It has taken me a few days to even begin to process all of the things I heard, saw and learnt at Blogtacular last weekend (which is why I’m only just getting around to posting this!). When I bought my early-bird ticket for Blogtacular 2015, I knew that this was an even not to be missed. Little did I know just how much I would learn about blogging or how many wonderful people I would meet when I signed up! It was simply amazing. I took so many photos and have so much to tell you, but I’m going to try to summarise it the best I can.
The day started out with the photo walk, which as you probably already know, I was SO excited about! And it didn’t disappoint. I’ll be posting about that separately so you can see lots of my photos from the walk, so look out for that soon. Balloons. That’s all I’m saying…
After the photo walk, we made our way to the venue which was the beautiful Royal Institution of Great Britain. It’s the perfect venue, with the main lecture theatre being used throughout the day and additional rooms for talks and workshops too. I think I speak for all attendees when I say that we were eagerly anticipating the keynote speaker, Grace Bonney from Design*Sponge. Her message was to embrace change and use it to take control of what you are doing and find your true path, and she really connected with the audience. So inspiring! And also (from the point of view of my day job) she has such a great presenting style – so relaxed, but she maintained a great relationship with the audience. So if you want to learn how to give a presentation or just find out more about what she said, keep a look-out for the release of the recording which will be made available (thanks to MailChimp who sponsored the keynote).
It was actually really difficult to choose which sessions to go to on the day – they all sounded amazing! I caught up with the lovely Josephine from Courage and Dash, and we had mainly decided to go to slightly different things which allowed us to swap notes on a few sessions 🙂 I loved hearing more about how Francesca Stone made the leap to full-time blogging, and the Grow Your Audience panel was super interesting! Great to hear perspectives from bloggers who blog about totally different things, and how they have built up their audience through their blogs and social media. The photography styling workshops were naturally very busy, but it was great to get some hands on tips and style things in a completely different way to my usual style. I went along to the Food Photography and Styling workshop with Marte Marie Forsberg, who talked about her concept of ‘visual storytelling’. She has such a distinctive style of photography, which we got to replicate in the workshop, and she highlighted ways in which she considers light, composition and angle when styling a photo. The next two photos are what I took in the workshop – what do you think?!
Blogtacular 2015 Official Photos by Piers MacDonald
One of the key themes to emerge throughout the whole conference was creating the sense of community – making connections and building each other up, rather than putting down or competing with other people. Collaboration was emphasised a lot and we were encouraged to make new connections and build upon existing ones, and it was refreshing to be in a place where everyone felt the same about that. One of the things I loved is that this sense of community was promoted in the run-up to the big day. There was a Facebook group, Twitter chat, people linking up via Instagram before Saturday – and all of these things meant that you could hope to spot a friendly face, or look out for someone you had always wanted to meet. So people just mingled, swapped business cards, chatted and exchanged ideas – whatever their blogging background. At the dinner organised for the Friday night, I went along on my own not really knowing who I’d be sitting with. I ended up having a really lovely chat with Renee from East London Knit, Aby from You Baby Me Mummy as well as Blogtacular organisers Kat and Kat (and her husband)! I also found myself sitting next to Marte and Nikki McWilliams, who designed the amazing bag which contained all of our lovely goodies. So having asked several times ‘are you sure you don’t mind me sitting here?!’ I ended up chatting away and feeling really relaxed about the whole thing. This is what it’s all about – the blogging community is just the best!
Another theme was to be authentic. There were some great tips given by the Mollie Makes team (Lara Watson and Jessica Bateman) about how to achieve this, and their session Finding Your Voice left me with so many ideas and things to think about! In a world where so many people are blogging it’s even more important to be you. One of their top tips was to write as though you are chatting to a friend, avoiding cliches if you can. They also have a list of words that are banned from Mollie Makes, which included ‘totes’, ‘darling’ and ‘an Aladdin’s cave’ – love that!
The closing keynote was by Anthony Peters, who has been working on a documentary called ‘Made You Look: a film about creativity in the digital age’. It went down a storm! And it’s safe to say that we’ll all be going to see this when it is released in October. We were shown some clips from the film, where creators such as Anthony Burrill speak about the analog creative process and perceptions of that process in a digital age. I left with so many thoughts about this and I’m still trying to process them all! So for now, if you want to see the trailer you can find it here – I would highly recommend it.
We headed over to West Elm for the Pintacular evening event of crafting and more chatting! There was a line up of amazing makers hosting craft workshops – Mr X Stitch, Nikki McWilliams, Zeena Shah and Viktorija Semjonova from AndSmile. I painted a cactus print with Viktorija, who was so lovely and encouraging despite my lack of drawing and painting skills! You can see my creation on her Instagram feed. After that I had a quick scout around the other crafts, but I was so tired (having got up at 5:15am!) that I decided to call it a night.
West Elm x Pinterest UK Pintacular at Blogtacular 2015 Official Photos by Piers MacDonald.
Blogtacular was even more than I thought it would be. I hope I’ve managed to convey some of what we experienced in this post! Whether you have a big blog with thousands of followers or you’re just starting out and building your following, there is something at Blogtacular for everyone. And not just one thing – many things! So if you haven’t made it along yet, you should definitely do it next year. Come and join the community – I’ll see you next year! 🙂
A couple of final things to say – firstly a HUGE thank you to Kat and Kat for organising Blogtacular. I can’t even comprehend how much work must have gone into organising it! Thank you also for making me feel so welcome 🙂 Thank you to the sponsors who make it possible too, and to Mollie Makes and Piers MacDonald for the excellent photography (and permission to use it!).
Main photo credit: Blogtacular 2015 Official Photos by Piers MacDonald (thanks Mollie Makes!)