How I Avoid Instagram Consumerism | 5 Ways To Spend Less In 2020

This will be a long post, so let’s just get straight into it!

What Is Instagram Consumerism?

This is a term I think I made up myself, but it could well be used elsewhere. Instagram consumerism, in my eyes, is the way Instagram affects how/when/where you buy your products. It is especially prominent in the influencer space, more specifically, brand deals and collabs. However there is also pressure around all of social media to wear a different outfit every day. This first harms our mindset towards clothing, and leads to consequences of buying more clothing to adhere to the expectation. 

Why Is It Bad?

First and foremost, the easiest ways to purchase clothing is via fast fashion brands. That is a problem in itself, which my friend Ava did an amazing guest post about on my blog. Secondly, the most advertised clothing on Instagram is fast fashion. To those who are not educated on the subject, it’s easy to fall into the trap of fast fashion.

Before we go ahead, I’d like to add a disclaimer: not everyone can afford sustainable fashion. It disappoints me that less advantaged families have to buy from fast fashion brand without choice. If you are included within that bracket, please do not feel pressure from me. You do not need to switch to sustainable fashion if you can’t afford it.

However, so many people with enough money to buy slow fashion decide to still go for the fast fashion option. That disappoints me beyond belief. Seeing influencers on YouTube with millions of subscribers do a Primark haul that gets over 500k views is scary. Unless they’re putting the revenue from that video towards charities that help garment workers in Bangladesh (where Primark’s clothes are made), I’m not going to support it. I’m scared because they have power, they own the label ‘influencer’ for a reason. They influence those people who watch the video to buy fast fashion. 500k views. That has an impact. 

How Do I Avoid Instagram Consumerism?

Now to the main part of this post. This section goes for any product you see promoted on Instagram, or YouTube. Not just clothing! 

1) Read The Facts

If you see a book on Instagram, made from paper that is not FSC approved, look into how harmful that can be for the planet. Read information on deforestation, learn about why you should just buy second hand. Even better, an independent book store. Although they are expensive, they have plummeted into financial decline since the Covid-19 outbreak (like many other businesses). Support small. Rather than just buy on a whim, wait a few days. Find other buying options.

2) The Influencer Is Only Going To Hype The Brand Up, They Would Never Advertise a Product They Do Not Like

Okay, so this is an obvious one. If an influencer has been sent a gifted item that they do not like, they wouldn’t post it on their Instagram. It’s gifted, they’re not paid for it. They might send a critical review back to the seller by email, but they wouldn’t share it with their audience. Next time you see a gifted item on someone’s feed, remember that everyone is different. Just because they love it, doesn’t mean you will. Plus, this influencer didn’t buy it with their own money. Everyone loves free things! They might not have bought it if it weren’t free. 

3) Make a Wishlist

Make a wishlist of all the physical items you desire in life (a book, a cactus and a blanket are on mine). Next time you want to buy something from an advertisement, glance back at your wishlist. Do you really want to spend your money on this, or should you put it towards something you have wanted for a while? If you decide you really love the advertised product on Instagram, write it on your wishlist. Come back a few days later and rethink. Do you still want this?

4) Did You Want This a Few Weeks Ago?

This is similar to the wish list idea. At the moment, razors have been gifted to a ton of creators in my Instagram feed. They’re cute, pink and, for some people, essential. Did you need a new razor a few weeks ago? Do you need a razor now? Probably not, because you already have one. Wait until you need a new razor before buying a new one! Don’t just buy one now, and then not get full use out of your old one. That’s wasteful.

5) What Purpose Does It Serve?

Book = happiness, education. Cactus = room decor. Blanket = keeps me cosy in the evenings. Everything serves a purpose. Some, however, will be more important than others. List out, either on paper or in your brain, the purposes your desired product serves. This simple practise will define what you should be spending your money on.

That’s it for today’s post! It was a little all over the place, wasn’t it? Hope you all don’t mind. Don’t forget that this post is a part of my series The Plastic Plan. It’s ongoing series, where every Friday either myself or a guest writer blogs about climate change, fast fashion and plastic. If you’re interested in educating yourself on those very important subjects, please do head over to The Plastic Plan category on my blog!

Let me know in the comments which tip you found most useful! 

What was the last thing you bought after seeing it on social media?

catherine x

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10 Reasons You Should Wake Up Early | How To Be An Early Riser When You Really, Really Don’t Feel Like It

Whether it’s summer, the weekend or still lockdown where you live, sometimes waking up early can be difficult. Without the incentive, you can easily lie in bed for a couple more hours. This post is not only to help you, but also myself. There are many perks to waking up early, and I want to compile them all in a post. So, whenever you’re contemplating a lie-in you remember how good an early start makes you feel.

1) You have some alone time in the morning 

This one appeals to me the most. As someone who enjoys quiet time, in a busy house it can be hard to find. Especially when your brother plays guitar non-stop all day (I’m surprised his fingers are still intact!)

2) Bird song

Maybe the city gals don’t relate to this one, but since I live semi-rurally bird song is not hard to find. If you do live in an urban landscape, I’d recommend turning on bird sounds just to feel more at peace. It’s one of my favourite sounds and it’s always best in the early hours.

3) Early morning sunshine!

During winter and summer, early morning sunshine is at its best. I love the golden glow it emits on to the garden and through the kitchen window. It makes me smile every time I see it!

4) Head start on the day

While everyone else is asleep, you can be cracking on with your to-do list. I always have an afternoon slump so I rely on the mornings to get things done. Then later on, when you hit that wall, you don’t have to fear. You’ve already got a lot of shiz done!

5) Ability to stay off screens for longer before work/school/blog begins

I like to spend time off social media in the morning. However, if you wake up later (say 9am) and have a meeting a 9:30, you won’t have much time to detox from screens before launching yourself straight into work. Wake up early, spend less time on screens in the morning, feel better.

6) Time to meditate (no interruptions)

I’m not the sort of person you’ll find cross legged completing a guided meditation. But meditation is more than the trendy kind you see on YouTube. My form of meditation is journaling. In the morning, not only can I get journaling done and dusted, but I can journal for longer without interruptions.

7) Less time wasted

If I wake up late I feel as if the day has slipped away already, so I don’t force myself to complete much. Whereas when I wake up early I launch into tasks and get much more done. In the evening I’m never productive, so that’s why I like to sleep earlier then I can make the most of my time.

8) The afternoon slump… it’s not as bad for a morning person!

If you wake up earlier, the afternoon slump tends to fall around lunchtime. Therefore you can take your lunch break while you’re feeling a bit demotivated, then refresh and launch back into work. But when I wake up at 8, my slump tends to fall around 3pm.

9) Going for walks while it’s not busy/no screaming children

Dear children, they’re sweet little people but they’re so damn loud. Getting out for your walk early has many benefits: you avoid the blazing sun, it’s nice and cool, no-one is about, children are still in bed. I love quiet so getting out early means there is more tranquility. The only people you encounter are similar minded people! Therefore interaction is avoided at all costs… except for maybe a smile or an awkward ‘hello’.

10) Feels like an accomplishment 

I hear people moan about how they ‘can’t possibly get up so early’. So when I get up early, I just feel like I’ve accomplished something.

Thank you so much for reading today’s post! It’s a little different to my usual, but self-growth is a niche I would like to delve into more. 

Do you enjoy posts like this? What is one thing I’ve mentioned that you relate to?

Have a lovely week everybody! 

catherine x

(I swear I’ve not written such a short post since my six word stories)

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5 Things I’m Grateful For This Summer | Collaboration With Daisy’s Corner

Hello everyone! Welcome back to the blog. This Friday’s post is in collaboration with my online bestie Daisy, from Daisy’s Corner. Organised girl boss Daisy had this collab planned far in advance, and finally it is time to share it with you! In this post I will be sharing 5 things I’m grateful for this summer. Daisy is doing the same, so after reading this post you must click here to view her half. This is going to be a very happy, wholesome post! I hope you enjoy.

Early Summer Mornings

I don’t get up early every day, although I am making an effort to. I just love the golden glow in the morning! Sitting in the garden with my journal, or a good book, in the early hours is an unbeatable feeling. Plus, with the weather being so hot in the UK at the moment, it’s about the only time I can go outside without roasting to bits.

Frozen Fruit (Blueberries In Particular)

This time last year I had not yet discovered the joy of eating fruits frozen. Berries, such as blueberries and raspberries, are super yummy when frozen. They’re are comparable to sweets, except better in my opinion! All fruit is a blessing, and I could not live without it. Lockdown has made so many of us more grateful for the little things. I try to believe that I was expressing gratitude before lockdown, but never like this.

My Garden

All throughout lockdown I have been especially grateful for my garden. In the beginning stages when only 1 hour of exercise daily was allowed, I felt so grateful to have my outdoor space. We’ve started inviting a few people round for barbecues and it’s been an awesome family space. On top of that, it’s served as our own ‘camping’ park. Since we can’t go on holiday this year, I have been camping in the garden for a breath of fresh air – literally.

That I Can Go For Long Walks

As we are no longer restricted to one hour of exercise per day, I can now get out on long walks. I live semi-rurally, where there are many amazing walks nearby. I am extremely grateful for that opportunity. The countryside, and the beautiful hills, are where I belong. If I could walk up and down a mountain every day, I would. It gives me such a buzz (much more satisfying than post-workout adrenaline!)

Audiobooks

Lockdown forced me to start using a library app, rather than the in-person experience. That led to my discovery of audiobooks! I’ve always wanted to try out this way of reading before, but I thought I needed to spend money. Turns out, the library has them there for me! Without coronavirus I would have never discovered this feature. Although it is a dreadful virus, the consequential lockdown it caused has brought many a realisation. Audiobooks are such a convenient way to get through books while completing other activities. My favourite is colouring and listening, or even when I’m editing photos for Instagram.

I have a childish obsession with rainbows…

We are missing out on so much opportunity this summer. My family didn’t book anything, but planned to go inter railing around Italy. In the past year I have also raised £1800 to go on a Guides camp, which was inevitably cancelled. Despite the drastic change of plans, I’ve still had an awesome summer thus far. Counting my blessings has kept me positive and inspired! I do encourage any of you feeling a tad low to write down 5 things you’re grateful for either in the comment section or on paper. Really reflect on what you have written down. I promise you, it’s the best habit to get into a routine of.

Many thanks to Daisy for offering me the chance to do a 3rd collab together! You have no idea just how much I love chatting with you, and that Zoom call once was the most fun. Daisy just completed her first year of blogging! It’s been a wild ride, and she has grown so much in this short space of time. Please go over and support her blog, YouTube and Instagram. So much hard work goes into maintaining content like this so even the smallest support means a lot. 

What are you especially grateful for this summer?

catherine x

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How To Make Instagram Perfect Meringues Without Fuss

Welcome back! Hope you’re having a lovely week so far. Today I’m going to be sharing my full-proof meringue recipe. With a bit of creativity, you can make them look Pinterest perfect! They’re basic meringues, shaped like macaroons to make them cute and tiny 🙂 But I find macaroons have so much space to fail whereas meringues work perfectly every time. Now, let’s get into it!

I bought my meringues pre-made, I know that’s cheating. But here is a recipe I took from BBC GoodFood, our trusted friend. A few comments said they burnt but most were positive reviews. Just be careful! 

Ingredients

  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 115g icing sugar
  • margarine
  • more icing sugar for buttercream
  • food colouring! I used blue, red and pink.

Method

  • Heat the oven to 110C/ 100C fan/gas ¼.
  • Line two baking trays with non-stick liner or parchment paper (meringue can stick on greaseproof paper and foil).
  • Tip 4 large egg whites with an electric hand whisk until the mixture resembles a fluffy cloud and stands up in stiff peaks when the blades are lifted.
  • Now turn the speed up and start to add 115g caster sugar, a dessertspoonful at a time. Continue beating for 3-4 seconds between each addition. It’s important to add the sugar slowly at this stage as it helps prevent the meringue from weeping later. However, don’t over-beat. When ready, the mixture should be thick and glossy.
  • Sift one third of the 115g icing sugar over the mixture, then gently fold it in with a big metal spoon or rubber spatula. Continue to sift and fold in the remaining icing sugar a third at a time. Again, don’t over-mix. The mixture should now look smooth and billowy.
  • Divide the mixture into three bowls. Add a tiny, tiny drop of liquid food colouring in to each bowl. Gently (super gently) fold in until they look a light pastel colour.
  • Scoop up a dessertspoonful of the mixture. Using another spoon, ease it on to the baking sheet to make a circular shape. Or just drop them in rough rounds, if you prefer.
  • Bake for 1 ½-1 ¾ hours in a fan oven, 1 ¼ hours in a conventional or gas oven, until the meringues sound crisp when tapped underneath and are a pale coffee colour.
  • Leave to cool on the trays. (The meringues will now keep in an airtight tin for up to 2 weeks, or frozen for a month.)

Now to the part of the recipe I invented:

  • Once completely cooled, you can start decorating. Whip up some buttercream and divide into three bowls, as before. Add in a drop of food colouring into each bowl. You can make them darker than the original meringue, or the same colour (although that does take a lot of precision).
Tablecloth goals, am I right or am I right?
  • Grab two meringues and sandwich them together, with the buttercream centre.
  • Allow the buttercream to harden before serving.

That’s it! Your mock macaroons are now made to share on Instagram and go completely viral. Do send me you photos if you decide to recreate 🙂

Want to see my Instagram perfect meringues on Instagram? Just click here, I posted a new photo this evening.

What’s your favourite flavour macaroon?

Mine is by far pistachio!

catherine x

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5 Advantages of Blogging Over Social Media | How To Grow Your Brand

Hello everyone! Welcome back to my blog. You all know I love adding a question to the end of my blog posts. On last Friday’s post I posed the question, ‘which do you prefer: blogging or social media?’. The response I had was pro-blogging. That’s how the idea to write this post came about! I don’t want to appear biased, because I myself use Instagram and Pinterest a lot. I will make a part two to this 5 Advantages Of Social Media Over Blogging. Let me know if you’d like to see that!

Without further ado, let’s get into it. 

The Blogging Algorithm Works

First and foremost, with blogging the algorithm works. Any of you who use Instagram will know it takes a lot of trial and error to finally have a post ‘blow up’. With blogging, as long as you are equipped with the right tools, your blog post can easily blow up. If it is good content it will be pushed to the top of search results, be over everyone’s Pinterest feed, and get good response. My yoga post, that I made at the start of the year, astonished me by getting over a 100 likes (when I usually get 20). It took off because I added the right tags, quality photos and conveyed a positive message. Unlike with Instagram, where a post can have all the correct criteria, yet still flop.

There’s More Diversity 

There is more diversity in the blogosphere! I am using Instagram as my main social media to compare to, here. Instagram finely tunes what posts you like to display more posts like that. Okay, that made no sense. Even I had to read it twice. For example, if you like a cat photo, you will be shown more cat photos. However in blogging you are displayed many different types of material. Your feed is only full of things you follow – so you are in control of what it looks like.

You Can Make Strong Bonds Faster

Now this is a controversial one: you can build stronger bonds through blogging than you can on social media. Please don’t come for me on this. I have made the best, kindest, most amazing Internet best friend through social media and emails. Her name is Florence, and we’ve been friends for more than 3 years. It’s not impossible to build close friends through social media. However, in a short time frame, clients can communicate better with you through a blog post than an Instagram caption. If you want to start a business, creating a blog is the easiest way to make reliable, honest customers. Social media, on the other hand, is a bit hit or miss. A Tweet is so short, how can you convey your business’ message in 180 characters?

You Don’t ‘Scroll’ Through Blog Posts

Tying in with the previous statement, people don’t skip over blog posts. You don’t just scroll through. Once you’ve read the first paragraph, you stay until the end. Unlike with Twitter or Instagram, you can’t keep flicking past until you find something intriguing. Honestly, I don’t read every Instagram caption I see. With blog posts I do. Now that might just be a me thing, but after consulting a few people on Instagram I’ve learned that I’m not alone. If you’re wanting to really make an impact with your writings, a blog is the route to go down. I know lots of people make a success from Instagram, I’m not denying that, but I think an accompanying blog does no harm. I have an Instagram with almost 1.5k followers (thank you so, so much for that) but what is the main focus? My blog!

Blogs. Retain. Audiences. 

It’s much easier to retain an audience with blogging. With Instagram people come and go: my core Instagram supporters are all those who also read my blog. Some blog readers have been here since the beginning (I see you Maryam and Caz) but I could scroll back to an old Instagram post and see a commenter that I’ve not heard from in ages. There’s none of that ‘follow for follow’ culture in blogging, which I’m super thankful for.

I loved writing this post so much, so I hope you also loved reading it! Don’t forget I will be doing a part two, so you better stay tuned for that. In relation to today’s post, I’m going to link my social medias here:

What is your favourite social media platform?

Hope you all have an awesome Wednesday, packed full of positivity. In response to this posts question, I think I’m going to have to say Pinterest is my favourite social media. If you do have a Pinterest, feel free to follow me then I can follow you back! I only started it up last week but I’m loving it so far. 

catherine x