Last weekend, I drove up to Manchester for the annual Blog On blogging conference – which is only my second blogging conference to date. Britmums in 2016 was the last time I went to a conference!
With Britmums being the only conference I had to compare this one too, I was basically going in blind and no idea what to expect – although I’d heard lots of positive things when speaking with other bloggers who have attended Blog On attended previously.
This year, Blog On was situated at Hotel Football, Old Trafford which was a brilliant location not just for space but for the facilities. I decided to cheap out and stay at a hotel down the road, but after a hellish drive back and forth throughout the weekend I wish I’d stayed at Hotel Football or at least the Premier Inn across the road! Anyway, I digress.
I’ve been in Manchester this weekend for @blogonuk. If you’re not a blogger this will probably make no sense, but as someone who enjoys blogging and writing about our family, #BlogOnX is the place to get fresh advice, network, and catch up with blogging friends in ‘real life’. I don’t often get time to go to blogging events, but when I do I have the best time as I go away feeling inspired – and what a location (apologies if you’re not a Man U fan – look away!). It’s been such a lovely weekend, although I miss my family terribly.
The weekend started at 8pm in ‘Heaven’ (located at Hotel Football) with the Paladone Party. Here is where we relaxed with a few drinks and party games. I met up with Kate, Lauren, Donna, and Sarah, as well as other bloggers who I’ve never actually met in ‘real life’. It was so nice to finally meet the bloggers I’ve read the stories of over the past few years, as well as meet those I chat to regularly online. It’s a bizarre feeling knowing so much about someone without having ever met them.
I stayed at the party for a few hours, managing to score a prize from my hard work playing Jenga and Giant Pass the Pigs, before heading back to my hotel.
— Zoe C (Mama Geek) (@zoecorkhill) May 5, 2018
The following day, conference day, started with the collection of ID badges and one of many bags to collect leaflets and goodies throughout the day. After a short wait, we were then allowed upstairs to the main lounge area for breakfast! Before Blog On, I’d heard lots of things about the food – all positive – so I was really excited to see what was in store. Meeting up with Tim, I scored a delicious bacon bap and a decent cup of coffee.
After a short while, we then headed to the main hall to hear the keynote speech. This is where we met Jason Todd who spoke to us about ‘The Art of Brilliance‘ – teaching us about happiness (but without the corny, soppy bits) and positivity. I thoroughly enjoyed this part and it really set me up for the day. I’ve even added a few of his books onto my Christmas list.
After the keynote, we were then invited to a variety of break out sessions. Every hour there were three sessions to choose from (out of a total of 12), with a break in between each session. There was everything from talks about YouTube to Pinterest to GDPR to Photoshop. I didn’t end up going to a session every time as I decided to catch up with friends instead as well as dedicate some time outside of the busy periods to the brand area in the basement, however I did go to a session about making money from your blog – which I actually left half way through as I found it to be about literally ways to make money, which I think I already have experience of – as well as sessions about Time Management and Productivity and Building Traffic – which wasn’t quite what I’d expected, but I still took away a few hints and tips.
The Time Management talk was by far my favourite. Not only is it hosted by the lovely Mel Knibb, but I really took their advice on board when it came to time keeping and multitasking whilst trying to work full time, manage housework, and run a blog. It was a really fun talk, too!
— LesBeMums (@LesBeMums) May 6, 2018
What was lovely about the Blog On experience was the amount of opportunities there were to relax and grab a decent cup of coffee and a bite to eat. Whether it was within the kitchen area, or at the Co-Op stall, who had very kindly sponsored a lot of the foodie sessions (such as wine and cheese tasting) throughout the day. Lunch was also provided during the day, which is where I had to restrain myself. There were so many wonderful options available – including a variety of gluten, dairy, and vegan friendly options, which I heard were delicious!
Outside of eating and attending sessions, I visited the brand and PR area where there were so many lovely brands to chat to, ranging from Toy companies to gadgets to shoes! They were all so friendly and there was a huge variety to browse through. What I also appreciated was that they weren’t just aiming for one particular type or standard of blogger – another reason I’ve fallen in love with Blog On. It literally welcomes all.
The day flew by so quickly and in no time I was waiting in line to collect more than one goody bag to take home – packed full with toys and food, as well as lots of gadgets. If you speak to any blogger who’s been to Blog On, the one thing they mention every time is bring a suitcase for the goody bag – and it’s a good job I did.
As well as the brilliant talks, the brand networking, and the chance to catch up with friends in the ‘real world’, @blogonuk is also famous for its awesome goody bags / loot. 🏆 This stash wouldn’t be made possible if it wasn’t for the generosity of the brands involved and the hard work that goes into making them. I haven’t got enough space to tag them all, but if you’re one of the awesome brands that have contributed to this #blogonxgoodybag then I thank you. #BlogOnX
I had such a lovely weekend at Blog On and will no doubt be in line to get tickets for next year’s conference. From the food to the goody bags to catching up with friends, I can honestly say that Blog On has become my favourite and go to blogging conference – there’s a reason I didn’t take many photos (bad blogger!). The atmosphere is so relaxed and you don’t feel out of place at any point. It’s certainly worth the drive from Brighton to Manchester!
I can’t wait until the next one!