2018: A Year in Review

My #Best9 of 2018 on Instagram

2018 has been a mixed year. There’s been a few personal and professional changes, some of which were not as positive as I would have liked and I’ve allowed myself to wallow in a funk on more than a few occasions, at one point even contemplating giving up blogging altogether. However, when I looked through my Bullet Journal and the photographs on my phone in preparation for this post, I was reminded that this year has actually been full of more incredible experiences than almost of any other. 

Here’s just some of the highlights…

The Bloke won a camera for a squirrel picture. That squirrel picture was more popular than our wedding photos.  Continue reading

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A Night at the Birmingham Awards

Last week The Bloke and I put on our glad rags and went to Edgbaston Stadium for the Birmingham Awards event. I had been shortlisted for Blogger of the Year, which came as a complete surprise, and I found myself surrounded by businesses, organisations and individuals who work hard to contribute to and promote the city.   It had been an interesting afternoon getting ready – by the time we left the house I had managed to put my toe through my tights and was wearing stomach-holding undergarments that were so tight that I wondered if I could get through the evening without breathing too much.  Continue reading

Creating a Social Media Strategy and Checklist for Your Blog

Creating a Social Media Strategy and Checklist for Your Blog

One of my biggest blogging regrets (and I’ve said this many times), is the amount of time that I completely ignored my social in the first few years of publishing my posts. My social media accounts are now responsible for about 75% of my daily traffic, have introduced me to thousands of bloggers all over the world and enabled me to build up my own little business within the blogging community.

Social media is by far the most powerful tool we have as bloggers at our disposal, and developing a strategy that utilises it effectively can potentially take a blog to the next level, often with minimum effort, with the added bonus being that most things are completely free! And once everything is set up, it’s fairly quick and easy to update! 

But where to start? Most of us already have a social media account for connecting with family and friends, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat and/or Instagram to name but a few, but even the suggestion of using these as a promotional tool sends many bloggers into a confusing spiral. Continue reading

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Stats

At the time of publishing, Suzie Speaks has received over 1,000,000 views. Here are my readership stats:

WordPress: 11,000 +
Twitter: 8,900
Facebook: 800 +
Pinterest: 9200 +

Of all of the blogging regrets that I have, my lack of knowledge when developing my blog and hesitation when setting up my social media accounts are the biggest. Why? Continue reading

Traditions

I love Friday night, particularly at this time of year. When we both worked in schools, The Bloke and I would desperately look forward to it – we would get in after struggling through an often crappy week, order a takeaway, get the blankets out, put the heating on and would spend of the evening snuggled up with the cats while watching a film, desperately happy that we wouldn’t have to get up and go to work the next day. Even though we’re now both in a different situation with regards to where and how we work, we’ve carried on with the weekly routine – we still curl up on the couch under a blanket and watch a film, although the cat now prefers to sleep on his own blanket on the armchair since his feline sister passed away last year.  Continue reading

Despondency – The Daily Blogging Battle

The last few weeks have been pretty amazing, particularly with the once-in-a-lifetime experiences that The Bloke and I have participated in for his birthday. I’ve also had quite a buzz from blogging every day over the last week, rediscovering my enjoyment of simply writing things down and interacting with the community. I spent hours putting together a large and detailed post yesterday, sent it out across my social media, replied to my comments and then settled in for the evening. I always get a huge sense of satisfaction when I’ve done large post – those are the ones that are often evergreen and bring in the most amount of views over a long period of time. Continue reading

All Change

I live in a row of terraced houses in a suburb of Birmingham with a set of neighbours on each side in the connecting properties. We’ve lived in this particular house for about 3 1/2 years, and while the residents have changed numerous times in the house to the left (which is a rental property like ours), the ones to the right have always been a nice couple that we’ve had a good relationship with.

The biggest problem with terraced housing is that the walls are often paper thin, meaning that even a basic conversation can be heard next door. A year ago I had a little rant about how noisy the new neighbours were – from the evening they moved in the music was cranked up and the parties started, but after having a conversation with one of the tenants he appeared with a bunch of flowers, an apology and his phone number with the instruction to text if they were being too loud. Continue reading

Home Alone

Today I found myself in a rather unusual situation. 

I have the whole house to myself. For the whole weekend.

I am officially home alone for three days. 

The Bloke is away on a course with one of his favourite photographers in Manchester. The course and walk-round session on Saturday takes up most of the day, so he is staying in a hotel the night before and after. He’s nervous, but I’m incredibly proud of him for putting himself in a situation that I know makes him hugely uncomfortable – he doubts his abilities as a photographer (despite the fact that his photographs are fabulous) and I’m hoping that it will prove to be a huge confidence boost and a great opportunity to meet some new people. Continue reading

Reconnecting

2018 has been quite a mixed year for blogging, so I took a little break for a little while. However, I’ve started to develop my posting schedule, have suddenly found myself with a whole list of content ideas and was quickly reminded of the sheer joy it brings and just how much I missed it. I also miss the connections that I have with some of my online friends and their posts… 

During October a number of my writer friends start to plan for National November Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) with the goal being to write 50,000 words. To coincide with this, I’ve set myself the challenge of participating in my own little National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) but on my own terms and will be posting every single day for the entirety of November.  Continue reading

I’ve Been Shortlisted!

It’s the start of a new day, new week and new month and the weather is glorious. As always, I know it is going to be busy over the next few weeks, but there’s something about the beginning of a month that feels incredibly motivating, even if I’m still tired from the day before…

I had some amazing news on Friday. Last month I discovered that I had been nominated for Blogger of the Year at the Birmingham Awards, with the shortlist of finalists to be announced at the end of September. I honestly didn’t expect anything would come of it – those of you who follow the blog regularly will know that I love my adopted city (having lived here for 17 years now) and write about what I experience in and around Birmingham within many of my posts, but as I don’t have a specific niche dedicated to it like many of those who have been shortlisted in previous years I didn’t think I would make it past the first round. I nervously kept checking the website on the announcement day, my heart beating out of my chest when I saw the link appear… Continue reading