It’s Saturday morning. It’s early and we’re London bound. It’s my first visit to the Blogosphere Festival. I’ve been reading their quarterly magazine for a year or so – loved it – and wanted to see more.
It’s an annual sparkly day in a swanky London hotel celebrating the season of giving and the love of blogging. What’s not to love?
Here’s how Blogosphere they describe themselves:
Blogosphere is a media-tech company rooted in the world of digital influencers. We run influencer events, an influencer network and publish an industry magazine.
Blogosphere was launched in 2013 by Alice Audley, and is a business that cares about and respects both brands and influencers.
The business is dedicated to bringing professionalism to the influencer industry through transparency, accountability and trust. And through its events, network and magazine successfully shines a light on authentic creators of all different niches and sizes.
So if you’re a blogger it’s an essential community to be part of. Hence my trip to London to the annual Blogosphere Christmas Gathering – or Festival.
What a lovely day we had in a beautiful London hotel surrounded by amazing bloggers and influencers.
Here’s just 6 things of the many things I learned during the day:
1 0530 is not a time I want to see again for a while
When I worked as Head of Private Office to the Chairman of Education Learning Wales, I used to travel a lot with the Chairman. But not that often on the train. We had a driver with a very nice car who waited outside the house at silly-o-clock for us to fall into the back seat and carry on snoozing until we reached our Cardiff meetings – 4 hours away. Those were the days!
When the alarm goes off at 4.30am on a chilly December morning and you have to peel yourself out of a cosy bed and wait at the station for the first train to London, that’s quite different.
But hey ho, it’s December, the beginning of Christmas month. Advent calendars are popping all over the country, so there’s lots to smile about.
2 London is a long way from North Wales
I think of myself as a country girl, or at least a semi-rural girl. I live by the seaside in the “Queen of Welsh Resorts”. Llandudno, population 20,000 in the winter, 60,000 in the summer. I spent a few years in the lovely city of York studying for my History & American Studies degree but apart from that I’ve been based in Wales.
London breaks are occasional and quite exciting treats. The through train takes around 3 hours which is an hour quicker than Llandudno to Cardiff. Not bad really. But it makes for a very long day unless you include an overnight stay.
Still it’s good to venture out of Wales occasionally and take in the bright lights. Actually we do have lights in Wales – in case you were wondering – they’re just not quite as bright as London.
3 It’s good to be brave and step my of your comfort zone
Signing up to attend a conference on my own in the middle of London with a bunch of people I’ve never met before – is not on my list of comfortable things to do. It was a sunny Saturday morning in October when I woke up to a jolly email from Blogosphere Magazine inviting me to their sparkly Christmas Festival. I’d booked my place and roped my husband in to come along – all before we’d even got out of bed.
It’s sometimes good to make spontaneous decisions when you’re feeling positive and on top of the world. You might never chose to do ‘the thing’ on another day – and just think what you might miss out on.
4 Building a blog following takes a long time.
I probably started seriously blogging 2 years ago. At first I just wrote about my cakes and shared photographs on a free wordpress site. 2 years ago my own website went live with the blog as an integral part. Early this year I decided that my blog needed some strategy and long term planning, rather than just shooting out posts whenever I fancied.
The message came through loud and clear that to become an established and successful blogger takes a good deal of time and considerable effort. It’s jolly hard work. The hamster wheel of social media. The endless writing. The content creation. And the constantly changing platforms and digital tech. None of this happens overnight – but if you can stick with it, it’s well worth the effort.
5 The blogosphere crowd are an authentic and generous bunch
It was lovely to put some real faces to instagram profiles, and to hear wisdom and experience from established bloggers. Sometimes North Wales feel like the far corner of the blogging empire so it was great to feel a little bit validated in what I choose to do. I really appreciated the honesty of the panelists in sharing their journey and how they approach their craft. There was a lot of love in the room. And a lot of make-up and hairspray in the cloakrooms – but that’s a whole other story.
6 If you don’t like the crush stay away from Oxford Street
Whose idea was it to head to Oxford Street for the afternoon on the first Saturday of December? I’m not good with crowds at the best of times, even in North Wales! We managed a walk round John Lewis Christmas Shop and some lunch in their very nice Italian restaurant, followed by an ill advised visit to Liberty of London. It’s such a beautiful shop and I would never want to come to London without seeing it. But on this day it was a proper crush. Maybe something to do with the 15% off throughout the store. Sorry Liberty – we’ll come again when you’re not so crazy.
London we’ll be back. But next time if you could arrange some dry weather, a cosy overnight hotel and a private tour of Liberty.
Thanks Blogosphere for a super Saturday. Same time next year?
That’s all for now.