Holiday Reading

Here are the books we are reading over the winter holidays.

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Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff

This book was gifted to me by my cousin. My personal goal is to read it in December, but it’s a big book and I’m a slow reader.

The book is really special as it has art work every couple of pages.

This book makes me fantasy about a life where I could read all day. It’s the sort of book you are sad to put down. It reminds me of interview of a vampire, except it’s the vampire interviewing a vampire Hunter to record his tales before ultimately dying (I’m guessing the end).

Snuggled on the sofa with my book 📖

Julia & the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

I saw how incredible this book looked on Instagram, and decided to buy it for my son’s Christmas Eve box. I like to give them PJs and a new book the night before Christmas so they are excited to go to bed. 😂

The book is extra special as it is signed by the author. The book’s edges are decorated with crows, and their is art work and velum pages inside.

The first chapter was sad as the child’s mother has died. However, my son was fascinated about the idea of someone living in a lighthouse and is excited to get to the “shark” bit. I actually don’t know if there is any sharks in the story but we’ll read & find out.

Roald Dahl Collection

As a child I loved Roald Dahl. My son borrowed George’s Marvellous Medicine from schools for we were really enjoying it, but ran out of tile before it had to be swapped.

So, I bought this set for him for Christmas so we could relive mummy’s childhood reading together. This pack of six cost £14.99 from Scholastic.

Christmas Day he started The Twits and read three chapters together. He enjoyed it so much that he’s continued reading more on his own. This is great, as books are competing with computer games, and he is a gamer.

The Girl & The Dinosaur by Hollie Hughes

I chose this book because my daughter has red hair and is into dinosaurs at the moment.

The story is about a little girl that digs up dinosaur bones at the beach. The beach looks a lot like Felixstowe – awesome. She then wishes that the dinosaur would come to life. Then, with magic, the dinosaur comes to life and they go on an adventure.

I love stories about imagination. I think imagination is underrated but without it many cool things would never have been created.

Tilda Tries Again by Tom Percival

This was a gift from my family to my daughter. My son already has Perfectly Norman. It’s part of Big Bright Feelings series.

The story is about a little girl (with red hair) that feels her world has turned upside down and doesn’t want to play with the other children. She then stops trying at everything. Then she watches a upside down ladybug right itself, and it inspires her to start trying again. Finally she is confident enough to try playing with the other children.

It was a nice read with a good message . My daughter is crazy confident but I was a very shy little girl. This book would have been amazing for me, and if my daughter ever loses her confidence, it’s nice we have this book on her shelf.

Book Token

Getting a book token is an incredible gift.

National Book Token: My kids were fortunate enough to get a book token for Christmas so we are planning an outing to a local bookshop so they can choose their own book. Book Tokens can also be spent online at Bookshop.org.

Amazon Voucher: My online book friends clubbed together and treated me for my birthday. I waited until after Christmas to spend it incase I got books as gifts. Now, I get to spend it. 🥰

Smashwords: Smashwords sell eBooks that can be read on any device or app, and are saved in the readers library. They have the option to gift eBooks which is a cool option to consider. Just pick the book you want and choose to gift, and the book will be sent to your recipient.

The cold weather is a perfect excuse to curl up with a new book. I hope you are reading something you love, and I’d love to hear what it is.

[kofi]

2021 Goals!

This year, I’ve really struggled with creating my goals. The problem is there’s so much I want to do but where to start?

I know if I have too many plates spinning, they’ll all crash. As I’m writing this it’s January 1st and I’m finally choosing my goals after agonizing over them for two weeks. And… I may still tweak them before this post goes live.

Personal

Skincare routine: Over the years, I’ve tried loads countless products and I’m constantly changing my routine. During 2021, I plan to finalise my skincare products which I think will benefit my skin.

I hate waste so I need to use up products I already have, and it also depends on money too. I’ve already decided on the products and look forward to sharing these with you as I buy them.

Visit Hollowtree Farm: Fear of the virus and lockdowns reduced the number of places we visited. We even had a gift voucher for a fun day at the farm and never got to go. They’ve said it doesn’t expire so this is a priority for 2021!

Self care: I never have time to indulge in things like doing my nails or a face mask. So, I’m planning to reward myself with products to support this when I hit my other goals.

Writing

Sky Heart: This is the BIG one. I want to finish book 2 in the Soul Heart series. But… there are many steps to a published book so this will likely take me all year.

Publishing a Novel To Do List

For accountability, I’m going to tweet my progress every Sunday.

Novella 1: I’m working on two novella’s but I want to finish “Denny’s story” first. I’m thinking of using it as a readers magnet.

Novella 2: This project will be on standby and only worked on if I’m waiting on stuff for the other writing projects. This is ”Luna’s story”. I’m still working on the titles of my novellas.

Ocean Heart: I have ideas to do something special in Mer-May. But, I can’t say more until I’ve figured out the details.

Reading

10 Books: Yes, it sounds low but when I’m busy on a writing project I only read a chapter or two a night making my progress very slow. 2020 I only just hit my goal of 12 books. 😂

I do only record fiction books but I also read a few non-fiction books on writing. I’m hoping to review these on my YouTube channel this year, as well as other bookish content.

I will keep posting my reviews to my blog, Goodreads, Amazon, Book Bub, Litsy, if able to. I will track my reading goal on Goodreads.

Goodreads/Litsy/Book Bub/Book Sniffer: I’ve used Goodreads for a few years but never been very active. I hope to improve that and get better at using the other reading social apps. Which brings me on nicely to my next goal…

Social Media

Website update: I’m going to quarterly review my website content to check it is up to date. And, update during that month.

Shop: Okay, it’s not social media but it is connected to my website. I’m trying to create a shop on my website but struggling. I will master it! I mastered moving my website during my book launch.

Trial Canva Pro: I love Canva and been tempted to pay for the pro version. But now there’s a scheduled too. It would be incredible to have everything in one place.

I bought Planoly during my book launch so I could schedule videos and carousels on IG. There’s been a few occasions it hasn’t posted, so I’m tempted to try other schedulers.

Consistently Post: This went really well this year for my blog and Instagram. I want to continue it and add YouTube and Twitter to my goals.

  • Blog: Mon, & Thurs
  • IG: Mon, Weds, & Fri
  • YT: Tue (fortnightly)
  • Twitter: Sun
  • Newsletter: end of month (was every other month)

Followers/Reviews: I’ve seen people track their followers growth. I’ve never done this but it’s a good idea. I will aim for a 20% increase over all platforms.

2021 Followers Count

I’d love to reach 10k on Instagram as it opens up certain features but it feels still too far out of reach. Until I worked out what 20% was, I was thinking of aiming for 5k by June. I think 4687 is more realistic and although social media helps with marketing my passion is writing.

My Facebook page has been around longer than my group. The Soul Heart Readers group was created in October to help with Ocean Heart’s release. I’m hoping members will stick around for Sky Heart – I’ll need BETA and ARC readers later this year.

I use Parler the same way I use Twitter, and really like the platform. My numbers grew fast when I first joined but has now slowed down. It’ll be interesting to see which of the two platforms has more growth in 2021.

My YouTube channel is very new, I’m not sure how fast it will grow. I’ll also be posting to Odysee to try out the new platform – I’ve not used it yet. Over the Christmas break, I created a new Intro & Outro which I’m looking forward to using.

Reviews: I have a page on my website where I’ve collected my favourite reviews of Ocean Heart, and directed readers to where the original can be found.

Reviews are really important for a books visibility, so I will be tracking how many I have and – eek – remind my readers to leave reviews.

January Goals

Listing my goals for only this month looks like a lot. Eek 😬

Personal

  • Record unboxing of Naturismo box (then start using products)

Writing

  • Sky Heart: Write 5k per week – track progress on Google sheet. Share progress on Twitter/Parler for accountability

Reading

  • Set annual reading goal on Goodreads
  • Finish reading Cinderella is Dead (paperback) – track progress on Goodreads
  • Finish reading Winter Trials (eBook) – track progress on Goodreads

Social Media

  • Update website content
  • Add shop to website
  • Blog & IG: Create January content & make a start on February content (aim to always be two weeks ahead)
  • Record, edit, schedule two YouTube/Odysee videos
  • Try out Canva pro – if scheduler is good, cancel Planoly
  • Weekly Twitter/Parler accountability post

[kofi]

If you enjoyed this you will like:

About Ocean Heart

My 2020 Book Reviews

Looking back at 2020

My Links Page

Suffolk UKPA Meet

The Christmas Meet Up

On Saturday, 30 November 2019, I attended the Suffolk UK Planner Meet up.

What sort of planner girl am I?

I felt like a fraud going because I am the worst planner girl.  I aspire to be organised and I love stationery, so the planner girl world really appeals to me but I am so disorganised that I can’t plan. Ironic – I know!

But, I went to the first  Planner Meet (April 2019) for Suffolk UKPA.  We had afternoon tea and I hoped to get some tips from experienced planner girls to help me get started.  The women I met were so lovely that when the invitation for the next meet came up I thought… Why not?

What happened at the meet?

I confessed that I am failing as a planner girl but the ladies didn’t shun me.  They welcomed me and we chatted about life, drank tea and enjoyed the nibbles provided.

The hosts, Ellen and Laura had prepared a craft activity for fun.  Laura (Instagram:  @the_do_it_all_mum_uk) had bought wooden discs, some twine and Christmas napkins from Poundland.  This was an incredibly simple activity with impressive results.  I love my new Christmas Decoration and can say “I made it!”

Ellen (Instagram:  @ellenbeemakes) brought her Etsy store to us.  It was great to have a browse through her stock and be able to ask her questions.  Ellen has a great YouTube channel to support creatives with using her products or other crafts.  She is a crafty mastermind.

Ellen and Laura also put together a goodie bag for attendees.  The video below shows what was inside and will help you discover her YouTube channel.

If that wasn’t awesome enough, the event also included a swap table. People brought with them stickers and other stationery that they didn’t need to give away for others to use.  I helped myself to a pad of paper for Noah, some stickers and washi tape.

Here are a few pictures of what I came home with.

Some of the women brought their planners and generously shared how they use them.  I fell in with a planner by Becca (Instagram @simplyhobonichi).  Her planner looked like something out of a magazine.  It had a beautiful personal feeling like a scrapbook.  This is the sort of planner I aspire to create.  She kindly told me about her favourite pens and let me take pictures to send to my husband to form part of my Christmas wishlist.

I’m so happy that I attended.  It was a lovely break from my kids (and if you’ve read my NaNo diary you will know why that was needed).  Being with these women made me feel rejuvenated.  I would definitively be interested in going again.

If you want to find out more about meets, join their Facebook group, Suffolk UKPA.

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@Redfae

My new Carpe Diem planner

I saw a great deal at Craftelier and decided to treat myself to a new planner.  I was choosing between Happy Planner and Carpe Diem.  The Happy Planners in my price range were dated which meant the first few months would be useless.  It is such a waste.  So, I went with Carpe Diem (undated) as I would be able to use everything and it came with co-ordinating stickers to start me off.

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I have used it for the first time for planning May.

Month spread

This is my spread for the month of May.  I love the stickers that come with the planner as they colours look beautiful and compliment each other.  It is so pretty.

What I am not keen on is the week starting on a Sunday?  It kept throwing me and I kept writing things on the wrong day.  I used stickers to cover up my mistakes but someone on IG recommended I buy Frixion pens as these can be erased.

I do like that these pages are undated.  This means the months that I have not used for this year (Jan to April) can be used next year.

This Month

This page is an overview of the month ahead when you can add important reminders like birthdays or important dates.  You can set monthly goals and To-do-lists.

I’m not sure how useful I will find this page.  I tend to set myself weekly targets and quarterly targets.  I also would rather a daily to-do-list than a monthly one.  If something needs to be done I’ll do it as soon as possible, I couldn’t wait a month.

Week schedule

This page has plenty of space to write what I have planned for each day.  I have decided to use the Notes section as my weekly to do list.  This is my favourite page and I need to get better at decorating it.

Thoughts so far

I love how pretty this planner is.  I am enjoying it more than my previous planner.  I would like to get some dotted paper so I could do some bullet journal style pages too.

I will definitly look at getting the erasable pens as I get really upset when I make a mistake.  I would like to get different colours so I can use it for social media plans and writing plans too.

I need to get more stickers so I dont feel so precious about using the ones I have – at the moment I feel a little like I am rationing them.

I already feel more organised. Even though I had things saved on my mobile calendar, I was still trying to remember it all.   Pysically seeing what I have planned and what I have achieved makes me feel like I can relax.

Have you any tips for me?

I am new to planning and know I have a lot to learn. If you can help me out with tips or people to follow for inspiration or good planner supply stores, please let me know.  Many thanks.

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Ally plus text

Planner Meet

Last month, I attended a local meet up for Planner Girls. I’ve never been to one before so had no idea what to expect. I simply hoped to get some tips and inspiration on how to use my planner.

We met at Oaks Tearoom in Felixstowe for afternoon tea. We were spoilt with a generous selection of mini sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and mini mason jars of jam. We were so full after eating the spread that we thought the owner was joking about there being more! But sure enough, he topped up our tea pots and brought out a selection of deserts including creme brulee, chocolate cake and macarons.

The cafe was adorable with its pretty cottage decor and real plants. We couldn’t help but take lots of pics. The cafe owner was such a gentleman and always there with what we needed before we even asked.

I was nervous meeting new people but they were all so lovely and it boosted my confidence. Not only that but all the women there were so lovely. They were hardcore planners and chatted about their busy lives and love of stationery and crafts. It felt like a day out with my best friends but I had never met these girls before.

The hostess of the event had made every attendee a personal gift bag based on our favourite colours. She also personally handmade items for each of us. It was such a thoughtful gesture.

In addition, Ellen of Etsy Store Ellen Bee Makes had also created us each a personalised goodie bag to showcase what is on offer in her store. I especially loved the Felixstowe theme stickers. This video showcases what I got.

Meeting Ellen was inspirational. I’ve been jotting down ideas for my own planner aimed at writers and it made me more hungry to do it. If only I had the time.

If you are in Suffolk and want to know about the next event join the Facebook group Suffolk UKPA.

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