10 Female Welsh Bloggers to Watch in 2018

10 Female Welsh Bloggers to Watch in 2018 - The Cardiff Cwtch

If there’s one thing that I bloody love about the internet (…other than Spotify, Wikipedia and my ASOS wishlist) it’s the fact that it allows you connect with so many like-minded, creative peeps you’d have otherwise probably never met.  Before I started blogging there were times where I felt incredibly lonely when it came to my own creativity; taking pictures, cooking and throwing my thoughts down was something I did completely on my own and only shared with my family and friends.  Before I started blogging I had absolutely no idea how many soul sisters there were just around the corner.  There are loads of talented Welsh Bloggers out there – waaaay too many to cram into just one blog post – but here’s a handful of my favourite online ladies as well as a few recent discoveries to get you started. 🙂

1. Rachel of “Rachel the Hat

I first came across Rachel over on Instagram. I was initially drawn in by her colourful daily outfit posts but quickly became hooked on her fun and friendly Stories updates and her down to earth personality.  She’s also got a killer blog and YouTube Channel, hosts Blogger linkups and was recently chosen by Laura Ashley as their Style Crush for December.

Suggested Posts: Not Keeping up with the Insta-Jones’ – Stopping the Constant Buying“, “Five Ways to Downsize Your Wardrobe

2. Christy of “Style Rarebit

I’m continually blown away by Christy’s daily fashion and beauty posts over on Instagram, as well as her clean and crisp looking blog.  And I can confirm that she’s just as stunning and as lovely in person as she is in her beautiful photographs 🙂

Suggested Posts: When am I going to ‘Make it’?“, “Flower Shopping

3. Gwennan of “Twenty Something Meltdown

If you’re into Bullet Journals and Stationary then you seriously need Gwennan on your blogroll.  As well as being a talented illustrator, she also blogs all things lifestyle over at Twenty Something Meltdown and was even nominated as Lifestyle Blogger of the Year at last year’s Blogosphere Awards.  You’ll LOVE her real and relatable Instagram posts.  (Also, I’m pretty sure we live right around the corner from each other – I have literally no idea how we haven’t bumped into each other down the supermarket yet)

Suggested Posts: Two Hearty Meals to Make in Winter“, “43 Things You Remember if you grew up in Wales

4. Naomi of “Teatime with Naomi

I’ve always wanted to go to Japan and so lived vicariously through Naomi’s blog posts and Instagram back when she was teaching in Nagasaki.  Now she’s back in the UK and studying for an MA in Creative Writing in Bath, her cosy blog is still just as addictive with posts about feminism, mental health and writing 🙂

Suggested Posts: You Are Enough“, “Why I Just Can’t Go for a Walk

5. Lottie of “This Girl Is

Lottie’s only been blogging since October but I love her style and her Instagram is absolutely banging.  Definitely go follow her if you’re not already 🙂

Suggested Posts: Coffee Table Stylin’“, “This Girl Is

6. Annie of “Annie Bishop

I absolutely LOVE Annie’s photography over on Instagram and her style carries right on over to her blog where she writes about music (she’s freelanced writing gig and album reviews) and her travels (definitely check out her “Cities Stories” if you’re planning a Eurotrip any time soon!).

Suggested Posts: Embracing a Settled Life“, “A Beginner’s Guide to Cardiff

7. Charlee of Rose above the Thorns

Charlee recently lopped off 12 inches of her lovely long hair to give to the Little Princess Trust, raising £500 to boot, which is amazing!  Based in Swansea, she also blogs budget fashion, beauty and lifestyle over at Rose above the Thorns and also helps run the Welsh Bloggers Twitter Account (also, her pup Beau is so cute!).

Suggested Posts: “Sustainable Fashion: What is it, and how can we make it more accessible?“, “How to Feel Pretty in a World Full of ‘Perfect’ Social Media

8. Charlie of “Charlie’s Chapter

Fellow Cardiff foodie Charlie blogs all things food and lifestyle over at Charlie’s Chapter, and I love seeing snaps of what she’s recently cooked up over on her Instagram.  Definitely one to watch if fresh and healthy cooking is one of your top priorities for 2018!

Suggested Posts: Cardiff’s Top 5 Breakfast Spots“, “Meal Prep Top Tips: Charlie’s Cheats

9. Leanne of Be Your Natural Self

I first started following Leanne over on Instagram as I totally admire her no nonsense approach to fully embracing life, caring less about “perfect” and being yourself.  As well as blogging beauty and lifestyle, she also sings and supports the Alzheimer’s Society.

Suggested Posts: “Why Instagram Perpetuates my Feeble Obsession with Acceptance“, “When I’m Skinny I’ll be Hayley Williams

10. Lucy of Lucy Mary

Lucy has only been blogging for a year, but you’d never know it!  It’s clear she’s put in so much work to her lifestyle blog Lucy Mary, where she writes about everything from Wellbeing and living with Cystic Fibrosis, to Fashion and Personal Growth.

Suggested Posts: We’re all Different, but Equal“, “80 Acts of Kindness

Have a fab weekend everyone! X

Shadow Bans and Insta-Shams: Are we to Blame?

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These days you don’t have to look far to find someone complaining about Instagram (it’s even been in the news). It seems like every fifth tweet I see when I do my usual breakfast browse of the old feed is a rant about bots and shadow bans and fake birds. Between the algorithm and the recent hack that wiped thousands of accounts and caused an engagement blackout for even more, it seems tougher than ever for brands and bloggers to build a meaningful audience on an app that’s barely recogniseable from its earlier versions.

It’s true; Instagram has completely changed from the app we all fell in love with back when it first appeared. Ah, those hazy, Valencia filtered days when we only followed people we knew in real life, posted blurry snaps of our breakfasts that would appear on the feed at – yep, you guessed it – breakfast time.  The days when three hashtags was considered over-doing it, when no one had even heard of a flatlay, and Facebook hadn’t sunk it’s teeth into the app yet. They were simpler times…

Oh how things have changed! Nowadays – with an algorithm that decides exactly what we see on our feeds and when, a plague of “Love this!!” bots and the risk of being mistaken for one yourself if you’re too active – it’s easy to think that the app’s actively out to sabotage its own users. It’s so easy to blame the app when no one sees or likes your latest post, and then strop on over to Twitter to find someone to agree with you that The ‘Gram’s out to get us (…and y’know hopefully draw enough tantrum attention to bring over a few new followers in the process – yeah, I see what you’re doing there). But, the cold hard truth is that we need to shoulder some of the blame ourselves on this one.

Aside from the obviously annoying in-app changes beyond our control, we – as its users – have brought on a few changes ourselves. I mean, the way we use Instagram and what we want to get out of the app has completely changed – particularly over the last year. Instagram has become far more than just pretty pictures – after all, there are plenty of those. With feeds that are scrambled and littered with ads, we’ve become fed up of scrolling. We just want to see the content that makes us smile, and nothing else. Because of that, we’ve become a fussy bunch when it comes to following – and we seem to purge our feeds more often than we pack them with new accounts.

Think about it; when was the last time you followed someone new, and – more importantly – stuck with them?

Think of following a new account like starting a new relationship. You probably hit that follow button because you liked what you saw (I saw the complementing tones and the balance of selfies, flatlays and outfit posts on her grid and it was “like” at first sight…), but what made you stick around?

It seems like we’ve all learned that beauty is only screen deep when it comes to Instagram; these days we’re after more than just a pretty picture, we want the whole package. We follow accounts that get “real” in the captions, instead of summing up with two words and an emoji.  And we want accounts that are honest and humble instead of all those smug-face Insta-shams. A little aspiration is good for everyone, but these days – and in today’s world – we prefer to be reminded of the great things we already have in life instead of that designer life we’re lacking.

Instagram Stories has become bigger than I think anyone could have predicted and a huge reason why a lot of people stick with new accounts. We like to see real life every day moments and flashes of personality; the good, the bad and the ugly. We’re forgetting one of the main reasons why we all fell in love with Instagram in the first place, something that Stories feeds into in a huge way; we all love to snoop!

And lastly, and probably most importantly, we like accounts that talk back (and not the like for like, comment for comment accounts and pods – because that isn’t supportive nor is it genuine engagement). I’m talking about accounts that teach us something, support and inspire. Accounts that go that extra mile to make us laugh, smile and feel better about ourselves.

So, instead of moaning and getting down about the stuff we can’t change about Instagram, maybe we’d be better off putting all pent up energy into changing the things we can. Post all those random daily highs and lows on Stories, make the effort to throw positive comments around, and just have fun!

What type of accounts do you like to follow on Instagram, and what makes you stick with them (or unfollow them)? 🙂

Help! I’m too Shy to Blog!

It’s a funny old business Blogging, isn’t it?  It’s a sort of introverted way of being extrovert.  A quiet way of being loud.  A safe way of being ourselves. I think most people start blogging because they need an outlet, a way of throwing their own unique brand of personality, creativity and voice out there on their own terms. Personally, I’ve always found it a bit difficult expressing myself honestly in person (without hitting the gin first…); I’ve always been better at writing than speaking.  Those who know me well, know that when I open up I’m capable of being loud and opinionated, funny and sometimes even smart… but that’s something that takes time.  With blogging though, all the interaction happens through cables, wifi and computer screens with profile pictures and screen names, and that gives us a bit of a buffer zone; we can be as up front and as honest as want about who we are (or want to be) without fearing that dreaded face to face, real life , real time reaction.

Or at least that’s how it is to begin with, when you first start blogging.  After a while – if you’re successful (whatever that means) – you’re going to be forced to step out from behind your computer screen.  You might get invited to an event, or into a collaboration with a brand which (Eeek!) requires real life, real time interaction with actual human beings.  You might suddenly want to write a very raw, very personal blog post, or, after months and months of keeping your face out of your blog photography, you’ll suddenly feel the pressure to reveal more of yourself in a profile picture or outfit shots with yknow, your actual face.  And yes, at some point your friends and family are going to clock what you’re doing and say those dreaded words, “So hey, I found your blog…” *Gulp*

The truth is that at some point, you’ve got to actually own your blog.

For a lot of bloggers this is where things get exciting, but for some, it’s a scary kind of exciting. Suddenly, blogging isn’t an exercise in introverted extroversion (…?!) anymore, it becomes real, and the inevitable question that goes along with that is whether you can actually do it – whether you can take that next step and put yourself out there like that.

So what do you do if you feel like you’re too shy to blog?  If the thought of talking into the camera on Instagram Stories or YouTube makes you feel sick?  When you can’t quite bring yourself to send that ballsy, opinionated tweet, or publish that honest ‘I cried while writing this’ blog post.  What do you do when you’re considering ditching an event because you’re just too nervous to promote yourself, or you’re thinking of deleting every single one of those outfit shots because, ugh, awkward?

Well, the first thing to ask yourself is whether you actually want to do any of those things.  Do you want share everything with the internet? Do you want to post pictures of yourself online or share your most unpopular opinions with the world?  If the answer’s no, then don’t do it. Simple as. Don’t ever feel pressured into fitting into someone else’s idea of what blogging should be.

But, if the answer’s yes and your own insecurities are holding you back, then it’s time to get over yourself, get real and just say, “Screw it, let’s do it.” The blogs that do well are the ones written by bloggers who are human, with flaws and imperfections who – instead of being crippled by them – embrace them and put them out there in the most honest way possible.  They’re not too shy to say f*** it, this is me.

I think this probably applies to everything else in life.  You know that old mantra, Sing like no one’s listening, Party like there’s no tomorrow, and Dance like there’s no one watching.  Wellmaybe we should all   just Blog like there’s no one reading.  😉

Do you ever feel too shy to blog?  Is there anything you’ve ever wanted to post but have been too scared to?

*DIY Insta Heart Collage

I first got into photography back in University.  Only back then I didn’t call it “photography”, it was just something I did.  Taking photographs to capture moments was something that – for whatever reason – I felt was important. Long before I had a fancy DSLR and was obsessed with Instagram (it didn’t even exist back then!), I lugged around disposable cameras on drunken nights out, drunken nights in, adventures away and trips down the beach (Swansea University is literally right on the beach).  It was a point, click, fingers-crossed world where you never knew how the photographs were going to turn out until you popped down to Boots to get them developed, and then laughed at them with housemates as you stuck them up on the wall with all the others. Photographs really were – as Angela Carter once wrote – chunks of time you could hold in your hands.  Good times!  And that’s probably the last time I actually got a proper film of photographs developed.

Nowadays I’m taking more photographs than I ever have in my life – and yet they remain in digital suspense on Instagram, my blog and on Facebook.  They can be seen by the entire world and yet I only get to see them if I log in and scroll!  What happened to those walls covered in photographs? So when Printiki got in touch with me recently and asked if I’d like to try their photo printing service, I said, yes please!

You can order prints, posters and albums of your favourite grams straight to your front door in varying sizes and shapes (matte or glossy), from retro Polaroid-style photographs to the square ones I chose.  You can even add text to them in their easy to use editor.  Choosing which photographs to print was the hardest part, and once I’d ordered them they dropped onto my doormat barely three days later! 🙂  I was really impressed with the colour and quality – and you guys know how much I love colourful things!

There’s a very boring bare wall above my sofa at the moment that Sunny and I have been having arguments over what to put up there, so I took a tip from my university days and decided to brighten it up with a heart shaped collage made with my new prints!


What do you think?  ♥  Do you ever print your photographs?  What do you do with them?

Why it’s Okay to Unfollow

I was flicking through my Instagram feed the other day.  It’s a strange mix.  There are the sporadic posts from friends and family (including my Dad; whose Instagram theme includes scribbling lines over Google Maps to show the world where he’s been walking), random pet accounts (cute!), mixed in with some online friends, beautiful bloggers and bakers – y’know for a bit of daily inspo.  (Oh.  And unavoidable adverts.  Ugh.)  I scrolled down – liking, saving, commenting – and then, I got stuck.

Wait.  Who the hell’s that?  Oh.  The account of a friend of a friend who followed me and I – politely – followed back.  Another grainy gram of a night out with some friends I didn’t know in a bar I didn’t recognise.  Why was I still following him?  Enough was enough. I clicked through to his profile page and my thumb hovered over the The Blue Button of Doom… but then something stopped me.

I felt guilty. Guilty about unfollowing. After all, they were still following me. So wouldn’t it be rude to cut and run? A prime example of poor netiquette? A sort of virtual dine and dash? I mean, by pressing that button you’re basically sending the message to that person, “I’m not interested in you anymore. Buh-bye!” Never mind the fact that they might be a virtual stranger or that you’ve never spoken beyond a couple of comments with emojis, it feels cold and cruel to hit that button. All of us have been on the other side of this at some point, so we can relate; we know how it feels when someone blue buttons us. It stings a little, and you’re left wondering what tweet, which instagram or snapchat was it that finally pushed them out the door.

Think about it. How many people are you following on various social media platforms that you’d quite like to ditch but don’t because you feel guilty? Those polite follow-backs, friend of a friends, old school friends you haven’t spoken to in a hundred years. How many tweets and Instagrams do you eyeroll your way through every single day just to scroll to the people you actually care about, to the content that makes a difference to your day?

Social media has become such a massive part of our every day lives. Scrolling Instagram is the first thing I do in the morning (or at least it used to be pre-puppy!) and the last thing I do at night, and like it or not, those internet relationships we forge through social media are becoming just as important and as valuable as our “real life” ones. They matter. So why are we hanging on to the ones that don’t – the ones that don’t excite, inspire or interest us – just because we feel bad for unfollowing? Would we waste our time like that offline?

I hope this isn’t coming across as bitchy or cold, it’s meant to be the exact opposite. I’d rather have a feed that’s full of mutual, meaningful relationships and content that I value and feel inspired by, than one clogged up with names I don’t recognise and content I don’t care about.  Wouldn’t you?  And it goes the other way too; don’t keep me on your feed and in your life because you feel like you have to, keep me there because you want to.

We need to shed the guilt about unfollowing someone, just as we need to learn to either ignore or live with that sting we feel when someone unfollows us.  It might feel personal, but it’s not.  Not really.  The relationship never got personal.  They didn’t get you, and that’s okay.  Hitting that blue button from time to time (and being blue-buttoned) is a necessary part of finding your tribe. 🙂