Tub on the Run


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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.


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Off to Blogtacular I go!

It’s now five more sleeps until I set off on my own to London. I’ve always gone with other people in the past, so I’m quite looking forward to attempting to navigate my way around the City. Why am I going to London?

Going-to-Blogtacular-2016

I am going to Blogtacular! Back when I was still blogging at Tub on the Run, I promised myself a couple of things – the first was that one day I would get my own domain name and go self hosted (tick!). The second was that I would go to a blogging conference. A couple of years ago, I had planned to go to an event called Cybher. I read everything and anything I could get my hands on about this conference, and after doing my research, I bought a ticket. Sadly, it wasn’t to be as the conference was cancelled. I think (from bad memory) that Blogtacular was born that same year (2014).

Why didn’t I go to Blogtacular instead? I think it was because I wanted to read reviews of it first. It isn’t the cheapest activity when you add in the travel, hotel, food and tickets, so I wanted to know that I was going to be getting my money’s worth. I did go to the South West Blog Social that year, which was organised by Jodie from a la Jode, and enjoyed myself, even if there wasn’t anyone from my niche at the time. I didn’t book up last year, as we were moving house and any extra funds were spent on that.

This year though, I decided to bite the bullet and booked my Blogtacular ticket, having read as much as I could. The verdict, according to the research I’d done? Absolutely, unquestioningly good value for money.

Since I bought my ticket, I’ve been joining in on the weekly Twitter chats as and when I can, and if the topic is relevant to me. I’ve learned a lot already. As this will be my first “big” blogging conference, I thought I’d best introduce myself!

Beyond the Sofa goes to Blogtacular

 

I am Steph, office bod by day, crazy cat lady and blogger by night. I live in Devon with my husband Matt and two rescue cats (Tank and Timo). I’ve been blogging since 2013, initially to document my running and weight loss efforts, though eventually got a bit lost with it when I a) started to put weight on again, and b) stopped running.

What do I want to get out of Blogtacular? Well, I’d like to learn about how to improve my writing and will also be trying to pick up any and all tips about how not to hit the awful writer’s block (or crack through it if I find myself there!). Aesthetically, I would like to improve my photography and site design, so I am going to be keeping my ears open for any tips I can take away on these points too. Other than that, I am just looking forward to meeting some new people.

What am I doing at Blogtacular? I’m very lucky to have gained a place in the photowalk lottery, so I’m heading up to London on Friday to take part in the photowalk with Laura and Jess. I am down to go to the West Elm party too, but I might leave that a little early so I can get an early night for what promises to be a long and interesting day on the Saturday (I’ll play it by ear). On the Saturday, I am (at the moment) planning on going to the Developing Content Ideas with Kirsty Smith from Eeh Bah Mum, then either Why Content is King is Modern Media with Ella Williamson and Andrew Trotman, or Phoneography with Sara Tasker from Me and Orla. For the last workshop, I’m hoping to do either the Writing Workshop with Laura Jane Williams or the Food and Travel Photography workshop with Laura La Monaca.

Anything I’m nervous about? I get a touch of anxiety about travelling to timetables (it’s the “will I get there on time? Will I get lost?”). I’m coming up by train from Exeter to Waterloo. I know I’ll be fine once I’m on the Tube and have found the photowalk location (google maps at the ready!). I’m also a bit nervous about meeting new people. I’ll be absolutely fine, I have no doubt, it’s just the thought of not knowing anyone. My last thing is to do with being able to eat in line with my Whole 100. I’m not too concerned though, as I understand that there are lots of options when it comes to the catering (plus unlimited tea and coffee! Woo!). Worst case scenario is that I nip out to Pret around the corner as they’ll definitely have things I can eat. That will be my plan for dinner on the Friday and Saturday.

If you’re going to Blogtacular, please say hi! If you’re not, have you been to a blogging conference? Any tips to share for making the most out of the experience?