BlogOn Xmas – The Best Conference around?

At the weekend it was my second time to head to Manchester to attend the BlogOn conference. I enjoyed it so much back in May that I went and booked my ticket for the September one, too. Plus, it was completely Christmas themed. What more can you want. People who know me, will know how much I love preparing for Christmas.

Saturday morning was a bit stressful. I was trying to be super mum so I decided to make a meal for the evening time. That way the kids got one proper meal during the weekend and hubby could bring them wherever he wanted on the Sunday evening. While hubby and Matthew were off to swimming lessons, I noticed I forgot an important ingredient for the tuna pasta. So Chloe and I had to rush to Tesco to pick it up. I was on my way to the airport at 12pm then. The flight was at 2pm. I checked in advanced as I was flying with Ryanair.

Thankfully I wasn’t one of the affected cancellations Ryanair announced in the last few days. Though it took up to fifty minutes for us to take off as we were 11th in the queue.  Once arrived in Manchester airport, the next disaster arose. My next train to the city centre was cancelled. But the next one was lined up ten minutes later… with every single seat reserved!! It was only a fifteen minutes ride so I didn’t mind standing. I then met up with Kimberley from Me, Life and the Tardis. We made our way to the Ibis hotel in Salford via the Metrolink. The room was a bit small, particularly the toilet but it was only for a few hours sleep. Definitely upgrading next year though.

Across from hotel was a selection of different restaurants. We decided to give Frankie’s and Bennie’s a go. It’s a New York Style Italian restaurant. It kinda looked like TGI Friday’s. I really liked it I have to say and the food was lovely.

We were off to walk to Hotel Football. It was not even fifteen minutes from our hotel. We were one of the first ones to arrive. We grabbed a drink and sat down at the end of the room to play some Mario Kart with Paladone. I was so happy they had Mario Kart. One of my favourite Nintendo games. If I didn’t have to socialize, I would have sat there all night with some drink and snacks.

I met some familiar faces but also not so familiar ones, until I heard their blog name. Apart from Mario Kart, you could also play Beer Pong, card games or Mind Reader. I ended up being Santa and a sausage roll. We had a great laugh.

I was hoping for a lie in in the morning but unfortunately my inner clock said no and I was up at 7.15am, like every day. We got ready and it was time to check out. We arrived right on time for the breakfast which should have commenced at 9:30am but they got delayed for some reason. Instead we checked in at the registration desk and brought the suitcases upstairs. This time the conference was spread across three floors. It was much more spacious because last time I found it hard to walk around and meet people/brands.

The breakfast was served in the Player Lounge. This is also where the Toy Awards took place. There were multiple tables spread across the room, divided up into different categories. You had to vote for each category. At the end of the day, these toys were given away in the raffle. I wasn’t lucky enough to win something. The toy awards did give me an idea what could be on the wish list for the kids for Christmas though.

The first session I attended was Sarah Jane’s one “Photographing Kids”. Her photos are beautiful. Up until this point I have taken photos in auto mode. I might actually give it ago and try the manual setting at the weekend. I definitely have taken some tips from her.

Other sessions I attended were “Monetisation”, “Blog Life Balance” and photo styling. I skipped one session to talk to the brands downstairs. Lunch was a selection of sliders, salads and sandwiches.For the Christmassy foodies, they had pigs in blankets and mince pies. I didn’t eat either, well I did eat the sausage but not the bacon.

The brand Christmas market was decorated with lots of fairy lights and there were elves running around, plus the Grinch of course. I found him a bit creepy.I got to talk to a few lovely brands which I am hoping to get to work with in the near future. In the near afternoon the cake was cut by Laura. It was a lovely smooth chocolate cake. I enjoyed this with some coffee. After that I had a glass of rose wine.

During the day you had the chance to buy raffle tickets off a few people that were floating around. It was £1 per ticket. As mentioned above, I wasn’t lucky enough to win anything. The raffle draw did go on until nearly 6pm. For that reason two other bloggers and I decided to share a taxi and make our way to the airport. I am glad we did as there was a lot of train delays and cancellations at the weekend. After the raffle we walked back upstairs to receive our goodie bag. This fitted into my suitcase no problem. The kids had a great fun unpacking it yesterday evening. It was like Christmas to them. It was BlogOn Xmas after all, wasn’t it?

I would also like to mention that it was lovely meeting AK, Chantal, Nicola and Kimberley again and of course getting to talk to so many other bloggers. If you are looking to go to a blog conference yourself but you are not too confident, particularly when you have to attend on your own, then this is the conference for you. Everyone is really nice and easy-going. I hear Laura has already confirmed two new dates with Hotel Football for next. Super exciting year ahead.

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