Blogtacular! | thoughts

June 18th 2015
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Grace Bonney of Design Sponge 

Wow I survived my first ever blogging event! I had absolutely no idea what to expect but it was both awesome and exhausting. That may seem like a pretty pathetic start to a post but for someone who isn’t good at or can’t really be arsed with small talk then it really IS a big deal. My brain takes time to process… you know like really slow. I’m the one who hears a joke and then laughs 20 minutes later when it’s finally engaged with my brain!

My poor body was up at the crack of dawn to get a train from Up North to London. I was fairly prepared for the travel… food, notepads etc. I wasn’t however prepared for the awesomeness that ensued and the mind blowing information that I had to retain in my small, can’t remember anything, brain of mine. Thank god the seminars are video’d so we are able to re-watch them at our leisure later. FYI even those who didn’t attend can watch them. How awesome is that!

I wanted to chat and mingle with so many people but it was just so overwhelming that I didn’t talk to nearly half as many people as I wanted to. Also there should be a rule that you look EXACTLY like your IG, FB or blog avatar. I recognised so many faces but couldn’t place which blog or social media name they went under! I was terrified that I’d completely ignore someone I had a pretty good friendship with on social media, thankfully I don’t think I so much ignored as just didn’t get the opportunity to find them.  So if you are reading this and thinking ‘hey you! Ignoramus’. Please don’t be mad with me. I have a condition called stupid-itus and I have very few brain cells left to remember much more than my own name and address. So if you wear a flower crown on your avatar, or have your hair in a top bun, or have it blowing in the wind whilst you look away from the camera then please respectfully do the same wherever you go just in case you happen to bump into me.

For anyone I didn’t talk to… I’m sorry. For those I did, thank you for being so lovely. Everyone I talked to was just fabulous.

Whilst I was sat patiently on the train there were some blogtacular attendees meeting for the West Elm colour walk, lucky duckies they were, I really wanted to do the photo walk. Looking at the photos I’m thinking I could have just stalked them on the way and they’d never have known.

I dashed into the Royal Institution of Great Britain possibly a little panic stricken as it was 9.55am and I had to get rid of my overnight bag and coat in the cloakroom and everyone was already heading into the main Faraday Theatre for Grace Bonney’s opening keynote speech. I was a little hot and flustered I can tell you. Thankfully the first person I met was my long time IG friend Tip. I think I spent the first 10 minutes just prattling on and talking AT her. She was however very calm and understanding and hopefully she didn’t think I was a total nutbag? I was pretty much straight of the train, on the tube, into the conference and off we went! It was a packed out day and not sure I necessarily attended the right seminars for me but I went with what I thought would give me some answers. I don’t really want to talk too much about the seminars as I still have a lot to process and work out but I do want to share a few thoughts.


Goodie Bag

Firstly though I want to show the goody bag… it was filled with some great items from some amazingly creative sponsors. We were also rather spoilt in the evening too with a West Elm Pintacular event with canapés and drinks and lots of crafting activities as well as the chance to be able to relax and chat with people you’d met throughout the day or even a chance to grab and chat with the people you didn’t get a chance to chat with earlier. It was a very full but fun day.

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Speakers and seminars

I’m happy with the seminars I went to but I would possibly change tact next time. I’d like to try the styling sessions so I get to interact in the sessions a bit more but it was good to know that I already do some of the things that were suggested. However I think I’m far more focused on the things I need to up my game in and I’ve already started to make a few changes. The closing speaker, Anthony Peters, was in fact not a blogger, for which he apologised by showing us some very cute and funny photos of him as a child. We all forgave him rather quickly as he had some very wise words. He came across as very witty and charming and considering he was in a room predominately full of women he did an amazing job and had us all laughing and totally inspired by the end of it. He really topped off the day just right.

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Business Cards

The one thing I kept hearing and reading about was to have a business card with your details on it. I’m so glad I got my Mr to put something together. We were printing and spray mounting and cutting up on the Friday afternoon but I’m so glad we did it as I exchanged cards with quite a few people. Some I literally spoke to for a minute as we were dashing off to the next seminar, so the one thing I would absolutely recommend is to get a business card and put a photo on it. The photo was great advice as it’s easier to place a face than a name. The process of making my business card actually highlighted a few inconsistencies with my names! I started out blogging under flutterbymama so my twitter, IG etc is under that name. I also have an FB page, twitter and IG for TTT. These are some of the things I’m currently looking at changing.

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My business cards for TTT

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Bloggers business cards I exchanged with


Making, fun, discussion & shopping

Blogtacular put on a lovely spread of sandwiches, salad and fruit and a special chicken salad for those with certain requirements, me included! Nothing quite like sharing health stories over a yummy chicken salad. There was a room dedicated to crafting with Hannah & Davina from Seeds & Stitches. You could also get your photo taken courtesy of The Photo Booth Guys as well as get some advice about your blog from a panel of 3 lovely ladies. Along with all this you could, if you wished, do a little shopping from a small number of stalls including some of the sponsors. What more could you possibly want.

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Tea (Dinner) out at Leon

I was so thankful that Tiffany of Curate and Display took us for good clean healthy food at Leon’s. I don’t mind admitting that I was flagging by 6pm and needed a good meal filled with protein and good carbs.

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Ok, back to my thoughts… I started blogging in 2009 but, for me, it was a very different experience to now. There are bloggers I admire, some for their design, some for their content. I’ve always felt that blogging was a great way to find like-minded people and brilliant ideas. That is still true today but now we have so many other mediums like instagram, twitter and pinterest and these are ALL great ways to connect and share. I’m not sure exactly when things changed for me, I’ve started to take it a little more seriously but I don’t want to lose that element of fun. I’ve never been involved with sponsored posts or advertising but that’s not to say it isn’t something I won’t consider in the future, I’m just not at that place yet. I have a business to run and blogging is secondary to that. I know for a lot of bloggers that this is their full time job and also their only source of income. I applaud them for how well they run their blog ‘business’ and they should be taken just as seriously as anyone else running their own business.

I was lucky enough to share a room at the hostel with 3 very talented and serious bloggers. Sarah-Lou from Lapinblu, Lori of Wild and Grizzly and Mel from Geoffrey and Grace. There is a definite blogger ‘circle’ that these ladies are a part of and that’s through meeting at events and workshops held by third parties. They’ve become good friends and it shows just how serious they take their jobs in the blogging world. I’m a little envious they all have such a great circle to be a part of in their neck of the woods as there doesn’t appear to be any of that up North?! Hopefully that is about to change after meeting a lovely lady, through these three, who lives a little nearer to me. Nina from Nina Nixon blog is a fellow photographer and blogger and we plan to meet and chat about ideas for us bloggers in the North of England. That will be news for a much later post so do come back if you are interested in possibly being a part of something interesting up here.

What I was hoping to get out of Blogtacular was to know if blogging was worth pursuing. I don’t get a lot of comments or followers but when I do post it on IG I know people hop on over and read it and come back to leave a comment on IG. This is wonderful as it’s always nice to get feedback on a post whatever shape it takes. The important thing, and I already knew this, even though I may not have adhered to it, is to post regularly. Time is a factor in my blogging life as I know it is for everyone. I could stay up till after midnight but I choose not to as my health is suffering and until I can get my health in order then I can only manage what I can manage. I don’t plan to become one of the next big bloggers and I’m happy enough with that… for now ;) I’m happy to continue as I am but I’m going to plan more time to post a bit more often. I still want quality over quantity but I’m looking to plan a few more regular posts as well as sharing our weekend adventures when they happen or the odd recipe or health and wellbeing post.

Will I go to blogtacular again next year? Absolutely! Will I do anything differently? Hell yes! I’ll be taking my time and choosing the seminars very carefully. I will take time out to stop and talk to more people and to really connect rather than just swapping business cards. I’ll also be coming down on the Friday and try to connect with a few other people I know and generally just enable myself to slow down.

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Did you get to Blogtacular this year and if so what did you think? Would you head back again next year?




  1. Really interesting to read your thoughts about Blogtacular. I couldn’t manage it this year, but hope to go next year – I’ve heard nothing but positives. And, also, that everyone seems to be universally anxious and nervous beforehand, which is a relief ;)

    • Thanks Zoë :) I can’t believe I was so nervous now I’ve actually been. Everyone was just so lovely and welcoming and I learnt so much throughout the day. The best bits for me were possibly chatting to other people and getting an insight to their blogging life. I think we all tend to put people on a sort of pedestal but it really does show you how down to earth and real everyone is. I’m hoping to go again next year but will be far more prepared to come down on the Friday and make a weekend of it. I will also choose less obvious beginners seminars too :) I might even take time out of a seminar or two just to chat with people and be a little easier with time on myself. Hopefully we can meet next year and have a chat. You have a lovely blog btw. x

  2. this is a great read, I said hi very briefly! I’d defo be interested in something “op North”

    • Thanks Sue, that’s very kind. I really did just spew my thoughts out. I still haven’t had the time to really process everything yet! It’s such a busy day and so many people I saw and just didn’t get the chance to really chat with. You definitely stood out but it took me a while to work out who you were… sorry. It would be great to get a little network of folk together from up here. I’ll mail you. x

  3. This is such a great post, a great read and a great reflection of the day. Was lovely to meet you, hopefully we’ll get chance to chat more next time, it was a crazy busy day and I must admit I was feeling a little shy. x

    • Thanks Hannah and it was so lovely to meet you. I think we were lucky yo end up in a good crowd afterwards and get to grab some lovely food and chat. Unfortunately you were sat at the other end of the table to me. I was struggling to chat too as I was so overwhelmed and had a lot of bags to drag across London with me. I was so conscious I was going to lose more than just my marbles :) Ihope we h=get to catch up soon and chat properly. x

  4. Blogtacular is definitely one of the harder conferences for networking with the tight session schedules and lack of name badges. I have just done my second conference in a week and had a very different experience (which I’ll be posting about tomorrow) still I’m pleased I found your blog as I really like the look of your real home life series….

    • Hi Clare, You were so on my list of folk to find and chat to! I can’t believe I didn’t get to do half of what I expected I might. It’s not exactly a day of leisure. Well worth it all though and I’m planning on going in 2016 and having my wits about me a bit more. I think name badges or something will help for future conferences as I kept seeing people I’d done twitter chat with and couldn’t remember names and what not!

      I checked in your house remodel a lot but have to be honest and say I’ve been a slack at checking out others blogs lately. I have no idea how far through it you are. I’m going to remedy that now… x

  5. Hello Catherine

    What a fab post and super blog! So lovely to meet you at such a short time.. Lovely pictures too..

    Whould love to keep in touch maybe we can work on something together (If you like) xx

    • Hey Davina, Thank you! I’m so glad you were the first person I don’t know that I got to talk to. It was quite a full on day and I was massively overwhelmed and totally knackered from having an early start! Your shop is so great, wish I hade a babe again :0 Absolutely would love to keep in touch and would be fab to work on something together. I’ll drop you an email. x

  6. Hi Catherine – That is a really nice summing up of the day. And it was lovely to meet you although like you said, it would be nice to have longer to talk to people. I went back for a second year , but it was still a very full and exhausting day .

    I’m a bit further “Up North” but would still be interested if you cook up something for bloggers in the north. Rh x

    • Thanks Rhiannon and so lovely to meet you too. It was a proper whirlwind of a day and I think I’m still trying to catch my breath. :)
      Maybe we should arrange a meet in Scotland? I do miss Edinburgh and don’t get up there nearly enough. I’ll let you know when plans are afoot x

  7. Saw you at a distance but didn’t come and say hello, as I thought I’d probably have to do all that ‘explaining that I follow you on ig thing’ anyhow, I don’t know how I haven’t found your blog before – am glad I have now. Loved your round-up, captured all the brilliant bits and the fact that at time it is overwhelming and exhausting.
    From experience, I’d say def. pursue local meet ups – it is amazing who you discover locally and the relationships you make. I’m lucky enough to be in Bristol and it is teaming with bloggers. I used to be in Sheffield – not so many – but always worth it. Good luck

    • Awww bless you Gemma. I had to do a bit of that too! Unfortunately my brain being fried I recognised people and chatted with them and then couldn’t remember whether I knew them from a blog or through IG. Shhh it’s our secret :) Thank you for saying nice things about my blog… I need to be a bit more active but I guess I’d need a fe more hours in the day and days in the week first!

      I’m popping along to a per arranged meet up in Manchester this weekend thanks to an introduction from a lovely friend at Blogtacular. I’m going to see how it all goes and hopefully we or I can expand on it and really start making those circles up here. For some reason, practically everyone I follow is from down your neck of the woods! Blogtacular may not have fired me up to blog more but it’s given me something so much more important… connections and friendships. Really exciting times ahead xxx

  8. What a great post and wasn’t it such a great day! So fab to finally hang out with you and hope we can do it again soon xx

    • Hey Lori, thank you. I found it difficult to really sum it up as it was such a bonkers day for me. So glad I was able to change my plans to crash in your dorm room so thanks for having me. It definitely made for a much more fun evening. Hope it’s not too long before we can do it all again. xx

  9. “there should be a rule that you look EXACTLY like your IG, FB or blog avatar” – haha, yesss, this would be v helpful! I missed saying hi to so many people I “know” online because I didn’t recognise them IRL.

    I am thinking about making myself a couple of badges with my avatars on them to make it easier for people to recognise *me* in future :)

    • It can be so difficult as everyone starts to look familiar at the point you walk into a massive room full of bloggers! I like Sarah-Lou’s ‘badge’. Just get your blog name stitched on the back of your shirt. No mistaking her! Although I recognised her straight away.

      I need to get my thinking cap on for next year… hmmm x

  10. […] some time and another who I was just so glad to meet on the day. Anyway you can read more on that here. I was saying how lovely it is that have a ‘circle’ of blogger friends down South and […]

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Photographer :: designer :: blogger :: vintage hunter :: wife to @stecaton :: mama to a funny boy ::

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