Monday, 25 September 2017

Picmonkey Free Has Gone

I have advocated Picmonkey for years. I love the fun, fresh interface, the fonts, the overlays and most of all how  kept developing and growing it until it became almost invaluable to a huge number of people who haven't had the time, money or inclination to develop skills in other major design programs.

Over the years, I've written a bunch of articles about the free features on Picmonkey - some of those posts have been shared on the Picmonkey site and one of them is my highest-viewed blog post of all time. It still get's hits, despite being an old and completely redundant way of making your avatar a circle for social media - I still get questions on the post!

Despite all my tutorials featuring only the free elements of the program, I've paid for membership on several occasions, once for a significant number of months. I was also gifted a year long membership at one point as a thank you for the tutorials that I was writing. I strongly believe in supporting independent businesses in the technology industry and I completely understand that not everything can be free.

Last week I saw the title of the announcement email and my heart sank. I knew straight away that it was likely that something was going to changing at Picmonkey and I crossed my fingers it would be something positive. I couldn't believe it when I read that as of that moment, there would be no free access at all, other than a 7 day free trial which required credit card details. This obviously cuts the majority of students and young people who have relied on Picmonkey when their parents won't splash out on design software for adding fonts, overlays and filters to their online content.

The most irritating thing about the change is that because a long, long, long time ago, I've had a free trial which then turned into a subscription to access the Royale features (which are amazing, in particular the addition of the Hub) I am now not entitled to a free trial of the incredible new features that Picmonkey has obviously spent time and money in developing that now needs recouping. I ended up using someone else's card, with permission obviously, as I had just taken on a small freelance project that required a basic graphic. I was overwhelmed with all the new Royale features, especially the Hub, which offers a way of saving the layers in your images. This is going to make it really easy for me to whip up images for my blog, which are all just a background with two white rectangles at different degrees of Fade. The text effects are pretty good too - I'm grateful to finally have drop shadow.

Picmonkey said they wanted feedback and that they were listening but they didn't respond to my several tweets asking them to reset the system so you could have another trial if you had already had one in 2013 or something - so I've done what bloggers do best and vent these issues here - but I'm anxious to make it clear I absolutely think it's worth the money and I will be continuing to subscribe. I love the interface without the ads and the addition of new overlays that can be used in millions of different ways is fab too.

I hope they listen to feedback and provide some way of showing off their brilliant features without needing a credit card.

Katy x

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Copyright And Using Music In Your Content

Instagram deactivated my account! What’s a copyright warning? What music can I use on my Instagram videos?

These have been the burning issues in my inbox this week and I’ve been doing a LOT of research, so I wanted to share in one place everything I’ve learnt about the situation.

I work with a range of influencers in my day job – many of them, especially in our ‘beauty’ category, utilise music in videos that they create for collaborations and organically-generated content.

I'm not a legal expert, so my advice here is focused on the specifics of avoiding issues with Instagram and YouTube when it comes to using music that you don't have specific permission to use - I've included links below for various sources of more information regarding the legalities, what is classed as 'Fair Use' and what else you can do to keep your account safe.

Here is everything we know so far, and if you are just here to find out where you can obtain Royalty-Free and Copyright Free music for your own videos and content, scroll down to the bottom for the links.

Facebook now owns Instagram and this has meant a number of changes to both platforms. The ridiculous and useless integration of Instagram Stories into Facebook’s mobile app is one of them (seriously, do you have ANY friends that use it? I don’t.)

One of the more behind the scenes changes has been that Facebook as implemented a cross-platform music-tracking algorithm with a pretty high level of sensitivity. What this means for the average user is that even if you have music on in the background of your videos you could still be issued with a copyright warning and even account deactivation. We aren’t currently sure how far this extends and there’s no evidence that it applies to Instagram Stories, but I’d strongly recommend erring on the side of caution and not using music that you don’t have the rights to anywhere on either platform, especially if Instagram is a source of income for you as you could potentially be accused of using music without a license for commercial use 

I've spoken directly to several employees of Instagram and I have quite a bit of information about what is and isn't okay.
  • Don't use music you have purchased from iTunes on your Instagram videos or YouTube content. The permissions granted to you in downloading music in this way do not cover use as background to your digital content.
  • Do find royalty-free music through a third-party website - you'll probably have to pay a fee and make sure to read the terms and conditions properly - it might be okay for you to use a track for personal videos, but not okay for commercial use, which usually carries a higher licence fee that for personal use. Commercial use covers creating content for brands, by the way.
  • Don't think you'll be okay if you credit the artist - attribution is not a way out of respecting an artists copyright.
  • Do connect with upcoming artists that might grant you permission to use their music in exchange for a credit on your posts and definitely get their permission in writing and take a screenshot of the message, you can use this if an issue does arise to prove you have permission to use the track.
  • Don't try and get round the rules by 'putting music on in the background and pretending not to realise that counted - Instagram won't care and their software is clever enough to put up even small snippets of music
  • Do make sure you check the email address associated with your Instagram account, that's where any warnings about copyright violation will go to.
  • Don't make the mistake of thinking that old content won't be spotted - you need to remove any content you have up that has music that you don't have specific permission to use for your account to be completely safe.
  • Do tag any artist that gives you permission to use their product and write "Music by @soandso, used with permission from the artist"
  • Do check out this list (click here) of permissions granted by artists for their music to be used in YouTube videos

(This section refers only to Instagram as I haven't got experience in regaining accounts on other platforms)

If one video gets taken down, get permission to use a piece of music and put it back up. If you suddenly find yourself with an inbox of copyright violations, don't panic. If your account is still active (or even if it's not, see below), it's salvageable.  Go through and archive all of your content that has music playing. This might seem like a pain but it's nothing compared with regaining those 8, 12, 20 or 100K followers back will be.

Steer completely clear of using music for a few days and then make sure you read through the resources below to start building a library of music that you have permission to use.

If your account has been deactivated - there are still things you can do to regain control. Firstly, try and make a note of what you think might be causing the issue (Do you have old videos with Rihanna songs way back on your feed? Can you hear an Ed Sheeran track in the background of your prank video?)

Head here:

Fill in the form. My advice is stay concise, explain what you think is causing the issue and apologise. Make it clear you understand why your account was removed and will do everything to rectify the situation and it won't happen again. Steer clear of emotional pleas because they get thousands of requests a day. The team at Instagram's Intellectual Property department will review your case within a few days and hopefully will give you another chance - if they do reactivate your account, be aware that it will still have a flag on it that indicates to the platform that you have been caught violating copyright. You won't get your account back if you do it again.

If none of this works and you aren't getting anywhere with the form - I do have several email address for the IP department at Instagram and would be happy to pass one over - you can email me by clicking here and I'll tell you my most current contact information.

I'm going to add to this post regularly when I find further links, resources and information on this subject, so I'll try to keep the below up to date. Please do feel free to add a link to your favourite resource, royalty-free music, artists looking to connect with content creators etc in the comments and I'll be happy to add them here.

Here is a list of places that you might consider obtaining music that you have the correct permissions to use

I hope this has helped, I'm happy to answer any questions to the best of my knowledge and please do leave a comment if this post as been beneficial to you.

Katy xx

Friday, 15 September 2017

What is an Echo Chamber and Am I In One?

An Echo Chamber, when referring to the online community describes how you will hear your own views validated, amplified and reinforced. It leads to a dangerous thought process – “everyone feels the same as me” – to put it bluntly, they don’t.

Think about the people you follow and interact with online. If you are in a metaphorical Echo Chamber, most of the individuals that you interact and engage with on a regular basis fall into the follow categories. People you admire. People who inspire you. People who have similar jobs, social economic backgrounds and lives as you. People who have similar views. These people probably feel the same as you about the big issues of the day. Feminism, Terrorism, Racism, Equality, Global Warming. All big issues and most people have a strong enough view that they will openly admit they come down on one side of the fence. I haven’t met anyone who is ‘on the fence’ about global warming. I have met people who think it doesn’t exist and people who dedicate their lives to protecting the environment. These issues encourage strong views.

The problem is, the current climate on the internet is building to one of an almost fanatical intolerance towards any sort of debate or disagreement. I was recently blocked from a popular feminist’s Twitter feed because I stated (and I still believe, rightly) that it was ridiculous to try and ban the word ‘Feminine’ in relation to feminine hygiene products. Personally, I’d rather spend the time campaigning for girls who have to skip school because of their period in this county (this happens – google it) than trying to get yet another part of our standard lexicon banned – I don’t agree that seeing the word should ‘trigger’ anyone and I personally think that if it does, they should grow a fucking backbone – don’t worry, I know this is a #unpopularopinion but I’m still entitled to it. I’m #sorrynotsorry if that triggers you.

Deleting and blocking people who have different views to you isn’t going to help you accept and be tolerate of the world around you. It paints a false picture, that everyone feels the same way and you are on some sort of crusade together against the trolls that disagree.

If all of your friends are super-liberal, middle class white people around the same age, how are you ever going to be able to understand and interact with anyone not in that socio-economic group? If you are blazing through your life thinking that you are right and that’s it, because the group you surround yourself with completely agrees with you and anyone who doesn’t is triggering some sort of anxiety in you so deep that you feel the need to erase their terrible opinion completely from your mind and vision, you need to branch out. Not everyone is the same and not everyone will always agree with you and that is a beautiful thing that the most intelligent, successful and happy people in the world are able to understand.

Beware the Echo Chamber. It can convince you that everyone is in the same boat, that everyone thinks the same. It can encourage normalisation of behaviours that are not accepted in wider society. If every single person you know smokes Cannabis and talks about smoking Cannabis and treats it very normally, does this mean society as a whole is accepting legalisation? Nope, it just means you have surrounded yourself with people whose moral compass points the same way on this factor. Try going to a Woman’s Institute tea party and having a discussion about using CDB oil to treat rheumatoid arthritis. You won’t get very far.

This isn’t a dig to anyone who does delete people who disagree with them. You might want you online space to be all fairies and rainbows and happiness and butt-licking, but it’s vital to be aware that in doing so, you are creating a false and fragile community that doesn’t offer a real reflection of the world, in the wider scheme of things, you are doing something even more dangerous to your own mind – convincing yourself of a false reality and closing yourself off the a diverse and beautiful world of opinion, debate and disagreements.

I want your opinion on this post – negative, positive, on the fence, you don’t like my hair, whatever. All opinions are valid here – I don’t want to be in an Echo Chamber. 

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Beauty Boulevard & Burt's Bee's Festival Survival Kit

I will never get over the misery of having to pack up and leave a festival and evacuating Curious Yellow was actually too much to bear for a week or so - I've drunk a lot of wine, let's put it that way.

I'm hoping to do a full 'review' of the magical weekend The Turner Brothers and groupies had at the Gibberd Gardens in the next few weeks when I have collected photos and I don't get a pang of sadness when I realise it's another 339 days to wait until the next one. In the meantime, the thought of going to Boomtown and then Magic At Landed the week after is getting me through the misery.

Enough complaining! I'm here to share details of the fun festival survival kit I received in the post this week - I was gifted these items but not paid for my review.

So, confession. This isn't my first festival survival kit, previous kits had a focus on heat protection, allergy protection and safety. This kit has a focus on the real important stuff, glitter.

Pictured is a selection from the kit but the full content were:

Glitter Lips by Beauty Boulevard in Vintage Pretty and Breathless
iZ Nail Lacquer in Glastonberry and Dancing In The Rain
Burts Bees Facewipes and Ultra Conditioning Balm
Colorsmash Hairspray in Indigo
Beauty Boulevard Premium Glitter in Space Cadet and Pegasus
Glitz iT in Wild Violet

What more could I possibly need for a festival? I mean, other than a tent, a sleeping bag, a large bottle of gin...

When I saw the above glitter I thought, I probably won't use that weird orange one, but in fact it turned out to one of my favourite glitters ever, huge chunky hex pieces and a duochrome bright yellow orange sparkly. It was SO hard to capture in photographs but here is a shot of it on my and my friend Kelly along with some errant Turner Brothers...

I created a half face glitter look on the second day using the Wild Violet glitter, which is a mix of chunky hexagons and holographic teeny bits, the glitter from the Breathless Glitter Lips kit and the chunky glitter from the Pegasus pack of Stardust...

The glitters all come with a special gel or a glue, which is also infused with glitter, and a brush suitable for application on your face, lips, body or hair, I can't wait to take my growing glitter collection to Boomtown and hopefully wear some much more make-up heavy and fun looks. These pics are from Once Upon A Time In The West, which I had about five minutes to pack for and thought was going to be tiny and wet, so I didn't take the majority of my festival supplies with me - regrettable as it was actually a wonderful little event and the Turner Brothers performance was one of the best I have seen all year, love those guys!!

Have a great end to your week, and do give the links above a little click to check out the huge range of glitter, sprays and over awesome festival must-haves from these brands!

Friday, 21 July 2017

How Do I Get A Blogging / Influencer Agent and Do I Need One?

In my day job, I'm an Influencer agent at a major talent agency. I manage the calendars and collaborations of people with significant Instagram, blog or Facebook followings and I work on pitching them to clients to fulfil briefs that require influencers.

In a typical day, I might receive requests for:
  • Beauty Influencers with a high UK audience
  • Fitness Influencers that are currently not sponsored by protein brands
  • Mummy influencers with children under 5
  • Gaming Youtubers who want to trial new game apps
  • Travel Influencers who want to go on paid adventures
My job is first and foremost to fulfil the briefs that come in and to make sure that our department is reaching out to companies to let them know that we are here and we have the influencers that they need to fulfil their digital content needs. I spend a lot of my day talking about the three major benefits of Influencer marketing, raising Brand Awareness, gaining Follow Acquisitions for client's social accounts and generating immediate direct sales driven from an influencer posting content created around a particular brand.

Obviously, to do all of this, I have to have a roster of Influencers, bloggers and content creators that I can call on. These individuals need to span the complete spectrum, from very small, up and coming beauty bloggers who might consider creating a post in exchange for gifted product and a mention on a big beauty brands instagram page, to major Youtube stars that can gain millions of views and downloads for a new app.

I find these influencers in lots of different ways, including going to blogger events, networking with other agents and beauty PR's, scouring Instagram and...incoming applications.

The point to this post today, was to give some information about what an agent does and why you might need one. I speak to a lot of up and coming influencers and bloggers who feel that getting an agent is the next logical step to take them to the upper echelons of the blogosphere. To put it bluntly, it's not.

My job is not to develop you, not to grow you into a major influencer. That's your job. The content that you create, the organic content, is what will make you stand out among a see of want-to-be influencers and social media stars. I get approached by people with 10K followers in Instagram saying they are ready for an agent - you aren't. The brutal truth of the matter is that an agent is only going to be interested if there is decent money to be made and at that level - there isn't.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still interested in hearing from you. I often get invites, emails about gifting (or 'seeding' collaborations and other opportunities that our higher-level beauty influencers simply won't consider and it makes the agency looks significantly better if we are always able to fulfil a brief, plus I'm obviously interested in watching your Instagram and blog grow in popularity until such a time that you do perhaps require an agent.

So how do you know if you really need an agent? Here's a little checklist.
  • You are getting approached by brands and being offered paid collaborations
  • You don't know how much to charge these brands, but you know that your platforms are definitely worth money
  • You need help with invoicing and the admin side of Influencer work
  • You want to turn previous collaborations that have been on a gifting basis into a longer term paid collaboration with a brand
  • You are getting people pretend to be you on social media
  • You think it's time you were verified
  • You have more than 100K followers or subscribers on at least one channel.
If more than two of these sound like you, it's time. Get contacting agencies in the space you want too work.

Influencer platforms are springing up everywhere. I get several emails a day about them. From Influenster  to River and millions more, these platform promise that they affiliated with all the top brands and will bring the work to your inbox without you having to lift a finger and in some cases, they do work. I would recommend them if you aren't quite answering 'yes' to two or three of the above questions but you are ready to dip your two into paid collaboration.

An agency manages your Influencer career. You'll be assigned an agent who will be your go-to. You'll speak to them several times a day sometimes about opportunities, working with them to get the best rates and the best collaborations. They will reach out on your behalf to brands that you have always dreamed of working with and they will make sure all of the invoicing and admin stuff is done for you so you can sit back and do what you are good at - content creating.

Don't get me wrong, there's a place for Influencer marketing platforms and I don't see them as my competitor, but they fulfil different roles and it's likely you'll need one before the other.

Now you have established that you are ready for an agent and you aren't looking for someone to help you develop yourself as an influencer, but someone who can pitch you to global brands and start getting you those big-money deals - it's time to put yourself out there. I'd strongly suggest going for a well-known, reputable agency that has a good roster of influencers. Here are some other things to check out:

  • Does the agency have an office premises? You don't want some fly-by-night managing the career that you've worked this hard on
  • What's their reputation? Talk to some brands about the agency - you probably have PR contacts already and most of them will know the big agencies and the right contacts there - they might even recommend a particular agent to you
  • Do they have people that you admire on their roster? If they only have one or two minor reality TV stars from 2006 they might not be best for your 400K beauty platform
  • Do the people that they represent seem to be working quite a bit? A reputable agency will always be happy to share who else they represent - check out their Instagram feeds and blogs and establish if they seem to be getting good opportunities. 5 teeth whitening companies in a month would be a no, an amazing-looking trip to the Bahamas with a cosmetic brand would probably be more of a yes!
  • Are you able to speak to someone on the phone and if so, do you like them on first impressions? I won't take anyone on that won't speak to me on the phone.
  • Do you they ask you to share your Instagram insights and other stats and seem interested in verifying how you have grown yourself, or do they seem over keen and not interested in your history? This is a red flag for sure, you don't want to work with an agency that takes on people who they don't properly verifying - brands will pick up on that super quick!
Finally, do your research. The right agency won't pressure you into signing a contract or true and promise you all the best jobs. Working with an agent is about selecting and pitching for the right opportunities that will resonate with your audience and keep your following trusting you. No agent should ever promise anything - they probably won't be able to deliver and you'll be in too deep to know what to do. 

I'm happy to give advice on this subject, and even consider adding you to our roster if you have the potential and I believe that our clients will be interested in you. You can find my work email over on my Instagram, @katyclouds

Hope this has helped! Feel free to ask any questions in the comments section and I will reply with haste x

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Curious On The Horizon - My Favourite British Festival

I have a guest post up on the Curious Blog! **click here to be magically transported**

I usually start my festival posts with a countdown, but I'm going to forgo that today. The reason being, the sheer pain of getting through another weekend of normality before we are finally let loose at Curious Yellow after a year of waiting is too much,

When I arrived at Curious Yellow last year I took it upon myself to enjoy every single moment that we were blessed with inside those high hedges. I'd looked forward to it so intensely that I was certain it wasn't going to match up to my hopes.

This year, I've tried hard not to let the excitement build too early, but I have to confess, it's hard to help myself. Without a shadow of a doubt, the main draw for me is the gardens that the festival is set in. When we first heard about it two years ago, the location was a secret. I knew there was an avenue of trees from the press release but I didn't know anything about the history or magic of the place.

My recommendation? Don't Google it. To be fair there are so many secrets and angles and ways to explore this unknown little place that you probably won't spoil it, I certainly didn't, but the pictures available online don't do it justice. They don't give an idea of the scale of some of the biggest sculptural pieces and they don't portray the joy you feel as you turn a corner on a boiling hot day, barefoot and with some of your best friends and come across some completely and utterly unexpected, shady, perfectly designed spot that you are certain you didn't see last time you went along the same route.

I've had a top-secret chat with the wonderful Liz, whose ideas for getting the average festival-goer appreciating what us Curious veterans already love are hopefully going to instil the same joy into you that they have with us - pop over to my guest post on their blog by **clicking here**

I hope to see you by some giant Grecian columns in a weeks time, peering around the corner for the next surprise - I'll be the one with muddy bare feet and a massive smile on my face, trying to soak in every single second of the short time we get to take over this wonderful, overgrown, surprise-filled place.

Buy your ticket here.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Last Minute DIY Cosmic Festival Fancy Dress Ideas

This piece refers to Hogsozzle 2017 - long gone but the Cosmic DIY's are still awesome! If you are looking for Hogsozzle 2018, check out this link.

The countdown is on and it's only 4 sleeps until Hogsozzle. I've realised that I am no where near as far along with my costume as I was this time last year, so I thought it would be fun to put together a whole bunch of last minute,  or super simple DIY costume ideas for everyone else that hasn't finalised their Cosmic Disco outfits yet!

If you haven't grabbed a ticket yet and this post inspires you to get your intergalactic garbs out, pop over to their ticket site by click here and snap one up, I don't think there is many left!

Let me know if you plan to give any of these a try, would love to see them on Instagram if you do - just tag my account so I can see - @katyclouds

I feel like this would be an easy-medium project if you had a few spare hours and a bunch of pompoms! I'm kind of tempted to recreate this myself actually in a last minute crafting frenzy!

Can't find the original source of this but looks super easy, yellow dye, green dye and some iron-on fabric. Make it more festival appropriate by using glow in the dark or sparkly eyes! 
(From Pinterest)

A super easy guys costume - green morph suit from your nearest party shop and a DIY alien headband!

The next post you read here will be the rundown of the festival and how much amazing fun we had – check out my previous posts here for more information on the festival and here for my plans for the weekend – keep an eye on the Instagram feed of @theturnerbrothers and me, @katyclouds for all the action over the weekend, see you at the Sozzle! 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Use Biodegradable Glitter This Year At Festivals!

Less than two weeks to go before Hogsozzle (click for their website and tickets!) and I’m spending the majority of my spare time thinking about how I can possibly apply enough glitter to myself to satisfy my craving for sparkle and shine. Did you know that humans are attracted to sparkly things because of an in-built instinct to head towards water sparkling in the distant? Glitter fact number 1! 

Inspired by various glittery companies popping up round the country at festivals and, more I’ve noticed, at blogger events, I started doing some research into glitter and it's effects.

 I popped along to the BooHoo A/W Press event through work, I don’t blog about fashion much as I’m not very trendy. Also, I say things ‘I’m not very trendy’ a lot, which makes me even less so.  I was gutted to have missed Go Get Glitter, who seemed to turn up just as I had to return (slightly drunk on fruity gin cocktails and having met Stacey Solomon) to the office. I did manage to get a glitter bun hairdo from The London Makeup Academy, but they didn’t use cosmetic glitter, instead spreading a thin glue over my parting which I was terribly worried wouldn’t come out but a good hot shower had the glitter specks running down the plughole…

…which brings me nicely to my main point.

 I’m worried about microplastics and you should be to – this year, we can all do some tiny things to protect our planet just a little more than we have been doing. Here are some facts about microplastics, which I cite from The Royal Society Of Chemistry but there are hundreds of articles on this subject across the web.

Microplastics are pieces of plastics less than 5mm in size. Nanoplastics are as small as 1 – 100nm.

These plastics are small enough to avoid filtration and end up directly in the sea or other water supplies. They are also small enough to be consumed by fish and birds and can build up in the body, causing problems such as infertility, deformities, growth problems and death.

They are present in many of our cosmetics – 680 tonnes of plastic microbeads are used in a year in the UK alone – luckily, many companies are trying to find other ways of adding exfoliating properties, they can use coconut husk or other natural fibres instead.  Keep an eye out for silicones and polymers  in the ingredients if you want to avoid this. 

Plastic microfibers in clothing are also a threat to the future of the oceans – they are too small to be caught in your washing machine filter system.

The main threat is still the incorrect disposal and permanent storage of waste – the best way to help is to recycle as much as possible and try not to use too much plastic – it’s getting easier every month as more companies catch on to peoples feelings about this subject.

Through fish, the microplastics also have the potential to re-enter the food chain, studies on how this could affect humans haven’t had time to gather quantifiable data yet, but common sense tells you, it can’t be good.

Some companies are doing something about it...

Johnson and Johnson recently made the sticks on their cotton buds out of paper, instead of plastic. Cotton buds flushed down the loo can cause an environmental issue as well as asewage one so this is a great move on their part and gives consumers a choice. Read more about their campaign to reduce plastics here.

Lush have removed all plastic glitter from their products and have put out the following statement:

"we’ve avoided microplastics by switching to mica and mineral glitter, as well as natural starch-based lusters. Our ingredient suppliers have worked hard to develop these plastic-free alternatives for our products, all of which are safe for the environment."

There are also companies springing up that promote the biodegradability of their glitter as a selling point - and it definitely is! This year, I'm making a pledge to ONLY use biodegradable glitters ion our festival costumes and I'll be encouraging my fellow revellers to do the same. 

Most cosmetics and craft glitter is made from non-biodegradable materials such a copolymer or aluminium foil – this means it’s a danger to birds, entering the food chain or water system through their digestion of the plastic glitter particles.

Loving life at a festival, coated in what I am certain was not bio-degradable glitter.
Most companies that sell biodegradable glitter will shout it loud and proud, so it isn’t hard to find. Avoid using craft shop glitters at festivals, or cheap ones in huge packs from Amazon. Chances are these aren’t going to be biodegradable, if it doesn’t say it is, you can assume that it’s not. I was really disappointed whilst researching this post that post of the companies that I love for their glitter bums, glitter tits and general sparkle are manufacturing non-biodegradable glitters or purchasing their components from sources that don't supply information about their friendliness towards the environment. I'm going to attempt not to feature any of these sort of brands this year, whether that be here on my blog, or on my face when we are getting face-painting or hair glitter. 

Coachella Looks by Go Get Glitter

These types of glitters can be more expensive, but you usually get a better quality product that you get through other sources that won’t irritate your skin (craft glitter can be very rough and scratchy on sensitive skin)

Here are two companies I have found that provide biodegradable glitter and I would love if you would pop in the comments if you know of any more!

Go Get Glitter - one of my favourite Instagram accounts (click here!) and popping up at festivals all over the world at the moment, these guys state that their glitter products are 100% biodegradable on their website here 

MGMA is a Bristol based company that sells biodegradable glitter and promotes it's use on the web and in person, I haven't had the chance to try out their products yet but I'll report back when I have done! Click here to visit their Etsy shop 

And if you click here, you'll find some ways you can make your own glitter, although I haven't tested this out yet!

Later in the week I will be sharing all of my moodboards for this years Cosmic Disco themed Hogsozzle, I've got all the girls dressing up this year and I can't wait to share the pictures afterwards! 

Katy xx

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Dream Weekend at Hogsozzle 2017!!

(This post was written in 2017, even though we are now looking forward to 2018, it should make interesting reading if you are playing to hit up the Hog and I now have a special referral link for ticket buying - please do consider using it if you want to purchase a ticket - click here)

Hiii!! If you haven’t snapped up a ticket to my favourite indie festival yet, I’m going to attempt to convince you to in this post, by telling you exactly what I plan to be doing over the weekend…I can’t tell you how excitedly I am counting down the days until we pitch our tents for the first time this year, unpack our ever-growing festival supplies and start our weekend of ridiculousness with the rest of the Hogsozzlers (check their site by clicking here)…here’s my plan for the weekend;

Friday Evening...

We’ll arrive, almost at the same time, sort out passes and tickets and carry our stuff over to the best spot in the campsite – last year we managed to snag such a good place by showing up early,  even though we needed enough room for 10 tents we managed to keep a special corner all to ourselves and I want to pitch there again this year! I’ve been busy briefing everyone who says they are going to get there first exactly where this prime spot is…

We’ll pitch our tents and unroll our sleeping bags (but we definitely won’t unpack or sort out our stuff!) and then we’ll gather up our drinks tokens and head straight to the beautiful wooden bar on the top of the hill to grab some gin & juice and find out who is playing when. The line-up is filled with better-than-you’d expect music and acts for the price and there are a couple I really cannot wait to see, including Electric Swing Circus, Mirrored Theory, Little Brother Eli and obviously, The Turner Brothers.

Late Friday Night…

I’ll be rolling around on the hill, surrounded by LED costumes (although we’ll be saving the big guns for the Saturday!) drinks and fun art installations, I think the bath full of ballpit balls was super last year and the rocket ship boat has to be making another appearance given the theme, right?

Very, Very late Friday Night…

We’ll make our way back to camp and dig out our camping-friendly supplies, plastic bottles and disposable cups and make friends with our neighbours. This is essential as if we do manage to land the camping spot of dreams, we are pretty far from the main walkway so we won’t get the usual through traffic, we’ll need to ally with our neighbours for when supplies are running low later in the weekend – crashing other people’s tents and finding out what festival hacks they remembered to bring with them is always fun. This year I’m all about the bulldog clips for hanging things up in your tent, I really don’t want to ruin another camera/phone/charging device, last year cost me a fortune in replacement devices and I still haven’t got a decent camera for this year’s adventures.

Early Saturday Morning,

Our make-up will be running, the tents will be full of glitter and mud and chances are, we will have misplaced either a band member, an instrument or something else of value. We’ll climb onto the pile of bags in our tents (because we obviously didn’t bother sorting anything out in the daylight) and drift into a troubled sleep, half an ear waiting for the announcement that the food places are opening up…

Saturday Morning,

We’ll start the day munching on whatever breakfast foods we can get our hands on, hopefully sitting inside a big old rusty helicopter, because, where else could I possibly want to eat my breakfast? The first year we went to Hogsozzle the breakfast offering was…disappointing, to say the least. Last year they scored an absolute double whammy with the Cauldron and The Wingmen – I haven’t worked out if they are coming again this year – I believe they have now set up a bricks and mortar store in Sleaford but I can’t find them online – what’s happened to those guys? 

Saturday Daytime

We’ll pop to the nearby Tesco and pick up supplies, including lots of water because I can totally make it 27 degrees in my dream weekend right? We’ll eat ice cream and if there’s any surviving remains of our carefully packed picnic, we’ll probably eat that too, rolling around in the sun and slowly getting our costume bits together for the big costume night.  We’ll head over to the Hog Roast as many times as we think we can get away with and I’ll try to avoid looking in it’s big burnt eye as I chow down on the best pig of the year…

I seriously cannot wait to see the costumes this year, did you see that these guys won the costume competition last year? I mean really, who else could it have possibly been? So weird.

 People really go all out for this one and I’ve spent the last few weeks in a dedicated Facebook chat group with the fellow Turner Brother friends and girlfriends trying to come up with ideas for our costumes along the Best Theme Ever – COSMIC DISCO!! I’m pulling together loads of DIY ideas to share soon so we’ll be spending Saturday afternoon glittering up, slipping into our homemade costumes and basically coating every part of our bodies in as much cosmic silver body paint as possible as well as eyeing up the competition from our fellow campers…

Saturday Evening,

One by one, we will emerge from  our cramped tents like cosmic butterflies, all light-up bras, sparkly crop tops and giant moonboots (I hope!)
 We’ll dance the night away under a perfectly clear sky, knocking back jagerbombs, rushing from the main area to the hot, sweaty dance enclosure to the Pig Pen to the brand new Yurt, taking in as many costumes, acts and experiences as possible – I definitely plan to reach peak excitement and festival fun tonight!

Late Saturday Night…

I’ll lose all my friends and become completely disorientated, eventually finding my way back to our campsite (which is basically home by this point, even though I’m still sleeping on top of a pile of bags and other peoples groundsheets and all the water has run out and there’s someone’s mud-filled shoe in place of my pillow…) The other girls are telling me they will be having a sane one tonight but I’ll still be going until sunrise.

Sunday Morning…

Sunday is the day I’m looking forward to most! There’s a huge paint fight to get involved in (I’ll be hunting down a cheap white unitard on Amazon for this!) and it’s the day of The Turner Brothers performance on the main stage – the boys have been regulars at Hogsozzle for the last few years and I can’t wait to see them back on stage after a break over the winter, it’s been months since I heard them live and I know for a fact they have some fab new material – I’ll be taking over their Instagram and hopefully live streaming the whole thing, if I haven’t damaged all my charging devices by this point!

Sunday Night…

We’ll dance long into the night but since I’ll have finally unrolled my sleeping bag properly by this point I’ll almost certainly be in need of more than 40 winks so I’m picturing dozing, half out of my tent, partly listening what the true hardcore festival revellers get up to on their last night…

Sunday morning…

We’ll realise we’ve spent all our money and lost all our stuff but I’m definitely going to use this morning to cajole everyone into our second annual group photo for the records, as well as packing up all our stuff and beginning the countdown to the next festival on our schedule this summer, The Curious Yellow…

Phewwww, I kind of feel like I’ve relived the last two years there and it’s definitely got me so pumped for this year – if this sounds like a great weekend to you, pop over to the Hogsozzle website and grab one of the last few tickets before it’s too late – don’t forget to say hi, we’ll be the ones with the best camping spot and the flashing LED bras :)

Buy tickets here: Hogsozzle 2017

I’m working on a blog post about using biodegradable glitter this year, so you have any ideas for brands and shops that sell glitter that won’t harm birds or the environment, please do drop me a comment below!

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