I still haven’t worked out what to do when I grow up! I’m mainly a writer, an artist, and a fairytale dressmaker with various crafty hobbies! Here (and on YouTube) I share bits of my life, thoughts, and what I’m learning along the way. Let’s find magic and inspiration; join me for this creative living adventure!



A review of The Insta Retreat – a complete Instagram course by Sara Tasker, aka Me & Orla

the insta retreat review

It’s September again (I know – where on earth did that come from?!) and that means there’s a general mood of New Term, which means new stationary (any excuse) and new beginnings. The cooler air of autumn seems to bring with it an energy that encourages me to make a fresh go of things…

If you’ve been following me on YouTube, you might have watched the video where I chat about my word of the year, ‘Create’ and why I decided to take a bit of a back-seat business-wise this year. Basically I felt I needed a break from all the business gumph that gets in the way of actually making something! I’d just had enough of it all. Except for Instagram.

(By the way, any links here to the course are affiliate links. This means that I get a small commission if you choose to join in, but that doesn’t cost you anything extra. All words and opinions are honest and my own.)

I’ve been following Sara Tasker for years – she has a beautifully written blog, Me and Orla, a fascinating podcast, and I adore her Instagram. After devouring Sara’s inspiring book, Hashtag Authentic, I knew I wanted more, so I signed up for The Insta Retreat this time last year. I’ve absolutely loved it, so I want to make sure you know about it too!

What is The Insta Retreat?
It is a complete online Instagram course with everything you’d need to know to make your Instagram account as perfect as it possibly can be for what you want it to be. It delves into why you want to reach people with your posts, helps you discover your style, teaches you how to take better photos, write engaging captions and shows the best practice for how to use Instagram. And I love the fact that you have lifetime access to the course, so you can take it as many times as you want; see all future updates; can join in the private Facebook group, and can watch the zoom coaching calls.

How long is the course and what is included?
The course runs for six weeks, and during that time there are two live zooms every week you can join in with – one about anything relating to Instagram, and one with guest coach Sally Hardie alongside Sara, about mindset issues. This is actually one of my favourite things about the course and really helped me feel connected with other like-minded people who I feel I’d really get on with if we ever met in real life! (And oh my goodness it was rather a life-line through the first half of this crappy year where interactions with anyone were so limited.) So if you want to speak to Sara and ask for her advice, this is the way to do it. I madly put my name down for the first week’s call and luckily she didn’t get to my question! Speaking is not my strong point and I would’ve just made a fool of myself like I usually do! But rest assured if you’re nervous too, you won’t be the only one and I could tell there were others who got their Big Girl Pants on and just did it. It’s such a supportive place to be, I know rationally that there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Anyway, if you’re not reached on the first zoom call you ask your question; no doubt she will get to you in the next couple of sessions. I also found, particularly with the mindset calls, that I could relate to many other people’s issues, so they were always helpful to watch.

Have a look at the Insta Retreat course page because I’m not going to remember everything that is included!

Best instagram course

Are there any negatives about the course?
Well no. The only thing I’ll mention is that the course blurb mentions a private members only podcast. I was imagining something similar to her podcast, Hashtag Authentic, but more specific to Instagram. However what that actually means is that you get an audio version of the course read out by Sara. There are also recordings of the zoom sessions. I had really looked forward to the new podcast, particularly for the times when Hashtag Authentic and Letters from a Hopeful Creative aren’t running, so I was disappointed. However, the audio version is brilliant to have included and I listened to the course as well as read it each week to help all the information sink in!

Does it work?
The answer to that depends entirely on you and what you want out of it. There are definitely people who have taken The Insta Retreat and have reached amazing success from it and have even managed to make their creative hobby earn a living for them. Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case for me. I took the course for my business account, Threads of a Fairytale, in the hope that I would reach a larger targeted audience with it and make some sales. I put in the work and the time and in my humble opinion my account has massively improved, but sadly my numbers have not. I don’t think the course can be blamed for that. And it doesn’t mean to say it hasn’t benefitted my business. I did the course thoroughly last autumn; ran through it again in spring, and dipped in and out while joining the Facebook group and zoom sessions in summer. During that time I came to the conclusion that my fairytale clothing is just too niche! Well that’s a chat for another day! Also, one of the best ways to grow is to engage and connect with other people, and being an introvert both on and offline, that’s the bit I find the hardest, and where I still need to put more time and effort.

the insta retreat

How did you benefit from taking The Insta Retreat?

  • My understanding of what resonates with other people has improved.
  • I have greater clarity for the purpose of my Instagram account.
  • I have received so much wisdom from the zoom sessions.
  • I feel part of a community of like-minded creative people.
  • I love knowing there is always support if I need it in the Facebook group.
  • I’ve discovered how to take more creative photos for my business.
  • My marketing for my business outside of Instagram has improved.
  • It gave me better focus for my business moving forward.

When can I take the Insta Retreat?
I’m very excited to be taking the course again and it kicks off on Monday 4th of October. After the summer course ended, I lost some enthusiasm for Instagram really, (Reels have a lot to answer for) and for the first time in a few years, I lost my almost religious schedule of posting every week day. But like I said earlier, this time of year feels like a bit of a refresh and I’m feeling ready to get going again. I will definitely look over my workbook I filled out for Threads of a Fairytale, but I’m printing out a new one to start again for my personal account. (By the way, Sara is well and truly an advocate for mixing together all your Instagram accounts and that would definitely be easier, but I’m not sure it’s the right thing for me. I think I have to keep them separate just to keep it all organised in my head!) I can’t wait to dive into the course and find my way with this account. It hasn’t had much of a purpose before, but ideas are already whirring and I’m looking forward to putting them into action.

If you’d like to join me there or are interested in finding out more, please follow this link to Sara Tasker’s Insta Retreat page.

And if you have any questions for someone who has taken the course, please leave them in the comments below.

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