Here’s to 2018…

Happy new year everyone!

I hope you all enjoyed Christmas if you celebrated it! Can you believe it’s that time of year again where I sum up everything that happened in 2018? I can’t.

As you’ll know from the last post, at the beginning of 2018 I wrote a looooong list of goals for the year. The last post discussed what those goals were and whether or not I achieved them, this one will go into more detail about how I did this.

I’m also going to talk about the year as a whole. Looking back at my here’s to 2017 post I described that year as full of change. If I were to sum up this year it would definitely be a whirlwind of every emotion possible.

While this year has been filled with some amazing memories and opportunities I’ll never forget, it was also one of the toughest years so far. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. We may have made it through the end of 2018 looking like we’ve been dragged through a bush backwards, but we got through it!

Here’s to 2019 and all that it will bring,

2018 goals I achieved:

Blogging Goals:

1. Continue blogging

Although it’s been tough at times and I haven’t fully stuck to my schedule, I’ve not given up on blogging. I still love it and although sometimes I stretch myself out too thinly, I wouldn’t change it for the world. Some of my favourite moments of 2018 wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t decide to give blogging another go.

2. Read more books

I finished the year on 33 books read. While I didn’t quite manage to reach my target of 40 books, I smashed last years amount by 19 books so I’m pretty happy with this. Given that I took time away from reading while I was editing for a company and completing some freelance work, this isn’t too bad. I also had to overcome a few serious reading slumps this year, I’m sure you know how that feels!

4. Only blog about what I want to blog about and what I’m happy about blogging

I definitely did this as there were some posts that my heart wasn’t fully in, such as Top 5 Wednesday. I’ve learned that there’s no point in posting things for the sake of it or because everyone else is. If you’re heart isn’t in it, the people who read your blog will know it. Just do you and what you want to do and it’ll make you far happier with the content you’re creating!

5. Stop blogging about things I’m not enjoying blogging about

Well this is pretty self explanatory and the same as my answer above. 😊

6. Receive my first physical ARC

I was actually luckily enough to receive a handful of physical ARCs from publishers this year which I was completely in shock over. I am thinking about doing a blog post about the ones I’ve received so far, so if you’d like to see that then just let me know!

Here are a few I did receive, I’m still in shock at receiving an arc of my most anticipated read of 2018, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee. 😭❤️

I’m so grateful to all of the publishers and authors that sent me books this year, I still can’t get my head around it!

7. Go to at least 3 blogging events

This is probably one of the blogging goals I was most happy about achieving this year as I genuinely didn’t think I would. I was lucky enough to attend 3 blogging events last year, 4 if you include YALC too.

1 – Hot Key’s VIP Blogger’s Brunch.

You can check out my summary post here.

It was a lovely morning and I was lucky enough to meet the lovely Alexandra Christo and Sebastien De Castell at the event too. 😊

2 – Swansea Blogger’s Collective, the inaugural meeting

Summary post is here.

I loved being able to meet up with local book bloggers to chat all things books. It was great being able to put some faces to the names of online friends and the meeting was fantastic. We received some great books that you can check out in the post too. Although I couldn’t make the second meeting, I can’t wait for the next one. 😊

3 – HQ’s Crime Showcase

Post to follow.

This was an incredible event I thoroughly enjoyed. I had the opportunity to chat to the HQ team, fellow bloggers and some of the amazing authors that will be published in 2019. I drank champagne and ate caviar canapés, while looking at the amazing views of London from the News Building.

Everyone was so lovely and it was definitely my favourite events of 2018. Keep an eye out for my posts all about the event and the books that HQ are publishing this year.

Here are a few photos from the evening:

4 – YALC

I know this technically isn’t a blogging event but as it’s a bookish event that lots of bloggers I know went to, I’m counting it. While there were some issues with YALC that I’m sure everyone who went was aware of, such as accessibility, queuing and ticketed talks, I did enjoy it as a whole. It was lovely to see the Book Babe girls again and I was so happy to finally meet Gi and Tom Fletcher.

All of the publishers and companies I chatted to were lovely and there was so much free book swag! Also, Jason Mamoa casually walked through the YALC floor more than once… drools. It was great to spend the day around like minded people. 😊

8. Connect with more bloggers on WordPress and Social Media

I definitely did this in 2018, particularly on Social Media. I could have connected with more bloggers on WordPress through the reader though, this is going to be one of my 2019 goals.

9. Meet up with more bloggers in person

This is a goal I’m thrilled about achieving in 2018. Through all of the events mentioned above I met so many bloggers, some new, some that are already my good friends. I saw my fave book babes – Ana and Nicola 3 times, and also saw Harriet and Laura at YALC too! My friend Linda visited Wales twice this year and we met up 3 times. It was so lovely to finally meet in person after chatting online for over a year. I finally met some local book bloggers at The Swansea Blogger’s Collective which was brilliant.

I’m so grateful to ALL of the lovely people I’ve met through blogging and I’m grateful for all the friends Ive made so far, you’re all the best! The list could go on and on and I’ll be here all day tagging everyone, so I’ll insert a few photos here instead. 😊

10. Reach out to publishing houses about ARCS etc

I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and contacted multiple Publishing Houses regarding ARC’s and review copies last year and it proved successful. Making links and building connections within the publishing sphere can definitely take your blog to a new level and I’m glad I had the opportunity to do this in 2018. Be bold and have confidence in yourself. 😊

11. Be put on at least one PR/ blogger list

This was a goal I definitely think I’d be able to achieve this year, but I did! I was lucky enough to be put on the Walker, Harper 360, HQ, Hot Key, Entangled, Entangled teen and HMH teen lists.

This is something I’m genuinely over the moon about and so grateful for, thank you.

12. Enjoy Myself

2018 was a great blogging year for me. While some things stood in my way at the beginning of the year and hindered my blogging time, I stuck with it and am super happy with what I achieved. In 2019 I want to devote more time to making my blog more consistent and as good as it can be. I didn’t think I would have the confidence to stick with blogging for a year and a half, but here we are and I’m so so glad I did! 😊

Social Media Goals:

13. Dedicate more time to Bookstagram

I had a real love/hate relationship with Bookstagram and Instagram in general last year and I’m still not sure where I’m at with it. I definitely did dedicate more time to Bookstagram at the start of the year, but around halfway through I stopped posting as much as merged my personal and Bookstagram accounts.

I don’t know whether to keep them separate again or continue as before, but at some point this year I will be more active on Instagram.

14. Dedicate more time to taking nicer photos for my blog and Bookstagram

I did take more time out to do this.

15. Have 1,000 followers on Bookstagram

I reached over this goal after I combined my accounts. 😊

16. Have 3,000 Twitter followers

I reached this goal in December, yay!

17. Do more book giveaways

I did 5 giveaways last year which was fun to do. 😊

18. Discover more bloggers

Definitely did this through the SBC and a new book blogger chat I joined. I love finding new blogs to follow and bloggers to befriend. 😊

Personal Goals:

19. Say yes to more things

I tried to step out of my comfort zone more this year and definitely said yes to more things. I tried to stop my anxiety from getting in the way and said yes to things I normally wouldn’t have, such as travelling alone!

20. Get more editing experience 

Bit of a sore topic this one, but I did get more editing experience last year, even if it was for a corrupt company. Although the outcome of the experience was a negative one, I’m glad of the experience in some ways.

16. Get another pet

I got two new pets this year. My Russian Blue kitten Bilbo and a Russian dwarf hamster Katya. Here’s a photo of Bilbo and Luna cuddling, they get on most of the time!

17. Spend more time with family and friends

While this is something I think we can all always improve on, I did spend more time with family and friends this year. After having a tough year as a family, I think we’ve all learned to appreciate the time we spend together even more.

18. Be tidier

I was tidier and more organised in 2018 than I was in 2017, but I can always work on being more organised!

2018 overview:

While 2018 was a fantastic year, it was also one of the toughest years yet where I did a lot of learning. It was definitely a year where I realised what was important in life and learned to let go of what wasn’t.

The start of the year was a confusing one and things in my personal life weren’t all that great, it took some working on but things sorted themselves out and that part of my life is better than it has been in a long time. It’s when you’re at a low point in your life that you realise the difference between real and toxic friends.

I won’t go into this much as I’m not one to air my dirty laundry out online, but I ended a close friendship this year that I didn’t originally expect to happen. But, when you put your trust in someone and you have that trust abused and used against you for the other person’s gain, it makes you question why. If you’ve ever experienced a toxic friendship then you’ll agree with me that even though people will tell you that you should have ended it long ago, it’s still tough. Sometimes though it’s better to cut ties with people that don’t bring out or want the best for you. It honestly was a breath of fresh air for me. I’m lucky to have people around me now that build me up and want the best for me, rather than judging my choices. 😊

August and September were two of the toughest months I’ve experienced so far. My Great Grand Mother sadly passed away. Although her health had been deteriorating, it came as a shock and I was absolutely devastated. My Nan lived in the same street as me growing up and last year I moved back into my old home again. I’m so glad I was able to spend the last year and a half living near her again as I was able to visit her often. It was a real tough time for the family and it still is, but it brought our family closer together and I think she would be happy about that. ❤️

The day after my Nan passed away, my boyfriend’s Great Nan was taken into hospital and a few days later sadly passed away too. It was such a surreal experience as we were both grieving and also grieving for each other. It was so difficult us both being upset and yet trying to stay strong for one another, but it brought us closer together. The day after my boyfriends Nan’s funeral his uncle passed away after a tough battle with cancer. August and September were difficult months and we won’t forget the people we lost. They were all so important to us and although we still miss them every day, we remember the good times we spent with them.

Many of you may remember me mentioning Mr Noodle, my Roborovski Hamster. He reached the ripe old age of 2 and a few months and passed away in November. I was sad as he was the first pet that I completely owned, but he lived a great life and I’m glad I adopted him!

There were also some amazing times in 2018. I finally got to see Lady Gaga and Ed Sheeran live. I’ve wanted to see both for so long and they didn’t disappoint, both were incredible! I was so close to the mini stage in Lady Gaga’s show too, she’s my absolute favourite and I did cry my eyes out more than once haha!

I went to YALC, various blogging events mentioned above and I saw The Book of Mormon in London, which was fantastic. Christmas was also brilliant and I loved spending time with mine and my boyfriend’s family.

I’m grateful to 2018 for teaching me life lessons and for reminding me how important family and friends are and how to not take moments for granted. ❤️

My blog:

This year celebrates another year of For the Love of Books. While I out my blog on pause for a few months at the start of the year I continued to blog and still love it. There were many times were I burnt myself out and got myself into some serious slumps, but I worked through it. I’m looking forward to another year of blogging!

Thank you to everyone who read and comments on my posts. Your continued support and encouragement makes this all completely worth it and I wouldn’t be where I am without you all. ❤️

I’m excited to see what 2019 holds!

Social Media Links:

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10 thoughts on “Here’s to 2018…

  1. Ayunda says:

    Lovely post. Your blogging and bookish events sound so fun, it must be amazing to be able to meet people with the same passion and love for books as you are 🙂 Hope 2019 brings you more joy and growth for the blog ❤

    Liked by 2 people

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