There’s nothing better than a good book. And call me old fashioned but, in this digital age, I think there’s nothing more comforting than curling up with a cup of tea and an ACTUAL book. I’m especially fond of a good design or interiors book – the ones that look so beautiful, styled up on your coffee table. Anything that has the potential to combine my two loves; reading and styling has to be a winner.

I have to confess though that since having kids my reading credentials are pretty feeble. Time poor and now with the attention span of a goldfish, I’ve recently been more likely to turn to my phone and scroll through some pretty pictures on Instagram or Pinterest. 

But no longer! I’ve made a conscious effort during my time away from project work, and during lockdown, to ditch the phone and pick up a book. I’ve made a start with my pile of barely-read interior books I’d bought over the past few months, and with Autumn already here I thought I’d get comfy on the sofa, get reading and do some mini book-review posts.

So, if you need some reading recommendations or are addicted to buying interior books but never have time to get further than the first chapter, then hopefully you’ll enjoy these posts.

First up is the very beautiful Hashtag Authentic by Sara Tasker (@me_and_orla). More creative that interior design specific, but an appropriate starting point given my recent return after an impromptu instagram-break. There are so many books and courses offering advice on how to do Instagram, but honestly Sara is one to listen to!

Full of substance, advice and stunning photography, this book was a joy to read. Essentially written to offer guidance on how to find creativity and build a community on Instagram, the book goes much further. For me, this book takes Instagram right back to where it should be; all about creating authentic content which means something to you.

Yes, there’s chat about the app itself, how to use Stories to their full potential, thoughts on planning your gallery and tips on caption creation. But there’s so much more. This is book that explores creativity; quietly, calmly and confidently. It’s a reminder to create with integrity rather than create for the likes. 

It’s a book that made me want to slow down, and start to enjoy the process again. A book that made me want to stop looking for quick fixes.

As you’d expect, the photography is divine. Whilst I love playing with my camera, I have a lot to learn, so the really detailed chapters on composition as well as how to make the most of your smart phone, were perfect for me. Packed with technical information and practical ways to consider your photographic style, and all presented in an informative but non-patronising manner. 

Despite being a creative, I often forget I need to take a step back to breathe, to look around me. But if I don’t, it’s so easy to feel creative burn out. I loved reading Sara’s tips and exercises for stimulating creativity and for taking time out to explore.

To be honest, I have sometimes struggled with a sense of am-I-just-doing-this-for-instagram. But Sara’s explanation of this really resonated. She believes we should all afford ourselves the time and space to do “Instgramable” things. But that we should do them because we want to fill our lives with the kind of moments we are seeking to document. Not because we want to create a certain image, and certainly not just for the likes and followers. 

A book that stimulates and guides, all combined with stunning photography. It’s definitely a book I’ll continue to dip in and out of. A big thumbs up from me. Thanks Sara!

Sara Tasker – @orla_and_me