Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The Great Gatsby Giveaway

Yep, I’m jumping on the Gatsby bandwagon and holding a Great Gatsby Giveaway of not one but three Gatsby inspired items.

The release of Baz Luhrmann’s new film version of The Great Gatsby has inspired a 1920’s style revival, and the sales of my Gatsby themed products have gone mad this week.

So I want to give you a chance to win Literary Emporium’s Great Gatsby prize bundle before I sell out of all things Gatsby!

The prize bundle consists of:

The Great Gatsby Bowtie Necklace – I was lucky enough for this necklace to be featured on Buzzfeed’s ’20 pieces of Gatsby Swag’ and since then I can’t make these necklaces fast enough!

The Great Gatsby Postcard Set – These quote postcards give you an insight into the beautiful language that the book has to offer. If you haven’t already read Fitzgerald’s literary classic, it’s available in Amazon’s Kindle store for 77p.

The Great Gatsby Button Badge – Little badge featuring the iconic Gatsby book cover art.

To be in with a chance of winning these prizes all you have to do is to enter via the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway closes on Midnight next Monday.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 15 April 2013

First Birthday

Today it is Literary Emporium’s first birthday and I can’t believe it’s a year since I opened my Etsy shop.

A year ago I would have never imagined that Literary Emporium would become a full time business and I’m really grateful to everyone who has supported and encouraged me along the way.

To celebrate this little landmark I’m holding a 24 hour flash sale in my Etsy shop.

All you have to do is use the discount code FIRSTBIRTHDAY for 20% off any order over $5.

Visit my Etsy shop here – www.etsy.com/shop/literaryemporium

Thank you again to family, friends and customers who have made Literary Emporium’s first birthday possible x

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

In the last month...

 I just wanted to share some moments from the last month or so. Both business and pleasure.

So, in the last month I have...

Made my first wholesale order to a beautiful shop in Frome called SEED which sells an eclectic array of items, handmade by British designers. I’m currently working on a much larger wholesale order for a chain of independent bookshops in Australia which is both daunting and exciting (and bloody hard work!)

Got published in some magazines! I’ve always wanted an excuse to buy Your Cat magazine and I finally had one!

Made this. If you haven’t read The Great Gatsby I highly recommend it. I loved Fitzgerald’s writing style – ornately crafted sentences without being overly complex.  Also Baz Luhrmann’s film version is out in May and it’s got Leo in. Need I say more?

 Eaten a lot of these

But also tried to be healthy by eating this

 And this

 Apart from the pink fairy cakes which look like they were made by a seven year old.

But I made them...

 There’s nothing like eating cake mix out of the bowl to transport you back to your childhood.

Made a new friend...

 This little guy keeps appearing in my garden and I thought it was rude not to go out and introduce myself. But ever since then he’s literally been pawing at my door trying to get in.

Look at him, toying with my emotions.

He seems healthy and fed but I’m going to keep an eye on him as he’s a bit lonely.

Wore my Penguin brooch and which caused a major colour clash situation but I don’t care.

Next month I will be visiting Shakespeare’s birthplace, doing some more baking and probably adopting the cat.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Catch Up...again

Yep, this is another one of those ‘catch up’ posts because once again I have let time run away with me and work immerses my every waking moment!

I’m really pleased to say that Valentine’s Day was a successful occasion for Literary Emporium and I sold loads of Valentine’s card and lots of these...

Anyway the last few weeks have mainly consisted of this...

Packaging Orders.

And this...



and more food (an obscene amount of pancakes were demolished on Pancake Day)

I seriously need to start taking stock of what I am eating as it’s gone beyond the winter comfort eating situation now. Maybe if I post everything I eat on this blog it will shame be into cutting down...

Now the Valentine’s Day rush is over I’ve got some time to create new products. This is my absolute favourite part of my job and makes a welcome change from doing admin, accounts and other boring businessy stuff.

I was conscious of the fact that Literary Emporium lacked gifts for men, so with Father’s Day only a few months away, I decided to try and create a new men’s range.

So far I have created these cufflinks...

I hope you like them – they make a nice little gift for the man in your life! I aim to develop my men’s range further to go beyond cufflinks but I’m not sure what yet! 

As you may know, in the last few months I have changed jobs and relocated, so to continue with this life transformation I decided to change my hair. This may not seem like much for many of you, but I have been dying my hair blonde since I was about 13 and I can’t remember my hair being any other colour! After 12 years of bleaching and spending too much money and time at hairdressers I decided enough was enough. I also have an inexplicable fear of hairdressers and I would actually rather go to the dentist than get my hair done. So instead of booking any appointment with a professional colour consultant at a salon like any other normal person, I went to Boots, choose a pack of permanent brown hair dye, went home tried to dye my bleach blonde hair a brown colour. Needless to say it wasn’t reminiscent of the glossy chestnut brown colour I imagined. But it wasn’t awful either. It turned out a lot darker than I anticipated but the dye didn’t take to the ends of the hair so I had some unintentional ombre look. Also, as my hair is so long, one box of dye wasn’t enough and I had a few patches where I had missed (not a good look).

But despite this error, I still avoided a dreaded trip to the hairdressers, and went to Boots and some more hair dye (the same one) and tried again. This time I managed to get even coverage so I’ll just leave it alone for a while now.

(Sorry for bad photos, I hate being in photos more than going to the hairdressers) 

Being brunette was a bit of a shock at first but I’m getting used to it now especially as I can seem to get away with not straightening/washing it so often.

If you’re wondering what hair dye I used it was this one.

 It’s a foam so it’s really easy to apply but make sure you get two boxes if you got blonde long hair! Has anyone else gone from blonde to brunette? Did it work out?

Tuesday, 29 January 2013


It goes without saying that books are very important to me. My packed bookcase is one of my most treasured possessions and one which I would simply not do without.

Having succumbed to a Kindle last year I thought my bookcase would become neglected but owning a Kindle hasn’t seemed to curb my book habit. There’s nothing better than actual books with beautiful covers.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my Kindle. It enabled me to read a ridiculous number of books on holiday without going over my baggage allowance. It also provides instant gratification – if I’ve got a hankering to read a particular book right now this second then a Kindle enables me to do so. And you can also pick up some good bargains. I recently downloaded Life of Pi for 20p. It was the best 20p that I’ve ever spent – amazing book.

Anyway, a Kindle definitely has its pros but I could never be parted from physical books. The look, feel and the smell of them is so pleasing. So I thought I’d take you on a little tour of my bookcases (which I do share with my other half so all the random history books are his).

 Some beautiful Penguin Classics. I love the simplicity of the green and white covers so I’ve been building up a little collection.

Some modern classics. Lord of the Flies is particularly well thumbed – it’s a book that will always remain relevant. I never get bored of reading The Bell Jar, it’s one of my all time favourites (clich├ęd, I know!).

 More Penguins.

I’ve got a slight obsession with children’s books. If I ever have children they will have the best library in the world.

 These are some of my vintage children’s books. Does anyone else remember Little Grey Rabbit? I used to have a cuddly toy of her as well.

The Jolly Postman is such an amazing book. Yes, I’m, 25 years old, but looking at all the little letters always puts a smile on my face.

This is a vintage Winnie the Pooh book that used to belong to my Mum. It has such beautiful illustrations.

My own Winnie the Pooh collection from when I was little and some Beatrix Potter books which are another favourite of mine. 

 I absolutely adore the illustrations in Anthony Browne’s books. If you have read them you will know what I mean, but every time you look at them you see something new. If you love illustrations you should definitely read them.

No bookcase is complete with a set of Harry Potter’s. I would always buy the new one on the day it came out. They’ve got a bit sun damaged which is a shame but they’ve given me many hours of entertainment.

I look forward to adding lots of new and treasured discoveries to my bookcase for many years to come. 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

A Room of One’s Own

You may remember a post a while ago in which I moaned about having no office space to work on Literary Emporium. Well, throughout December this got worse and worse with the increase in Christmas orders. There wasn’t a time when jewellery making supplies and packaging weren’t spread out over the table, floor, side, dresser...you get the idea. So, one of my aims was to create a dedicated work space when we moved house.

So, with a several trips to Ikea, I finally have some where to work and I couldn’t be happier with it. Despite me creating a work space Pinterest board for inspiration, I went for practicality over anything else as I just need to work efficiently.

So here it is....

 This desk from Ikea is perfect as I need to create a little making / packaging production line when I work. The chair is an old one I had and it’s not the most comfortable thing to sit on for eight hours a day but I found an old cushion to put on it which makes it more bearable.

A lot of the stuff in the office is reused and recycled so the only major outlay was the desk and a few stationary items (most of which I got for my birthday anyway).

I already owned the Cath Kidston storage tins and the lamp was only £5.49 from Argos. I’ve put my rolls of packaging twine on an old kitchen rolls holder and my tape and finished necklaces hang on a mug tree. I’ve reused some old place mats to protect the desk when I’m making stuff and the floral boxes under the desk are cheap ones from Wilkinsons (love Wilkos) and Ikea.

This vintage letter rack was a Christmas present from Ian and ideal to store all my crap (by crap I mean important paperwork that I need to sort).

 For some strange reason I’m a massive map geek so I treated myself to a huge map of the world which I’ve put up on the wall. I find maps so interesting so I often find myself idly staring at it. And it’s really useful when I get international orders as I love to find where they are heading to.  

This lovely wicker table was from my friend at work and the letter organiser on top of it was another bargain from Ikea and perfect for storing all my postcards. You can just see another map hidden behind the table – it’s a vintage map of Dorset that I found in a charity shop and is again very interesting to look at. The Dictionary of Quotations was another charity shop find (one of my best ever discoveries) and is absolutely fascinating and invaluable to me.

 My desk faces the window and Ian has got a similar (but smaller, ha!) desk set up behind me for him to do his marking and lesson planning. It’s really nice to spend the weekends working in here together in comfortable silence.

 So I’m really pleased to have created an office and workspace on a tight budget and I’m able to work so much more efficiently. And it may look tidy at the moment but it definitely won’t stay that way...