Sunday, 14 August 2016

#EastMidsMeetUp | Blog Meet Survival Guide


What's the best thing about being a blogger? People often assume its the freebies and products sent for review, but actually? Its getting the chance to connect with other people that really care about the things you do. And when you get a good group of like-minded souls together, its magic.

The blogging 'community' (and I use that term lightly) is often maligned as being dreadfully bitchy and competitive, and while there is plenty of that going on, there's a lot more support, collaboration and encouragement than people might think.

I was lucky enough to experience some of that when I went along to the latest East Mids Meet Up over in Leicester. I haven't been to a meet up or any blog events for about a year, so I was a bit nervous.

Here's how the day went and my blog meet survival guide...




Find a calm space to start


The day started off for me at Bru Coffee and Gelato, a very cute and quirky independent boutique cafe in the city centre. I don't know Leicester well, so I got a bit lost driving round to begin with, especially as there were lots of traffic diversions in place due to a fire in town! When I parked up though, it was only a short walk to meet some of the other girls.

Gelato is one of my favourite things in the world, so I was excited to visit and try some.  Bru serves up amazing coffee and Liege waffles alongside the gelato and its basically my idea of food heaven.

Bloggers love gelato! L t R: Shani of shanicoles.co.uk, Natasha from Serenity You, Hannah from Hannah International, Charlotte from ShoeString Chic, Amy from AmyElizabethPorter, just out of shot is Becky from Geek Gets Glam
Rebecca of LibFemBlog, Lora of LoraDay, Sophie from SophiesNotebook. Not pictured but also lovely: Leanne from LatteLeanne & Izzy of ADoseofChatter.

Make some friends before the day


It was really lovely to meet some of the blogging girls who I'd been on a group chat with before the event. Like most people, I get very nervous going to a big event where I don't know anyone, so chatting to them before hand helped enormously. 

Use the event hashtag to reach out to other bloggers in advance of the event and make some connections. It definitely takes the edge off your pre-event nerves to know some others and have taken a look at their blogs before the day.

I felt quite self-conscious that I would feel out of place as I'm a bit older than the others, but they were all brilliant girls that were easy to get on with. Big thank you to Amy for letting me use the pictures above to show you!


Fuel Up Before The Meet


To be honest, the hardest part wasn't meeting the others in the end, but choosing from all these amazing gelato flavours! There were so many I wanted to try, I definitely feel a return trip coming on soon. It was worth the drive for this alone.

Before your meet up, make sure that you take the time to fuel up. I hate arriving somewhere feeling hungry or thirsty and unable to concentrate because of that. Its also a fantastic opportunity to try out a new venue, especially if you haven't been to that place before.


In the end, I went for one of their incredible Liege Waffles with White Chocolate ice cream, caramel syrup and chopped nuts. And yes, it was every bit as delicious as it looks! 

They told me that they're actually in the process of opening a branch in Nottingham, so I'm over the moon about that.

Break The Ice


It was so much easier arriving at the event with a few other girls, as you swerve that nerve-wracking moment of walking in on your own which we all hate. The event was hosted at Manhattan 34, home of some incredible cocktails!

Luckily, our hosts for the day; Emmie of CarpeDiemEmmie and Kirstie of BehindTheScent  (supported by Kirsty of KirstyRalph.co.uk and Lianne of thebrunettesays.co.uk) had done an incredible job at making us all feel welcome. 

We were greeted with amazing live music from singer Becky Bruce, a glass of fizz and a funny ice-breaker game. Everyone had given a random fact about themselves and you had to find the person in the room with your fact. This was a good idea because we had to speak to everyone to find our person.

They'd created a very welcoming atmosphere, and it also helped me that I spotted two of my favourite bloggers when I walked in - Steph from PricelessLifeOfMine and Nancy from SugarDarling. Both gorgeous people with blogs I love, so that put a smile on my face.

There were beautiful new hairstyles from Danique Hair, lashes from Angel Eyes and a raffle in aid of Rainbows Hospice and Bowel Cancer Uk to keep us happy.



Get The Most Out of The Day


I really liked that there was some great, constructive blogging advice on the day alongside the fun and chatting. 

First, we had some top tips from Gabby at CoolAsLeicester about to make our blogs PR-friendly, how to work with brands and how to make sure our blogs were marketable. It was great to hear about how it works on the other side, and I came away with some great ideas on how to make my blog work harder.

Next, the ladies from Blogosphere magazine told us all about their events programme, how to get involved with the magazine and how they put it together. Its so great to see someone doing something for bloggers, by bloggers. They really inspired me -  so much so that I have been speaking to them about setting up a Nottingham event early next year, which they are going to support!

So that was an exciting talk - and watch this space for details of a meet-up soon! 


Don't be Shy to Take Photos


At the end of the day, I think we all feel a shade ridiculous posing for outfit photos. But there is literally no better place than a blog meet! 

I am the queen of awkward when it comes to taking pictures - my face does strange things when there's a camera around, and I guess as I still have baby weight to lose and things, I'm not exactly brimming with confidence about being photographed right now.

So it was so nice to have other bloggers to do the outfit pictures with! Hannah was an amazing photographer - I really appreciated having a creative taking the pictures rather than my clueless husband. 

And I actually learned an awful lot about 'posing' (or not as it turned out...) from Shani. Watching how she did her outfit pictures taught me so much. Namely that she was completely natural and that translated brilliantly on camera. I think what I do is think about it too much, and you can tell in the pictures! Shani just moved naturally, as if she wasn't being photographed at all, and the pictures were so much better. That's really been an eye opener for me. 

Also, I learned that its totally normally to take a high volume of pictures to find the one or two that really work.  After all, everyone has their good angles! 

I know it sounds like a little thing, but it was actually hugely valuable to me to have a little photo session with two other bloggers and just watch what they did. 

Remember to say thank you


We all had a brilliant day - but one thing that was very clear was just how much effort and care had gone into organising the day. From the games and the blogger-focused content of the talk to the great venue and the very generous and thoughtful gift bags - it must have taken a lot of organising.

Emmie, Kirstie and Kirsty did such an amazing job and they have really inspired me to have a go at setting my own event up. So a massive thank you and well done to everyone involved for a memorable day and one of the friendliest meets I've been to.

Look out for my Outfit of The Day and Goody Bag Reveal posts coming this week!
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6 comments

  1. Lovely post - it was a fun day! Hope to see you at more events soon.

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  2. You are seriously too kind! It was such a lovely day and it was so nice to meet you :) hopefully we can all meet up again soon x

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  3. Great post - I haven't even started writing mine yet! It was lovely to meet you and I look forward to seeing you at future events. And exploring more of your blog!

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  4. Love this! Such a cool and fun way of posting about the event!

    Lovesss

    Izzy | ADoseOfChatter.com

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  5. Loved your take on things! Bit more original than just the standard event post! Lovely to meet you and look forward to reading more of your posts whenever I get a chance at work throughout the week,

    Rebecca Claire, libfemblog.com xx

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