blogger meet up by the sea – 2014 edition

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Last year Anna organised a lovely meet up by the sea (Leigh on Sea that is) at her house and she missed us all so much that she organised another one this year! It just so happened that I was planning to be in London around the time and so I made right sure that I was. Anna put together a simple but delicious lunch of baked potatoes and salad. She is such a genius host putting together a beautiful table which had us all jumping around to take pictures of it. Using washi tape to hold down the brown paper ‘table cloth’ was just genius. And she has inspired me to put a bit more effort into making our rental more homey. Anna I encourage you to write some posts about how you do!

My favourite part about blogging is all the lovely people I have met and these ladies are some of them. Plus I also got to meet some new ones.

If you’ve been thinking of reaching out to meet some fellow bloggers who you have been talking to over social media I can only you to encourage you to do so. You don’t have to invite people around to your home to start with – meet in a coffee shop or go for a drink. I have made lovely supportive friends and I know yours are out there too!

books-harpercollins On top of the lovely socialising Katie’s company very kindly sent us over a bunch of books to read.

lemon-rosemary-cake Siobhan made a yummy cake!

Sarah gifted us each a key ring for her lovely collection of bags and leather goods.

And Kate brought over a craft for us to do but we all got so busy chatting that we didn’t get around to it.

It was lovely to also catch up with Charlotte and Jo.

Aren’t bloggers the best?

help, please

unlock It has been a bit sporadic around here. Mostly because I haven’t been up to too much “blogworthy” stuff and because honestly I am not feeling as creative as usual. I think it is a January thing. Hibernation mode.

I do have some ideas for blog posts in my head but I thought I would ask my lovely readers (that’s you) what you want to see around here. No survey or anything. Just leave a comment.

Here are some things I have been thinking about:

  1. I would really love to do some more tips on photography. Is there anything you haven’t seen here (or elsewhere) that you would like advice on.
  2. I am also keen to revive my photography challenges. With moving to Italy they kind of moved to the side. Would you like to see more?
  3. Getting back to regular recipe and food posts. I have definitely been cooking more since moving to Italy (though mostly at night which makes photographing food hard). As I am on a ‘wedding diet’ there won’t be too many cake options but healthy meals, Italian inspired.
  4. Are you interested in posts about Trieste? I can’t help but think posts about the local apertivo bar or coffee shop just wouldn’t be that interesting to a readership which doesn’t live here, but let me know.

I’d really appreciate your feedback. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and comment. It is very much appreciated and especially now that I feel very far from a physical blogging community.

tips for blogger meet-ups

craftyfox_talks In the three plus years that I have been blogging one of my favourite bonuses have been going to blogger meet-ups. I have met some truly lovely people who I hope will be in my life for a long time (even if it is just that encouraging tweet when they move half way across the world).  I am not an expert but here are some tips from my experience.

tip number 1: don’t meet anyone in a dark alley

Chances are you will be meeting at a nice restaurant or other equally instagrammable venue so this is probably not going to be a problem. The first one I went to, Blognic, was over two years ago and when I told my mother she was rather concerned.  I am guessing if you haven’t been to one either you will probably feel the same. But my answer to you is the same as what I said to my mum: “this is a bunch of ladies who craft and take photos of their food, I think I will be fine”. Amend as is appropriate to your genre.

tip number 2: don’t stress too much about what you are wearing

Yes everyone will put effort into what they are wearing and you should too. Wear that top which makes you feel like confident, put a bit of make-up on, and that necklace that you love. Yes there will be the lady there who has the most amazing outfit on and the other one with the perfect hair, but once you get chatting to the lovely lady next to you, you won’t be that concerned about what you are wearing.

tip number 3: don’t be afraid to go by yourself

The first event I went to I hadn’t met anyone and I was super nervous. But being by myself and not wanting to look like a weird lurker forced me to speak to other people.  I am still in regular contact with several people from that day and have had great opportunities because of the friends and contacts I have made. If you start going to events regularly, after a while you will start bumping into people you know. This is lovely for having a chat and catch up. When this happens do still try to make the effort to meet new people and sit down next to someone you don’t know.

tip number 4: do you have a card?

I have to admit I don’t always have a business card and sometimes for smaller events it isn’t necessary as there will be a list of people sent around.  However, it does help if you have a card with your blog site and social media profiles. It doesn’t have to be super fancy either. The handmade ones are often the most memorable (and an additional conversation starter). You can get cards made by companies like Moo or like me just head over to the printer on the high street and have 20 postcard size cards printed at a time for something budget friendly. Seriously though, don’t go and buy 200 business cards. Before you have used them all up you will probably have updated your site or your twitter profile and then they are useless.

tip number 5: have fun!

For me blogger meet-ups are not about ‘networking’ or trying to get business. They are about meeting people, building community and having a good time. If something ‘work’ related comes out of it brilliant but don’t have that as your main goal, it will show. And isn’t it better to have lovely friends?

Thank you to Lulu and Bobbi who organised the most recent event I went to and to all the lovely ladies I met. As I was a rubbish photographer/blogger I didn’t take any pictures so check out what Rosie had to say and show.  Lovely to also meet  CheXandraBeccaTania, AmyHelen and Lou and catching up with Freya and Siobhan

The picture from the recent Crafty Fox Talk. You can find more pictures that I took of the Crafty Fox Talks and a video over on their blog.

why I love twitter

why-i-love-twitter

It took me a while to get into twitter.  I joined in 2009 but didn’t really ‘get involved’ until two years later.  Now I am a total convert preacher of the wonder that is twitter.

Here are some reasons why:

Traffic.  Twitter is the biggest source of traffic to my site.  My following has grown but I would think a lot is also driven from the retweets by lovely followers/friends (thanks lovelies!).

New finds. The twitter suggestions for people to follow is generally quite good (based on others you follow and who those you follow follow).  I’ve been introduced to good places, articles and blogs though other tweets.  This week I found out about a new band which I have been listening to obsessively since.

Work and collaboration opportunities. As a new photographer (with my site still ‘under development’!) twitter has been good for helping me try new things and work on exciting projects (like 91 Magazine and some music photography).  I’ve used it to find people for my own projects and I’ve even had followers suggest me when they see someone looking for a photographer.

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Meetups.  I’ve joined in on several events that come to my attention through twitter.  Most recently I attended a crepe and cocktail event for the run up to Canada Day (thanks to Amy from Wolf and Whistle for organisng).  I went with Freya (who I met through one of the shout outs mentioned above) and met some new people too.  Internet becomes real life!

The level playing field.  In real life you wouldn’t walk up to a big brand and say look what I made and you might feel too shy to say hi to a ‘famous’ blogger, but on twitter it is easier to join in. So do!

My tips for getting involved in twitter?

  • join in on conversations
  • say hi to people you would like to get to know
  • sometimes it is your random tweets that are the most popular
  • have a personal personal photo.  I love that people can associate and connect with my photo (I get comments about the flower crown all the time).

Also, don’t feel disheartened if it takes a while to build up followers.  It has taken me over 2 years to get 500+ followers (which is no where near as many as some ‘big’ bloggers have), but I have a strong base of people who I can connect with and are really supportive.  Surely a more important factor than if I had simply bought thousands of followers.

Find me on twitter

work in progress

I know it has only been a few months that I have had my new site and site look and although I really loved the look of it in theory, after living with it for a few months I just don’t think it worked as a photo blog.  I love bright colours but I think the coral was just distracting from the photos.

As you can see it is not quite done yet and there are still going to be a few more changes.  I am ‘in conversation’ with my blog design buddy to remove some excess gaps that are hanging around.  My logo needs to be bigged up (although I like it in the sidebar to bring the pictures nearer the top so you almost get the whole thing in).  The sidebar is also going to get a nice clean up too – more design-y (al la Design Love Fest and Breanna Rose) – but I think that might wait until I get a bee in my bonnet on another evening.

My only question …