Animal Crossing: New Horizons Book Tag

I am loving Animal Crossing New Horizons right now and I never normally take part in these tags, but I decided to give this tag a go after seeing Vicky’s post over at What Vicky Read. This tag was created by Two Book Thieves.

Past Villager – Who is a character you found when you were younger that still has a place in your heart?

I would have to say Mara from Mara, Daughter of the Nile. She is very similar to Nahri from City of Brass.

Blather’s Blatherings – Recommend a historical fiction book that you think everybody should read

Damn. There’s so many. Goodnight Mister Tom is one that has always stayed with me.

Celeste’s Wish – What is a future book release you wish you could read now?

The Burning God by R. F. Kuang. I have loved The Poppy War series so far and I need to know how it ends!

Timmy & Tommy – What is your favourite sibling relationship in a book?

I love the relationship between Zaynab, Ali and Muntadhir in the City of Brass and also Fred and George in Harry Potter.

The Easter Bunny – A popular book character that you’re not a big fan of

Oh boy. There’s a lot. Celaena Sardothien/Rowan Whitethorn/Chaol Westfall spring to mind.

Nook’s Loans – An author you’d give all your money to

I don’t like giving all my money to Jay Kristoff but it’s just worked out that way so far.

The Sisters Able – What is your favourite fictional family (found or otherwise)?

It would definitely have to the Peabody/Emerson family in my all time favourite series – Amelia Peabody Murder Mysteries.

It’s a C+  – What is a book trope you don’t like that keeps popping up? 

Insta-love. Just because I think the idea that you just fall in love with someone and they are the exact right person for you is unhealthy.

The Wandering Camel – What is your favourite book set in a land far away from yours?

Since I just finished the Daevabad Trilogy I am gonna say Daevabad,

What Would Dodos Do?  – A fictional land you wish you could fly away to at any moment?

I would love to visit Lothlorien. It would be magical and I think I would have a good chance of not dying.

How to get started on Etsy as a UK Seller

This is my Beginners/What I learnt from painful experience Guide to getting started on Etsy as a UK Seller. There is a lot I think you need to be mindful of when selling on Etsy that I had no clue about and had to find out for myself.

Hopefully this guide will help you get started more efficiently on Etsy and avoid a few expensive mistakes.

Get your 40 Free Listings

If someone else refers you to Etsy, they and you will get 40 free listings. If you don’t do this every listing you create will cost you about 16p. So this is a great way of listing products without having to pay and you can usually easily find a link from people but here’s mine if you need it: https://etsy.me/3d73viE.

Be mindful of Etsy Fees

You need to make sure you allow for Etsy fees in the costs of both your shipping and your products. Etsy fees are numerous and vague and will vary depending on your price point so do your research. You will be charged a transaction fee, a listing fee and a payment processing fee among others. You can use this etsy fee calculator to help you and get an idea.

Etsy set up help. Etsy Guide for Beginners. Etsy UK Sellers. How to Guide for Etsy.

Use keywords in the title of your products. I didn’t do this until TWO YEARS into my shop and boy I wish I had bothered ALOT earlier. These keywords will make your products look long and messy but they will also make your products show up for multiple searches. I saw a huge increase in orders after I did this for each of my designs. So now I put the title of the product followed by keywords associated with that fandom or design.

If it’s not handmade don’t say it is

Back when I first opened my Etsy everything I did was handmade, I printed the bookmarks and cut them myself so it was fine. But when I moved to getting my bookmarks from a supplier, I should have added a production partner but I didn’t (at first). You can keep your production partner private but make sure it’s on the listing so Etsy knows.

Delivery Profiles

If you are planning on selling on Etsy you need to work out your postage and create delivery profiles. These delivery profiles can be assigned to each listing and can show different shipping costs depending on the location of the buyer. Now I say they will show you different costs but that depends entirely on how much you charge for shipping.

My shipping is cheaper in the UK and more expensive for EU and International Orders. Some people offer free delivery and add the cost of shipping into the cost of the item. It’s up to you. Don’t stress if you don’t know how much to charge because I am just about to get to that.

Delivery profiles can be found by going to Shop Manager – Settings – Delivery Settings – Delivery Profiles.

Working out Shipping Costs

If you have a standard parcel size and a maximum weight working out delivery profiles is made a lot easier. The hard part is this – figuring out what your average weight and size of your orders would be and making sure to charge enough to cover materials as well as the postage.

For me I worked it out like this.

All my bookmarks and metalmarks are the same size just vary slightly in depth. All my products can fit into a C5 envelope or jiffy bag depending on quantity. I weighed my metalmarks as my paper bookmarks weigh next to nothing and I know they weigh about 15 grams each. My shipping costs allow for about 5-6 metalmarks in one order. If and when I add more stock I will have to adjust the pricing to cover the weight.

NOTE: Make sure to weigh the envelope/box/bubble mailer you are using as it all counts.

Shipping Labels and Presets

Once you know roughly how much each parcel you are sending can weigh (maximum) and the size of the parcels, you can then workout shipping costs and set up shipping label presets on Etsy as well as create those Delivery Profiles we discussed earlier.

You can set up default shipping presets (mine are for UK, EU and International orders) when you get postage labels for your orders. Etsy will also work out the cost when you input the weight and size of your parcel which is how you can start figuring out what to charge for shipping.

Alternatively check the Royal Mail website and they will show prices depending on size and weights – I think Etsy is cheaper in some cases though!

Shipping label presets can be found by going to Shop Manager – Orders and Delivery – tick any order – get postage labels. Note: You don’t need to purchase the label when you are making your label presets you can just exit the window and they will stay and no label will be purchased.

Customs Forms

So first off if you didn’t know any parcel you are sending outside the UK and not in the EU (this will change because of Brexit no doubt) will need a customs form filling out and attached to the parcel.

I buy all my shipping labels through Royal Mail via Etsy now but I spent a good year buying all my postage labels separate through Royal Mail Click and Drop and filling out customs forms MANUALLY before I figured out how to use it.

If you buy a label through Etsy you can get the customs form partially filled out (you just need to add the weight of each item) and it will print signed and dated which is huge time saver in the long run.

Invest in a label printer

Okay so this is a £200 investment so only do it if you have the quantity of orders to need it BUT it’s so much easier than cutting out and cello-taping labels. I bought a Dymo 4XL which is compatible with Etsy and prints 4 x 6 inch labels (black and white only as it’s a direct thermal printer). I buy compatible labels in bulk from Amazon. A label printer changed my life and has turned a 3 hour chore into a half an hour job.

Get proof of postage

Speak to your post office because if you find your shipping in bulk it can be harder to stand there with 30+ orders and get a receipt for each. There are options for you depending on how many orders you are sending and frequency. At the moment I fill out a Bulk certificate of posting and get it stamped at the post office. This just helps to cover your back in case an order goes missing and someone claims you never sent it. It also means you can claim compensation back from the Royal Mail on any orders that never arrive (in theory as I’ve never had to do this yet).

Privacy Policy

This is important for UK sellers because of GDPR but your shop MUST have a privacy policy. Etsy have one you can basically copy and duplicate into your own shop, you just need to edit it so it fits what you are doing. This is important because you are handling over people’s data and you need to make it clear how you protect that data and how you are using it.

Shop Policies

Make sure to update these immediately because if someone wants to cancel an order or return something and you don’t have them in place then Etsy will side with the buyer. My shop policies are pretty basic, you can only cancel an order before it’s shipped etc. Again Etsy will help you out with this you just need to put the data in that works for your business operations but for myself I kept most of the things that Etsy suggested.

Separate your personal and business accounts now

In the UK you are allowed to make a certain amount of money (not profit) on Etsy before you need to let the tax man know about it. A key mistake I made was not keeping my personal and business payments separate. Create a business paypal and use a different bank account, in the long run it is a lot easier when submitting your tax return. Speaking off..

Keep it legitimate and register as Self-Employed

Once I earnt passed the tax free threshold that is allowed I had to register as Self-Employed. I registered as a Sole Trader. This basically means I need to submit a tax return each January and I will taxed on any profit I made. Which also brings me too..

Keep your financial records straight

To submit a tax return you need to know how much profit you made. Which means you need to know how much money you made minus the cost of goods, etsy fees, shipping, supplies etc. You can create a pretty basic cost/profit/loss spreadsheet yourself in excel which I did for a year before switching to a bookkeeping software.

Please do your research but Etsy makes finding out how much money you actually made very difficult. Don’t go by the finances page as it actually isn’t accurate. You want to be looking at the CSV statement you can download at the beginning of each month.

I don’t want to scare or confuse you but be aware!

My bookkeeping software imports all of the Etsy records for me. You also need to keep receipts – digital or printed. Please do not procrastinate on this like I did it’s just not worth it. I also download Paypal and bank statements as proof (hence the separate accounts come in handy here).

Please leave any questions you have down below!

Spoiler Mini Review: Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Warning: This review will contain spoilers for both Aurora Rising and Aurora Burning.

My advice to you: Don’t read this book until the series is completely published because otherwise you will end up like me having to wait YEARS with one of the most convoluted and twisted cliffhangers of all time.

This book should literally come with a warning. DO NOT READ UNTIL YOU CAN READ THE THIRD BOOK RIGHT AFTER OR YOU WILL GO INSANE.

All I can say is kudos to Amie and Jay for having the sheer audacity to end a book like that. I think the best way to describe this ending would be to imagine you are watching Avengers Infinity War and about ten minutes before the end there was a powercut.

Honestly this book had the Harry and Voldemort light beam wand showdown, the dramatic Star Wars I am your father reveal, the evil thing influencing the entire world drama of Mistborn, the obsessive and self sacrificing “mate” love of ACOTAR and all the funny banter and friendship of Six of Crows.

I absolutely raced through this book and it was a hell of a ride.

My favourite thing was the character development by far. My girl Zila sharing her trauma and I am living for her attempts at humour. The same for Fin but he’s always been funny but it’s nice to see him learn to trust people. They are hands down the best characters.

Anyone else sensing romance with Tyler and Kal’s sister? Because I’d ship that.

The only ship I really aren’t feeling is Kal and Aurora. It’s just too much and was Kal lying about who is father was THAT BIG OF A DEAL? I dunno to claim to have such an intense and eternal bond and then tell him to get lost when you find out he lied about one little thing which quite frankly is not a big deal to Aurora anyways is just meh?

Apart from that I loved any minute of this book!

Rating 5/5 stars

My Historical fiction with mysteries and romance recommendations.

I fell into the Historical Mystery genre when I was about ten years old. I never really know how to really define the books that I read but I think Historical Fiction/Murder Mysteries that always have romance is a good description. Full disclosure: I will be going from memory for this list (some of these books I’ve read 3 or 4 times) so there may be some slight inaccuracies.

If you are looking for the perfect murder mystery series with Female Amateur Detective Main Characters and the best romances then take a look at this list!

Amelia Peabody Murder Mysteries by Elizabeth Peters

I constantly rave about this series but I love it. The books follow Amelia Peabody who when we meet her is considered a spinster by Victorian standards (Near 30 and not married) and likes to think herself of a bit of an amateur detective. Amelia’s spinster status quickly changes and what follows are the adventures of Amelia Peabody and Emerson as they work as Archaeologists in Egypt. This series starts in the 1890’s and spans an epic 30 years following the life and family of the Emersons and Peabodys.

This series is perfect for people who love romances (there is two worth reading about in this book series), Egyptology, Ancient Egypt, Murder Mysteries, Victorian Society, Cats, Art Theft, Master Criminals, and an endless amount of family drama.

The Lady Grey Series by Deanna Raybourn

This series kicks of with Lady Grey watching her husband die in front of her at a dinner party. Lady Grey’s whole life changes when her husband dies and a private detective Nicholas Brisbane suspects murder. This book series starts off really strong and is set in a similar time period as Amelia Peabody (possibly a little earlier).

Lady Grey is a bit of a wallflower whose only role in life thus far was to be a good wife and run the household. This all changes as she decides to help with the investigation into her husband’s murder. You think romance might not blossom under these circumstances but think again!

One small point I will have to say the books do eventually get reduced down to Novellas so if you are looking for a satisfying conclusion to Lady Grey’s story you won’t find it unfortunately.

Vicky Bliss Mysteries by Elizabeth Peters

These books are written by the same author of Amelia Peabody Murder Mysteries and are eventually linked with that series (albeit very loosely). This series has all the charm of the other one but is much more modern, starting out being set in the 1970s with a weird time skip to the early 2000s on the last book.

Vicky Bliss is an American art historian who works in a museum in Munich. All the murder mysteries are primarily based around Artefacts, Art and Fraud. The first book Borrower of the Night isn’t that entertaining but the series vastly improves with the introduction of John Smythe.

I won’t say much more but it is one of my favourite romances of all time.

Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

This book is different as it is directly set during Ancient Egypt during the reign of Hatshepsut and while there is no “murder mystery” it is jam packed with court intrigue, politics as Mara becomes a double agent for Hatshepsut and contender to throne – Thutmose III.

Mara is a slave who is seen stealing one day and narrowly avoids a whipping from her master when someone decides to buy her and to make her a spy for the Queen.

In an unlucky twist of fate Mara was also spotted by Lord Sheftu the day she was caught stealing and when he bumps into her on a boat later he believes shes a runaway. He offers her the choice of spying for him or face death for being a runaway slave.

Mara is devious though and decides to play both sides to suit her and ultimately gain her freedom.

I loved this book despite the historical inaccuracies (the book is 70 years old and I don’t think the information we have now on the life of Hatshepsut was available back then).

Veronica Speedwell Mysteries by Deanna Raybourn

Like seemingly most Historical Mystery books this series is also set in the Victorian Era. This book follows Veronica Speedwell, lepidopterist (someone who studies butterflies) and self-declared spinster. This series starts of with the mystery of Veronica Speedwell’s heritage and introduces Stoker – disgraced Natural Historian, Ex- Naval Surgeon and former adventurer before a mission went badly in Brazil.

Stoker becomes Veronica’s partner in crime and together they solve mysteries and work within the Natural History profession. Wildlife has a huge focus in this series which I loved but at the moment I have only read the first two books!

Please let me know any books you would recommend for me based on these suggestions!

Everything I’ve been doing during the lockdown besides reading

I originally thought when the UK Lockdown started that I would be so productive. My job always hindered my ability to really focus on my shop and now with that out of the way (I was furloughed) I had an abundance of free time to really focus on new designs, products and pushing my shop. I also figured I would get SO MUCH reading done, spend hours on my blog and take lots of photo.

Since what else is there to do all day?

Well it’s actually been very easy to not read at all when you are busy..

Being ill

Just to get this out of the way I did contract coronavirus with my boyfriend so I spent about a week and half doing nothing but binge tv and sleep!

Taking more time for my friends

My friends and I regularly text but I have spent more time video calling them all in the last few weeks then I have in years.

Baking

I got into the habit of baking something every week. I’ve made “Healthy” brownies, Banana Bread and Cinnamon and Nutella Cake. I’ve always loved baking but quite frankly I’ve not been very good at it so it’s nice to bake something that doesn’t end up being a total disaster. Not that all my bakes were perfect, one of my cakes deflated completely!

Playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons

I am SO grateful for the timing of the new Animal Crossing as it’s definitely provided a welcome distraction. This game is so popular I’ve seen people drop £300+ on a Nintendo Switch (if they could find one as they were out of stock everywhere) just to get involved. Animal Crossing allows me to be creative whilst also succeeding goals and completely simple, peaceful tasks, plus the graphics are adorable. Now if all the villagers could stop doing yoga and weightlifting and making me feel bad about playing for 5 hours straight that would be great.

Exercising more

I luckily invested in a Cross-Trainer right before the lockdown and I have been going on it everyday (except when I was ill). I try not to leave the house unless it’s food shopping or the post office ( particularly after I was infected) so the cross-trainer has been a god send.

Watching reality TV

Honestly this is probably what I have spent most of my time on and it’s so bad but when I am stressed it helps me. When my boyfriend and I got coronavirus it hit him a lot harder than it did me and I genuinely thought he would need to go the hospital but I was worried he wouldn’t be able to. It was a very stressful time and with being sick myself I found it easier to shut my brain off and get invested in other people’s drama for a while.

Let me know how you have been keeping busy during this lockdown!

Spoiler Mini Review: Chain of Gold (The Last Hours) by Cassandra Clare

Whilst I enjoyed reading this book immensely I couldn’t help the feeling that I actually wished this series had nothing to do with Will and Tessa at all.

The Infernal Devices trilogy was always my favourite. I never enjoyed The Mortal Instruments with the incest sub plot and Clary’s incessant selfishness and unfortunately The Dark Artifices series was ruined for me by the third and final book. But The Infernal Devices had it’s own magical formula of historical fiction, romance and fantasy and I loved reading Will and Tessa’s story.

This is from someone who doesn’t usually enjoy love triangles.

So when I found out there would be a sequel set in the Shadowhunter world about Will and Tessa’s children I was beyond excited but unfortunately this book commits the stereotypical sin of reducing parents to ignorant background characters who don’t see what is right in front of them. Something I would never want for the Will and Tessa. They are completely clueless and devoid of personality.

Whilst I resented what was done to Will and Tessa to make a good story for their children I could still appreciate this book for what it was.

James Herondale is probably just as tragic and swoon worthy as his father, Cordelia Carstairs, Lucie Herondale and Anna Lightwood are definitely some of my favourite female characters and the twisted love story will be enough to keep you reading (even if the running around endlessly after demons and Cortana being OP as hell gets a bit dull).

This book is an excellent addition to the Shadowhunter universe.

Rating: 4/5 stars

How to work from home like a boss

Due to recent worldwide pandemic a lot of countries have been advised to work from home. So whatever the reason I guess if you are looking up how to work from home it probably means you are struggling with suddenly being at home all day with no one to really watch you or motivate you.

Here’s my tips on how to work from home like a boss:

Tip 1) You are being watched

Firstly if you are working from home you are probably using a work device or connecting to a work network. REMEMBER THIS. Don’t look at or search anything you wouldn’t want your boss seeing. Assume that everything you are doing is being monitored. This may sound paranoid but if you’re working from home your company has more reason to want to make sure you’re being productive and could be checking up on you.

Tip 2) Pretend you aren’t at home

Pots need doing? Floor needs hoovering? Living room looking a bit un-tidy? What would you do normally about these problems? Nothing. Because you would normally be at work and wouldn’t see these things need doing until you get home. Confine yourself to your work area and don’t go looking for jobs around the house. I limit myself to doing house chores on my lunchtime only but that brings me to my next point.

Tip 3) Avoid people not the sun

This doesn’t work if you are ill or quarantined obviously but if you are social distancing or avoiding people still go outside. Go for a walk. I myself have started popping to the shop everyday (not to panic buy) but to get a few bits and walk around.

Tip 4) Remain accessible to your colleagues

At work we aren’t allowed to have headphones in to listen to music when we work so you can bet what I did the second I started working from home. However I still need to be accessible. Put your phone on loud, put your computer sound alerts on, don’t deafen yourself with headphones and don’t leave your desk for long amounts of time. If you get a call you want to be in a position to turn anything you have on off as quickly as possible which doesn’t work if you’re lounging on the sofa and lost the remote and your manager is calling. Be smart about how you use your other devices whilst working.

Tip 5) Use your phone like you would at work

So this depends on your company and maybe I am just paranoid but it’s not gonna be a good look if people see me tweeting or replying to group messages when I am supposed to be at work. This is similar to the above tip but don’t get caught posting a story or photos or commenting on anything within work hours.

Tip 6) Speak rather than type

It is quite isolating working from home. No more being able to have a laugh or ask questions when you need it. So my best advice would be instead of typing something to a colleague give them a call instead. Even if it’s for something only small, you just wanna check something or have a quick question. My manager checks in with me twice a day to make sure I am still sane over Skype and it really does help.

Tip 7) Turn your location on

This is a joke but also true. Try to let people know when you are at lunch or finishing work for the day etc. They can no longer glance at your desk to see if you are there or not so updating your movements can be really helpful.

Please keep in mind I am a childless, 20 something who is lucky enough to have my own office room and I live with my boyfriend who is out at work most days, so these tips might not accurately apply to your own working from home experience.

Spoiler Mini Review: House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City) by Sarah J. Maas

DISCLAIMER: Do not read if you have not read Crescent City or you will potentially be spoiled by the following.

Unfortunately reader SJM seems to be unable to write women that aren’t sassy and sexy and will always write her men to be tragically misunderstood “villains”.

If her writing wasn’t so addictingly easy to read I would probably have given up on this book for being too repetitive. But I guess if you love all things Maas you will love this book too.

A stand out moment for me was the Danika death plot twist which I absolutely loved the until a few pages later when it was ruined by reverting back to the culprit I had guessed waaaay before. Danika and Bryce’s friendship gave this book an emotional depth it would have been completely lacking if it was left to just Bryce and Hunt’s romance (honestly if you have read any SJM you know how this romance goes down). So the mystery of her death and learning more about Danika as a character was probably my favourite part of the book.

As for this being “adult” fantasy it for me offered nothing more adult than her “YA” titles apart from possibly more complex world building? Which to be honest was too info dumpy to be that enjoyable. I would have preferred to have at least have had a world map if you are going to discuss so many different places and not just a map of the city.

This book culminated in the typical showdown SJM is known for. Main character has more power than anyone thought possible, Male looks on at impressive female and truly understands her “soul” but also that she is badass. Male character seemingly sacrifices himself for female. Main evil person monologues the entire plot I just spent hours reading. It’s hard to not get caught up in it all but after about 30 mins of reading at a rapid pace you kinda start thinking “okay and is this the end now?”

One thing I cannot forgive Maas for is presenting a mystery to be solved but making it so the MCs have access to information we never see them get. Whole chunks of the plot in this book relies on scenes and actions of characters we never get to see or even suspect happened.

This book in the end was junk food that I couldn’t help devouring.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Why I love negative reviews

Negative reviews are absolutely for the reader and no one else. This is a hill most people would happily die on.

I have seen many arguments about negative reviews in my years of blogging and it usually ends up coming down to who reviews are for and if authors should know about them.

It’s quite easy to start reviewing books and thinking the author needs to know your thoughts or how will they improve their writing next time, right?

Wrong.

Some authors hate any sort of criticism even if the rest of the review is glowing, some authors think anything under five star is crap and most can agree they don’t like to be tagged as they can’t respond/do anything about the criticism being offered.

After all the book is published now, they can’t go back and edit it.

This entire argument is nuanced and there’s been bad behaviour by both authors and readers alike so my advice is simply this: Don’t stop writing negative reviews, just stop making authors aware of them.

So while I enjoy negative reviews immensely I have learned that my reviews are for me and you and no one else.

My reasons for loving negative reviews are:

They are very often hilarious

Most of the reviews I read that genuinely make me laugh out loud are negative reviews. Nothing gets people inspired like a book they hated. I’ve genuinely laughed at negative reviews for books I thought were amazing. Just because I love something doesn’t mean I can’t see it’s flaws. A perfect example of this is Readwithcindy’s reviews on ACOTAR, which had me crying actual tears despite the fact I really like that series.

What you hate I might love

A review that says everything is amazing is great for the author but doesn’t really help me discern if I will like that book. I usually know better what I won’t like than what I will like. So if someone writes an essay-like rant on a book series that they felt had too much fan service, that tells me that I probably won’t enjoy the book either. As I hate when a book series ends up playing up to the fans and loses itself.

Negative reviews can inspire new readers

Negative reviews can have the opposite effect and inspire people to pick up a book rather than put it down. I am very much a “I would rather see for myself kind of person” and I am not usually put off by negative reviews unless they mention specific tropes or themes I don’t like. EVEN THEN I might read it for the hell of it.

I think negative reviews in general appeal to a certain type of reader. I myself don’t generally read reviews until after I have already read the book. I am usually just looking to see if anyone else has the same opinion as me.

How to Bookstagram: Your questions answered.

To be honest I don’t get a lot of questions about my bookstagram. I have a reasonably well-grown account and I’ve been lucky enough to use my account to grow my own small business. I wouldn’t say I am well-known within the bookish world by any means but I wanted to do a Q+A to share how I got started. So I did ask you guys for questions and some of you did respond so here goes:

How did you grow your bookstagram? Did you start off slow or did it gain quicker than expected?

Growing my bookstagram definitely started off slow. I started in August 2017 and I had 900 followers by January 2018. After that my followers started to shoot up when I was invited into a Bookstagram pod group. They are quite popular on bookstagram as a way of beating the algorithm. My account definitely benefited from having 10 people comment on my posts daily and it also helped me as I was commenting on their posts everyday.

Now I know that interaction is key to growing an account and you definitely need people to be engaging with your content just as much as you need to be taking the time to comment on other people’s posts.

The bookstagram group I joined was actually how I met one of my bookstagram besties Sammy! and still exists today.

How did you find your theme? And what inspired you to have it as it is now?

So I’ve always used a vintage paper background from my scrapbooking days as a backdrop in my photos. I discovered I was better at flat lays than any other kind of photo and using potpourri as a prop happened when I saw other people using dried flowers and I got confused.

These three basic elements have inspired nearly every photo I have done since. I have gone through many different phases on my bookstagram but I would say my potpourri art pictures have been some of my most popular posts.

I love using bright colours and colour matching so I stuck with the rainbow of potpourri for a long while until I decided to change it a few months ago.

I’ve always admired to the out of focus, creamy, simple yet sometimes extravagant posts I see on some of my favourite accounts and so I decided to use less rainbow potpourri and more natural looking elements. My inspiration for this was out of a desire to make my photographs simpler to take. The potpourri artwork was lovely but the clean up was horrendous and time consuming.

What are some ways to gain a loyal following?

I think a loyal following can be quite hard and I am not even sure I’ve managed it myself. I can go months without really engaging with my followers at all despite posting everyday and this doesn’t help to build relationships. I do see some people taking the time to post and comment on my stuff, and I have my book friends who will DM me but I am not nearly as engaged as I would like to be.

So I guess being someone who takes the time to reply, takes the time to go onto other people’s profiles, like their pictures, replies to stories and responds to DMs. That is how you will get a loyal following.

What do you think attracts others to your profile?

Haha I honestly wish I knew as I would definitely focus on that. I am just myself. I can be ranty and opinionated, or be sharing personal stuff, sometimes I’m posting a new design or I’m shouting about an amazing event I went to.

I guess that just clicks with some people.