What I learned at Blogcamp

On Saturday I went to my first ever BlogCamp.   A one day blogging conference, in Birmingham.   Run by Tots100, they happen a few times a year and I had never managed to get to one before.   I made a concerted effort to get to this one as I wanted to meet Tots Head Honcho Sally, and catch up with some old friends.   Having got a ticket I was then thrilled to be asked to pass on some tips on fund raising in a whole 45 minute session entitled “Fundraising Fun”.     We are going to put those tips on the Team Honk blog as people have told us how useful they are and how they want to put them into practice for their own fund raising ideas.

But this is what I learned at Blogcamp:

  • A 5.30am alarm call on a Saturday morning is really really intrusive when you were drinking pints of Martini the night before and have  only had 4 hours sleep
Early Start
Early Start
  • You will know how early this is when you tweet that you are looking forward to going to Blogcamp in Bristol and lots of bloggers getting on trains to Birmingham instantly panic that they have the wrong venue.
  • If you are planning to spend the whole day with somebody, check you are not wearing almost identical outfits unless you want to look like three year old twins.  Or book ends.
  • Annie eats sushi for breakfast when you stop at the services on the M6 at 8am
  • Adobe Kuler is a great site for finding complimentary colours for your photographs
  • When Tom Arber, a fabulous food photographer, says it, he uses a French accent and then whenever you say it after that you use the same French accent.  You are doing it now, aren’t you?  Adobe Kuuuler.
  • Set your scene up before taking photos.  Don’t snap and think you can do all the editing in photoshop.
  • Turn off artificial lights and get as much daylight in your shots as you can.  Buy daylight LEDs if you can.


  • Stand on tables to photograph from above, if you want the perfect shot of your dinner.
  • Even if that is in Harvey Nichols.
  • Rummage in bins behind tile shops for photography props
  • Wet wipes are not just for baby’s bottoms
  • Don’t feel you need to photograph the whole plate.  Do 1/4 of the bowl of curry but include a naan, or other “menu specific” items.
  • Sally Whittle gives good hug
  • Back up your blog.   Both database and files.  Don’t rely on your host to do it.  (Editor note:  that includes you, Barrow)
  • Do the updates on WordPress.
  • If the last update on a plug in is two years or more, consider ditching it.  This could be a security issue.
  • Have an SEO plug in but don’t write for SEO.  Write the post you want to write.
  • If you put a pile of phone stands with a suction cup on the table in front of a blogger they will put it on their forehead or on their glasses
Oh dear
Oh dear
  • There will be a queue for the loo so don’t leave it to the last minute.
  • Bloggers will see a queue outside the ladies, say “sod that” and use the men’s
  • If you want to work with a charity find one you are passionate about and get in touch with them.   Just ask them if you can work with them.
  • Go to a meeting and talk to them face to face.
  • Your opening pitch might not be right.   Our’s to Comic Relief certainly wasn’t.  But you will be remembered and it is the foundation you can then build on.
  • Get support for your efforts, both at home, and online.
  • Bloggers will photograph everything.  From other bloggers, to a pile of cake, to an empty chair, to a bowl of sweets.   And upload it to Instagram within seconds.
  • If you open a bag of Percy Pigs and put them on the table they will have vanished in three minutes
  • Ditto cake
  • Ditto G&Ts which will be drunk, even if it is only 2pm.   There is a bar.  There are no children.   It is, therefore, law.
  • Enjoy yourself.   Talk to people.   Make new friends
  • Catch up with old friends.   Find a quiet corner at lunch to sit and chat, you might not get a chance for another year.

Suffice to say I LOVED my first blogcamp.   It was laid back, low key, informative, and brilliant.


I can’t wait for the next one.

Did you go?  What did you learn?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • I will make it to one, one day! They around awesome, but I can never find childcare 🙁 x

  • Sounds like a really great day – I didn’t go, I thought it would be too far. Definitely going next year! x

  • It was such a great day wasn’t it? I loved catching up with old friends and making new ones. Even if some of them did resemble 3 year old twins…..

  • thank you for sharing what you learn T. i used to attend but not anymore as i am so far away unfortunately 🙁

    PS: loved your flowery dress by the way!

  • It was great wasn’t it T ?

    Lovely to see you again 🙂

    I learned SOOOOO much and spent the long delayed train journey home making notes of all the plans for world domination I am now going to put into motion.

    You can say you knew me when….

    S xxx

  • These are great tips, they had me chuckling. Hope you bring Percy Pigs to Britmums!

  • It sounds like it was brilliant T – great tips too. Was in Birmingham last year but away at the weekend so couldn’t attend this one. Be seeing you at BritMums though, hope you’re good xxx

  • I had no idea there was a bar!!! Loved your talk and the twins outfits and if seen the Percy Pigs there would of been one less too!

    • oh yes. Right by the coffee machines. Which we ditched as soon as we saw the bar was open!

  • Blog camp is always my fave…. less stress, less trying to hard, more warm cosy funny and helpful them others i have been too, and yep i love it too (blooming got lost though on the way back to the car park cos that emily leary knew a short cut that didn’t exist! she had big heels i have dodgy lungs penny has the patience of a saint!)

    • uh oh. The old “I know a shortcut”. We went down four different roads, all of which Annie exclaimed “ah yes, this looks familiar”. All of which were wrong.

  • I so wish I had committed to going. Next time it comes to the South West I’m in, and yes Sally does give a real good hug that makes you feel so welcome.

  • I really enjoyed it too – definitely the smaller size and cosy atmosphere helps the relaxed feeling. Love your write up too.

  • Sounds like a brilliant day. I do love blog camp but couldn’t get a ticket for this one it is just so popular! Must be more organised next time 🙂 x

    • So frustrating as there were about 20 name badges of people who hadn’t shown up! Sorry you missed it.

  • Such a good event. Some really good tips on WordPress from Annie and the gang for a newbie WordPresser like myself – I’m all updated and backed up now 🙂 Come and eat your Percy Pigs near me – I think they’re rank, I won’t nick them!

  • My veggie Percy Pigs got me out of Birmingham with minimum expletives- driving there is…challenging to say the least. Thanks for being Mummy Barrow x

  • Ah, I wish I could have gone. Can’t make Blog ON either now and I had to dash back from the last London thingy for a poorly child and missed Mumsnet completely. I am destined to never actually meet you Barrow!

  • Looks like it was a fabulous day and I love that you are wearing almost identical outfits to Annie. So funny!

  • Ohhhh I so wish I could have gone but a week before my child’s birthday I couldn’t really justify the travel expense. I went to the Bristol one last year which was fun but this sounds like it was bigger (but not scary big) and better!

  • Humph!!! I wanted those Percy sweets. 😉
    Was lovely to see you again mummy. I was pleased to finally meet THE Sally too.

  • I’ve only been to one, but it was so blinkin informative, a really great day. Love those photography tips!