Monday, 15 April 2019


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Have you ever looked at someone's Instagram story, scratched your head and thought... How exactly did they do that? I certainly have, but after a few Insta-experiments, I think I've cracked most of the tricks that you see on the 'gram.

In fact, it became a low-key obsession which resulted in the creation of a whole Skillshare class on the topic, and now this blog post! So get your phone at the ready, let's get creative with Instagram Stories...

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1. Peek-a-Boo Effect

A fun way to drive traffic from your Instagram Stories to your main feed, is by teasing your latest post in your Story. That's where the peek-a-boo effect comes in handy. Here's how it looks in practice:

It's super simple to do! Pick up your phone, open Instagram, and have a go using the steps below!

The steps:

1. Open your most recent post in the Instagram Story composer.

2. Tap the pen tool or highlighter tool. Use the pen tool if you'd like the fill to be a solid colour (like the orange image on the left) or use the highligher if you'd like the fill colour to be at a lower opacity, so you can see some of the image peeking through.

3. Choose whichever colour you'd like. You can do this by swiping through the colours that come up along the bottom, or you can use the eye-dropper tool to select a colour from your image. BONUS TIP: Press and hold a colour on the bottom of the screen to unlock a rainbow of additional colours!

4. Once you've chosen the colour, press and hold over your photo to fill the image with that colour.

5. Now, select the eraser tool. Erase part of the image so that the photo below peeps-through. To get the polka-dot effect, choose the largest eraser size and tap the screen where you want the dots to appear. To get a zig-zag, swirl, or any shape, simply draw it with your finger using the eraser tool.

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2. Title Highlight Effect

I'm sure you know how to highlight your text on Instagram Stories, but have you figured out how to extend the text highlight like the images below? It's not quite as simple as tapping the space bar after the first or last word, because this doesn't actually extend the highlight colour, it just adds a load of blank space. There's a simple work-around to get this effect, you've just got to be in the know...

Below, I've explained how to make the highlight extend at the end of the text, but you can also do it for the front of the text, or both!

The steps:

1. Open the image you'd like to post in the Instagram Story composer.

2. Choose the text tool and a font, but avoid 'modern' and 'neon' as there is no highlight option for these.

3. Type your text.

4. Select the highlight option at the top left-hand corner (it's the icon with the letter 'A' and two small stars). This will add the text highlight. You can change the colour of this in the same way that you would change the colour of the text.

5. Once you've chosen your highlight and text colour combination, add a random extra letter at the end of the word. Don't worry you'll delete this later.

6. Move the cursor so it's between the last character of your text, and the random letter. Tap the space bar multiple times to extend the highlight.

7. Once you've extended the highlight to the desired length, move the cursor behind the random letter and delete it. You'll see that the random letter has been removed (obviously) but the rest of your extended highlight is still intact. Result!

8. Finally, drag the text and place it where you'd like it. You can place it so that it looks like it's coming out from the side of the screen.

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3. Drop Shadow Effect

Finally, there's the drop shadow effect. This is the easiest to try, you can probably figure out how it's done simply by looking at it! That said, I think it's worth sharing as I see so few people do it, and it can really make the text pop!

The steps:

1. Open the image you'd like to post in the Instagram Story composer.

2. Choose the text tool and a font, this effect works best with the 'strong' or 'classic' fonts.

3. Type your text. It's best to use capital letters. Choose the colour, this will be your drop shadow colour.

4. Tap the text icon again and type the exact same text as before, in the same font but with a different colour.

5. Move the new text over the drop-shadow text and voilà!

6. Repeat if you'd like multiple drop-shadow colours! NOTE: The text that you last touched will be brought to the front.

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There you go, three Instagram Story secrets to try out for yourself! I'd love to see how you've applied these tips! Feel free to tag my Instagram or DM me on @byclairep.

Want more tips and tricks? Luckily for you I've released a whole Skillshare class on the subject! To get access to How to Create Beautiful Instagram Stories: Up Your IG Story Game and the to the full Skillshare library, sign up here for two months free. [Please note, this is an affiliate link.]

Monday, 14 January 2019


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I'm not living in Seville anymore, but I found this post in my drafts and thought it deserved to see the light of day! Enjoy...

Working in coffee shops isn't really a thing in Seville. As far as I can tell, Spaniards prefer to keep their work life and social life completely separate, so the cafes there are more about socialising. However, I couldn't spend three months in a city without scoping out the work-friendly spots. There aren't a lot of them, in fact there are only three that I really love, so here they are...

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Calle Mata, 20

Wifi? Yes

This quirky coffee shop, with its mismatched furniture and fairy lights, is a great place to grab a slice of red velvet, and even a chocolate caliente if you're feeling particularly indulgent. They have wifi - surprisingly hard to find in Seville coffee shops - and plenty of space, so choose your spot and get to work!

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Calle José Gestoso, 8

Wifi? Yes

Caótica is popular for its handy location, selection of teas, and free wifi. But the best thing about this coffee shop is the rows and rows of books that a free to browse, perfect for when you're in need of a break. Of course, they are mostly in Spanish, so you'll be brushing up on your Español too!

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Torch Coffee Roasters

Ave. Paseo de las Delicias, 3

Wifi? No

Let me introduce you to the only place to get a decent matcha latte in Seville... A bold statement, I know, but it's the only independent coffee shop that I've come across here that do them, and they're pretty damn delicious here. Anyway, if you're not matcha-mad like me, you can also get coffee or fruit juices in this spot that feels more Northern American than Sevillian. There's no wifi here, but there is a big communal table where you'll find international students and local workaholics on their laptops.

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To finish this post I was browsing through my phone photos from when I was living in Seville, and it's made me seriously nostalgic... I must travel back soon!

Let me know what kind of content you'd like to read here, is it travel or self-help (like my last post) or something else entirely? If you've any thoughts, I would love if you could send me a DM on Instagram, @byclairep.