Is This The Death of Instagram & Can We Save It?

death of instagramIs This The Death of Instagram & Can We Save It?

Instagram is going through a bit a shit storm as of late, and that’s putting it nicely (sorry for the expletives). First it started with people liking old photos, then the confusing off topic comments came along, and suddenly a new algorithm. And now, well now we’ve got the constant following and unfollowing. And it’s left a lot of us feeling pretty jaded. Am I right, or am I right?

How & Why is it happening?

I’ve seen a lot of confusion on social, and people aren’t entirely certain what is going on. They’re seeing their follower numbers increase and decrease daily, whilst not actually moving at all. Big accounts have seen engagement drop (in fact we all have), and it’s left everyone asking why and how.

  • The New Algorithm Ever since Facebook bought out Instagram, they’ve constantly been adding and taking away features. The latest big addition was the new FB-feed style algorithm. Meaning we don’t get to see a chronological feed anymore. Instead we see the people Instagram thinks we want to see.
  • Follow, Unfollow Tools Yes, those people are not manually following and unfollowing 100 people a day. Well not the savvy ones anyway. For those of you that are up to date on your social tools, you’ll already know all about this. There are tons of sites and apps out there offering free or paid services that will automatically follow, unfollow, like, comment or send DMs for you via Instagram.
  • People Buying Followers This has become all too common. You’d be surprised at how many of the 10K+ crowd have actually earned their followers naturally and organically. The tell-tale sign is when someone has a lot of ‘ghost followers’. A ghost follower is an account that doesn’t have many photos, isn’t very active, but follows an awful lot of people. You can usually spot them by the lack of profile photo.
  • It’s Become Saturated There are just too many accounts now (over 600 million), which means it’s harder than ever to get yourself noticed.
  • But It’s Still a Big Accounts Game Even if people did want to get themselves noticed, it’s still pretty difficult when the big accounts are the ones being featured and mentioned.

Is This The Death of Instagram & Can We Save It?

Well this may not be the official death of Instagram, but it has definitely taken a fair few blows. It’s not safe to say yet whether it will come out of this whole, but with over 300 million daily users* it seems as though people aren’t completely tired of Instagram just yet.

Keep an eye out for my post on how you can save your Instagram account!

death of instagram

2017: A Year of Self Help & Making Big Decisions?

self helpA Year of Self Help & Making Big Decisions

2017 has started a little differently than 2016. Last year I decided I wanted to say “yes” to as many things as possible. That actually went pretty well…well, in the sense that I did it. Unfortunately it also meant my social calendar became pretty hectic. I had to balance my social life and work. And I burnt myself out. So 2017 has seen me saying “no” to things instead.

Why? Because I soon learnt that saying yes, and wanting to please everyone was really not the way to go. Unless of course I wanted to stress myself out to the point where I knocked 10 years off my life.

A Year of Self Help

You see, I’m highly susceptible to stress. The last few years have seen me manage it relatively well, but sadly last year I didn’t give myself the time to re-energise. Something which is extremely important when it comes to keeping my sanity. Because of this, at the end of 2016 I saw my mental and physical health plummet. This isn’t entirely to do with my social life, of course. There was a death in my family, a close family member was taken ill, and other factors came in to play (again, thanks Trump/Brexit).

So I decided that this year I want to make some big changes, and some bigger decisions:

  • Take better care of myself
    • Both my mental & physical health
    • Be happier
  • Travel more
  • Seriously consider moving abroad
    • London life is a big contributor to stress
    • It’s something I’ve been considering for a couple of years
    • Amsterdam & Copenhagen are on the table
  • Think about buying a house
    • Ben and I have been wanting to buy somewhere for a while
    • It would give us a project to work on
    • No noisy upstairs-neighbours

I might mess up a little along the way. In fact I can almost definitely say I will. But if I keep my main goal in mind – take better care of myself – then I believe I can make a difference in 2017. And at least I can say I had good intentions.

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I’ve got the travel bag…I mean bug! | 2017 Resolutions

travel bagMini Beauchamp travel bag by Knomo London *

Last year I made some travel resolutions, only they weren’t really resolutions. You see I’m not really into that. However I do like to set myself little goals and challenges throughout the year. Not only does it keep me motivated, but it gives me more of a purpose when I have something to work towards. In recent years, my main goal has been to travel as much as possible.

In 2016 I ticked off:

  1. Tokyo, Japan
  2. Osaka, Japan
  3. Kyoto, Japan
  4. Pembrokeshire, Wales
  5. Copenhagen, Denmark
  6. Naples, Italy
  7. Sorrento, Italy
  8. Barcelona, Spain
  9. Paris, France

It was pretty damn awesome, and I loved every minute of it.

I’ve got the travel bag…I mean bug!

Let’s get a little practical for a minute. Travelling, especially when you only have cabin baggage, is not easy. I’ve been trying to hone my suitcase packing skills in recent years. I wouldn’t say I’m a pro, but I don’t do too bad. Of course having a trusty travel bag that you can take on your holiday is super important too. I like backpacks because I can easily shove all of my stuff for the day inside (read: camera, snacks & phone).

However I’ve always gone towards large backpacks. These can be difficult when the airline you’re flying with only allows one cabin bag. So this year I’m swapping my big backpack, for something a bit lighter – the Mini Beauchamp by Knomo London. It has a ton of pockets, which means I can fit a whole bunch of stuff inside. It’s also small enough that no one is really going to make a fuss about you bringing it on the plane with your case. Not that I’m suggesting people ignore this rule, but a tiny backpack never did anyone any harm, right? And if you are caught out, you can always pop it inside your perfectly packed case.

2017 Travel Resolutions

So what’s in store for 2017? Well I already have plans to visit:

  • Cyprus
  • Slovenia
  • Aarhus
  • Copenhagen

and possibly:

  • Sweden
  • Norway
  • Amsterdam
  • Prague

Phew, that’s a lot. Anyone would think I’ve got the travel bug.

Keep an eye out on my travel tag for more!

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How to Create a Hygge Home – In a Nutshell

hygge homeHow to Create a Hygge Home

What is a Hygge Home?

A home that is inviting. Not pretentious, ostentatious, or any other kind of -ious. It’s a place you can come back to and forget all your worries. It may sound silly, but it’s about creating a space where you feel safe and comfortable. Having a space where you are able to drop all of your work and social worries is tough. But I truly believe that your home can be a safe haven from this kind of stress. After a long day at work, I look forward to coming home to a hot chocolate, a comfy sofa, and some good food…with the occasional cuddle thrown in for good measure. That’s hygge.

Interiors and design obviously play a big part in this too though. If you have a home that looks good, you feel good. And no that’s not shallow or fickle. It’s scientifically proven that pretty things make us happy. They can even de-stress us! That doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy a ton of new stuff, or redecorate your entire home though. I’ve put together some some useful tips,

How to Create a Hygge Home – Tips

  • Functional, but stylish
  • Quality over quantity
  • Good food, good drink, good company
  • Craftsmanship – choose items with a story
  • Lots of plants – bring a little nature into the home
  • Lighting is very important! Keep it soft, and comfortable.
    • Yes, that means lots of candles…
  • Natural fabrics and materials
    • E.g. wood, cotton, stone, glass, wool
  • Soft furnishings
    • Go on, go buy that cosy throw you always wanted

There you have it. My how to create a hygge home…in a nutshell! This is definitely not the be all end all of guides, but it is a handy go-to for those who want to bring a little hygge into their home. Don’t forget though, it’s as much about the ‘feeling’ as any material object. And now is the perfect time of year to invite people over, and spend more time with your loved ones.

Check out the rest of my ‘How to Hygge’

Read more How to Hygge

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hygge home

How to Hygge: Slow Yourself Down | Lifestyle

how to hyggeHow to Hygge: Slow Yourself Down

Everywhere I look lately I see “hygge” plastered alongside articles and products that leave me imitating the thinking face emoji. I’m looking at you Deliveroo (yup, shots fired). No but seriously, this sudden trend must have a lot of Danes scratching their heads. Why has it taken us Brits so long to catch on to “hygge” and why now?

Well if I had to sum it up with an educated guess: I’d say it’s partly to do with our long relationship with our Scandinavian cousins, and a mix of people just generally needing some warmth and security in their lives right now. Thanks for that Brexit/Trump.

Take Some Down Time

I wasn’t sure where to start my How to Hygge series. I’ve known of the concept for a while, but only started really paying attention when I realised that I was actually already living a rather hyggely (apparently that’s grammatically correct) lifestyle. One aspect that has been pretty prominent for me lately is slowing myself down. A relaxed and comfortable lifestyle is key to hygge. So I figured where better a place to start, than with some self improvement?

How to Hygge: Slow Yourself Down

London life can be pretty hectic, especially when you’re running a full-time job, and a blog on the side. I’ve discovered this first hand. My week days are made up of a 9-5 job in marketing, and then cramming in as many press events as possible in the evening. Sometimes I’d even fit them in the middle of the day! How crazy is that?!

I soon realised that I was tiring myself out. Both mentally and physically. I needed to stop, slow down, and prioritise my health, as well as my family and friends. It’s so important that we are aware of our bodies and our minds, and what we’re doing to them. I like to think I’m pretty self aware, yet I found myself still saying yes to every opportunity (I’m terrible for this).

And now?

Something had to give! So I stopped. All those amazing press event invites? I pick out my favourites, and decide on 2-3 a week, rather than 5-7. After all, what’s the point in doing something if I only feel lukewarm about it? It’s not fair on myself, or others.

I no longer stay late at work, unless it’s absolutely necessary. This may not be overly popular with my colleagues, but if I’m not being efficient with my time, that’s even worse. And instead of being busy 6-7 days a week, I have most of my evenings back. I also make sure I have at least one day of the weekend where I’m doing absolutely nothing. I save these for time with my fiancé, friends and family.

Now I only do the things I really love and want to do, rather than stretching myself thin. Slowing myself down begins now.

Read more of my How to Hygge series.

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Thoughts on Living Danishly | Copenhagen Travel Diary

living danishlyThoughts on Living Danishly

I’ve been staring at my screen for a while now, wondering how exactly I’d write this post. It’s pretty personal, and a tad emotional. I don’t really do that much on here, but every now and again I do indulge myself…

I kind of always knew I’d like Copenhagen. Admittedly I’m a Skandiphile. I love Scandinavia, right from the food, down to the design. But I’d never been before. My trip to Copenhagen last month was either going to make or break my love for our Northern European cousins.

Thoughts on Living Danishly

Ever since I came back from Denmark, I’ve had a bit of an ache in my chest. Falling in love with a country/city is one thing. But to fall for the culture, way of life, and people is another. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to up sticks and leave London. But Copenhagen certainly has left room for thought.

I remember a very specific moment from my trip to CPH. We were cycling back from Superkilen, and on this particular day the main road had been closed. Families had come out into the street with their children, and there were thousands of people. We had to get off our bikes at one point because there were so many people. Families, friends, all were socialising together. Children and adults alike were drawing on the street in chalk. There were drawings of Copenhagen’s skyline, pokemon, loved ones, you name it. It was so wonderful to walk through all those people, and feel the sense of community.

Personal Reflection

With everything that’s been going on lately in my life, I’ve done a lot of personal reflection. What I want in the next few years. Where I want to be.

I’ve been reading ‘The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country’ by Helen Russell. After seeing tons of people reading it in Copenhagen, I decided to give it a go myself. I was curious to learn more about Denmark, Danish people, and their way of life. Was it really as wonderful as it seemed? Well I won’t ruin the book for you, but it’s certainly opened my eyes to a new way of living.

Life can be pretty hectic in London, and whereas I love it, sometimes it can be tiring. It’s also become a little old as of late. Part of me yearns for new discoveries. New life lessons. Somewhere less hectic, and a bit happier.

Maybe living Danishly for a while wouldn’t be such a bad thing? Who’s to know. I guess for now, I’ll watch this space.

 

Read more lifestyle posts here.

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Flower Arranging with Marks & Spencer

Flower ArrangingFlower Arranging with Marks and Spencer

Flower arranging has always been an enchanting mystery to me. When I was younger my grandmother would always have beautiful bouquets of flowers scattered throughout her house. All of which she had arranged herself. It looked so simple, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t recreate it myself. In more recent years – after moving into my own apartment – the allure of fresh flowers has grown. However without any knowledge of how to arrange flowers, I was at a loss. Enter Marks and Spencer, their flower expert Simon Richards, and a special flower arranging class they set up for an intimate group of bloggers.

Flower Arranging Tip 1: Carnival of Colour

For their stand at Chelsea Flower Show this year, Marks and Spencer created their own carnival of colour. Reflecting on this, Simon’s first tip was all about adding colour to your patio, garden party, bbq, dining table etc. We were shown how to add colourful arrangements to our tables, with flowers such as peonies, sunflowers and more. The great thing about this style of arrangement is that there are no real rules. Pop them into bowls, glasses, onto plates. Scatter them across the table. Basically have your way with them.

Simon Says- have fun with colour, and be spontaneous!

Flower Arranging Tip 2: Roses/Bouquets

Next, Simon gave us tips on how to arrange the perfect hand-tied bouquet, and he did so with everyone’s favourite – the rose. Roses are a classic. No one can turn their noses up at a well groomed bouquet of roses, right? I’d had my eye on the cream and dusky pink roses all evening, so I was very excited for this tutorial. We were shown how to create an even bouquet. Starting with one flower in the middle, hold the stems around 1/3 of the way down with one hand, and gradually add flower-by-flower in a “fanning” technique; slowly rotating them as you go. Afterwards, simply wrap your ribbon/twine around the bouquet – whilst still holding it in the same place – and secure.

You can find some of the roses we used for our arranging here.

Simon Says – fan out/rotate your flowers as your add them to the bunch!

Flower Arranging Tip 3: At Home

Of course what we all want to know is how do we integrate this into our homes. They key thing here is to find a fitting vase. This could be any shape or size, as long as it fits into your interior. That said, different flowers will often look better in different types of vase. Tall, thin vases work better with a minimal amount of flowers. Whereas wider lipped vases look much nicer with large bouquets, and big blooms. I myself prefer a shorter, wider vase, which works with a variety of flowers.

Simon Says – for a contemporary look, choose a short, round vase!

Check out more photos from the event, and my attempts at flower arranging at home below.

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This post is in collaboration with Marks & Spencer however all views, photos and words are my own.

 

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