2020 Yearly Brew: reflecting on the year, top posts, memories & hiatus announcement!

Hand on heart I am still stuck in March of 2020. I still can’t believe I’m 20, I can’t believe it’s 2021 tomorrow and I just…2020 has been a hard year for all of us.

Blogging Shenanigans

Most Viewed Posts Of 2020

This is for fun. I’m only sharing the top 3 because I like odd numbers ahem. This is excluding My Nominations For The Fourth Annual Book Blogger Awards (233 views). Reminder that this is not meant as a brag or flex in anyway, I just figured you may all find it interesting to see the top 3 most viewed posts on my blog along with the stats. I love seeing stats from other book bloggers…anyhoo.

Tips For Book Blogging On Free WordPress

At 292 it’s my most viewed post, I’m happy the post could be of use to so many of you! If you’re new to book blogging on WordPress, I’d suggest checking out my post above. I share some helpful tips that I’ve learned over my 3 years of blogging, that would have made such a huge difference had I known them sooner.

Ways To Improve Your Book Blog To Gain Followers, Increase Engagement & Tips For Small Book Blogs (Celebrating 1K Followers!)

My celebratory post for hitting 1K followers, has 223 views this year which considering how late on in the year I posted it…is pretty damn good? I don’t know what I did for it to perform so well. Although it’s likely everyone just likes reading advice/helpful posts. Again, small and big book bloggers alike check out my post if you’ve not yet. Lot’s of tips there for you, it’s a longer post but I break things down so I can go in depth for you all.

3 Important Blogging Lessons I’ve Learned

163 views this post serves as a reminder to all us book bloggers (and bloggers alike!). Specifically focusing on book bloggers though, this is our hobby. That comes with learning some hard lessons about the amount of time you have to give to this hobby. It’s very easy to get swept up in the bustle of the book community, to feel like you need to be reviewing all the new releases and that if you’re not or you don’t get arcs. That somehow makes you less than. 

You are enough. If you need that reminder go read the post, allow me to sing your praises and remind you that your blog is a space for you to share your passions. It shouldn’t be a space that causes you stress.

My Favourite Posts Of 2020

This year I stepped up my formatting game, which has helped me fall in love with my posts again. I’ve created some of my favourite posts this year and whilst they may not perform well statistically. They’re born from my heart and soul, with my desire to share pieces of me, my knowledge to help others. Whether it’s so you can make awesome blog content, or to give you an insight into me and my life, it’s been nice.

My Journey With Astrology, The Moon & Tarot

This post went up on the 21st November, which if you’ve not read it, will mean nothing to you. My due date was 21st November and I’d originally intended to have this post go up on my birthday. However I wasn’t happy with the initial write ups of this post, so after over a month of rewriting, scrapping the post and starting afresh. It was bittersweet to finally finish writing this post. It has a piece of me woven into the words, as I share some background information on how I found myself drawn to astrology, the moon and tarot. It’s definitely not for everyone, however I think the below quote from the post sums it up pretty nicely for you all.

“I hope this post can bring you some comfort: if you find solace with the moon, if shuffling a deck of cards brings you peace, if you feel alive when figuring something out about your birth chart. Even if none of these things resonate with you and you’re reading out of curiosity; I hope this post makes you search for what sets your soul alight.”

How I Curate My Social Media Feeds And Tips For How You Can Too!

Social media has become a huge part of many people’s lives. Personally as an older Gen-Z and someone who grew up with parents, who chose to limit my online access for the first 14 years of my life. I have a different outlook on social media and technology as a whole. Whilst I adore it for letting us connect with people, giving me so many of my friends. It’s caused a lot of problems mental health wise, it’s allowed impressionably children and teens to be exposed to things they’re not ready for. It’s also affected our ability to just, be in the present moment.

Curating my social media feeds was one of the best choices I made for myself this year. You can quickly get caught up in a follow for follow game or always following back people who follow you, out of a strange sense of obligation. The tea is you are not obligated to follow anyone back. Curating my feeds means I get to feel inspired, happy and motivated when I go online to consume content. I get to be intentional. It’s also forced me to not take it personally when people unfollow me or don’t follow me back, like I’m not following anyone for a follow back. I definitely plan on doing another post or two around social media, it’s something I find fascinating. As a society we lived once without it and now many of us would be lost with it. 

“Don’t feel guilty for curating feeds to help you grow and flourish as a person.”

Why You Should Be Striving For Quality Content Over Quantity

I had been wanting to post about this for months. Finally I managed to write this post and it has a special place in my heart, it marked the beginning of me finally releasing myself from ridiculous expectations of posting multiple times a week. It allowed me to truly work on crafting posts I’m proud of, that I’m happy with instead of posting for the sake of having content go up.

“I feel like a lot of us make the mistake of thinking, in order to succeed and grow as bloggers, we need to post OFTEN and have a lot of posts go up.”

Favourite…

Reads Of 2020

I didn’t read as much as I’d hoped to this year. In saying that I have read 41 books, which definitely seems to be an average amount for me. I sit around the 25-30 mark easily for what I read in a year. Anymore is more of a stretch it seems. This section is just me highlighting some of my fav reads this year, I have so many more that I wanted to get to but I didn’t. It’s ok. There’s next year to get to all the wonderful books, my book blogging friends have been hyping up.

Guild Codex series by Annette Marie

I fell head over heels for this world and found a new favourite author. Look if there’s one definitive way to my heart it’s with paranormal books. Give me the magic, the supernatural, the demons and just let me live there. I love the genre so much, it’s basically my comfort genre as it blends my favourite things together. Also the slow burns we get in the books are *chefs kiss* no other genre does it as consistently as paranormal romance/urban fantasy I’ve found. Anyway there are multiple series set within this world, again I love that and they all interconnect together. You can read them however you like, if you’re not too fussed about spoilers for the other books. Each series follows a new main character by the way but you’ll get appearances from the other characters, which I really love.

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

I don’t know why I took so long to read this one. I also didn’t realise Levi was bi? Like my heart got extremely warm at our main male character giving us some bi representation that we all deserve. Boys deserve the bi rep too. Anyway, I adored this book, the world and characters. I do own the last two books in the trilogy so hopefully I’ll finish it next year? Maybe.

This Cruel Design by Emily Suveda

I didn’t get round to finishing this trilogy this year, however considering the trilogy is dystopian/sci-fi and deals with a virus…yeah. I did really enjoy This Cruel Design though, this trilogy had me on my seat from book 1. I trust no one and I’m suspicious of all characters ok, I’ve read enough books to know characters you love often end up betraying you *sniffs*

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

Ok I’m totally cheating here, I’ll end up finishing this book in 2021. However I have been savouring this book so much because I’m attempting to avoid pain. I adore the way this story is told so much and I’m just not ready for all the pain that’s to come. 

Songs Of 2020

I listened to a lot of new music this year, it went from K-Pop to country to indie back to K-Pop then rock and the cycle continued. I’m going to do my best not to make this section me just fangirling over Ateez and Stray Kids but like…no promises?

Ateez kicked of 2020 with their comeback Zero : Fever part 1. I adored the songs on this album, which is no surprise to be honest, I’m an Atiny plus they got me into K-Pop. Anyway my fav songs from their new album would be Inception, Fever and One Day At A Time. Inception is one of the title tracks for the album, it’s more of a ballad I believe. Anyway it’s a bop, whilst Fever is just…this song makes me sing along and dance in my chair. It makes me wanna dance around my room whilst I passionately lip sync along. One Day At A Time makes me feel like I’m being wrapped in a warm hug from the 8 members. Being reassured that they are their for me, for Atiny. It’s their first song totally in English and on my tough days I’ve cried listening to this song.

After that I think I fell down an indie, folk, country and pop hole. I discovered this channel, which compiles playlists full of indie artists, or another type of artist/genre. They’re themed around various things, which if you’re after a specific vibe is helpful. Anyway, I fell in love with these playlists for a good chunk of this year. Best discovery I made to be honest, as if I wanted a break from K-Pop I’d switch to one of these playlists. Also…let’s be honest listening to Ateez’s Hala Hala whilst trying to work is a recipe for me yelling out ‘Hala Hala’ and getting nothing done.

August is when I became a Stay. Best choice I made all year I think to be honest. I adore Ateez but becoming a Stay has been a light for the last portion of 2020. I actually knew of Stray Kids back in 2019, when I first became an Atiny. I listened to some of their songs but I didn’t become a Stay. That was to come. Anyway I love Stray Kids music, I’ve uhm actually listened to more Stray Kids songs than Ateez songs this year. its hard being a multi fan ok  I think August is around the time they released their first full length album, with God’s Menu as the title track. Honestly, when I first heard it I was not a fan? Now, I like the song hehe, it’s not a fav by any means but it’s a bop ok.

September they released their album repacked with new songs and uhm hi I am obsessed with Back Door, B Me. Any from the first album. They also released their first Japanese mini album, All In is a bop and the MV is amazing. Basically I am trash for them and no one expects any less from me now. If you know me at all, then I am all or nothing with pretty much anything I do. It’s not healthy.

Aside from Ateez and Stray Kids, I do listen to other songs from K-Pop groups/artists and K Bands. Most notably I love a lot of Day6’s songs and Onewe’s. Their rock/punk genre speaks to my rock and punk heart ok. Really loved Onewe’s new songs this year Parting and Book In Memory, different vibes but still awesome songs.

I’m going to leave a link below to my 2020 playlist in it’s entirety. It’s on YouTube, all songs on this playlist I have listened to this year and have loved at one point or another. It’s a mix of K-Pop, K-Bands, rock, country, indie as well as throwbacks to early 2000’s songs etc. Also shout out to Taylor Swift too, Folklore and Evermore were amazing albums and I love them both so much. I love Evermore’s songs a bit more though, although that may be because I’ve been listening to them more recently. Anyway, feel free to snoop.

2020 Playlist

Moments Of 2020

2020 was not the year we were expecting. It’s been a tough year for so many of us but I want to take the time to just, share some of my favourite moments from a very tough year.

  • Tarot: I took a risk and bought my first tarot deck this year, I own two decks at the moment and both are very precious to me. I’m so grateful that I was able to finally discover tarot, something I’d always had an interest in but was so afraid of. Afraid it was too complicated, afraid it was too much for me. It wasn’t, it isn’t. It’s been a huge help to me.
  • I started driving lessons: I had two lessons before lockdown happened and I’m just >.> it took me over a year before I felt ready to start learning to drive. Social anxiety and the whole being in a car with a person, plus you’re in control of this thing which can kill people. Yeah…however in my two lessons I actually really enjoyed driving? I’m learning in a manual car which is key because something I love is changing gear, there’s something incredibly soothing/satisfying about changing gear and just listening to the car. Anyway, I’ve not had any lessons since then because of lockdowns, restrictions and I didn’t want to risk it.
  • Enrolled on a Teaching Assistant Course: this is something I’d previously rejected doing. Again, the uncanny timing is I enrolled on this course days before the UK went into lockdown. Ahem but I took several months to decide if it was right for me, since it’s a fair bit of money to just spend if it’s not the right thing for me. By the end of next year though, I will be a qualified teaching assistant (in the UK – I’ll then need to do some more research and digging into how to be qualified abroad i.e in Canada.)
  • Alignment: I’m currently out of alignment as I type this, have been for a wee bit now but this year was a year of self discovery. Of losing friendships, making new ones, discovering one of my purposes in life. Finding balance in the late summer and autumn only to fall out of balance in the late autumn and winter months. I know that whilst I’m out of alignment now, I will be able to realign myself, I just need to convince myself I’m worth making time for >.> However I wanted to celebrate the fact that I did find alignment at one point this year, smol win for me.
  • I turned 20: I have some posts in the drafts focusing around my thoughts of being a teenager, my thoughts on moving into my 20’s. I’m conflicted. Society tells us your 20’s are the best years of your life but I think they’re perhaps the years where many of us do the most growth. Soul searching and self discovery. Anyway I’m trying not to worry to much about being 20 now. It was wonderful though being on Voice Chat with some of my friends on my birthday, it made my birthday hehe ❀
  • I got a new phone!: this gets a special mention because I have been living with a phone that ran on android 3.5 for 3 years almost. Now I have a new phone, I’m able to engage more with everything and it makes me happy. I can post to my instagram stories easily, I can go live, post reels and just feel more included with my generation hehe. 
  • I played monopoly for the first time: I’d never played before. On Boxing Day though my parents, grandma and I sat down and played. It was a 5 hour game but it was a lot of fun. It’s rare for all of us to just be sat together doing something these days. Also I can now totally understand how families have huge arguments over monopoly, the game gets intense jeez.

Final Thoughts On 2020

I would like a refund on this year please. I don’t think I’ll be able to properly put my emotions or thoughts into words, however I’ll try my best. For me personally, 2020 was a hard year mental health wise but otherwise my day to day life was relatively unaffected. As someone who didn’t really go out much anyway, I’d say I began to seriously feel the affects of a lack of social interaction around July time. Slowly it hit me how isolated I’d become, paired with the lack of motivation I felt for things, I felt hopeless. My dreams, plans for a future felt pointless. 

My job has been one of the few things that’s helped me not totally spiral, for all I get exhausted from it, because of the sheer amount of social interaction that’s required. Being in a school, working with children, it allows my brain to totally shut off. I don’t have time to think about my problems, it’s time to focus on my job, on the children making sure they’re safe. It’s a nice break from my own mind I guess, saying this as someone who is very used to sitting with their own thoughts.

2020 wasn’t the year I had envisioned but I made it to the end, which an accomplishment in itself. So hi, you made it through the year, I am so incredibly proud of you!

Hiatus Announcement

I’ll be on hiatus until April 2021 friends. Hopefully I’ll be back for Bookending Spring 2021, which I’m really looking forward too! I just need to take some time off without worrying about not posting anything. It’s likely I may be mostly on hiatus until June though, as that’s when my course deadline is. I don’t have the brain capacity to juggle work, work placement, a blog and coursework right now.

I will of course be about though, likely working on things behind the scenes, other projects and I’ll do my best to blog hop when I’m feeling up to it. Anyway, I’m active on my instagram in terms of stories, I post there somewhat regularly. Oh my bullet journal posts are being grouped now, you’ll get the first blog post on my bujo somewhen in April! If you can’t wait that long though, I have posted reels on my instagram of my 2021 set up and January set up already.

Yeah so…wow this is super weird. Aaaaah I love you all so much, please, please feel free to DM on twitter/instagram/discord. I’m on a blog hiatus, not a social media hiatus, so I’ll still be around if you wanna chat. I just don’t have the energy for my blog at the moment 😦

I do have plans still for some blog features, however they won’t be happening until probably July 2021 time at this point. I’m trying to lighten the load on myself, so I can just work on the things that will affect my life the most.

Phew with that all said and done, I’m sending everyone so much love. Happy New Year I guess? I’m gonna apologise beforehand because I will likely blog hop in batches so if you get a load of notifications one day. Might be me showering your posts with love πŸ˜‰

I’ll see y’all some time in April probably…y’all don’t let me break my hiatus ok? Sending you all much love and positive vibes ❀

17 thoughts on “2020 Yearly Brew: reflecting on the year, top posts, memories & hiatus announcement!

  1. I love this post! I love seeing people recap their years and sum up progress and highlights. Wishing you a very happy new hear ❀ I hope it is a great year for you with more progress, more connection with the mood and tarot, and the best with your course as well!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. happy new year sis!!! im proud of everything you’ve achieved this year despite 2020 being a huge pain in the ass. i’ll be missing you when u go on hiatus but take all the time you need to rest! happy new year and i love youu πŸ’–

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ahh take your time! I’ll be sad to see you go but yess hiatuses are important so take some time for yourself for sure ❀ Hopefully, 2021 will ne a much more fruitful year otherwise I’m gonna punch someone, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. happy new year clo πŸ’œπŸ’œ i loved reading this post so much, but it also makes me sad bc i missed so many of your posts on my unplanned hiatus 😭 i’m glad you had a good year stats-wise though! and i’ve played monopoly before but back then i was too young to comprehend the rules. now i’m so curious about how the game gets so intense HAHA. i’m very sad that you’ll be going on hiatus, but i 110% respect your decision to take some time off blogging! i know from experience that balancing blogging with other life stuff is incredibly hard & it’s so freeing to temporarily take the stress of it off your shoulders. i hope your mental health improves and that 2021 brings you lots of good things πŸ’œ

    Liked by 1 person

    • ah happy new year caitlin πŸ’œ awww no don’t be sad, my posts aren’t going anywhere if you ever felt like catching up on any you missed hehe.

      I mean monopoly is basically capitalism in game form…you have a starting fund of monopoly money and the idea it to buy things around the board, then when someone else lands on one of the things you’ve bought and own they have to pay you “rent”.

      awwww *squishes in a hug* I’m on a blog hiatus, I’ll still come shrieking into your dms now and then I’m sure haha, ah I love you hehe and thank you. I hope 2021 is good to us both πŸ’œ

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  5. Ahhh I’ve wanted to read the bone witch for so long! I really need to get on that – there are so many books were I’m so excited to read them but then I just forget πŸ˜‚ Anyway hope you have the best 2021, however that may look like πŸ’ž

    Liked by 1 person

    • aaaah do it! I’m determined to finish the bone witch this week/month and it’s soooo good. I’m like halfway through it and I adore the world building, the characters just everything! That’s a huge mood, I’m like with so many books. Ah thank you El, I hope you also have a great 2021 πŸ’œ

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy new year! And I enjoyed your recap so much. Seeing somebody else reflecting on their year always is so interesting because while having experienced the same timeframe, each and everybodyβ€˜s highlights are so different, yet sometimes surprisingly similar! For me 2020 has been very mixed and packed with a lot of double-sided situations. Despite the global craze Iβ€˜ve done some huge personal growth on my side and had to figure out a few things I had been pushing to the side for along time. Wishing you a productive and blessed 2021!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah thank you so much πŸ₯° I do enjoy seeing people’s recaps too, like you said we all experienced the same timeframe but through very different lenses. Ah that’s amazing that you were able to do a lot of personal growth last year πŸ’• sending you good vibes and productive energy for your 2021 too πŸ’œβœ¨

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  7. I appreciate all of your posts so much and I’m so glad they’re getting the love they deserve. Advice posts are always so useful and yours were fantastic ❀
    I'm sending you all the love and wishing you all the very best for your work and coursework, you're going to do amazingly. ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw Marie πŸ₯ΊπŸ₯Ί thank you so much πŸ’œ advice posts are always fun to read to I find, I love reading helpful posts from others. Ah thank you, at this point I can’t wait to be done with the course and become qualified πŸ˜… it’s a lot of energy which I don’t have during well a pandemic

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