ON MY RADAR

Sunday, 18 June 2017

COMMENT GROUPS! Do they REALLY beat the Instagram Algorithm

Ahhh Instagram. I will never forget turning 18 and my friends introducing me to this new app and I really wasn't that impressed. I'm never a fan of change in general, and I was probably still missing the old times of Bebo and MSN (who remembers sharing the love, or having your best mates mentioned in your msn name?!) Gaahh sad times!  I genuinely didn't think Instagram would be MASSIVE, nor did I ever think I would be earning money through the platform and running my own mini business. But as most of us know, Instagram has changed everyones news feeds so photos are not in chronological order but in their own algorithm. Even I get confused talking about it, but the best way to describe it is like this:

Say you follow a celebrity and you also follow a work colleague. The celebrity posts something in the morning and the work colleague posts something 5 minutes ago. Instead of seeing the most recent uploads, you are more likely to see the Instagrammers that have a higher engagement or the ones you engage with the most. Hence why you may see a celebrity's post from the night before, but you never saw that cocktail drink which an old friend posted that evening! 

Most people still complain about this because although they like and comment on their favourite Instgrammers, they NEVER see them appear in their news feeds and they have to always search them to see if they have posted any new content. 

So what exactly is a comment group? 

A comment group, is just a group chat (in this case with bloggers and influencers) where someone is normally in charge (admin) who has the control to add or remove people, and all of us throughout the day will post our Instagram images into the group and we all have to comment on each others. Ideally you HAVE to comment on everyone else's photograph first and be up to date before you post your own image. Some groups would maybe vary on how many times you could post in a day (normally it was only once or twice a day), and if you didn't use the chat for many days you were at a high chance of getting kicked out. (By the way I'm going by my own experience and some rules may vary but the gist is, you help each other gain comments!) 

I remember being added to some last August just on the Instagram group chat. You can only have fifteen people in a group, but at the time I was all for it! So many people on Twitter were moaning about their likes and comments decreasing, and there has been constant debates whether it's better to switch to a business account or to keep it personal one.  At the time on Instagram I was in a couple of all girl groups (so thats 30 people). 
So for a couple of months I was happy to be using the Instagram chats for gaining comments. It was a little shock to the system, especially when you hadn't been on the chat all day and there were several notifications to get through, but I found the process highly addictive and it meant chatting to other bloggers. It was a case of 'I scratch your back, and you scratch mine'. We were all in the same boat and I weirdly got a buzz getting some extra comments per photograph. 
But over time, Instagram group chats were not enough, and many people were moving over to an app called 'Telegram', an app very similar to WhatsApp, but you could have AS MANY PEOPLE AS YOU WANT in a group. Again, me not liking change, I was one of the last to move over to Telegram and to give that a go. 

Now this is when things get fucking ridiculous. 

The most I was ever in on Telegram was four comment groups, all ranging from 50-100 bloggers/influncers. One of them I was in was strictly for over 100k followers because apparently 'your photographs reach out more to people when you have engagement from Instagrammers with higher followings' (this is apparently by the way, I've still not a clue, but I went with it). 
By being in these comment groups, you can't just upload a photograph to Instagram like a normal person. Instead your are getting through all the notifications beforehand (if you miss a day, you could wake up to at least 300+ notifications), commenting on everyone else's photograph which has been added into the chat (which I'm telling you now, can take OVER AN HOUR). Then finally, you can upload yours, and you feel a sigh of relief and you feel a little high out of seeing ten or twenty comments appear within ten minutes! Kerching!

The problem is, over time it gets really really exhausting and it was always really infuriating when you would comment nice and genuine words (apparently Instagram will only consider a comment genuine if it's at least three to four words, otherwise it's classed as spammy) and then others would comment 'Great shot babe'. Or 'Love this shot'. Normally there would be strict rules to not to post comments like this but people would still do it, as well as cheekily post their image into the chat saying they have 'caught up' with all the previous posts when they really haven't (they didn't get away with this for long!).

Over time, I think the quantity of the comments became less less and genuine and more and more spammy. I almost felt trapped because I knew that if I just posted an Instagram image without adding it to the group chat, the engagement would be rubbish on it, but I knew that if I caught up on the chat and posted my image, I probably still wouldn't be happy with the 50+ comments which I knew in my heart, weren't from my followers that genuinely WANTED to comment. 

So now it leads me onto this. Are the comment groups worth it? Do they actually increase your impressions and reach? 

About two weeks ago I decided to remove myself from all the comment groups and delete Telegram altogether. Annoyingly I can confirm that the comment groups DO HELP with engagement, but not massively. The photographs with the help of the comment groups had about 5k-10k more reach on average compared to my photographs now which are now getting NO HELP! This is the same for my impressions too. 

When I removed myself from the groups I did feel a little lost to begin with, but I know in my gut it is best and I would rather be genuine and engaging with any comments that I know are NOT from a comment group! I would rather ten genuine comments which I can personally reply back to, than fifty which I know are from other people helping each other and they don't always look natural.

Don't get me wrong if you are in a comment group I'm not saying they are all bad! I've interacted with some amazing bloggers and some of them are so lovely and have really helped with my engagement and some have posted really nice comments over the months. I've even been approached by brands that have seen my comments through other bloggers in the group!  If Instagram make things tougher then maybe one day I may join another again. But it will never be a massive one again! Life is too short and I would hate to know how many hours I have spent trying to get a few extra impressions.

 Instead I would rather focus my time on getting the ball rolling with Youtube where I can express myself to the full on there! 

So are you in a comment group? Has your experience been good or bad? Let me know

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Outfit details!! 

Top - Missguided
Shorts - Missguided 
Sandals - Missguided
Sunnies - Quay Australia on ASOS
Belt - ASOS
Bag (also comes in black!) - New Look

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Sunday, 11 June 2017

PINK DENIM

Apologies its been a couple of weeks since I last blogged! If you follow me on Instagram and Twitter, or if you have visited my Insta Shop lately you will know that I have started YOUTUBE! It's been a while I know, and I did attempt a video like a couple of years back, but I just never carried it on! I don't think the timing was right, but so far, I have videos a 25 Facts about me, a Vlog of when I went to have Beauty and the Beast afternoon tea and I have also got another vlog hopefully going live tomorrow! I am still getting to grips with editing and I'm trying not to compare myself to all the experienced youtubers. Everyone has got to start somewhere and I just hope people will understand that my videos are obviously amateur. Everyone has to start somewhere! 

So I actually wore this outfit in my future vlog. I am never normally a fan of pink, but for some reason I fell in love with this pink distressed denim jacket from Misguided. I think I was swayed by this colour because it isn't your typical baby pink colour, and I have been obsessed with denim jackets at the moment. This is a longline fit and it's rather oversized but the size 8 fits me just right (stick to your size if you like your jackets really baggy!). 

At the same time, I also ordered this Missguided black PU leather skirt. I never get much thrill out of buying skirts but I really fancied buying a black leather skirt but it was just finding one that wasn't too plain but I wanted something that had a bit of edge, but easy to style. Again, Misguided ticked the box and I love the zip front and the subtle buckle detail on the sides. I read reviews which said to go down a size and the size 8 fits me perfect! I sometimes find skirts from Missguided are either too snug or too loose and don't sit on the waist properly. I honestly couldn't fault this one!

Now the bodysuit I'm still unsure of. I love bodysuits, especially for evening looks and they do look rather cute with some denim shorts, and I was drawn to this one because it's easy to wear but the lace up front makes it rather interesting. You definitely cannot wear a bra with this (obviously), but I don't think you can wear nipple covers either! The ribbed material makes this rather see through so you can literally see everything underneath it! I tried bodytape (very visible) and I also tried blister plasters (probably the best alternative but it didn't hide a nipple on!) I was having to take the jacket off with my back facing any tourists (these photographs were taken in one of the busiest places in Oxford LOL). If you obviously wear a jacket over this bodysuit then you won't have this problem but the last thing you want is to feel conscious or paranoid when wearing something. If they stock this bodysuit in any other darker colour then that might be a better alternative. 

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Sunglasses - Quay Australia from ASOS
Bodysuit - Missguided 
Jacket - Missguided 
Skirt - Missguided 
Trainers (this years version) - Adidas Gazelles 
Bag (this would work!) - Ali Express old


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Monday, 29 May 2017

GOTTA LOVE GINGHAM


Evening all! Hope everyone has had a lovely bank holiday weekend! Last week it was fortunately really sunny on my day off so I was able to shoot this pretty 'Gotta love Gingham' look. Every outfit has a behind a scenes story to tell. With this one I was nearly at breaking point and was refusing to shoot this outfit. 
Did I forgot to add that it was 28 degrees that day? Don't get me wrong I LOVE it when the sun is out and I will literally absorb all that vitamin D, but when there is heat as well then I literally go into a meltdown. Putting my make up on takes twice as long because I'm getting so hot and clammy that my foundation is not setting or my contour isn't blending in smoothly so I'm having to always sit downstairs and literally cool down. What was bad in this scenario was the New Look bardot top. Now this is the first gingham item to enter my wardrobe this season. I love that it has tie sleeves. I love the wired cup fit. But this top is unfortunately one of the most impractical things I have purchased! 
Because the fit of this top for me isn't 100% I was having to use body tape to try and hold the bust area in place, but due to the heat, the tape was sure as hell not sticking and once you got this top on, you are so restricted! You can't reach out. You can't lift your arms up. It's the style of this top and putting this on was the last thing I did before leaving the house. In photos however even I was impressed with how damn cute it looks and it really does look flattering on. If you are going to buy this top, wear it for something like an evening meal or a bbq. Not a day in town when you are shooting this outfit, plus walking around and also shopping. No girl wants to feel restricted when shopping, so wear something comfier instead. Take this top out for a spin in a more chilled setting!
Something I really like in this outfit which wasn't restricting or a pain in the arse was my new Quay Australia Sunglasses! I got these whilst in London before my Beauty and the Beast afternoon tea (vlog coming soon!) but I love the black gradient effect and they really do stand out in photographs! These are going to break the bank sadly as they are £50 (I have over ten of these Quay Sunnies as well dammit!) but I have a feeling they will be my most worn pair over the summer. You won't regret this purchase I promise! 
The New Look sliders are also something rather new for my summer wardrobe. I was just after some plain black ones but I am a sucker for studs at the moment so these were a winner (plus they don't break the bank, YUS!) The only thing I'm undecided with is the sizing. I'm wearing my normal size 7 but I have a feeling these are slightly too big and the 6 could have fitted better. I know a lot of customers have issues with New Look shoe sizing so maybe its best to try these one first before ordering. 

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Sunglasses - Quay Australia 
Bardot Top - New Look (also similar here)
Sliders - New Look 
Skirt - Boohoo
Belt - ASOS 
Bag - Ali Express (this bag could work!
Watch (*) - Daniel Wellington

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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

LILAC LOVING


Evening all! Firstly I want to apologise that this post is going up a day late. I was meant to finish this yesterday but I went to the gym after my retail shift and it literally knocked me out! I was in there for an hour and a half because I've just changed gyms recently and I'm just getting used to the environment there, and what time slots are busy etc. Lets just say after trying out their stair climber I felt RUINED! That buzz you can get after a gym session can feel very rewarding but I was worn out and I struggled to keep my eyes open throughout the evening. 

So this is my last post with my purpley grey hair wahh! You have probably noticed, but I have been fading out the purple hair for some weeks now because I have been wanting to change it for summer but before I could add any new dye I needed to get out as much purple as possible. I had my hair appointment today to change it and so far I am loving my new hair colour but I am just getting used to the colours being warmer when I am so used to my ashy grey tones!

Since working in New Look I have been getting more and more sucked in to their clothing, and their staff discount can make their clothing feel cheap as chips so I treated myself to this gorgeous lilac faux suede jacket. I had to blog this jacket before I changed my hair colour!! It's a lovely soft material and considering it's an unusual colour its very easy to style! It will literally go with any white, black or grey tops and will also look great with light denim. I also own the stone coloured one which I blogged here, but they do other colours if lilac or stone isn't your cuppa! Although it's more the expensive side of New Look pricing I would highly recommend this and you are bound to get loads of compliments! I stuck to my size and I'm wearing the size 10!

So I wanted to keep the outfit rather girly so I have styled it with my trusty Missguided denim skirt which I got last year. Luckily they have brought it back for this year although I'm wearing the tall version which I think is PERFECT for anyone thats 5ft 8 and up. You never feel concious bending down in this! 

We obviously have to discuss these studded sandals now which are also from Missguided. I love the crossover front and these are so easy to walk in! They keep selling out but I would also suggest to check ASOS and Zalando to see if they appear on these websites too!

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Jacket - New Look 
Top - New Look 
Bag (*)- Boohoo 
Sandals - Missguided 
Skirt - Missguided
Belt - ASOS
Sunglasses - Quay 

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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

MY EXPERIENCE WITH HYPNOTHERAPY

Slightly different blog post to my several fashion ones, but this one is about hypnotherapy! Now if you remember back to last summer I wrote a blog post about how 'Working from home has ruined me mentally'. I remember coming back from my holiday in September knowing that I needed to find some kind of part time work to force me to get out of the house, but me feeling depressed and anxious as ever, I knew I needed to get into a better mind set first to get myself out there. I've been on and off antidepressants since I was 16 and looking back at them now I really wished I never took them in the first place. Every antidepressant I have been on has either made me feel worse or left me with side effects which have always resorted to me eventually coming off them. In this instance I knew that trying out a new antidepressant would take some time to potentially feel any benefit and I wanted to find a job pretty quick so I did some research and booked myself in for a hypnotherapy appointment.

Now whenever I tell anyone that I've had hypnotherapy I get asked things like 'Do they knock you out?'. 'Do you remember anything that gets said to you?'. 

DID YOU START SNORING!?

Defintion of Hypnotherapy/Hypnosis according to google: 

''the induction of a state of consciousness in which a person apparently loses the power of voluntary action and is highly responsive to suggestion or direction. Its use in therapy, typically to recover suppressed memories or to allow modification of behaviour, has been revived but is still controversial.''

When I spoke to my hypnotherapist, she told me that everyone reacts to hypnotherapy differently. Although I didn't fall asleep through the process, some people do knock out and some people can't remember a single thing. For some people hypnotherapy works wonders and for some people they may feel little or no effect afterwards. I can only go by own experience so heres what happened:

The first appointment was ninety minutes long, the first hour my hypnotherapist (Denise) wrote down everything I wanted to get out of session but in doing so she needed to know some information about my background, school life, family life, work life etc to get a full understanding of my scenario and what my personality is like. In this instance I basically wanted to boost my confidence and self esteem, and I also wanted to go over my spending addiction which I've had problems with ever since my parents split. 
For the last half an hour I actually experienced the hypnosis. She put some calming music on and got me to really relax. Now I have always joked in the past and said if I was ever going to get hypnotised I would probably fall asleep, but I didn't! I was so relaxed to the point where I felt like I couldn't move and my arms felt so heavy. I even had an itch on my nose and I couldn't scratch it because I almost felt paralysed (but not in a scary way)! I felt like I was sinking into the chair and I could feel my eyes shake under my eyelids. In this mini session it was very generalised and she wanted me to practice relaxation. Denise just spoke out loud about how much of strong being I am and to visualise myself in five years time as a strong and confidant person. I have always struggled with confidence so this still benefitted me even though it wasn't anything specific. 
The half an hour flew by and I did feel really refreshed! To be honest whenever I try anything new I feel optimistic and hopeful that something might work from it. Denise did say that it can take a few days to actually feel some effect but also said I might be able to complete tasks easier than I normally do or deal with difficult situations better. A couple of weeks later I had another session going over my spending and a week later I had another session going over everything again (because I felt like the side effects were slow).

 All of this happened in November and December so how have I actually felt? I would honestly recommend hypnotherapy to anyone! I'm not sure if it's placebo or having some real benefit but these past few months I have been able to settle into a new part time job whilst being able to juggle blogging, and I have been able to manage tasks better than I normally would. As for spending I think I will always struggle in that department but I am saving more than I ever have done and I think more sensibly into buying things compared to spontaneous purchases before the hypnotherapy. 

But I am going to be honest with you guys, I have got another session with Denise tomorrow. 
Now I can hear you all going 'But I thought it worked!? Why need another session when you are saying you have feel so much better?'

In this last month I have felt myself slipping back into old habits. Hypnotherapy is all about re wiring the brain subconsciously and I think over time maybe it's easy to slip back into a negative ways, or maybe the environment which one can be in can be too much to manage. For me, certain work has made me very miserable and the negativity and intensity I'm dealing with is effecting my days off or when I need to focus on blogging. I know I love the balance of retail and blogging, but right now the negativity is over riding the positive so I'm hoping another session will help me manage things better. 

I think the only downside of hypnotherapy is the cost. Mine has always been £50 for an hour and the worst side effect I have had from it was a funny tummy a couple of hours after my first session (thats meant to be really common, due to your body and muscles being really relaxed). I like the idea that no chemicals have gone into my body or 'blocked' any negative or positive feelings (anyone ever experienced that 'numbing' feeling on an antidepressant?). The way I look at it is if antidepressants cost roughly £8 a packet and you might be on them for a few months or more, then you have the process of coming off the meds and if you ever need to go back onto them then you might as well be starting the process all over again. In my eyes it's just a vicious circle. 

If antidepressants obviously work for you then thats great! A part of me wishes I did find medication that worked for me and then I could have had a sense of control on the dosage and time period etc, but I have never had a positive experience. 

If you do consider trying hypnotherapy I would advise these tips.

1) Do your research! Ever therapist might specialise in certain topics so find one that can help with your specific problems. 

2) Try and book a late afternoon or evening session. I found myself feeling really tired after my sessions so if you have one at the end of the day at least you don't have to deal with a days work feeling pretty drowsy. 

3) Hypnotherapy will only work If you want it to work yourself. This is mainly for people suffering from addiction. The hypnotherapist can only do their side of the work, but you HAVE to want to make changes yourself. There is no point going in for a session saying you want to quit smoking then having a cigarette straight after. When you want to quit an addiction you need to be in the right mind set first and the work from the hypnotherapy will hopefully help you stay motivated! 

4) Hypnotherapy doesn't always work for everyone. This may be down to you not getting along with the hypnotherapist (you have to like their voice because you are going to be hearing it for an hour!) If you find their voice annoying or irritable then I can't see that going well! If you go into a session with a stubborn mind thinking it won't work then chances are it won't benefit you. Stay open minded and if you can afford it at least give it a go! 

5) If you have problems sleeping then try ASMR (stands for autonomous sensory meridian response ) you can search ASMR videos on youtube and it normally involves someone creating sounds with items or whispering role play scenarios. If my mind is racing when I go to sleep then this really helps me take my worries away and it helps me sleep better. I would recommend Olivia Kissper and SpringbokASMR.
If you cannot afford hypnotherapy and have problems sleeping due to anxiety then I would suggest this for the time being. 

I hope this helps anyone! If you have any other questions please feel free to message me! I may do another update in a few months after I've had my next session. 


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Outfit details

Studded Jacket - Mango (similar below!) 
Bodysuit - Bershka (similar here) 
Skirt - Missguided
Bag - Missguided 
Boots - New Look old (similar here) 
Sunglasses - Topshop 


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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

RUFFLE TROUSERS


Where on earth has April gone? Thank goodnessit's my pay day today woo! There is so much summer clothing thats slowly emerging online that I need to get my hands on! Missguided in my eyes are KILLING IT! I'm desperate to make a trip to the Westfield store but its two and a half hours away from me, and what if I arrive and all the good sizes are out of stock!? I do love ordering things online but I do miss a hardcore shopping trip where you can physically see the clothes in the flesh and prance around afterwards with a load of shopping bags ha! 

Not even sure why I'm waffling on about Missguided because it isn't even included in this outfit post! Instead, I have decided to style up these ruffle trousers that have been floating around for a while . These actually got purchased in River Island when I was shopping with a friend. When it comes to trousers, I don't get much thrill when purchasing them (I'm always a jacket girl), but I spotted these in store and thought I would try them on. These were beyond my expectations and I love the flattering fit! It does feel weird wearing trousers that feel like school wear material but the ruffle hem makes these so feminine and different. After admiring these in the mirror for ages I then forgot to look at the price. These aren't cheap and I did feel guilty spending £38 but then I convinced myself that I made the right decision. I COULD have ordered similar ones for a lot cheaper but then I'm totally gambling on the fit and the length. These ones from Rivers are perfect for me and my 5ft 8 frame (I am wearing the size 8 so I'd suggest to size down if you consider them). I don't think I could have found a better fit elsewhere. 

So I styled these gorgeous trousers with this amazing floral Shein dress. Please note, this is meant to be a dress and the model online wears it like a dress but being lanky I'm just accepting that I only wear it as a long top but I'm okay with that. The print is gorgeous for Summer and it's great to wear if you are ever feeling bloated or having a fat day. If you can wear this as a dress then this would look amazing with a tan and gladiator sandals! I probably will wear it looking like a dress, I will just need to wear shorts underneath! 

So lets also talk about how pretty the Guess jewellery is. I got seriously spoilt from their team and I'm honestly in love with their new Spring Summer collection. The rose gold watch screams luxe and the peal face design give it a subtle but glamorous feel. The watch also went great with the two tone circle necklace which is perfect if you like your dainty simplistic jewellery. 
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Floral Dress (*) - SheIn
Necklace (*) - Guess
Watch (*) - Guess
Sunglasses - Sunglass Shop 
Shoes - Public Desire old (similar here) 
Trousers - River Island 
Bag - Mango 

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