There’s been a little conflict going on in my head recently, which I would really love to share with you all and to get your opinion. It’s about bloggers: how we shop and how we potentially feed into over-the-top consumerism.

As a blogger I have to have (or at least feel I have to have) the latest things in store. Potential for regrams from the big brands are only possible if what you’re featuring is still in store, with a substantial amount of stock, which means I’m always after new items to feature. Haul videos are still as popular as ever, with some bloggers filming two haul videos every single week. But the thing is, this is part of our job, we’re often sent stuff, lent stuff and the items that don’t get worn (but are briefly featured in a haul video) are often sent back. And if I’m totally honest I have draped a jacket over my shoulder for a Instagram photo before returning it- not because I didn’t love the jacket, but because I have a few other ones almost identical, which I wouldn’t photograph as it’s from last season and therefore out of stock. I find that I give so much away to friends/charity at the moment because, if it’s no longer in stock I probably therefore won’t be able to use it again for social content.

I recently spoke about this to a friend, who asked, if we’re not spending our own money on each item or potentially returning some items then isn’t it misleading? I personally don’t think so. I’d love to keep everything I feature because I do honestly love everything I show on here and on social, but it isn’t possible due to cost/space/ not having enough opportunities to wear the items.

I think as bloggers we want to show you what’s in store, how it looks on and how you can style it, but it definitely isn’t an amount of shopping a regular non-blogger should be doing. Use Instagram and Haul Videos as inspiration but not inspiration as to how much you should actually be buying. Bloggers are gifted items, lent items and even those endless designer bags some bloggers have are bought with vouchers and hefty 60% discounts. I really worry that some people try to keep up with a bloggers buying habits which are usually excessive. Even I myself have felt the pressure to buy myself a designer handbag like very other blogger, even though I know I don’t really want one.

Outfit details: Shoes- old Primark, Dress- ASOS, Sunglasses- ASOS 

Just like a magazine picks the 10 must have shoes of the season we do the same. Except we may have bought a few, been lent a few and be returning the ones we’re not actually going to wear; however it appears that the blogger has bought it all, and maybe you should do the same.
It’s unrealistic and wasteful. You can’t do it in real life. If I wasn’t a blogger, posting a few new outfits every week on Instagram I’d buy 1/5 of what I do now- if not less. I’d swap with my friends, borrow off my friends and invest in more long term fashion.

I guess with this also comes the cool places bloggers get to eat/visit and the endless holidays some bloggers get to go on, use them as inspiration but its unlikely that a ‘regular person’ with an average income could realistically go on six 5-star exotic holidays a year and I think it’s important to remember that. I also want to point out that I’m not bringing up the free holidays and free clothes in order to brag, bloggers are often portrayed as entitled and braggy, but brands see an increase in sales and work with bloggers similarly to how they work with traditional press.

It’s not the norm to have a biker coat in 6 colours, two of which are almost identical, but one is in stock now and one isn’t. What I’m saying is that next time you’re scrolling through Instagram adding 56 new items to your mental Wishlist, just know that blogger’s shopping habits should not be a benchmark of the norm- it’s the excess and it’s our job; we take 10 outfits on our 3 day city break not because everyone should, but in the attempt that some people will like one of the ten and buy something in the photo.

Of course, you do you. If you want to buy half of ASOS/Topshop/Net-a-Porter on a weekly basis that’s your choice but I think it’s important to keep it real and remind you you don’t have to buy everything you see on Instagram.

Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Was a little bit of a scary post to publish if I’m honest!

Beauty
1. Hair removal
Not the most glamorous but the last thing I want to worry about whilst I’m away is if I have shaven my legs or not. I like to get all my waxing, threading and shaving done before hand but if I’m going for more than a few days I’ll still pack a razor and tweezer just in case.

2. In-depth Skincare
Of course I’m not suggesting that I leave all my skincare at home but If I am only going for a day or two I make sure I have a pamper session; face masks, exfoliators and intense oils before I go so that I don’t have to take this away with me but also so that my skin can look as good as possible whilst I’m away.

3. Teeth whitening
I don’t whiten my teeth regularly but a little top up before I leave is always nice if I have time.

4. Paint your nails
I think a pedicure and manicure are essential especially when I’m going to be wearing sandals but I make sure I do it no more than a day before I leave to get the most wear from it. If I’m away for longer than a couple of days I’ll go for a at home gel top coat such as Leighton Denny Top That!

5. Fake Tan
Not everyone loves fake tan and I tend to skip it if I’m off somewhere where I’ll get a natural tan but otherwise it’s a must, makes me feel so much happier, look slimmer and I just prefer the look, especially in photos.

5 More things….
1. Set your ‘Out of Office’
2. Clear memory cards and space on your phone
3. Charge all electronics
4. Grab some travel entertainment (music, films, magazines, books)
5. Clear out your handbag.

1. Try out the perfect summer plait
I’ve been trying all week to do the perfect fishtail plait but my hair is a little too short but I love a good plait in the summer, especially when by the pool/sea.

2. Invest in a good underwear
A few weeks ago I went to Rigby & Peller for a fitting, I was really blown away by how beautiful every piece was and also that they done large sizes. They were also not as expensive as I expected but really great quality, a lovely treat and who doesn’t feel better when they’re wearing good underwear? If you do pop in take a look at the Maison Lejaby pieces which are potentially my favourite!

3. Up your water intake
I’ve been carrying water around with me everywhere, especially now the weather is hot. I love my reusable bottles as it’s so much cheaper than buying it on the go, better for the environment and means I always have it on me.

4. Organise your wardrobe for summer
I’ll have a whole post on this tomorrow so stay tuned for that but I always find organising it for the season reminds me of what I have, gives me more space and helps me clear items out.

5. Go for a late night walk
Make the most out of the beautiful weather which we are experiencing and the warm summer nights by going for a long walk around your city. If you’re London based than the South Bank is my favourite!

This is one of those cases of do as I say and not as I do because as soon as I leave London I forget that I was planning to blog but I thought I would share a few tips to make everything that little bit easier if you are traveling this summer, wether for a weekend or a few months (or even for a few hours). Of course, you could choose to ignore this and have a short break from blogging (having prescheduled beforehand) but I’m never organised enough and I love that you can produce different content.

Schedule before you leave
I really believe that staying scheduled always helps wether you are blogging on the go or not but it’s even more important if you’re going to be away from. It allows you to make sure you have the amount of content you want without have to waste time planning whilst away. Along with scheduling blog posts don’t forget to pre-take a couple of Instagram photos just incase you don’t have time (Ideas here), schedule your Twitter and Facebook page using something like Buffer or Hootsuite.

Stick to a plan
This part is obvious but tricky, I’d recommend planning exactly when you are going to be blogging and taking photos.

Make the most out of your time
Unless my trip away involves me driving I like to make the most of my time and blog or edit a video on the way there, I just make sure I pack some headphones. Even if I don’t have internet on the go I will simply edit photos or type my blog post out onto a word document ready to go as soon as I’m connected again.

The Kit
In order to keep me blogging on the go I like to pack; my laptop (MacBook), camera (Canon S120 and Canon 700D), portable charger, iPhone, Memory Cards x4, all the chargers, portable light (only for filming), hard drive (if I’m away for a week+) and my Gorilla Pod. Along with that I take a notebook, timetable and even a marble sheet of paper just in case I don’t find any surface nice enough to take product shot on. 

Let see how my blogging goes for the next few days, hopefully I’ll be able to stick to it too

Admittedly I am probably a little unqualified to write this blog post but these are simply my tips, hopefully they will help some of you. Instagram just like blogging and YouTube requires that you put in lots of time and effort but is becoming more and more essential. If you already have a huge online following than Instagram is often but if not give some of my tips a go…

Taking the photos
1. Wipe the camera
You want the photo to be as clear as possible so make sure there is no makeup or else on your lens
2. Find good lighting
Natural is usually best but I often use a soft box too
3. Find a good angle
Wether you are photographing you lunch or taking a selfie you need to find the best angle. Food often looks great from above and most of us have a best side but have fun with it.
4. Find good composition
Use props such as sunglasses, makeup bits and more when photographing objects to make the photo more interesting. Play around when taking outfit photos too and always consider the background. 
5. Take lots of photos
You want to have choices so take lots, you can easily delete them after

Editing
1. Don’t feel you have to use a filter
It’s dated to think you have to use a standard filter, there are so many other choices nowadays. 
2. Use other apps
My favourites are; Afterlight, FaceTune and VSCO Cam
3. Make sure it fits with your other photos
Use a similar editing technique for all your photos so that they all look good together
4. Remember sometime less is more
Be careful not to over edit and end up looking more like a cartoon than a human. 

Building a following
1. Post regularly
Instead of posting six times in a hour spread them out throughout the day and make sure you post a few times a day 
2. Pre take photos
My days aren’t always very photogenic so I like to pre-take them and keep them for more boring days
3. Like & Comment
We all like comments and likes but it’s also a great way to get your username seen
4. Follow people that inspire you
It’s great for inspiration and to interact with people similar to you
5. Post during key times
Test different times and find which works best for you. Remember that people are less likely to like your photo late at night as they may have already gone to sleep and also whilst they are at work. 

Leave all your tips in the comments and let me know if these have worked for you 

Also don’t forget to head over and follow me on Instagram too if you enjoyed this post! @a_littleobsessed