Goodness, what a whirlwind this week has been!  Again, my blog posts are ridiculously sparse and for that, I apologise.  I left on Friday morning for Stockholm to attend Meet the Blogger and returned shattered and happy on Monday – and what a fabulous experience it was.  If there’s one thing I truly love about blogging and the only reason I’ve never given it up in 2 1/2 years, it’s the connections we make with our fellow bloggers.

Two of the lovely bloggers I met.  Jenny of HemTrender and Karolina of Its A House.
Can’t get these bloggers away from their cameras for a second!

We are a special kind of breed, aren’t we?  Passionate and creative and that fuels the fires of what we do, truly and without a doubt.  Fill a room with almost 100 of us and you can just imagine the creative energy and the enthusiasm that buoyed me up for a weekend of information, knowledge sharing and lots of laughter.  I meet some incredibly inspiring people and it’s encouraged me to keep going, even when blogging is hard (because it is sometimes, isn’t it? I know you know what I’m talking about!).

I don’t want to bore you guys with lots of ‘you had to be there’ experiences but I did want to share a few of the highlights of the event.

I finally had the pleasure of meeting the man behind the colours, Will from Bright Bazaar who was the Key Note speaker and kicked off the event with equally fabulous panache in his bright yellow trousers!  His presentation around Tips for Creating a Bright and Successful Blogging Brand was so spot on and completely accessible, no matter if you are a blogger just starting to find your voice or a more established blogger with readers in the thousands.

The key idea I took from his presentation was in ensuring that you create content that is unique to you and filtering that unique voice in everything you do.   Don’t simply repost content you saw somewhere else – make sure your readers understand what your personal take on the content actually is.  He said it so succinctly:  Be a creator, not a curator!  His infographic hand out was just as brilliant covering all his key points and you can see it for yourself in the link above.

I also got to see the lovely folks behind Heart Home Magazine again!  It was so nice seeing Carol and Arianna again and finally getting to meet Daniel.  They had their own presentation in the programme on how they began the magazine and they even gave me a little shout out (blushing profusely)!  It was so interesting – these are clearly very creative people and with their shared backgrounds in interior design, their passion shows!

I found it fascinating listening as well to the presentation by sisters Thea and Toni about their own magazine out of Berlin, Sister Mag.  The approach, with their graphic design backgrounds was very different to Heart Home and it became clear that there is certainly more than one way to create a successful digital magazine.

I also took part in a couple of workshops.  One by Jeanette Lunde of the popular blog out of Norway, By Fryd, who talked about how to create the beautiful stylish photographs like those she carries on her blog.  Honestly, the whole trip was worth the ten minutes she spent with me, teaching me HOW TO USE MY CAMERA.  Honest to god, within a few minutes, all the varying things I had heard about f-stops, ISO, shutter apertures and exposure – all those things that had intimated me for so long – seem to fall into place.  She let us practise the things we learned and I actually got some NICE SHOTS using my own camera on MANUAL!!

*Cue the chorus of angels singing*  She also let me play around with her 50mm Canon lens.  And now of course I want – no NEED – one in my life.  I couldn’t have been more grateful for her time, what a star!

Taken on Manual with a 50mm lens in crappy lighting with NO post production. Yay!

Oooh there was also a really interesting workshop on how visual media is shaping the digital landscape by Kirsten Jassies of Sanoma’s Bloggersnetwork Blog Today.  The presentation has been made available on SlideShare so you can see it for yourself.  The world as we know it is becoming a much prettier place!  Hurrah!

So Day One was a day of head-spinning knowledge and meeting lots of new people!  I tell ya what, when I walked into the event, I was so nervous, my heart was actually pounding.  I didn’t know what to expect – I’d heard blogger events can be quite clique-y and pretentious… what was going to happen?  Would no one speak to me?  Would I feel excluded if no one knew who I was?  Well, I’m happy to report, it was nothing at all of the sort.  I feigned confidence and introduced myself to people and guess what? They smiled, they laughed at my stupid jokes, the fears melted away and I was thrilled to meet so many cool people.

On Sunday, we had a Design Tour of Stockholm which I’ll talk a bit about in my next post!  Also, over the weekend I had some incredible news.  If  you follow me on Facebook or Twitter (and if you don’t, why the heck not? It’s proven to make you look 10 years younger and your boobs more pert*), you may already know what it is because I can’t keep stuff like this to myself, but if not, stay tuned!  The weekend only got better…

*individual results may vary.


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