to collaborate again in the future!ReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      It’s been a crazy year for the both of us, will be interesting to see how 2016 shapes up. We’ve come a long way since our first meet at FBC 🙂ReplyCancel

  • I hope 2016 is a good year!ReplyCancel

    • candidsbyjo

      Fingers crossed for the both of us 🙂ReplyCancel

  • It was a fabulous year! Such amazingly talented women – Long may the tribe continue, both this side of the pond and the other.
    Can not wait to see what 2016 will bring!
    … down the rabbit hole
    xx.ReplyCancel

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