Instagram Rules: The Essential Guide to Building Brands, Business and Community

Instagram Rules: The Essential Guide to Building Brands, Business and Community 2

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small amount of money if you make a purchase from any of the Amazon links included.

As with most areas of social media, I was seemingly behind the rest of the world in realising the power of Instagram as a marketing tool. I’ve actually had an Instagram account since 2015, back in the days when (at least, from my perspective) the platform was primarily a place to share some nice photos, add a snazzy filter and throw in a few hashtags. I’ve had moments over the years where I have made attempts to do something with my Instagram, but it was easy to become disheartened when I didn’t see immediate results. If I’m honest, after a while I paid it little attention. Continue reading

How to Deal with Comparisonitis

How to deal with comparisonitis 1

Comparisontis, the compulsion of comparing your accomplishments to those to others is the worst, but is not a new concept – keeping up with the Joneses is an idiom that is well-established within the English vocabulary. While it is a rather ridiculous (and immature) notion, it’s a surprisingly easy mindset to develop into once it has started and at its most extreme comparisonitis has the ability to rob us of our self-esteem, leave us feeling depressed and anxious and become judgemental towards not just ourselves, but those around us.

I’ve been blogging and working in social media management for a number of years and for the most part it has been an amazing experience. I love my job – I usually wake up in a morning excited to start work, and there’s almost nothing better than the feeling that accompanies a sudden wave of inspiration, a new-found connection or a well-received response to a piece of content.

While I’m fortunate to be doing something that I enjoy, the consequences of turning a favourite hobby into a source of income means that time spent, perspectives and goals shifted from a hobby to a business mindset. Of course, this is necessary to ensure continued success, but when the majority of my day is spent online I found that the cold doubt of comparisonitis was gradually starting to creep in, especially over the course of this year.

I have always had role models and mentors that I have looked up to and respected within the blogging world, but for the majority of my blogging life I have largely been unaffected by it, usually preferring to follow my own schedule and content in a way that suits my lifestyle. However, in recent months I became more aware of the negative feelings that accompany comparisonitis as I was working my way through my daily checklist and planning my content. Continue reading

A Christmas Evening with Moonpig

Moonpig Christmas Event

Last week I had the opportunity to join the team from Moonpig and a whole bunch of bloggers for an fun evening of Christmas cards, flowers and cocktails with the Moonpig Virtual Event.

I’ve spent a lot of time on Zoom this year, but not for a blogging event before. It had been a rather exciting week – I had received lots of different goodies from Moonpig in preparation and it was something I had been looking forward to. Let’s face it – after the year we’ve all had, an evening of Christmas cheer was very much needed! Continue reading

A Visit to Van Gogh Alive at the Birmingham Hippodrome

Van Gogh Alive at the Birmingham Hippodrome Starry Night

This is no ordinary art exhibition…

What has become abundantly clear amidst the chaos and confusion of the last seven months is just how essential the arts are, with many turning to art and culture within their own homes as a form of mental stimulation, creativity and self-care.

While I certainly count my blessings, some of the things I have missed the most during lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions have been the theatre and museums. Seeing a show or an exhibition – usually several times a month – provided an often much-needed opportunity to switch off from the stresses of the day, relax and immerse myself in an amazing performance or stunning piece of artwork by talented performers and creatives.

I’m a huge Van Gogh fan, being lucky enough to visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, see The Starry Night at the MOMA in New York and Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London and consequently I was ecstatic when I saw that the world-renowned Van Gogh Alive Experience was being premiered at the Birmingham Hippodrome. Continue reading

Autumn Thoughts

The atmosphere in the house has been difficult to adjust to. It has been a week since Poppy passed away and for the first time in seventeen years there hasn’t been a cat in the house to get under my feet, yell at me for breakfast or test out the acoustics of the bathroom by singing their favourite songs at 3.00am. I have found it difficult not to walk up and down the stairs in a certain way to accommodate a feline zooming past me, or to open a door slowly just in case their was a cat sitting behind it, and for the first few days the sight of an empty kitty bed made me break down in tears. My lovely neighbour works with an animal sanctuary and so she very kindly agreed to pass all of Poppy’s things on so that they can go to help another animal in need, which has made me feel a little better. Continue reading

Goodbye, Poppy

As if 2020 couldn’t get worse, The Boy passed away on Thursday. He was 14 years old and hadn’t been well for a while – being diagnosed with chronic kidney disease last year – and despite the endless tests and multiple changes in medications it became obvious that his quality of life was declining and he was becoming distressed, so we made the decision to say goodbye. I have known it was coming for a while and so I made sure that we had a lovely last day together, and he went to sleep peacefully on my lap which is the best thing I could have hoped for. He is the last of our three cats to pass away – we lost his sister in 2016 and our 19 year old cat in 2014, and it never gets any easier.

He’s been my little dude since he was 5 weeks old. He and his sister were brought to my house in a carrier bag and he’d had a horrendous start to his little life, being so small that he could fit into the palm of my hand. For the last 14 years he has been my personal shadow and has seen me through every step of my life – following me from room to room, only settling when he was on my lap, proudly bringing me socks that he had stolen from the hamper as gifts, joining in every Zoom call and entertaining The Bloke and I by screaming the songs of his ancestors at 3.00am… and 4.00am… and 5.00am… and… Continue reading

Great Bullet Journal Spread Ideas for September

Great Bullet Journal Spread Ideas for September

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small amount of money if you make a purchase from any of the Amazon links included.

All of the images included were given with full permission from their creators and I have linked each account – feel free to go and check out the great Bullet Journal spreads they are creating on Instagram!

It has been a little while since I did any posts about bullet journal spread ideas. That isn’t to say that I haven’t continued to use my journal – it forms an integral part of my day – but although the intention to create large posts was always there, I never quite managed to get round to it.

For September I decided to make more of an effort. This month almost feels like a fresh start – the new academic year begins, summer turns into autumn, the air starts to change and it’s the perfect point to start moving forwards with plans that have been put on hold for most of the year. Continue reading

Exploring the Holy Austin Rock Houses at Kinver Edge

Exploring the Holy Austin Rock Houses

The Bloke and I have been watching George Clarke’s National Trust Unlocked series and were particularly intrigued by his feature on the Holy Austin Rock Houses, especially when we discovered that it was only a forty minute drive from where we live.

Kinver Edge is home to the last cave-dwelling population in England, with a number of cave-houses carved into the local red sandstone.

According to the National Trust, the earliest record of people living in the rock houses is from 1777, when Joseph Heely took refuge from a storm and was given shelter by a “clean & decent family,” describing how the location of the rock houses provided open space and a better quality of air than the village situated below. The houses “warm in winter, cool in summer” and generally dry, had access to water from the well and later, gas, but no electricity. Sanitation was by earth closets. Continue reading

Thoughts of Birmingham

I was horrified to wake up this morning to the news of multiple stabbings in Birmingham last night. There is still very little information, but after a news conference it was announced that sadly one person have died and six more people have been injured, two of them critically. It appears to be an attack by a single person who selected his victims at random, with no information to suggest that it was in any way a terrorist attack, gang related or a hate crime – something that has been speculated because some of these attacks took place in the Gay Quarter of the city.

Unfortunately, this has become an excuse for many to promote racist agendas and narratives and use it as an opportunity to start making disparaging remarks about the people and the city itself. Continue reading

Sunflowers, Sunday and September

I love Sunday mornings, particularly when the sun is out after several weeks of torrential rain. It’s hard to believe that September is only a few days away – it seems barely ten years ago that we were starting August…

Sundays are often my most reflective, and looking back it has been a long rollercoaster of a month.

Over July I posted every single day for a Gratitude Challenge… and then promptly burnt myself out. It was fairly inevitable at the time – my work schedule was crazy, lots of places were still under lockdown and I barely left the house, and while I never mind my own company (preferring more of an introverted lifestyle), I think staying indoors was beginning to get to me.  Continue reading