I was extremely grateful to Mr Smith this weekend for being a sport and having the kids ALL day so that I could attend my 1st blogging conference (because its not like I do it every day or anything). The 3 of them had a lovely day trashing the house, avoiding chores, swimming, movies and a big fat nap, whilst I had fun and wore myself out meeting other bloggers, learning some valuable skills and having some general banter with a room full of women (and a couple of men).

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a blogging event and I was slightly nervous about it all and how easily id fit into the flow of it all, I did hope id come away with some more technical knowledge, some new blogs to explore, some new pals in the blogging community and some tips and tricks of the trade and I was so thankful to have Esther at Inside out and about there to guide me through, chat to and laugh with.


I gained a lot from this day, but here’s the top 5 things I felt I learn’t

1. Bloggers are friendly folk – Although I was a little nervous everyone I met was so nice…there were times when Id just grab someone and say “Hi I loved your tweet today” or others when I’d be sat a table with “strangers” and everyone would just mingle. The one’s I felt really welcoming and some new blogging pals would be Katie from Life on Vista , Lorraine from The Uncheshire wife (she is a laugh), Tracey from williams world, Rachel from The ordianary Lovely, Jo from Not a fumpy Mum and Claire from Six degrees of harmony – Thank you so much for your warm welcomes and for guiding me through a few things! There were also lots of other friendly peeps and had a laughs with other bloggers, but these were the one’s that really made the effort to get to know me and my blog.

2.  Bloggers are normal (Even the big ones) – I love to read other peoples blogs; especially other parenting ones, or ones that too write of infant loss. I love to get caught up in their lives and laugh with them, cry with them, admire outfits, home interiors or general banter and rants they post. I made a sneaky list from the attendance list on Twitter of bloggers I wanted to meet for various reasons and was pleased to find how normal they are and lovely too. The ones from my list (Im not a stalker ladies I promise) that I was pleased I got to meet were;
Jamie from  The Olivers Madhouse  
Erin from Yorkshire Tots
Jenny from Lets talk mommy 
Hayley from Hayley at home
All lovely ladies, so very different but all writers of great blogs!

3. Photography tips – I found the Photography sess they ran quite helpful. Whilst a lot of it I had heard before its not until afterwards that I have really being thinking on it and taking it into account, there was some great advice, but I think the best thing she said was “What do you want from your pictures?”, are they personal? do they say something? do they tell a story? I’ve since being thinking way more about the pics I take. I don’t have a flash camera like a lot of other bloggers (Birthday pressie?) my pics are all taken on my phone. I think though with the right light, a little thought and some major editing you can create AMAZING shots. These are my 2 faves I took at the museum when we went off to put into practice the tips she had shared.
InstagramCapture_0b477799-001f-4a05-ade9-fbfe9d80cbf4 InstagramCapture_649ab786-4d86-4d08-a3bb-a2bfa9af183d

4. Technical stuff – I learnt some useful tips about google and the behind the scence’s of my blog. I was directed to some useful sites that would help me to refine the blog and look forward to putting this all into action. 

5. For some bloggers its all about the PR – It was great to not only mix and mingle with some companies but also receive some very generous things from them all too (thank you)…
Of course I expected to have the opportunity to mix with companies and brands and yes perhaps have the occasionally opportunity to even market their products or have some family experiences with them to share on the blog, but I felt then this then ran over into almost EVERY session. I found the PR focus to be a little much and it seemed for many bloggers their focus was PR and money making. It was a little bit of a let down as it went beyond being helpful and I felt it lost focus of why we blog.

I just want to say that I blog because I want to share my story. Raise awareness, Help others. Its cheaper then therapy and its a documentation of our lives. Of course if there’s something I love, an adventure were asked to go on I will most definitely share it with you all.

I read blogs because I want to know i’m not alone in my parenting pursuits and challenges, I want to learn, I find it relaxing, I want to connect with others, I want inspiration in my life, but what do we gain from reading review after review? how is this helping us connect with the author? I find a product, location, whatever has way more impact to me as a reader when its here or there and you can certainly feel more passion for it. Yes as anyone, especially a blogger, its fun to work with companies, its great to have opportunities but lets not loose sight of the wonderful impact the chapters of our life can have on others.

Overall it was a fun day out, the result of a lot of hard work and was very beneficial. Its probably for the best that I didn’t meet too many more people because as well as the above mentioned, I now have a rather long list of new blogs I want to keep up on (thank goodness for bloglovin and twitter) and I will most certainly attend them in the future and look forward to when I do and seeing some now familiar faces. I have never tweeted or instagramed so much in my life and my arms ached with all of the goody bags, the food was tasty and the atmosphere one of excitement and laughter!
It so weird to think a year ago I was on the edge looking into this blogging community and here I am being read by all of you lovely folk, living life and sharing it with hundreds and getting my blog on at conferences!


  1. May 6, 2015 / 7:22 pm

    This is such a great post Mary and thank you for mentioning me. It was also my first time at a blogging event, and for me the highlight was definitely meeting people. I love hearing stories as to why people start their blogging journey, as we all do it for different reasons. Your story filled me with sadness, and I am sure your blog will reach out to people. You write beautifully and I will certainly be an avid reader from now on. See you next year hopefully xx

    • May 7, 2015 / 7:40 am

      Thank you Tracey, such a lovely comment. Your kindness made me feel welcome and it won’t be forgotten, it was nice that not of your squirmed away when I told you either like many do. It is hard but its nice to have a way to share my daughter and feelings as well as help keep a focus on the good in life.

      I hope to see you next year too and we shall keep contact til then x

  2. May 6, 2015 / 10:00 pm

    This is such a great summary! I enjoyed reading Erin’s too and will be using them as a little check list as I didn’t really take any notes – whoooops. I used to freak out meeting bloggers but everyone is just normal…eats, sleeps and talks. The PR pushing was painful and made me cringe so much. Being able to work with PRs is a bonus, but not the reason and I hate reading blogs that work with loads of brands, it takes away the beauty of it. Loved having you there too chicken and loving your pics! xxx

    • May 7, 2015 / 7:32 am

      Thank you!! Yes cringe is a good word haha I felt a little awkward with it all but if there wasn’t a demand for that info I suppose then they wouldnt have gone in that direction?! like you say though it takes away the blogs beauty and I think personality.

      It was a good laugh though and eye opening ha! x

  3. erinalice
    May 6, 2015 / 10:00 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this Mary. I agree you have a beautiful style of writing! I started out wanting an events calendar that evolved into a blog as well so I feel like I have come into blogging backwards. I really love blogs like your that are brave and personal – I am trying to work it more into my own blog but I don’t find it easy.

    As far as the conference goes, BlogOn is the only blog conference I’ve been to, but I think it’s much more brand focused than some of the others. I did have a great time and again, it was really nice to meet you!

    • May 7, 2015 / 7:27 am

      You too Erin and Thank you. I really appreciate your comments. Perhaps I didn’t realise it would be so brand focused, but I know that that is some peoples focus…just not mine, that would be the occasional thing/on the side, Id hope It never dominated my blog and focus when theres so many things in life to share. I still gained a lot though from going.

      Your site is brilliant and Im sure the blog side will evolve more as you get into it 🙂 what I read is good x

  4. May 6, 2015 / 10:33 pm

    Great post Mary, you summed up the day perfectly. Roll on next year : )

  5. May 6, 2015 / 10:50 pm

    Your reasons for blogging and not wanting to read (all) reviews are absolutely the reason most people start blogging and sometimes lose sight of. It’s important to hold onto that and keep blogging the way you want to 🙂

    • May 7, 2015 / 7:23 am

      Thanks Nickie. Of course the occasional review is fine, and even informative. It can be exciting but I feel too many and you loose the blog identity and personality x

  6. May 7, 2015 / 4:03 pm

    So pleased you enjoyed the day, Mary. Most bloggers are a kind and friendly bunch 🙂
    I know what you mean about the focus on PR. I too blog for awareness and for Hugo. I was quite taken aback when I joined the parenting blogging community to see how many reviews etc there are, but each to their own. Never say never, I say though – it’s your blog so you can do what you want, but it’s important to remain true to yourself, too. I do a couple of reviews of things that are relevant to me, but it’s quite limited xxx

  7. May 7, 2015 / 5:00 pm

    Thanks Leigh.. Yeah of course I’m open to it but that’s the key isn’t it “not loosing sight” and keeping it real! It was a fun day and lots of laughs x

  8. May 10, 2015 / 9:57 pm

    You are so sweet! I just squealed when I saw my name in that list, thank you! I wish I had been able to chat to you more…and Esther! Still kicking myself that I didn’t just say Hi, I loved Blog On for catching up with bloggers and a lot of the ladies you mentioned are the ones I love to catch up with. When I first went last year me and Jo clung on to each other and had a great day, it can be a little daunting but on the whole people are so welcoming. I must admit that this years event was less creative than I was hoping for, I think everyone’s blog is so personal that you don’t always want to be told what to do just to please a brand! Still it means meeting new and old friends which is always a good day, lovely to have met you and hopefully won’t be quite so briefly next time 🙂 xx

    • May 11, 2015 / 9:57 pm

      Thanks Hayley – It was great to actually meet you, even if it was so brief yes! Next time ill say a proper hello!
      You are so right about our blogs being personal and individual..I hope that whatever work I do with brands (if any) I maintain my personality and style and that they like that for them. I felt quite out of my comfort zone initially but soon relaxed and met some lovely peeps! x

  9. May 13, 2015 / 2:02 pm

    What a lovely post and a great round up. Sorry I didn’t get to chat to you, there were so many people and I’m quite quiet. I hope we get a chance to chat next year. It was a lovely day xx

    • May 16, 2015 / 7:28 am

      No need to apologise 🙂 YES next year, more peeps to meet and blogs to find haha x

  10. May 16, 2015 / 12:04 pm

    Thank you so much for coming along and I am glad you enjoyed it.

    As for the PR/ brand involvement, it is definitely interesting to see that you brought it up as you are not the only one. Back when I started I never thought about that side of blogging but that is what means I can now work at home and look after my children rather than go to an office and put them in childcare. I find that a lot of bloggers ask questions about how to work with brands, how to approach them etc but I agree this can also go in the opposite direction and people can work with brands too much. Most of the sessions were guided by questions that have been asked within the community and so working with brands did come up frequently. I am also of the opinion that there is always a brand (even if that is a charity) that would be a perfect fit for all bloggers even if that is just you helping them to raise awareness so although the context of the tips you heard were not applicable maybe at some time in the future the advice may still be useful.

    However next year I will try to ensure that there are sessions that are suitable for those who don’t wish to work with brands, if you have any suggestions please let me know.

    I hope to see you at another event soon

    • May 16, 2015 / 12:57 pm

      I’m not opposed to working with brands and definitely work close with the hospice (charity) I just don’t want reviews and products to take over the purpose I write my blog and I felt some seemed to only focus on this,which is a shame as it tends to loose personality & I remember that advice stood out to me in one of the workshops! But of course if this is the majority at this moment in time you have to meet their needs. I met some lovely people and very much enjoyed meeting PR folks too, I’m so glad you’ve been able to do that and stay at home, I bet you love the flexibility it brings!

      I’m a fairly new blogger so just didn’t realise so many focused on that, I went expecting it a bit different but next year will have no expectations and go with the flow, I know it will be fun! Your hard work deffs paid off x

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