Thursday, May 15, 2014

Blogtacular 2014

If you are a regular frequenter of the blogosphere, or even just Twitter, you won't have missed the build up to the blogging event of the year - Blogtacular - which took place in London last weekend at the Royal Institution of Great Britain.

Way back in October last year, I was asked by the organisers, Kat Molesworth and Kat Goldin, if I'd be interested in speaking at the event. I always get nervous about public speaking, but after having done a few talks last year and the fact that Blogtacular sounded like it was going to be fabulous I agreed, and I'm so glad I did!

Now, when I was first asked, it was about a month before I discovered that I was pregnant, so now that I am over 7 months gone, it was going to be a bit more of a struggle for me to attend both parts of the event as planned - the opening was on the Friday evening with a keynote speech from Joy of Oh Joy! - which I would have loved to have been at, but I decided that it was best to conserve my energy and just attend the full day event on the Saturday. From what I hear Joy's talk was hugely inspirational, so it was a shame to have missed it.

It was an early start on Saturday, I got there for around 8:30am, but it was so lovely to see so many familiar faces there, and also to meet some folk who I've only ever spoke to online, and even some of our 91 Magazine contributors, who I'd never met in person. So straight away, there was lots of chit chat and there was a fabulous buzz about the venue.

The sessions kicked off, and I really enjoyed hearing Tilly Walnes talk about her experience of publishing her first book, which looks gorgeous by the way. I also really enjoyed listening to the lovely Yvonne Eijkenduijn of Yvestown talk about her blog, and also make the announcement that she has decided to stop blogging, and instead produce her content via an online magazine 6 times a year! Very exciting, I can't wait to see her first issue in October. You can read more about that here. The Blog Business panel was also really interesting to hear how the different ladies set up their blogs and have made them into successful businesses. 

Some of the sessions ran simultaneously, so it was impossible to attend everything, but I heard that the photo walk with Xanthe Berkeley was a lot of fun, as well as the styling workshops with Ellie Tennant. I thought it was great that there were some hands on sessions like these as well as the talks and panel discussions throughout the day.

It did feel like we were completely spoiled throughout the day, with a constant supply of tea, coffee and biscuits during the breaks, and a lovely lunch of sandwiches and fresh fruit. You could even do a spot of shopping during the breaks with some of loveliest of British brands such as The Hambledon and Betty and Walter.

The day was so much fun, that I almost forgot that I had my session still to go in the afternoon! But at 4:15 we were given our little Madonna-esque microphones and shown to our seats in the auditorium. It was the BIGGEST honour ever to be sitting on this panel, entitled 'Secrets of the Editors' - alongside 3 really well established editors, all working for huge magazine and newspaper titles, while there I was chatting about the mag I launched from my spare room! ;) I was sat alongside Lara of Mollie Makes, Kate from Life and Style at The Guardian and Heather, previously Interiors Editor at Ideal Home magazine and now freelance. The pic above shows our view of the room - quite scary! But in fact, everyone was so lovely that it wasn't scary at all, and I actually really enjoyed it!

The day was finished off with a big group photo of everyone and of course a few parting words from organisers Kat and Kat. I really salute them for putting on such a great event. It's all those little things with running an event that people won't even notice, but that help to make the day run smoothly, so they must have had so much on their plates! I really couldn't fault it in any way, and I'm really looking forward to hearing their plans for Blogtacular 2015!

If you couldn't attend but wish you had, well you now have the virtual chance to do just that! The ladies have organised for the majority of the sessions to be available online as a 'virtual conference'! how fab! It'll be live in June, so you can sign up for that now! If you are a blogger whose lost confidence or motivation, I promise you it will return after watching these talks! ;)

All of the above lovely photos were shot by Will Ireland for Mollie Makes, so thanks to them for making these available. You can see more images over at the Blogtacular Flickr page.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

DIY: oilcloth cushion

So apparantely we are promised a little bit of sunshine this weekend! hurrah! The perfect time to get out in the garden and add some more finishing touches to accompany the recent spray painted plant pots you've all been making! :)

I made this little oilcloth cushion which looks really cute on my garden bench and adds an extra injection of colour!

DIY tutorial: Outdoor oilcloth cushion / Cath Kidston
DIY tutorial: Outdoor oilcloth cushion / Cath Kidston
If you fancy giving this a go, you can follow my tutorial over on the AO at Home blog.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Fab followings: Goose Home & Garden

One of my 'go to' shops while I've been sourcing furniture for our kitchen and the nursery has been Goose Home & Garden. I can't remember where I first came across them, but their stall at the Decorative Living Fair last year really caught my eye, and I've since followed them and have got to know the lovely couple, Sarah and Paul, who run it. You couldn't meet a lovelier couple and they are both clearly passionate about their business, and will go out of their way to make your shopping experience with them top rate.

I've bought smaller things from them in the past, but my first furniture purchase was this cupboard which is now in the nursery, but is actually to hold all of my craft supplies. I've really had to downsize on my collection as it used to fill this whole room when it was my office, but I've managed to pack most of it into the cupboard - it's really quite roomy, especially with the little drawers.

Sarah and Paul paint pieces like this to a really high standard, so I feel it's worth the extra money to get such a great finish. I know if I was to do it myself, I'd probably use a lesser quality paint, and the finished look just wouldn't look this professional.

So after buying this, I'd been keeping my eye on their site on a regular basis, as I was also on the look out for a big cupboard for the kitchen, so when I spotted this one above I emailed Sarah straight away to reserve it. I've procrastinated before over things on their site, only to miss out, so this time I was straight in there! It was lucky too, as Sarah said another buyer called not long after I'd emailed her! I'm absolutely in love with the cupboard, there's so much space for our larder essentials and other bits of china, glassware and books.

Do pop over to their site to see some of the other lovely pieces of furniture they stock, and if you're not in the market for furniture right now, there are lots of great decorative vintage items which are pretty hard to resist too! Here's a bit of a preview...

Visit Goose Home and Garden and follow them on Twitter and Facebook.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Winner - Outdoor Living

Thanks to everyone who entered our little giveaway to win a signed copy of Outdoor Living by Selina Lake! It sounds like everyone has got great plans for summer! Mine will be getting to grips with motherhood, and hopefully taking some nice long walks with our new baby! ;)

Anyway, on to the important stuff - the winner! I have picked a name out of a hat, and the lucky winner is Sara Cubitt! Congrats Sara! I'll be in touch to get your address.

Selina Lake Outdoor Living book
It looks like the sun might pop its head out this weekend at some point, so I would suggest getting your order in for a copy of Outdoor Living asap! Get it direct from Ryland Peters and Small or on Amazon.

Oh, and if you fancy meeting the lovely lady herself, then Selina is doing a book tour this summer at various locations, so check out her blog for when she might be near you!

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