Buying into Bookstagram: The pressure to purchase props?

 

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Hello again bookworms!

A couple of posts ago, we discussed the dreaded new Instagram algorithm and the detrimental effects it has been suggested to have, towards small accounts. We talked about how Instagram has no immediate plans to reverse or change the algorithm, believing that it works better now ,and so we therefore considered some of the actions we could take to work with it rather than against it . (If you haven’t seen the post, just scroll down to find it.)

 

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Today I’m back to talk some more about Bookstagram- our own little book nook where we readers can share our love of reading with each other, and pass on reviews and recommendations, whilst building friendships and joining in discussions with other book lovers. I specifically want to address another issue that’s been bothering me, and see if you think it affects you too.

 

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I’m talking about the pressure to purchase and how easy it is to overspend.

How our pursuit for perfection in our daily posts, can create a pressure to constantly buy.

Buy more books, buy more book props, buy more book merchandise, basically: the pressure to spend, spend, spend!

Do you feel it?

I do. Or I did.AutumnFairytaleClips_0011_1

 

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In the beginning, I really enjoyed just sharing my love of books with other people and I’d happily display my latest read, with very little adornment. Perhaps I’d just add a tray, with a cup of tea on it, and take my photograph. That was good, and if I got the lighting right, I was more than happy to share it.

Then I discovered some fabulous apps. I became slightly more creative, and could not only lighten dull pictures, but could add some pretty cute effects too. It was fun. It was easy, and I felt more like I belonged in the Bookstagram community and was less like a newbie.

I wanted to post great pictures, and for them to be creative and interesting. And it was great fun… to begin with. I loved trying to think of new ways of showcasing my current reads. I remember that at first I would add fresh flowers to my pictures, and I liked how colorful it made them. It was quite some time before I realized that I could buy faux flowers and use them again and again!

 

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As my follower count slowly climbed up, and I became excited and wanted to make my feed as interesting as possible. I soon discovered all the lovely bookish merchandise, and thought that including more of those in my pictures, would make them more interesting and would  please my followers.

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It crept up on me slowly.

It began with candles. I was already quite the candle collector, with Yankee candles  So initially, I would included those in my posts, and I was happy with the result for a while. But they weren’t bookish. Everywhere I looked there were candles being designed for every genre. So many beautiful ones. They looked amazing on people’s’ feeds. So I started ordering a few myself.

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A few led to many, and many led to me subscribing to monthly candle subscription boxes, from just about every candle maker on IG! Oh they are all gorgeous, and I have never met a bookish candle that I didn’t like. I have nothing but respect for the wonderful small businesses that supply the scent’s to compliment our favorite book characters either. But did I really need twenty different Harry Potter themed candles? Are my fifteen Sarah J. Maas inspired character scents really necessary? for a long time, I truly believed with all my heart that they were.

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Then I discovered bookish subscription boxes. Oh my goodness, how wonderful! I believe I tried every one. I intended to try each one once and then only subscribe to one or two that were the best. Hmmmm. That didn’t quite work out for me. If I missed a month, and then watched an unboxing, I was devastated. I’m talking total FOMO here. I eventually found myself subscribed to seven book boxes and at least three candle subscription boxes each month. And yet I wondered where my money was going. These babies are at least thirty bucks for each box!

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One day it finally hit me. I was moving my little library from the small spare bedroom to the larger game room that we rarely used. Moving each book shelf, each book, each candle by myself, I couldn’t fail to see quite how much I’d collected. As I organized my new room, I set aside so many trinkets that I’d received in my subscription boxes, and the pile mounted and mounted, and I just didn’t know what to do with them.

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Even worse, as I carried in so many opened (and then promptly forgotten) subscription boxes, with books I still had not read, that I realised that it was the thrill of receiving the boxes that I was addicted to , rather than the goods inside them!

That was not what I set out to do, but somehow I lost my way.

That was many months ago, and I now only buy what I truly want. I still enjoy watching unboxings, but I’m not about to rush off and purchase every single one that I like. I’ll limit myself and I’ve found that I appreciate what I do buy, much more.

I’m baring my soul for a good reason. I don’t want you to fall into the trap that I did. It happened so slowly that I was barely aware of it. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming the stores for creating products that they know we ‘need’ I take total responsibility for my own purchasing: nobody held a gun to my head. I was more than happy to pull the trigger myself. I got lost in the thrill of the chase.What began as a way to make my feed more interesting, became a spending spree for the latest bookish product!

But I’m afraid that if it can happen to me, it can also happen to the teenager who hasn’t the finances to support the spending. It can also happen to person who has an important bill to pay, but who really wants that bookish product because it looks sooooo lovely. Choose wisely guys. Learn from my mistakes.

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I know now that my friends and followers don’t care about the props that I use, they’re here for the books. They follow me because they share my love of books and want to discuss this mutual love with someone who ‘gets it’. My feed has evolved many times, over the last couple of years, and now I can honestly say that I am truly happy with what I share. I share what I love to read. It’s all about the books.

 

Another Fabulous Giveaway for you!

 

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Hello Peeps, and a huge ‘Welcome’ to my latest giveaway!

I’m really excited about this one,This time around, I decided to give you more choices of prize packs. There will still be one main winner and a handful of consolation prize winners, but you now have the choice of which one of three themed packages that you would prefer!

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I know everybody always loves Harry Potter, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t? so I guess he’ll be included in almost all my giveaways, but I thought it would be nice to add a Bookish themed choice too, and also a Horror themed pack. That hopefully covers a larger proportion of my followers different tastes and will hopefully encourage more of you to join in. So here’s some more details:

hydrangea 5The reason I chose the ‘Bookish’ themed pack is that I noticed that some of you live in places where it is quite difficult to find cute props for your #bookstagram habit. Here in the U.S. it seems that we have a ton of places to rummage around in and find crafty props for our photo’s, but in other countries, I’ve heard that it’s not always so easy.

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So if you live somewhere where it is difficult to find faux flowers and shells etc, then perhaps you might like this themed pack the best. I’ve chosen as carefully as possible. You will see below that I have picked several faux long-stemmed flowers that can be placed as a lovely frame around your pictures. I’ve also added some scatter style packs of flowers in different colors that can be placed strategically too.

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I picked up some beautiful butterfly props (and you will see that I’ve been using this type lots lately) and I’ve added some starfish props for any ocean themed pictures, for those of you who may not live near the water.

 

Seashells_15I’m also including a fun notebook and a cute sleep mask. Some of the items in my giveaway were exclusive to a particular subscription box, that are now sold out, but I’ve added them here and there, so hopefully you may see something that you missed out on!

Whichever package you choose, you will receive some battery operated string lights, which look gorgeous on pictures.

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The second pack is a ‘Horror’ themed pack.

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I’m including two freaky funko pops from the hit movie ‘It’, a fabulous ‘It’ themed mug (which I personally love) some horror themed pins/ badges and a patch.

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The winner will also receive a copy of the latest Stephen King books.’The Body’ is a paperback and ‘The Outsider’ is hardback. Here’s the best bit; if you live in the U.S, I will include a U.K copy and if you live in the U.K I will  send you a U.S copy! How amazing will that be?

I’ve included a ‘Decomposition notebook, some ‘hocus Locus’ themed items (bookmark and bracelet), an ouija board photo print and some fabulous witchy art cards by @Terrifoss . There’s a 10×8 horror print, and a bracelet which is unisex. If something else catches my eye, I’ll be adding it!

 

And that brings me to the Harry Potter option.

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Included in this pack is an adorable Christmas themed HP mug by Nerdy girl designs (because it’s not that far off you know) A hardback anniversary copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone’ in the Slytheryn edition, with a paperback copy in Gryffindor house. A Gryffindor patch,

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There’s also a wand book, some themed snitch earrings, some muggles socks and a Quidditch themed Ron Weasley funko pop. Even better, I’ve found a fabulous tree that looks just like the Whomping Willow!

 

And what about the book pouch, the badges, and the candles which were in the Christmas candle box from A Court of Candles. I’ve even included some notebooks. So much in this giveaway, whatever theme that you choose. I hope you love it.Harry.png

 

So, here’s what you do. On Monday 11th June 2018 my giveaway will go live. Expect this to be around 12p.m EST or 9a.m PT. That’s 5p.m U.k time and 6p.m for France, Germany Etc.

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All I need you to do is:

** like the post**

**Follow me**

**tag two friends who may be interested**

**repost the picture of your choice of themed pack  on your main feed(swipe through the giveaway post pics for the pack of your choice) with the tag: #bookscupsandcandlesga

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Closing date is midnight Florida time on Sunday 24th June 2018!

FOR EXTRA ENTRIES:

**Follow this blog**

**Like this post**

**leave a comment (and don’t forget to add your Instagram name) **

 

You can also gain extra entries for sharing the giveaway on your story. Each story share is an extra entry!

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RULES:

**Must be a public account**

**no giveaway accounts**

**must be over 18 or have parental permission**

**not affiliated with Instagram**

**must leave repost picture up until closing date when you will see me ‘like’ your picture. This means it has been counted!**

**winner will be announced within a week of the closing date**

That’s it! Good luck everybody. I can’t wait to see what you choose!

 

Lots of love, Sally xxx

Instagram: Accepting the new Algorithm?

 

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Hi Bookworms!

Today I’m daring to dip my toes into some pretty dangerous waters- those of that touchy subject in the bookish community, namely the new algorithm and how it’s affecting us all on #bookstagram. In the next couple of weeks I’ll be talking about some of the highs and lows that we bookworms have experienced while feeding our addiction, and what we can do to keep our feeds relevant and entertaining.

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In today’s post I want to focus on what we can do about the new algorithm that we all love to hate; and later I’ll be sharing a post on the subject of how the #bookstagram addiction can easily run away with you if you’re not careful. So pop the kettle on (if you’re British) or crack open a soda (if you’re not) and snuggle down in a pile of bookish pillows mugfor a while because this is a long post.

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So… The algorithm. I don’t want to just moan. There’s been so much of that already. I’ve been churning this over in my mind for some time now about how it is affecting us and how we can head it off, and I think I’ve now gathered enough information to feel confident to finally comment about it.

 

Like many people, my feed was hit hard after the introduction of the new algorithm, as my follower count and likes first began to drop, and then levelled out but became pretty stagnant. When reading through the posts of the people I love to follow, time and again the algorithm was cited as being the cause of this, and so many ‘instafriends’ felt like they no longer wished to be part of this fabulous community, because their  posts were  going unrewarded with the likes  that they expected. I could see their point entirely. It sucked. After all their hard work to build up their feeds, it appeared that the rug had suddenly been pulled out from beneath them, and they had to start all over again.

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Along with feeling a little despondent like many of you, from time to time; I wondered what I could be doing wrong, and how I could remedy it. If it’s broke you fix it right? So I sat and pondered, how best I could approach the issue. I’ve been reading many articles from other unhappy ‘grammers’, and interviews with the Instagram staff, and what I’ve gleaned from it all is that we are basically stuck with the algorithm as it stands. Instagram seems to think that it works and they’re not in any rush to change it back again.

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So what can be done to work with this problem?

We need a solution.book girl glasses1

 

It breaks my heart to see some of my favorite feeds comment that they’re stepping away from the site because they’re not getting the interaction and growth that they are working so hard for.

So I’ve been closely monitoring the feeds that I love to follow, and also those that have huge growth in spite of the new algorithm and I’ve picked up a few clues that could help us to do the same.

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Firstly, the most obvious one is that the feeds that are making the best growth are those that are already well                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                established, and have follower counts in the tens of thousands. Because they are already so well established, many of them feature lots of different product endorsements  for companies that they may or may not love, and they in turn, are featured by those companies, which has a domino effect. Call it compounding. Unfortunately there’s not much we can do if we ourselves are late to the show, except to turn up everyday and keep trying. And of course we should continue to  pat our friends on the back for the success that they have achieved with their tenacity. After all, a rising sea lifts all boats.

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Secondly, we have the feeds that really pull out all the stops. Feeds that use photo shop and are extremely creative, are doing amazingly well. Flying books, miniature people in bottles, reading while hanging upside down from a tree, you name it! You have to applaud these guys.

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These feeds are so impressive! I love to see these pictures and I eagerly await each new photo just to see how astounding it will be. In short, the bar is being raised higher and higher every day. I realize that unless I make an effort to understand my photo shop software, I’m never going to be able to keep up. These feeds deserve all the likes and follows that they gain, because they make such a huge effort to entertain us. Many, many hours of set up and editing are invested before they post such impressive content.

Now let’s look at another tool that the most successful feeds use: their Instagram stories. Every successful feed that I’ve researched, posts an Instagram story on a daily basis- many post several times per day. I don’t know about you, but I love to see these glimpses of people’s lives. What’s going on behind the scenes? The irony is that we don’t REALLY want the full picture, but a candied version of the poster’s life. At heart we all love nosing into other peoples  windows at night.

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You don’t have to make yourself vulnerable in order to do this. We don’t need you to share EVERYTHING. You can pick and choose, but definitely give us SOMETHING. For example, I usually choose to post videos on my story of my picture set ups. I do this so that my followers can see close up details of what’s in the picture, that may not be prominent in the post. I tag everything that I can think of, but I leave out what I know my followers don’t want to see- all the mess behind me. Let’s face it, we say we want to see behind the scenes, but really we just want to lift the curtain just a little. We don’t really want to see that pile of books and props that are strewn around you. For goodness sake don’t break the spell! You can protest but you know deep down that it’s true.

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So, to sum up: Work harder, be more creative, and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Here’s a funny story: Yesterday I woke up with the most ridiculous thought- what if I posted about the book ‘Rumplestiltskin’ and photographed my messed up bed, with my hand holding the book, and captioned it : ‘Rumpled sheets Skin’  (oh my goodness, this obsession is really getting to me! ) I didn’t act on it, because after I’d woken up completely, I dismissed it with a laugh and got on with my day. THEN, later my instabuddy (the lovely @oasisgirlmd) posted a beautiful picture themed on the fairy tale of Rumplestiltskin, and I just HAD to tell her about my waking thoughts. She laughed too but thought I should definitely create the post. Maybe I should. Just to be ridiculous. Just to step out of my comfort zone and do something different. The truth is, do what you feel in your gut. It may work out, and if it doesn’t, then you can just hit that delete button.

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I haven’t mentioned interaction yet. This is very important. To me, this is the best part of the community. I love the friendships that I have made through Instagram, and being able to share my love of the written word with likeminded people. My real life friends and family unfortunately don’t share my love of everything bookish, so I have to contain myself around them, and then fangirl with my bookstagram buddies. slippers

 

New accounts especially need the love. We’ve all been there, so please get to know the newbies. Follow and comment and refer. Build each other up. We all started with a zero follower count and hoped that people would take a chance and follow us.

 

When scrolling through my feed each day (and sometimes several times per day- lets be honest) , I may have lots of time or my time may be limited. I ‘like’ the pictures and comment on as many as I can, enjoying being able to cozy up in my little world of books. Sometimes, I can only have time to post one word or a couple of emoji’s, but I’ve interacted and it means something. It’s impossible to see every new picture that is posted each day, but I try to see as many as possible. I scroll as many as I can, but when it’s time to leave and enter the real world, I try to like at least another ten pictures before I step away. Every little helps.

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Lately (doing my research) I’ve been checking who likes my pictures. It’s usually the usual suspects, with one or two new ones in between. Thanks guys, you know who you are!!! But so many people follow and never like. Why is that? It confuses me. I’m personally very trigger happy. I suggest you look into your own feed and see who regularly makes and effort to show love and who doesn’t. It’s quite an eye opener.

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Finally, and this is very important- acknowledge the comments. Please. You may not be able to answer everyone right away, but try. I’m just as guilty of giving late replies sometimes, when life gets busy; but I try to go through my feed later and respond to everyone. It’s my pet peeve when some of the accounts that I’ve been following for a couple of years and used to love, begin to grow and then stop replying to their followers. They post and ask a question but then never respond when we answer. They want the followers but not the work. Soon that will show in their numbers because nobody wants to be ignored. There’s two accounts that I follow that have become like this, and I have just stopped trying to interact with them, after making the effort for so long with no acknowledgement. I still love their content, but I know I’m wasting my time answering their questions because they won’t respond. It’s so sad.

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So there you are. Lets just end this on a positive note, You absolutely CAN continue to gain likes and followers, but you need to switch things up a little sometimes and put some effort into not only your own account, but in the effort that you make towards those whom you follow.

To sum up. In short, we can complain about the algorithm as much as we want but it isn’t going to change anytime soon. So we need to suck it up and play our best game, because the field is full of talent and we need to push ourselves harder and give it our very best shot- otherwise we’ll be benched, and that’s no fun, is it?.

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* Post more creative content,

*post more often,

* post regularly on your stories,

*comment on other people’s posts

*respond to comments made on our own posts

*support the newbies

*share a little of your world behind the scenes

*pull yourself out of your rut

*take creative risks

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I can’t wait to see what you do. Tag me please!

Lots of love, Sally

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Potter Giveaway!

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Guys it’s been SO LONG! I’m sorry!

But guess what?… I have a giveaway running on my Instagram account. Have you entered it yet? You can win a ton of Harry Potter themed goodies, and it’s INTERNATIONAL!!! I’m also adding a few Harry Potter themed candle to give away at random afterwards to you if you stick around.

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You know, up until a couple of days ago, I had only read the first and last book of the series. Shock, horror! So at the end of last year I made a promise to myself to read the whole series from start to finish. I just finished the last book and OH. MY. GOODNESS. I am in pieces! I’d heard that this series was an emotional rollercoaster, but I still wasn’t prepared for how many up’s and down’s there would be. But I am SO pleased that I read the books because the movies cut out so much stuff.

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I mean, Ginny, for instance! In the movies you barely see her, but in the books she’s a fully formed character. And a couple of the Weasley older brothers are either cut out completely or have a cameo. Not cool! So you NEED to read the books to get the full picture.

harry potter 15I find it almost impossible to choose which book is my favorite. Once I think that I’m reading my favorite, then I pick up the next one and it changes again. Like magic! It’s probably easier to pick my least favorite. I think that would be ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’. I saw the movie and was so confused in many parts. It seemed to skip bits,  (which of course was true, huge chunks were missing) yet I had no idea what it was skipping, because I hadn’t read the books. So when I finally got around to reading it, I was kind of spoiled. I wish they’d done a two parter like the last movie.harry potter 4

But now that I’ve finally read the series, all I want to do now is pick up the first book and start all over again! It was phenomenal !

So, to my giveaway…

You can win so many lovely Harry Potter themed goodies but you need to be quick. to enter, just pop over to my Instagram account and follow me. Then tag two friends who may be interested in winning too, and repost the giveaway picture with the tag: #bookscupsandcandles10K  . Full details are on the post.

HarryYou could win:

* two anniversary edition house books in Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw.

*a butter beer candle from @northavecandles

*a Ginny funky pop – the new design on a broomstick

*A book sleeve with in monster theme

*a pack of magnets for your fridge

*a Hufflepuff woolly scarf

A Syltheryn tie

*a demented repellant kit

*a Harry Potter badge/ pin

*Some Wizards brew Tea & candle from @acourtofcandles

And MORE!

And I’ve just posted my 100th post so I’ve also added a fabulous scarf!

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So don’t miss out. It’s closing soon. I’m accepting entries up until 14Th April 2018, so HURRY.

Have a super magical day guys, and I’ll be back real soon.

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lots of love, Sally xx

Happy Birthday to me…Birthday Haul part one!

 

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Hi everybody, I hope you are all well and that life is good!
I’m so sorry that it’s been so long since I last posted, time has just slipped away from me. I have had words with myself and I promise to do better in future.

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So much has been happening lately; from Hurricane Irma, to vacationing in Colorado; life has been crazy busy here. But I’m back, and I have so much good stuff planned to post.

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But first, I wanted to share with you some of the goodies that I’ve hauled recently. It was my birthday last week and I was gifted so many lovely things that I can’t wait to share them with you. Also, I’m sharing goodies that I’ve recently treated myself to, as I know you’ll be interested, as many are bookish themed.
So lets get right to it shall we. I’ll link as many as I can, so you can treat yourself too, if you like them.

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So first off, I want to share with you two gorgeous new planners that my husband bought me. These were from Kikki.K I got to choose though. I chose the large lemon planner for all my home organization files. This can be left on my desktop and can be referred to by either of us, when we want to check up on home or work appointments. This one here is perfect, and it was also in the sale. He even had my initials monogrammed on the cover

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The baby blue one is also gorgeous, and has a fine gold polka dot pattern all over it. Find it HEREplanner blue close up

 

I’ll be able to pop this one in my purse and carry it around with me, and I can add appointments and update throughout the day, and then I can sync it with my large planner every evening (the old fashioned way).I do have planner apps too but I just love stationary and the feel of real paper and decorative accessories. It’s kind of like reading real books versus e book readers. It’s just a preference of mine.

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The accessories that I chose are the planner zip-lock decorated pockets, pastel bull dog style clips for adding any magazine clippings that I want to save. I love the page holder notes, and I added an Inspiration kit to add interest to the pages and to keep me motivated! Finally I purchased so bullet planner stencils and  Huhuhero fine liner pens from Amazon. So I’m totally set up!

I can’t wait to start playing with these.

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So, moving on to candles now. Now my favorite upmarket candles are most definitely those from Unicorn Manor If ever I want to truly indulge myself, I head right over to Emi’s store and pick a new candle. But luckily for me, Hubby gave me some birthday money to choose a whole bunch of candles for my birthday, so I was in candle heaven!_BirthdayQueen_0024_25

 

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I mean just LOOK at all this loveliness! #sigh

Let me show you some close ups. So first of all I took advantage of Emi’s offer to make a custom candle for me. I requested a candle to promote healing as I’m sick right now and waiting on surgery, so I hope to light it every day after my surgery to encourage fast healing. So Emi created this one for me.

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It’s stunning and smells delicious. She created a tailored crystal candle with her signature rose scent (like her love spell candles) infused with certified organic pink and red roses, certified organic Aussie grown lavender, cherry blossom, homegrown bay leaf, Rose Quartz and magic. If only you could smell it!

Now as I have quite a sweet tooth, I also feel madly involve with her new limited edition candles in conjunction with Daisy’s milk bar. Wait until you see these!

First we have the salted caramel candle  which is infused with tiger’s eye crumble, rose and of course, her magic. It totally blows me away. It smells good enough to eat. Definitely a beautiful caramel aroma.

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Next I had to order this adorable candle which is based on a childhood favorite cereal, fruit Loops  This one is infused with amethyst crumble, rose and magic. This smells really sweet, and exactly like candy.fruit loops candle

sweet raspberry candle

The next one just has to be my favorite of all as it’s raspberry and I just LOVE raspberries. Infused with rose quartz crumble, rose and Magic!

 

 

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Finally I bought a Love spell candle, because I love it. this has the rose quartz, rose magic, and also jasmine. I purchase this one in the wax melts version too.love spell wax melt

If you are on a budget, these wax melts are perfect for treating yourself without feeling guilty afterwards. And if you want to REALLY indulge yourself, then light these beautiful candles around your bath and add some of this magical Bath crumble into your bath. This is infused with sew almond oil, rose absolute, cerfified organic rose, lavender, jasmine, rose quartz and of course MAGIC. Perfect for pampering. I can’t wait.

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So that’s it for part one of my birthday haul. I’ll continue with part two next week and share with you some more of my gorgeous girly gifts. I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing in my fun. Have a super week, lots of love, Sally x

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Alice in Wonderland themed Giveaway!

Alice set 3

 

Hi guys,

As promised, I’m just popping up this post for you so you can see what goodies are included in my Instagram  #bookscupsandcandles8k giveaway. I do love to host a giveaway, and I think I get just as excited as my participants do. I was thrilled to see that the winners of my last giveaway, which was Beauty and the Beast themed, were from  different countries. I sent prizes to Sunny colorado here in the U.S and then to Italy and to France. I’m just hoping the European ladies get theirs soon. I can’t wait to hear from them. Anyway, here are some pictures of this giveaway, I’ll include details at the end of the post on how to enter .

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My giveaways always include a book, a cup and a candle of course, but I have fun looking for cute items that fit the theme that I have chosen. so firstly the book. I am giving you a choice of either the Hardback edition with the black and red cover or the U.K paperback edition. Your choice!

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The hardback here is shown without its cover as my copy was from a subscription box. Yours will be new. Or you may prefer to choose the book on the right,the U.K paperback copy 

 

 

alice pocket watch

I have also included a stunning Alice themed coloring book. It’s really lovely. The cup is a really sweet mug designed by Evie Bookish. I chose the black and white monochrome design with the script on it as I think it matches so beautifully with the checkered tablecloth and also the Heartless book cover when the jacket is removed.

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I’m also including a new funko Pop Alice. There is a fridge magnet ‘We’re all mad here’ and this adorable library style bookmark which has kindly been donated by Amanda from North Ave Candles.  Also, in honor of my #soaksunday bath posts, I have added a Unicorn rainbow bath bubble from Lush.And what about these darling little props. These are a Disney set (yours will be new in box) that make super cute photo props. They are glittery and sparkle so nicely.

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There are more in the set. Alice is included, but I think she’s gone visiting today. 😉

They’re really cute. I think Disney make these sets for just about every movie that they made. I’d love to collect more.

 

Alice flamingo 1

 

 

I mustn’t forget the cushion cover/pillow case that I waited so long for. It is such a good size too. I’m very happy with mine. Yours is new in packet and is sealed. Again, I have chosen to keep to the monochrome colors.

 

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Cute right? There are also magnetic Alice themed bookmarks included, and I’ve added some pins/ badges to the haul. Finally I am so grateful to Amanda from North Ave candles. She has also donated March’s candle of the month ‘The March Hare’ It smells delicious!

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I really love Amanda’s candles, and she is the sweetest person you ever could meet. I remember placing my first order with Amanda and putting it to the back of my mind because I was so used to candle makers taking 3-6 weeks to deliver. I was totally stoked when my order arrived less than a week later! It was so refreshing! And I fell madly in love with her bookish themed candles immediately . They smell SO GOOD! You must try them.

 

Alice dress

 

Well, I think that’s all the prizes listed. Now the details of how to enter. It closes 10th April – thats tomorrow night from this post going up. You will also get two extra entries if you like and comment on this post =)

To enter, just follow my link to the original Instagram post which I will list at the end.

You will need to:

  1. Like the original post
  2. Follow my feed @bookscupsandcandles
  3. Tag 3 friends who may be interested
  4. repost the original picture with the #bookscupsandcandles8k   (screenshot it and crop and repost

ALL STEPS MUST BE TAKEN or entry is void.

alice hatter

I can’t express how important this is. On so many of my giveaways, a persons name comes up and I check their feed and they haven’t reposted or followed, so I move on and draw another name. It’s sad really. They would have won. I don’t think it’s a lot to ask. It helps me to grow my feed and at the end of the giveaway you can delete your picture!

Rules: Obviously I’m not affiliated with Instagram or any of its sister companies.

  1. Must be a public account
  2. must repost, follow, like, hashtag etc
  3. no giveaway accounts

Not many rules as you can see. Finally follow this link for the post: Bookscupsandcandles

I’ll be drawing the winner on the 17th April. One week from closing date.

alice cat

The next giveaway is Harry Potter themed and will start shortly after to celebrate my 9K. However, I’m heading fast towards 10K now so there will be yet another giveaway when I reach that milestone. That will be huge because 10K is such an achievement for me.

Thank you guys so much for following me. I love books and reading so much, I really love this community and all the friends I have made along the way.

GOOD LUCK GUYS!

lots of love, Sally xxx

f3

 

 

Contemporary Fiction, Love it or loathe it?

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I have to admit I’m not sure which side of the fence I sit on with this genre. I tend to lean where the wind blows depending much upon my mood on the day. The truth is that at heart I’m a thriller, horror, and fantasy novel kinda gal, so a contemporary has to be really good to seduce me.

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However, I am an absolute sucker for the cover designs on contemporaries, and I’m ashamed to admit that often the pretty cover is the only reason I’ll one up. #sosuperficial All the gorgeous pastel colors, the pretty fonts, the beautiful bare book itself, all are so delicious to a book lover.

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The first young adult contemporary that I read was ‘Eleanor & Park’ by Rainbow Rowell. I really enjoyed it. Set back in the style-absent eighties, two very different and awkward teens share the same school bus each day. The thing that they both have in common is that neither feel that they ‘fit in’ with their peers. Yet both Eleanor and Park deal with their exclusion from the popular groups, with a quiet dignity and grace, choosing to embrace their differences (and in Eleanor’s case, exaggerate them). An unlikely friendship begins, and we follow it to wherever it may lead, observing how their contrasting home lives have affected and molded their characters. We watch with baited breath as they move through some truly difficult times and deal with them with such maturity, despite the heartbreak and daily pressure of school.

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I was seriously impressed with this book, and so, my interest in contemporaries grew and I began to buy more.

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I also love a good series and after hearing so much about the novels in the ‘Anna and the French Kiss’ companion set, I decided that I had to read them. Goodness I was not disappointed. I mean for a start a private school in Paris was the setting for the first book. What’s not to like? Stephanie Perkins authors these three books. After ‘Anna’, we have “Lola and the boy Next Door’ which is set in San Francisco, but hey that’s a pretty cool setting too. And finally ‘Lola and the Happy Ever After’ which is my personal favorite (and moves back in Paris). Again I felt that there was some superb character development by Perkins, and lots of angst too. I almost started biting my nails.

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I have read many young adult contemporaries in between and I’m sure you may find one of your own favorites in the picture below. Some focus on life altering events such as terminal illnesses, divorce and moving house; others follow the milestones of people we can all relate to in some way or another.

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Last week I read ‘Fangirl’ which is another Rainbow Rowell favorite. I’d initially tried reading it directly after ‘Eleanor & Park’ but found I couldn’t concentrate so I put decided to put it down for a time. Picking it back up almost a year later, I dived right into it and thoroughly enjoyed the read, and when finished, I immediately ordered ‘Carry On’! So sometimes it is worth waiting a while if a particular book doesn’t grab you first time around.

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I’m always going to be that horror, thriller, fantasy book lover, but after absorbing some of the more heavy scary/crime/ world building details in these (often epic) reads, I now like to treat the book hangover with something lighter and contemporaries seem to be the perfect antidote.

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How do you feel about contemporary novels? Which is your favorite? Which would you recommend?

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Even gorgeous without their dust jackets!

Have a super Saturday. I’ll be back tomorrow with my third #soaksunday

 

Take care,

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Love Sally xx