1st September 2015
The Big Blogger Conference 2015.
Photographs and words by me, unless otherwise stated
It's been awhile since I attended a blog event that involved chatting to brands and really getting to grips with the whole networking thing, so I was very excited to get involved with the Big Blogger Conference that was organised by the beautiful Lauren at Blonde Vision with the help of Jenny and Abi. The event started at 9:30 at the Hotel Russell in Russell Square, London and was a packed with seminars, a brand exhibition, charity raffle and a whole lot of goodies! Lauren had even released an app in the weeks leading up to the event with details about everything that was happening on the day and a social media page in order to chat to the other bloggers who were attending.I feel like the whole day really came together well and I certainly enjoyed myself.
5:30am - 9:30am
My day started very early as I was travelling into the city from Hampshire and I wanted to be early to have a quick look around the area and possibly get a coffee. I'm not bothered about travelling alone either but I was thrilled when my good friend Adele messaged me to let me know she was going to be on the same train as me and it made the journey much more enjoyable. Once in London, disaster struck when being typical me, I found that I had left my SD card at home and so we trawled round Waterloo station looking for a replacement. With no luck we headed to Russell Square and thankfully found a Three store and a 16BG SD card to save the day (and this blog post). Tragedy avoided, we walked over to the hotel and found some of our friends outside, said our hellos and went in to start the event.
Taken from my Instagram. Treats from Jelly Belly and Ohh Deer!
9:30am - 12:00pm
So our morning began with talks and seminars to help us in blogging and getting the most out of it. The first was a talk from Sarah at The Prosecco Diaries, who explained how to monetise your blog as well as some advice around good and bad PR. I found Sarah really easy to listen to and her advice really opened my eyes to aspects of blogging that I had never thought about before. If you haven't checked out her blog, you really should - It's a great mix of lifestyle and beauty posts. Next we had Jasmin from Jasmin Charlotte to discuss SEO (Search engine optimisation) with us, which was basically a guide to getting our blogs to the first page on google. It was another interesting talk, however poor Jasmin did have to rush due to time limits. Thankfully, she sent us a pack via email that we can use to check over our blogs. Finally, we had a talk about optimising blog traffic through Pinterest and utilising Pinterest in general by Elizabeth from Rosalilium, she is also a Pinterest ambassador. I don't really use the site currently so it was difficult for me to keep up, however I am keen to get into it more after learning some useful tips.
13:00pm - 16:30pm
After a quick lunch at Subway and some much needed socialising (I can't stay quiet for too long!) we went back into the hotel for the Brand Exhibition. We had been advised by Lauren earlier that we needed to really engage with the brands that were exhibiting at the event and then each brand would choose their 'Star Blogger' who would be announced on Twitter afterwards. It was a good way to get people talking and prompt conversation between bloggers and brands, I can't tell you how intimidating it can be to speak to new people but with a little push and little courage it can be easier than you think! There was also going to be small tasks throughout the day that would appear pinned to walls and columns and we had to complete them in order to receive items in our goody bags. So with all of this information we excitedly went into the exhibition hall to speak to the brands.
There were a number of stalls and people to talk to, but I have decided to highlight a few of them below for you -
Big shout out to Suzannah at Suti Skincare for being so lovely, englightening and extremely passionate about her brand! Suzannah was the first brand ambassador that I spoke to at the event and we had a really interesting conversation about her products as well as the benefits of meditation and self-love. Suzannah and her sister-in-law Tina run the company as well as come up with the ideas for the products that they sell. Each new product is developed through joint meditation sessions and as Suzannah told me - the company is a spiritual journey for them both that results in products to help their customers be the best versions of themselves. It's a really intriguing subject and process in which to come up new skincare ideas, but it is wonderful to see a brand that puts so much of themselves into their products. I really enjoyed speaking to Suzannah as well and I feel like Suti Skincare is really going to take off and become bigger and better and if you ever get a chance to speak to them, you really should!
The Shoeaholics stand was definitely one of my favourites, mostly because, well - SHOES! I do love making my feet look stylish with a good pair of heels and there were plenty to have a look at courtesy of Shoeaholics. If you don't know who they are then you should definitely check out their site as they sell big brands at lower prices such as Carvela and Kurt Geiger. I had a lovely chat with the girls and gushed over a pair of Carvela Leopard print heels that I NEED in my closet. NEED. They were running a competition on instagram and twitter asking people to take a picture of the shoes they liked the most and they would choose nine people to win a free pair. I wasn't lucky enough to win my shoes but I see a dent soon appearing in my bank balance!
Taken From my instagram. My favourite Carvela shoes on the Shoeaholics stand!
I was really happy to talk to Simon at Bee Good as the company is based in Hampshire which is my home county and it's always a nice feeling to meet a brand so close to my own home. Simon and his wife Caroline started the company in their kitchen in 2008 and since then it's only gone from strength to strength and is now stocked in numerous Waitrose stores across the country. As the name clearly suggests, the main ingredient in every product is honey and they have already developed multiple products from cleansers to hand creams. I was able to test some of the hand cream at the event and not only did it smell divine but it left my hands feeling so soft and smooth! It was fantastic to have a chat about where they source everything and to learn more about the advantages of honey and they are a brand I will be looking out for.
There's not much that I can say about this brand as you should be able to see fromt he picture just how stunning their products truly are! What I like most about them is that they are simplistic and delicate, which is exactly what I look for in my jewellery! I have to recommend checking out their dinosaur necklaces as they are adorable and would make the perfect gift for someone who likes fun yet chic jewellery. Everyone received a small gift box from the company that contained two pieces of jewellery and I will be writing a post in the coming weeks to show you what I got as well as give you a bit more information on the brand as a whole.
Look Fantastic send out monthly beauty boxes with a selection of products to try, sometimes sample size and sometimes full size products are included. The company were generous enough to give everyone a free box full of this months treats which included the Rimmel 'Wake me up' mascara which Terri, who was manning the stand, so kindly advised me smells of cucumber! There was then the rather strange moment where we all had a sniff and were pleasantly surprised to find that it actually did, which makes a change from the usual gluey chemical smell that often plagues drugstore mascaras. This is another gift that I will be blogging about later on once I have tried the products, but I was impressed with the brand as a whole and there is a very good chance of them getting a new subscriber soon...
DESIGNED BY HENNA
So the final person on my list is not exactly a beauty brand but Henna was at the event to show off her amazing artistry skills in well, Henna! Clearly she was born to draw beautiful designs on human skin! I can't really find the words to describe how in awe I was watching her so delicately applying the plant based paste in gorgeous patterns across different people's hands. I was keen to jump into that seat and have my hand beautified and at the same time I had a great conversation with Henna herself and she is possibly one of the nicest people I have ever spoken to! We had an interesting conversation about the current Henna hype and embracing different cultures and it was wonderful to talk to such an open minded and genuine person. I would definitely recommend checking out her instagram and twitter and if you are looking for a Henna artist in the London area then she is highly recommended!
After the exhibition we all sat around for the raffle to be drawn and I was lucky enough to win two prizes! I received a hair curling kit by Pro Blo and a necklace which took me by surprise as I never usually win anything! Hooray for me! After the raffle the event started winding down as people left and everyone sat down to ease their aching feet and chat with each other about everything they had learnt and seen.
After the event finished I dashed across London to Selfridges to stock up on some Mac Cosmetics supplies and then back to Russell Square to have a much anticipated Nandos with the girls. Everyone was really tired and we all had a lot of stuff to take back on our respective journeys home and so after the meal we all said our goodbyes and went on our way. When I got home, I emptied my goody bags to show my mum what I had brought home with me and slumped on the sofa reflecting on the brilliant day that had passed. If you want the chance to attend events liek this then please check out LDN Meetup on Twitter and sign up to their mailing list as Lauren organises plenty of events for bloggers who want to socialise and they are definitely worth attending!