Saturday, 26 May 2018

Should Content Creators Be Relatable?

Whenever I open Instagram, I seem to be met with Gucci belts and Chloe bags and expensive makeup palettes. Slim, beautiful women with tanned skin and shimmering hair sipping espresso martinis and posing candidly at exclusive bars. The wedding cake houses of Kensington are always the backdrop of every outfit picture taken on a glittering rose gold iPhone or high-spec camera.

Everything we post online is in some way artificial. We want to create a certain reaction. Whether you want to appear to be the 'it girl' or a friend to your audience, content is never created without a desired effect. Whether it is at the front of our minds or not. But have some content creators become too far removed from the reality of their audience? Or are influencers meant to create something for their audience to escape into?

I have been pondering these questions lately. Personally, I prefer content that I can relate to. I like mummy bloggers who write with passion and emotion about their children and their roles as mothers but also aren't afraid to share the less glamorous parts of their lives too. I like that reassurance that not everyone has their shit together 100% of the time. I like bloggers who write about mental health and body positivity and are relatable. I like bloggers who address racial biases within the blogging industry. I like people who aren't afraid to speak out and have an opinion. I just can't relate to Louboutin wearing, private party attending, juice cleanse doing influencers. But somehow they still draw me in. I enjoy the beautiful candids somehow taken walking in the roads of New York with yellow taxis just behind them. I enjoy the pictures of their manicured hands clasping lattes as they recline back in a hipster coffee shop with a book that they have probably met the author of. I enjoy seeing their impossibly flat stomachs in pretty bikinis as they sit on the white sand beaches of a luxury location dipping their toes in the sea. I can't relate but I wish I could. Maybe that is what draws us in.

Following some influencers feels like window shopping for a lifestyle I will probably never have. Their Tuesday lounging on a white sand beach in the Maldives is very different to my Tuesday trying to drag a crying baby around Tesco. And, in all honesty, that is probably why I still follow them.

I know that I sound jealous. In all honesty, I am a little bit. But with every picture of a blonde-haired, doe-eyed, button-nosed girl laughing into an iced tea or clasping a donut she definitely won't eat, I find myself crying out for a change. I want to see people of all ethnicities and nationalities scoring top brand collaboration deals. I want to see plus size women becoming faces of generic brands - and not just for plus size brands. I want to see something different. I am hungry for something new. Someone relatable. Someone who isn't an 'it girl'.

I am tired of the it girl aesthetic.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

3 Hidden Gems You Need To Add To Your Travel Bucket List*

The Rhine, Germany

It's no secret that I love to travel. I love exploring new places, trying food that I can't even pronounce, and kicking back in king-size hotel beds with a mug of tea in hand. When I am not visiting different destinations, reading travel blogs, and trying my hand at recreating foreign cuisine, I am scouring websites like Holiday Gems looking for new destinations to add to my ever-expanding travel bucket list. So, you can rest assured that I have a few hidden gems on that list - places full of history and culture (and sunshine) but not so full of tourists. And today I am going to share them with you lovely lot - and I ask you all to just pray that later this year I will be able to say that I booked a holiday to Gran Canaria.

When it comes to sunny European destinations, most people instantly think of places like Italy, Spain, and Greece. But, personally, I have had my eyes on Malta for quite a while. The island boasts three UNESCO world heritage sites - including monuments that date back centuries. Although Malta is becoming ever-popular as a travel destination, it is nowhere near as bustling with tourists as places like Venice or Madrid. The capital, Valletta, has an abundance of amazing castles, churches, and theatres. There are multiple museums and city tours so that you can soak up the culture.

Of all the places in Germany that I have visited, I found that Rudesheim was the most picturesque and traditionally beautiful place that I went to. The whole town is full of timber-front houses and pubs selling pint after pint of German beer. The surrounding hills are filled with grape vines to make their local wine that they have been making for over a thousand years. The town is a UNESCO world heritage site and it is easy to see why. The best part of this town was a street named Drosselgasse. It was a small, cobbled street with buildings on either side. They play live music in the wine taverns situated on this street through the summer and have open-air garden seating so you can enjoy a bottle of wine as the summer evening draws in. 

Charmouth, Devon

I had to put a staycation in this list too, didn't I? The UK is full of lovely locations and Cornwall is definitely the perfect place for a short stay. As a kid, we would visit Tintagel religiously and I always felt like I was missing out by not going abroad but now I feel grateful that my parents opened my eyes to the great places there are to visit in the UK. Tintagel is a picturesque seaside town with all the traditional British seaside charm that you'd want in a beach holiday. In the height of summer, the sea tends to be quite clear and there is a stretch of sandy beaches. There are also rockpools and caves that I spent many hours exploring as a child. As well as this, there are the ruins of a castle said to have been inhabited by King Arthur and a traditional town where you can get a cream tea or some homemade fudge. Although this place is always quite busy during summer months, it isn't as revered as places like Bude so it is definitely a bit of a hidden gem.

What are your hidden gems?

Friday, 18 May 2018

Making Exercise Fun With Nicce

Anyone who knows me will know that 'exercise' and 'fun' are two words that I would very rarely use in the same sentence but, to the shock of my friends and family, I have actually started to exercise - and am actually enjoying it. But this has not always been the case. In my mind, exercise has always seemed like a bit of a chore. I was always that chubby kid hiding in the loos during PE or faking a devastating leg injury to avoid cross country. My school PE teachers despaired at my inability to do the simplest of activities - to be honest, I can't do a forward roll even now. But, as a kid, I did love activities that didn't seem like exercise but kinda were. I loved long walks and was very proud of myself for doing the Exmoor Challenge and DofE. I used to play '40 40 In' with the other kids on our block and maybe a cheeky game of the forbidden 'British Bulldog'. And that's what I realised recently - that exercise didn't have to be this regimental, enforced thing that I only did when I was a diet but it could be implemented into my daily life and it could actually be enjoyable.

So, I have put together a list of things that I have found helpful on this journey to becoming fitter.

Buy Gym Clothes
Investing in a lot of gym clothes because they make me feel so much more motivated to move around. So, when the lovely people at Nicce got in touch to ask if I wanted to collaborate, I was overjoyed. I had had my eyes on their womens black hoodie for a while now but I decided to go for something a little more colourful - and I love it! The absolute best thing about this hoodie is that it has a soft, fluffy lining which makes it so snug. But, if you're not a hoodie kinda person, then you don't have to worry. They do everything from swimming costumes to caps to yoga pants. All with their iconic logo on and in a range of fun colours - I love all their mustard yellow items they're bringing out at the moment.

Start Small
I know I may never be the next Mo Farah but I still feel proud of the small milestones I pass. When I first started jogging, I could only run for about 1 min before feeling like I was going to collapse. Now I am reaching 5 minutes and I am happy with this improvement. Knowing your limits and listening to your body are really important when you exercise so if I start to feel tired then I stop and have a rest. But not having overly ambitious goals has really helped me to be persistent and get into a routine with exercise.

Be Patient With The Results
This is one thing that my husband often has to remind me. Just because I've gone for a hike, doesn't mean I can climb Everest the following week. It takes time for your muscles to grow and your body to become more able to do certain activities. It can seem like you're doing so much for so little return but in a few months you'll look back and realise how far you have come.

Pick An Activity That You Can Do Everyday 
I'm not saying you should exercise everyday but picking an activity that is easily accessible will make it so much easier to keep up with. If you decide to go for polo but don't have a horse and live in central London, this probably won't be something you can do regularly in the long term. Choosing something like walking, yoga, or football will mean that you can do this often without having to take too much time out of your day to travel to a certain place. Personally, I try to go for a jog maybe once or twice a week and I also try to go on one long walk a day - preferably up a hill - with the pushchair. I've found this really fits in well with my lifestyle as I don't have enough time to go to a gym alone but bringing Ava along on walks gets us both out of the house and allows me to exercise.

What I'm Wearing:

Nicce Pink Hoodie*

Primark Yoga Pants (similar)

Puma Gazelle Trainers (here)

How do you exercise?

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Products You Need To Become The Next Zoella

Blogging is a fickle mistress. One minute everyone is raving over Ikea plant pots and MAC lipsticks, the next minute it's all about white marble and poloroids. This, of course, makes it near on impossible for our friends and family to try to buy us anything that we could feature on the blog without completely missing the mark and getting us something way back from 2014 blogging. So, I have scoured Instagram and put together a cohesive list of all the products that bloggers are going crazy for at the moment.

Novelty mugs
Everybody loves a mug - especially one full of hot chocolate - but novelty mugs are all the rage right now. I love this one by Blogging Mode because it lets everyone know that I am the boss (a fact that my husband is yet to fully accept). They also do a range of other fun blogger themed gifts which are all equally fabulous.

Paperchase is my go-to location for cute stationary so when I discovered their postcards, I literally fell in love. I really like all the catchy slogans and cute prints. I recently bought one with a sloth on it - if that doesn't convince you that they do the best postcards then nothing will. Grab one, find a pretty location, paint your nails a pastel colour (or just your thumb - we've all done it), and voila! You have a perfect pic.

Bright, slogan tees
Following the lead of blogger goddess Hannah Gale, everyone is donning bright yellow tees with catchy slogans on them. Extra points if you find a pink wall to pose in front of. And a guaranteed extra 100 followers if you're laughing into an iced tea from Starbucks.

A Doughnut Time Doughnut 
Doughtnut Time have recently opened their first UK branch in London and people are going mad for their giant, delicious donuts. A few of my fave Insta queens have posted pics posing with a donut outside their pastel green shop and it really makes me want like 5 donuts. But, yeah, donuts are here to stay (thank the Lord).

I love using Polaroids in pictures but unfortunately I really can't afford to splash out on an Instax so I use online companies like Printiki instead. You just send over your pics, they print them out (you can even add captions!), then they send them back. Like having a polaroid without the price tag.

A Blogger Box From My New Business
Yes, this is a cheeky self promo. No, I'm not ashamed. So, I am starting a business selling all the things bloggers need to create the perfect flatlays. Everything is still developing at the moment but you can follow me on social media to keep up to date with everything that's going on. My business Twitter is here and my Insta is here.

What do you think makes a perfect blog photo?
© The Emerald Dove. All rights reserved.
Blogger Designs by pipdig