5 Male Lifestyle Instagram Accounts You Should Be Following

Instagram has had it’s ups and downs over the last few months. So I figured now was as good a time as any to bring back my ‘Instagram 5′ series. I’ve featured travel, lifestyle, Japanese fashion etc. However this time round I’ve picked out 5 of my favourite male lifestyle Instagram accounts.

Male Lifestyle Instagram

Who? @mklyns
Where? Chester, UK
Why? I only started following Michael recently, but it was an auto follow as soon as I saw his first three images. You’ll find cafe recommendations, travel and architecture shots, alongside male fashion. I particularly like the way he plays with shadows in some of his photos.

Male Lifestyle Instagram

Who? @jordanbunker
Where? Leicester / London, UK
Why? With so many Instagrammers going for the ‘all white’ look, Jordan’s photos are a breath of fresh air. He prefers darker colours, and sometimes the absence of colour entirely. It makes for a very moody – in a good way – and artistic Instagram.

Male Lifestyle Instagram

Who? @tibods
Where? Antwerp, Belgium
Why? 
I started following Tibod’s after falling in love with his interior shots. Not only does he had an apartment to die for, but an Instagram that matches too! I love his colour palette, and how put together every photo appears.

Male Lifestyle Instagram

Who? @mat_buckets
Where? Lancashire, UK
Why? I’d be crazy not to include Mat in this list. He was the first male lifestyle Instagram account I started following, and I’ve never looked back! He’s a very relatable, not to mention personable, kinda guy. And his photos are always on point. I love the pop of colour his Instagram brings.

Male Lifestyle Instagram

Who? @shaunyness 
Where? UK
Why? Shaun is still pretty new to Instagram, but I saw potential as soon as I landed on his profile. He’s got all the staples down – the pose, the lifestyle, the eagerness… But what I really like is that he often features some of his favourite Instagram accounts and photos on his profile. It’s always great to see someone sharing the love.

Do you have a favourite Male Lifestyle Instagram account?
Let me know in the comments!

Source: Please see the individual Instagram accounts listed above.

The Blogger Card: Does It Exist, and Should We Use It?

blogger card

What is The Blogger Card? For the purpose of this post, I’m using the term to refer to bloggers who use their status as a means to get what they want. I’m not using it in a overtly negative or positive way. There are the extremes such as turning up at a restaurant and claiming “do you know who I am?” – something I’ve heard happen in several well known establishments in London. Then there are the slightly more subtle uses of it, such as contacting a PR about featuring a product you fancy trying out.

Let’s start this article by being truthful, and admitting that we have all used the ‘blogger card’ at some point. I’ll openly admit to using it when I’ve wanted to work with a company I love. And why shouldn’t we use it for our own gain? Why should it only be one sided? PRs and brands contact bloggers for advertising all the time, and a lot of the time they expect it for free.

Should We Use The Blogger Card?

If you ask most people they’ll say that holidays, dining out, and experiences are a form of luxury and relaxation for them. But as a blogger, we’re invited to do a lot of these things for free. Free meals, press events, gifts, sometimes even free holidays. Albeit in the hope that we will feature it on our blog or social media platforms. And it’s pretty awesome. I really appreciate everything that blogging has brought me, and I’ve worked hard for it. But I can say that it isn’t always the greatest. And I’m sometimes left wondering, do these opportunities take away our appreciation of things?

Let’s take the example of someone saving up for a new phone. Not only is it satisfying, but it builds character. But if that same person is handed one for free on a regular basis, eventually the significance fades. Now I’m not saying that bloggers don’t appreciate the things they’re given, in fact I think 90% of them do. However I do wonder if we get to a point where we care slightly less for the things that are presented to us. i.e. they lose significance.

Why am I rambling?

I happened to be in the same room as a ‘big blogger’ recently, who had won an award for their blog. They bitched away, complaining about the awards, how they probably wouldn’t turn up, and that they didn’t even care about the award. It’s an extreme example, but it really stuck with me. This was coming from a blogger I used to admire. But it just seemed that they were so – dare I say – privileged, that this award had lost all meaning to them.

I definitely think the Blogger Card exists, but I think the use and knock-on effects differ per person. However I do think that in general, the lifestyle can become overwhelming, and slightly toxic. After a while it all becomes about the numbers, how many events you attend, who you’re hanging out with, and whether or not you were sent the latest ‘it’ product. Which is not good for anyone’s mental health.

I’m on the fence about whether we should use our status or not. I think, like most things, we should use it in moderation. On one hand I see it as empowering, and useful in business. On the other, I wonder if it sucks away at our humanity a bit. Maybe that’s just the way the world works. But even if it is, it doesn’t mean we have to go along with it, right?

What do you think?
Does the Blogger Card exist, and if so should we use it?

I Want To Learn A New Skill, And I’m Scared

Learn A New SkillI Want To Learn A New Skill, And I’m Scared

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks is an idiom I’ve always disputed. It seems like the phrase is just meant to make us all feel bad and give up learning anything new once we hit adulthood. As a child you don’t tend to face the same fears or social anxieties that you do as an adult, and naturally this makes learning things a bit easier. But as an adult you also have a whole new set of skills, knowledge, and hopefully more common sense.

I could go into a rant about politics, society and ageism, but hey, let’s leave that for another day shall we? Because I want to make this post a bit more lighthearted, and to openly talk about being an adult who wants to learn something new…but is actually a little scared by it.

I Want To Learn A New Skill, And I’m Scared

You see recently I decided that I wanted to learn a new skill – painting. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I convinced myself I’d be terrible at it. I told myself “you couldn’t do that as a child, so what makes you think you can do it as an adult?” And for a while I pushed it to the back of my head, whilst I battled with my inner self. Then one day whilst I was shopping, I passed by some art supplies.

All of a sudden I was excited. Excited for the possibilities of what I might create. What I might learn. And none of my worries seemed to matter anymore. I realised that if I didn’t take the chance, I’d never know. Sure, I might end up being a bit crap at it, but so what? I might actually end up being half good at it. But even more importantly I might end up enjoying it immensely. And whilst I may not be the next Frida Kahlo (Queen!), at least I’ve tried, and I’ve learnt something along the way.

Even if that something new is that I should not be left alone with art supplies and an overactive imagination.

It’s an Art

I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t be held back by what people think you can and can’t do – or should do. Just because you’ve bought your first toaster and are now a fully fledged adult (totally legist measurement of adulthood by the way), doesn’t mean you can’t also learn how to ride a horse. Or whatever it is you want to do.

Ultimately this isn’t about learning to paint, or some other new skill. It’s about broadening my horizons, and continuing to learn, even as an adult. I don’t think we should stop learning. And I don’t think we should ever stop listening to what’s inside our hearts.

Read more of my lifestyle articles.

Learn A New Skill Learn A New Skill

A Recipe for The Perfect Pamper Session | Beauty

Pamper SessionA Recipe for The Perfect Pamper Session

Whether it’s by yourself or with friends, everyone needs a pamper session every now and again. But I’m not just talking about lighting some candles, putting on some music, and chilling out. Although those are all pretty great for relaxing and taking care of ‘moi’. However I’ve got some of my own tips, and I’ve decided to share some of my favourites with you here.

Get your Nails did

I can’t get enough of doing my nails. In fact I love it so much you’ll find it hard to catch me without a pristine manicure. So it’s only natural that it’s my number one go-to when pampering myself. But not everyone shares my love – point in fact: my best friend VA (chopstickpanorama).  So my tactic is to do her nails for her. And it’s actually pretty relaxing whether you’re the one painting nails, or having them painted.

Recommendation: Nails Inc Mindful Manicure* – each polish is infused with real gemstones, which is said to intensify one’s aura, channel energy, clarify thoughts, and heal. Whether you’re a believer or not, these shades are on point right now.

Snacks, and lots of ’em!

It just wouldn’t be right to not include snacks in this list. Although when I’m having a pamper session, I do like to go the extra mile. For me that means splurging a little on food I wouldn’t usually buy. Such as nice cheeses, cured meats, high quality chocolate, and some prosecco (of course). After all, you’re pampering your body on the outside, so why not inside as well?

Recommendation: Ocelot Chocolate – not only is this chocolate ridiculously stylish, it comes in some amazing flavours too. Where else would you find Bee Pollen & Mango, or Fig & Orange? Delicious!

Face masks are the one

I have been swearing by sheet masks for years, and I can’t sing their praises enough. They’re a fun, and effective way of treating your skin to a little extra care. Whether it’s extra hydration, brightening or anti-ageing – there’s a sheet mask for everything! I normally buy in bulk when I’m in Japan, or my sister and friends send me them from overseas. However a lot of UK brands have cottoned on to their fantastic abilities, and I’ve started dabbling in the options available here too.

Recommendation: Nails Inc Sheet Masks* – I chose these because I love that they have kept their sheet masks fun! A lot of the brands selling them in the UK have chosen to go with plain designs. But let’s be serious, we’d all much rather use skincare that is effective and cute. Also, who needs a Snapchat filter when you got these?

Feel The Good Vibes

Whether it’s watching your favourite movie/tv show, listening to music, or just having a chat. All of these can help keep the atmosphere chilled yet lively. Have a laugh, and if you’re with friends, chat until you’ve run out of things to say!

Recommendation: Netflix – there’s a variety of awesome shows on there, with some of my personal favourites being John Mulaney, What We Do in The Shadows, and Archer.

Pamper Session Pamper Session Pamper Session Pamper Session

A Self Help Guide for Taking Better Care of You

self help guideA Self Help Guide for Taking Better Care of You

Things are changing. We’re only two months into 2017, and I’ve already come across a pretty big road block. And at a time when there’s lots for me to think about, I’m being extra mindful of my mental and physical health. This means thinking about myself for once – something most of us neglect – and it isn’t easy. For me that might mean shutting myself away for a few hours to watch my favourite Let’s Plays on YouTube, or spending an afternoon in my favourite cafe with friends. Truth be told there are many ways to take better care of yourself, and that’s why I wanted to write up a mini self help guide for those who might also be in need.

A Self Help Guide

Now I’m not a doctor, and of course I’m not about to start sprouting silly advice left right and centre. Instead I’m going to offer up a few tips and tricks that I’ve tried and tested myself. My aim here is to help people take some time out of their busy schedule and take a moment to relax. This isn’t anything life changing. However if done often, it really can make a difference. Life can be stressful, and sometimes being able to take the time to look after YOU can really help.

Relax Yourself

  • Treat yourself to some good food
  • Take some time out with a friend to talk about how you’re doing
  • Read a book and transport yourself into another world
  • Have a hot drink (they’re scientifically proven to reduce stress)
  • Get outside and go for a walk
  • Meditate (if you can/enjoy it)
  • Exercise
  • Take a day off

Have some ‘Me Time’

  • Have some ‘me time’
    • Spend some time by yourself, doing what you love
  • Sit down and watch a silly movie
    • Laughing is good for the soul, and your body
  • Listen to your favourite music
  • On that note, listen to some natural sounds
  • Allow yourself a guilty pleasure every now and again
    • For me it’s a square (or two) of chocolate in the evening

Please note that you don’t have to do all of these at once (or at all if you don’t fancy it). Just doing one or two can often help bring your stress levels down. Remember, what de-stresses one person may not work for another. It’s all about finding what fits into your lifestyle, and makes you happy. Because at the end of the day, what’s most important is your health and happiness.

Check out more of my self help articles.

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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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