March Wrap-Up – Talking Stats, Books, Shows and a Mental Health Check-In

Today, as well as talking about books, TV, stats and dropping links, I’ll be doing a mental health check-in and talking about how I’ve been coping during the Coronavirus pandemic where time has lost all meaning and nihilism prevails. I’m especially interested to know how you’ve all been doing as well.

What I’ve Been Reading

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: It’s safe to say that Lara Jean has become my favourite ever YA heroine. Rating: ★★★★★
A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi: I just wanted a bit more plot! Rating: ★★★
Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie: An absolutely delicious British mystery. Rating: ★★★★★
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie: Overwhelming and predictable, but I did enjoy the second half. Rating: ★★★
A Room of One’s Own by Virgina Woolf: Holy long walk for a short drink of water. Rating: ★★
The Other Side of Midnight by Sidney Sheldon: Sidney Sheldon novels are the sensational stories that Professore Bhaer warned us about, but… this wasn’t it. I came for sensational and left, at the midway point, feeling no sensation whatsoever. DNF.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: Rainbow Rowell’s novels just don’t do it for me & Cath is bootleg Lara Jean. DNF.

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March Posts

  • Rapid Book Reviews (3) – Historical Fiction and Non-Fiction Reads: I reviewed the controversial Gone with the Wind where I revised some of my earlier opinions, The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory which I really enjoyed, and The Footsteps of Anne Frank which looks at Anne’s life before, during and after her time in hiding.
  • 10 Thoughts I Have While Blogging: I was happy to know that I was definitely not alone in my blogging habits!
  • 5 Things I Liked About Sofia Khan is Not Obliged: Once again, I rated this Muslim Bridget Jones retelling a strong ★★★★ and I am now waiting for this to be made into a film and for more books like this!
  • 3 Films I’ve Watched Recently: & absolutely loved are Train to Busan (The Walking Dead meets The Road on trains!), Aitraaz (maybe we should all have known how Priyanka Chopra really is from this film? An effortless performance) and Parasite – you HAVE to watch this, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime film.

Posts I’ve Loved Reading

What I’ve Been Watching

Sex Education – I must have been living in la-la land to think that a show with ‘Sex’ in the title would have no sex scenes whatsoever. I started watching it when everyone was already upstairs while I was in the living room, and, for anyone who’s watched the show, the, er, education begins very early on. And my volume was very high. Thank God everyone was upstairs. I would have had a lot of explaining to do. I’m still halfway through the first episode and I LOVE Eric. Should I continue watching?

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My Mate’s a Bad Date: I believe this is only available on BBC iPlayer at the moment. Three dates where Oloni, presenter, coaches singletons to become better daters. I’m still reeling from “financially straightforward.”

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After I finish My Mate’s a Bad Date, I’ll, hopefully, be watching Noughts and Crosses and Tiger King!

Mental Health Check-In

Since lockdown, I’ve had a couple of breakdowns, and now I’m feeling pretty great. I’ve been having trouble sleeping with my anxiety performing Olympic-level somersaults in my stomach, and I’ve been terribly missing my aunt and her family so much. I usually stay there five days a week whilst my uncle-in-law is working up north, but since they had to close their business for the time being, I’ve been staying at home. My house? Chaotic. We’re all very stubborn here, whereas, at my aunt’s, it’s a wonderful, loving and peaceful environment, and everyone is so chill, so me and my anxiety usually feel very chill too. Right before the lockdown, I was finally getting everything together and figured out what I want to do for the next five years, and, welp, my plans are now on hold. Welcome to your 20’s. It sucks! You’re gonna love it.

Apparently, we won’t be expecting the pandemic to be disappearing anytime soon and we could be looking at, sometime around June/July, for brighter news.

On a more positive note, I’ve been exercising! I did such an intense ab workout the other day that I don’t yet feel ready to exercise until, well, let’s say tomorrow because my tummy is not feeling it. 

Sinifan and My Cousin’s Birthday

I just feel like posting some pictures from February from my cousin’s sinifan (engagement) and my other cousin’s birthday party. Really, I’ve been loving darker colours, and deep purple is my recent favourite. I’ve been loving outfits that scream chic as well.

Let’s Talk Stats!

I’ve been debating back and forth whether to talk about stats on my blog because of all that it could mean. It could breed insecurity, fear, pangs of jealousy, but, honestly, whatever I want to name it, it simply boils down to these three words: twerking smirking anxiety. Yeah.. picture that however you want it as long as it’s not my face.

Recently, on Twitter, I asked everyone if they could share their stats and it was interesting to see how wonderfully everyone’s doing, and, yet, I barely shared anything. So, I think I should probably take a leap of faith in myself. So, last year:

I wrote: 33 posts
Views: 17,134 – please bear in mind that views also count for previous posts from the previous year.
Top three referrers: Pinterest (1), search engines (2) and WordPress Reader (3). Interestingly, someone must have shared Hermione Granger – 10 Reasons Why Your Fave is Problematic on Facebook which caused a dramatic spike in views AND invited a lot of trolls. But, meh, because it’s still my most viewed blog post EVER.
Countries: United States, UK, India, Canada and Australia. The latter is interesting because I don’t know if I follow any bloggers from Australia?

This March, I’ve noticed that my review of Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl has seen a huge spike in views and, I have to wonder, if our current pandemic has anything to do with it. 

I don’t think I receive a lot of engagement for Twitter, but I know that’s down to me. I know what I need to do, but because I’m happy with my views so far this year, I’m taking the time to appreciate where I currently am. As well as this, my views this March has been the highest ever recorded on my blog and I don’t know how to act!

That’s all! Happy reading and stay sane safe!


How have you been coping during this pandemic? What have you been reading and watching? How were your stats for last year and now this year? What has been your biggest referrer and which blog posts have done really well for you? Let me know in the comments!

Sophia Ismaa

Connect with me:

-Let’s talk all things books on Goodreads
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-Be blessed by my adorable face on Instagram
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28 Comments

    1. So with you, constantly keeping an eye on the news just exacerbates everything we’ve been feeling, and thank you. 💛 It is, it’s such a wonderful book, perfect for now. 💫

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  1. Thanks for the link, and I do hope you’ll get to watch Toradora! soon. Btw, I started watching The Good Place on your recommendation, and am adoring the main cast so far! Current favourite character: Michael or Janet.

    Hope this situation doesn’t worsen for all of us, and that you continue to take care! ❤

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    1. I have searched online and I thought I found a good link, but it doesn’t show the subtitles when I click full screen on my iPhone (which is the only option to watch it). There’s also an app called crunchy roll to watch it? I don’t know if it’s illegal streaming though, so I’ll have too google it, but it keeps saying to go on the website, but the website tells me to download the app!! I’m confused. Omg yay! So glad you’re loving it! 🥺🥰🥺 ah, you INFJ’s and ENTP’s (Michael is an entp), they are your kryptonite.

      Thank you, you’re so lovely, I hope you’re taking care too and I hope baking is helping! 💛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Crunchyroll is in fact legal, but there is a subscription fee past the trial period.

        I continue to enjoy The Good Place, though I watch it at a slower pace than anime. Baking sure is improving the quality of life of every one in the house! Stay safe and take care~

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        1. Which site are you watching it on? I already have a Netflix subscription that I’m not making the most of, yikes, but there’s, erm, other places to watch shows LOL.

          I’m sure it works out better like that. I don’t know which seasons you’re on, but I found season 3 dragged a little. But the first and the last season are *chef kiss*. I’ve asked everyone to fork in on baking utensils for my birthday, so you’re going to have to send me some of your recipes! I hope you’re taking care too. 💛

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I used Crunchyroll for a while, but didn’t find it to be as user-friendly as it could be. If you’re fine with *other* places, there’s https://twist.moe/

            I’m actually still in the middle of Season 1 (did say I was slow!), but I look forward to catching up soon.

            Oooh, when’s your birthday?? Wish I could bake you a cake myself, but ask away for any recipe! I hoard them on Pinterest.

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            1. Oh. My. God. Thank you!!!!! It’s got subtitles too!

              It’s only around 24 minutes, I thought it might be a little longer!

              It’s in June. Thank God I don’t believe in astrology because my sign is the most hated sign of all signs. If you have any ginger cake recipes or dessert that complements well with strawberries or raspberries, I’d love some recipes! Or anything fruity!

              Liked by 1 person

              1. You’re welcome. 🙂 Anime episodes tend to be 24 min. episodes, which I find rather nice and digestible. It also means that if you started watching Toradora! already, you have a chance of finishing before Primes and I even get to our final episode review, lol.

                Really, do people hate on specific signs? I mean, I’m an Aries, and I guess I don’t love the general image… As for cakes, I have not made a ginger cake before (guess I should!), but chiffon cake goes well with anything and everything. I could give you my favourite recipe, but I’d have to translate it first!

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                1. If I manage to finish Toradora before you, you will have to send me 10 baking recipes. How about that? I finally have baking utensils now, so let’s do it! 24 minutes is actually great! I’m accustomed to watching sitcoms that are around 20-25 mins, so it’s perfect for me.

                  Aries do not get any hate whatsoever. You guys are fiery, but from what I’m seen from Aries women, they seem to have a good head on their shoulder. Very practical. But then again.. I also share the same birthday as Prince, so… who’s to say anything?

                  I just googled chiffon cake. I’m assuming it’s orange-infused? Or maybe that’s just one take on it. It looks delicious. I much prefer cakes that are particularly soft. Oh, I didn’t know you’d have to translate it! I don’t want to make you do hard work! 😭

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. I’m on Ep. 24 of Toradora, quick, you still have a chance!

                    And you’re a Gemini, huh? Same as my ex, but I’m not going to hold that against you. 😂 Honestly, I’m not all that knowledgeable about your horoscope at all!

                    Chiffon cake isn’t necessarily fruit-infused, but it’s very versatile and you can essentially make it anything-flavoured. I’d gladly give you my recipe, probably through a Twitter DM!

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                    1. I won’t make it Moya, I’ve been staring at walls and studying and doing yoga. 😭 Name your prize, I yield my time. 😭😭😭😭

                      Emphasis on the ex, huh? 😔 I can sense that you don’t have a great testimonial to offer on his behalf. Please bear in mind that the women tend to fare better.. I mean, just remember: Anne Frank and Angelina Jolie. That’s all I have for now but still. This is where “be kind” applies. 😔

                      Omg yes! I’m making Sunday my day for baking, I would love the recipe but only if it doesn’t burden you in any way. I probably will have to stay away from adding anything fruity to it for now, unfortunately, my sister is allergic to all fruit except pineapples and she will be upset (she gifted me baking utensils). 😞

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. Aww…I was looking forward to losing. But that’ll give me something to think about!

                      I only mentioned my ex because he’s the only Gemini I can think of right now, lol. I know for a fact that you’re awesome and I’m sure there are plenty of almost-as-awesome Geminis out there.

                      And designating a day of the week for baking is awesome! My day is usually Saturday, which technically overlaps with your Sunday. And surprise, I already typed out that recipe! Check Twitter. Chiffon works well with anything and everything. 🙂

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                    3. No, thank you, I would like to be few of the exemplary Gemini. I think someone said on Twitter that Pisces are the real villain. Other than Rihanna, it tends to be true.

                      Thank you so much for the recipe! I have the baking utensils now, but I started a new role pretty recently and ended up totally swamped. So, once I get my pay check, that’s when I’ll start baking!

                      Liked by 1 person

  2. How do you do well with your stats. I’ve always felt it’s to so with how much people love you or something because there’s people who do little to none in terms SEO and trying things to reach more people and get very good numbers, and then there’s me who has to actually output an insane amount to gather a decent viewership

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    1. Pinterest, Pinterest, Pinterest. It’s literally a lifesaver. And seo. I’m always mindful of what readers will be looking for when they search the topic and try to cover each part as much as I can (and leave out anything I have no knowledge on). And, lastly, engagement (actually that’s the most important part). Finding bloggers who are interested in the same topics – I know there’s a gaming community on twitter as well. Toni Tone gives amazing dating and relationship advice, that’s something that could be relevant to Berry dating app, what do you think? I don’t like to post too much because it doesn’t work for me, I couldn’t keep up! But I think because what you’re doing is journaling your thoughts and your mental health, mental health is another area you could explore more. Particularly, mental health when it comes to black communities. I literally wrote down my strategy for this year (I’m doing an online course on digital marketing which has helped a LOT) and much of it is defining your goals, observing and analysis your audience, implementing the effective actions that can feed your goal and then checking and mapping your progress. I would first start with strategy and defining your goals – and it starts with: what do you want to do with your blog? What is the end goal?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. To be honest. There’s so many free courses I’ve seen online, but I’m doing so many things at once I don’t really have time to sit there and learn.

        And the engagement thing is harder for me because I covet so many things it’s very hard for me to streamline my approach, but I do get you with everything. I’ll probably need to start one of these courses because I need to learn more

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        1. I know what you mean. I’m struggling to even STUDY. I normally study on Mondays, but I’m having to juggle quite a lot of other things too, but the one I’m doing is free and it’s with google and the open university (fundamentals of digital marketing), and I’ve set myself a target of finishing before November. But I’m marking my progress for each lesson because with each lesson, I’m learning new things for my blog and SEO and optimising the social media sites that work well for my site – it stresses that you need to figure out which social media platform is working best for you instead of covering all bases so intensely which is not possible when we’re smaller based bloggers.

          I guess it boils down to what you want for your blog. I know my key areas are books and collection of cultures and within CoC, I get to cover community, culture, mental health, and, now, thanks to you and Jay, parenting which is great because I’m actually learning a lot from you and everyone else and then, hopefully, I can use what I’ve learned to maybe hopefully help out my community. And then tv and film is just for fun cos I don’t want it all to be super serious! From what I would gather from your blog, your key areas are music, dating and mental health, and it looks like music and games would fall under the same category of the more fun areas for you. Dating and mental health is your community and individual wellness work.

          And yeah, she’s amazing, I’m learning so much from her! 😭 Maybe one day Berry can collaborate with her on black love and dating!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That is something I need to look into more because I know there’s more to SEO than your content being keyword rich. When stuff cools down for me I’ll have to find somewhere to slot it in.

            And you’re right. I don’t see myself adding more categories to my page, and maybe it is more focused on those things from (although it upsets me I’m not showing as much love to my gaming section lol).

            And hopefully that can be done in the future!

            Thank you 🙂

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            1. You need to have a usp as well, so seo and keyword doesn’t matter much if there’s a billion other articles that are saying the same good. Some of my popular posts are the ones where I’m saying something different. Discussion posts are really good!

              You gotta figure out what you love, what your brand is and see how your blog aligns to that. I struggled with that, but narrowing it down has been useful.

              I hope so, and you’re welcome!

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, and thank you for the mention! I hope you enjoy reading the graphic novels! Also, definitely carry on with Sex Education (perhaps with volume down haha), it’s so great! Eric is a brilliant character. 🙂 Soffi

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    1. I am too besieged with guilt to watch Sex Education during Ramadan, will definitely watch after. 🙃 no worries, it was a great post, and I can’t wait to read them!

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  4. Yes, please continue watching Sex Ed. I honestly don’t understand how someone could come up with such a brilliant idea to make a show around ‘sex’ and do it so flawlessly. All the characters are so unique. Like. I might be a bit biased. Just watch the show. I promise you won’t regret it.

    I’m sorry to hear you having trouble with lockdown. But it’s a piece of comfort that we at least have the internet to communicate, and the art (movies, books, tv series). I’m praying that this all ends soon, and we all reach the other side sooner rather than later.

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    1. For some reason, I oddly thought that it was like a whole Red Table talk on sex education, but it’s the opposite which is good because it’s important to see how it actually plays out. And I’m sure every character will be exploring their sexuality through the show and that we can all learn something of value from at least one of the characters journey.

      Subhana’Allah, yes, we have a lot of coping mechanisms and we can still take a daily walk. I saw a couple of videos online of police officers beating up people breaking social distancing/lockdown rules in India and about the PM Cares Fund. Alhumdulillah, I have my family and I’m staying in touch with them, and I feel I’m at a place where I’ve somewhat calmed down now thanks to our religion. How are you, Sana?

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