Blogtacular 2014

Last weekend was incredibly surreal, encouraging, uplifting, energizing and dangerously inspiring. I took a mini trip to London to attend the first ever Blogtacular and there are no words for how awesome it was.  

When I first heard of it I got in contact with co-blogger and co-handmade-hag Maria about attending Blogtacular along with me. Before long, we had our travel and hotel booked, bags packed, and I was about to meet her in our London hotel lobby. I should explain – we’ve never met before, but have spent years following and inappropriately commenting on each others blogs. So I had a “wait, is she a real person?” moment. What if she’s a 45-year-old man who’s about to murder me with a hammer in the hotel bathroom? Turns out Maria is a real person, and a painfully lovely, quirky, hilarious and easy going person at that, who didn’t resemble a serial killer in any way! Phew. 

Armed with my notepad,  {slightly cringe} Hydrangea Girl necklace and ‘business’ cards

^ KEYNOTE ADDRESS with Joy Cho of Oh Joy!
Friday night started with a bang with a keynote address from the amazing Joy Cho. I foresee I’ll be saying this a lot in this post, but there are no words for how inspiring it was. Joy had incredible advice and some serious one-liners to add volumes to your self esteem. I was too giddy / starstruck / fangirling and unfortunately didn’t take any notes, but there’s good news – her presentation will be available online soon is now available for all to see and hear and be inspired! It is well worth the watch, people. 

^ ON VALUE with Anne Ditmeyer of Pret a Voyager

I then attended Anne’s presentation on value. She spoke about her experiences, struggles, achievements, dreams, the opportunities that she’s been offered, and importantly, how to ask to get paid for your work when companies chance their arm at not mentioning money. A small few points of hers that resonated strongly with me were – 

– Do the kind of work you want to be known for
– Learn to use limitations as opportunities to get creative
– Quality work takes time. Work with clients who will respect your work and your time
– Lawyers, doctors and plumbers don’t work for free, so why should you?

^ FROM BLOG TO BOOK with Tilly Walnes of Tilly and the Buttons and Vicky Orchard of Kyle Books

Next I sat in on Tilly and Vicky’s chat about going from blog to book. Setting aside the sleepless nights, going unshowered for weeks, contract stings, and red flags it takes to make a book, they focused on the positives as to how it’s easier for a blogger to take that step from screen to print – 

– Bloggers already have a built audience
– They’ve established an illustrative and visual identity for ourselves through our blog already
– They already have a good understanding and eye for typography
– And more importantly, bloggers are good at dealing with and meeting deadlines, and practice discipline

Some serious inspiration to get me day dreaming about having my own home DIY book! Hah.

^ HANDS ON STYLING with Ellie Tennant  

Maria and I then attended Ellie Tennants session on styling. I found it to be an exciting presentation and it gave us loads of inside tips and tricks for designing in front of the lens. A few key notes were –

– Be conscious of where the sun is and never use artificial lighting. Use light reflectors for dark spots in stead
– Add depth with layers. Three layers is best – background, middle, and foreground
– Less is more. Be ruthless and get rid of uneccessary items
– Practice wabi-sabi: the art of imperfection. If everything looks too perfect, it will look fake

After Ellie’s encouraging presentation, we all took turns styling a small set up based around hoards of beautiful props. Maria and I styled the above picture which perfectly collides my love of stripes with Maria’s dinki dots. And a perfect addition of wabi-sabi – one ‘fallen’ petal.  
CLOSING KEYNOTE with Natalie Lue of Baggage Reclaim 

Natalie spoke at the end of the day, and even though energy levels were starting to deflate, she grabbed our attention, picked us up and finished Blogtacular on a high note. Some of Natalie’s encouraging one liners –

– If you try to please everyone, you will no longer be differentiating yourself from others
– You will have more ideas than time. This is okay
– When we compare ourself with others, we forget who we are. Go easy on yourself. This is your journey
– Dreams don’t work if you don’t

I couldn’t resist picking up a copy of Ellie’s new book, Design Bloggers at Home and Joy’s book, Blog, Inc., followed quickly by dorking out and asked for their autographs. I’m always so torn in such situations – on one hand I don’t want to bother them with something as silly as an autograph, but on the other, it takes all of 30 seconds of their time for something I’ll have on my shelf forever. So I fan-girled big time at both ladies and stole away with their signatures. 

It’s been four days since Blogtacular wrapped up on Saturday evening, and I’m still feeling inspired and energized about all the information, tips and tricks I took from it. That’s how you know it was good. I can’t wait to rewrite all my notes in proper penmanship in my notebook, and more importantly, put them into practice.

Thank you Kat and Kat. It was a spectrum of awesome. 

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  1. May 14, 2014 / 14:22

    Thank you so much for giving us a round-up of Blogtacular. I wish we had something like this near me. So glad you beat your inner critic and got those autographs 🙂

  2. Anne Cresswell
    May 14, 2014 / 16:41

    Sounds like you had fun and got some great ideas, Alex. Can't wait to see how these work out. Oh you are so very Canadian in not wanting to bother them….haaaa! Thanks for sharing.

    • May 23, 2014 / 15:04

      Hahaha, I know! What am I like? Have you seen the newest Anchorman? It was basically like that. Could I please have your autograph – SORRAY!

  3. May 14, 2014 / 18:03

    Wow, I'm really jealous- I would love to have gone 🙂 Can't wait to hear more about it and saw that Yvonne from Yvestown announced about her new magazine too at it. Glad you had a great time. I am currently doing Decor8's Blogging Your Way e-course and I'm loving it so that is my inspiration these days.

    All things nice…

  4. May 14, 2014 / 19:10

    Oooooohhh great post!!! You really summed it up well! And thank you for your kind words – made me feel a bit emotional reading them – or maybe that's just my cold talking! 😉 I have been coughing and sneezing today, like a lurgy-infested something-or-other! How are you feeling?

    I haven't had the energy or thought-processes to get my Blogtacular post together yet! I feel like being ill has knocked the Blogtacular inspiration and enthusiasm out of me… but I'm sure once I'm better and reviewing my memories and thoughts, I will get it back again! (Reading this post has helped too)

    Oh, and I plan to snaffle your toilet-selfie picture of us for my blog post, unless you have any objections??!

    Maria xx

    • May 16, 2014 / 13:38

      By all means M-Dogg, steal away! I'm glad I wrote this blog post on Monday before the plague set in so alls I had to do on Wednesday was press 'publish' whilst horizontal on the couch. Otherwise, it'd be another week before I'd have the mental capacity to do it!

      I can stand upright today for the first time since Wednesday, so I'm doing much better! What a weird illness. I blame all that harsh air conditioning blasting germs in our faces for 3 days. Not cool. Literally!

  5. May 15, 2014 / 20:11

    Awww I'm so sorry I missed this! It looks fab and I loved your roundup 🙂 Gutted I couldn't meet you although you would then found out I was a hammer-wielding murderer so perhaps it's better this way 😉 xxx

    • May 23, 2014 / 14:58

      Bahahaha, next time, Kimberly. There's always next time for hammer time 😉 xx

  6. May 20, 2014 / 00:25

    Sounds like a great event! Also, love love love your nails.

  7. July 19, 2014 / 23:20

    Your hair was so amazing! Glad you got so much out of the day – looking forward to hearing you pitched your book x