Every BlogOn conference that I have ever seen mentioned on social media has had me itching to go and last month I finally made it there!
Being in Cornwall and the conference being in Manchester it was a bit of a scary prospect for me, but thanks to the wonderful Donna I was brave enough to give it a try. I got there via a round-about route ha. I took three trains to get to Newbury (round-about random route) where Donna was lovely enough to drive me and Laura all the way to Manchester.
Donna and I stayed over the night before the conference sharing a room at the amazing Hotel Football in Manchester. Since Si and the boys (and kind of me) support Liverpool FC I did feel a slight traitor, as this was the view out of a lot of the hotel room windows.
However the breakfast in bed for no extra fee than the usual breakfast charge and a complimentary mini fridge full of Vimto, space invaders, Curly wurlys and sweets meant I felt nothing but thrilled with our choice of hotel in the end.
It really is such a great hotel, with the football and Man United theme running throughout the whole place. Their showers are also huge, the beds so comfortable and all of the staff really friendly and helpful. Exactly what you want from a hotel. I also love that you need a key card to operate the lifts or access the floors with the bedrooms on, it definitely makes you feel nice and safe.
The Paladone sponsored party the night before with the free bar (until it ran out, but we made the most of it!) was a lot of fun and a great way to catch-up with and meet in person for the first time lots of bloggers. I actually chatted to several people at the party who I didn’t see all day at the actual conference, so definitely go to the launch party if you can!
When I went to a different conference previously, I didn’t attend a lot of sessions, as they just didn’t appeal to me. However at BlogOn the people running the sessions like the fantastic Emily, Mel and Lucy were all people who I really look up to in the blogging world and they didn’t disappoint. I came away feeling inspired, and that really is what you want from a blogging conference.
I did miss the first two sessions although I didn’t intend to, we just got chatting to lovely people! We popped down to the basement where all the brands were, with the conference being Christmas themed it was all laid out a bit like a Christmas Fair, which was such a nice touch.
There was even a bloke dressed as the Grinch who was a little overenthusiastic and made me jump at one point ha! I have no idea how he stayed in character all day, but he was brilliant. There were also elves on stilts!
At BlogOn the brands attending actually want to work with bloggers and it was so nice to meet people in person for a change rather than through email. I managed to arrange some work whilst there and hopefully built a few relationships for future work.
I was also given lots of goodies to take home with me, including a fabulous advent calendar from Heart and Home which I am looking forward to featuring soon, thank you!
Since it was Christmas themed, there were also lots of bloggers and PRs dressed in Christmas jumpers and T-shirts and it really added to the atmosphere of the day. It’s the friendliest conference I have been too and I seriously can’t wait to go back again next year!
I think next time I might fly though, as Si was amazing and drove to Newbury to collect me for the return trip, but we didn’t get home until 3am and I still had to get up for the school run eek!
At this year’s BlogOn there were also the Toy Awards, so we got to see all the ‘hot’ toys for Christmas this year and amazingly they were all up as prizes in the raffle later on. I won three times but gave two of my tickets over to blogger friends who hadn’t won to claim a prize for their own children.
I brought home something that I love, but I won’t say what yet as one of the boys is getting it as an extra surprise for Christmas! Thank you to PlayTime PR though as it was one of theirs.
At the end of the conference there were the usual BlogOn goody bags, which from my social media haunting of previous years I knew were always really good. You can see below most of the bits that I got in mine and from the brands on the day below – minus a couple of bits that the boys nabbed early on!
Thank you to all of the brands who were so generous and also the representatives that were there who were all so friendly! Although I somehow managed to miss a few!