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Month: June 2017

Fours ways to Drop Hints you want to become Engaged

Fours ways to Drop Hints you want to become Engaged

You can’t really complain when you’ve been in a relationship with your partner for a few years and are now living together. Yet, something seems missing. Could this be the fact that you’re ready to become engaged, though your other half doesn’t appear to have given it a thought?

If that’s the case, marquise engagement ring stockist Angelic Diamonds has four ways to make your boyfriend aware that you want him to pop the question:

Be honest

The simplest method can often be the best in this scenario, so just have a chat with your partner about where you would like your relationship to go. It needn’t be an awkward conversation; just discuss with your partner why you want to get married and he should soon start to understand just how much he means to you. Sometimes people have the same fears and doubts within a relationship, but they are just too afraid to address them with each other. By talking about your future together, he’ll know that you want to be a part of it.

Become your partner’s go-to guy

Does it feel as though you and your boyfriend have assigned roles in your relationship? It’s time that you become your other half’s go-to guy as well as girlfriend then. If you’re constantly being left behind for the guys, then this is going to put a strain on his ability to propose and take you seriously.

Try to take an interest in his hobbies, for example, or arrange to exercise together whenever possible. If you can be part of his whole life, rather than just someone he spends time with, then he’ll feel like you’re indispensable. Once you get to this point in your relationship, then he’ll feel like proposing, as he can’t spend his time without you!

Arrange things with married couples

Your partner could be reluctant to ask for your hand in marriage because of being worried or anxious about married life. Try to resolve this by hanging around with friends who are happily married, as well as family members who also have children. This will make him realise that you’re comfortable with him being around others in more serious relationships.

The ups and downs of married life will likely be exposed when you hang out with married friends and family members, but at the very least if should also get your boyfriend picturing a wonderful married life with you. Although men who have parents that are divorced sometimes struggle to trust this commitment, replacing negative feelings with positive ones in this type of environment may help to bring him around to your way of thinking.

Try some tough love

Have the nice methods failed? Then it may be time to be cruel to be kind in order to take your relationship to the next level. If you don’t see your relationship heading in the right direction, and things are flatlining, try and find his pulse again by telling him you may move out.

That might be too dramatic an approach for some. If this is the case, use a different approach and make a decision like changing careers or going out with your friends more and don’t ask for your partner’s advice beforehand. Although he knows that you’re always there for him, this will make him feel that he isn’t being as included as he should be, and he’ll start to wonder why. Keeping him on his toes in this way will make him realise that he needs to put the effort in (by proposing!) so that he can get your undivided effort and attention in the future.

 

*This is a collaborative post.

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Starting up a Small Food Business

Starting up a Small Food Business

If you’re running a small food business for the first time, whether it’s a kiosk, café, or restaurant, it’s important that you know how to handle, store, and serve the food that you sell without contamination.

Following EU law and legislation regarding food standards is a good place to start, so you can help to keep your customers safe and free from any allergens that are within the foods you regularly serve. Erudus, a company that stores and shares food labelling information within a data pool for customers’ benefit, based on the 14 major food allergens has helped to put together this start-up guide for those aiming to run their own small food business:

Before you begin

When running your business from home, or within allocated premises, you should inform the environmental health service 28 days before you are ready to start serving the public. Don’t worry, registration is free. Just remember that if you have more than one premises then you’ll need to register them all, even after you have registered one under the same name.

Presenting your foods to customers

Food that is sold by your business should never mislead consumers; the labelling, advertising, and presentation should also not mislead the customer, which is stipulated by Article 16 of The General Food Law Regulation (EC) 178/2002. Labelling should clearly stipulate the product for sale, as well as address any allergen information contained within the food on the packaging.

Tracing your food

Article 18 of The General Food Law Regulation (EC) 178/2002 stipulates that all food businesses need to keep records of the foods, food substances, and food producing animals that have contributed towards the foods that you eventually sell. A food business should also state when and where they have supplied other businesses with produce, if they have done so. This information should be stored until the necessary authorities require it, should they ever need it.

Assessing your suppliers

The suppliers that you use will have an impact upon the quality and safety of the foods that you sell. By checking produce carefully, you should aim to ensure that all the produce that you receive from a supplier has been stored, processed and handled safely before it is in your care. Some other things that you should consider when food is delivered to your business are as follows:

  1. Are chilled and frozen foods cold enough?
  2. Is the packaging damaged?
  3. Is it what you ordered?

Based on the foods that you sell, if you are suspicious of any of the foods that have been supplied to you, you have the right to reject them. When doing so, you should contact your supplier immediately.

Foods that are contaminated

When cooked foods come into contact with other foods such as raw eggs, meat and poultry, this can cause cross-contamination. This is likely to occur when foods drip onto a clean surface, utensil or food product during the preparation process. As well as this, hands can also spread cross-contamination and bacteria so it’s important that hands are thoroughly cleaned after handling raw food produce. You should also remain aware of the 14 allergens list; you may have customers that have allergens – so you should make sure that you know what foods come into contact with each other when preparing foods to avoid allergen cross-contamination.

Foods should always be labelled correctly, which will ensure that they are stored appropriately. When preparing food, stick to the following rules:

  • Keep raw meat/poultry and ready-to-eat foods separate at all times, including packaging material for ready-to-eat-food.
  • Wash your hands after handling meat/poultry, fish, eggs and unwashed fruit and vegetables.
  • Clean and wash work surfaces and equipment before and when handling these foods.
  • Prepare and store allergens in different areas of a kitchen and when serving them to the public.
  • Keep raw produce below ready-to-eat food in the fridge, or in a different fridge if this is possible.
  • Attempt to educate any new members of staff to the business on cross-contamination, allergen contamination and food hygiene.

 

*This is a collaborative post.

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Scheduling my Day as a Work at Home Mum

Scheduling my Day as a Work at Home Mum

The idea of working from home is appealing to many.  Choosing your own hours, working around the kids and being an all round domestic goddess is a common goal. I wish it were that simple!

Working from home can be amazing. It does mean that I can choose my own hours, but having two young children in the house generally means those hours are closer to bed time than I’d like.  As for working around the kids, I try but more often than not it doesn’t work out.

Creating a schedule has been essential in my quest to perfect a decent work/life balance, that suits both the children and I.  It’s hard to stick to it religiously, we all know kids and they often like to throw a curve ball our way.  Having a plan to refer back to though, means that I hit the ground running when it’s time to work.

One thing that really helps me is that our girls nap at the same time.  It took a lot of graft to achieve, but now they sleep for around two hours after lunch. This gives me a block of time to fit in as much work in as I can.  I’m not sure how much longer the biggest will nap for, but it’s great whilst it lasts. I usually spend this time writing posts, reviews and freelance articles. Having a solid amount of time means that I can write undisturbed, making it my most productive time of the day.

The rest of my work is usually crammed into a couple of hours after the girls have settled for the night. If there’s chance for five or ten minutes in the day whilst the kids are occupied, I’ll always take the opportunity to get a little blogmin done. These are usually jobs that don’t take up much brain space, but are essential to keep things running smoothly.

 

A Day in the Life

7am – 12pm: The littles are awake, so this time is spent being an all round servant to them and the house.  If I get chance I’ll comment on blogs, do a bit of scheduling on my phone, engage on Instagram.  Everything that needs to be done, but that can be achieved with one eye still on the girls.

12pm – 2pm: Nap time. Write, write, write!

2pm – 7pm: Again, this time is spent with our girls. Heading out, crafting, swimming and the like.  If Hubs is home often I’ll get chance to fit an hour of work in, but on a normal day I do what I can, when I can workwise.

7pm – 10pm: Writing, editing, scheduling,

In between all of this find time to hit the gym, just to keep me sane!

 

 

Working from home with no childcare has its challenges, but it can also be incredibly rewarding once the right balance is achieved.  I wouldn’t have it any other way!

 

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Make Money from Home by Putting your Writing Skills into Practice

Make Money from Home by Putting your Writing Skills into Practice

For many people working from home is a dream that they never think will come true. Finding legitimate work that you can undertake from inside own four walls isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible either. One of the best ways to work from home is to take up freelance writing. If you love writing, have top notch grammatical skills and have the drive to work on a self-employed basis, freelancing may just be the career for you.

As a work from home mum, I’ve become well versed in making money from home. It means that I don’t have to stick to the 9-5, that I’m here for my littles and that work is now my passion, not just a means to get by.

So, where can you find work?

There are some great sources of freelance writing work online, you just have to know where to find them. Each of these sites offer the opportunity to to write, learn and progress!

upwork.com

Upwork is almost like a market place for jobs. Once you’ve signed up and completed your profile, you can start applying for work that is at your skill level. Once you get to grips with the system finding work is quick and easy. Upwork isn’t restricted to freelance writing jobs either, have a search of the market place and see what other skills you may have that will line your pockets!

freelancer.com

Freelancer is very similar to Upwork. It’s an online market place for freelance work of different types, from writing to offering your skills as a virtual assistant. Again, all you have to do is set up a profile and start applying for work at your skill level.

uk.copify.com

Copify is an online platform that has work readily available on a daily basis. To become part of the Copify team you have to pass a writing assessment. This means that once your in there’s no applying for, or bidding on projects. You can accept as much, or as little work as you want to and the payment process is super simple!

greatcontent.co.uk

Great Content work very similarly to Copify. There’s an assessment you have to pass to become a Great Content writer, but once  your in there’s work readily available on a first come, first served basis. Payment is quick and easy, meaning there’s no chasing anyone for your money!

 

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All of these sources offer great ways to show off your skill set and become the creative, entrepreneur you’ve always wanted to be. Life as a freelancer offers freedom, job satisfaction and a world of opportunity. There’s no reason why you can’t get in on that action too!  

 

 

 

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#MumisBest Guest Post – Ali from Instant Mum of Two

#MumisBest Guest Post – Ali from Instant Mum of Two

Welcome to another instalment of my new guest series #MumisBest!  #MumisBest is all about the ever-growing SAHM/working mum debate.  I really want this series to highlight that there’s no right or wrong way, but whatever works for you and you family.  If you’d like to take part do get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!  For now I will leave you in the hands of Ali from Instant Mum of Two!

On June 2nd 2016 I left work feeling sad and happy in equal measures. Work has and will always be my first baby.

I have worked in the Early Years sector for 15 years. I’ve been a nursery nurse, a deputy manager and in my current role as a manager for 6 years. 

I love my job. I love early years. I work with great people. 

But I was leaving to be something else I’ve always longed to be. A Mum. 

As we met the children and they moved in and we began our lives as a family, I thought about work a lot less than I thought I would. 

And as we grew together as a family I was so happy that everything was going so well, but alongside that happiness was a feeling of loneliness.

But why was I feeling lonely, I had plenty of support from family and friends and lots of people to chat through things with about the children. 

So maybe that was it. Children are amazing but let’s face it they are all consuming, your time and your thought process pretty much revolves around them. 

So even though I was talking to people I was always talking about the kids because they were pretty much part of every moment I was awake! 

So I missed me, and that was pretty much work me! Because I then realised that work was pretty much my social life (geez that sounds sad!!) but having relocated for work many of my local friends are through work and I believe that as a manager you have to be a part of the team and value each and every member of that team.

So a large part of my day was spent interacting with the team and chatting through ideas and challenges.

I missed that type of conversation. Conversation that wasn’t always loosely based on either; poo, snacks or Paw Patrol. 

I’m pretty good at once I realise something getting over it and adjusting and I also realised that I would never get this time back

with the children. So frankly I got over myself and focussed on the children. 

We’ve had an amazing 10 months. We have made unbreakable bonds, we have laughed, cried tears of joy and sadness. We’ve been on adventures. We’ve visited family and friends and they have stayed with us.

We have made so many memories that I will treasure for ever.

And I have this gut sadness, every time we do something during the day, or when I drop my son off at school that I’m going to be missing these things, these everyday beautiful things that yes can be bloody stressful but they are also the nuts and bolts of family life and I’m going to miss a lot of them.

Blinking heck I’m a contradiction! But isn’t parenting?

So do I want to go back to work? It’s not a simple answer. I have to go back to work for financial reasons but yes I do also want to go back. 

When I asked my friends how they felt about returning to work they all pretty much said the same. That the first few days are tough but you do get used to it and that you have to think about why you are working, to give the children the life you want them to have.

I’m lucky I get great holiday so I will be able to still spend a lot of time with them.

I feel guilty though, so guilty. Is that purely a Mum thing or is it the constant pressure to be this perfect Mum? 

I’m not perfect far far from it. I shout on occasions, I drink a bit too much vodka and I sometimes eat my feelings (fizzy Coca Cola bottles and cadburys fruit and nut are my thing). But I am a good Mum. I love them more than I ever thought was possible but I also want some time to be me. 

And that’s ok, it’s ok to be you, you know the you you were before you became Mum. It’s ok to look forward to peeing on your own without any interruption, or having a meal in one sitting, or having conversations other than ones about the children. 

I’m going to miss them though, as I write that I can actually feel a pain in my chest. But we will all adjust and hopefully it will make the time we do spend together even more special. 

Bio.

Mum to Big Pig and Piglet. I’ve not always been their Mum but we tell each other that we grew in each other’s hearts. They are my chaos and my calm. I blog about parenting first and foremost. The highs and lows and the in betweens. I’m so happy that we are a “normal” family whatever that is. But as we travel along on our adoption journey I’m consistently finding out that we share the same joy and struggles as other families, however they came to be. 

You can see more from Ali here!

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How I Made Blogging my Full Time Job

How I Made Blogging my Full Time Job

When I started this blog back in 2016 I had no idea where it would take me.  Now over a year on, it’s evolved into my dream job.  Having thought that I wanted to be a SAHM and having had a rude awakening when this materialised, I knew I needed to work in one way or another.

Returning to my old job proved fruitless. I had lost all love for it, which made me realise that my passion is for blogging and it hit me just how much I wanted to make it work.  Now I don’t profess to be the font of all knowledge when it comes to blogging, that’s impossible.  The world of blogging is so vast, that even the seasoned bloggers among us are still learning as they go along.  That’s OK though, I believe that evolution is key to making your mark on this ever changing online world.

I wish I could give you an instant formula for success, I mean if I had one I’d use it!  There are a few things I’ve learnt along the way though, that have helped me progress enough to call blogging by job.  These days I’m able to work from home, whilst taking care of our littles and for our family it’s a perfect set up.

So how did I do it?

Firstly I spent some time getting to know the community, I took part (and still do) in as many link parties as possible.  The blogging community is so kind and welcoming, it works on a ‘you scratch my back’ basis and you definitely get what you give.  Developing good relationships with other bloggers is also a great way to learn.  Everyone has to find their own way, but there’s nothing wrong with using help and advice posts from fellow bloggers to guide you!

Secondly, after I caught the blogging bug, I prepared myself to work for free for the foreseeable.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, you can’t expect brands to start emailing just because you’ve purchased a domain name.  Putting in the hours, days, weeks and even years will pay off.  I firmly believe that if you have a passion for writing and do so because you want to, good things will come your way.  Trying to make money from the outset seems unrealistic, if you love what you do it’s half the battle.

Thirdly, after some time I began to develop good relationships with brands.  I’m always polite and go out of my way to offer them the best service I can.  I keep all of the brands I work with in the loop, making sure they don’t have to chase me for updates, live URLs and anything else they may need from me.  You never know where opportunities may lead, therefore being professional and efficient is a must.

Lastly, I made Social Oomph my best friend. Blogging often means having numerous social media platforms running simultaneously with each other.  As much a social media is essential, scheduling posts can be incredibly time consuming.  Social Oomph does a lot of the work for me, meaning that the time once spent scheduling content is now spent writing more of the stuff!

 

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Five Simple ways to Live Green as a Family

Five Simple ways to Live Green as a Family

Green living has become an increasingly popular way to live. Looking after our environment offers huge benefits to ourselves and to the planet. As parents however, we often find that family life is a juggle at the best of times. Adding to our workload by implementing green living rituals can seem daunting. This doesn’t have to be the case though! There are many small changes that you and your family can make, that will impact positively on our environment.

Living a little greener can be fun to do as a family too. Getting the kids into a few environmentally friendly habits early on will set them in good stead for their future. From the transport you use to your home life endeavours, your family can enjoy being eco-friendly together.

How can you live a green life?

  1. Recycle – recycling in the home doesn’t have to add to your workload. It can be made really simple by spending a little time setting up a few boxes in your kitchen, for items such as cardboard and tins. Once you’ve done this all you have to do is empty the contents of the boxes into the correct outdoor bins. This means you don’t have to spend time sorting your recyclables from your rubbish at the end of the day. Simple!
  2. Shopping – I know charity shops aren’t for everyone, but it’s amazing what hidden gems you’ll find if you take the time to look. The beauty of these shops is that everything is second hand, so nothing goes to waste. They offer an excellent way to take care of our planet and they reduce the amount of waste we throw away dramatically.
  3. Transport – there are more cars on the road now than ever before and the fumes they give out have a huge effect on the environment. There are ways we can combat this and using public transport is right at the top of the list. The more we use public transport, the less cars there are on the road to pollute the air we breathe. Using public transport can be great fun for kids too. Taking them on the train can be an adventure and a practical trip all rolled into one! You can also make use of transport services such as Shiply, who pride themselves in offering environmentally friendly services as, well as making your life that little bit easier!
  4. Energy – wasting energy is an easy thing to do, we leave a light on here or have the shower running too long there. Changing our habits to save this wasted energy is just as easy. If we stay conscious of the little things not only will we be nurturing our environment, we might just save ourselves a bit of cash too! Using renewable energy sources, such as solar panels on your home, can also be a great way to help the environment.
  5. Reusable nappies and cutting down on wipes – often when people think of reusable nappies they think of the extra work they cause the new mother. In this day and age this isn’t the case, reusable nappies can be thrown into the washer and dried with very little effort. Their use reduces the huge amount of disposable nappies that are left to rot in landfill sites on a daily basis. Reducing the amount of baby wipes can help in this department too. I know it would be difficult to stop using them all together, but cutting down on the quantity you use can be a great and easy way to live green!

 

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*This is a collaborative post.

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Profession: Blogger – One Woman and her Laptop

Profession: Blogger – One Woman and her Laptop

When I started this blog I had absolutely no idea where it would take me.  I had just had my first child and was already around five months pregnant with my second.  After giving up my business it was an outlet, a focus outside of being a mother.  Now one year on blogging is my thing, it’s my job and most of all it’s my passion!

Earlier on this year I decided to go back to work, feeling that I had completely lost my identity and I thought that by turning back the clock it would miraculously reappear.  Well it didn’t.  There was a reason I left the job behind in the first place, but sometimes we have to go back for a while to move forward.  I didn’t feel fulfilled when I worked my old job, I felt like I was lying to myself and that maybe it wasn’t what I should be doing after all.

 

 

Whilst all of this was going on my blog slowly began to grow.  I put full-time hours and more into it and all of a sudden the hard work began to pay off.  I started to realise that I didn’t need to go back to what I used to do to find out who I am.  This is who I am.  Little by little the work began to trickle in and before I knew it things got serious.   We’ve been able to do things that before we would have had think more carefully about.  Once again I am earning a wage, this something I didn’t think would happen until my two girls started school and that feels amazing!

What I love most about blogging is that it means I can work until my heart is content, but also that I am here for my girls full-time.  I’m not saying it’s always easy, sometimes they do have to wait around for a little while whilst I work.  Overall though they benefit.  This works for us and my mental heath is better than it has been for years, because now I know that my life is heading in the right direction.  I’ve finally found my path.  Over the past few months I have also managed to pick up some freelance writing work too.  This is an absolute dream come true and something that I’ve been working towards for a long time.

When all is said and done though, I wouldn’t be able to do this job if it wasn’t for you, my lovely readers.  I want to thank each and every one of you, for every visit, like and share.  I’ll continue to work my bum off and strive to take this thing further.  Hopefully you’ll continue to follow us on this crazy blogging journey!

 

 

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Camping with Kids: A How to Guide

Camping with Kids: A How to Guide

Since having children our holidays have changed dramatically. Long gone are the luxury hotels, city breaks and spa’s.  Welcomed are the outdoors, camping and four pairs of wellies! Now don’t get me wrong, I love camping. It’s the perfect holiday for our girls to get to know the outdoors and to explore. So this week I’ve partnered with Halfords, to bring you The Tale of Mummyhood guide to camping with littles!

Now I must admit, as a family we ‘re generally fair weather campers.  You won’t catch us  crashing in a tent mid-Winter. Having said that, there’s just something about being so close to nature, leaving the hustle and bustle of every day life behind and enjoying quality time as a family.  Our most recent trip saw us in the north of England.  It was the first time our girls had been on the beach, paddled in the sea and ate fish and chips from the paper!

 


Whilst camping with the littles can be great fun, it can also be a real challenge. Staying in the great outdoors means that a lot of luxuries are left behind, being prepared is key to making your trip a success. With our holiday fresh in my mind I thought I’d share with you a few little life hacks, to make camping with children as easy as possible!

Find a site with the facilities you need –

We all know that camping is about getting back to basics, but sometimes we need a few little niceties to make our lives easier.  Not all sites have showers and toilets for example, so it’s always good to do your research before you book.

Write a list in advance –

My husband is a huge lover lists, he even has an app to keep them in order!  I must admit though, a list can be a game changer when holidaying with kids.  There’s so much you have to remember, from clothes to sterilisers and sleeping bags to toys. The last thing you need is to arrive at your destination, only to have to head back out for things you may have forgotten.  Save yourself, write a list and tick things off as you pack!

Have a tent test run –

Picture this: it’s late, you’ve been on the road for hours, the kids are hungry and tired and you still have to wrestle to get your accommodation up before night falls.  Sound like a nightmare?  In that case, a tent test run could be your saviour. Having a system in place means that you’ll be settled and enjoying your holiday in no time, rather than asking your fellow campers for an extra pair of hands!

Pack for every eventuality  –

Even if it’s given sunshine all week, pack for all weathers.  British weather is notorious for changing and there’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable whilst you’re trying to enjoy yourself.

Take in-car chargers for your devices –

Now I know we shouldn’t need devices in the great outdoors, but the fact is sometimes we just need to be connected.  Whether it be your mobile or the kids tablets, running out of juice is no fun!

Make sure you take enough entertainment for the kids –

Whether they like to ride their bike, play football, or play with their favourite toys. Make sure you have enough choice to keep them entertained. It’s nice for adults to have a little down time on holiday and making sure the kids are occupied may just give you five minutes peace.

Take a parasol –

Often tents are pitched in open space and if you are lucky enough to see the sunshine it can become too much for children.  Taking a parasol means that they can still enjoy playing outside, whilst staying safe from the sun’s rays.

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Here’s hoping that these tips and tricks make your holiday even better, organisation definitely makes for happy campers!

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How to Build an Engaged Instagram Following

How to Build an Engaged Instagram Following

Building a following on social media isn’t easy, building and engaged following is even more difficult. It can take hours and hours of work to build a following. If that’s your aim though and you aren’t afraid of putting the hours in, here are a few tips that I put into practice to get my Instagram account off of the ground.

Now I’m not professing to be any kind of expert but in the year I started my blog, I went from zero followers to a respectable 10.2k. In the grand scheme of things this may be relatively small fry, but Rome wasn’t built in a day right? I love Instagram, it’s my little happy place and hopefully my feed reflects that. Here’s how I make it work for me:

Post good quality images –

I think this goes without saying.  No one wants to look at a blurry image, with poor lighting. I’m not saying you should head out and take a photography course, but common sense prevails. Take images with a decent camera, be it your phone or otherwise, get the lighting right and don’t be afraid to use filters! I am personally all for the ‘real life’ images, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still crop and filter. Posting a few good quality images a day, is better than clogging your feed with mediocre snaps. Spend some time on the ones that you love most and send those out with pride.

Good quality images will stand out to other users for the right reasons!

Research and use relevant #’s –

Whatever your niche, there are hashtags to compliment it. Do a little research and find out what hashtags you should be using, a simple Google search will point you in the right direction.  It’s taken me a little while to get my tags right and I still swap and change a few from time to time, but to make sure your images are hitting the right audience this is a must!

Engage within the relevant #’s –

Once you’ve found the hashtags that are relevant to you, it’s time to start engaging. Follow similar accounts, like their images and don’t be afraid to comment. Show the community that you’re a good team player. Spend some quality time building relationships with other users. Like I said it takes hours of work, but hard work pays off.

Be yourself –

There are so many different themes out there in the Instagram world, it wouldn’t do for us all to be the same. The key to success is being yourself, don’t try to copy themes or drool too much over how another user rocks their feed. Stay true to yourself and have confidence in what you post.

 

Most of all, just stick at it! Don’t be put off by the rise and fall of numbers, it happens. Follow these tips, keep putting the work in and the results will begin to show in no time!

 

 

 

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