Today marks two whole years that The Strawberry Post has existed! Wooo! ๐Ÿฅณ It’s so weird, I feel like I’ve only been blogging here for a year but no, it’s been two whole years already and what a year this year has been.ย  I’ve really settled into life on this blog and have done some new things and become more confident as a blogger than I’ve ever been before.

Blog achievements

This last year has seen my blog grow in followers (thank you!) to numbers that I don’t think I’ve ever had on any other blog before.ย  I now have over 650 followers on WordPress and all together, counting social media, at last count I’ve reached 2,267 followers on this blog!ย  I know some people have a LOT more followers than me but I am just happy that you guys are out there and want to read what I write. ๐Ÿ™‚

Although the last year has been pretty bumpy since March, and I’m sure you can all guess as to why that is, I’ve pushed myself to start something I didn’t ever have the courage to do before and that is my reading challenge.ย  The challenge was a bit all over the place, not well organised seeing as it was a last minute invention, but I’m still proud that I tried to start #Febookary and next year I hope it will gain some ground as I’m going to dedicate more time to the build up and have posts in mind to keep up the momentum of it.

As well as the reading challenge I really threw myself into book tag territory.ย  Before this year I tried the odd tag here and there but it wasn’t really something I had a love of doing.ย  But now I’m like a blogger possessed and I can’t get enough of them! ๐Ÿ˜€ย  Doing tags filled in a lot of gaps where I had planned to post something else on my blog, but with the circumstances surrounding world events I found it hard to post everything I wanted to (more on that below).

One more big thing that I’ve started to enjoy and plan to do more of is take part in blog tours.ย  Untilย  August I hadn’t taken part in a blog tour on this blog before and I’ve really enjoyed them all!ย  Blog tours end up hyping up a book, which often deserves it, but I’m always honest about my feelings towards a book and my blog tour reviews are just like any others,so I hope you like them and they’re helpful to you. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  It’s actually been exciting to have access to so many amazing new books, ones that are destined to be big releases, thanks to the blog tours! ๐Ÿ˜€

One other new thing that’s had me excited is I’m also receiving books from more publisher’s than I’ve previously had the privilege of working with.ย  ย 

As my blog also reached 20,000 views (which sounds cool, that’s why I’ve said it here ๐Ÿ˜€ !) I have started to accept guest posts and conduct more author interviews than I ever did before.ย  Having guest posts isn’t something that I planned originally to have much of on my blog, but I think it’s nice to share my space with some great minded people and as long as the content is something I would be interested in reading myself I allow it to be posted here, and I hope you all enjoy those posts when they happen.ย  As far as guest posting myself on other platforms though, that’s something I’m still working on doing! ๐Ÿ˜ณ

Personal problems

The last few months since March have been especially difficult for me personally and not just for the obvious reasons that everybody expects.ย  When things first got crazy and the world went into lockdown I coped like anyone else did.ย  But as time went on, things started to go wrong for me health-wise and I took a bad turn in the summer when I collapsed and also blanked out, losing several minutes, where I literally don’t remember what I was doing or what was happening around me although I was awake that time.ย  It was scary and something I’d never experienced before, but it wasn’t the last time it happened and on top of that diabetic stuff, I started to suffer some bad chronic body pain.ย  Nothing I was experiencing was like anything I’d ever had before and I just didn’t know what or why it was happening.

As time went on though I kept this to myself, I didn’t want to drag down the mood of my blog, and I hate being someone who dwells in negativity so I tried my best to hide what was happening, to pretend that I was okay.ย  But things for me weren’t okay, they haven’t been for a while, because the health service that in the UK we call the NHS (National Health Service), for me, has practically disappeared. ๐Ÿ˜ฆย  I know it’s different for everyone up and down the country, but it’s scary that where I live I can never see a specialist (diabetic and otherwise) again (or so it seems) and even my GP won’t see me except by telephone which in theory is okay, unless you have something that needs physical checking, like the source of my bizarre chronicย  pain (which feels like it’s in the bones or muscles but needs checking to see which).ย  It also doesn’t help my anxiety when I recently discovered that a friend of mine had a life-threatening infection but couldn’t get to speak to their GP for a whole week after making a telephone appointment.ย  It took a week to just speak on the phone and she didn’t get any medication for that week too, it was such a dangerous infection worse could have happened, but thankfully she’s alright now though. ๐Ÿ™‚

Having all these health problems which I’d never experienced before suddenly caused, in part by the lack of decent healthcare in my area, led me to struggle to often write up the blog posts that I really wanted to.ย  And when I did have the time and physical ability to write what I wanted to I often felt unable to voice my true opinion on things, because I felt awkward in being able to say what was going on or how I didn’t agree with some of the measures being taken by government.ย  I basically wanted to rant about what’s been happening to me and others in my situation.๐Ÿ˜…

The last month has been a bit of a break through though.ย  I’m starting to get back on track with some of my health issues (thank goodness).ย  The lack of a specialist is still a major problem which I can’t see being resolved, ๐Ÿ˜ฆ but sharing, rather than bottling up my emotions with someone who is close to me has helped free them from my mind (rather than letting them fester) and helped me to realise that I still struggle with being a perfectionist and not wanting to let anyone down or admit that I have a problem when I do.ย 

I’m now writing up content for this blog again, articles which not everyone may agree with but are about issues I feel need talking about, and hopefully they’ll be well met regardless, as well as the more light-hearted stuff that I like to talk about! ๐Ÿ™‚

Future goals

For the next year of my blog I really hope I can do more. I want to be able to be more comfortable still with myself and not worry about what people will think of what I write – it’s been made painfully clear that it’s still an issue sometimes๐Ÿ™„.ย  I want to work on writing more poetry seeing as that has always helped me to keep my mind at ease, a sort of cathartic experience and it’s something I haven’t done enough of lately.ย 

Having a decent #Febookary challenge that more than a couple of people will join in with, would be amazing too๐Ÿ˜….ย  I also have had a majorly geeky idea of creating a book tag or tags based on a videogame that I like to play but not something so popular like The Sims or Animal Crossing, but more, SimCity or Sonic๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคฃ.ย  It will really show just how videogame geeky I am! ๐Ÿ˜›Let me know if you think I should post it or not?

I’m still moving over a lot of my old reviews and poetry from my old blogs and I’ve had the idea of moving over some interviews I’ve done with authors in the past too.ย  I struggled to decide whether to do it or not after asking for opinions on twitter and getting two that conflicted with each other! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธBut I think I will share just one or two that don’t seem dated, and maybe cull out some questions that make no sense anymore like “What are you currently working on?”.ย  Again, let me know what you think of this idea. ๐Ÿ™‚

I also still want to get out there on YouTube one day, although I’m realising that I want to be more prepared before my first video.ย  It’s still a goal I want to strive for and one I’m thinking about a lot these days, but maybe I’ll start with podcasts instead and work my way towards videos.ย  If anyone has any advice on podcasts or videos please let me know, even help on the basics like how to record them (I’m really not sure how to podcast, lol) ๐Ÿ™‚

Apart from all of that the only other thing I want to achieve is more engagement with people and to have more time to visit other people’s blogs (and heck, maybe a few more followers).ย 

The blogging community is a great one, so friendly and nice, and I’ve met some truly wonderful people on here. ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I know I said it last year, but I really couldn’t do this without you, to everyone who reads this, you make my blogging experience so worth it! โค Thank you for all your support and I hope you’ll still want to read my blog when I finally reach my third blog anniversary! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

How long have you been blogging?ย  What blog goals do you have?ย  Do you have you any advice for me?ย  Let me know what you think in the comments below ๐Ÿ™‚