Tub on the Run


Blogtacular 2016: My weekend in London

You go to a blogging conference, come away with a load of ideas and things you’d like to try, and… You don’t blog for over a week. Well done me! Being totally honest, I think I have suffered a little bit from overwhelm and analysis paralysis. It was a lot to take in! Anyway, after just over a week, I thought I’d just run through the day. I’ll do another post on my thoughts if I go next year as this post if already a long one.

I was lucky enough to gain a place on the much coveted Blogtacular photowalk which was taking place on the Friday before the main conference on the Saturday, so I travelled to London by train on the Friday morning. Matt very kindly dropped me off at the station.

Train Station

I arrived in Waterloo around lunchtime. I hopped onto the Jubilee Line to Canada Water and then made my way up to the Overground to catch the train to Shoreditch High Street, where the Blogtacular Photowalk East started from.

Blogtacular 2016 Photowalk Image Courtesy of Mollie Makes © Kat Molesworth-14

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

It really wasn’t hard to spot the Blogtacular crowd – I think we may have been the brightest dressed people on a slightly grey day in east London. I was pretty nervous and probably didn’t come across all that brilliantly, but I got chatting to the lovely Julia from Just Creative Julia, and not long after 2pm, we were all heading off the main drag and around the streets of Shoreditch.

Shoreditch Photowalk

By the time we arrived at Old Street station, I was beginning to flag. I hadn’t eaten much and think the nervous energy was beginning to wear off. After stopping for a peppermint tea at Eat and chatting some more with Julia and Rachel from Sew Happy Sew Healthy, we parted ways and I headed to my hotel via Pret a Manger for a tuna salad dinner. I’d booked the Hub by Premier Inn at Tower Bridge. It was a great choice! Don’t get me wrong, there was hardly enough room to swing a cat, but I knew that in advance and was actually really impressed with the room. The bed was super comfy, there were movies on the TV (some good choices too – I opted for 13 Hours and started, but didn’t finish, Everest). I managed some yoga too in a bid to calm my brain down a bit.

Blogtacular were holding a party at West Elm on Tottenham Court Road, but a combination of social overwhelm and distance saw me opt for a walk along the Thames with my camera.

Tower Bridge

On Saturday morning, having slept pretty well (thanks air-con!), I struggled out of bed, packed myself up and headed up to 200 Aldersgate, which may be the most amazing venue I have ever been to for a conference. The space is so lovely and light.

Blogtacular 2016

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

Over breakfast, I chatted to some really friendly people, and then wandered over to Mollie Makes, where the lovely ladies tried to get me to do their flat lay challenge (which I didn’t accept at the time) and waited for the opening key-note speech.

Blogtacular 2016

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

Lisa Congdon was the opening key-note, and I don’t think I could have heard anything so well-timed in my life. She talked about not doing all the things, being vulnerable and genuine, and not wearing your busy-ness as a medal. After working 50 to 60 hour weeks for the last two months, this was just what I needed to hear. I will write another post on this one, as I definitely have more thoughts on this.

Blogtacular 2016

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

After a quick tea break, it was workshop time. It was quite hard to choose which workshops to attend, but I decided to go to the writing workshop being led by Kirsty Smith from Eeh Bah Mum who was absolutely brilliant! The key message? Don’t be afraid to be a little bit shit – it gives you something to work on! I took a lot of notes in this workshop, and definitely picked up some great tips for defeating writer’s block.

Blogtacular 2016

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

After the workshop was lunch. I was on my best Whole 100 behaviour, so I didn’t get to sample a huge amount, but the salmon and salad that I did eat was very tasty, and the rest of it looked delicious. During lunch, I also accepted the Mollie Makes flat lay challenge. Given this was the first time I’d ever attempted a flat lay, I think the ladies were a little more generous with their time than two minutes (and also kindly lent me their iPhone as my phone went on strike).

Mollie Makes Flat Lay Challenge

Unfortunately, a last-minute loo stop meant that the next workshop I wanted to go to (Phoneography with Sara Tasker from Me and Orla) was full so I ended up in the Microsoft talk. Another well deserved tea break and then it was time for the last workshop. Photography is something I really would like to get better at, so I chose Laura La Monaca’s food styling and photography workshop.

Blogtacular 2016

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

I swear I learnt more in those 90 minutes with Laura than I have from reading all the stuff on my Pinterest board. The way she explained things like aperture and ISO just made sense (finally!). I really enjoyed this session and took pages of notes. It’s really inspired me to put my camera into manual and properly learn it. If you ever get the chance to listen to Laura speak about photography, go! She’s so passionate about it and with her beautiful Sicilian accent, she’s wonderful to listen to.

The closing speech was given by Enid Hwang – Pinterest’s Community Manager and employee #6. Enid’s speech was funny, humbling and engaging, and I think most attendees are trying to incorporate the phrase “utter bilge” into their everyday lives. She was the perfect “up” to the end of the day.

Blogtacular 2016

Photo Credit: Mollie Makes

Once the final photo had been taken and the goody bags handed out, I hotfooted it back to Waterloo to catch my train home. The goody bags are brilliant, and definitely inspire me to get my craft game on again.

I was very glad to see my bed that night!

A big thank you to Mollie Makes and Blogtacular for the professional photos – knowing we’d have these definitely took the pressure off of trying to listen, note take and photograph everything.


My day at #SWBlogSocial

On Saturday morning, I had planned to be up in plenty of time, out the door and in Exeter for breakfast, which would then be followed by a mooch around with Matt.  It didn’t happen quite like that.  I was up in time, but the getting dressed part was the hurdle that I fell at.  I am still blaming my long day hangover from Thursday for my lethargy.

Once I finally got myself properly up and dressed, I remembered that I needed to actually make an effort.  While I had been reassured that not all attendees of the South West Blog Social were beauty and fashion bloggers, I also didn’t want to face the immaculately dressed and beautiful without at least trying to look a bit better than normal.

I arrived on time at Oddfellows and was given a white wristband.  I think the white wristbands were for those who didn’t really fit into any of the other niches.  It was lovely to meet some new people, and I was genuinely surprised how many Devon based bloggers there are.  Everyone was really friendly and it wasn’t hard to strike up conversation.  I am hoping that there will be coffee meet ups with some of the people I met.

There were some set events in the afternoon – getting articles/a book printed, working with brands, blogger community and finding your voice.  I didn’t have much interest in getting printed (I’m still amazed that I have readers in the virtual world to be honest!), but I thought the other sessions might be more relevant and/or of interest to me.

I think I may have misunderstood the aim of the working with brands session though, as it seemed wholly geared to advertising on your blog, which isn’t something I am able to do even if I wanted to, which I don’t.  I’m sure that people who are able to and are interested in this found it useful, but I was expecting something different.

The next session was held by Jessica Debrah who started @FashBeautyLife and the #FBLchat on Twitter.  She was interesting to listen to and I think she had some great points to make, and it certainly opened my eyes to what is possible in terms of building and participating in a community.  It was certainly interesting listening to how she juggles her own blog and FBL in addition to her full time job.

I really wish that the last session of the day had been one of the first, as this was the session that I enjoyed the most.  Ruth Douglas spoke about creating your brand and finding your “you-ness”.  There were some brilliant ideas for getting over writer’s block and finding your blogging voice.  There were some tips that I hadn’t thought of or come across, such as themed months and annual planners, and practicing writing every day even if you don’t actually press “publish”.  Later on, over cocktails, Ruth also got me thinking when she said that words should be good enough, and that a photo isn’t absolutely essential, especially if it doesn’t add anything (the big caveat being pictureless posts are more difficult to pin on Pinterest).  This session, by far, was the most interesting, well delivered and relevant to me.

There was plenty to get involved with throughout the day and I enjoyed meeting new people, chatting about blogging, laughing about other things, having some bits added on to my manicure, nipping for a quick wander around John Lewis’s stationery section and then heading on for a few cocktails at Las Iguanas.  I think that Jodie and Albertine did a splendid job of getting the event organised and certainly put a lot of work into the sponsors, goodie bags and things to do.  I hope that there is a future event, as it seemed well received, but I hope that if there is a next time, there will be a bit more space (physically and in the timetable) for the talks – it was a bit squishy in the room where the talks were held.

Would I go again?  Yes, I would.  I learnt a couple of new things, met some wonderful and inspiring people, and I am quite looking forward to doing one or two of the Exeter Trails which were given out at the event.