Sunday, 22 November 2015

My whistle stop #Blogfest15 tour

On Friday I headed up to London thanks to Coca Cola for my trip to Blogfest. I had a train ride on my own which felt like luxury! Luckily I struck a conversation with another mum on a weekend pass to keep me company. Once I got to Euston I had a walk through the city to my hotel near King's Cross station:


I had arranged to finally meet up with the lovely Michelle who I have chatted to on the Internet since 2008 but have never met. Whilst settling in to my lovely room I noticed that Kerry had posted a pic from the same hotel so invited her to join us:  


After dinner we took a while to find somewhere not too astronomical for a drink. Finally we ended up at King's Cross Station and I got a chance to do my Harry Potter pose:


The next morning after a disturbed night (I am so not used to street noise!) I was up bright and early for our breakfast symposium with Coca Cola (I will be writing more about that later...):
Then we headed up in a mini walking convoy to the conference venue. We arrived part way through the opening address but were in time for the first panel:


This included a slightly fuzzy link to Canada with the incredible Margaret Atwood:


An intriguing discussion on whether being a mother is good or bad for creativity. Amazing to be a room which such a distinguished panel. Then off to sample the stalls of the event sponsors:


Next up was my first optional session on photography with Hayley from Shutterflies. Lots of useful tips and tricks on making our photos better on our blogs, Instagram and Pinterest


There was also a brief talk from Western Digital about the importance of backing up our photographs - using the external drives they gave us! Then back to the main hall for "Think Bombs" with three funny and thought provoking speakers. First up Sandi Toksvig on women's equality:


Then Val McDermid on embracing your creativity:


Finally David Baddiel on dealing with trolls:


It was good to have some time to socialise and eat yummy food at lunch time. I finally got to do the blind taste test and failed:


Afterwards I joined up with Michelle for a session on taking videos with Mike Figgis a genuine Hollywood filmmaker. Great tips on lighting, sound and equipment. Michelle has now challenged me to get on Periscope: 


Our final break out session segued nicely as it was "How to be a YouTube Sensation". Some great tips on how to attract and keep a YouTube audience. I will be off to apply those tips to my channel after writing this post....:


We didn't even have time for a coffee before the final panel in the hall. Chaired by the BBC's Fi Glover it was a very honest discussion about what we share in public about our private lives. Shappi Korsandi had us both laughing and close to tears:


The official part of the day ended with well deserved blogging awards:


This was followed by grabbing our things from the cloakroom (and trying to get goodie bags into suitcases!) and then a drinks' reception with prosecco, wine and cocktails. A chance to chat to even more lovely bloggers whilst enjoying a refreshing drink:

Then I had to dash back across town to catch my train back north. A super day and so glad I got to finally meet so many "virtual" friends and just sorry there wasn't time to say hi to everyone I wanted to see. Lots of food for thought, useful tips and excellent goodie bags! Think I need to save up to go again...

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