Keeping it real


That should be the tag line of my blog:  “Keeping it real”  not the, “I am not a sodding potato” line it currently is (due to the fact people think my avatar shows a potato and not the duck that it is).

Over the past few months I have found more and more that everything in the social media world is stylised, beautiful, perfectly lit or just pretty.   Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with any of those things, but I think there needs to be a bit more balance.

Yes the clothes laid out flat with the trouser leg at a jaunty angle is beautiful in a picture on Instagram but that doesn’t really tell me what it looks like on.   Show me a slightly out of focus picture of you standing in a mirror taking a selfie too so I can see where it stops on your legs, how it sits on your hips.

The same with flowers.   I just threw out two bunches of flowers that I was given last week.   Way past their best and certainly not something you would find on instagram but that made me sad.   They still make me happy to look at because I think of the people that gave them to me.   The sun is currently lighting them up beautifully as they lie on the corner of the grass ready to go to the compost heap.   So why don’t I photograph them?  Well, because, you know, they don’t look pretty.

Food is another one. I follow lots of foodie blogs on social media, their recipes are fabulous and their pictures gorgeous.  I love looking at them, but if I recreate them they become my creations and therefore they are not going to be that beautiful.    I can try all I like to style them and make them look stunning it isn’t me.    And therefore it isn’t real.

It’s like me trying to pose like Victoria Beckham in a photo, losing her right arm as for some reason she doesn’t show it in photos (I am right, go and google her, full body, face on, she stands so you can’t see her right arm).   Angelina Jolie is another one, full length, front on, her right leg is often on show.   Both beautiful women but if I tried to do either of those things I would look like a tit.

I have been feeling like this for a while, that social media is trying to make us all conform to something we are not.   That the pressure is on to tweet in a particular way, not do too many Facebook updates, only put pretty things on Instagram.   I have no idea what we are supposed to be doing with Google+, if I had my way it would be putting it in a box and burying it but that is a different story.

Yesterday two things happened that really cemented for me why my new motto is “Keeping it real”.

I made Nutella brownies.   The recipe was straightforward.  Three ingredients.  Even I couldn’t bugger that up.   The recipe on line came with some lovely images that I could recreate, surely?

Apparently not.    I tried zooming in and it still didn’t really work


Mine are burnt around the edges and because I could only find one six slot muffin tray (I know I have two but the other one must be in the baking tray graveyard in the garage) I have six round ones and five “freeform” ones because they just sat on a baking tray.    And that is me.  That is how I cook.   And probably why I come up some real disasters.

Nutella brownies

Yesterday’s brownies tasted great but they looked rubbish.   They only reason one or two burnt is because I was chatting to Jonnie and forgot to take them out of the oven.    Will I blog them now?  Nope.   Because in my head the picture that goes with it isn’t good enough and wont encourage people to make them.   I told myself I will have to make them again JUST to get the picture.   But that is daft, surely?  Shouldn’t we be keeping it real, even if it is with food?

The second thing that happened is the photo at the top of this post.  It was a glorious afternoon and I was going to post this picture on instagram about how lovely it was to see blue sky and sunshine


I sat down to write my update and looked out through our lounge doors, well I tried to.   I then realised they were filthy.  Yes we have a window cleaner who does the outsides but he doesn’t do the inside, I guess that is my job and I have been busy doing other things recently so cleaning windows has been way down my priority list.

So I posted that picture instead saying it was my real.    And I got more interaction on that picture than I would have done if I had posted that original picture.

And it sparked a great debate about photos on social networks and how we use them, or what we share and made me finally realise that real is good.  Everybody’s version of real will be different, of course it will.  But my real is the picture at the top.

And from now on, that’s just fine.

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  • I know I said this to you yesterday but I believe Instagram has got too “professional”. It’s taken too seriously and, during our Twitter conversation, Fi had a really good point about the whole “instant” side of it. Social media is taking a weird turn at the moment where everything has a filter – and yes, I mean everything, including the dark side of it all. I know Snapchat is supposed to be the “real side” of imagery and a bit of fun but I don’t want another social media stream to read and to participate in. I often wonder where it’s all going to end. I’m totally with you on the “keeping it real” side of things and strive to do the same.

    • I know what you mean about instagram. I get tired of the “took a photo, edited it, uploaded it three days later” type thing. that is not what instagram should be about I dont think. As you say, the clue is in the name. I follow some people who have beautiful feeds, always on message and that is great. That is them, it works for them, it is how they are and that is brilliant. But to try and compete with that is exhausting and just not real.

      I think social media would be so much better if we kept it real. Whatever that is for people, just focus on keeping it real.

  • Great post Mrs B. I really struggle with this. I want to share my food recipes but my photos of my dishes don’t make them look particularly appetising so what’s the point? It makes me sad that Instagram has become so stylised, that we are expected to only post the pretty, edited images and we should stick to a particular theme. Surely the whole point originally was that it was instant? That’s what the name would suggest anyway! Yes I like sharing my photos of sunsets and skies and trees but I also enjoy sharing images of my son playing or being cheeky or of something I might have seen that has made me laugh and yet I feel like I shouldn’t be sharing them because I should stick with a theme to do it “right” and to grow my influence. Ugh.

    • We need our own # so we can find each other in amongst the beautiful stuff. Nickie has shared my post and used #NoFilter which I like as this to me really is the true definition of no filter. Maybe we use #JustReal and make a concerted effort to post just what we like.

      Blog your recipes. I would cook them, definitely!

  • I can’t tell you how refreshing this is to read. I’ve been feeling really down about social media lately and even saying that sounds stupid! I just need a break I think but I’m not prepared to stop posting cos my stuff/kids/world doesn’t look pretty or artistic enough. Life isn’t! And it’s a message I so want my kids to ‘get’ too. Real life is messy, untidy, imperfect and often dirty!

  • A very wise man who, if I remember, became top man of ICI , once said publicly:-
    When I read this I thought he’d gone mad but, on reflection, isn’t he correct?
    The effort to achieve 100% perfection must be compared to that required for 90% perfection!
    Another thought along the same lines –
    Just think about it.
    It’s true.

  • Yep, real life is far from perfect and I’m happy to post photos of my mishaps including mini scones that resembled the Leaning Tower of Pisa and some rubbish pictures I’ve drawn.
    Well done to you for ‘Keeping it real,’ I think it makes an excellent tag line for your blog.

  • I love this post! When I first started blogging, way back when, I was hard pushed to even stick a photo in a post! Now I love instagram and Pinterest and all those beautiful images but it really annoys me when I spend as much time finding and editing images for each post as I do writing them! I mean, we’re told that they need to work both on the blog and across various social media platforms, but it just takes so much time! (I’m actually only using two on my new blog at present and it still takes an age!) I like real, and my images are never highly stylised but even so it takes a long time. But then, as you say, it’s hard to put up images that are real when you’re trying to inspire people! (BTW my cakes often come out like yours as I mess up the timing or misplace muffin trays!!) So here’s to real 🙂

    • THIS. Exactly this. writing a post doesn’t take long but all the other faffing around does, like finding images, you are right!

      Cheers to real!

  • When I first started using Instagram last year I wondered how I could ever post my attempts at taking photos that were to me, just plain boring . My home isn’t stylish, I don’t travel to too many exciting places, I bake, but haven’t got a cupboard full of props to make my bakes look extra special. I fretted somewhat, got Instagram envy and like you, blogged about it. Then, I got wise, stopped being envious of fabulous, but obviously staged and often professional posts. I started posting mundane pictures like the dressings I had to go out and buy in a storm when my husband dropped a chair on his toe. Instead of the usual ‘how lovely’ ‘great shot’ comments , two way dialogues started and I started connecting to people and forming friendships. Yes, I still have a little go at styling. I might move away the ketchup bottle when taking a photo of a cake, but I’m not going to start buying things because they would look good in a photo. My Instagram account is now a story of my every day life. And I’m happy with that.
    Love your blog by the way, and how did I find it? On Instagram of course!

  • Love this T, I am not a big fan of the beautiful instagram feed, in fact when I do see a gorgeous photo I imagine the chaos behind it, but perhaps that’s just my house 🙂

  • Love this. My windows look much the same…my trick is to put the camera as close to the window as possible if I’m taking photos out of it – removes most of the smudges!

    I prefer to see an IG feed which is a mix and not a niche. Too much of the same thing is boring, and as you/others have said there’s lots more comments on the ‘non-pro’ IG pictures.