Thursday, August 28, 2014

What to do with Instagram photos {+ a little offer for you}

God knows how many folders full of pictures I have sitting on my phone, iPad, laptop, memory sticks, external hard drive. Slowly but surely I am beginning to realise that as fantastic as it is being able to take a gazillion photos and store all of them on a neat gadget, by forgetting or not getting round to printing them I am effectively devaluing the photographs. What's the point of them being tucked away on a device, only to be seen on a screen when or if I remember that they are there?

Like many, I took part in the 100 Happy Days project and chose to record this via Instagram. It made me think about the photographs that I took each day and how I shot them - resulting in some nicer than usual pictures I think as they had thought behind them.

With all of this in mind, I am making a more concerted effort to print my snaps and with the 100 Happy Days project, in particular, have a physical record of the little journey of happiness (or, you know, what the project symbolised personally). A quick scour of Twitter suggestions led me to a business called Inkifi who kindly gifted me a mini photo book full of photos that I could directly upload from my Instagram account to their website.

I'd never really tried printing Instagram photos before but having built up quite a collection of them, I hadn't quite figured out where or how I wanted to display them so this photo book was an ideal solution. I envisaged popping it onto a bookshelf in my new flat, changing the page it is open on every now and then. You know, the kind of prop that visitors take a peek at when they pop over and you yourself enjoy looking through a million times over.

First impressions ::

Inkifi are a pleasure to work with - polite, helpful, prompt - and their products are evidently of high quality. As you can see in the photographs, the picture quality is lovely and the paper is pleasingly tough too. I like that they have developed their original roots in photography and web design and applied their passion to a newer medium too. Even more of a plus that they use environmentally sustainable materials.

What I love ::

i. that I have my recent favourite Instagram shots all in one physical place

ii. that I can flick through the book and look at the photos as though I am seeing them for the first time because having them off-screen is WONDERFUL

iii. that delivery was super speedy and free of charge

iv. the simplicity of the idea

v. the brilliant quality

vi. the community feel of Inkifi's website (oh and they have a blog!)

Two little things that I wasn't expecting ::

i. the book is smaller than I expected but then again I'm not really sure what I was basing my expectations on...perhaps the size I wanted them to be rather than any concrete facts. Not really too much of a problem, however, as I'm just used to its size now.

ii. the order of the photographs didn't match the order I'd chosen them in on the website which, again, isn't the end of the world, but did mean that a photo that I didn't really want on the front on account of me being in a hospital bed is on the front. Upon ordering, I had arranged the photos in an order that meant something to my little journey through the last year or so, but you know, it's not a huge problem - the book still looks lovely and serves the same purpose! Not a deal-breaker, but perhaps something to definitely check with Inkifi when you order with them, (and you definitely should order with them...stay tuned for the offer at the end!) especially if you are giving the book as a gift.

If you too are looking for lovely quality Instagram prints, I would highly recommend Inkifi's range of products. As I mentioned above, delivery worldwide is completely FREE of charge. The photo book featured in this post can contain up to 50 photos. They also do huge posters, magnets, square prints, greeting cards and other bits and bobs. I think all of their products would make lovely gifts.

 :: Offer ::

Tempted? Perfect - Inkifi have kindly offered Fill My Little World readers 20% off  so just enter "bee20" in the discount box when you order. Wonderful!

Let me know what you usually do with your Instagram photos and if you order anything from Inkifi :)


As mentioned above, the photo book was kindly gifted to me by Inkifi but all context is genuine and all views are obviously my own! 

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Taking Stock #11

T A K I N G // S T O C K

Making :: lots of lists of all descriptions

Cooking :: infrequently
Drinking :: cocktails, iced tea, water
Reading :: "Everyday Sexism" by Laura Bates; "Instructions for a Heatwave" by Maggie O'Farrell
Wanting :: things to go well
Looking :: at beautiful sights in Spain and the Basque Country; for a new flat
Playing :: endless games of "would you rather..." whilst wandering Valencian streets
Deciding :: on where to move to!
Wishing :: for the usuals
Enjoying :: exploring new places 
Waiting :: for move-in day!
Liking :: getting up and being able to do whatever we fancy that day whilst abroad
Wondering :: what I will do living in a county that doesn't have a Wasabi branch
Loving :: "The Visitors" at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao - oh my goodness
Pondering :: how feasible it would be to start learning the cello given how awe-struck "The Visitors" left me
Considering :: whilst in Barcelona, on a scale of 1-10, how awful it would be if we didn't have a flight home (answer - minus 1294814910)
Watching :: "Child Genius"; "The Great British Bake Off"
Hoping :: it's all good!

Marvelling :: how awesome brunch options in Barcelona are
Needing :: furniture
Smelling :: sun cream, seafood
Wearing :: dresses, long skirts, Sketchers everywhere
Following :: Cath's blog
Noticing :: more PR e-mails
Knowing :: my way around the Ikea website pretty professionally
Thinking :: overtime 
Feeling :: excited, content, sad, nervous
Admiring :: beautifully peaceful locations
Sorting :: through all of my belongings
Buying :: microfibre cloths, a vase, a double duvet, work clothes
Getting :: excited, stressed
Bookmarking :: recommendations in Spain; kettles; mattresses
Disliking :: ends
Opening :: good luck cards
Giggling :: so much at the concept of a Haim tribute band called Hm (who just hum)
Snacking :: on peaches
Coveting :: bed frames; trainers
Helping :: people with things I know about
Hearing :: the most gorgeous, tear-inducing exhibition at the Guggenheim - see above...this will probably get a post of its own soon enough given that I have mentioned it so many times in this post alone.


Are you also taking stock? Find previous editions here and the original source here.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Travelling with Airbnb

You'll all know by now that I've recently got back from a trip around Spain and the Basque Country. Lots of people have asked whether we stayed in hostels but actually what we did was book accommodation through Airbnb. Not enough people knew what we were talking about so I thought I'd put together this little guide to travelling with Airbnb to show you how brilliant an experience it can be...

What is this Airbnb you speak of? Is it like booking a hostel?

Airbnb is a website where people who have a spare room in their home can advertise it as a place to stay for visitors. In exchange for a nightly rate (which is very often cheaper than a hostel), your trip becomes a great deal more authentic as you get to stay in a local's home, naturally learning more about the culture of your holiday destination and picking up some excellent recommendations for eating, drinking and exploring. For us, it was a brilliant alternative to hostels. During our last European adventure, we inter-railed and stayed at hostels the whole trip, which was a great experience for meeting other travellers, but what we loved about the Airbnb experience was that we had more space and freedom as well as being able to get to know our hosts and any other guests they also had with them.

Somebody's home? As in, going to stay with a STRANGER? Isn't that a bit unsafe?

Airbnb is pretty good at the security side of things. They get hosts and guests to verify their identification online, for example. Sure it was a bit weird the first time we did it as, yes, you are effectively going to stay with a stranger, but the way the website works allows you to see photographs of the hosts and their homes on their profile. Plus you get to see what their interests and hobbies are, what they do for work, and they get to see the same for you, so you never know you may end up making some friends!

The other great thing is that after a stay, each party is encouraged to leave a review of the other which is then visible to anybody looking at the host or traveller's profiles. So you can generally get a feel for the type of person the host is and whether you would be a good match.

You can also see which area the home is in - plug the address into Google Maps and take a peek on street view to figure out if it's the type of place you would like to stay in.

Sounds pretty good. How much time did you spend with the hosts though? Doesn't it get a bit invasive and awkward?

In some instances you will be sharing the property with the host and in others you may have an entire apartment to yourself. All of ours were live-in hosts.

Some hosts are more hands-on than others, but the majority of ours spent time chatting to us each day, suggesting places to eat and sights to see. On the night of the football World Cup final, we had just arrived in Mallorca and our hosts showed us a non-touristy spot for some tapas and beer, and in the end stayed and watched the game with us. It was a fantastic way to get to know the place from the viewpoint of a local (needless to say that Mallorca's party/Magaluf reputation overseas was very saddening for them) and to visit restaurants, cafes and bars that we perhaps wouldn't have had the confidence to stride into.

At another Airbnb stay in Mallorca, we were lucky enough to play with the hosts' naughty little puppy whenever we had the chance, and the hosts shared such interesting insights into their way of life. It was such an eye-opening experience getting to understand how the locals live.

In terms of privacy, all of our hosts respected our space and made us feel as though we could use their home as our own. Naturally, it did feel like we were staying as guests in someone's home so we were on our best behaviour but like I say, they were all kind and encouraged us to make ourselves at home.

Ultimately, like most social exchanges, people will generally reciprocate your behaviour so if you wanted complete privacy then I'm sure that would be respected, but to me that is a wasted experience.

Do you only get access to a bedroom and bathroom?

Not necessarily. Some stays include use of a kitchen and/or communal area. Just check on the property's profile.

When do you pay? Is it expensive?

You pay at the moment you book but the host doesn't receive the payment until after the stay. It is generally cheaper than a hotel and mostly even cheaper than a hostel (especially in Western Europe) but obviously prices fluctuate depending on season/local events.

All in all, I couldn't recommend travelling with Airbnb more. It was an awesome way to meet people and stay in some really beautiful accommodation. I loved that we stayed in streets that were more residential, but only a stone's throw away from the touristy stuff if we wanted it.

Oh and by the way, I have written this off my own back - no affiliation with Airbnb whatsoever - just really enjoyed the experience!

If you've stayed in Airbnb accommodation, what did you like about it? And if not, do you think it is something you might try?

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Barcelona // Brunch in Barcelona

My summer holiday this year was a little trip through Spain and the Basque Country with M. We started in Valencia, flew to Mallorca, then to Barcelona and then zipped to Bilbao and San Sebastian. I found all of those places very beautiful for different reasons but when asked which place was my favourite, I find myself saying "Barcelona" without even taking a moment to think about it.

Brunch in Barcelona may perhaps initially strike you as an unlikely concept but trust me, it was one that featured very highly on my list of things I love about Barcelona.

Top three spots for brunch in Barcelona //

1  ::  Federal

2  ::  Caravelle

3  ::  Taranna

What I realised very quickly about Barcelona is that it is a very cool city. The people dress well, they have vending machines which sell headphones and the dogs are just top-rate. How fitting then that there are hip places for brunch - a scene which has taken over London like Cosmo takes over my keyboard every time I begin to blog (he was here a second ago) but given its frequency nowadays it is a bit laborious finding somewhere that is actually EXCELLENT as opposed to "meh, that filled me up I suppose".

Within a 15 minute radius of one another, a rather marvellous little walk nearby the apartment we were staying in will provide you with my top three options in Barcelona. I could have quite happily eaten in all three every day for the rest of my life if need be - oh, what torture - which is quite handy as they also do lunch/dinner too.

Which of these looks yummiest to you? Where is your favourite place for brunch where you live?


This post is dedicated to Sally from The Cafe Cat who is a fountain of exciting knowledge and without whom finding somewhere to stay in Barcelona would have been a great deal more stressful. 

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