I spent this weekend scoffing free food, listening to inspiring talks in tipis, chatting to a lovely bunch of bloggers, and freezing my tits off camping… this is a round up of my time at BlogStock 2015!
For those of you who haven’t heard of BlogStock, it’s a two day blogging festival extravaganza (yes, really!) that started up in 2014. It’s the world’s only blogging festival and offers a bundle of different blog related talks and workshops, alongside the chance to mingle with other bloggers and sponsors. It’s the perfect opportunity for newbie and experienced bloggers to come together with Vloggers and Social Media wizards to meet others and learn more about the blogging community!
As I have SO MUCH to write about my weekend, I’ve divided the posts in two – one for the Friday and one for the Saturday…
BLOGSTOCK 2015 DAY ONE
I left Norwich bright and early on Friday to get to the site by midday as the sessions were due to start from 2pm. The event takes place in Aldenham Country Park in Elstree, which is just a short 30 minute train ride away from London. Lugging my suitcase (packed with sleeping bag and tent), airbed, carrier bag and handbag up and down the tube steps was not ideal, but I got there in the end!
Arriving on site, I found myself the perfect spot to set up the tent and got to work. 11 minutes, 2 bruised fingers and 1 muddy pair of jeans later, my home for the weekend was up and my bags thrown inside so I could start exploring! One half of the field was used for camping, and the other was used for the events. In between was three rows of camping tipis which were given out to the speakers and some lucky bloggers courtesy of Hertz. There were also two portaloo-style showers for those brave enough to get naked and a toilet block of the NICEST portaloos I’ve ever seen. Its seems ridiculous to mention the toilets.. BUT LOOK!
The setup is similar to that of a music festival – there are different tents and tipis for each session, plus food stalls and even a bar in a caravan. After collecting my festival pass, I was also given a wristband and told I was a VIP for the weekend – amazing! This meant free drinks from Expedia throughout the whole weekend 🙂 I also collected a tent which I won the week before on a Twitter competition – thanks Mountain Warehouse! It’s a super compact, lightweight two man tent that weighs an unbelievably tiny 1.8kg.
From 1pm, there was a free Thai buffet so I enjoyed some veggie noodles, spring rolls and samosas dipped in peanut satay and sweet chilli sauces – perfect for warming me up as the rain started to hit camp. It’s not a proper festival unless it rains, right?
At 2.30pm the talks began; I decided to go to ‘Free Online Tools to Make Life Better’ by Megan Hart. It was a great talk and I picked up some really useful tips. The tools covered included:
- Google Trends
- Answer the Public
- Google Adwords
- Response Source
- Coverage Book
I hadn’t heard of or used most of the tools she discussed, so I’ll definitely be having a play with them this week! She also mentioned a couple of useful hashtags, such as #PRRequest #JournoRequest for bloggers looking to work with PRs and #BloggersRequired and #BloggersWanted for PRs seeking bloggers. I’m already signed up to Bloggers Required, which sends a newsletter out each week with blogging and collaborative opportunities – it’s worth checking out!
Next up was the talk I was most looking forward to; ‘How to be a Six Figure Blogger‘ by Monica Scott from The Travel Hack. I’ve loved reading her blog for a while now, and I’d heard great things about her talk at last year’s BlogStock. I wasn’t disappointed, this year’s talk was equally fab! She was focusing on ‘six figures’ meaning 100,000 page views, and explained how that was when her blog really started to take off. I ended up scribbling down two pages of notes as there were lots of handy tips dotted throughout. We also ended up having a quick one on one chat afterwards as I had a few questions about being a newbie in the big bad world of travelling blogging! She was super lovely and gave me some great advice 🙂
Following the afternoon’s talks, it was time for some mingling. I chatted with the team at Tourism Ireland and took part in their Instagram competition to win a trip to the Irish coast- fingers crossed! They were giving out goody bags too, which contained a few essentials; mainly crisps, chocolate and whisky…
The evening was spent chatting to the other bloggers, and enjoying some acoustic tunes by Mollie Bylett. I’m so glad that I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone to attend blogging events over the last few weeks. A few months ago I never would have thought I would have the confidence to rock up at an event on my own, let alone a three day festival! It’s great to be surrounded by people who are in the same position as you and are happy to talk all things travel and blogging for hours on end. Some of the lovely people I met at the weekend include Hannah from That Adventurer, Emily from The Cosy Traveller, Rachel from The Imagination Trail, Helen from Helen in Wonderlust, Linda from Indie Travel Podcast, Alice from To The Table, Matt & Dayna from The Bakers Journey, Rachel from Vagabond Baker, Rebecca from Almost Ginger, Jodie from The Little Backpacker, Jenny from She Gets Around, Fab from Be a Passion Junkie, Jessica from Jessica Says …and LOTS MORE!
I packed completely inappropriately for the weekend and as a result spent the entire day cold to my bones. Who’d of thought a summer festival in the UK wouldn’t call for dresses, playsuits and shorts… FML. As we were sat outside, by 11pm I could barely talk I was so cold!! I had to call it a night and head back to the ‘warmth’ of my tent. I layered up as best as I could but I had reached the cold point of no return, shaking violently underneath my summer sleeping bag, cursing my stupidity….
Three whole hours of sleep later and it was time to get up and start round two of BlogStock!