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.

blogtacular 2014

(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 at Blogtacular…

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.

blogtacular 2014

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.

blogtacular 2014

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.

blogtacular 2014

(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’s Blogtacular!

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

  1. It sounds like a fantastic day and I wish I’d been there! Have loved reading how people found it and looking at loads of pictures on Instagram. I’ll definitely be there next year xx

  2. Hilary Farrow

    15 May

    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!

    • Ah thank you! I can’t believe it’s been years! And that really means a lot 🙂 and yep I have a real block with my left and right, always get them mixed up! x

  3. Lia

    15 May

    It does sound brilliant, i wish i’d been there. Next year for sure 🙂

  4. 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.

  5. Carie

    15 May

    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” !

  6. Donna

    15 May

    Sounds like you had a great time! Lovely photo of you and the ladies at the top! Thanks for sharing, lots of good learning points x

  7. Kara

    15 May

    Was so lovely to meet you. I am glad you found it as excellent as I did x

  8. Fiona

    15 May

    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

    • I know what you mean, I had to miss them all last year and I couldn’t look at Twitter as I felt like I was missing out on so much fun! x

  9. Polly

    15 May

    was lovely to meet you {briefly} and yes – really needed crisps to go with those sandwiches!

  10. It sounds like a really good day. I’d love to go next year. I’ll definitely look out for it!

  11. Katie

    16 May

    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

  12. Carin

    16 May

    It sounds amazing. I am so going to be there next year because it sounds right up my street. I can’t wait to see the videos and catch up on the talks you have talked about 🙂

  13. Lina

    16 May

    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!

    • Yep children really do make it hard to get anything done! Especially as in the evening I’m usually too exhausted to string a sentence together! x

  14. I loved reading about this – even though it’s made me insanely envious. I should have just gone! Will definitely go next year. I’d probably rather go without a small human attached to me, to be honest. Looks like loads of fun and inspiration. x

  15. mamasVIB

    16 May

    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!)

    • 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

  16. seems like it was an amazing and inspiring couple days, really wish i could have gone! have been loving reading everyones posts though.

  17. Katie

    16 May

    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

  18. jenny

    17 May

    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.

  19. it sounds amazing. i feel like i have so much to learn but am so scared to go to oe of these events as i have almost no follower base and no idea what im really doing id be like an imposter. self doubt is a terrible thing isnt it but it sounds like some brilliant points were made that we could all learn from x glad you had a blast x

    • Ah you should definitely come next year. There was a mixture of all kinds of bloggers, some of which hadn’t been doing it for very long! x

  20. Laura

    18 May

    I really hope they have another Blogtacular next year as I have heard such positive things about it.

    Laura x

  21. 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!)

  22. fritha

    18 May

    it was great wasn’t it! such a lovely bunch of people attending also, I felt like everyone was just so happy to be there and stopped and talked with everyone! x

  23. Lori

    21 May

    It was so much fun and so many amazing ladies there too! Great seeing you and thanks for the entertaining train journey home x

  24. It was so good! Tilly’s book does look amazing x

  25. 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!!

  26. Steph

    29 May

    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

  27. Kat

    19 July

    So glad you enjoyed yourself and no, nobody vacuums upstairs.

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