Tag Archives: EatLikeaGirl

Not my usual festival or..Blogstock 2014

A couple of  weekends ago saw me hanging about in a field with way too much glitter on my face, par for the course you may say, seeing as it’s festival season but no…far, far from par as this festival was not my usual music shindig but a blogging festival!? Yes, that’s right…a festival where the line-up consisted of talks/seminars and workshops on a number of blogging related topics and..it was absolutely FABULOUS! I kid you not, I had SUCH a good weekend.

I booked a ticket to Blogstock 2014 not long after they’d gone on sale. The rather brilliant Niamh Shields, she of Eat Like a Girl and The Blaggers Banquet, was going to be curating the foodie offerings and doing a talk and, having missed her Guardian Masterclass (on purpose coz I couldn’t afford it), I jumped at the chance to hear her talk.

I arrived onsite (after declining to share a cab from the train station with Niamh so that I could go and check in to my hotel…yes, yes…I know, shoulda camped really but, I WAS pretty pleased with myself when it bucketed it down on Friday night and I tucked myself into bed to watch a film) JUST in time to catch Niamh’s talk! And, as is always the case with Niamh, she left me completely fired up and inspired and this set the tone for the rest of the festival. After Niamh’s talk, I took a moment to wander round the site and it wasn’t long before the rather wonderful Sarah of Sarah Betty and The Fashion Galleries (which was doing a pop-up shop for the duration of the festival and was also hosting the fashion talks) had engaged me in conversation. The Fashion Galleries became kind of like my ‘home’. I didn’t know and hadn’t engaged with ANY of the other bloggers before pitching up at Blogstock so it was really good to have a place that I could default to if needed (which it mostly wasn’t) and, if Sarah at any time felt that I was being a bit of a stalker, she certainly didn’t show it. I’d anticipated giving all the fashion stuff a bit of a wide berth but, aside from the lovely Sarah, The Fashion Galleries had something that made me feel SO at home, and that something was…….

GLITTER. Ta dah.

Blogstock glitter

The Fashion Galleries also had some pretty cool pieces for sale; I particularly liked the London postcode bangles from Whistle & Bango and couldn’t resist a piece from crown and glory.

Blogstock Crown and Glory headpiece

And here I am looking rather pleased with myself, drinking my first ever Matcha tea drink which was a freebie on the Saturday morning. Thanks Vivid Drinks! It was actually pretty damn good.

Blogstock smiley Susie

Actually, there was quite a lot of free stuff (definitely not like my usual festival!). Free supper for all on Friday evening, free brunch, free popcorn, free booze including cocktails (though I did have to make my own!). Probably should have been listening to a debate or attending a talk or something but, you know, it can’t all be work work work..can it!? Well, anyway, I opted for cocktail making class and made myself two huge Appleton Rum cocktails. As usual, I had to tweak the recipes to get the drinks just right but, never fear…I succeeded.

Blogstock cocktail class

These were our opponents, they won the first round and we, the second. Hmmm…funny that! Very fair.

Blogstock Appletons still life close

Blogstock Appletons still life

Super cute cocktail shaker set, not sure how useful the mini shaker is though.

The Saturday night Fiendishly Hard Quiz..(that’s my name for it, not the official name).

Blogstock quiz

And here…ta daaahhh…is a bottle of champers being popped by the winning team which was..ahem, my team.

Blogstock quiz champagne

I went to sessions on food blogging, food photography (which, we all know, I’m crap at), finding your mojo (which I need to do generally speaking), doing what I love, getting the most from your smartphone photography, the power of niche, working with fashion PRs and how to make it big in fashion blogging. There were so many other sessions that I wanted to attend but wasn’t able to and I’ll most definitely be going again next year. The whole event was well organised, interesting and useful and it just felt really friendly. Lots of the bloggers, particularly the travel bloggers, knew each other but they were all very welcoming and I felt quite at home and comfortable (but still inspired).

The weekend helped me to decide where I want to go next with blogging which, in part, is saying goodbye to this blog and hello to a new one, but it was also just a darn good weekend away.

Thanks to Traverse for organising an absolutely brilliant event. I shall definitely be signing up to attend your London mixers and I’ll be at Blogstock 2015….with bells on (wish I could stop with the Grease references).

 

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Happy Anniversary

That’s the message I just got from WordPress. It is, apparently, this blog’s FOURTH anniversary. This is my fifty second post. Pah ha ha ha ha. Well, we all know – I, thus far, am not a natural blogger but I do actually enjoy it so I shall keep on going.

I started this blog, in part, to be able to get involved with the Blaggers’ Banquet event of which much has been written. I also wanted a way of chatting nonsense whenever I felt like it and I thought that this could be a good way of developing my writing because I do (like so many others) harbour thoughts about someday writing that book.

I did get very involved with the Banquet and loved every moment but I haven’t, like some of the key Blaggers’ players, gone on to forge a career in food (to be honest, it was clear already then that those who have done; Niamh Shields, Signe Johansen, Mathilde Dewilde– I’m surely forgetting some – were going to do so, what they have done in the past four years is no less impressive though for having been obvious that they were on a course to do it). I love cooking and I’m good at it but I don’t have the absolute passion and dedication for food that these women have so…no surprises then that I’m still only on post number fifty two whilst they have each written, and had published, at least one book since the Banquet.

What have I been doing then? I have ended my career as a band manager, I’ve sent my daughter off to travel the world, sent her off to uni and to live in France (yes yes, I know strictly speaking she has been the one doing the doing but seriously, in managing the trauma of saying goodbye to her time and again I feel as though I’ve been getting a serious emotional and mental workout), I’ve sent my son off to university (equally horrendous), I’ve become (a sometimes uncaring) carer for my father, I’ve successfully held down a job for over three years (which is an enormous achievement for me as I do tend to constantly want to try new things), I’ve been a market trader for three years, been a teacher (knitting), set up knitting groups and encouraged creativity and crafts in people, I’ve listened and talked and listened some more, I’ve met amazing people and made lots of new friends, I’ve also lost a friend who was one of the great loves of my life (through falling out) and am slowly slowly rekindling that friendship, I’ve seen people start new relationships which have blossomed while mine has fallen apart (I’m happy for them, of course), I joined a dating site for all of a month, I’ve spent WAY too much time and energy worrying about my body size and more recently my body shape, actually – just worrying in general, I’ve genuinely enjoyed getting more active through going to the gym and taking dancing classes, I’ve started getting back in to sewing, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve ranted and I’ve raged, I’ve travelled a bit more and I’ve been having a lot of fun. Taking the briefest of moments to look back over the past few years, I have to say – I am okay with what I’ve done and how I’ve handled things, there have been a hell of a lot of major changes to my life and I’m still smiling and I have no intention of stopping.

Here’s to the next four years of glorious living (which is to say, the standard ups and downs of anyone living and working in a First World city).

This post is pretty over the top. This is a good thing.