Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Hogsozzle 2017

Festival season is back! I honestly don't know how I used to get through winters that didn't finish just as the glittery, sparkly joy of festival time is visible on the horizon. "I don't think festivals are for me" I used to proclaim, "I'm not really a camping kind of gal"


First up is the pig-themed dreamparty that is Hogsozzle - it's the perfect start to the summer. The Turner Brothers are playing, there's a massive roast to 'pig' out on and best of all, the fancy dress theme this year is beyond perfect for my head-in-the-stars self...

COSMIC DISCO!!!!

Can you believe it? Hogsozzle was where I came up with my (deeply unpopular) hashtag - #bringbackcosmic back in 2015. It was the first time I ever saw someone decked out head to toe in pure galaxy print clothing...


I feel like I have posted this poor guys picture several times over the last few years and have never managed to find out who it is - if this is you, please comment below and I will tag appropriately!

So, fast forward a few years and I'm looking forward to Hogsozzle so much, we are going with all of the usual gang, The Turner Brothers and quite a few of our lovely friends. Check out the line up below, you have no idea how excited I am about the Electric Swing Circus, that's definitely going to be top of my must-see list...ahem...after the T-Bros, obvs.



But the absolute most exciting this about Hogsozzle is the dressing up! Last year I posted a series of inspiration posts and shopping guides around the ideas that our group had for the 2016 theme, Childhood Dreams, you can see some photos below and the links to each of the posts I wrote last year.


My beautiful friend Kelly went for a pirate look (click here to see the sources and shops that these fun costume pieces are from!) and she look fabulous, I loved her cute tutu skirt and her enthusiasm for having a cutlass! Click here to straight to my Pirate dress-up inspiration post.


Hayley went for a mermaid look and to be honest, she probably won. She fashioned a light-up bra from plastic shells and LED lights and it saved the day on a number of occasions (why the don't portaloos come with lights? Doesn't matter when your bra is brighter than the sun!) It earned her the nickname Titlamps, which we've pretty much kept for the last year and I know she'll be breaking out those spangly, light-up boobies again this year!

 I should probably apologise here for the terrible photo quality of some of these - I may had had a few too many mixed-in-a-tent gins by this point!


Here's an example of some of the beautiful headpieces I found last year to inspire her look, you can click here to go to the post where there's a ton of wonderful mermaid-inspired costumes, make-up and ideas for the festival season.



I was pretty lucky last year as I was gifted the most amazing Cosmic Space Lady dress from Tickled Pick fancy dress, I'm not sure if they are involved with Hogsozzle this year but I will still be checking out their site for accessories for our groups costumes. I made my headpiece and featured a DIY which I've seen getting quite a few hits already this year, I was really pleased with how it turned out but it got trampled on in the rush of packing up our campsite and it hasn't quite recovered - a great excuse to design a new one, complete with LED's, for this years super theme! Click the below image for my Cosmic Crown DIY.





I also put together some moodboards for cosmic-style make-up which I didn't quite implement last year, but this year I've gathered a huge amount of festival make-up and I'll be rocking at least one or two of these looks over the weekend! Click here to go straight to my Cosmic Inspiration  blog post from 2016.


So, there's a round up of last years ideas and aren't I lucky that my Childhood Dream was to have a Cosmic Disco? I'm going all out this year, with DIY's for various LED elements of our groups costumes and convincing as many people in our crew to get involved! Stay tuned - give my blog a follow on Bloglovin' or pop over to Instagram and follow me over there - @katyclouds.



You can buy tickets to Hogsozzle from their page here - they are on 3rd release so I'd snap one up if I were you!

Katy xx


Saturday, 21 January 2017

How Do I Get Instagram Insights & How Do I Work Out My Engagement Rate?




Recently Instagram made it possible to access, for free, the kind of information about your following and engagement that had previously only been available by paying a third-party application. Do you have access to Instagram Insights? This guide will tell you how to get it and I'll also be publishing a guide to exactly how you can use the information that it provides to grow your Instagram following. I hope you find it helpful, if so, please do leave a comment.

I'll answer any questions in the comments too, don't be shy!

To access the special icon that takes you to your Insights, you need to have set up a Facebook Page. I don't mean, you need to have an account, you actually have to be the administrator of a Facebook Page. Go here for a description of the difference between a Page and a Group.



You can click the menu option along the navigation bar on Facebook to find out what pages you have created and are an admin of. If you haven't created a Page yet, you'll need to. You can set up a Page about anything, but if you are serious about promoting yourself as a blogger or Influencer, it won't hurt to have one dedicated to you. You can invite your real life friends to like the Page and drive more traffic to where you want it, Instagram or your blog or wherever. Facebook Pages can be a little slow to grow - but you don't need to have any followers to access Instagram Insights.

Once you've got the Page set up, head back over to Instagram and connect your Facebook and Instagram accounts. Click the three little dots on the top right of your profile page and scroll down to Account - the option to hook up Facebook to Instagram, turn your account into a 'Business' account and access Insights should be there.

You'll now have a little icon available to you that wasn't there before...


I have no idea why I am a 'Government Official', that clearly needs to change! The other thing that you'll notice is you will now have a little 'Contact' button under your public stats, this is connected to your email and allows brands and fans to get in touch with you on the email you signed up to Instagram with. It's worth making sure it's your current address.

Here are some extra facts about Insights that might help you get started:

  • Insights are only available for images that you post after switching your account over to a business one, you won't be able to access stats from posts prior to that
  • Each section has more information, swipe right to view more on each stat.
  • Insights are also available for individual posts and you'll see a little 'Insights' link under your newly posted photos. What is the difference between Reach and Impressions? It's pretty simple - Reach is how many individuals your image has been seen by, impressions is how many times the image has been seen.
I'll leave you with a little formula you can use to work out your engagement rate. You can use this to work out whether you engagement is going up or down, whether you get more engagement on certain types of posts and you can also use it to pitch yourself to brands, who will be looking for the highest percentage possible!

Engagement (divided by) Reach = %

Here's an example from one of my posts this month -



66 (divided by) 343 = 0.192

0.192 x 100 = 19.2

This shows that 19.2% of the people that saw my post chose to interact with it.

These are really valuable statistics when it comes to brand endorsements. Brands will be looking for you to have an engagement rate of at least 20% to consider you for paid collaborations. Test the water by posting a few images tagging some of your favourite brands and seeing what your engagement rate is like. You'll need to leave the post up a day or so to get a balanced picture.

Pop back sometime, because I've got a post that delves much deeper into using your Insights to grow and develop your following lined up later this week - follow me on Twitter to stay updated :)

Katy x

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Create Quote Memes & Images For Instagram and Beyond!

In recent years, when I've wanted to create an image for the blog or as a background to a slide, or whatever, I've gone straight to Picmonkey and it's done the job perfectly, as well as speedily (I'm not sponsored by them, promise! In fact all my tutorials utilise the free features only, but I do upgrade my membership when I have a few pennies because the font selection is on point)

If you haven't tried it yet, do! Today I want to share my favourite way of making fun quote images for my Instagram feed. I've started trying to curate my Instagram feed a little more, and it's really paying off.

Here's a little tutorial on how I make my cosmic quote images - for more, come over to my Instagram feed ---> here

1. Find your quote - I picked one that reflected by aspiration for the year, to live more in the moment! Don't forget, if you use a quote by someone else, which many will be, it's ethical to give a little credit.

2. Head over to www.picmonkey.com and select 'Design' followed by 'Blank Canvas'

3. Choose a font, either from Picmonkey's library or one of your own. The font works better with a plenty of black space-  and write your quote in big  lettering in the centre (or, at a quirky angle!)


4. Now, you need a background. I like to use royalty-free images by NASA for a cosmic feel but you could use anything at all. Busy patterns work best. Select the little butterfly icon and then chose 'Add Your Own' - you can then select any image from your computer. It'll plonk it over the top like this:


5. Super simple - use the Overlay toolbox that pops up to select the Blend Mode 'Add' This will fill all the black space in your writing with your image. You can move it around using the little arrows to get the best placement. Then save and BAM, you have a tailored, original quote image to share.




I don't bother with this at the moment, but you could pop your name in tiny writing at the bottom and apply the same technique, if you are worried people will reshare your work and not credit you for it.

I can think of SO many uses for this snazzy trick - blog headers, infographics, cover photos...I'd love to see what you do with it so please do tag me in your images if you use my tutorial.

Keep an eye out, I'll be sharing how you can get access to, and then use, Instagram insights to boost your following and start earning money through your Instagram later in the week. Have a great day!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

2017 Aspirations & How To Be In The Moment



Welcome to 2017.

This is the year that I want to start fulfilling my dreams. I've spent quite a few years floating along, now, the time has come for me to create a life that I love. Whilst using that phrases jars with me just slightly since Zoella started using a similar one - it's still something I can aspire to. Also, I don't hate Zoella.

This year I want to blog better, work harder and earn more. I want to be a better mother, a better girlfriend and a better friend. I want to love my life, my career and myself harder and I want to strive to live a more positive existence but there's one goal, one aspiration in particular that has been the focus of my thoughts for the past few weeks. Like many people, I fail at resolutions. I can go back over old diaries, paper and digital, and tell you a hundred resolutions that I have made throughout my life that I never kept,and probably quite a lot that I ended up doing the exact opposite of.

A lot of people scoff at setting goals and aspirations at New Year. Oh, "it's just another day" and "what's the point I've never kept them". But I see the New Year, despite definitely being 'just another day' where things go wrong, as a chance to look at what I am not achieving that I definitely want to - and there aren't a huge number of other days in the year that I bother to sit down and mull over that.

I spend a lot of time rushing from one thing to another. Rush to get my son to school before the only bus that won't make me late for work sails past. Rush from the bus stop to the train station because there is only a few minutes connection time. Rush from the station to work because there's only just enough tim to run there and not be late. I rush through the morning trying to get everything down and I rush around at lunchtime because I have a 20 mins period to do things like, eat, go to the bank, take a top back, go to the post office. I rush through the afternoon willing the day to end so I can go home and then I rush to the school to pick Ramsey up before the 6pm deadline. We then rush to the shops and home before I collapse and I make dinner as quickly as I can because bedtime is approaching then we rush through a bath...

You get the idea.Life is a rush. All through these days (eat sleep repeat), I'm willing the time to hurry up so I'm one day closer to the weekend and at the weekend, I rush from eating to meeting to cleaning always thinking of the next thing I need to get done.

I found myself saying a few times after the holidays ended this week - it just rushed past. One minute I was drinking Prosecco at work and the next minute I was back at work opening my brand new desk diary you know? There didn't seem to have been a moment of time that took the duration that it should have. I freaked myself out a bit, is time speeding up? Am I going to wake up tomorrow and I'll be 78 and my life will have gone in a flash? I still think the answer to that question is yes, but now, I have a plan.

I am going to recognise each moment that happens.

It's a big one, I know. It's also impossible because who could do that? Every second? No-one. Maybe some mindfulness supremo that lives every second with intent or whatever, that isn't me. But if I set the goal to try and be in the moment as much as possible, perhaps the terrifying rush of life will at least seem to be going just a little slower and I can try and revel in the existence that I have.

When I was younger time seemed to pass incredibly slowly. I would lay awake at night sometimes and not be able to sleep and the time would seem to be taking eons to slip past. I've sat in bad jobs before and looked at the clock, only to look four hours later and see that just five minutes have passed. That doesn't happen anymore. Maybe because I really love my current job and there isn't enough hours in the day to do everything that I want to achieve with it, maybe because I'm older.

I've rambled a little here, but I don't really mind and I hope you don't either. I really love looking at at my New Year posts and seeing whether or not I have fulfilled my goals for the year - back in 2012 I wrote a list of goals that I wanted to achieve and it's been a real benchmark in how I feel my adult life is going, even though they are all pretty silly. You can read the full post linked here. I hope I can look back at this in the same way towards the end of year and have some input into whether I was able to put more of a focus on appreciating the moments of my life.

Blogwise, I want to ramp things up. I'll be posting more regular content giving insights into how Influences are making money and developing a whole industry under the umbrella of marketing, I'll be sharing behind-the-scenes look at some of the marketing projects that I'm working on with some major e-commerce and high street beauty and fashion brands, and I'll be looking to share plenty of gig and festival reviews and info. Happy 2017!!

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