Spring is my favourite time of the year. It’s a time for rebirth, fresh starts, and longer days. It’s a time for sunnier weather, drier grounds, and warmer air. It’s a time to get outside, get s*it done and appreciate life, and the things we have around us. Continue reading “A Spring in my Step!”
A lot of people join social media for many different reasons; to interact and stay in contact with friends and family, for business purposes, blogging and fitness, etc. And it can be a very powerful tool when utilised correctly, especially from a business point of view; it just opens up so many doors and there are so many different types of social media networks to choose from.When I first signed up for Instagram about three years ago, it was a personal account. I didn’t fully understand the concept and it was far different to Facebook. I was confused. But, after a few weeks I slowly started getting in to it and eventually started adding the odd food post.
I can’t pinpoint a time when it fully became a food account, but I enjoyed Instagram far more when I first joined. I would post whatever I wanted; food, photos of my dog, my gardening skills, random objects; I loved it.
But, for the last year or so, I’ve noticed a huge change in the way people operate on Instagram and I’m tired of it. It’s just become filled with bullshit, people liking and spamming with their comments; just to get likes, comments and follows on their own account. It’s tiring. Personally, I only tend to comment on other posts if I have something to say, but even I notice that sometimes I have too much to say and then I worry that people will lose respect for me, the way I have with many on there. I feel people like that have just taken the fun out of Instagram for me and have turned it into some sort of competition on who can get the most followers and likes, yada, yada, yada. Because of that, I took the weekend off from blogging and Instagram, to try and recollect my thought process and what I wanted to achieve from it. I still have no idea. I think it’s become more of a habit in my life, but it is also a great way to direct traffic to my blog: just one popular post from Friday has attracted over 600 followers to my blog since; so Instagram has become a huge part of my blog too. It’s also a place where I can write quick reviews for products that I know people will see.
What does social media mean to me?
For me Instagram has always been my support network and a mere comment like – this looks incredible – from a respected follower can put a cheesy smile on my face and make me feel all sorts of different feelings. I don’t often have people around me trying to uplift or make me feel good about myself and when it does happen, it makes me physically uncomfortable. So, it’s always a surprise when people I’ve never met are supportive to me every day. I think I love Instagram so much because as sad as it may sound, it is something that I have for myself; it may not be a house or a posh car, but just talking to people every day has given me confidence in my own life and has made accepting rare compliments from people easier. Granted, I’m still socially awkward and shy in person, but I’m nowhere near as uncomfortable in public as I once was and I do believe that is down to the support from Instagram. The same goes for my blog; they are both steady and stable things that I have in my life and at the minute the only good things that I have which I can call my own. They are both platforms where I can express myself to a point and have people acknowledge me and I appreciate all of that immensely: every like, comment and follow is always an unexpected comfort to me.
Both my blog and Instagram have given me opportunities that I never thought someone like myself would ever be handed and while I don’t get paid to write blogposts or product reviews for companies, I still enjoy it. I mean don’t get me wrong. It’s not easy writing and thinking of blogposts twice a week and it is very time consuming at the least: this blogpost has taken me over 2 hours already; so I’d be lying if I said that it wouldn’t be nice to benefit and earn some income from my blog. Especially as I don’t have a steady income from elsewhere at the moment and I don’t have the money to put into bettering my blog and making it more aesthetically pleasing with a logo. However, none of those things are as important to me or as gratifying, than when I see people have viewed my post and I realise my hard work hasn’t gone to waste after all. I get even more elated when I receive comments off people who have read it and can relate to whatever experience I have gone through and decided to share. It always warms my ice cold heart when I learn that people actually read what I write. Although, it surprises me more than anything, because my written skills aren’t the best and my grammar and punctuation are a work in progress too. But, none of the support goes unnoticed by me. To say I take a lot from social media would be an understatement. I learn from peoples photography, social skills and a lot more. It’s definitely taught me a lot about myself too and the way I communicate with people – which I haven’t always done well.
There aren’t always positive things that can come from social media though and it can be a dangerous territory if you aren’t careful, especially for the vulnerable and naïve. The more attention I pay to Instagram, the more I realise how toxic it can be. But, I do think that it all comes down to what you can take away and benefit from it and whether it makes you a better person in the long run. I feel when you have that mind-set, it can be a pleasant place to hang out and learn from.
What does social media mean to you? It would be awesome to hear. Do you benefit from the support or is it just an outlet for you?
For more recipes, reviews and ideas you can follow me on Instagram, where I ramble and waffle a bit more.
Photo cred: Maizermedia.com
I’m not one to steal ideas usually, I take pride in coming up with my own recipes and ideas, but when I saw cooking with a wallflowers post, I just had to steal it and write my own version. I’ve seen loads of baking accessories and ideas over the internet that I would love and I think they would make incredible gifts, but being a home cook and foodie myself, I guess that’s obvious. Even so, it never crossed my mind to share these gift ideas with, well all of you. So thank you Cooking with a Wallflower for the idea. You can check her Christmas gift guide out here.
I don’t often struggle to buy gifts for people, I’m actually a very good gift giver in my humble opinion and I enjoy it, but I know for most people ideas don’t come as naturally and I frequently see people stressing over what to buy. I think over the years gift giving has become more of a competition and the tradition has become lost among the masses; I feel if you aren’t given diamonds, cars or other expensive gifts on a special occasion, then it’s simply not good enough. So I can see and understand why it can be stressful. For me, I like a gift to be thoughtful and something that I or the person I’m giving the gift to, will appreciate or use for years to come. I think it says a lot about a person when they put thought into a gift rather than just splurge on material things that the other person probably wont appreciate as much. With that in mind I have compiled a top 5 gift idea list for the home baker, foodie and meat-head.
I often get messages on Instagram from people asking me what I use to take photos of my food, so I thought I’d share with you what’s in my camera bag . Up until 2 months ago it was just my iPad and that has always produced some nice results; especially when edited using a few of the best editing apps.
My favourite apps to edit photos are:
- Photoshop Touch
Snapseed is my favourite, I think it’s free and it’s the best app I have used. It allows you to edit photos as you would with the Photoshop software. However, I don’t get along with Photoshop on my computer, so I use snapseed to edit all my photos. I sharpen and adjust contrast, shadows and sometimes the brightness with snapseed and depending on whether I have tried to be creative with my photos. I use the brush tool to darken the background of my photos and vignette too. Then I head on over to VSCO and crop, sharpen a bit more and sometimes add a filter or two. Photoshop touch was my second favourite, up until they changed the app; the new version I am not fussed on, as it’s inferior to it’s predecessor.
Another tip when using a smartphone is to use reflectors and natural lighting. These two can achieve you some great results, but never use a flash. Unless you know how to use flash then don’t, it achieves awful results which can wash out the photo and make the food look greasy and vile. Placing your food near a window and using a white reflector to bounce shadows is best and it creates more of a natural look. It wasn’t until I started using a DSLR that I started bouncing shadows and paying more attention to composition and styling. However, my photos are still nowhere near as good as some food bloggers I’ve seen and envied, but I learn more and more everyday. Continue reading “What’s In My Camera Bag?”