This week I went to my first ever blogging conference and I was pretty nervous beforehand. The morning arrived faster than I expected and off I went sporting a Christmas Elf top and with butterflies in my stomach
There are a few things people advised me of before, some I genuinely thought they were joking about (why would I need to take a large suitcase with me?) and some I was quietly hoping was true (nice people, good laughs and a great day). I’m now counting down the days to the next one and here are some of the things I have told people about my time at BlogOn
How nice everyone is!
- Before the conference started I had mentioned on a few occasions how nervous I was and I was reassured by several bloggers that everything would be okay and I wouldn’t be lonely. If I’m to be honest I thought they were trying to calm me but the minute I parked my car I bumped into someone who was also attending and we started talking. Inside the conference (armed with a cup of tea in hand and a butty in the other) I met several other lovely bloggers. Everyone was approachable and it was so nice to meet new bloggers and people in ‘real life’ from this online world
How my stomach would ache from laughing
- James started the day off with a keynote speech on social media as a blogger. He had the room in hysterics, his slides were hilariously true (too true…) and it was a brilliant way to kick it off
How inspired I would be
- I listened to Sara-Jayne talk about photography and her session was so insightful. While I understand the basics of photography and generally shoot in manual I came away with a plan to further improve my photography skills – it made me question my current approach and I caught up with her afterwards as I was blown away by her presentation
How many lovely brands there were
- I met with Ane from Wire PR who showed me the products on offer and I left with ‘Beat the Flush’ to try with my girly. She was so nice, and so was Jen from Addo who I stood talking to for a few minutes. I’m not a natural born networker, I don’t like asking for things and I didn’t have any info cards with me (fail), so being welcomed in to the tents by brands and talking to them about toys and things that interest us is something which I appreciated
How I can be better with social media
- Harriet held a brilliant session on Instagram and despite some technical fails she handled it like a pro and I came away inspired. Instagram is by far my favourite social media platform and it was interesting to hear her side of it, how we can be better with it and engage more with our social audience
How I wish I’d stayed the evening before
- Because I was so nervous about whether I’d meet anyone or that I’d be sat on the outskirts of a room while everyone grouped together I didn’t book the hotel the night before. My oh my how I regret it – as I mentioned at the beginning everyone was so lovely, and several of them had met over drinks the night before – next year!
How I can be creative with photo styling
- I sat in Lucy’s session which was an interactive one and all about creativity. I’m not usually one for interactive sessions and if I’d read the schedule properly I probably wouldn’t have attended for fear of being chosen to present or show my work or be part of the process… I am so glad I did – there were so many brilliant elements to it and I have some serious shoe envy! As I walked around and saw everyone using Lucy’s beautiful backdrops I hit a bit of a photography block – how would I style a photo to represent my blog? Then something clicked and it all came together with the help of her lovely props. It’s made me realise I can be creative with my photos, it was a brilliant session and I’m really pleased with the results
How quick the day goes
- I arrived way before the conference started and before I knew it the last session had been run and I was heading over to the raffle. In that time I’d spoken to so many people, listened to several sessions, had copious cups of decaf tea (how I wish I still drank caffeine!) and met several brands. It was a whirlwind of a day and I’m still digesting it now! I also took far too few photos which I deeply regret
How many new skills I would learn
- Before I visited the conference I wanted to learn more about Lightroom as I’ve been contemplating using photo editing software but if I’m to be honest I expected Lightroom to be a bit basic in features but it’s quite the opposite. John presented it with clear detail, a hands on approach and I am now a total convert – Lightroom for the win!
How I should have taken a bigger suitcase
- I came away buzzing and with an arm full of products from the raffle, brands and the biggest goodie bag I have ever seen! They weren’t lying when they said don’t bring a small suitcase (yet I still did). It fit one game in it and nothing else – rookie fail!
How much I’m looking forward to another
- I came away wondering if they’ll do another one next year and how quickly I can get a ticket. I met some lovely people, saw some brilliant talks and am full of inspiration and anticipation for next year…Laura and the team really did an amazing job and for my first ever conference, it was amazing, totally worth the ‘drunk tired’ feeling the following day. Here’s to the next one!