I am a Communications professional by background which, in today’s world, means that I spend A LOT of time on internet searching, exploring and learning everything there is to know about SEO, blogging, Social Media, etc.
The great thing is that over the years I have also discovered real gems in the process. Some very talented people who use their platforms wisely to create and share something interesting, useful and oftentimes beautiful! Rather than keeping these little pearls hidden away, I thought I would reach out to them and learn more about their journey. I hope you like this new type of post!
Lazily browsing on Instagram in front of the TV is one of my greatest talents (my parents would be so proud)! This is exactly how I found Ruth from @MySimpleLondon, while checking out what people were posting in my neighbourhood. I was immediately attracted to her feed – it is pretty, simple and relatable. What I find so interesting about Ruth is that she talks about being a mum and her family’s life while always protecting the privacy of her close ones.
Tell us a little bit about you and your family?
I am Ruth, the face behind @MySimpleLondon on Instagram. I live in South East London with my husband and my seven-year-old son. We love our little pocket of the city and feel so grateful to have a home and community here. I am a childminder, prior to that I was a Primary school teacher for 10 years. Childminding was a great option as I was able to combine my already established skills with the ability to look after my son full time. I am so grateful I made the choice to change – not only do I look after wonderful children but I have been able to create a much more balanced lifestyle which unfortunately I do not think would have been achievable for me as a teacher.
When did you join Instagram and why?
I started @MySimpleLondon in the summer of 2017. Since becoming a childminder, I have had a lot of time to think about my own well-being. One of the things I discovered unconsciously at first, then more consciously, was that I need creative outlets. At the moment Instagram is the perfect outlet for me because it is so flexible! I can take pictures on my days off or during children’s nap times, I can post pictures when I have time, often in the evening, and the Instagram community is so warm and encouraging.
Describe your theme, how did you choose it?
When I first set up my Instagram, I thought it was going to be about my area of London. Unfortunately, I am not out and about in South London every day exploring new places to drink tea. So my Instagram page has evolved to be about enjoying the simple everyday moments: maybe a cup of tea at the end of the day, noticing seasonal changes or cooking with my son. I do try to keep an element of London within my feed because I am passionate about supporting small businesses and creatives in the area which I live.
Tell us a bit about how you decide what to share on Instagram?
I share my everyday life on Instagram. There is definitely a tendency to share more of the highlights of my life, however I do try and reflect real life within my captions so everyone will know I am not just sitting drinking tea all day every day!
When I set up this account I made the choice not to include photos of my son on my main grid, though he sometimes appears in Instagram stories. There are many reasons why I made this decision, including the fact that he is now 7 years old and is very aware that I have an Instagram account and that photos get likes. I don’t want him to get the idea that the number of likes of a picture of him is important, and in anyway validates who he is. Another reason why I don’t want to include many pictures of him is because I do not want to create an online footprint for him before he is even at the age of being able to create his own social media accounts. Teaching children about e-safety is so important if I want to share photos or video privately of my son with friends and family; I always check if he is happy for me to do so. In the social media world our children are growing up in, I think it is important to teach them about control and what they feel is or isn’t ok to share online.
Do you have an Instagram strategy? Do you stick to a topic or you just share as you go?
I do not have a long-term Instagram strategy but there are certain things I try to do daily. I try and post a picture every day, and when I post the picture I try to ensure I have the time to be sociable with the community of Instagram. I try to stick to my theme: simple living and London. Sometimes I take a picture on the day and post that evening. Ideally, I have a couple of pictures stored up for days when I do not have the time or creative juices to take photos.
When I started out, I opened my account with the attitude “Let’s just see what happens”. I still feel the same today, so I don’t have an ultimate goal but I am open to opportunities in whatever form they come.
What is the greatest thing that happens since you joined Instagram?
The greatest thing for me has been developing a community; it is so lovely to interact with lovely people. It amazes me that people enjoy my pictures, make comments and privately message me!
What advice would you give to new parents who are or want to join Instagram?
I think I would advise parents to really think about the purpose of creating an account. Is it a private closed account to share photos with friends and family? Or are you creating an account for a purpose where you want to grow a following? If it is the latter, then I would suggest taking time to think about: Why are you setting up the account? Is there something you want to achieve through it? Have you got the time daily to grow the account? Are you going to include your family? Children? What will happen when your children get a bit older?
Having said all this, Instagram is a great tool, which can really work for parents, and my main piece of advice would be: have fun with it, enjoy it and don’t take the numbers too seriously!
You can find Ruth on Instagram @MySimpleLondon!