Friday, 16 May 2014


Last weekend I went to my first blog conference.  I didn't go in small...I started off with Blogtacular--talk about starting with a bang!!  Blogtacular was more than just an amazing blog conference.  It was also incredibly motivational and inspirational on a very personal level.

I came to Blogtacular a bag of nerves, full of anxieties about meeting so many new people--would they like me, was I dressed okay, did I fit in, would they realise I was there and throw me out?--and left feeling totally empowered, determined, fierce and valued.  That is probably the hippiest sentence I have ever written, but it's all true!

Seeking safety in numbers, I met up with Lucy from London Loafing for a drink before heading to Blogtacular.  I've been chatting with Lucy for what seems like forever--in the good way, I should add--and it was lovely to meet her and her family!

The opening keynote from Joy Cho of Oh Joy! fame was spot-on.  She was so inspirational and it was fascinating to hear about how her entrepreneurial spirit developed over the years from selling calligraphy services and banana bread as a teenager, to starting her own design businesses.  Her talk left me eager for more!

Saturday was a whirlwind of amazing presentations.  From the colourful passion of Will Taylor from Bright Bazaar, to Anne Ditmeyer's insistence that we get paid for our work, to Yvonne from Yvestown clear love of her blog and the community of friends that she draws upon to help her make it even more awesome.  It was clear that it was and passion and hard work that had brought major success to our speakers.

One of the presentations I was particularly keen to attend was Tilly Walnes and Vicky Orchard's "From Blog to Book".  I've wanted to write a book for years so took copious notes and I'm now toying with the idea of kicking things off with a little eBook... It's a bit scary, but one of the Big Lessons I took away from Blogtacular was to do things that scare you, because they'll reap the most rewards.

Tilly had so much great advice and it was wonderful to get advice directly from an editor.  My head is buzzing with possibilities!!  I had a very quick chat with Tilly later on and she's just as lovely as she seems.  Lucas loved her on the Sewing Bee and was tremendously jealous when he heard.

I loved Ellie Tennant's hands-on styling workshop.  It was fascinating to hear about location houses that the professionals use for shoots--I'm going to be paying close attention to interiors magazines from now on to pick them out--that get repainted to their original colours at the end of every day.  At the end of the year they have to chip off over a centimetre of paint and re-plaster the walls!  Aside from fun anecdotes like that, I also learned about colour triangles, layering the photograph, telling a story with it, and wabi sabi, the beauty in imperfection.  Ellie bravely let us loose with the beautiful collection of props and flowers.  This is what Rhiannon and I came up with.

Really need to track down a set of those enamel measuring cups!

During the breaks I wandered around the Marketplace, chatting with bloggers as I went.  I managed to resist buying some books--I've spent hours trying to cull my collection--but the strawberry jam at  The Hambledon practically had my name written on it.  I was thrilled to discover one of their gorgeous pink honeycomb balls in my goodie bag when I got home.  I may well be making a pilgrimage to their shop of delights in the near future...

The closing keynote speaker was Natalie Lue of Baggage Reclaim and Bambino Goodies.  She had so many words of wisdom, not just for blogging but for life in general.  I quite liked this: "Blogging challenges you to become the person you are meant to be."  She talked a lot about how we spend too much time obsessing over failures and not about all the amazing things we've achieved in our lives.  I am particularly guilty of this.  Everything Natalie said was either a massive kick up the ass for me or tremendously inspiring.  If you ever get a chance to hear her speak, take it.  She's a dynamic and exciting speaker with a massive amount of presence.

I met so many lovely people, too many to mention them all, but a special mention for these ladies.  A big hello to Lucy from London Loafing who is absolutely awesome, Rhiannon my workshop partner, Lauren from Natural Wedding blog, and my fellow Bristol blogger Gemma from Hello It's Gemma.

And finally, it was a real honour to visit the Royal Institute.  I've watched the Christmas Lectures for years and as a certified science geek--I've got the degree parchment to prove it--it was incredible to visit such an old and important scientific institution.  Absolutely hallowed ground for me.  I had a wonderful time wandering around during one of the coffee breaks and geeking out and soaking up all the history.

I'll be there next year--will you?

Some of the images in this post are the official Blogtacular photos, taken by Will Ireland and kindly provided by Mollie Makes.

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  1. I am so so gutted I didn't get to come to this (just one huge new shiny thing too far for me!)
    But super glad you got so much out of it!
    What is this ebook you speak of? I WANT IT. Stat.
    M x

  2. I have not been to a blog conference yet. I hope to soon. Nice post.


  3. Oh man! This sounds amazing (and of course you deserve to be there you super-blogger (dag!:) )
    I wish stuff like this happened in Australia. Or maybe it does and I just don't hear about it... It seems much harder to connect to a network here and blogs seem more specific in their focus. There are LOADS of food review blogs OR recipe blogs OR fashion blogs OR personal blogs. Not the gorgeous mix of lifestyle blogs you UK girls excel at and that I am trying to emulate:)

  4. Sounds like you had an incredible time! I'd love to go next year, we should get a minibus booked or something haha :) xx

  5. You should totally come next year!!

  6. Thanks, Nicole!

    There are definitely blogging conferences in Australia. I've seen Aussies going to them here and there. There's probably a food bloggers one given how many there are, as you say, but I'm willing to bet that there are general ones up and down the country!

  7. Thank-you! You should definitely go to one--so much fun!

  8. You've got loads going on at the moment, what with the house hunt and your hula hula instruction :)

    You should keep an eye out for early bird tickets next year, alternatively, you could get the virtual ticket and watch all the videos from this year's event.

    I have no idea what sort of ebook I'd write, but I'm thinking that it could be fun. Probably WAY more work than it sounds, though!!

  9. Well you've definitely started off with the very best - start as you mean to go on! I loved every minute of it and from your write up I'm really glad I've got a virtual conference ticket so I can see some of the other speakers that I missed - they were just all so good it's nice to not have to choose!

  10. I really need to pick up a virtual ticket. I've heard so many great things about the social media session. Another thing to add to my to-do list :)

  11. I really wanted to go to this, I just couldn't justify the ticket price. Perhaps I'll try and get an early bird ticket next year. I desperately want to write a book, I just find a lack of time is a real issue for me. I'm thinking I may purchase this virtual ticket you speak of :)

    Jenny | sunny sweet pea xx

  12. duck in a dress5 June 2014 at 20:08

    It looks like a fab day out! I like Chelsea's idea of a bloggers minibus - it could start down in Devon, come up through Somerset and then take in Bristol before heading off for bloggy conferences. There's enough of us! :-) xx

  13. Hi Angela, That was a really nice write up of Blogtacular ! Thanks for the wee mention too - it was lovely to meet you. I am a bit late getting round all the reviews i know ! I'm enjoying watching some of the conference videos to remind myself of all the inspiration.

  14. So glad you were there Angela and that you got so much out of it x


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