Insta Reality: Or How My Insta Posts Are Built On A Web Of Deceit

Instagram is my favourite social media without a doubt.  Facebook is King when it comes to show off holiday updates, smug check in's at the gym or family outings to Frankie & Benny's.  Twitter is a hotbed of personal, political and often debatable view points and Snapchat is only really feasible if you are under the age of 25.  But Instagram, Instagram is the voyeurs dream.  It's all about the photo.  Sure, people read the captions but really the main event is the photography.  The posts on our feeds represent us and our lives and also, are representative of how we want to portray ourselves to other people.  We can chop out the rubbish bits and keep in the good bits.  In one small little square, we decide exactly what we want our followers to see and this enables us to create an idealised portrait of our lives.

 I yearn to be able to produce a flat lay like this.  Dan from  Miller Grey  is an expert.

I yearn to be able to produce a flat lay like this.  Dan from Miller Grey is an expert.

Unfortunately, what this also creates is a serious Instagram downside.  Insta Envy.  I am absolutely guilty of this sin and there's no doubt about it.  Who hasn't looked at the fashion bloggers and wished that they could cooly throw an outfit together, stand in front of a brick wall and casually pose as if no one is watching?  When I first started using Instagram regularly, I used to take part in the #mystylephotochallenge, a brilliant Instagram hashtag that gives you a daily theme, often fashion related.  I can't tell you how many times I tried to emulate these posts and ended up looking more like an inmate from Orange Is The New Black on identity parade.  I realised early on that I wasn't cut out for fashion blogging.

 Me attempting to get my kids to pose in cool clothes.  It was around this time that the boys had a long hair uprising.  I am not embarrassed to admit that I cried when it went.

Me attempting to get my kids to pose in cool clothes.  It was around this time that the boys had a long hair uprising.  I am not embarrassed to admit that I cried when it went.

I am also massively jealous of the people who take amazing flat lays.  Before I started using Instagram, I thought a flat lay was a snooze on the sofa and now I've got Insta Envy of people who nail it.  And I'm totes in awe of the feeds who are colour consistent, monochrome or otherwise.  So much restraint!  I struggle to resist a Magnum when I'm on a diet (actually, Magnum's are like wine - they are outside of diet restrictions) so the chances of me being able to monitor my grid format are next to zero.

Also, whilst I'm at it, I also have Insta Envy of the Mummy bloggers who have what seems to be a miraculous knack of getting their kids to pose in cool clothes.  Are they bribed with fidget spinners?  Drugged?  When my kids were small, you could guarantee that they would always insist on wearing the WORST outfits in their wardrobes.  I was always laying out cool little outfits on their beds - cut off denim shorts, rock star t shirts - and they'd appear triumphantly in a Spiderman tracksuit.  This weekend Joe's brother is getting married and I spent all day yesterday trying to convince Leo, without success, that it was more appropriate to wear a Ralph Lauren polo shirt instead of a Sheffield Wednesday football kit.    A word of warning for the Mummy bloggers though - I managed to keep my boys hair long, blonde and luscious until my eldest was 12, had to wear a headband for football and kept getting mistaken for a girl, at which point they went into revolt and refused to go to school until they had a number two (I'm talking haircut, btw).

It's safe to say that my life looks a lot better on the internet than it does in real life.  I'm not saying I don't have a lovely life, I do.  I feel ridiculously lucky every day that I am here and healthy.  But what I post on my feed is what I want you to see.  I don't post the rubbish stuff, I filter it out, shift stuff, chuck it behind the sofa, move things out of the way (family members included).

So in the interests of Insta Reality, I've thrown together a little breakdown of what ACTUALLY goes on behind the scenes of my posts.  


The Hallway

What You See

A clean, white tiled floor.  A bench casually laid with a pair of shoes.  A healthy ivy hanging from the wall, a palm in a basket and an over riding scene of peace and calm.

Insta Reality

School bags and shoes thrown with no restraint at the wall.  Two weeks worth of tumbleweed on the white tiles, interspersed with astro turf balls.  An ivy that has transience trauma from being permanently moved from photo to photo.  A half dead palm ravaged by kittens and a pervading smell of cat wee coming from the utility room on the right hand side of the picture.  


The Kitchen

What I Want You To See

A kitchen in which Ottelenghi recipes are cooked rustically at the stove, Nigella fashion, whilst waiting for my husband to come home so I can hand him a gin and tonic whilst he tells me about his day.  Lana Del Ray will be playing casually on the Sonos to welcome him and a small bowl of nuts will be presented upon arrival.

Insta Reality

Joe arrives home to Pointless at full volume, kittens on the island bar eating the remains of a pizza.  Falls over dog who is attempting to access the bin bag which has to be pulled out every day because it's one of those Brabentia look alikes that can't take anything wider than a yoghurt pot before it gets stuck.  Kids arguing over Rocket League in the background whilst he is presented with a cottage pie and an orange squash.  Attempts to talk about his day whilst I shout at him to wait whilst I post on Instagram.


The Sitting Room

What I Want You To See

A calm and serene environment.  A comfortable sofa casually strewn with cushions and sheepskins.  Tastefully layered rugs and throws.  An area to sit, chat and spend quality time with your partner after you've both worked hard all day (okay, him a bit harder than me tbh).  

The Insta Reality

Empty Dairylea Dunker cartons on the floor after the dog has finished them off.  Minimum of ten half filled squash glasses dotted around the room at all times.  Huge fuck off television completely taking over the entire room.  You Tube videos of people opening Kinder Eggs blaring out at top volume.  Pervading smell of dog from Buddy who likes to sit and look out of the window at all times, barking at every poor person who dares to walk past the house.


The Courtyard

What I Want You To See

A festoon strung secluded courtyard, perfect for sitting outside on a balmy evening having a glass of wine.  Music playing softly in the background, the smell of fresh herbs from the pots at the rear.   A relaxing area to sit with your friends and chat and debate long into the night.  

The Insta Reality

I live in Yorkshire, it's bloody freezing for 95% of the year.  It takes me half an hour to get all the indoor stuff outside and half an hour to bring it all back in.  I am constantly clearing my olive pots of cat poo.  The lights look amazing when they are on but I can count the amount of times on one hand that we've attempted dinner parties here as force ten gales batter us from both sides.  If you open the outside office door you will die quickly under a mountainous barrage of old bamboo furniture and boxes from interior purchases.


Ella's Bedroom

What I Want You To See

This is the room of a teenage girl who takes pride in keeping her space tidy.  A beautifully made bed with pom pom throw, cream carpet and fairy light photo wall.  Clothes folded and stored in the wardrobe, Alexa Chung book and Teen Vogue placed stylishly by the window.

The Insta Reality

Jack Wills duvet cover, bed made once in two years.  Rug covering cream carpet due to vomit stains on the floor leading to the door.  More knickers than a branch of Primark tossed across the room, countless pairs of trainer socks doomed never to be paired again.  Used cotton wool wipes piled on the dressing table, enough make up to open her own MAC store.  Clean clothes stacked in a corner for six months after I refuse to put them away for her in an attempt to get her to take responsibility for her own space.  iPad on constant Love Island repeat whilst multi tasking Face Timing her boyfriend.


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Insta Stories

What I Want You To See

I'm the sort of person who does really healthy meals for her family, lots of clean eating, makes a recipe led dinner every night.  My family LOVE fresh vegetables and would choose tofu over toffee every time.

The Insta Reality

My children eat chicken nuggets (I call them goujons to make them sound healthier) and pizza at least five times a week.  Trying to get them to eat five a day is a losing battle and I'm generally happy if they have a glass of juice for breakfast.  I make regular trips to Iceland to buy Slimming World ready meals. 


It's easy to look at other people's Instagram feeds and think that they have the perfect life.  But let's face it, who doesn't chuck stuff over the back of the sofa or behind the camera to take the perfect picture?  It's part of the fun of Instagram that what you post is a creative representation of you.  And you can decide what that is and how you want to portray yourself, whether it's interiors, fashion, food or family or whatever you damn well please.  But it's good to have a little bit of an Insta Reality check now and then.  There's a brilliant Pinterest quote that says 'being famous on Instagram is like Monopoly money. It's not real, so get over yourself'. Let's hear it for Insta Reality.