Thursday, 15 May 2014

Blogtacular!

It's time to let you know about my Blogtacular weekend!  Alex of Hydrangea Girl contacted me back in March to tell me about the first Blogtacular event, due to be held in London on 9th and 10th May.  We had been following and commenting on each other's blogs for years, but had never actually met.  Well, in a crazed moment of what-the-hell,let's-do-it-ness, we booked our tickets and agreed to share a fancy London hotel room together!

My friends at work were somewhat shocked by this, and spent the days leading up to the event coming up with the various methods in which I was likely to be murdered over the course of the weekend.  "She's not a murderer, she's a blogger!" did not hold much sway!

We got on as well as I thought we would, and Alex managed to refrain from killing me - always a bonus!  (And luckily for her, I turned out not to be a murderer either, so we both lived to tell the tale!)  She is so lovely and such a good laugh - I'm really glad that we decided to have our Blogtacular adventure together, she helped to make it such a great weekend!

Here we are in a toilet-selfie which I have stolen from Alex!


And here is the lovely hotel room we shared...


We got a complementary upgrade, which is something that never happens to me!  It was all very fancypants!

Blogtacular had a photographer called Will Ireland from Mollie Makes taking pictures of the event... and here's one he took of us queuing up.  We were fourth and fifth in line!  I'm the blonde in the pink top and brown boots...



I look like I'm posing (well, we had spotted the camera man and I was trying not to be caught with a gormless look on my face...!)

When the suspense had mounted, and we were let in... we were greeted with goodie bags!!



(That's another picture by Will, thanks to Mollie Makes.)  I picked the tree print, in homage to my Lumberjack!

This is most of what was inside, a picture I took when back home:



There was ribbon, washi tape, planner pages, really funky looking handcream, and other bits and bobs.  It was an excellent goodie bag!!

But, back to Blogtacular itself!  There were two amazing key note speakers - Joy Cho to kick off the event and Natalie Lue to close it.  They were both very inspiring!  I especially took a lot from what Natalie said about not comparing yourself to others and doing what is right for you.  I had a bit of a habit during the event, whenever anyone asked what my blog was, of 1) being embarrassed to say its name (I've been thinking of changing it for a while) and 2) saying how crap it was, and hardly worth visiting!!  I guess it's easy to compare to other amazing blogs, but it's unfair to ourselves to do that.

We heard from Anne Ditmeyer who talked about valuing the work you do, and not doing creative work for free.

Isa Seminega spoke on blog design - guess what I took from that one?  Show your face!  Hence the photo of me which has appeared on my blog!

Alex and I attended Ellie Tennant's 'Hands On Styling' session and worked together to style a set-up from a huge array of props, that we photographed from above.  Here's my shot...



I also attended Keith Stephenson and Mark Hampshire's session on Branding, which was very interesting.

All the sessions were great... but one of the highlights of the weekend for me was meeting Tilly Walnes of Tilly and the Buttons!  I love The Great British Sewing Bee, and she was one of the contestants from the first year.  Her book 'Love at First Stitch' has just come out and she did a fantastic talk (along with Vicky Orchard from her publishing company) on going from blog to book, and was also a lovely person.  She was one of the first people Alex and I spoke to when we went into the Venue on the Friday evening, and I was a little nervous at that point (and star-struck!)  Hopefully I became a little more normal in time... apart from the moment when we bumped into Tilly in the toilet and I called enthusiastically after her that I was going to buy her book and could she sign it, as the poor woman was heading towards a cubicle, just wanting a moment of peace and privacy!

They had the book for sale there, and I did indeed buy it, and Tilly did kindly sign it... here we are, me clutching the book!



I look somewhat demonic in this shot - I'd blame the light, but Tilly looks normal - no wonder she called for security.  (She didn't really! ...

.....that I know of.)




I just can't wait to get started on making something from the book.  Some of you may remember in my goals for this year that I want to make an item of clothing that I'll actually wear in public.  After my previous dalliances with sewing clothes, this will hopefully be just the thing to get me back on the path towards achieving my goal!  You know that I will keep you updated!

Then on the Sunday morning, Alex had arranged for us to meet up with Laura from Bugs and Fishes.  We went for an explore around Covent Garden and had a good old chat about crafting and the blogging world!  Then we headed home thoroughly exhausted!

And what did I find sneaked away in my bag when I got home...?




A sweet gift of a candle from Alex!  It had a note on it, stuck on with washi tape from our Blogtacular gift bags, no less!  I was so surprised and touched.  See, what did I say?  Such a nice girl!  (My photos of it are terrible - did I learn nothing this weekend???!!!  Give me a break, I've been ill since I got back!  I dragged myself to work on Monday but have been off since then, suffering and moaning.  I will try to do better with my pictures in future!)

I think that's it - I'm going to have to stop at some point.  Apologies if this has been the incoherent ramblings of a sick mind!

Next time I hope to have pictures of the craft room progress... oooohh!

PS - Check out Alex's post on Blogtacular here.  She's gives more detail on some of the talks.

7 comments:

  1. It sounds as though you had a wonderful time and learned and enjoyed lots. So glad that you had such a great time. I don't think that there is anything wrong with your blog content or name, you have to be you and do what you do! That is the most important thing. I look forward to seeing your sewing as and when! xx

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  2. Looks like you had a amazing time.
    Clare x

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  3. Thanks for the info re my crochet owl. I've added an addendum to my blog post, x

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  4. What a fantastic time you had Maria...it must have been so inspiring! Lovely pics of your day and Tilly's book looks beautiful....I'll look forward to seeing your makes and your craft room progress!
    Susan x

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  5. Look at you poppin' that hip at the camera man whilst I cower is disgust! You are a sight for sore eyes Ms. Miles.

    Gah, I completely forgot to include gift bag details in my blog post. And now that I look at yours, I didn't get a fancy unfoldable paper lantern thingy! Pure robbed I was.

    And I'm glad candle made it home safely. Do you know how well I had to time hiding that thing?! I had to wait for you to finish packing, get you to leave the room, run over to your bag and bury it under your stuff and pray you didn't rummage through your bag again before we left. It was actually quite stressful.

    ;) xx A

    p.s. NEXT YEAR WE WILL DRINK ALL OF THE CHAMPAGNE IN TEA CUPS.

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  6. Sounds like a perfect couple of days! Good you did it! Like your "show your face" picture. Have a lovely week! Anna xx

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  7. WOW ..... that looks like one fabulously exciting trip!
    I can't wait to see what you make from Tilly's book
    love Jooles x x x

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