A parenting & lifestyle blog written by Claire Chircop.

Event | Honest Instagram Growth With Sara Tasker & #TheBlogSquad, Duke Studios, Leeds, UK.

Emotions are high when it comes to Instagram, especially with the algorithm & follow to unfollow accounts polaver that's going on right now - I understand it feels totally inescapable. Well fear not, thanks to Sara Tasker & The Blog Squad, I'm now armed with a few tips and tricks to combat Instagrams' shittyness (Yes that's a real word) and feel like I'm ready to take over the world!

Last Thursday I attended the first Blog Squad event, which was held at Duke Studios, just outside of Leeds city center, and comprised of a discussion lead by the Instagram queen herself, Sara Tasker from 'Me And Orla'.

I don't have the biggest Instagram following, but what's peeing me off the most is that I'm struggling to get much of a following past 500. I currently have 548 followers to my Instagram account, but it feels like I've been bobbing around the 500 mark for the last six months or so. For some reason I've found it really difficult to grow my audience on Instagram, so much more so than my twitter or on bloglovin... But after meeting with Sara & listening to how she slays at Instagram, I'm pretty sure I know why now.

And that's what I'm going to discuss with you today.

To begin with we we asked the question, 'What's worth more? A million pounds, or a million followers?' - Ask me that question 5 years ago, I'd have said a million pounds! Of course I would have! Why the heck would I be passing up the opportunity to have a million big ones in my bank account. I'd definitely be getting those Valentino's for my wedding shoes, heck, I'd probably be getting a couple of pairs! Hot damn! Nowadays, times have changed, the digital age, and the rise in bloggers, vloggers & instagrammers, a million followers could lead to so much more! It'd get you your million pounds and then more! The potential when it comes to having a large social following is something that cannot be beaten, especially in 2017. The time is now, and if we strive for it, there's no doubt that we can achieve it. Passion really is key, and it's something that oozed from Sara while she was discussing the ins and outs of her Instangram success, she's a total Girl Boss.

Secondly, we discussed the right and wrong followers for our Instagram accounts & understanding how to grow from that knowledge. There's no doubt that my Instagram isn't to everyones' taste, and that's totally okay. If we were all the same, this place would be pretty darn boring wouldn't it, and truth be told, there's some peoples feeds which really don't float my boat, they're not my cup of tea, and I don't follow them. And that's totally okay too. 
My right people
* Dog lovers.
* Fashion & Makeup junkies.
* Country bumpkins.
* Selfie queens.
* People accepting of my flawa
My not so right people
* Fitness bunnies.
* Mega organised business women.
* Retro queens.
* Hardcore gamers.
* Lads, lads, lads!
Thinking about the audience we'd like to gain from our Instagram feeds, determines which images make the cut, and which ones are purely for our Insta stories. We should be celebrating our audiences, investing  and building an insanely strong community around ourselves.

Consistency was definitely the crucial factor during the discussion: Whether it's consistently posting, so making sure you upload to Instagram at the same time of day, every day, giving your audience a steady feed of images to keep drawing them back to your account. Consistently networking: Engaging with people who comment on your images builds a strong and trustworthy relationship with your audience. Equally giving feedback to someone elses feed that makes you swoon will help boost them & grow your relationships, I challenge you to comment on every photo you like today & see how that benefits you - It's true what they say, it's nice to be nice, so lets spread a little more love! Thirdly, and most importantly is publishing consistently good images, which at the end of the day is exactly what Instagram is all about. It's a visual platform, so posting quality images is key. Remember when someone new clicks on your profile, they only see the first nine images so make sure these images are the best they can be!

Again thinking about our feeds & keeping our images consistent, we were given the task of looking at our feeds and deciphering what our themes or general image styles are. We were given the following:
* Vintage or modern?
* Rural or urban?
* Bright or muted?
* Moody or cheerful?
* Calm or happy?
* Minimal or busy?
* Faded or saturated?
It's worth taking a few minutes checking out your own feeds and seeing how these adjectives relate to your own feed. Are they what they thought they'd be? Is there something there you wish yours was, but isn't? What do you look for in a feed to follow?

Going back to my own feed & what I mentioned right at the beginning, I think I now know why I'm struggling to grow my audience... I'm the worst for posting every day, there I said it, I'm a bad instagrammer! Honestly I'm lucky if I post daily, let alone posting at the same time every day. From here on I'm really going to make more of an effort uploading images, I believe posting daily at around 5pm would work best for me & my work schedule. It might be a case of posting first thing on a morning works better, it's all trial and error for now, but we'll see how it goes! I'm sure I'll update you further with my findings. I'm also terrible for sticking to a theme, yes they can be restrictive and yes they can be annoying, but there's no doubt about it, having a theme makes your Instagram look pretty fricken sick! I love bright white images with flashes of colour and in an ideal world, that's what my feed would look like. I'm definitely going to try incorporate more colours into my feed, but keeping everything light and bright is going to be my main aim for now. I'm sure as we get close towards Summer, it'll become only natural to start injecting some colour into my Instagram feed.

So there's my aims and objectives for my Instagram feed. I hope this blog post has been somewhat helpful & has made you think about what you'd like to achieve from your Insta feed.

What are your thoughts on growing your Instagram audience?

Please feel free to leave your Instagram links in the comments so I can have a spy at all your hard work! I'll make sure I give you all lots of love on your images.


Beauty | The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter.

I've got a list as long as my arm of beauty products I've been wanting to try, one being The Body Shops' Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter. I've always been a sucker for a cleansing balm, but after using up all of my Emma Hardie Amazing Face Cleanser (which is flipping amazing btw) I wanted to see if there were any affordable alternatives that hit the same spot.
I picked the Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter up at The Body Shop in McArthur Glen in York so managed to get it for a discounted price which is always a bonus! On the whole, I find McArthur Glen to be quite hit or miss, but I always come away with a bag full of goodies from The Body Shop - You can always rely on The Body Shop!
Like I said, balms or butter like consistencies are always my cleanser of choice, so I know exactly what I like when it comes to taking my makeup off on an evening. You could say that I'm quite particular!
The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter applies like a moisturiser but feels like a primer once it's on the skin. Once it's out of the tin, the gentle cleansing butter has an almost gel like formula that when on the face, feels nourishing and strangely (but in a good way) mattifying. The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter feels like a hybrid product because of its' consistency. I'd imagine some people would hate it because it is quite unusual, others like myself love it!
I have to massage the product into the skin quite a bit, far more than other cleansers I've used, but because I love the formula so much & I enjoy the way the product feels on the skin, I really don't mind taking the extra time. It feels like I'm having more of a pamper night because I'm spending more time applying & looking after my skin.
What I love most about The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter is how it leaves my skin feeling once I've washed the product off. My skin feels ridiculously hydrated, super fresh & definitely non greasy, which is something I've found with a lot of cleansing balms, especially if they're of a thicker consistency.

I've really enjoyed using The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, it does exactly what it says on the tin & is an amazing affordable cleanser that will not only leave your skin feeling cleansed but it also makes the skin feel rejuvenated, healthy and gives it (in my case, much needed) glow!

Have you tired this cleanser before? What are your favourite go-to skincare products?



After the initial excitement of getting engaged, my inner stationery geek was screaming out for some kick ass Wedding Planners. Admittedly it's one of the first things I thought of!
I don't know about you, but I love writing things down; Shopping lists, to do lists, birthdays, aims, goals - You name it, I've probably written a list about it! There's something that's just so 'human' about picking up a pen and engraving your favourite notebook with whatever fills your mind & there's absolutely no chance that was about to change when it came to planning our big day!

Luckily for me Jennifer at Busy B came to my rescue with the rather Instagram approved Wedding To Do List* and as an extra little treat gave my bridesmaids their very own Bridesmaid Planner* which delighted them both very much so!

Not only are these planners impeccably aesthetically pleasing, but they're also really pretty fricken handy too! Each planner has a checklist, in case you've forgotten anything daft such as considering guests accommodation, booking a photographer or putting together a table plan. And yes, these all sound like basic stuff, but when you're in a wedding whirlwind who knows what you might forget!
Both planners are sectioned off really well too, which makes any organisation nutter like myself very happy indeed. Bridesmaids have sections such as The Big Day and The Hen Night, whereas the Wedding To Do List* is a little more in depth and compromises of a Guest List, Wedding Day, Wardrobe & (dum dum duum) Budget.

What I love about the Busy B Wedding Planners is just how easy they are to use! They're simple, effective & fun, which is exactly what Wedding Planning should be!

Do you have any Wedding Planning tips? What's your favourite stationery brand?


*These products were sent to me for review purposes - All opinions are honest and 100% my own.