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... 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Catch Up

December flew by in a whirlwind of packing, unpacking, making up orders, standing in the Post Office queue and lugging my possessions around in boxes!

Moving house three days before Christmas was perhaps not my brightest idea and Christmas was more an inconvenience than a time to celebrate. I had less Christmas spirit than Ebenezer Scrooge and was very upset at the fact that I couldn't put my Christmas tree up. But I did manage to put one little Christmas decoration on the dresser. I love this reindeer lantern – you put tea light candles inside and it gives off a lovely Christmassy glow.

So I’m really happy to say that that the big move to Somerset has now taken place and we are officially residents of Frome! The house move wouldn't have gone so well if it wasn't for the help of both sets of our parents who were amazing and spent the Saturday before Christmas carrying boxes and lugging furniture in the pouring rain.

We managed to get the last box unpacked on Christmas Eve. It was hectic to say the least. We just had enough time for some last minute Christmas preparations. We put together some festive hampers for the parents...

And baked mini mince Christmas pudding cupcakes...Well actually, I can’t take all of the credit for these. Ian baked and I helped to decorate them.

One Christmas Day we traveled back to Dorset to have dinner at my parent’s house. I was very grateful to not have to do much on Christmas Day as I was knackered!

Naughty Kitten caught in the act.

So we had a nice quiet day dressing up the dog in festive outfits. She was not impressed.

I was pleased to get Christmas over and done with as I just couldn't enjoy it this year. However, next year I’m going to make up for this and create a Christmas grotto in the front room. Or something like that.

Anyway, going back in time slightly, I completed my last day of employment at the beginning of December. And what an emotional wreck I was! My lovely friends at work spoiled me all day and I was really really sad to leave. I literally cried from the time I arrived at work to the time I went home. So now I’m going it alone. I’m self employed and terrified!

I’m lucky to now have more time to develop new products for Literary Emporium and I have a few new items for 2013. As a cat lover, I had to make some sort of cat themed item so I made this necklace inspired by Hemingway’s quote.

I've always loved EE Cummings’ poem ‘I carry your heart with me’ and Ian actually has it tattooed on his chest so I made this little heart locket necklace. I haven’t got many of these, and it's only available on notonthehighstreet.com, so if you would like one get in there quick!

If you would like to have a look at my other new items click here – I’m always adding new literary inspired things.

In other exciting news, I have finally sorted an office/work space in my spare room but I’ll save that for another post...