Thursday, 21 January 2016

How Instagram and I became friends...

I used to hate going on Instagram in the same way I used to hate going on Pinterest, because afterwards I'd just feel a little bit crap about myself, like a drunken kiss in a bar with someone you really shouldn't of but did it anyway.
I would spend far too long on the boards of Pinterest looking at the pictures of delicate pastel coloured cupcakes, and vibrant homemade playdough a Mum had just whipped up for an after school treat. I'd take one look at my offerings and feel depressed, why couldn't I be like the perfect Pinterest Mum? I've only got one kid for gods sake it should be easy.
Can I just add here that Mr O is totally the Pinterest Dad, he makes stuff out of pallets and everything. When we got rid of our last washing machine I found him turning the drum into a fire pit, but then he'll do anything to avoid paying out for new garden furniture.
Actually it's the home decor boards on Pinterest in particular that made me want to burn our house to the ground, there are pictures of houses where bunting and strings of fairy lights adorn the bed, they have bedside tables sourced from drift wood and vases of fresh flowers in every room. Well if we were to have flowers in every room the cat would simply knock them over; because she steadfastly refuses to use a door always has. Instead she insists on entering and exiting a room via a window not upstairs I hasten to add, although she did try it once and my screams alerted the neighbours as I wrestled her back in with a dressing gown.
No, the cat has knocked over so many vases of flowers in the past 11 years that it is just not worth it. We have 1 jug of flowers on the kitchen table if I've bothered to pick them up in Aldi.  Mark has got me them, however bunting and lights across the headboard? Now this we've tried and it did look rather lovely. One night I managed to get my arm tangled up in them whilst trying to retrieve the TV remote from the back of the bed, and I got in such a temper they were swiftly and quietly removed never to be spoke of again.There was so much cursing and headboard banging during that incident I did wonder what the neighbours thought. Oh and driftwood sourced bedside tables?Nope just good old Ikea.

Instagram made me feel the same way at first, I remember first logging on and oh my eyes.
So many pretty pictures of so many exciting places! And selfies of people; peoples pouts, peoples boobs, peoples bums. Mum's with pretty babies all of whom are well dressed and have bows in their neat hair, all such stylish pictures that wouldn't look out of place in a magazine.
I think if I had ever attempted to take a picture of Seren for Instagram when she was little she'd of been chewing the bow not wearing it, and it was impossible to even to get her to sit still for a photograph, never mind get one of her sniffing a Buttercup whilst a butterfly rested on her eyebrow.
The food pictures in particular would make my mouth water, certainly no pictures of kids eating fish fingers, chips and beans on Instagram! Not unless they are organic cuts of fish dusted in homemade breadcrumbs of course, with a ramekin dish of ketchup alongside it and not a bottle of Aldis own.
I think It's fair to say that I was pretty awkward and niave in my early Instagram postings. As in hello here is a picture of my chips with too much salt on! Totally hilarious right! Right? Well I thought it was funny. I also didn't realise you are meant to hashtag your ass off. What I should have put with that picture of chips and salt is #salt #chips #toomuch #humpchipday or something along those lines (I'm still not entirely sure what a #humpday is or if I will use it in the right context so I've so far steadfastly avoided using it at all)
I honestly think when I first discovered them I would go on Instagram and Pinterest for a good dose of self loathing. A pity party for one as I scrolled past all those fabulous pictures muttering to myself and eating biscuits pot noodles. Now it's not to say my life isn't pretty great, it is for the most part. There are of course times where it's not and if you follow me on facebook you'll know I'm pretty honest about that. However Instagram (and when I say Instagram I mean its users obviously)  manage to take pictures of ordinary things and made them look utterly fabulous, that isn't just a picture of #ootd (thats outfit of the day by the way) it's a lifestyle, and it's a lifestyle that some people aspire to. Hell it was a lifestyle I wanted to aspire to. I want those bedside tables, that #ootd, those bloody delicate little cupcakes. I just don't think I 'got' Instagram or Pinterest to be honest or at least  I wasn't looking at it in the way I do now..

It's OK me and Instagram are cool now

I starting reading up about something in particular around October last year, I won't bore with what and why for now anyway, but in doing this I stumbled across blogs on this particular subject and they were a big help. Some were funny, some were informative and some were quite sad but they were a great source of information, comfort and advice. From there I started looking at other blogs, and vlogs and I became addicted. I mainly read Mum bloggers/vloggers and from all over the world. I loved them I was genuinely intrigued by what they were wearing, where they were going and what they ate, what funny thing their babies did, just general day to day stuff really..
Some of the blogs literally went like this:

This is what I'm wearing today: lists everything from socks to scarf.
Where we are going:
What we are eating.
Here is my shopping list
Here is what I bought (my particular favourite as I am so nosy)
It had me hooked. 

These people are making money, in some cases huge amounts of money from this and you know what? Good on them. I loved having a glimpse into their lives.
Then I started following these bloggers on Instagram and I realised what it was all about.You see actually I didn't want to see pictures of babies with cereal all over their clothes, picking their noses. No, I wanted to see the cute pictures especially if there is a Buttercup and butterfly in the mix.
I don't want to see sausage, mash and gravy on a plate I can see that at home. I want to see artfully crafted artisan bread and salads the colour of the rainbow. I want to look at the #ootd and lust after it because you know what? I have real life at home, I want escapism.
Once I started looking at it like this Instagram became a whole lot more fun, and now I love it! I love how people from all over the world can connect with each other instantly over one snapshot. Nowadays I hashtag, I put up the odd life affirming quote and I even filter! I am yet to #ootd because it's M&S,Primark or M&S,H&M- it wouldn't be very exciting and I have come to realise that actually no-one will want to see a picture of me cleaning the oven in Marks jumper and my Harry Potter P.J bottoms because, well lets face it no-one wants to see that.
Oh and Pintrest and I? Well our relationship is still ongoing, we have that uneasy alliance where we know what we need from each other. It's an un trusting one but we'll get there.

Shortly after I discovered the world of Mum bloggers I started thinking about starting my own. I did have a blog in 2010 'Mrs O' I am so original with my blog titles right? 
To be honest it was more like an online diary but it was fun to read over them and see what's changed. I still like wine, chocolate and reality TV so it turns out not much has changed.

The only thing that worried me about starting it was; has it all been said and done before? Another Mum who blogs it certainly isn't a new concept, there are literally millions of us out there and more popping up every day. However the simple fact is I needed something to focus on, something that made me feel excited about and could throw myself into everyday. I pressed publish and that was it.
I had no idea what to expect, what the response would be, and as someone who makes Monica from Friends looked chilled, I was worried. You are bound to get both ends of the spectrum when you put your life on the Internet.
My life is by no means as glamorous, interesting or well edited as some of the blogs out there, I have said it before and I'll say it again but it really isn't. I am mainly dressed in Primark not Joules, I don't have anything of any great intellectual importance to say really, it's definitely not a journey of self discovery. It is just my musings/mutterings/rants on life. I mean my next blog is about clicky hips - yes that's right clicky hips. Someone asked me about it and it will include many pictures of Seren as a baby, and who doesn't love a baby picture!But with my new friend Instagram blogging has given me a new hobby, a focus that I needed and well mainly the opportunity to talk a lot, as you all know I do love a natter.

After that who knows? Tomorrow I might decide to be a lion tamer, because you know, I like cats.

Rachel x

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