Happy New Year! 2019 has a nice ring to it, don't you think? While heads might be a little sore from last night, they're also most likely swirling with possibility about how to make 2019 the best year yet. But while we love a good New Year's Resolution, we also love to spend New Year's Day reminiscing about the year that's passed. And here at IMAGE, that means all the amazing stories we've heard, read and wrote about in 2018.
2018 was a very special year for IMAGE — we welcomed a whole team of talented new writers to the fold, as well as being lucky enough to work with some brilliant contributors. We spoke to astounding women with unbelievable stories, and were lucky enough to be able to share them with our readers. We laughed, we cried, we got angry, we were inspired — it was a year unlike any other. And now, we get to look back on the year that was, and at the ten articles that you, the readers, deemed most worthy of a sit-down-and-read. Take a look, and feel free to revisit them if you want — they may bring back some memories.
Lisa and Dave had a more turbulent first few years of marriage than most. Just a few months before their wedding, Lisa's father was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour — something that turned her life upside down. When he died less than a year after their wedding, Lisa threw herself into a demanding job and parenting her two children. But she could have never expected that her husband Dave would be diagnosed with cancer soon afterwards. Lisa and Dave's story of how they battled through stress, grief and illness to eventually come out the other side is so inspiring.
9: Jenny Taaffe, lessons from my cancer diagnosis: ‘I am going to enjoy every second of my life from now on’
As Jenny Taaffe says herself, 2018 was a year of two halves for her. On the one hand, she enjoyed massive business success, overseeing her marketing firm iZest Marketing to becoming the leading travel and retail digital marketing agency in the country, taking on massive clients and expanding worldwide. On the other, in August of this year, Jenny was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Here, she tells Amanda Cassidy what she's learned in the short weeks since her diagnosis, and how her illness has given her an entirely new perspective on what's important.
8: Perspective: 'Three bodies buried beneath the pretty flowers that can never mask the ache that we feel'
The death of a sibling is one of the more rare types of grief that we experience in a family, but that doesn't make it any less painful. Aishleen, Katie-Anne and Charlotte O'Toole have had to deal with this unique grief, not one, but three times throughout their lives. As the entire family grieved time and again, the sisters had to figure out a new way of existing with the empty space left by their siblings.
Our resident Agony Aunt Rhona McAuliffe had her work cut out for her with this delicate problem from a woman in Munster. Torn writes that, after a tough year of mental health issues, she felt her family turn their backs on her and she became increasingly isolated. Except for the one person who reached out — her brother in law. As one thing led to another, Torn visited the house while he was alone and the pair ended up sleeping together. Now, she's at a loss at whether to confess to her sister, or keep the affair a secret. What advice would you give her?
Dyspraxia is a common disorder that affects a person's hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness. But, despite how common it is, the condition is still not recognised or supported enough by the education system, leaving children with the condition feeling frustrated and left behind. Amanda Cassidy speaks to experts across the board to find out why we're not doing enough to help with this invisible disability.
This time last year, we were very excited to reveal our 'One to Watch' list of women who we predicted would be making waves in 2o18. Since then, each and every woman has gone on to achieve bigger and better things than we ever expected. Who's on your watchlist for 2019?
Our love affair with smart, successful women is never over here at IMAGE, and it continued with Geraldine Carton's piece on eleven women who are making waves on the international scene with their very lust-worthy jobs. Fashion photographers, comedy writers, CEO's and social media managers are all included, giving their individual advice on how to break the mould and stand out when you head abroad for work.
The Belfast rape trial, which saw two well-known rugby players found not guilty of raping a 21-year-old woman at a party. The case sparked a massive national conversation about the issues of consent, rape culture, toxic masculinity, and how we respond and support (or don't, depending on the case) victims of rape and sexual assault in Ireland. Here, Lauren Heskin describes her truth about the Belfast rape trial, and the feelings the case sparked off in her.
Wedding mornings are a mishmash of emotions — anxiety, excitement, love, elation. The bridal party have to deal with all of that themselves, let alone soothing the bride of the day! Being a bridesmaid is all about making the wedding as easy and as enjoyable as possible for the bride, but when emotions are flying high, that can be hard to do. Here are the 9 do's and don'ts you should follow for a stress-free day (well, as much as possible).
And our number one most-read piece of the year is.... a reflection on being both ugly and beautiful by the inimitable Sophie White. Sophie has had the unique life experience of feeling both ugly and beautiful in terms of societal beauty norms and has noticed stark differences in how she has been perceived in these stages of her life. Her piece raises the issue of beauty politics — is there such a thing, what is it, and how can we work towards a more equal and fair world, regardless of a person's appearance.