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  • Writer's pictureWendy Elizabeth

Screen Time & Instagram Dreams

Instagram fashion is my new guilty, frivolous pleasure. Moments before I drift off to sleep, I wander blissfully through the pages of Vogue, Vivienne, Astrid and Bloom - getting lost in their creations, and imagining if I should also wear a pink, frothy skirt to the museum next Saturday...

Like many of you, I try to limit my screen time, but then I get sucked into the endless quest for knowledge, the "you might like" suggestions, and all of the fun groups that just beg for me to join.

So, the other night (before my frothy, Instagram dreams) me and my pajamas were settling in for the night, when Facebook popped up and recommended a group to me... called... wait for it.... Modern Armpits.

Yes, seriously! Modern Armpits. I'm not kidding. Never mind that the thought and photograph made me more-than-cringe, but why on earth was that "something that they think I'd like"? I've never googled an armpit, or even looked up deodorant for that matter - so why was it even in my newsfeed? After I'd frantically deleted the suggestion, I needed some late-night comfort, and was immediately tempted by the anti-armpit-alternative, the English Cookery and Tea group.

Of course, I joined (at 11:30 at night) and was quickly inundated with cucumber sandwiches, vintage tea cups, and all sorts of beautiful bakes that tugged hard at my nostalgic, English roots.

I tried to upload one of my cooking photographs but was immediately refused and reprimanded for not posting the recipe with it. When I tried to add the recipe, I was told off again, as the recipe needed to be in a certain format. I re-did the format and was politely notified that there was a mistake in my recipe (!) and it wouldn't be published until it was corrected.

It was late, so I rolled my eyes, gave up, and my pie recipe lay there, pending sadly until the next day.

Not to be deterred, and still in love with all the niceties of other people's posts and pictures, I figured it all out, and finally managed to post a photograph and a recipe that was approved by the all-knowing, admin person. Within moments I got dozens of comments, and, I have to confess that my ego was a little stroked when everyone said how beautiful my pie looked. By the next day, there were hundreds of notifications and kind comments, so I boldly submitted another one – this time it was a picture of my Yorkshire puddings and their recipe. This was also slowly scrutinized until it passed the admin test, and a day later was deemed to be okay for posting. Within an hour, there were three hundred comments, including dozens of snarky words about the recipe; how theirs was so much better, was a popover tin against the rules of Yorkshire pudding law, and why didn't I have the courtesy to post it in both Celsius and Fahrenheit temperatures. By the end of Wednesday, I was exhausted from all the virtual chatter, and my newsfeed was overflowing with comments and recipes. It was just too much, and it was taking me ages to wade through them. My screen time had been fairly balanced before, but now, the tea, cake and Yorkshire pudding people had invaded my space in a very unexpected (and oddly unpleasant) way. While I loved my screen time, it was because I found it to be relaxing and part of my social fabric. I didn't need it to be stressful, and, to be honest, I didn't like the seemingly infinite number of rules on something that was supposed to be lighthearted and fun.

With a twinge of sadness (because I do so love pretty pictures of tea and cakes) I decided to say good-bye. I quietly left the group, and me and my pajamas snuggled back down into the joyful, frivolous comfort of fashion, family and friends.

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