Finding a good place to work can be a struggle. Traipsing busy, crowded streets looking for anywhere that serves good coffee, with a quiet vibe and plenty of plugs for chargers. When you finally find somewhere that works, you spend 90% of your time plucking up the courage to ask for the wifi password, trying to decipher the complicated coffee menu and struggling to focus with the array of new sounds and smells assaulting your senses. You decide that perhaps this place just doesn’t work for you, and the whole cycle repeats itself again.

This is why co-working spaces work. An important addition to the freelancing, blogging and self-employed community, co-working spaces have become increasingly popular over the past few years. The ability to work, collaborate and create in a shared working environment can make a huge difference to your productivity levels, motivation and general sense of connection to the freelancing community.

For one, freelancing can be an isolating career path. Spending days inside your home with no one else to talk about your projects can make you feel constricted and unimaginative, so it’s always good to have a colleague-equivalent to keep you company. This could be someone to bounce ideas off, check through your work, offer inspiration for your next move. They could even provide networking opportunities, invites to press events and meetups for others in your industry – leading to further potential work for you. The notion of a co-working space plays into these ideals, helping independent workers to establish themselves within a network of people with similar professions and mentalities, whilst retaining the free will working environment they enjoy.

Co-working spaces also provide a unique and modern solution to the declining surface of retail. With the physical act of shopping and experiencing retail heading cautiously down hill this year, more and more hybrid spaces are opening up in an attempt to bring new life into cities and towns for shoppers. Where the coffee shop itself is a relatively sturdy high street icon, innovations in home technologies are steadily battling to take precedence with portable coffee machines, pod kits and pocket-sized barista stations making it even easier for people to stay at home for their favourite coffee.

The concept of the workplace, too, is shifting. Modern offices are becoming increasingly flexible and diverse in their approach to the ‘work space’, encouraging employees to work from coffee shops, cafes and home studies in an attempt to increase productivity. The slow fading of 9-5 grind on the second floor means that co-working spaces are in even more demand than ever, offering up alternate meeting spaces, networking spots and casual conference centres away from the central office.

Plus, it’s not as if the demand wouldn’t be high. City workers, students, bloggers, freelancers, creators, artists, self-employed and modern working citizens would all benefit from the opportunity to co-create in a friendly space. Even the host coffee shops and cafes would reap the rewards from encouraging co-working in their properties; additional marketing opportunities, an increase in customers, higher profits, higher demand and a much stronger connection with your regulars. As an ex-customer service worker, I can promise you that you’ll grow to love the blogger that stays in one seat for the whole day over the busy group that bustles in and out in 10 minutes flat.

Yes, there are drawbacks. Co-working and creating in coffee shops doesn’t necessarily equate to high spending in coffee shops, and can clog up valuable table space with laptops, notebooks and sketch pads – unsettling non-co-working customers. It can also be a big pull on resources such as wifi, charging ports and electricity. But the potential to come out of it is enormous. Taking the concept right down to it’s essentials – look what JK Rowling did for The Elephant House. 7 books later and that cafe is as busy as it’s ever been, proving that those kind enough and savvy enough to invest in something as simple and fundamental as a co-working space are destined for good.

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Travelling alone can be exciting, magical, life affirming and incredible. You can explore the sites and cities of the world without every worrying about slowing someone else down, holding them back, or getting on their nerves. Your days revolve around the plans you want to make, and every journey you take is making you that bit more independent.

But solo travel is also a test of survival. When things go wrong, it can be really scary trying to find yourself in a place you don’t you know, and making yourself safe becomes your new top priority. Phone batteries can die, maps can get lost and plans can go askew, so it’s important to keep your cool and focus on your next steps ahead to get you to where you want to be. We’ve drawn up a list of our top Solo Traveller tips to help you relax and enjoy your adventures, safely and happily, before you set off!

Plan your routes 

Whilst you won’t be able to plan every single second of your trip, a little bit of preparation is so useful for making your journey there as easy as possible. Google Maps is going to be your new best friend, and you’ll learn that your internal navigation is a lot more reliable than you might think. One of the best bits of travelling alone is learning just how much you can cope with on your own, and your inner GPS will be a lot more trustworthy than you imagine.

Make friends 

Ok, so you don’t have to go on ‘walking trips for the alone and lonely’ to make friends. But simply chatting to people who offer it is going to make you feel so much more at home in a strange place. Asking someone for directions, opening up a conversation about ‘so where are you from’ ‘how long on you here for’ ‘what have you got planned for your trip’ can be a huge comfort if you’re feeling a little adrift.

Don’t be afraid of doing things alone

You’ve come on this trip alone, so you might as well enjoy it alone. Grab your laptop, grab your favourite book, a podcast, a playlist, and just explore. Eat in restaraunts alone, grab coffee alone, go sightseeing alone. Whatever you do, so long as you’re experiencing the culture you came here to embrace, you’re doing a good job.

Take photos 

One of the hardest things most people struggle with when travelling alone is a lack of purpose. You can feel like there’s no point to going into a coffee shop, to heading out to a beauty spot, to exploring the local villages…as you’re on my own. So make your purpose photography, or blogging. Think about returning home, and having nothing to show for your trip. So take photos, and give yourselfand reasons for venturing out into the world to motivate me into action. give yourself

Connect with your inbuilt survival mode 

Things can go wrong on holiday, whether you’re with friends, family or going it alone, and it’s always worrying to imagine. But where you are alone, and your plans start to fall apart, the best thing you can do is let your survival instincts take over. Don’t think ‘cool’, think ‘practical’. If your phone dies, where is the nearest place you can go to charge it – a coffee shop? Go in, buy a coffee and wait. The 7 wonders of the world aren’t going anywhere, and your safety depends on that phone. You lose your way? Head into a shop, and ask someone. Find a tour guide, or even better, another tourist, likely to be clutching several maps with one going spare. You start to feel ill? Head back to your hotel, and contact as many people as you can, letting them know your situation and figuring out your next move – calling a doctor, contacting your hotel/AirBnB host, or even planning your early trip home. There are safe spaces in every city and country, whether it’s a restaurant, hotel lobby, cafe or shopping centre. There are places to charge your devices, to grab some water and to calm down and figure out what to do. So don’t panic, you’ve already got this covered.

Although everyone is encouraged, at some stage of their lives, to travel the world, there are certain things to do before you set off to steady your nerve, and keep your cool as you go. Enjoy the adventure, and stay safe!

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Today I decided to write about Youtube. Youtube has played a major role in my life since I was 14 years old, and there’s barely a day gone by where I’ve not logged into the site. It’s been my best friend, my secret crush, my procrastination, my survival guide, my good and my bad times. It’s been my constant for over 7 years – but recently things have been changing. I wanted to take a look back on Youtube from the most significant points in my life – when I first began watching at aged 14, and now, aged 21 – to see how my perspective of the site and it’s users has changed over the years.

Youtube in 2009

So let’s meet 14 year old Nikki – lives with her mum, has just gotten her first puppy Lily, is doing terribly at school, has a poster of Rory from Doctor Who on her bedroom wall, and is absolutely obsessed with Charlieissocoollike and Dan and Phil.

292671_3387868009543_2055306503_nFor her, Youtube is the greatest invention ever made. She doesn’t quite understand it yet, and keeps accidentally stumbling on some very dodgy stuff through her un-filtered ‘recommended vids’ channel, but she likes getting to watch nerdy, socially awkward boys like herself doing weird things with their friends in their bedrooms. She tunes in every day, she leaves comments on her favourite videos and she, and her best friend, will spend hours re-watching PINOF 2 on repeat until the early hours of the morning.

Youtube is the place she goes to when she’s home alone, and Lily is getting on her nerves. It’s the place she goes to to watch full episodes of The Inbetweeners and catch up on old episodes of Hollyoaks from 2006. She’s just beginning to understand her anxiety, and the reasons behind her hatred for sleepovers and birthday parties, and Youtube is her perfect escape from the divide between her recently divorced mum and dad. She longs to go to Summer In The City, and is planning to go to the Lincoln Gathering with Jack and Dean when she turns 15. Currently, Youtube events are little more than a circle of people on a university campus or abandoned field, and the only fee you have to pay is the train ticket to the venue. She desperately waits for Dan and Phil to announce their upcoming wedding, and is comforted, somewhat unhealthily, by the idea that Dan Howell can drop out of university and still have a successful career. This belief will lead her to later abandon her dreams of going to college, and keep her in the same school to complete her A levels, in the hopes that she might end up accidentally Youtube famous one day, and her school days won’t matter at all. charlieYoutube is also a secret, a dorky obsession that she swears never to talk about with her ‘cooler’ friends. Charlie McDonnell and Alex Day have just moved into their own house, everyone knows that Alex and Carrie Hope Fletcher are secretly dating, and beauty gurus are that annoying part of the internet that 14 year old Nikki will never ever go near. She doesn’t wear make up, she wears cat whiskers, skinny jeans and hoodies…all the time. Youtube is her biggest dream, and although she never knows quite when she wants to start her own channel, she knows for certain that when she does, she’ll be huge.

Youtube in 2017

Now I’m 21 year old Nikki. I have a full time job, in a role that I love. I live with my boyfriend in our house in Nottingham, and we’re planning to move into a village and adopt a dog in the New Year. He has a car, and we’re going up to Scotland for his 27th birthday in February. I’m on medication for anxiety, I’ve written a blog for 5 years, but recently, with my full time role taking over my life, I’ve let it slide a lot. I miss my parents a lot, and my puppy Lily is…well to be honest, not much different. She still barks, wakes me up at 7am by jumping on my bed, and is honestly the cutest thing in existence. I’m an adult, I pay rent, I manage my money, I had a career as a freelancer, I’m experienced and mature. I can’t wait to host my own Christmas and buy my own sofa. I travel to far off places without having a panic attack, I have a completely different set of friends, the thought of getting married is not that alien to me, and I’ve just about learnt how to feel emotions correctly. 21686997_10212269690071471_1234784187930254968_o.jpgI watch Youtube once a week if I’m lucky. Over the years, I’ve watched Youtube change and grow into something I couldn’t bare to love any more. My priorities changed, terrible and wonderful things happened in my life that I just couldn’t escape from, and I found myself more interested in catching up with the news than watching Zoella open her own over-priced advent calendar. Every Youtuber I adored at the age of 14 changed, just as I did. Charlie McDonnell grew existential, and realised the pointlessness of Youtube, so many of the male Youtubers I once loved were publicly shamed as sexual predators, Zoe   and Alfie changed from lovable everyday people to self-indulgent millionaires, and Dan and Phil – who I honestly hoped would become more open and honest people, have still retained their frustrating image of secrecy and mistrust of their audiences.

Youtube is no longer safe. Less than half of extremist and far right videos have been censored, yet creators who swear or reference ‘crude’ content are de-monetised and punished. Small content makers are swept aside for clickbait titles from overpaid channels who pour little creativity into their videos, and create nothing beyond jump cuts of their own daily existence. Youtube events are outrageously expensive, and impersonal, to the point where creators don’t even have to turn up to make money from them (yes, Hello World, I am looking at you). I don’t have time to watch 30 minute long gaming videos, as those 30 minutes could be spent washing up, working, writing, cooking, spending time with people I never really get the chance to see or simply resting.  Through my job, I’ve realised just how inefficient my daily practices are, and how much time I waste just doing nothing. I didn’t make time for my mum, or my dad, or my dog because I was glued to watching Sprinkle of Glitter spend time with her family instead. I’ve watched over 500 beauty tutorials, and never tried out a single look. I’ve been watching Dan and Phil for over 7 years now, and what have I gained? Nothing but a faint nostalgic fondness for the dorky teenage boys I used watch telling stories from Phil’s old flat in Manchester.

anyaSo what about my Youtube career? For so long, I thought that Youtube would be the only path for me. I thought that it was certain, it was definite and that everything else I did in the meantime was just filling up time before I picked up the camera and began. I dipped my toe into the water once or twice, edited half videos and published terrible footage of an under-confident, unrehearsed and unpopular girl doing a homeware haul from her student bedroom. But I never started. And now, I don’t want to. I used to believe that if I died having never been Youtube famous, I would have wasted my life. But letting go of that mentality is one of the best things I ever could have done. That dream wasn’t build out of a love for the platform – it was built out of the anxiety of starting a real life, committing to a real job, and doing something ordinary. Perhaps a combination of ageing, and finally treating my anxiety has led me to this conclusion, but either way I’m glad for it. Now that the pressure is off, the guilt is gone. The guilt that every Saturday I spend doing nothing could be spent starting my Youtube career. That I should be spending my money on expensive cameras, editing software and pricey laptops. Why? Why not just accept the life I have and find happiness and love within that?

For me, I’m a cynic. Youtube isn’t going to last forever, and I don’t want to jump aboard a sinking ship. Maybe if I’d started Youtube at 14, I might have stood a chance. But I didn’t, and look where I am now. Happy, confident, sure of myself and doing ok. I would rather be me than Zoella, and that’s something that has taken me a really long time to understand. Her life isn’t wrong, but it isn’t right for me. I like the freedom to catch a train, to leave the house, to go to the hairdressers, to risk creative failure without the eyes of 12 million people watching me. I like working 9 hour days for little money, because it’s better than being paid to sit in my house all day doing nothing.

Right now, I imagine there are young people all around the world feeling exactly how I did. Scared to get a real job, scared to live a grown up life, and wanting make money out of their favourite hobby and become Youtube famous like ThatcherJoe and Tanya Burr. And if that dream is real, and achievable for you, go for it. But if, like me, it’s born of fear, don’t waste your time worrying about it. Find something else to make you happy, because society is changing, and there are more ways than Youtube to make your mark on the world.

When bloggers have talked about ‘falling off the grid’, I never really understood what that meant. I always thought ‘how could you not want to blog?’, and ‘it’s not that hard to Tweet once in a while, right? Your phone is right there!’. But having been near-silent on nearly all of my passion projects recently, I now understand it all too well. PB024249.jpgBlogging is a lot of work. Hard work, and it’s more than just writing the posts. It’s taking, and editing photos, maintaining social channels, updating themes, planning Instagram posts, scheduling content, interacting with other bloggers, going to events, buying new props…it’s a full time job in itself, and one I’m really struggling to keep up with right now.

Over the past few months, with a full time freelance contract keeping me busy, my blog has taken a major step back and I’ve barely found the energy to even check on it recently. Balancing a full time job and a blog is more difficult that I can even explain, and  I’ve felt that balance shifting more and more towards my job and further away from my blog than I’ve ever been before. Several times, I’ve even considered giving it all up, and just accepting that I’ll never find the time to write it again.

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Other elements of my life have also contributed to this sudden wave of unethusiasm, the biggest one being my anxiety. I had, what I feel, was close to a breakdown, and I was really really struggling to keep it in check. I felt like I was in a bubble, and all my brain wanted to do was feel normal, and unstressed. So I clung to my cosy evenings in front of the telly, spending time with my boyfriend and my family, and trying to keep my mind as inactive as possible to keep me sane, rather than doing anything productive. This worked for a while, but it all came to a head one day, and I decided to start taking anti-anxiety medication. PB024250.jpgThis was a huge decision for me to make, and something I’ve avoided for many years due to the stigma around medication, but I guess I always thought that my anxiety would just improve by itself as I got older too, and I was wrong on both counts. So I started a course of Citalopram, and although quite rough at first, has settled me now into a much more mellow and relaxed mind frame. Unfortunately, this means that my external productivity levels are still unhelpfully low. I didn’t realise how much of my dedication to work and blogging was down to the anxiety of never being successful with it, but once the medication made that prospect seem ok, I guess I lost that drive.

Slowly, I’m hoping to get it back, and to work on my blog and my other projects just as much as my actual job – no matter how tough it might be. I want to a be a person entirely dedicated to success, and achieving her goals, but unfortunately life always seems to get in the way. Today’s been good, and I’ve written more today than I have in months. So get me a month of Sunday’s, and we might just be back on track.

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I can’t promise my content will suddenly straighten out, and that I’ll be fine forever now. But I’m trying my best to keep it regular, and to open up more – because if all I can think about right now is anxiey and stress, I might as well share it on my favorite platform, right?

Thanks for sticking with me,

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I’m clinging onto that autumn style. I’m still wearing my hard soled Chelsea boots, and my house is still decked with pumpkins, rather than holly. I’m still desperately trying to hold onto the autumnal season, despite the onslaught of festivity already heading my way, and for me, there’s one sure-fire way to do it: a berry lip.

As a notorious lipstick-lover, the Kiko Gossamer collection was a beautiful find for me, and I honestly spent about 30 minutes combing through their gorgeous autumn shades. Finally settling on 131, the darkest and richest berry shade, I immediately fell in love.

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Snuggled inside a metallic bullet case, with the ever-so-entertaining clicky function, the lipstick itself is stunning to wear, and suits even my complex complection perfectly. Imprinted with the unmistakable KK symbol, the consistency is so appealing and long lasting, application is a dream, and I loved trying to out with different looks. Gold eyes and heavy blusher? It’s a match! Dark eyes and a sharp contour? Looks great! Nude make up and windswept hair? Still looks amazing. This is the lipstick you want to make that sulty imprint on your Starbucks PSL cup, to be showcased proudly as you windowshop down the high street.

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A smooth blend of deep red, chocolate brown and velvety pinks, the colour enhances already full looking lips and helps them to blossom into an unmissable feature of the face, that you’ll always want to wear. Not sticky, not drying, it’s a soft and rich texture which coats the lips, rather than sinks into them, making it perfect for cracked, winter skin. And best of all, it smells heavenly. A strangely vanilla-scented cosmetic, it’s so tempting just to lick off your lips, yet somehow it has the impressive staying power to withhold your hungry assaults and still look gorgeous after hours of wear.

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I’ve never had to re-apply, I’ve never felt clownish in the colour, and I’ve never felt out of place in any situation wearing the Gossamer Edition. Sitting at my desk, catching a train, snuggled up in a cosy scarf for bonfire night, or simply popping to the shops, if that lipstick isn’t on my lips – I must be having a seriously bad #bringcoffee day.

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My experience with Kiko lipsticks has never changed, and I’ve always been impressed by their gorgeous bullet selection – even more so now. If you’re looking for your last autumn  lip before the cherry reds of Christmas hit the shelves, I couldn’t recommend it more.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post! My blog is definitely a looking both a little sparse, and a little different these days so please bear me during this transition! If you like the new look Nikki McCaig, why not give it a quick share, or like and I’ll be running you down with gratitude!

Have a great week!

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Recently I wrote a post entitled ‘What To Expect From The Perfect Airbnb Experience‘. I had just come back from a birthday weekend away in Edinburgh, in the most beautiful Airbnb I had ever slept in, and couldn’t stop myself from documenting the experience. My flat had pristine white sheets, gorgeous furnishings, spotless surfaces and every utility I could ever ask for in accommodation – I loved it. The wonderful woman who owned the flat even sent me a small birthday present as a token of thanks for keeping the flat so tidy after we left, and it made our little Scottish adventure even more enjoyable.P9022237.jpg

The adventures you have on your holidays are only one small part of the trip. For a home bird like me, who struggles with alien cities and long haul travel, the comfort and security of my accommodation are a crucial part of my overall impression of a place, and can help me make a firm judgement on how much I’ll enjoy my stay there.

But I’ve always wondered what it must be like to host an Airbnb guest. To allow strangers into your home or property, with little information on them beyond a profile picture and small online biography. You take their money, and in many cases, never even see their faces – yet they sleep in your bed, use your bathroom, watch TV in your living room…It must be so strange to think that someone else will be calling your house ‘home’, even if only for the short amount of time they stay there.

P9022215.jpgWhich is why at every Airbnb I stay at, I do several key things to help my hosts feel respected after letting me stay. I can’t imagine the effort that goes into to making a home feel ‘guest-ready’, and I really do appreciate the work that goes into it. So here are my top tips on how to be the perfect Airbnb guest:

Communicate With Your Host 

P9022234.jpgIt’s always a little nerve-wracking staying in an unfamiliar home for the first time. Without the security and customer service of a hotel, your Airbnb is your responsibility alone for every day that you stay there. So if you have any questions – don’t be afraid of communicating with your host before your stay. If you want to know the wifi password, how the door locks, what the area is like – do all possible prep before your stay, not once you’ve arrived, as it gives your host time to get everything perfectly ready for your arrival in advance.

Highlight Issues Early

Similarly, if you do arrive and there’s an issue, alert your host to this straight away to give them enough time to fix it. When you first step through the door, make sure that everything you were promised is there – kettle, TV, locks, keys, electricity, bedding, etc… If anything is missing, the more time you give your host to deal with the issue, the better for both of you!

Keep It Tidy

P9022216.jpgWhilst there, your host might need to pop in and out for various reasons (sidenote: they should only do this with your permission, and if they do come in without asking and make you feel uncomfortable, this is something you should report to Airbnb/leave on your review as soon as possible), so keep it clean. Whilst your host should be ok with you making yourself at home in their property, it’s always difficult popping in to find clothes everywhere, piles of dishes, dirty kitchens and general chaos in your living room. So when you get a spare five minutes, make the bed, hide your dirty pants, and put your mug in the sink. Small touches can make a difference to a nervous host.

Be Grateful

One of the touches I leave behind when staying in an Airbnb (as opposed to a hotel) is leave a ‘thank you’ card somewhere obvious for my host to find. I’ve yet to have a bad stay in an Airbnb, so every card I’ve left has been fully waranted, and I’m always happy to show my gratitude to a good host. If your Airbnb has any small extras, such as milk in the fridge or a hamper of local food in the kitchen, this is great to include in your thank you card. But even if they don’t, this is still a person who has opened their home up to you, left it in a cared for state, and provided you with shelter for your stay in a new city – it’s always nice to show your appreciation.P9022240.jpg

Leave A Great Review

Whilst my list of reviews on Amazon might be a little on the short side, my Airbnb reviews are so important to my trip, and to my host, that I always leave one. Perhaps it’s a travellers anxiety thing, but I religously read the reviews of Airbnb accommodations before I book them. If there’s a mention of intrusive hosts, un-safe areas, faulty locks or worrysome neighbours, I actively avoid – but reviews citing beautiful views, friendly hosts, central locations and attractive decor instantly draw me in. Which is why, when you leave a review, you should be as honest as possible about your host – to boost their profile and status on the site, and to help them do well in their Airbnb experience.

Finish Off The Job

P9022208.jpgAs our stay in Edinburgh was one of my first Airbnb experiences, on the day we left, we made sure to clean up every inch of our flat. This might have been a little more neccesary for us, as Stephen had pretty much covered the living room in balloons and banners for my birthday (adorable, right?), which all had to come down without a trace. But our Airbnb host was so grateful, as it made her job a lot easier when expecting the next guests after us. So make sure you know your check out time, strip the beds, do the washing up, wipe the surfaces, pack up everything, don’t accidentally pack anything that isn’t yours (we might have been chased down by an Airbnb host once for somehow packing their hairdryer instead of ours), and make it look as good as it did when you first stepped inside.

Airbnb is one of my favourite ways to travel, and although hotels can be fun, there’s nothing like the indepedence of your own mini-home in a new city to help you relax. So be the best guest you can be, and you’ll be helping your friendly host to do an even better job of hosting you!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s post – I’m currently doing Instatober this month, which means a carefully curated Instagram post every day in October over at ‘nikkismccaig’! I’m using these posts as a form of online diary, so make sure to check out my captions as well to find out what I’ve been up to that day as well! Have a great week!

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P.S – if anyone is looking to stay in this gorgeous Airbnb from the photographs, I would highly recommend it. This beautifully decorated one bed in Cardiff is owned by Bec, who was a wonderful host, and inspired me to write this post!

 

 

The world of fashion is settling into a difficult period. With the summer heat still lingering above us and battling the sudden autumn breeze, dressing for the day, right now, is tough. Is it finally time to bring out the berry lips and boots, or should we still be matching up our shorts and sunnies?

I love autumn. It’s my favourite time of year, and I never stop being excited at the thought of conkers, hot chocolates, cosy gloves and falling leaves. But even I’m ready to admit that this year, the autumn season isn’t quite ready for it’s grand entrance. So where does that leave the fashion of the bloggers? Shorts and jumpers? Boots and t-shirts? As a community of fashion gurus, I’m sure we’ll find our way out of the wardrobes, but for those of us struggling to come up with the perfect look, I thought I would offer my own brand of summer-to-autumn inspiration!

Shades of Green

Green is one of those awkward slightly autumnal shades that seems too cheerful and spring-like to work amidst the golden oranges and browns of the season. But if you can class this hybrid of green, yellow and brown as autumnal, then this dress is as seasonal as it comes.

Picked up in Primark in preparation for an end-of-summer trip to Cardiff, I fell in love with this oversized shirt. The heavy check pattern and earthy palette brought me right up to speed with autumnal fashion, and actually looked pretty good with some heavy soled boots and a cute little jacket.

Thin and Sturdy

In weather like this, who knows what to wear. Is it time for the jumpers or the jumpsuits? The reason I love this shirt, or dress, or whatever it decides to identify itself as, is that it works for this changing season. It’s cool enough for sun, but covers up enough for autumn rain or chills.

The fabric is incredibly soft, and I loved pairing it with a thin waterfall coat to cosy it up a little. For the days out where the weather still making up it’s mind, this fabric is perfect.

Dress It Up

There’s more to life than dresses. And there’s more to this outfit than the staples. The number of ways this oversized shirt could be styled delights me daily, and I can’t wait to dress it up for autumn. Perhaps some higher boots, a thicker coat, a chunky knit scarf or a sturdy woollen hat?

Without losing sight of the dress’ key function, it could also be layered up – switching tights for ripped dark jeans or leggings, for a warmer look.

The only downside to this dress is that it might be ever so slightly too short for a full bend’n’snap, so it’s best to keep the granny pants hidden for this style.

Dressing for autumn and summer can be hard – so take my advice, and have fun with it!

Thank you so much for reading this week’s blog post, and I hope you’re enjoying the first week of autumn!

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Over the past few weeks, I began a love/hate relationship with my Instagram account. Whilst I want that cosy autumnal theme, I also don’t want to lose touch with my blog, and I’ve been desperately searching for that beautiful balance of ‘blogger’ and ‘Instagrammer’. It’s been a tough road, and I’m still working on finding the true brand for my online platform, but I feel like I’m finally making a breakthrough with my most recent selection of images!

But in my endless scrolls through Instagram, trying to find the right inspiration for my own profile, I came across so many of my favourite profiles, and for the first time, really considered the effort they put into their ‘grams. So I wanted to thank them personally for the beauty they bring into my blue-lit online world, and to showcase them to my readers, in the hopes that they might enjoy the wonderful content they provide as much as I do!

So here are The Instagram Accounts I’ll Never Regret Following (and the ones I simply couldn’t bare to leave behind!).

CharCompany

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A company I swear I stumbled upon in a dream, CharCompany have one of the most beautiful Instagram profiles I’ve ever experienced. Their clean minimalist style and cool monochrome theme is amazingly well choreographed, and I never stop looking forward to their next post. For lovers of natural sunlight, cool palettes, and female empowerment – go follow CharCompany.

Kathrin Salzwedel

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How anyone could scroll past Kathrin’s feed without drooling is a mystery to me. Her use of colour and style is such a pleasant theme to come across, and never fails to make me hungry! Food is incredibly hard to make look beautiful, and yet she manages effortlessly, and I love catching up on her daily food-grams! For a fellow foodie or health food junkie, definitely check her out!

Lisa Lostinlit

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As Autumn came around, I kept spotting more and more of Lisa LostInLit‘s photography across my feed, and I couldn’t help myself from following. Her wholesome rustic aesthetic is such a lovely way to present her love of literature, and always makes me want to cosy up with a good book and a cup of tea. Florals, books, wooden floors and blankets? What more could you ask for?

LarainLondon

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I actually stumbled across LaraInLondon whilst on a mission to find the most photogenic spots in Kensington for my recent trip there, and once I found her feed, I couldn’t stop scrolling! The use of pretty pinks and soft pastels make for a sweet and sugary profile, that works so well with her pops of red and green breaking up the palette. For London lovers like me, it’s your aesthetic guide to the city!

WishWishWish

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Carrie’s feed is an old faithful for me, whenever I’m looking for a little Insta-inspiration. Her use of dusty, warm filters makes for such an appealing profile, and I’m always stuck by wanderlust after seeing her beautiful travel snaps from abroad. From building to bush and tea to coffee, every image makes up a wonderfully warm collage of her life, and it’s so exciting to see where she’s going next! For the aesthetic adventurer, give WishWishWish a peek!

Alice Catherine

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As a budding fashion blogger, there’s no better style guide then Alice Catherine. Her cool, in depth fashion photos are so crisp and clean to enjoy, and I’m dying to know which camera she uses to obtain her gorgeous city shots! Whenever I’m in need of a little fashion-inspo, I know just where to go to get my style fix! So if you’re looking for your own Insta-wardrobe guide? Follow Alice down that fashionably dressed rabbit hole!

Rhianna Olivia

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I feel like this one might just be my favourite. Rhianna is such a wonderful blogger, and I’m so excited that her platform just keeps growing and growing! I love her Instagram captions just as much as her photography, and it’s so exciting seeing where life takes her next. Plus, she always knows the best place for a brunch spot, so for lifestyle and travel recommendations, go and find RhiannaOliviaB!

Jasmine Talks Beauty

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For an insane beauty junkie like me, how could I not want to follow Jasmine Talks Beauty? Her flatlays are always full of the most gorgeous beauty products on the market and I love her take on the world of cosmetics! Every product she snaps looks amazing, and I’m always reaching for my shopping basket every time she uploads! So if you want your top up of the hottest new beauty supplies, join the journey of Jasmine Talks Beauty!

Kate La Vie

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I first discovered Kate La Vie on the ‘At With Podcast’ by Lily and Anna, and was so curious as to what sort of blogger she was based on her voice alone. And her blog does not disappoint! But her Instagram is even better and every photo is softly magical and amazing, I can’t stop myself from having a quick browse whenever I get the chance. If you’re dreaming of wrapping yourself up in cosy soft adventures, and delicate home interiors, go for Kate La Vie!

And finally – if you want to catch up on what I’ve been posting on Instagram this autumn, why not follow me, at ‘nikkimccaigblog’ today!

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If you don’t love autumn, are you really even a blogger? Short answer: yes. Of course you are, but it’s clear to see that the blogging community really does love it’s autumnal seasons. Snuggling up with a large PSL, a mustard yellow bobble hat and a cosy knitted jumper is the perfect aesthetic for the seasonal blogger, and for these colourful months, our blogs and Instagram feeds will see nothing but brown, orange, yellow and red.

Having blogged my way through four autumn seasons now, I’d like to think of myself as an old hat at this by now, and thought I would share today a helpful blogger’s guide to the season of change.

Getting Started

Firstly, you will need to pick up the essentials:

  • A thick, cosy knitted jumper in one of the following shades: mustard yellow, fallen leaf brown, crab apple red, or pumpkin orange.
  • A pair of ripped skinny jeans in dark blue or black.
  • Some chunky brown boots – heeled or flats will do.
  • A tweed, checked or camel duster coat.
  • A knitted bobble or beanie hat.

Photography

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To really nail that seasonal photography, the best thing to do is to head out with your trusty tri-pod or Instagram boyfriend/husband/girlfriend/wife/best friend, etc…and pick up a coffee of some kind. Generally shots down appealing streets of leafy trees, pretty white houses or rural forests tend to work as attractive settings.

For perpsective shots, paint your nails a pretty autumn colour, and highlight that up-close commitment to the PSL with an Instagrammable hand shot! Wrap those silver-ringed fingers around your warm cup of coffee, and get posing.

For product shots, your autumnal props are key. A rainbow of fallen autumn leaves, a couple of conkers and acorns, a rich pumpkin scented candle and the most miniature pumpkin you can find – and you’re good to go! Flatlays are a great way to showcase your autumn collections at this time of year, and very popular with blog photographers, so it’s time to perfect that birds eye view!

Socials

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As autumn arrives in late August, the standard blogger procedure is to change your social profiles and names to seasonal themes – an orange Twitter profile, a spooky Halloween themed name, a cover photo of a collection of conkers. This also applies to your Instagram feed, stories, Facebook and Pinterest profiles.

To help you adapt your name or blog name to the Halloween themes, try to get creative with your use of emojis. Add a cute pumpkin, candle, autumn leaf or chesnut at the end of your name to help relate it back to the season! If I were to ‘autumn-ify’ my name, for example, I could go for ‘Trikki or Treat McCaig’. I’m aware it’s terrible, but my name is surprisingly hard to adapt.

Blog Content

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We’ve all spent that cosy evening in, with a mug of hot chocolate and our favourite red berry candle burning, catching up on the latest autumnal blogging posts in our feeds. Usually we tuck into these as the season approaches, to help us get into the spirit of autumn, but they’re always great to catch up with as the months go on.
So it’s time to set up your backlog of autumn-themed blog content.

Suggested Ideas:

  • Halloween Make Up
  • Autumn Everyday Make Up
  • Scented Candle Haul
  • Favourite Retailers for Autumn Jumpers
  • Autumn Fashion Look Books
  • Easy Autumn Home Decor Crafts
  • Small Touches To Make Your Home Feel Autumnal
  • Fun Community Activites This Autumn
  • Pumpkin Spice Cookie Recipe

Some dedicated bloggers even upgrade the headers on their blog, and their widgets to reflect the shades of the season – adding a pumpkin into their title to replace a letter, or a swirl of leaves underneath their font. This is a really special touch for the season, so if you’ve got that creative urge, then definitely give it a go.

Your Blogging Space

If you haven’t already brought in some autumn decor into your blogging space, now is the perfect time to get started. Get yourself some leaf-y fairy lights, a stash of large spicy scented candles, and some themed stationary, and set up your blogging station like the autumnal haven it’s dying to be.

Not only will this make you feel autumnal as you write, it will also help make any implusive photography sessions or Instagram story snaps fit to your online theme as well.

My favourite sets of autumnal deskware are listed below:

I hope this guide has helped any budding autumnal bloggers – it made me feel a little more seasonal just writing it! Have a fantastic week, and make sure to catch up with my Instatober over at https://www.instagram.com/nikkismccaig/!

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Hello September, you mischevious month. You’ve snuck up on the blogging community before any of us were ready. You’ve brought with you the renewed excitement for the autumnal season that we were entirely unprepared for. Our boots were sitting dusty in the cupboard, our bobble hats were un-bought and honestly, I’m not sure anyone was ready for the release of the PSL so early.

In terms of beauty releases, the heavy drop of the Fenty line has shocked the world, and September can now truly proclaim its title as the ‘season of many shades’. And personally, there’s a large hole in my bank account where a Deciem delivery now proudly sits. But what else is big news in September? The students go back to school? Summer ends and autumn begins? Winter is coming, Jon Snow? For me, September no longer embodies the feeling of new beginnings and change that I used to love so much when I was younger. Now it’s simply a continuation of what already was, and there’s nothing to look forward to (apart from Bake Off, of course).So this year, I’m setting myself some goals, and I’m planning ahead. I picked up some gorgeous TK Maxx stationary, whipped out my favourite monthly planner, and got to work. But what exactly do I want my goals to be?

I N S T O B E R

P9132997.jpgAs strange as it may seem, but I really do struggle with Instagram. With the crazy algorithm letting me down and knocking my confidence, I’ve been really battling to find my passion for the platform this summer. So I want to revive the Insta-love by fully committing myself to it this October, and uploading one post every single day. I’m used to using my Instagram Stories to document my life, but finding new beautiful shots to post daily? Let’s just say it’s good that I enjoy a challenge. Luckily I’ve been keeping a couple of handy little apps in my pocket just for this occasion – UNUM, the Instagram planner app which helps you to schedule your profile and organise your themes well ahead of time, and FaceTune, the Connor-Franta-recommened app which is great for editing even the trickiest of photographs. So to keep an eye out for my Instober, head over to ‘nikkismccaig’ for a cheeky follow!

B L O G  E V E R Y T H I N G

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARecently my blog went through a massive rebrand. I changed my aesthetic, my branding, my look and my theme all in one day, and it’s taken a lot of adjustments to get used to it. I feel like I’ve spent the entirety of August figuring out just what I want my blog to look like, and now I have to actually create the content for it. So with autumn around the corner, I’m determined to make my rebrand count and am going to posting whenever and whatever I possibly can. I never wanted to restrict myself to only posting content with a certain ‘look’ or ‘category’ and that seems to be what I’ve fallen into, and I’m really missing the diversity. Whilst I do want to establish myself as a beauty blogger, I still want to be able to pop a few baking or lifestyle posts in here and there every so often too!

T A K E  M O R E  V I D E O S

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI want to start a Youtube channel. I know that the critics out there are adamant that Youtube is a dying art (isn’t everything?), but I want to join in whilst it lasts. I pour so much of myself into my blog, but financially, it gets little return, and I love the idea of creating something so beautiful, but it does get lost in the sea of blog posts shared on social media. I want to create beautiful things that move, that have my voice as well as my words, and for this I need Youtube. I don’t have the funds for a decent camera quite yet, but I am working on it, so for now I just want to get used to talking to a camera again. Though I’m not sure anyone ever gets used to the sound of their own voice, I’m certainly determined to try.

P L A N  S O M E  F U N

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhilst right now I’m almost drowing in the amount of work deadlines filling up my calendar, I want to spend this autumn planning fun things to do instead. I want to schedule in family walks, and baking days. I want to pencil-in coffee dates and actually stick to them with the friends from uni I need to catch up with. I want to have more fun whilst the season allows it, and I want to spend more of my days laughing than frowning.  On my shoestring budget, this might be a little easier said than done, but let’s see what the season will bring.

E N G A G E

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd no, I don’t mean planning a dramatic proposal for my boyfriend in a big pile of leaves. I want to engage with you, my readers. I want to comment on your blog posts, reply to your tweets, say more on every form of social media, and connect with the people who connect with me. I want to stop being afraid of my own voice, and to use it to make some really amazing connections online. Every day I see new people interacting with each other and bonding online, and I’m tired of feeling left out in the cold. So here we go: prepare for some engagement, guys.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my September goals! As mentioned earlier, there is set to be a lot more content appearing up on my blog in the next few months, and on my Instagram, so make sure you keep up with the uploads!

Have a great week, and welcome to September!

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