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Flatlay Like A Boss 

  I’ve been asked quite a bit lately how I create flatlays for my Instagram so I thought it would be fun to share some tips. I always find flatlays generate a lot of attention on Instagram and I love looking at them myself. They are visually appealing and really stand out when you’re scrolling through photos online. 

If you want to join in the flatlay fun then here are my Five Helpful Hints ….

1. Tell a story

If you’re not sure where to start with a flatlay image, think about the story you want to tell. What do you want to show people through the photo. 

  
For example, in my flatlay above I used a concert ticket and the top I planned to wear to it as my story – showing everyone where I was off to that day. You could read the caption I wrote about it but the image speaks for itself and just glancing at it tells you a story. 

2. A backdrop dream   

   

You want the pieces in your flatlay to stand out as much a possible so you’ll need a plain background. In the photo above, I used my desk or you could use the carpet, your bed or a coloured piece of card like I did for the concert picture. 

3. Get propping 

For a great flatlay, you’ll need props. And it doesn’t have to be costly. I’ve found some great bargains but I’ve also used lots of things I already had. Beauty products work really well and stationery is always popular. It’s lots of fun experimenting with what works the best. This flatlay generated a ton of likes I think becauseeverything stands out and works together really well. And the symmetry is pleasing to the eye. I’m happy with it anyway!

  
4. The right light

I’ve found natural light is the best to work with but it isn’t easy to get rid of shadows. Editing your photo afterwards will be useful in most cases. I usually have to lighten and brighten an image and a sharpening tool helps makes a picture pop. Editing wise I use the Camera+ app and Snapseed as well as Instagram’s editing tools to make my photos look as good as possible and in keeping with each other.

  
5. Birds eye view 

And then finally, you need to frame your photo. I usually put things together then look through my phone camera to see if it’s working. Standing high gives a great flatlay so you might need to climb up on a chair to get the best shot. Things often look different once you get up high so adjusting the photo will be key. 

I have often had to take a ton of photos moving things around ever so slightly so it all fits into the frame. Your patience should be rewarded at the end though with a fab flatlay to post.

  
I love playing around with flatlays as you’ll see if you follow my Instagram (check it out here: https://www.instagram.com/vickyjwalters/) and I love looking at them so do let me know if this inspires you to post one!

Do you have any other flatlay tips? Let us know in the comments!

Victoria

xoxo 

2

Unearthing gems in London

I am lucky enough to live a short train journey from London but I must admit I don’t often take the time to explore new areas. Perhaps I’m not alone in missing things that are on my doorstep but as with most things in life if you take the time to look around you, you can unearth some wonderful gems.

The lovely Rachel Small (http://rachelsmallediting.com), who I met through blogging on here, and I explored Bloomsbury and discovered the wonderful Persephone Books.

  
  
They reprint neglected fiction and non-fiction by mid-twentieth century (mostly) women writers. The shop is just a lovely place to be and I can’t wait to read some of their books!

After browsing, we went to Bea’s Of Bloomsbury – a cake shop that was the perfect place to recharge.

I had a red velvet cupcake to celebrate four weeks to my novel’s offical publication date!

  
Strolling around the area, we were both struck by this street. It felt like you could step back in time into another century (without the cars!!) ,and it just seemed so perfectly London. 

  
What gems have you unearthed recently?

Victoria

xoxo

6

A novel setting

One of the most important parts to any novel is its setting – when and where does your story take place? Location can become a character in your novel, it can add drama or romance or stillness to a scene, it gives your characters a place to be and can create plot points as well – for example, a cabin in the woods in a storm is instantly an unnerving prospect, or a beach on the rain can be a perfect moment for that first kiss.

New Forest ponies roam freely around the parkland and villages

New Forest ponies roam freely around the parkland and villages – spotted this one with her foal by the side of the road

Choosing a setting for a story is something that I think about very early on because of how much location can impact your story. Obviously if you’re creating a new world for a fantasy novel you have to do a lot of world building but even for a contemporary novel, your setting can be key to the story and it’s worth thinking in detail about where your novel will take place, and how it could help you tell your story.

This one looked very wise to me ... Gandalf the Grey?

This one looked very wise to me … Gandalf the Grey?

My novel The Second Love Of My Life takes place in a fictional small town in Cornwall so obviously the coast places a role in the story. For my new book I wanted to set it somewhere completely different and find a location that would suit the story and help me tell it. The setting of the New Forest came to me really quickly and even though some major plot points have changed as I’m writing the book, the setting hasn’t.

Made a new friend whilst I was there!

Made a new friend whilst I was there!

I love the New Forest and recently went for a day trip there, which was a great opportunity to make sure I had been describing it just right in the book and take some pictures for inspiration. I don’t think though that you have to actually visit a place you’re writing about, there are so many photos online you can use for inspiration and Pinterest boards are great for this but sometimes it’s worth making a research trip to get a feel for a place. I know the New Forest pretty well so it’s been easy to tell a story there and the scenery and the ponies there have naturally weaved their way into the main plot strands of the book.

These two were gossipying in Burley High Street

These two were gossipying in Burley High Street

I think it’s really fun coming up with new settings for books and it’s one way of making sure each story you tell is unique from your others and making sure you never become bored by a place. I hope my love of the locations I’ve chosen in my books comes across as they are read because they really are one of the characters in the story.

How do you choose settings for your stories? How important is location to you as a reader?

Victoria

xoxo

2

As we walk in fields of purple

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This week I visited Mayfield Lavender Farm which is open a few months a year when lavender is in bloom. It’s basically a place to snap photos surrounded by lavender, breathing in the lovely fragrance and trying to avoid the bees and wasps crowded in the flowers. It was a cloudier day than had bene forecasted so the purple doesn’t look as vivvd in the photographs as it did in real life.

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Victoria

xoxo

4

If only there was an Instagram filter for life

I avoided Instagram for a long time expecting it to just be a copy of Facebook and wondering if I could really handle yet another social media account but I must admit I’m loving being on there at the moment. I love seeing pictures from all round the world, and there is an endless supply of cute cat pictures to dive into!

I am also contributing to them myself:

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Harry as the latest must-have accessory: cat-in-a-bag!

I also love the filters you can use on there, and how much better they can make your photos look. There’s an automatic zoom when you upload a photo on Instagram and a vast array of options to tweak them so they can look the best they possibly can.

Harry and I filtered to look our best

Harry and I filtered to look our best

Harry likes me to use it to share his many pearls of wisdom such as this one:

AIM HIGH

AIM HIGH

I am currently experimenting with which filters on there work the best, and I’m loving the tilt shift function so you can focus on one part of a picture leaving the rest of it in soft focus like these:

Focusing on the ducks in the foreground

Focusing on the ducks in the foreground

Harry stopping to smell the roses

Harry stopping to smell the roses

It’s also the perfect place to share my sunset capturing obsession. The sunset hashtag is very popular on there! I have found my people at last 🙂

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It’s also a great place for book lovers too with lots of bloggers and authors on there and a lot of people sharing photos of books. A perfect opportunity to share this:

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The best tote bag in the world ever

It’s proving to be a place where you can spend a lot of time being lost amongst pretty pictures so you have fair warning if you join up too.

And if you’re on there already, wave hi to me please! My username is: vickyjwalters.

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Fairylights sparkling in my garden

Are you an Instagram fan?

Victoria

xoxo

5

Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside

My mum and I arrived in Eastbourne to gorgeous sunshine this weekend

My mum and I arrived in Eastbourne to gorgeous sunshine this weekend

Flowers along the seafront

Flowers along the seafront

Wind-swept on the pier

Windswept on the pier

Eastbourne pier

Eastbourne pier

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Don’t mind if I do 🙂

Sun setting on the pier

Sun setting on the pier

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Windswept on the seafront this time

Windswept on the seafront this time

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The second day the weather turned into typical English seaside weather though 😦

We still braved the seafront even though it was grey, rainy and cold!

We still braved the seafront even though it was grey, rainy and cold!

Why, yes, I am stupid enough to be on the beach right now!

Why, yes, I am stupid enough to be on the beach right now!

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Even the seagulls were subdued – do not trust them though one stole my sandwich and another bit my mum on her hand!

Lovely to catch the fairy lights switching along the seafront

It was lovely to catch the fairy lights switching along the seafront on our last night

Victoria

xoxo

4

Pinteresting It Up

I have joined Pinterest! When I write I definitely think about the story visually. I imagine the setting, the people, the buildings that are in my story either because I have actually seen them somewhere or I paint a picture in my mind of what I want them to look like. My forthcoming novel is set in Cornwall, England and a lot of scenes take place in, around, close by to the beautiful coastline there. Hopefully, the novel paints the picture well but I thought it would be fun to use a Pinterest board to show some of my inspiration for the book. At the moment the board will give you a taste of what to expect from the book (sun, sea, sand, love, art and more!) and then when you read the book, you can look back at the images and bring the pages you’re reading to life!

The Second Love Of My Life board:

I have also created a board for my short story The Summer I Met You. This is a prequel to the novel but can be read as its own story as well. The story takes place in both Devon and Cornwall so you’ll find images from Devon on this board as well as other images that reminded me of the story, its setting and its characters too!

The Summer I Met You Board:

I have only just joined Pinterest so I’m sure I’ll be adding more images and boards in the future. I’d love to follow you guys on there so please leave your links in the comments for me!

Victoria

xoxo