In the UK, sending greeting cards is a big deal. People give a lot of cards for birthdays, new homes, thank you’s, new jobs, in sympathy, new baby – everything and anything. In fact you can get a card for practically any occasion. This whole card culture was new to me as in India we tend to use the phone much more than send cards. But having lived here for 15 years I’ve got used to it and I love finding fun and unusual cards. Often for family birthdays, I’ve been known to spend longer searching for the card than for the present. So now, when I come across a card I like, I buy it even if I don’t know who the recipient is yet. I always find a use for it and my latest finds are these absolutely adorable fruit and veg cards. How cute are they? I love them for both kids and adults and especially love the apple, carrot and cherry ones. I can’t wait to get some of these unusual and very fun cards and start sending them to friends and family.
April 16, 2015
April 15, 2015
It’s Wednesday and after a short break last week, I am back to my photography series. In the past few weeks I’ve shared some great tips and tricks on how to photograph your kids, which apps will make your photos shine and so much more. Today we are talking Instagram – the photo sharing app that seems to be all our addictions! When done right, Instagram is the online place to build a community by sharing snippets of your everyday life so we’ve got some great tips on exactly how to do this and how to do it better. Whether you’re a blogger, a small business owner or just someone who wants to share your photo’s for fun, these tips by super talented photographer and blogger Lucy of Capture by Lucy will be very helpful to you. Lucy’s tips will not only show you how to grow your Instagram following but also how exactly to use Instagram to get the most out of it for you and for your followers.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Lucy once but have also been a long time follower of her happy and incredibly engaging photography. Lucy has a way of putting the ‘extra’ in to ordinary every single time she takes a photo. By her own admission she loves her Instagram space and it shows. Her instagram feed is the story of her everyday life which is bursting with inspiration, colour, cheer and joy. You can’t help but want to be a part of it and I know I can’t wait to see more from her each day. I’m so delighted to have her here today to share exactly how she does this and how you can do it too so over to Lucy now!
Thank you so much for having me Nomita; it’s such a pleasure to share how I have grown my following on Instagram since I joined just over a year ago. I am a total Instagram addict! I love the community spirit, the inspiration and the fact that it’s so easy to join in. Everyday I can’t believe so many people follow my ‘mini blog’. It’s my fastest growing social media channel by a clear mile and I see my gallery as a way to share everyday moments that help my followers get to know me better, where I can let my creative side go wild and where I enjoy practicing my styling and composition. So I am really excited to be here today and to share my top 8 tips on how to grow your Instagram following:
1. Be yourself
Being authentic is key. If you aren’t a fan of staged or styled photography, no problem! Share the photo’s of what you love to photograph because it’s hard to keep up something you aren’t passionate about. I’m all about colour and although I sometimes try a more minimalist style, it’s really not me. I love sharing a mix of everyday life, our home and vignettes. A vignette is a styled photo so I am often found with a sheet of scrap paper or wallpaper, arranging a few flowers and props to create a still life image. I find it so therapeutic to share lovely photos and even if it’s pouring with rain and my boys are arguing, I can take two minutes out to create something beautiful.
2. Embrace the community
Instagram is a wonderfully positive platform. I have experienced nothing but great community spirit and encouragement. I love the interaction, the way replying to comments is so easy and the engagement between my followers just amazes me. It’s a way to be part of a community and to create a community. Do join in with collaborative hashtags – it’s a great way to find other accounts with similar interests. I host the hashtag #capturingcolour where each Monday morning I announce a new theme for the week and then I share my favourite picks on my blog. I love to take part in various themes including “competition” themes just for the fun of it and also to be involved in the Instagram community.
My favourites are:
Monday – #mymondaymoodboard
Tuesday – #gatheredstyle
Wednesday – #itsamoodywednesday
Thursday – #byarrangement
Friday – #floralfridaycompetition and #fridayfaffingcompetition
Weekend – #frommykitchencompetition
Weekly and monthly themes – #natureinthehome, #stylingtheseasons, #lovelysquares, #nothingisordinary, #at_diff, #its_my_week
Family themes – #jj_its_kids, #mom_hub, #kids_of_our_world
3. Be consistent
I like sharing lots of photos but I know it can easily overwhelm my followers and I begin to see people unfollow if I blast them with too many photos. You don’t have to share a photo everyday but being consistent and having a regular presence is key to growing any social media platform. Some people check their Instagram feed throughout the day while others may only check it once a day or less – so either way if you post a number of photos in quick succession, you are likely to take over someones news feed!
4. Be selective
Instagram is all about sharing snippets. While on facebook you may well share 100 photo’s of your recent holiday, Instagram is more about moments that tell a story. Give people a reason to follow your account on Instagram – keep it interesting! I often follow the same bloggers on every platform, but find it frustrating when they share the same photo across all their accounts and then a few days later it appears on their blog too. By that point I might have seen the same photo 4 or 5 times, and I am less likely to engage with it.
This doesn’t mean putting pressure on yourself to think of different images for each social media platform, it’s more about what you choose to share. So for example – if we are at a play park I might share a photo of my boys to Facebook (where people are more interested and respond to family photos) and a picture of the trees or a close up shot of a little detail to my Instagram account. Twitter on the other hand is a very fast moving medium so I often share my Instagram photos on there too.
When you are being selective about the photos you share, you want to share your best. I recently wrote this post on Real life vs. Insta life to show that even in the midst of a normal chaotic family life you can still create beautiful photos.
5. It is not cheating to edit your photos
There is nothing wrong at all with editing your phone photos for your Instagram account. 99% of the photos I share are from my iPhone and occasionally I will share a photo from my Canon DSLR. But I always tweak my phone photos so they are the best quality they can be. People often comment on how bright and light our house is but in fact we live in a 300 year old cottage farmhouse with low ceilings and small windows! So in comes one of my absolute favourite apps – PicTapGo. I often use their ‘lights on’ filter to help brighten my images but I steer clear of the heavy traditional Instagram filters which distort the colours and saturate the image because it’s just not in keeping with my style. But Instagram does have a sharpening tool which can really improve those evening shots that look a little grainy and the tilt shift tool is wonderful for giving you a sharp focus point and a lovely blurry background emulating the Aperture settings on a DSLR. So do experiment with those editing tools to improve your photos and make them the best they can be.
Remember that Instagram is a square configuration so use the square setting on your phone camera to compose your images. I prefer to fill the whole frame instead of posting landscape or portrait images. Taking a little extra time to compose your images, thinking of things like what’s in the background that might distract from the subject can make a big difference.
6. Make it easy to find your account
It’s no good sharing lots of lovely photos if people can’t find you. Make sure your account name or handle is consistent with your other account names on your site, blog or twitter for example. Do share a link to your Instagram account on your blog and consider displaying your latest IG posts in your blog sidebar. You can use a plug-in in your sidebar as I do, so it automatically displays your most recent IG posts. Let your followers know you are on Instagram too – why not create a collage of your most recent images and share to your Facebook page or write a blog post about the accounts you like to follow.
7. Connect and engage with like minded people
Instagram is a place to connect with like minded people. You don’t have to follow everyone back and you can choose whether to make your account private or public. If you go for a private account followers have to request your permission to view your photos so you have complete control over who sees your content if you choose to. I have a public account because I want people to be able to quickly scroll through my gallery to see if it’s something they’d like to follow or not.
I follow a whole range of accounts that appeal to me for various reasons. Some for their lovely family snaps, some who I have followed since before they were pregnant through to their second and third children, some for styling inspiration, some for food photos, some for travel. They all engage me in different ways and no matter what the time of day is, whenever I check my newsfeed there are always lots of new photos to admire. And I tell them so. If you like something, if something makes you smile or if someone needs some words of support, don’t be shy – leave a comment and engage with people. It’s a wonderful community to be part of and I have actually made some real life friendships with people I have met through following each others accounts.
8. Have fun!
Remember the most important thing is to have fun. If you don’t feel like posting, don’t post. The worst thing with any social media is when it feels like hard work. And also when it’s forced, it shows to your followers as well. Find what you love photographing and share that.
Thank you Lucy for these fabulous tips on how to grow your Instagram following and also for sharing in such detail exactly how you do it. I have recently gotten more in to Instagram but I definitely needed some help and these tips couldn’t be more useful. I love how Lucy depicts everyday life but in such an inspirational and uplifting way. Its inspired me to do better now that I know how and I am sure it has inspired you too. Do make sure you check out Lucy’s Instagram and also her beautiful blog. Also Lucy has kindly offered to help any of my readers with questions you may have – just find her here.
There is still more to come from my photo series but in the meantime why not check out the previous articles:
April 14, 2015
What do you do with all of your kids artworks? Do you find it piles up so quickly that it gets out of hand? The art in our home is produced daily which is fabulous on the one hand but on the other I really don’t know what to do with it all. I’ve always displayed some of it by putting a few pieces on our fridge and blu-tacking others on to a wall (which kept falling off) in the kitchen and then I would change them every couple of months for newer pieces. I save a few others in a folder and the rest go in the bin at night (naughty mama!). But it’s impossible to keep all of your kids artwork so I think you have to be selective.
With our new home which we are renovating from scratch I want to be more organised. Our new fridge will be built-in so I won’t be able to display any art on it. And besides I want to make a dedicated and permanent space for Anya’s art, not treat it like an afterthought. So while I was hunting for ways to display kids artwork I came across these slot-in picture frames. They are designed specially for kids art and come in a range of sizes to accommodate one or more pieces of art. The frames themselves are very simple so they really allow the art to stand out and can also be used no matter what your decor. I’m thinking of having an entire wall in a hallway or in the kitchen filled with these frames to make a colourful and fun gallery wall. But what I love most about these kids art frames is how easily you can slot in new pieces of art. No tape, no blu-tack, no constantly falling off the wall, no mess, just drop it in and change as and when you wish. These kids artwork display frames don’t solve the problem of what to do with all the art but they are a fab idea for displaying your favourite pieces easily.
If you have some other ideas for displaying and storing kids artwork, do share in the comments.
April 8, 2015
This week I am taking a break from my photography series but it will be back next Wednesday. In the meantime you can look at the past photography posts as there are already lots of great hints, tips and tricks to help you take better photos and there’s even a giveaway (ending today). Instead today I’m feeling inspired by these gorgeous vintage desk spaces for a kids room.
I will soon be decorating Anya’s new room and I am really leaning towards a vintage desk as I think it adds bags of charm and character to a kids room. The humble vintage desk can be mixed with any other style of furniture you have in the rest of the room – modern, retro, contemporary – whatever! But a vintage desk doesn’t always have to mean buying an old school desk and chair. That’s just one way to go for the vintage look but if you can’t find the right one or it’s not the right size for your space, there are other ways to create the look. Here are six vintage desk ideas that I’m loving for any kids room:
If you can find the right vintage school desk and chair for your room then go for it! It has so much charm and character and I especially love it set against black and white decor as in the room above. It’s simple and really allows the desk and chair to shine.
A kids desk doesn’t have to be an actual vintage desk. In case you can’t get your hands on one almost any used table will do, like in this picture above. It’s looks like a used white table and an old, worn chair which together create a vintage feel that’s complimented with all the vintage inspired decorations – so lovely and fun.
If you’re going for a vintage desk look, there is no reason why you can’t totally customise your look like this seriously cool desk above. Using vintage wood, leather belts and lots of creativity, they’ve made a very cool desk and complimented it with a vintage stool. Also, customising your desk means that you can fit it in to any sized space you like.
If your desk space needs to have room for two kids, you could of course get two mismatched vintage school desks which would look really cool or you can do something like they have done above. Trestle style tables are all the rage at the moment so getting your hands on a vintage one probably won’t be too difficult and paired with vintage chairs, it looks great. Lots of character, lots of charm and a nice spacious desk for two.
Remember those chunkier vintage school desks that had the lift up lids to store stuff? They can sometimes look very heavy especially in a small room so I love what they’ve done here. They’ve removed the legs and screwed the desk bit to the wall and paired with a vintage stool. You still get the whole vintage desk vibe but in a modern, fresh and uncluttered way.
For just a touch of vintage, you can get a vintage chair and pair with any desk including a brand new modern one. In the picture above, I love the simplicity of the space. A simple shelf has been used as the desk and paired with a vintage chair all brought to life with that colour blocked wall. This look, like many others, really can fit in with any style of decor you choose for the rest of the room.
So a vintage desk for a kids room doesn’t always have to be an old school desk. Of course if you can find one then it’s a great option but I also love how the kids spaces above have taken the idea of vintage and made it their own. I don’t yet know what look I’ll choose for Anya’s room but I’m feeling so inspired by all the ones above that it’s hard to pick a favourite. Do you have a favourite?
P.S. Have you entered my photography giveaway which is ending today?
April 2, 2015
Easter is here – nearly! I am so looking forward to the four day weekend (and the chocolate) even though we are and will continue to be knee deep in house renovations. The time has come to choose all the fixtures and fittings and this is exciting but daunting too! I want to wish you all a fun-filled Easter – enjoy the chocolate, the crafts and all the Easter fun. In case you fancied some blog reading over the long weekend, I pulled out a range of some of my old posts which you might enjoy:
Want some Easter inspiration?
Some of the best Easter egg decorating ideas
The cutest free printable Easter cards
Fancy something sweet? Here are some indulgent chocolate treat ideas.
Some fun Easter bunny crafts to try over the weekend.
Want somewhere to keep those mini eggs? These printable bunny boxes should do the trick.
Want to improve your photography skills?
Learn to take some great iphone photos of your kids with these top tips
Checkout the best phone filter apps that will take your photos from ordinary to extraordinary.
Kids never sit still? Checkout this guide on how to photograph moving kids.
A quick and inexpensive way to print your instagram and phone photos plus a giveaway.
Want some easy family friendly meal ideas?
These delicious soba noodles couldn’t be easier to make.
For something a bit spicier, this Indian chicken curry is a winner.
Everybody loves pizza especially homemade pizza!
And a few more…
If this lady’s incredible story doesn’t inspire you, I don’t know what will.
How do you get your kids to tell you about their day?
Are you part of a mixed family? How do you give both cultures equal importance?
Whats the best avoiding bedtime excuse you’ve had from your kids?
Have you checked out our new Spring pieces yet?
It’s Wednesday and that means it’s time for the next installment of my photography series. Over the last three weeks I’ve shared some useful and actionable tips on photographing kids as well as some of the best photo filter apps to help turn those ordinary photos in to something special. I’ve had some fantastic feedback on the series so far – so thank you all for that. Today I want to talk about a really quick, easy and inexpensive way to do something with all those beautiful photo’s you’ve learned to take! And there’s even a giveaway in today’s post so keep reading to find out more.
I’m not the most organised person when it comes to printing the photos I take especially the thousands (yes thousands) of photo’s I’ve collected on my iphone. While I love the idea of creating amazingly big and beautiful photo books, I don’t always have the time to spend compiling these. So when I recently found out about a brand new app called Pop book, I had to try it out especially for this series. Pop book is an app that allows you to create little mini photo books in minutes, using pics from your iphone or ipad. I’ve made a couple of books and it literally took me a few minutes. You can do some basic editing in the app (like cropping, adding text or borders) and then you’re good to go, all for just £4.99 delivered to your door. The books are square, small and very cute coming in two sizes of 10×10 or 13×13 cms, each consisting of 21 photos.
I can think of so many reasons for making Pop Books. Firstly, that ever growing instagram feed. You can turn your entire feed in to a series of mini photo books. The square format of the books is perfect for this. The other thing that sprung to mind was my mum-in-law and other family members (especially the older generation who aren’t on facebook) that constantly ask me for photos of Anya. Instead of emailing one photo here and there, I’m going to start sending them these cute little books every few months. Also, because these books are small, I like the idea of having two or three perched on my desk instead of a static frame or even in my kitchen where I might put up a string and hang a load of these mini photo books. Yet another thought I had was to have these printed after your child’s birthday party and give to the parents of the kids who came – what a great party gift and lasting memory that would make. So many ways to use this book.
You can do whatever you wish with these books but the absolute best part for me is the convenience of creating a book in minutes so that you have actual copies of your photos. You never have to worry about photos being lost or deleted or wiped from your phone because you will have at least a small little hard copy. And I also love the easiness of gifting these to family or friends. All you need to do is download the free Pop Book app and you can start creating little photo books now.
THE GIVEAWAY: Now the best bit – I’ve joined with Pop Book to give 5 lucky ebabee readers the chance to win one of these books. To enter leave a comment on this post and follow my facebook page to stay in the loop. Five lucky winners will be chosen at random. Giveaway closes on Wednesday 8th April at midnight (UK time). Any entries after this time will not be counted. Sorry, this giveaway is only open to UK readers.
This is my new, go to quick, easy and inexpensive solution to printing your phone or instagram photos but there will be more ideas coming on what you can do with all those beautiful photos you take. Lots more to still come from my photo series but in the meantime why not check out the previous articles:
This post is brought to you in partnership with Pop Book. All ideas, words and images are my own. Thank you for supporting my work with carefully selected partners that support this blog.
This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered. Congrats to Sarah, Stephanie, Natalie, Sam and Alice – our winners. If you want to find out about more giveaways, follow our facebook page.
March 31, 2015
Today I have a little treat for you – these super cute free printable Easter boxes which you can fill with whatever you like. They perfectly compliment the Easter bunny cards I shared a little while ago.
These bunny boxes have been designed by a very talented design and architecture student called Annelies and they are exclusively for my readers. It was her blog – A pattern a day – that first caught my attention. The patterns she creates – wow! Just wow.
To make these boxes print out the templates provided. Annelies has designed three boxes – each with a slightly different pattern. Regular printer paper is too thin so you will need coloured card to ensure that the boxes hold together. Once printed, cut along the outline provided and then fold down the dotted lines. You will need to glue the the box together, leaving out the top flap so you can put things in the box. I love a bit of pastel for Easter but of course you can choose any coloured card you like.
Anya’s been taking these bunny boxes as little gifts for the play dates she’s been invited to over the holidays. We either fill them with little chocolate eggs or a small toy. We’ve given out a couple and they have been loved. Making the box yourself adds that personal touch which people so appreciate.
Here is the PDF. Print and enjoy for your personal use:
March 30, 2015
I don’t really know why but I always get much more excited about Easter crafts than I do about Christmas or any other occasion. With this in mind, last week I shared some fabulous Easter egg decorating ideas and the week before I had some adorable Easter bunny card printables created especially for you. This week I have another fab free printable coming for you but today I wanted to share some fun and unusual Easter bunny crafts to try out over the holidays. I went looking and here are my favourites:
This is such a cute idea to make your own bunny t-shirts. You could actually make any item of clothing using the same idea.
I know Easter is all about indulging in chocolate but you can also have fun with healthier treats like these bunny bagels. How cute are they? Made with cream cheese and fruit, they look so adorable – I don’t think any little kid would be able to resist.
If like me you’re a Miffy fan, Easter is the perfect time to indulge in lots of Miffy shaped things like this cute DIY miffy bag perfect to fill with little chocolate eggs.
I did warn you that I was a bit Miffy obsessed so here is another Miffy craft. This pastel Miffy bunting would look great for an Easter party or even as a year round kids room decoration and it comes with a free printable template making it super easy to make.
These DIY Easter bunny envelopes not only look cute but will keep little hands busy for a while. This is one craft kids can make on their own and then fill with little toys or treats for themselves or for a friend.
Easter can’t be complete without a set of bunny ears for each of the kids and maybe even for the adults! I’m loving these DIY bunny ears that are easy to make too.
Last but not least are these fun bunny decorations to hang up over the Easter weekend. Or instead you could just decorate paper plates in a similar way – add ears and a little face to the middle.
These are some of my favourite Easter bunny crafts – I really want to have a go at making those ears and that Miffy garland. Do you enjoy Easter crafts? What crafts will you be doing this Easter?
March 27, 2015
Kids really do say the funniest and sweetest things ever. Lately I’ve been making a great effort to write down some of the stuff that Anya has been saying because I really want to remember it. These little conversation gems won’t be around forever and will get less and less frequent as she gets older. I was looking through my book of these notes and I thought I would share a few here for a light-hearted end to the week:
I was reading the Observer food monthly (kids special) which had an interview with Nathan Outlaw talking about his kids and how adventurous they are with food including all kinds of vegetables. I showed Anya this interview as she is a fussy eater and especially dislikes all manner of vegetables. After explaining how they eat and try everything I asked her to fill in the blank:
Me: The children eat everything like meat, fish, chicken, fruits and they even eat….? (I’m thinking veg of course)
Anya: … their dad?
Latest excuses not to sleep:
After trying a few usual ones and realising they’re not going to work, Anya pipes up: ‘I can’t sleep because my underwear is too small!’ (Whatever will she think of next?)
Anya asks to borrow my ipad and this is how the conversation goes:
Me: Why do you want it?
Anya: I want to sing along to ‘Beat It’
Me: OK give me five minutes
Anya: No, that’s too long
(I tell her again that she has to wait but I can see she’s getting very frustrated and impatient and I just can’t understand why the urgency)
Me: Why can’t you wait five minutes?
Anya: Because the concert has started and the pretend audience are getting very bored!
Anya: I’m really rich.
Me: Please could you give me £50,000?
Anya: I only have £2 but you can have £1 (bless her sweet little heart!)
What are some funny things your kids have come out with? Or maybe they’ve said some stuff to melt your heart? I’d love to hear in the comments.
P.S. Anya wears the gorgeous Oslo dress which is now available in the Ebabee shop. Unfortunately stock is very limited due to off-line sales and this dress being so popular. And the cute brown brogue shoes were a gift from Pisamonas – where you can get £10 off your first purchase.
March 26, 2015
When you think of decorating a kids room, I think your mind instinctively goes to white and bright colours. I’ve been thinking a lot about colours for Anya’s new room which I will be decorating as soon as the builders are out of our new home. My initial instinct was to go with lots of white and add touches of pink and grey, maybe black too. But recently I have been coming across darker and dreamy kids rooms and I am loving them more than I thought possible. There is something so magical about these rooms that bright colours just don’t bring. Each of these rooms are different but the one thing they have in common is that dreamy canopy which I want for Anya’s room. So now I am re-thinking the whole thing. Here are some magical kids rooms all with that dreamy must-have canopy that are really inspiring me at the moment:
This was the room that first inspired me. This room is a styled room as are many below but the overall look can be recreated in a kids room and how magical would it be. Right from the choice of the bear poster to the dark wall. I absolutely love it – of course you could choose any dark tones, not stick with blues and greys. I’m thinking dark greys and deep, dark and dusky pinks for Anya. This room has been created by a Norwegian Interiors shop called Olen Mobel.
What a dreamy room! Not as dark as the first one but this room has bags of magic and personality. This is certainly not your typical decor for a girls room but I love it so much with the choice of wallpaper, the ornate gold frame and the rug. It’s also a room that your little girl won’t outgrow in a hurry. This beautiful girls room is totally inspiring me right now!
Another inspiring and magical kids rooms. There’s something about all these rooms that transports you to an imaginary world where anything feels possible and what could be better for a kids space? The concrete floor may be a step too far but I love the rustic clothes hanger, the vintage metal bed the colour tones in this room.
Soft greys perfectly compliment the dusky pinks and whites in this magical girls room. Of course the massive windows complete the look but sadly we can’t all have those. I love the addition of the vintage desk and the decor balls casually hung at the end of the bed. And of course that beautiful canopy just completes the look.
All of these rooms feel like you’ve stepped in to a fairytale but not in the traditional way. They feel like a magical world where anything is possible and I can’t think of anything more appropriate for a kids room. A lot of the decor in these rooms is by Numero74 and they are the best kids decor brand that I have come across to add that magic touch to a kids room. What do you think? Would you consider a room like this or do you prefer bright colours for a kids room?