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Diary Of A Sole Trader Supplier ~ Part 1 ~ My first visit to Hidden River Cabins + my first reel!

Updated: Aug 2


Welcome to my little behind the scenes blog! This will be my place to share all the content which perhaps isn’t polished enough to be Instagram worthy, but hopefully still helpful when it comes to finding out more about my products, the venues I go to, other suppliers I work with and generally just life as a sole trader, which I’ve officially been doing for 7 months now since I decided not to return to my full time job after maternity! Here I'm looking back on my first visit to Hidden River Cabins as well as my attempt to start Instagram Reels as well as being punished by the Instagram algorithm!


Hidden River Cabins - Centre Parcs On Steroids


Wedding season began for me in February however I’m going to start with April 2nd as this wedding had been booked with me since October 2019 and it was so worth the wait! Hidden River Barns, an addition to Hidden River Cabins, didn’t exist when this booking was made, and I strongly encourage you to check out their website (www.hiddenriverbarn.co.uk) if a luxury barn wedding is your thing. The black framed windows on the barn are so photogenic and it’ll be a huge business bucket list moment if I ever get to dress the main barn. I’m based in Hartlepool and it’s a 92-mile trip for me so does come with a mileage fee on top of prices, and travel time would have to be considered for yourselves and your guests, but if you’re based up around Newcastle then it’s less than 1.5 hours drive. Their accommodation is like Centre Parcs’ lodges on steroids, and this is where the ceremony took place, these photos speak for themselves:


Safe to say my Airbnb didn’t look as good by the time I left Hidden River Cabins. I booked an Airbnb to make life a little easier for me and Keira as all the travel time back and forth would have been too stressful for both of us (FYI she’s a breastfed baby and at that time I was unable to leave her for too long) so while I take a hit financially, the experience of being at Hidden River Cabins was well worth it for me and having the photo of the happy couple and their baby with my arch as the backdrop is absolutely priceless. Keira also enjoyed her first trip to an animal farm where I discovered that she finds goats hilarious!



My First Reel & What's Going On With The Instagram Algorithm Lately!

I dipped my toe into the world of reels this month, creating and planning regular content is already something that takes up a good chunk of my time so I try to streamline as much as possible by using planning apps so I have a months content at a time and rotating through a cycle of saved hashtags I can just copy and paste. After trying a few different apps I've settled on using Preview to plan my content. Although some features aren't free like they are on other apps, I still like this app, especially their selection of free images and their helpful tips on Instagram stories. There’s so much pressure to perform on social media otherwise it punishes you by not showing what it is you do to people who have already chosen to follow you! Instagram comes second to my website in terms of where I get my most enquiries from so it’s worth putting a little bit extra of my time into. I just hope posts, stories and reels remain the only content that Instagram expects me to provide. Being my own marketing manager is one of just the many roles you take on when you’re a sole trader!


So I did it, I made a reel, and I was really pleased with it, as well as the 3000+ views it received (which is far more than my regular posts reach out to), however pretty much since the day I started doing reels, my reach on regular posts has plummeted. I've read little bits about how a recent update to the algorithm is punishing a lot of users so maybe this is just coincidence but please comment below if you have experienced this or maybe know what is going on!? Luckily my website is still bringing in a lot of traffic but when I've grown a business page for 3 years and it sets me back to the beginning in terms of engagement and post reach it's really frustrating!


I'm 4 months behind in terms of these blogs and highlighting the weddings I've been involved in so I have a whole Summer load of content to share with you but for my next blog I think I'll introduce you to one of my brand new products which I've yet to share on social media or my website but it will be attending it's first wedding in just a few weeks! Can't wait to share my most favourite hire item with you all, it's a big one!!


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Venue: Hidden River Cabins (www.hiddenrivercabins.co.uk) Hidden River Barns (www.hiddenriverbarn.co.uk)

Photographer: The Soul Case (www.thesoulcase.com)

Front cover images: James Hicks Photography (www.jameshicksphotography.co.uk) Julie Winspear Photography (www.juliewinspearphotography.co.uk) Harry Baker (www.harrybakerphoto.com)

Animal Farm: Walby Farm Park (www.walbyfarmpark.co.uk)

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