Life Update: Me, My Shelf and I

There’s been lots of exciting things happening for me recently so I thought I’d do a blog post about some of them. 

First of all, I’ve finally gotten a permanent contract at work. This made me really happy since from the second I started work about six months ago, I knew that I loved my job. It’s kinda scary since it feels like I’m finally a serious working adult and I don’t know how to deal with that. I’m not equipped to be an adult. 

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen my new bookshelf. It’s black and red and absolutely gorgeous! 

Lastly I’ve been debating whether or not I should continue reviewing books. I’ve got about 10 or so review books that I still need to read but my regular print books are getting neglected which makes me sad. I miss reading just for fun and not because I need to have a review done before a certain date. I’m still not sure if I am going to still accept review books (it’ll kill me to miss out on all the great days) but it’s definitely something I need to think about.

That’s all for my life update. I’m hoping to have regular blog posts in the future but things never work out the way I want them to when it comes to the blog. 

How I Schedule My Blog Posts

I’m sitting here with a cup of coffee that I have heated up for the third time this morning. This is also my third attempt at drafting this post. It has been getting harder and harder to get time to write blog posts since I started work. I think I have some sort of system going now. It is by no means perfect but I’m sharing it in the hopes that maybe it’ll help you.

1) Generating Ideas:

I use Trello and OneNote to keep track of my blog post ideas. I basically just make a list of blog ideas in Trello and then expand on them in OneNote. I know I can write the entire blog post out on a Trello card but I am just more comfortable using OneNote. I write down ideas as soon as they come to me so that I don’t forget them. I also use a regular planner so that I can see in print when I want to schedule my posts.

2) Actually Writing the Posts:

Like I said above, I usually use OneNote to write down the blog post. On occasion, I do write the blog post on WordPress. WordPress is my last stop before actually publishing so I make sure that I edit the post here before publishing it. I write blog posts every Saturday or every spare moment I can get.

3) Getting images:

In my opinion, this is where the magic begins. In the last week of the month, I spend an hour or two on Canva, creating images for my blog posts. I know that I usually have a TBR, Book Haul and four book reviews. While the book reviews don’t need any images, the TBR and book haul posts do so these are easy to create. I also use my Trello list of blog ideas to see what blog posts I’m writing for the month and then create those posts.

4) Publishing and Promoting:

In the first week of the new month (eg, first week of October), I combine my blog draft with the Canva images. Voila! A blog post. I read through the post to make sure it reads well, I add the relevant tags and publish. I try and make sure that at the very least, I have four book reviews for the month already queued. Then I use Buffer to schedule social media posts for the week. Honestly I usually just do this the first week and then forget the rest of the month. (Hey, I am trying here. Like I pointed out above, finding time to blog is TRICKY!). On the day that a blog post is published, I promote it on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. I repeat this a week or two later.

 

My process is not perfect and sometimes I do fall behind. Okay, lots of times. But I’m working on it and I found that having an actual process in place makes it easier to blog. How do you schedule your blog posts? I’d love to know below!

September Book Haul


I was late for the July and August SPCA booksale so my mother thought to remedy that by waking me up at 7AM. On a Saturday! I don’t know if she’s aware of the fact that I often work Saturdays and my days off are sacred. Anyway we got to the booksale at about 9AM (which is good since that’s when Bargain Books opens). After a quick browse, I came up with an armful of books as well as a collection of kids magazines such as “Sabrina’s Secrets”  and “Make it Groovy” . My inner kid was overjoyed since I loved Sabrina’s Secrets but never had more than one issue since I subscribed (should the correct phrase be “my parents subscribed” since I was only ten at the time?) to Make it Groovy. Eventually that subscription was cancelled (Damn recession) and I was left a sad child. But not anymore *cackles evilly* I am an independent woman and I will have these kids magazines. The guy at the SPCA asked me if I finished the books I bought last month. I admitted that I didn’t read as much as I bought each month and he laughed. (I’m going to get to them one day okay!) 

Obviously after this I visited Bargain Books. I knew I wanted Melissa Delport’s “Legacy” series but things didn’t actually go as planned. There was small hiccup where “A Million Worlds with You” didn’t scan as part of the 3 books for R150 deal. I don’t think I have ever visited Bargain Books and not had an issue at the till. The manager had to be called to fix this and she greeted me warmly before asking if I had finished my last batch of books from their store. I swear I felt so attacked. I laughed and admitted that I hadn’t and she said she thought as much since I had visited the store a few weeks ago. This is what freaks me out- I cannot remember visiting Bargain Books in the past month. Either I have a doppelganger or I’m going book-shopping before blacking out. 

Before leaving the Crescent I popped into Waltons to check their colouring pencils and I also quickly looked at the SPCA books again. Fun fact- they have more than just books. I found some DVDs.

After this the only bookish thing I had left to do was use my Exclusive Books voucher. I knew that I wanted to buy “And I Darken”. Unfortunately there were no copies at the store so I ended up coming home with Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas. I also caught a quick glimpse of Somizi who was visiting the store. Sadly there were too many people for me to take a pic but I was thrilled nonetheless. 

I came home totally exhausted but so happy. I got a great haul of books and other items and I loved it! 

10 Things I Wish I Knew When I First Started Blogging

I’ve been blogging for about four years now and it never fails to amaze me how many things I don’t know. Despite this it also never fails to amaze me how much I have learnt so far. Here are 10 lessons I wish I knew when I first started blogging:

things-i-wish-i-knew-blogging

 

  1. The importance of social media- I cannot stress this enough. When I first started blogging (a very casual Tumblr that was filled with posts about my day at school and shirtless pictures of Ian Somerhalder), I saw no need to promote posts on social media. Unfortunately this habit carried over when I started blogging seriously as well. I had social media accounts but they were for me and my friends and not my blog.
  2. How to make friends- Okay, this is still something I feel awkward about and don’t really know how to do but I have made far more friends through my blog over the past year than I did when I first started blogging. The great things about having blogger friends is that they get the pits and peaks of having a blog. They get why certain blog-ish things make you excited or disappointed.
  3. The Value of Pinterest- Pinterest is a HUGE source of traffic and I will forever regret not using it in my earlier blogging days. Pinterest is a constant source of my traffic and it isn’t even for recent posts. Once you Pin a post and it’s repin, you can get tons of new views.
  4. Blogging is not always free- When I first started blogging, I didn’t want to pay any money for anything. I was a high school senior with little to no steady income (my allowance was solely reserved for data). So I didn’t have my own hosting and domain. Now that I do, it is a move that I definitely do not regret. Blogging is not always free especially if you want to be taken seriously as a blogger.
  5. SEO- Another great way to get traffic is through SEO. Unfortunately I didn’t know much about SEO so this was not something I used to bring traffic to my blog.
  6. Blogging is not easy- Blogging is time-consuming and tiring. Ever since starting my job it’s been more difficult to get time to blog especially if I happen to be working on a Saturday. As a newbie I assumed I could post whenever I wanted to and no one would care. However if you want people to keep coming back to your blog, you need to have a consistent schedule.
  7. Not all bloggers get free stuff- While I didn’t start my blog in order to get freebies, I was very confused when I saw other bloggers getting free food and clothing vouchers. Why did they get those things? Why didn’t I? (Hint-they’re a) overseas and b) have a larger following than I do so they have a lot more perks.
  8. Free stuff is not actually free- There’s no such thing as a free lunch. When bloggers get “free stuff” they usually have to promote it with a blog/social media post. Which, as you can see in point 6, is not always easy.
  9. You don’t have to be online 24/7- When I first started blogging, I was glued to my phone (granted I’m still pretty glued to my phone but that’s usually because I’m chatting to my friends). I didn’t want to miss any social media notification or review request. I do have moments when I’m waking up at 2AM to see if I have review requests for Historical Romance (I get such amazing historical fiction reads, you guys. St. Martin’s Press really knows what they’re doing in that genre) but besides that I leave all blogging stuff for days/times when I’m blogging.
  10. How to Use a Social Media Tool- Like I mentioned in the point above, you don’t have to be online all the time. Using a social media tool such as Buffer, you can give the appearance of being online and you can promote your blog without needing to log into Facebook/Twitter ten times a day.

What things do you wish you knew before you started blogging?

Waiting on Wednesday: Hello Stranger (The Ravenels #4) by Lisa Kleypas

I love Lisa Kleypas’ historicals and I especially love how dysfunctional the families are. The Ravenels series follows a family of misfits (similar to her “Hathaways” series). However the fourth book in this series, “Hello Stranger” doesn’t really follow a Ravenel- or atleast not one that I’ve seen in previous books. There isn’t a cover yet since the book only releases next year but here’s the synopsis:

 

Official Synopsis from Goodreads.Com:

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas delivers a scintillating tale of an unconventional beauty who finds passion with the spy who can’t resist her

A woman who defies her time
Dr. Garrett Gibson, the only female physician in England, is as daring and independent as any man – why not take her pleasures like one? Yet she has never been tempted to embark on an affair, until now. Ethan Ransom, a former detective for Scotland Yard, is as gallant as he is secretive, a rumored assassin whose true loyalties are a mystery. For one exhilarating night, they give in to their potent attraction before becoming strangers again.

A man who breaks every rule
As a Ravenel by-blow spurned by his father, Ethan has little interest in polite society, yet he is captivated by the bold and beautiful Garrett. Despite their vow to resist each other after that sublime night, she is soon drawn into his most dangerous assignment yet. When the mission goes wrong, it will take all of Garrett’s skill and courage to save him. As they face the menace of a treacherous government plot, Ethan is willing to take any risk for the love of the most extraordinary woman he’s ever known.

Release Date:  February 27th 2018 by Avon

My Favourite Blogging Apps

I love blogging apps. They make it so easy to create posts, edit pictures and blog on the go. This is great since I don’t have to be attached to the computer 24/7 in order to create content.Here are some of my favourite blogging apps:

My Favourite Blogging Apps

 

  1. JotterPad- I love using Jotterpad to jot down ideas or drafts for blog posts. I have a memo pad app on my phone but there’s just something about Jotterpad that I love when it comes to taking down quick notes. I also use JotterPad for non-blog notes such as phone numbers, lists or reminders.
  2. Trello- I use Trello to keep track of my social media and editorial calendar. I occasionally also use it to track my reading and book reviews. The Trello Android app now has the Calendar Power-Up which makes it even more   effective for blogging. It also makes using Trello as an editorial calendar SO much easier
  3. Pixlr- I don’t always edit pictures on my phone but when I do, I use Pixlr. This is mainly because when I first started adding pictures to post, I used Pixlr and the habit stuck with it. I’m just really comfortable with it and hey, if it isn’t broke why fix it?
  4. WordPress- For some reason the WordPress app on my phone does not let me blog but I use it to reply to             comments and check my blog stats. This is probably my least favourite app on my phone even though         WordPress is my favourite blogging platform.
  5. Pinterest- I love Pinterest for tips on blogging, sharing my own blog posts and to keep up with friend’s blogs. I feel like you can find anything and everything on Pinterest. It’s like a visual Google.

Blogging would definitely be far more difficult without these apps. What are some of your favourite blogging apps? I’d love to know below.

 

July Book Haul

July 1st was my birthday so obviously I had to celebrate with some books. Unfortunately I got to the SPCA booksale later than usual so my SPCA book haul is smaller than usual. I do however have really great books:

  1. First of all, Reader’s Warehouse was giving away a free Harry Potter tote for any purchase of a Harry Potter book. This was a perfect time for me to order the new edition of Philosopher’s Stone. This was a birthday present from my mother and was delivered just before my birthday. The tote is my new book bag. Book sales, here I come.

Reader's Warehouse Book Haul

2. SPCA Bookhaul- It still makes me really sad that my haul was so small but these were all books that I really wanted so I was really excited to find them. I read Evermore and the Vampire Academy books already and I am so thrilled to finally own them. I’ve also wanted to read “Evernight” and “Night World” since I was in high school.

SPCA Bookhaul

3. Bargain Books Haul- THEY WERE ALL ON SALE AND THEY WERE YA AND I HAVE WANTED THESE BOOKS SINCE I WAS BORN AND CAN YOU TELL HOW HAPPY I AM RIGHT NOW???

Bargain Books

4. Birthday Books from my aunt- I love love love when family members buy me books.

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5. Book Case Haul- Okay this was just one book but the book merch was awesome so it all needs to be taken into account.

flame iin the mist

6. And last but not least, I visited Bargain Books after work one Saturday just because I could. I already read November 9 but it is amazing and this cover is gorgeous and it is ALL MINE!!!

 IMG_20170708_214146_961

What books have you bought recently? I’d love to know below.

Life Update: April

I feel like I haven’t been blogging as much as I would like. Life has been getting in the way but there’s been lots of exciting things happening so I thought I would do a quick life update.

 

LIFE UPDATE- APRIL

 

Firstly, I finally got a job! I feel like I’ve been searching forever so you guys have no idea how thrilled this makes me. I also graduated. Which, while exciting, left me a bit disappointed since it turns out that my degree was literally a piece of paper. Can no one give me a degree on like a solid piece of cardboard?

I’m glad that after years of effort, I finally got the degree in English that I’ve always wanted. It also doesn’t hurt that I will no longer have to wake up at 5AM to attend a class that may be cancelled due to a student protest or just cut short by a tired lecturer.

I’ve also been stockpiling books (who’s surprised? No one? Yeah, that’s what I thought). I don’t have that much time to read anymore but I just like having the books nearby. I’m going to share a recent bookhaul soon.

 

What have you been up to in April? What are your plans for the long weekend? I’d love to know below.

My Five Favourite South African Book Bloggers

I have always been fascinated with bloggers. These were people who knew the magical language of HTML and coding and they created gorgeous websites/blogs. They were so talented! When I started my own blog however, I felt incredibly lonely. I felt like I couldn’t relate to those bloggers. I was a South African student who did nothing but read while those bloggers attended sample sales and blogged about designer planners. So when I discovered South African book bloggers, I was over the moon! Finally after years of searching (three years, if you were curious), I finally found people who got me. Here are my five favourite South African book bloggers:

Life is too short to belived counting the years.Enjoy the ride and makeamazing memories.Have a great birthday!

 

  1. Urbanised Geek– Urbanised Geek has to get the first mention because back when I first started reading YA, I read whatever it was that Monique recommended. Also, she was the reason that I read The Lunar Chronicles and I would gladly sell an organ or three to own the entire collection in hardback. I loved the series that much.
  2. The Book Fairy’s Haven– The Book Fairy’s Haven is run by Tammy February who is a journalist for W24 and she REVIEWS BOOKS FOR A LIVING! Her blog has lots of great content such as interviews, book reviews and great posts but occasionally I visit just to admire the design (it’s decorated in faeries. Can someone please do that for me but with vampires instead?).
  3. Read and Seek- Blogger Nihaad originally had another blog (I think it was called The Little Blog of Stuff? I’m not sure but I absolutely loved that name) and I followed her over from that previous blog. She regularly posts discussions and book reviews. She also has a gorgeous Instagram feed.
  4. Under the Midnight Sky– I don’t remember how I came across this blog (I think Twitter perhaps?) but I know I’ve taken more than a few book recommendations from Abdeah (my favourite being Divergent- until I read a spoiler for Allegiant- and The Wrath and The Dawn). Abdeah also has a great Instagram feed with a ridiculously amazing set of props (she has what looks like a sword, guys. I’m equal parts terrified and fascinated).
  5. A Write Review– I don’t think I’ve read any of the books that Tina blogs about but she blogs about really great books. I basically follow her just to see what I should be reading when my TBR is shorter (so those are books I’m never going to read?)

Who are your favourite book bloggers? I’d love to know below.

This is Where It Ends

I’m hours (five hours to be exact) away from writing my final paper as a college student. I know I should be focused on the paper but all I can think of is “How did three years pass so soon?”

It seems like only yesterday I was preparing for my matric finals and here I am hours away from my college finals. Time really does fly.

I’m dreading having to see family over the festive season and deal with the “What are your plans for next year?” questions but omg I can’t believe I’m here!

Also, once exams are over I hope to have proper blog posts lined up.