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.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alice in Wonderland themed Giveaway!

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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 

 

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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

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Crushing on Classics.

 

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I have just spent a lovely week reading and enjoying the classic book: ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte. It is a book that I have wanted to read for the longest time and I am so happy that I finally picked it up, because it was everything that I expected it to be and much more. I think that it has actually become my new favorite classic.

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Only a few months ago I picked up ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte for the first time too, and it knocked my socks off. It was certainly a most contentious book for the age, and I was rather impressed with the risk that Ms. Bronte had taken in sending it for publication back in 1846. Even though she used the male pseudonym of ‘Ellis Bell’ as author, it was still considered very risqué for its time. Did you know that Charlotte Bronte told her father that she had written her first book (Jane Eyre), only after it had been published and received its first glowing reviews? Or that the Emily and Anne Bronte did not dare actually tell their father that they too had since become published authors (especially as ‘Wuthering Heights’ created such a maelstrom of gossip!)

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(I will write a post focusing on the Bronte family very soon, but today I want to encourage you to pick up a classic book yourself.)

 

You see there is something magical in the classics that appear to be sadly lacking in much of today’s literature. They display a different style of writing completely from contemporary literature, that beautifully encompasses the culture of those times.

 

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And necessarily so. For example, the pace of life was much more sedate; so most of the stories are a slow burn of passion, intrigue and/ or danger, unlike today’s fast paced plots where, it can be argued, we expect to be held breathless on some rollercoaster of a ride within the first ten pages, or we want our money back!

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Likewise, it appears that those authors of the past, (see Dickens and Austin too) invite us into their protagonists’ head far more often than those of the present; we hear their thoughts and feelings as they constantly echo off the page, signaling to the reader all the ‘why’s’ before we even have a chance to ask. Contrast this with modern literature and these questions of motivation are often left unanswered until the last possible moment- when all is revealed- or not!  It’s a different format for a different age.

 

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Furthermore, with the classics, one can notice that the authors tend to focus immensely on the descriptive’; painting a portrait of each scene in almost intimate detail. The wait can be agony for the reader who wants to know ‘what is going to happen next?’ because they are forced to slow down and match the pace of the time with that of the author, and invest themselves into the story fully and deeply, whether they want to sacrifice their time or not.

It is non-negotiable.

Consider this:

 

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From Jane Eyre, a description of her meeting acquaintances of her master for the first time, while she was working as a Governess at his home. Their station is above hers:

 

‘There were eight; yet, somehow, as they flocked in, they gave the impression of a much larger number. Some of them were very tall; many were dressed in white; all had a sweeping amplitude of array that seemed to magnify their person’s as a mist magnifies the moon. I rose and curtseyed to them: one or two bent their heads in return; the others only stared at me.

 They dispersed about the room, reminding me, by the lightness and buoyancy of their movements, of a flock of white plumy birds. Some of them threw theirselves in half-reclining positions on the sofas and ottomans: some bent over the tables and examined the flowers and books: the rest gathered in a group around the fire: all talked in a low but clear tone which seemed habitual to them.”  (P171)

 

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Note the contrast between the descriptions of one person 150 years ago (above) walking into a room full of strangers, with another, published this year:

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From Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo:

 

 

“Genya led me to the same domed room where we had gathered the previous afternoon for the processional. It wasn’t nearly as crowded today, but there was still a lively buzz of conversation. In the corners, Grisha clustered around samovars and lounged on divans, warming themselves by elaborately tiled ovens. Others breakfasted at the four long tables arranged in a square at the room’s center. Again, a hush seemed to fall as we entered, but this time people at least pretended to carry on their conversations as we passed” (p121)

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In today’s writing we don’t waste words!

 

But that is the very attraction of these classic books to me. Sometimes I want to focus less on plot and more on character driven novels. ‘What’s going through his/her mind?’ ‘Why is he/she acting like that?’ Etc., etc. We are forced to consider every circumstance, every viewpoint and to take nothing at face value. By the end of the book, the reader has a thorough understanding of how each character is driven.

 

 

Having said all this, I don’t think I could spend my days only reading classic books.-I’m also a product of our times and sometimes I do want to run rather than ramble through the pages of a good read. But my point is this:

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There is wonder and enchantment in strolling through a book from another age. We are given a threefold gift, as we not only absorb a good story, but we learn history, and some culture along the way. It may be true that you need to have some patience to fully appreciate a classic book to its fullest extent, but the rewards are wonderful. I strongly advise you to pick up a classic book soon. Put aside some time and treat yourself to a wonderful story from almost forgotten worlds. Clear your calendar, and create a niche of time just to absorb all the nuances and magic that these books hold.

You will see a different world, you will step back in time and experience the world of our ancestors. You will exit them a changed person. Now that’s why I’m crushing on classics.

 

 

lots of love, Sally xx

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Beauty & The Beast Instagram Give Away!

beauty-rose-clocheWelcome back, and I am so stoked to announce my first giveaway of 2017. I decided to theme this one ‘Beauty & the Beast’ since the live action movie will be out next month. I really cannot wait, can you? Oh yes the giveaway is INTERNATIONAL too. I always set aside the shipping money before I list.

So this movie is very special to me and my husband. You can read this little story on my latest instagram post, if you are interested.

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Anyway, lets get right onto the giveaway details shall we?…

First, lets see what you will be winning….

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I only took the funk’s out of the box for the photos!

Be warned, it keeps growing!

So first we have the gorgeous Beauty & the Beast coloring book. I can’t tell you just how stunning this book is. The pages are so beautiful.I can’t even…

img_2083 The inside is even more beautiful. It has scenes from the movie and also lots of patterns to doodle along with.

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This one is my favorite.

I’m sure Emma Watson will make the perfect Belle, don”t you?

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So along with the coloring book we have two Funko pops, one each of Belle and the Beast.You can see thee in the main picture. Then I added some cute fairy lights because I love them so much and will take any excuse to use fairy lights. My library is like a grotto! Then I ordered these precious magnetic book marks to add to the parcel as an extra.

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Lets, see, what else?… Oh yes, how about the story itself.  I bought this book.

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And then yesterday I happened to visit the book store and bought a ton of new things for me, and decided that wouldn’t it be cute to add this book and mini mystery funko pack too…

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I really wanted to make this giveaway something special. I have added a cute keyring, an adorable pillow cover and mug from Society 6 designed by Evie Bookish. Not show ing is a sampler candle from In the wick of time called ‘Be our Guest’. I’m so excited. And by the way, nobody is sponsoring me on this giveaway, I have purchased everything myself, trying to pick out super cute items that I hope you will love.

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Now you can be totally set up for all future Instagram and blog posts.  I have one more item to add and thats the faux rose- I mean it wouldn’t be right to not include the magic rose. I hope you love it.

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Now the details of how to enter.

 

beauty-rose-clocheSo all you have to do is:

* LIKE THE  Instagram giveaway post here *

*FOLLOW ME on instagram* – yes I do check.

*TAG TWO FRIENDS WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED*

*REPOST THE GIVEAWAY PIC WITH THE TAG #bookscupsandcandles7k *

(yes you do need to repost, I do check and it’s a small price to pay for a chance to win all these goodies)

*FOR 2 EXTRA ENTRIES FOLLOW ME ON HERE (and you’ll be first to hear about the next two giveaways too)

Easy! Now the last date to enter is FEB 28th 2017. The winner will be announced a few days later.

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Okay, now the boring bit: The giveaway is not affiliated with Instagram or any of the brands that I am listing. Your feed MUST be public, and post must stay up until I announce that your names have all been inputted into the random name generator.

So remember, LIKe, FOLLOW, TAG, REPOST – DONE!

 

Good Luck everybody.

NEXT  TWO GIVEAWAYs will be in March (Alice in Wonderland) and April (Harry Potter)

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Lots of love, Sally xxxf3

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

 

 

Soak Sunday, week 2

Welcome to the second week of my #soaksunday . It’s so exciting!

I really enjoyed the feedback that I received on Instagram. Everyone was so positive about me starting this new tag.Thank you all so much. It’s such a relief to know that an idea I had to expand and enrich my feed has been so warmly welcomed.

aqua-bath-girl-alone   So my read for this week is ‘Wayfarer’ by Alexandra Bracken. This is the follow up to ‘Passenger” which I read last year and thoroughly enjoyed. Its a time hopping fantasy and I’m so happy that the wait for the next installment didn’t take too long.

So here is the synopsis, directly from Amazon since I haven’t finished it yet:

 

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Etta Spencer didn’t know she was a traveler until the day she emerged both miles and years from her home. Now, robbed of the powerful object that was her only hope of saving her mother, Etta finds herself stranded once more, cut off from Nicholas-the eighteenth century privateer she loves-and her natural time.

When Etta inadvertently stumbles into the heart of the Thorns, the renegade travelers who stole the astrolabe from her, she vows to finish what she started and destroy the astrolabe once and for all. Instead, she’s blindsided by a bombshell revelation from their leader, Henry Hemlock: he is her father. Suddenly questioning everything she’s been fighting for, Etta must choose a path, one that could transform her future.

Still devastated by Etta’s disappearance, Nicholas has enlisted the unlikely help of Sophia Ironwood and a cheeky mercenary-for-hire to track both her and the missing astrolabe down. But as the tremors of change to the timeline grow stronger and the stakes for recovering the astrolabe mount, they discover an ancient power far more frightening than the rival travelers currently locked in a battle for control. . . a power that threatens to eradicate the timeline altogether.

From colonial Nassau to New York City, San Francisco to Roman Carthage, imperial Russia to the Vatican catacombs, New York Times #1 best-selling author Alexandra Bracken charts a gorgeously detailed, thrilling course through time in this stunning conclusion to the Passenger series.

It sounds amazing right? I couldn’t put ‘Passenger’ down. All the twists and turns, the danger, the potential love interest…hmmm

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So to the bath itself.

I choose shades of lilac to match the gorgeous book cover as best as I could.

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I used a cocktail of products mainly by Lush cosmetics. I started with ‘the comforter‘ bubble bar, which I finely chopped on a cutting board. I added to that a few cubes of ‘93,000miles‘ Shower jelly, and topped it off with a large squeeze of Bath & Bodyworks‘Be Enchanted’ shower gel. Now it was my intention to add the final touch with a Lush ‘Twilight‘ bath bomb, but I realized that my bath had already bombed with no help, when I checked the water temperature…IT WAS COLD!!!! oh no….

 

aqua-bath-flower1Oh Yes….

You see my lovely husband has suddenly got into the fine habit of using a timer for our hot water system. Today it went off very early. Imagine my distress when I was anticipating stepping into this delicious bubble bath with a fine cocktail of gorgeous products designed to soften my skin and relax me; and then discovering that it wasn’t going to happen. Luckily I hadn’t sacrificed the bath bomb before I noticed.

 

img_1021I mean, there I was, my blueberry tea ready, my Anthology candle flickering with ambience, and it was not to be.

img_1019I love this darling ‘The Right Path’ mug by  Evie Seo   from Society 6. Do you think it makes my tea taste better?

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I just love flowers!

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this cocktail looks good enough to eat right?! I was in good company with my Sonny Angels flower collection dudes.They didn’t complain one bit.

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Well, all was not lost, because I still have plenty more bath gel and bubble bar left for later. I’ll add the bath bomb video tomorrow when I’m sure the water will be hot.

img_1008But even though it didn’t all run exactly to plan, I had great fun playing around with the theme and setting it all up. Please let me know what you think.

Have a great day,

lots of love,

Sally f3

Welcome to my very first soak Sunday!

I am a girl who loves to take a long hot bubble bath as often as possible. The tub is my ‘Me time’, my escape, my sanctuary from the world. So when I take a bubble bath, I pull out all the stops.

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I mean I prepare.

 

I’m talking about finding the perfect candle, the perfect cup and flowers and cupcakes and my latest book. I choose the most relaxing music that suits my mood, and I wallow in prettiness for hours.

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Now a couple of days ago I was looking for inspiration for my Instagram pictures. Sometimes that well of inspiration runs dry- the muse is MIA.

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So as I was thinking this, my thoughts led from ‘well-is-dry’ to ‘Soak Sunday’ and so my new weekly hash tag was born.

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Now bathing beauty addicts are not new. I follow so many beautiful feeds that have helped to inspire my bathing ritual for a long time now. (Kindly check out my Instagram and see who I follow for details) I often toyed with the idea that it may be fun to start a new feed to share my bathing addiction, but the truth is, I love my book account so much that I don’t want to be distracted from the love that I pour into it. I figured there must be a way to incorporate my other loves into my book feed. And the more I thought about it, the more fun ideas that I had. Playing on the popular tag of #socksunday I came up with #soaksunday I could still share my love of books, cups and candles, but also my love of Lush, and Bath & body Works, The Body Shop etc.….

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I really hope that some of you guys take up the tag and play along. Please let me know what you think about it. Any ideas are most welcome.

 

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Right now I’m reading ‘Heartless” by Marissa Meyer.

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This is a really fun read. I’m about half way through it and thoroughly enjoying it. I would describe it as a fairytale mashup of Alice in Wonderland, and it’s almost as funky as the original. Many of your favorite characters are there in cameo roles, others taking on larger parts like ‘Hatta’ Our protagonist is Catherine or Cath. Cath is the daughter of the Marquess and Marchioness of the city of Hearts. Her parents are determined that she will marry the King and be the next Queen of Hearts. But Catherine has other ideas. She wants to make her childhood dream of owing her own bakery come true. Catherine is the best baker in Hearts. Everybody loves her lemon tarts, her macaroons and her pumpkin pie…Ahhh yes, The pie… and this is where the story gets complicated.

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We have lots of twists and turns, some love interests, some villains, some quirky characters who will make you laugh out loud. It is a riot! I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

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This beautiful cover design was limited to Owlcrate subscribers.I feel very lucky to have snagged one.I hope you enjoy my new tag. The full video is on my instagram story for the next 24 hrs so kindly pop over and check it out before it’s gone. I hope you can see the connection I have tried to make from my #soaksunday story to the book. Each week I will try to improve on it!

 

 

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I hope you have a super Sunday, and manage to get lots of relaxation time in. I will see you soon.

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Lots of love Sally xxx

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