Posts in Life

How I have gained nearly 1000 followers in a month

Although it is not all about followers it is a nice feeling when you can see that the work you ar putting in is paying off. For months I seemed to feel trapped in the 2000’s and it felt like a long time coming when I finally hit 3K. So, what have I done that helped me to nearly break 1000 followers in a month keep reading to find out.

I noticed a huge growth since switching out my selfies to more staged photos. Since I have moved away from my Iphone photos and switched to my Canon Camera I have seen a massive increase in followers. You don’t have to use a decent camera to get those shots but it certainly helps. The portrait mode on the Iphone does work really well for some shots I have found. My camera was not too expensive when you compare it to the cameras out there and it does the job perfectly. I bought the Canon 4000D from Amazon it came with a lens, a bag and also a 64GB memory card, I paid around £280 but have linked the page so you can see exactly what deal I got.

I also have bought a new lens for my camera I like the lens that come with it but it just wasn’t producing the type of quality I wanted so I opted for a new lens. I decided to try out the Canon 50mm lens and bought it from CEX for around £90 which was a bargain, I use it for all of my shots and its just amazing. All the shots below were taken on the 50mm lens.

What else helped me to grow well, I can tell you that going on real shoots with others helps so much. Since going on my first shoot with Ruby I can say for sure that this has helped me to grow on Instagram. When we first started shooting together I noticed a very fast growth in my followers, suddenly my page went from a part time blogger look to a more put together page.

I started to try and use one preset to edit my photos, so I purchased Kelsey In London’s Ibiza preset. I use it on mostly all of my photos and it only ever needs slight adjustments in Lightroom such as skin tone or exposure. It changed the way my photos looked, they went from okay to something so much better. For £10 I honestly can’t recommend them enough! Below is the before and after editing using the preset.

Hashtags, now I know you hear this all the time and your thinking, everyone says this but I don’t seem to be getting anywhere. This was me, I used to research hashtags for ages before I posted and would they work, no. Then one day they just started to work and they were actually reaching more than 20 people. I think this happened because I began to engage with people who were also using the same hashtags, whether this is why it started working I don’t know but its working at the moment so touch wood.

Engage Engage Engage, now I have found a massive spike in followers when I have engaged with other peoples accounts. When you comment on another person’s post, other people who comment may want to check out your profile and then this may lead to a follow. I also look at who has commented on other people’s pictures because they are in a similar ‘niche’ and comment on their feed which again helps both the person you are engaging with and also you! When I say engage though I don’t mean just commenting some heart emoji’s or one word comments, really read the caption and write a meaningful comment.

Stories, now this took  me a while to get used to posting on, I rarely used to put anything on my stories as I didn’t want to seem annoying. Now I post really regularly on there, whether it be questions, polls, hauls you name it, posting on your stories really helps with gaining more followers. I also noticed a growth from doing shoutout’s this helps both the person your shouting out and you.

That was how  I managed to gain nearly 1000 followers in a month, I am so close to my next goal 4K, which I am planning a bit of a giveaway for to thank you all for you continued support. It will have some hair tools, clothing and a few other bits and bobs so will definitely be worth it. Now I just need to get to 4K which I am hoping won’t be too much longer.

 

 

The best way to spend an evening

So you’ve just got home from work and all day you’ve been telling yourself tonight is the night I am going to take that long bath and just chill. I know I get those days in work where you can’t think of any other way that is going to try and salvage the day but to just lay in the tub and watch some Netflix or read a book in pure bliss.

For me, I always find a bath the best way to just relax after either a stressful day or just an ordinary day.  I have recently gifted a Bubble Bath from Bramley. It smells like heaven in a glass bottle. I don’t go to a spa very often but using this in my bath gave me the effect of being in a really expensive spa. It’s all-natural ingredients just created the aroma of a spa which just helps me to unwind even more. When I pared it with the Body Wash I was also gifted I felt like a new person, I can still smell it on me the day. When I got an email to ask whether I would be interested in trying some out I was so excited and they have lived up to their expectation. I just love the ethos behind the brand and everything about the products. When it was delivered it came in really cute wrapping paper which can also be used for mindfulness colouring which I mean!! It’s just amazing, defo a must for your bath routine!!

Bramley, soap, handwash, bathroom, candle, diffuser

Bramley have a huge range to pick from and what’s better is it now comes in a glass bottle which is refillable and just great for the environment. Bramley is a British countryside company which can be shown behind the ethos of their brand. All of their products are cruelty-free and vegan-friendly which is all the more reason to use them.

 

Now we have the bath sorted, for me, it’s all about the face mask.  I feel the best time to do a face mask is whilst sat in the bath because the steam from the bath helps to really open up your pores making best use of the face mask. I have recently been reaching for Lush face masks, they just work wonders for my skin and makes it feel brand new when I wash it off. I’ve tried your sheet masks and your £1 ones but they just don’t seem to do anything other than sit on the skin, so I always go back to Lush.

I always before getting into the bath rinse my hair and put on a hair mask so that I can sit in the bath and chill whilst my hair is being treated.  I have so many favourites for hair masks and depending on what I want from them will depend on which ones I use. My go to’s are Ozzie and Lee Stafford hair masks as I find they work the best to de-frizz my hair.

So now the bath is run, a hair mask is on, a face mask is slathered all over it’s time to choose between a good book or watching a series on Netflix. Recently I have been opting for the book option, after watching the film After on Netflix I have been reading the books and just can’t seem to get enough of them. I can’t seem to put the book down so find myself reading many chapters a time. Although, if books aren’t for you I have been rewatching Glee, Freinds and Riverdale on Netflix. Time seems to run away when I chill in the bath and before I know it I’ve been in there over an hour.

If I am feeling like I need a really relaxing night I may add a glass of wine or two.

 

My birthday, being 22

If you hadn’t already guessed by my numerous stories announcing it and my many posts talking about it, I am 22 now. It’s been a weird feeling, I was in denial for a while about turning 22 as time is going by so quickly, but I am now ready for what’s to come. I’ve made this blog post to talk about some gifts I got for my birthday, little life updates and some goals I am setting myself for this year.

Let’s start with presents, no matter how old you are you will always love presents. I feel the older I am getting the happier I am in receiving presents like money and clothes, you just can’t go wrong with either. This year I received mostly money which was perfect as I have just booked a holiday to Spain and need all the money I can get to buy a new wardrobe to go on holiday with. Anyone else buy loads of holiday clothes knowing full well that they are not clothes you will ever wear again in the UK??

For my birthday I got gifted by Dermalogica a mini travel set of their goodies which they have timed perfectly with my holiday as they will fit perfectly in my hand luggage. The team at Dermalogica are just amazing and I can’t believe that I am lucky enough to be a skin influencer for them. Their products has been a saving grace and looked after my skin so well. I know now that my skin will be well looked after for my holiday.

I was also gifted a birthday cake from Bakerdays they offer a service which delivers personalized cakes to your door, mine was also able to fit through the letterbox which I thought was such a good idea. The cake came in a little tin which is perfect and can be reused. You can order the cake however you want it with the choice of what flavor cake you want, I, of course, chose chocolate because who wouldn’t but they have so many that you can choose from. I also got to pick an exact delivery date which was perfect as I didn’t want it to come too early that it wouldn’t last. If you are sending it as a gift for someone else they also offer personalized messages to be written inside telling them not to open it until their birthday. They currently have a promotion on which gives you 20% off your order by using the code AGST20 so definitely check them out if you have a cake that you need this month. I won’t lie to you all, I was a little let down by the quality of the picture on the cake but I understand how hard it must be to print a good quality picture onto a cake so will let them off. Plus the picture used was of me in Bali with so much color in it. As for the cake itself it tasted amazing, I can’t fault the cake itself at all it was so yummy. The only thing that let it down for me was the quality of the picture on it but I think I can see past this as the rest of it was so good. I love the idea of having a cake delivered to your door and getting it personalized. When I was a child I can remember going to Asda to have this done but now you can have this done from your home.

I thought I would add into this post a little life update really, it’s been a while since I’ve spoken about what’s going on in my little world. I have had a bit of a crazy summer since coming back from Bali. The day I landed I was offered another job which is very close to my degree so I naturally said yes but this meant that I would have to look at whether or not I could stay at my job in Mark’s and Spencers where I have been for the last 4 and a bit years. I chose to resign as duty manager and work there as a sales assistant, this has meant my hours are more routined and I get my weekends back which I am loving so much as it means I have more me-time. It’a been a weird thing going back to being told what to do and not being the person telling people what to do. If I am being honest I am missing being a duty manager, I had been one for so long that it feels almost wrong now not doing it.

I am coming into my final year of uni which is terrifying, I will be a fully qualified Social Worker next year and so much will change, I feel like this is my last few months of being a child. I have so much planned for when I graduate which has been making me wish time away which is just crazy, I complain about how fast life is going, yet I am also wishing my final year away so that I can “start my life”. I guess this leads me into what my goals are for 22.

  1. finish uni !!!
  2. Continue my Instagram, I love what I do on my blog and Instagram so really want to continue growing on them both
  3.  Save Save SAVE!! If I am going to buy this house I need to stop spending!
  4. Have got things in plan to move out, now this is more a goal for 2021 but I will be 22 for 8 months of it so have included it.
  5. push myself out my comfort zone more often, I want to challenge myself more instead of staying in my own little bubble. I started to do this more recently, like going for shoots with other Instagrammers and also going to Instagram events, something I would never have thought I would have the confidence to do before.

Budgeting as a student

I am a very fortunate student and do live a comfortable lifestyle. I am able to afford to go on nice holidays and am also saving to buy mine and Sam’s first house. So after a suggestion, I thought I would write a blog post on how I am able to do all this and how you can too

Firstly, I thought I would explain my degree, so I am currently studying Social Work, its an intense course and is full time. Part of my degree I have to undertake a certain amount of days placement. I am in my second year which has meant I have had to do 70 days placement alongside University which we don’t get paid for. I am currently on day 60 of 70 and can’t wait to finish.

I still live at home and because of my parent’s earnings I do not get that much help from Student Finance, this doesn’t mean I get away with not paying rent because I do. Due to studying Social Work, I am very lucky that I get to have a bursary alongside my student finance. This bursary has been a massive help this year but I didn’t get it last year and still managed to afford a 2-week cruise, a week in Italy and 3 other city breaks.

 

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Pisa was perfect

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So enough about Student Finance more about how to actually save. Well, I won’t lie it’s not always that easy. For the past two uni years, I have worked every day, if I am not at uni or placement then I am at my job. I currently am working in Mark’s and Spencer’s as a Team Leader. I am so lucky to have such a good manager which lets me work my hours around uni. If you want to play hard you got to work hard! I work 20 hours a week at my job which earns me a decent amount of money each month. If you are well organised and don’t mind giving up your free time then I highly recommend getting a part-time job on the side. If I can fit it in so can you!

Right now onto how I save, Sam and I currently are both wanting to get on the property ladder and in order to do this you need a hefty deposit to get anywhere, After ages considering which saving method was the best we decided on both individually opening up a help to buy isa. The benefits of this are that for every £200 you put in the government will give you £50 interest each month, I opened my account last January and this month I hit £4200. I opened the account with £1200 and then saved the max £200 a month. Even if you do not buy a house with this money the general interest in the ISA is so much higher than a normal savings account.

Okay so now on to what everyone asks me, Lauren how do you afford all these holidays? Well, the answer is to save and only spend on what’s essential. People often think it is because I still live at home and yeah this is a massive help but screw it if I can be a rich student and save for a house and go on nice holidays then why the hell wouldn’t I. So many people move out for uni or rush to move out and begin renting that they don’t realise how much better off they would be if they stayed at home for a few more years. If this is just not possible for you then I do have some other top tips for saving money. But my best advice which is my opinion! If you ever want to buy a house do not rent, you will never be able to save money.

Top tips

  1. Stay at home as long as possible
  2. Only buy essentials
  3. Don’t waste your money on clothes that you literally only wear once
  4. I don’t go out drinking so that saves a ton of money!
  5. Download Honey to your desktop I love a good saving and this finds vouchers for me saves me time!
  6. If you have a partner go on free dates instead of extravagant dates
  7. Save as much as you can from each paycheck and don’t touch it! I put mine into premium bonds every month as it is harder to get them out rather than transferring them into another account. I push my self each month and save over half my pay check as I know that going short this month means that when it comes to my holiday I can go full out. The best bit about premium bonds is that each month you are entered into a draw to win even more money, and the more money you have in there the better your chances
  8. Compare deals for holidays and if you book instore always take in the online price and ask them to beat it or meet it. This is what I do all the time, never pay more than what you can find online if they want your custom they will match.
  9. Kind of goes against buy essentials but something I do, so I won’t buy lots of cheaper clothes instead I will buy one really expensive piece especially coats. One statement piece is better than lots of cheap styles, people notice more the statement piece. I recently invested in Doc Martens and wear them all the time they are such a statement piece and will last me a lifetime, I would much rather splurge on that then having to keep repurchasing because I bought a cheaper version.
  10. Don’t ask you don’t get, so whenever I go away I will often email the hotel and say that we are staying for a special occasion so if there anything they can do to help make it extra special. Most of the times hotels will do something for you because they want happy customers. Venice I had a cake put in the room for Sam’s birthday, Italy we had a bottle of Prosecco for free as it was my 21st and then when we got engaged they put a cake in the room. Literally, just email the generic email on their website and try, you don’t ask you don’t get.

I hope this blog helps you try and save some money, I do work hard for the money I get and so does Sam which is why we can afford the lifestyle we have. If you have any more ideas of what you would like next for a blog post please let me know. Thanks for reading.

First Blog Post

I’m Lauren, I’m 21 and I am from Plymouth, UK. I have started my own blog in order to capture and share my memories and tips from my travels. I am no travel expert but I definitely love to travel. This year alone I have had the opportunity to visit many places within Europe including Sorrento, Monaco, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Venice. I travel with my partner who also documents our travels through youtube on our GoPro Hero 4.

I am also a full-time student studying Social Work, a profession I am passionate about. My studying leaves me with little free time but the time I get I use to plan our next adventures.

Alongside studying I work part-time in order to fund my adventures, without work none of them would exist. I work every day I do not study in order to afford the travels I want to do

I still currently live at home with my family which is how I am able to afford more travel, but the plans for my future are to move out and buy my own home. On my last holiday in Sorrento, I decided I wanted to create a blog where I could share and capture my travels. I decided to take the plunge and put myself out there. Having already documented most of my travels on Instagram I decided the next step would be to create a blog. My aim for this blog is to share with you my travels and my day to day life in between like fashion and lifestyle.

Thank you for reading my first post.