Day 30 - B.E.D September 2016 - #BlogOnMSI Winter 2016 - Blog Conference

Friday, September 30, 2016

For the past three years Blog On has been up there in the highlights of my blogging life. At the end of the Conference in May Laura announced there would be a second conference this year and I bought myself a ticket as soon as they were released. 

This Blog On conference was winter themed and I felt slightly under dressed as people had really made an effort to be festive. You'll get a better festive flavour if you watch my vlog of the day. (I'll add a link once it's been edited.)


Much like the past 3 conferences we took over the top floor of MSI Manchester which is a really great space as it has a large lobby area with a number of smaller rooms for sessions as well as a large room which can be subdivided.

Brands

Small Man Media

While I was in the queue my eyes were drawn to the Small Man Media table which was filled with some extremely exciting products. Nu Notebooks and Sheaffer Pens as well as other exciting products. I left them with a bag full of exciting products which I think deserve their own post but this table made my day. Small Man Media are also the team behind National Stationery week which might be my favourite week of the year!


Matalan

Matalan also had a team and I won a the pair of mens brogues like the ones in the picture below. I was really taken with the black boots with the glittery heel. I can feel a trip to my local Matalan coming on. The team left early and I wish I'd had a chance to speak to them as they seemed really lovely but as I saw them as soon as I arrived I didn't stay around them for long. Hopefully they will be at the next one and I can speak to them more then.


Jet2

I've been a loyal Jet2 customer for a number of years and I've got 2 Jet 2 Holidays booked for later this year so it was lovely to meet the team and I attempted to enter their competition to win 2 flights to the canaries but then I realised I don't have a competitive bone in my body and kind of gave up. It was at the point I couldn't make Plasticine hair and the guy from Jet2 had to make some for me!!!

The idea was to give Holi their mascot a make over to star in their advent calendar - meet one too many sangrias Holi not coming to an Advent calendar near you EVER!! 

It was lots of fun and I was very impressed at the standard of the other Holi's that had been decorated by other attendees 

Carnival Cruises

I know I keep saying this but it's true, I really enjoyed chatting with Lucy from Carnival. She was really passionate about her company and it was nice to hear about some of the things they are planning away from the family side of cruises. She also gave me sweets and a travel mug so that's always good. I've never been on a cruise unless you count a mini cruise from Hull to Ze Bruge in the mid 90s. 


Stag Bakeries

Sometimes the best idea's are the simplest. Stag Bakeries have brought out sweet straws, they also have the more traditional cheese straws and kelp water biscuits. My favourites were the Blackberry and Basis sweet straws. They are the darker ones below. I've got some Raspberry and chocolates ones from my goodie bag that i'm still to try. 


Another of their products which I think is worth a mention is the Christmas Cake which would be lovely as a gift for a Christmas cake lover, this is stocked in Waitrose and is more of a present than a buy to eat yourself type product. 

Other Brands

 As always there were a number of other brands and PR companies. The lovely people from Portland Street, Laura from Party Delights, A whole host of toy companies, Canvas Holidays and they had a competition to win a holiday and it was won by my friend Jenny from The Brick Castle. Sarah from A New Advetures in Baking also showed me how to decorate a christmas cookie. A picture of my handy work is on my Instagram account.

The Sessions

While we waited for the keynote we took full advantage of the table decorations and I adore this picture of myself and Rachel, it was lovely to see her and she shares my love of pens and planners and it was good to spend some quality time with her. 


We started with a Key note from Liv's recovery kitchen where she talked about her recovery from addiction and her plans for the future. 

When it came to the sessions in May, I made some wrong choices, I felt quite overwhelmed at that event but this time I was so much more relaxed. I didn't have one of my moments. I went, I enjoyed, I didn't get overheated and I picked some good sessions. 

Session 1 - Falling in love with your blog - The Joy Chaser

As I've said a 100 times during my blogging every day in September posts, I'd fallen out with my blog but from this session which I'm ready to make some changes and as I write I have plans. I need to do some research and checks but there will be changes to seeing spots in the new year hopefully.

Michelle who ran the session was really approachable and came across really well, she's also supplied hand outs with practical exercises to help us see the direction we should be taking. It was in this session where I may have decided or at least confirmed seeing spots needs a name change. The idea I came up with isn't perfect but it's on the right lines. 

After the session I commented on a post in a fb group and she replied offering support and advice which was lovely. 

Who knew a Venn diagram could be so useful! There is also going to be a online course coming soon. The details to pre-register are on her blog. I'm not sure if this will be a paid for course of free but I think it's worth looking into if you're feeling a little meh about the whole blogging thing.


Session 2 - YouTube

Another very enjoyable session, a lot of new tips and tricks and thanks to a thread in the group I've finally hit 200 subscribers. (Yay - Fist pump moment) 

I'm determined to work harder and get my channel going and I'm going to make more effort with my thumbnails. 

I filmed rather than took pictures of this session so give the vlog a watch to see this. Don't forget to like, comment and subscribe **Wink**

I didn't go to the third session, well I did but I nipped out as I needed the loo (TMI?) and used the time to chat to some of the brands and speak to friends. 

Session 4 - Instagram

The last session had three interesting sessions and I was torn which to go to but decided to go to the Instaram one and I'm glad I did. 

It wasn't revoloutionary stuff, all common sense but it was from 2 persepctives and I picked up different tricks and my followers have grow by about 100 in a week. It took me months to hit 1200 followers and over the weekend it hit 1300! 

I had great moment of self doubt with Instagram, I worry I'll piss people off but you know what it's my account if they don't like it then they can jolly well unfollow me. 

I'm not going down the route of creating themes but I am going to work on the quality of pictures and I'm going to refrain from spamming unless I'm at an event and I am going to use hashtags. 

The session was run by Colette  and Kate, they both had increased their following in the past 9 months. I was at an event where we were all talking her into getting IG around 2 years ago and I felt really inspired by how far she has come. It wasn't a case of I must work harder but more a case if I make some small changes I can enjoy it more and increase my following. 

The Rest

I couldn't think of a better heading, I'll be honest. Would a blog on be the same without cake and what an amazing cake it was. Sarah, who helped me decorate a biscuit was responsible for making this amazing creation. There was also wine provided by Lidl I was really generous of them and I have to say it was some of the nicest white I've tried in a while.***googles the nearest Lidl***


Santa also sent some of this Elves to spread some Christmas cheer and check which list we all belong to. I was fascinated, scared and highly amused by them. They would have been better if they didn't squeak (You might have needed to be there) 

They made us all smile and they did a little dance for my vlog but I hadn't pressed record. I'm so sad I didn't capture that footage. 


I had such a lovely Sunday surrounded by amazing bloggers, I felt like I had time to chat to bloggers I could as friends, people I've only spoke to online and even some new people. Sadly I can't remember name and blogs but Hello if I spoke to you.

MSIManchester

As always a huge thank you to MSI, they are great hosts and catered a delicious Christmas themed lunch, with little pies, quiches, turkey and stuffing sandwiches, pigs in blankets and roast potatoes. It was delicious and I really enjoyed my lunch.


I always come home with a camera full of pictures taken in the lift, I need to arrange a day to look round the museum itself.


If you looks back at all my old BlogOn posts you will more than likely find that I've written the same and these photo's might look familiar!

There are also celebrating the Manchester Science Festival over the October half term and it looks like there are a number of exciting events on so if you're in the area it's well worth checking out. I'm going to have a look at events that don't require the need for children and see if I can make it to any events.

The events are all across the city not just at MSI itself so might be worth seeing if there is anything local to you if you're in the North West.



 Once again a huge thank you to Laura as always you've put on a fantastic event. Arranged amazing goodie bags. To be seen to be believed, Once I unpack it all I will show you it.

Laura couldn't do all this on her own, she has an amazing network of support, from the bell ringers between the sessions, people to help pack the bags (Thanks Jenny & Sim) Alice who co-ordinates behind the scenes and provides us with epic train stories as she leaves us in the North. I feel like this is a bit of an Oscars speech but it's needed. Everyone who is involved needs thanking!




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