Posts in Life

Isolation content

This isolation has pushed many accounts to change up their normal daily post and thrusted us into having to get comfortable with taking our content at home.  I can definitely say that for me its been a hard process to get behind, before we entered lockdown I feared that my account would have to start creating content from home, something I had never successfully been able to do. As someone who does not live in an typically aesthetically pleasing home I knew that it would be a challenge for me to create images that I liked and felt were good enough to post. In the first few days I continued posting my outdoor shoots praying that they would last me through the lockdown. Oh how I was wrong. It became clear quickly that I was going to have to bite the bullet and shoot at home. I started looking at what other people were creating fretting at the fact their content quality had not dropped and they were still creating amazing content at home.

My first attempt at home content shooting involved cello taping a white bed sheet to my wall, I’m not sure I recommend this as I tore all my wallpaper in the process. I got out my trusted tripod which had only been used once since I bought it after searching my whole room for it, and started shooting away. The easiest thing I could think of shooting was me sat in front of the camera posing indoors with sunglasses on, hoping my neighbours weren’t looking through my window at me.

 

My second attempt I knew I was going to have to change it up because I wasn’t going to be able to post sat down selfies in front of a white bed sheet forever. I started looking at peoples photos posing on their bed, as my room was not arranged in a way where I could get those photos I tried something different and put the duvet on the floor to look like a bed and this works perfect. My bed in my photos looks like it is right by a window which gives beautiful shadows. I can honestly say this was the best thing I did because it’s what I have done for pretty much every photo recently as it creates a nice texture to the photo. Also a simple flatlay!! Here are the images I created, I think a duvet just creates such an aesthetically pleasing background and helped keep my feed more together.

 

The newest thing I’ve been loving is playing around with mirrors and fake plants. Now I’m going to say it from the start mirror shots look amazing but they are hard work to ensure 1, you don’t have the camera in the reflection, 2 trying to get a good background in the photo. Here are some of the shots I have created using a mirror and some fake plants we had in the house.

As for now being told we are going to be in lockdown for a while longer, well I’m trying to come up with ideas for content but hitting a block…

#AdandProud

So recently one of my lovely Insta friends @helloellielouise_blogs started a new hashtag #AdandProud, it comes from the fact we as “Instagram influencers” are almost shamed from doing Ads on our account. Posting an Ad whether it be gifted or paid it takes effort, this effort is what you don’t all see. People just see the word Ad and continue scrolling yet on any other post people are happy to engage on it, what’s the difference?

The effort people put into Ad content is huge, its all the unseen, behind the scenes bit that is hard. Shooting any type of content for your page takes time, we all get criticised for wearing the same clothes, or isn’t that the same location as last week, all time time? What people forget is that some Influencers do this as a side thing, we still work, study and have a social life all alongside running a social media account. Growing an account organically is not as simple as just uploading a photo and hoping it will get some engagement, it takes hours of engaging with others, researching hashtags and looking up whats currently trending. We didn’t all just stumble into a growing account every influencer will have and will continue to work hard on their account and yet people shame us into feeling bad for posting an Ad or Gifted content?

Lets just set the record straight as well, not all #Ad means paid, it can mean that the person has been gifted an item in return for content featured on their account. Now there are lots of debates as to whether we should be accepting gifted content anymore but thats a whole other story. I can remember my first paid post, I was so excited a brand was going to pay me £25 (Not a lot but a lot to me for a post at the time) for one picture on my feed. What I hadn’t realised is the demands brands put on people when they are paying, I had to have the photo uploaded within one week of getting the item, I had to communicate back and forth with the brand around whether the picture I took was what they wanted, I had to rewrite my caption 5 times to make sure I had included everything they needed me to promote. Working full time alongside studying this demand was actually harder than it seemed even harder when the weather is pants, and then my big £25 felt like not a lot of money. Taking the image for the brand had taken me 2 hours to shoot, 30 minutes to edit and then 3 hours worth of emails back and forth not even taking into account the time to post and engage with those who were commenting on it. So I did 5.5 hours work for £25 thats just over £4.50 an hour, thats less than minimum wage.

Sadly this is the reality most people don’t see, it’s not as easy as everyone shames people into thinking it is. So what if your favourite influencer has posted more than one #Ad in a week, what about all the other weeks when they posted none. I think we should all be supporting others with their #Ads not making people feel bad about posting them, why shouldn’t you engage with a post just because it’s an Ad its still the same influencer behind it.  So make sure if your posting an Ad you use the #AdandProud because you know what

You should be proud!

 

Where to go in Bath

 

So your thinking of heading to Bath, well this blog post will point you to all the best places to visit on your trip. Bath is a stunning city located in Somerset, it is about 2.5 hour drive from London and a 2.5 hour drive from where I live in Plymouth.

Where to stay?

Bath is not short on gorgeous hotels you can stay in some beautiful hotels in around the city centre for a more indulgent weekend or if your on a bit of a budget there are some cheaper options like the Premier Inn. Here are some options for hotels that are in the city centre.

The Gainsborough Bath Spa
The Gainsborough Bath Spa

This 5 star hotel is based in the centre of Bath close to some of the main attractions such as the Thermae Bath Spa.  The hotel is decadent in design and will most certainly make you feel like royalty. When you book to stay in this  hotel you get full access to spa facilities and yoga classes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abbey Hotel
Abbey Hotel

This 4 star hotel is also based in the city centre close to all the attractions I will be mentioning in this blog post. It is cheaper than the Gainsborough Bath Spa hotel but doesn’t offer the same spa facilities.

 

 

 

 

 

Premier Inn City Centre

Or if you on a budget like we were definitely take a look at the Premier Inn in the city centre we got a room for £33.oo for the night and it was so close to everything we wanted to do.

I have also stayed in the Premier inn in Trowbridge and drove into the City Centre as its not too far away and can be cheaper than the city centre version.

What to do

Whether your after pretty Instagram pictures or there for the history there is plenty to do in Bath. I went to get some cute photos but also to explore the city so here are a few things that I recommend doing on your visit.

The Crescent

Now are you even on Instagram if you have not seen pictures of people in front of The Crescent! This has to be an iconic place in Bath for Instagram photos and of course I obliged it would have been rude not to. Here are a few snaps I took, when we went it was empty but we were the crazy people taking photos in the pouring down rain.

The Crescent is now home to a 5 star hotel, private housing and there is a museum in Number One showing what it would have been like in the Georgian era. So if you want a bit of history with your Instagram shot definitely check out Number One.

The Roman Baths

Have you even been to Bath if you don’t check out the Roman Baths. If you are planning on going to Bath I would purchase your tickets online as you can save yourself £2.00 on each ticket. It is cheaper to go to most things in Bath on a weekday which is what we did to save ourselves some extra money. The Roman Baths were so interesting and we spent around an hour walking around. When you have bought your ticket you get a free audio guide to help with some of the explaining around the Baths which I found so good. It was so good to hear about the history of Bath without having a tour guide rush you around.

 

 

The Thermae Bath Spa

This was by far the best bit of the trip, I was kindly gifted the access to the Spa to take photos but was not obliged to post any blog posts so this is all my opinion. The Spa is stunning from the moment I stepped in, it was so tranquil, we were greeted with towels, robes and flip flops for our two hour slot . I headed straight for the iconic spot the rooftop pool, the views were incredible I got there before opening time so were able to see the sun rise. As for the pool itself I was so surprised by how warm it was I knew it was going to be but yet still didn’t expect it to be as warm as it was due to it being outside. I had the whole pool to myself and got to watch the sunrise and shine on the Abbey! It was perfect.  I then headed down to the steam rooms, they all had their own unique designs and were so relaxing. For the last part of the tour I headed down to the pool on the bottom floor, again it was lovely and warm but this time it had a lazy river in which was so cool. I was able to grab a pool noodle and just float around the pool in complete tranquility. As it was a press tour I was able to take my camera to capture some photos of the Spa but normally they have a no phone and camera rule which I love because it means for two hours you can zone out from the outside world and just soak up the minerals from the Bath water and enjoy the moment. I can’t recommend this place enough it has to be a must on your to do list in Bath!! Like most things its cheaper to go in the week £37 for two hours but if you do go on the weekend its not that much more £42 for two hours. If you think two hours is not enough you can add an extra hour for just £10. We went early in the morning but I will say we were so relaxed after we didn’t really feel like doing much else.

The Abbey

One of the most beautiful places in Bath, you can either take a photo outside or pay a donation and take a look inside the beautiful abbey. I did take a little trip into the abbey to see the architecture from inside and it did not disappoint. The donation is optional but they do suggestion a donation of around £5 for adults and £2.50 for children.

Sweet Little Things 

Now if you are after a cute Instagram cafe which food looks as good as it tastes then head to the little cafe Sweet little Things. It has the perfect backdrop for all those Instagram shots that give you Bali vibes and the most amazing food. I opted for an afternoon tea which had a variety of sandwiches, a scone and cream and some little cakes to top it off. I couldn’t finish it all because of how big the portions were so I was able to take the left over cake in a box to save for the car journey. I was kindly gifted my afternoon tea and will be definitely coming back on my next trip to Bath! Make sure to check out their Instagram for food and location envy.

I hope you have enjoyed my blog post about Bath, I will be doing alot more of these soon. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @LaurenJJewell and my travel account @Travelswithjewells 

How safe is the internet?

So a few weeks ago I went to a public lecture at my uni, I didn’t even know these existed before but it basically is a lecture open to the public. The lecture was around the safety of the internet and how to keep kids safe online. It got me thinking how safe is the internet really?

You only have to type in google “Tic Tok” or “snapchat” and you will have a page full of headlines telling you how dangerous they are and that they are the worst thing in the world. Now being an “Instagram Influencer” I definitely think about how safe I make myself online as I do share a lot online and its finding that line where you are sharing enough but not sharing everything that could make you unsafe. This area for me is still grey doing what I do on Instagram, I always worry am I posting too much, should I post that photo of me in a bikini, studying what I do as well it makes this grey area even bigger as we are meant to keep our social media pages more private. I still chose to post on my Instagram as I feel I can keep myself safe and I would never post anything I felt was going to come back and bite me.

The lecture spoke about what parents should do around their children’s internet usage, its crazy how many parents have no idea what these apps are and what they can be used for. Now I am going to add that it is a small minority of people who abuse these apps and use them to target younger sometimes vulnerable children but it does happen!! However, if you are a parent and you type these apps into google the papers would have you believe that everyone on the app is out to get you and that you can never be safe on the internet, this has some validity but there are some people who just want to use the app for what it was designed for. You can imagine reading these papers the first instinct for many is OMG what is my child doing, I need to take them off this immediately, but ask yourself what are you really gaining from this? Yes okay they may not use Snapchat and be safe from people on there but the next big app will come along and they will be using that instead.  What are we really teaching people by removing everything from them? Are we not just giving them the opportunity to find the next best thing?

The lecture talked about how providing a safer space for people to talk openly about what they are doing online is much safer than taking it away. How can we teach safety when your instinct is punishment? Now I use social media a lot and there is so much that even I don’t understand, which makes me wonder well how safe can you ever be on the internet? As the whole world of apps and social media develops the way we need to look at online safety needs to adapt and move with it. What worked for me when I was younger won’t work now, the younger generation have the whole world at their finger tips and these apps bring everything closer. Instead of shying away from these apps I think we need to embrace them, learn about them, encourage safe usage, this is in my view the only way we can get safer on the internet!

 

It’s a New Year

Now I will try not to follow the same path as every other blog post you have read about the New Year but I can’t make any promises. 2019 has been a good year in terms of so many different things, I got to tick Bali off my bucket list, I got to go on a all girls holiday, I made it to third year of Uni, I grew my Insta and got to collaborate with some amazing brands. How do I top this year, how do I make 2020 the best start to a decade? Well here in this blog post are some of my goals for next year, we can check back next year and see if I do achieve these!

1) Graduate- I want to graduate next year, I don’t want to resit the year I want to finish my University journey and graduate with the rest of my class. I want to say goodbye to student me and hello to adult me (well I’m not sure graduating will make me anymore mature).

2) Get my first real job- by this I mean a job that is a career, whether it be in Social Work which is my degree or by somehow managing to land myself the Wowcher job.

3) Be looking to buy our house- by this time next year I want to be able to look to buy a house and have a mortgage in place ready for when we find our perfect home.

4) Go on one last exotic holiday- I’m graduating and I want to celebrate in style with a nice holiday, I’ve not decided where I want to go yet but I think after three long years at uni I will deserve this holiday!!

Okay so this one maybe a stretch but you never know…

5) Get to 10K on Instagram- I know I know this maybe unachievable but I never thought I would get to where I am now with Instagram so this may just be achievable.

6) On the same note Up My Insta Game- I’ve let it slip of recent and I want next year to be a fresh slate and up my content, I want to not just be posting for the sake of it but making every post count!

7) Finally hit the gym and work out which I have been saying for the last 5 years and never doing (will be interesting next year to see if I stick to this one!)

8) Not waste money on clothes- this year I don’t want to be buying new clothes for the sake of it because I am bored and am finding myself online shopping. Instead I want to save that money for our house.

9) Stop being so anxious, I suffer with anxiety and this year I want to pus myself to overcome it, I don’t want to not go to things because I am too scared instead I am going to start saying yes more to new things.

10) Have the best year- I want to start this decade on a high so what better than having the best 2020 that I can.

This year I want to grab life by the reins and enjoy every minute of it, each New Year comes around faster than the last and I want to be sat next year typing this blog post thinking wow look at everything I did, look back with no regret and smile at what I have achieved I want to make 2020 a year to remember, I’m not sure what will be instore yet but I can tell you one thing, I am bloody excited to find out.
2020 LETS HAVE IT!

What quitting my job means to me

Recently I said goodbye to my first ever job which I had since the age of 17. My job was a sales assistant for Marks and Spencer which I did for a year, and then got a promotion to a Team Leader which I did for the last 3 years there. This post won’t be about the job but what it represented to me and what leaving has meant to me. This job has seen me through college, and my first 2 years of uni, in a weird way I grew up there. It has given me the opportunity to save for a home and also contributed to all my holidays, which made all the hours worth it even when I questioned why am I waking up[ at 5am for this.

Now in my final year of uni I decided that I needed to take a higher priority in my degree which meant leaving my job, I was struggling to manage full-time placement hours alongside work and assignments. So I decided the only thing to do would be to leave. I left nearly a month ago and now am coming to terms of what that means in my life. This job for me represented my childhood still, I wasn’t a real adult with a career yet, I wasn’t a uni graduate and it took me a while, in leaving I had to accept that this door was closing, my safety net job was gone. It wasn’t until I was at my leaving do that I realised, the next job I get will be my career, in less than a year I will be fully qualified and will be entering the world of Social Work. My next job no matter what sector of Social Work I go into will be playing massive roles in people’s lives and improving them for the better. Since leaving I have had to come to terms with the fact that this time next year I don’t know where I will be, for the first time in 4 years I don’t have a plan and that scares me. As this year is flashing before me, final year will soon be over and I am not sure I am ready with what comes after graduation. All year we think about how we can’t wait to walk across that stage and pick up your certificate but we don’t all think what happens after that.
For the first time in 4 years I am worried, I haven’t got my safety net job, I haven’t got Student Finance there ready to bail me out and it scares me yet at the same time it’s exciting. As I sit and rewrite my 16 year old CV and turn it into a professional CV I realised that my life will really begin then! By September next year I hope to have my career all set up and working towards my future. But I sometimes can’t help but think am I doing the right thing? Am I just following the norm, get a job, save for a house, buy a house. Is my life meant for more than that, am I meant to just follow this path I have been told is the right thing to do or am I do diverge and look at what life brings? Do I just take a year to “find myself” travelling, do I throw myself into blogging and wait for the payoff, or do I just simply follow the norm? With no clear path for next year I am finding myself questioning everything. I don’t think you will ever know if you chose the right thing but I do think that any decision I do decide to make will be the making of me and I can’t wait to see it through!

How I stay Organised

Staying organised is so important on my Uni degree, you can very quickly fall behind. The only thing that I can use that keeps me organised is a diary, I’ve tried using my phone as an organiser but I just cannot get on with it, I like to be able to see it there on paper rather than on a screen.

In a few weeks time I am about to start my year three placement which means I will be working full time, I already know how important it is to be organised but this is even more important as I have to organise my work on placement alongside all of my assignments due. Last week I had an exciting email from CGD London and was asked if I were interested in one of their diaries. I immediately said yes because I needed a new diary for placement and knew that I would use it well. I was kindly gifted my diary and was asked if I could write a blog post however, all views are my own.

I was gifted a ‘Goals’ diary which runs from June 2019 till December 2020. Inside it’s not just a diary but it also has pages dedicated for ‘todo’ lists which is a great way to stay organised as you can physically tick it off once it’s done. One of my favourite things about this diary is that it divides the days into hours so you can plan your day down to the hour. With my placement I go to a lot of meetings so having my diary split into hours helps me keep track of my day and stops me from putting too much on. The diary is a vegan leather coated hardback which looks effortlessly stylish. It doesn’t just include day by day view but also has weekly view pages and monthly view pages which is a great way to visualise for me when certain assignments are due in, helping me plan when I should start them.

It is amazing how I feel more at ease from being more organised because of a diary. For me just knowing that I have got myself more organised relieves my stress around Uni and helps me to feel more confident. To get your own diary check out CGD London.

Want to Feel more organised like me then use my discount code to save some money and get organised LAURENJ15.

Wooldown

So a couple of weekends ago I had the luxury of staying at Wooldown, It was out second visit and as you could have most probably seen by my stories we loved it. Wooldown is full of various one bed retreats in Bude, Cornwall,  perfect for when you need to just escape from everyday life. We have stayed in both Stargazey and Sun Seeker and both were just incredible the attention to detail is second to none.

Sun Seeker had a great view which you could just chill in the bath in and enjoy. We spent most of the weekend in the bath taking in all the views.

Upon arrival they had set up a cute towel display with chocolate and also put flower petals on the bed which just made it that bit extra special.

I can’t recommend Wooldown enough it is stunning and I am sure we will be back again. Here are some more photos from our stay.

Q&A about Instagram

I recently put a post on my instagram asking for some questions that you wanted me to answer here on my blog so I thought I would finally get around to writing it.

A question I get all the time is how do you grow your followers?

I did do a blog post on this a couple weeks ago about how I gained nearly 1000 followers in a month. But a quick recap, basically a lot of engagement with other people and upping your game! I saw a massive increase when I upped my content and started going on shoots, not just posting the first photo I took on my phone.  For a more in depth answer to this check out my last post.

What was the hardest thing I experienced when trying to grow my followers?

Hardest is easy, I found the hardest part not feeling good enough, I would put in so much effort going on shoots, editing photos to not see anything from it. I would constantly be doubting whether I was even enjoying it anymore or whether I was just posting because I felt I had to else I would lose followers. I have thankfully got out of this mindset now and do posts that I enjoy, I don’t look at the likes on it anymore or whether it got good engagement because I posted it on my page because I like it.

What is my favourite brand collab?

I have so many that stick out for me like, Boux Avenue, ISAWITFIRST and Pixi. Boux Avenue is definitely at the top, without them I don’t think I would be doing what I am doing on Instagram, I was about to give it all up ready for second year of uni but when I got the email saying I made it as student ambassador I was so happy and wanted to see where it would take me. They have been amazing, they are a great brand to work with and I am over the moon I get to do it all again this year.

Close second is Pixi, I have only ever received two PR parcels from them but they never fail to amaze me. My latest package if you didn’t see on my stories was some of their makeup from their new collection #pixipretties and all of it is amazing. I plan on doing a blog post about the collection when I have tried it all out, creating different looks with all of the different pieces so keep your eyes peeled.

Whats my advice to anyone who wants to become a blogger on Instagram?

JUST DO IT! If you want to do it just start now and do it. What’s stopping you? The sooner you start the quicker you start to grow. I wish I started earlier and didn’t let the fear of what others would think of me get in the way. So my advice is just start, pick what you’re passionate about and begin posting about it, if you are scared of what people will think make a separate account, start a fresh and see where it goes. Never did I think I would get some of the things I have since doing this and it still amazes me now when I get emails from brands asking me if I want to collaborate. So in short JUST DO IT!

Thank you to everyone who asked questions many were similar so have summed it all up in these. Stay tuned for my next few posts, review of Pixi makeup, my stay at Wooldown and how I saved 12k in less than two years.

Come on a shoot with me

Today’s blog post is a little different, I thought I would try and bring you guys with me on one of my shoots. Instead of vlogging it I thought it might be a little different to blog about it instead. I will let you guys know about the getting ready for a shoot, what I pack, what I do and where we go.

Firstly, I think the best thing for me to start with is what camera I use for my shoots, I have mentioned this in another blog post so will quickly go over it. For a more detailed explanation check out my post on How I gained nearly 1000 followers in one month. So I use my Cannon 4000D camera with my 50mm lens, I don’t take any other lens with me as this one works really well. I have a 64GB memory card so don’t need to bring any spare memory and also I charge the battery the night before to make sure its fully charged.

Now on to packing for the shoot, I usually take around 5-6 outfits with me for the shoot as I want to make sure I can get enough content that will last me a couple of days. Gone are the days when I used to go out in one outfit and take a few photos in it then go home. Shoots, now for me last around 3-4 hours but they are super fun and the time goes by so fast. When I first started blogging I used to look at people’s feeds and think how do you have so much content to post, do you take photo’s everyday?? I now know this is not the case and that people stockpile images from shoots to last them months!!

I always wear to the shoot a casual looking outfit, normally jeans and a tee shirt, so that I don’t look overdressed walking to the shoot. I have found though that the first outfit never seems to photograph well, casual wear just doesn’t seem to create that Instagram worthy shot, in my opinion which is why I rarely post pictures from the first outfit. These are some of the photos I have taken in these styles of outfits. Adding different things such as the bench takes away from the plainish outfit I think.

What type of outfits do I pack?

Well it depends what I’m looking for from the shoot, if I have been gifted any items recently then I will pack them, but I mostly pack dresses, heels and skirts as I find this is what I shoot best in. A lot of my clothing that I have been posting in recently is from Primark, as its so affordable and cute. The shots below are all dresses from Primark, all costing well under £15 each.

Where do you get changed on the shoot?

Now I remember my first shoot and I was like where the hell are we going to get changed, public toilets a lot of the time. It’s the ugly, unglamorous side of blogging but it does the job. So always make sure to pack some 20p’s in your purse as most toilets you have to pay for now!

How do you pose?

I used to be incredibly awkward when it came to posing and found that I just used to stand awkward in front the camera. After hours of pinterest and scrolling through other people’s feeds for ideas I came up with some. I have some go to poses which is the hand above the head, candid walk and the hand on the hip. I found that the perfect shot often comes from the between poses, moving from one pose to another. The best way to pose is to keep moving, you may feel like an idiot but trust me you will get the shot. If you just stay still you are only getting one type of shot and if you get home and don’t like the way it looks then you will be gutted, so move around.

Where to go for shoots?

I am from Plymouth, so this bit will really only help if you plan on shooting in Plymouth, but it may also help with looking for spots in your own area. When I first started going out to locations to shoot, I would look on the explore page for my area to see where other people where heading to, this helped me a lot at first because I was able to picture how I wanted my shot to look. I also found when walking between locations you can often find hidden gems that you may have not noticed before. For Plymouth bloggers, I like to shoot on the Hoe, it has so many white buildings and all the back lanes as well add for nice photo opportunities. I have also shot at Saltram which is great for any nature shots you may be after, also parks are great all my photos with benches are taken in a park.

 

I hope this blog post helped you get a better idea of what to do on a shoot. If anyone from Plymouth or if you are visiting and fancy going on a shoot with me  feel free to DM me on Instagram, I would love to meet some of you guys and create some content.