Blogtacular 2014

Last weekend I travelled up to London to attend the first ever Blogtacular.

It was absolutely amazing, and not just because it was my first day without any children for over a year!

I had such a great day with lots of my lovely blogging friends and left feeling so inspired, I just wish I had more time to put all my plans into action.

photo 2 (3)

(Me on the left next to Lucy, Fritha and Katie)

I want to draw, and make things, and write, and redesign, and learn to sew properly, and take photos and just be creative in every way possible but having two young children clawing around my ankles all day and a house to keep means I have to try and find a balance between finding time for me, finding time for my relationship, finding time to play Queen Elsa birthday party games and finding time to make sure the house is clean / dinner is cooked / clothes are washed. It’s a balance that I haven’t quite mastered yet and it’s usually the house that suffers, no-one actually hoovers the upstairs of their house more than once a year do they?! ;)

Here are a few things I learnt…

Never wear a pair of shoes to a blog conference that haven’t been previously tested out for comfort – by the time I got off the train in London I could barely walk and my feet still haven’t recovered!

You should never feel bad asking for money. Anne Ditmeyer from Pret-a-Voyager’s talk was so motivational and inspiring. She made so many great points about why bloggers shouldn’t be expected to work for nothing. No-one would ask a plumber to work for free so why should they ask bloggers? I felt strongly about this issue before but now I really do feel fine explaining to people why I have to charge for my time. Previously when I read the ‘we’re a small business and can’t afford advertising’ I used to feel like I should help when in actual fact my blog is MY small business. It’s taken me three years of hard work to build it up to where it is now and it’s only fair I should benefit from any agreement, not always in a financial way, but in some way other than the promise of ‘interesting content’.

Following on from that point though Will from Bright Bazaar pointed out that sometimes it is worth doing something for absolutely nothing. He couldn’t be there in person but he came across as such a lovely guy in his video interview and it was so interesting to hear about his blogging journey. He told us about how he went to a behind the scenes photoshoot at Ikea once and although he didn’t get paid, it has been one of his most popular blog posts ever.

That it’s okay to not follow blogging trends. Being niche is a good thing, you never know who might be looking for exactly what you have to offer.

How the blog to book process works. Tilly from Tilly And The Buttons whose book has just been released told us how it all happened, and her book looks fab, I will definitely be buying it.

That knowing all the rules on what makes a ‘good’ blog design doesn’t mean you have to follow them (no-one actually said this, I just decided it myself!). I love handwritten fonts and I love using lots of different fonts. I will never change those things!

That sandwiches really do need crisps to accompany them (they were nice sandwiches though!).

That branding is really important and it’s not just about having a logo. It’s about who you are, your voice, your personality, what you hope to achieve. Mark and Keith from Mini-Moderns are a fantastic duo and it was highly entertaining to listen to them talk about branding.

The final session of the day, and my favourite, was Natalie Lue talking about things that really resonated with me as well as most people in the room. I loved the point about how as women, most of us suffer from some form of imposter syndrome, where we aren’t able to process our achievements so feel like a fraud in our own lives. I took away a lot from her such as to stop comparing and stop overthinking. You can never please everyone so stop trying, just do what makes you happy. The line she used was ‘don’t should yourself’.

It’s okay to have more ideas than time.

And finally the point I loved the most from the whole day is that it’s better done than perfect. This is something that I’m always obsessing over, I finish a blog post and then spend ages looking at the photos thinking how they aren’t good enough, how they aren’t ‘perfect’. My blogs are all a learning curve for me and instead of feeling bad about how they aren’t good enough I want to start focusing on how much better they are than when I first started. I mean seriously, I cringe when I look back at my first blog posts! I like critiquing my work, it drives me to do better but I do want to start looking at the positives too and not just things that need improving.

The day was full of inspirational women and men talking about how they have made a success of the thing that everyone in the room had a love for: blogging. It was also great to catch up with blogging friends old and new. I will never stop enjoying the fact that meeting bloggers for the first time is so natural because you pretty much already ‘know’ them.

(Katie, Lucy, me and Bryony, I should also point out this was for a competition!)

I travelled home on the train with Fritha and Lori where I continued to learn things, we discussed trash telly and pregnant celebrities ;). Ate my gin and tonic popcorn on the drive back from the train station to stop myself falling asleep and spend all day Sunday in my pyjamas due to being so exhausted. It was great though.

I’m already looking forward to next year!

All photos apart from the top one are thanks to Mollie Makes.

Comments

  1. says

    I have seen a massive amount of improvement in your blogging in the time I have been following you – crikey that long!! You were my inspiration, and continue to be (by the way, unless you have changed – aren’t you on the left in that top photo?). I am still searching for my identity on my blog, I am not a Mummy anymore, I have grown up children. I don’t have grandchildren yet. I don’t know that I could make a living from my writing, but I am pleased you can.
    You go girl!

  2. says

    Sounds like you had a brilliant day, from all the tweets and blog posts it looked fantastic – really want to go next year! Even just reading your key points is great, so many good messages for mums / bloggers / everyone really.

  3. says

    It was just brilliant from start to finish wasn’t it – and it was so lovely to see you in person! I know what you mean about there being a continual juggling act between husband, family, house, work and finally in a little squeezed corner yourself and it was utterly luxurious to spend all that time just immersed in being me and all the things I love. I’m going to have to make “you will always have more ideas than time. This is OK” into a poster because I need to drill it into my head just about every day! That and Joy Cho’s “do something that scares you” !

  4. says

    It sounds like it was the most amazing day! The talks sound so inspirational and it must have been so much fun meeting up with other bloggers. Will definitely have to try and be back in the UK for the event next year. I’ve just bought Tilly’s book and can’t wait to sit down and read it/decide what to make first (once the kids are in bed/dinner has been made/house is clean etc!) Totally agree with sandwiches and crisps too!
    Becky Brown recently posted…Keeping Chickens – Buying Our HensMy Profile

  5. says

    Ah it sounds amazing! Whenever these blog conferences happen, my timeline fills up with tweets, photos and posts, and I can’t help but be filled with jealousy. Thank you for sharing what you learnt. Sandwiches DO need to be served alongside crisps! x
    Fiona recently posted…Living Arrows 19/52My Profile

  6. says

    I think that’s the thing I am always going to struggle with the most, the fact I have all this ideas but no time to do them. Hopefully when the kids are at school I may get more time to myself. ;) in the meantime I think the weekend drummed in to me just how I am happy with my little blog and the way it is, it’s not massive or super creative, but it’s my little space to be me.
    The weekend was fab wasn’t it? I loved blogtacular so much, I hope they keep it small and intimate next year too x
    Katie recently posted…My Little Bits of Life #1My Profile

  7. says

    Great post, it’s fab to hear what some of you learnt it sounds like a great day, I definitely want to go next year. I know what you mean about needing more time – I have a massive list of ‘to do’ things that will probably never get done, especially with another little person on the way!

  8. says

    Great post! Wasn’t Blogtacular brilliant? – I learnt so much and it took a while to come down from the high! The final talk was so inspiring and my fave quote was the ideas/time one too. I have been really enjoyed reading your blog over the last few weeks and I really wanted to say hi – but was a little nervous to just come up and introduce myself! Maybe if you’re at Britmums I will come and say hello!

    (p.s Ha ha …I really wanted crisps with the sandwiches too – one thing I have learnt is to take provisions in my bag!)

    • says

      It was so good! Ah you should have come and said hi! I don’t think I will be at Britmums, my OH has a car show unfortunately, although I’m possibly going to make it for just the Fri night as I’m a finalist in the BiB’s. Will have to catch up and meet :) x
      Jessica Cherry recently posted…Joe Browns Review and GiveawayMy Profile

  9. says

    I’m very jealous i didn’t go Jess it sounds fabulous! Great summary though and its definitely made me think about booking for next year :) x

  10. says

    Ahh Jess it sounds amazing. I wish I could have been there and I am definitely wanting to go next year. I have so many ideas and creative things I want to do with my blog not just writing about parenting (nothing wrong with that) but I love the lifestyle and creative side of photography, recipes, crafts and home interior. So much to learn and do all with no time to do it or know where to start. I can relate so much when you said that. Glad you enjoyed it. Love all the fun photos. Your blog is amazing and I think you are doing AMAZING keep it all up.

  11. says

    Oh I wish I had been there, it sounds brilliant….and I was nodding through every point you made here, I can definitely relate!! And then….gin and tonic popcorn??! Really?! (yum!)

  12. says

    It was so much fun and so many amazing ladies there too! Great seeing you and thanks for the entertaining train journey home x
    Lori recently posted…20/52My Profile

  13. says

    I really fancied going to Blogtacular, sounds like it was a great event, generally I going I’m embarrassed by my posts from last week, not just when I started, feels like such a big learning curve at the moment!!
    Kate Williams recently posted…docrafts GiveawayMy Profile

  14. says

    Oh wow, sounds like such an inspiring day! I think I may have to try and go next year!

    I know I’ve already said it but I’m loving your new blog design – the layout is fab, love that there are so many different posts accessible straight away. Shame I have to go to bed now because I’d quite like to stay up and potter around on here for a few hours!

    Still got my fingers crossed for BritMums…any news?! xxx

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