5 ways to improve your Instagram feed

Hi chums!

I have been thinking about Instagram a looot since I started reading a book called Capture Your Style by Aimee Song who is pretty much an Instagram legend.

Her book is all about creating the perfect Instagram feed and seeing as I have been unhappy with how my Instagram has been looking for a while it seemed like a gift sent from the gods!

My Instagram account @sightsnstripes (if you could give me a cheeky follow then that would be fab!) has taken some time to become something that I'm now really happy with.


I always thought about my posts in terms of how each individual picture looked. I was happy with the picture I was posting but then when I looked at how they fit in with my feed I saw a huge problem - that they actually did not fit in with my feed at all!

My colour scheme was all over the place/ I didn't really have one and I just got a bit fed up of how it was looking. Yes, I am concerned over trivial matters such as Instagram (sue me!)

But now...

I finally happy with how it's starting to look! Wooo! Yay me! What a real life-changer. So I wanted to share with you just 5 fine tips on how to improve your Insta-game.

1. Edit your pictures in the same way every time

No, they don't all have to be black and white (unless that's what you're going for). They can have any colour in you want in but the key is to edit them in the same way. Don't go nuts with the saturation on one and then put the next one in black and white. Develop your go to way of editing, whether it's upping the brightness and downing the highlight or whether it's downing the shadows and adding some vignette. Stick to what you like and your Insta-game will instantly start to improve.

2. Say no to borders!

Borders are just a no-no. They mess up your grid and you will regret them in the future! That is all.

3. Warmth is not always a friend

Everyone loves a nice warm picture because warmth = happiness. Except when it comes to Instagram. I have read that pictures actually appeal to people more if you lower the warmth when editing. This has been a tip that I have tried and tested and I have to say it definitely works!

4. Don't make it too busy

If you look at accounts where the Instagram feed is literally gold, you probably will see that it is not too busy. Having pictures with a lot of detail all in a row can made an unappealing feed. The solution: mix up some close up shots with some landscapes/pictures of buildings etc. This will make your feed a lot more attractive.

5. Follow a colour scheme

So this probably sounds like the complete opposite of what I say in my first tip but I stand by the fact that you don't have to make a completely black and white feed. What is important is that you don't dramatically change your colour scheme. So if you're headed into autumn and are 100% ready for those orangey vibes then go for it, but make sure you don't just post two random orange ones and then flip to a picture of a purple hippo (lol) because that will make your feed look craaazy bad. I have been a victim of this (posting a blueish scene after a warm yellowy scene - ew) but now I'm back on track!

In the book I mentioned before it says to consider your Instagram in terms of twelve pictures because that's how many can fit on your phone/iPad in one go. So if you're going for a pink colour scheme then make sure some pink appears in around 12 of your photos in a row if possible.

This is probably the most important tip I have learned and the one that has really upped my Insta-game!

I hope these tips have been helpful!

I would love to check out your Instagram accounts so please leave your @ handle in the comments below.

Happy Insta-posting!

Love as always

Emma
xxx

Wednesday's Wise Words

Hi chums!

I wanted to try out a new feature on my blog called 'Wednesday's Wise Words'. Quotes are something that I absolutely love because they really motivate and inspire me! 

So I have decided that every Wednesday I will post a quote that I have found that I want to share with you! 

Today's quote is one by Emma Watson (omg love her) and it's this:


I am sure all of us can think of something this applies to. For me it's drinking and clubbing. I don't drink and clubbing is my worst nightmare and as I'm at university which can be a bit awkward sometimes because everyone loves it (or seems to!)

I have spoken with a lot of my friends who like drinking and going out  and they have told me that they like just as much staying at home and watching a movie. Some have even told me that they don't really like clubbing and drinking all that much and that they only do it because everyone else does it.

I hope you don't feel like you have to pretend to do something just because everyone else looks like they love it :)

Please let me know in the comments if you like this blog feature and also if you also have something that you really don't like but other people do.

Love as always

Emma
xxx

Why I love going outside!

Hi chums!

When I was younger I never understood that people actually wanted to go outside purely for 'fresh air'. I would prefer to play on my Gameboy or Nintendo DS (major throwback) and if for any reason I was dragged on a walk I wouldn't be the happiest bunny! 


However, now I absolutely love any reason to go outside! Most of my family or friends might be surprised by this because I did Duke of Edinburgh and let's just say that me and camping are definitely not a match made in heaven! Camping is not my thing in the slightest, but going on a walk for an hour or two is something I really love (although I wouldn't exactly say I'm Bear Grylls or anything!).



So anyone who has got this far down in my post (thanks chum, power through!) and is thinking - Emma, why did you change your mind? Well, ok I'll tell you... :)


I think my number one reason is my love of photography. Years ago the thought of going a walk to just go on a walk and grab that ever-sought-for 'fresh air' was not on my top ten list of things to do because that's all it was. Walking. Not to mention that this one activity lacked my Gameboy like I already said.

But now it's all changed...


Photography has become a hobby and (not gonna lie) a bit of an obsession. Now a walk for me goes like this: walk two steps, take photo, get out phone because it has definite Instagram possibilities and I need it as a square photo, walk ten steps, nope, go back 4 steps, yes that piece of wood looks great, take picture, move on, ooo that would make a nice snapchat, go back and take snapchat, and so on.



So some might say - Emma, seriously put down the phone and just enjoy the fresh air. But for me that is my way of enjoying it. Wherever I am I love looking for different shots. I find that I actually look more at what's around me and take it in all the more than I would if I was just walking.


My second reason is the seasons. If I ask most of my friends what part of the year is their favourite they would most likely say summer or Christmas. I have to agree that Christmas is the best time of the year but in terms of seasons I love them all! Yes, ladies and gents, I'm admitting that even rain is something I like. That is, if I'm in car playing some classic tunes or if I'm all cosy inside watching the raindrops slide down the window. 

There's something so pretty about all seasons and this year especially I have really noticed the seasons changing. From the leaves turning from green to orange, from orange to brown and finally falling off the trees. Now it is so frosty most mornings and it looks so beautiful because everything glitters.



My last reason for loving walks is that I feel like I think better outside. If I'm feeling overwhelmed with work or life then being stuck inside just makes me feel more overwhelmed. When I go outside I feel like I can think more clearly and this is super helpful.




So basically I just love going outside because it makes me feel happier! One of my aims for this year (that I just decided on now) is to go for more walks because it's healthy and happy!

I hope you've all had a lovely weekend!

Love as always

Emma
xxx

So about that January diet...

Hi chums!

So let's just talk about this January diet for a sec (or lack of lol). 

After Christmas I think everyone always wants to get rid of the food baby that's been building up over weeks of overindulgence but at the same time we have bags full of chocolate which has been given to us as presents.

I think this is such a dilemma and January has been a major struggle. After eating full meals with a pudding afterwards to going back to salads and no pudding is really hard. That's why I've decided January will be my half and half month. I'm eating as well as I can but I'm not kicking myself for eating an occasional biscuit or cakes because at the end of the day you only live once so eat the cookie if you want, but don't go back for the second one!


In my head February is the time to get started. All the chocolate and cake in my house is almost all eaten up now and I'm getting my head back in the game for a healthy February (and let's not forget it's the shortest month which makes it doubly good!)

I hope you're all having a good January and that you've still got your New Year's motivation going strong!

Love as always

Emma
xxx

My Top 5 Must-See Cities in Europe

Hi chums!

I've been really lucky in the fact that I've been able to travel so much throughout my life. I've written a fair few travel posts here on my blog already but today I wanted to do something a bit different a tell you about the 5 European cities which I have visited that I have loved the most.

If you haven't been to any of these places I would really recommend going and here's why...:


1. Amsterdam

I went to Amsterdam in June 2015 and instant loved this city. It's full of canals and cute Dutch houses. If you think that bikes in Amsterdam is a stereotype then you're serious mistaken! I couldn't believe how many bikes were on the road, chained to the sides of the street, and I even saw a car park just for bikes (a bike park?). This is something which makes Amsterdam really unique and if you go there I recommend grabbing a bike from a rental shop and seeing the city how the locals do!

My 3 favourite places to visit/ things to do here were: Zaanse Schans windmills, boat trip along the river, riding bikes around the park




2. Venice

I cannot describe my love for Venice. It's possible my favourite city in Europe that I've been to so far. There isn't a car in sight and the old building and streets which the canals run through are so beautiful! The one thing I would say about Venice is that if it's raining there isn't too much to do, so if you're going I would choose one of the summer months.

My 3 favourite places to visit were: Scala Contorini del Bovolo (bit tricky to find, but worth it!), Burano and la Piazza di San Marco



3. Berlin

I have been to Berlin three times now and each time has made me fall in love with this city more! I don't think it matters what time of year you go here - just pray that it doesn't rain! There is so so much to do so if you're planning on seeing everything then you won't have any time to sleep! I would recommend going to this amazing historical city for 3/4 days or longer if you have time to spare!

My 3 favourite places to visit here were: the Reichstag dome, the Berlin Wall and the Berlin cathedral

Blog Post 1, Blog Post 2


4. Salamanca

Salamanca is a seriously underrated city in Spain. It is just north-west of Madrid and is so old and beautiful. The Plaza Mayor is the most amazing place to be. I could literally spend my whole day there! Salamanca is known as a great place to go if you're learning Spanish and I can definitely agree with this. I've been there twice for a language course and have had such a great time both times!

My 3 favourite places to visit/ things to do here were: visit the Plaza Mayor, go up the cathedral and go on a pedalo on the river

Blog Post


5. London

I couldn't do this post without mentioning my hometown (ok, so I live 30 mins outside, but it still feels like home :) ). I think I sometimes forget about London as such an amazing city just because I live so close, but it really is one of my favourite cities! There is so much to do in this city, in all weathers (although guaranteed 99% of the time it's raining!)

My favourite things/places to visit here are: shopping in Oxford Street/Regents Street, wandering around Covent Garden and going to take photos around Notting Hill

Blog Post

So those are my top 5 European cities! I think Europe is such an amazing place with so much to do. I can't wait to explore it more so please comment below if you have any recommendations of places I should visit next!

Love as always

Emma
xxx

My New Year's Resolutions and Aims

Hi chums!

I think I've already mentioned in my last two posts that I am a huge fan of the New Year! I love looking back on the good and bad (but mainly the good!) and deciding what I'm going to aim to do the next year to make myself a better person.


For the last couple of years I have written down in my book all my aims and resolutions of the year to come because it keeps me so motivated.

For example last year I wrote down that I wanted to run 5km without stopping. I know this is probably super easy for a lot of people but I find running really hard because I literally can't breathe (Mo Farah how do you do it?!) On the 30th December 2016 I still hadn't done it and I was feeling super unimpressed with myself so I decided 31st December would be the day/ my last chance to fulfill my aim. 

I went for a run with my sister that morning and we used the Nike running app to track how far we were running. The app ending up measuring in miles instead of km and because we got confused we actually ended up running 6km. 

It is so satisfying completing your aims so this year I decided I would post a few on my blog to put myself under more pressure to complete them, so here they are:

1. To see more sunrises and sunsets

2. To get a job/work experience in the summer

3. To floss as much as possible (I can't deal with disappointing my dentist anymore!!)

4. To run 8km without stopping (probs will regret this one on December 31st 2017...)

5. To do some charity work/volunteering

6. To go to bed earlier

7. To improve my photography for my blog

8. To drink more water

9. To try out new recipes

10. To text my friends spontaneously 

I have a some more written in my book because I like to think big but these are just a few.

I would love to hear any of your New Year's resolutions/aims in the comments below!

Even if you don't complete your aims it's ok because there is always the next year, but as my book says, the most important thing is to... be the best you! (mushy but true :) )

Love you all!

Emma
xxx
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