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