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Blogtacular - My thoughts on what I enjoyed and what I'd do differently if I went next year


What I am about to tell you might make me a terrible blogger and make you think I learnt nothing from my time at Blogtacular, but, I haven’t read any of the posts from the weekend. Not one. I do have them saved up for reading after I’ve written this post, but I haven’t read them yet. And I haven’t read them because I didn’t want to be taking on other peoples thoughts or experiences of the weekend and putting them onto mine. 


I should start by saying that I had a great weekend. I loved the road trip I took with Toni. I was so happy to get the chance to spend some time with Liz (Fickle Craftroom) at her house and at the event itself. I loved the Friday videowalk. It was so nice to grab dinner with some of the other photowalkers.  Although I didn't take part in many of the craft opportunities had a great time at the West Elm Party.

And I really enjoyed my time at Blogtacular itself, but I'm not sure it was the blog revelation I had it in my head to be. I thought that I'd come away with my brain so full of ideas that I'd be blogging every day of the week, that I'd be on fire. That I'd suddenly becaome a super blogger. But the reality was very different. I felt  a bit deflated  (I think that shows in sporadic posting doesn't it ). I felt overwhelmed. And I felt a bit of a failure for not being instafamous. 


But I thought it might be useful to put down the things that I took away from the day - just to remind myself about the great things I learnt and experienced after feeling a bit, well, unsure!

The Sessions

I'd already chosen the sessions I was interested in, and whilst I had a few wobbles on the day - i stuck to my guns on them, but I wonder if I ought to have been swayed into other sessions?

My first session was Building your community with Kate O'Sullivan from A Playful Day. I'm not sure that the things I took away from the session are the bits she wan't us to take away - I was more interested in her story telling slides than the building a community. 

As it transpires I'm not sure I'm the one to be building a community here. I'm not consistent enough. But I loved her enthusiasm that everyone had engaing stories within them. I liked her thoughts on making sure that the story was right for the platform and taking yourself to where the conversation is taking place, which is relevant for everyone I think. And I liked her views on keeping the content simple. 



The next session was the one I was most looking forwards to, but maybe the one that I ought to have missed the most. It was the Pinterest Ads session. Pinterest is one of my favourite platforms and I've been playing with ads since they were launched so I felt like I didn't actually learn anything beyond the fact that the optimum length for a pin description is 500 characters. It felt more like a sales pitch if I am honest. Which was disappointing as I thought it might give some real insight into Pinterest Ads. 


My final session of the day was with Laura La Monaca of Daily Breakfast. I maybe ought to picked something else here but I thought I'd really enjoy it. And I did. I just didn't learn much. Besides the fact I NEED a polarising filter for my camera (birthday list anyone?) I loved listening to her thoughts on what makes good composition, but the 'practical' session was a bit basic (I know it had to be - it was a group and half an hour!) but it was still fun! 
  



So, I think the consensus is that I picked some of the wrong sessions. I picked things I am interested in, which you’d think was the way to go right? But it meant that I’d already consumed a lot of info on those topics and so I didn't learn all that much. I think maybe I should have gone to the sessions on improving my writing style and that sort of thing. I think you guys might have appreciated that really. 

But despite that, there were some things I really loved about Blogtacular
  • I met some really lovely people
  • The keynote speeches were really inspirational
  • The genius bar was a great resource. I got to say thank you to Elaine for her help with my coding issues with Disqus, and had an appraisal of my Pinterest account which was super helpful. 
  • Hearing people's stories of success. 
  • Meeting Enid from Pinterest - she was so lovely about me being one of the original 300 blog pinners



But there are some things I'd change about me if I went again
  • I didn’t network enough. Sure I spoke to some people and I branched out on my own to go to talks, but I didn’t ‘work the room’ like maybe I should have. 
  • I didn't give out many of my blog cards
  • I'd do some more of the creative making events
  • I'd pick sessions that would challenge me

Have you been to a blog conference? What did you think about it? Did you learn lots or did you make some of the same mistakes as me?

(All images courtesy of Blogtacular and taken by Will Ireland) 

Dog Blog: A Tails.com wet food trial


Food is one of the main drivers in both Flash and Melle’s lives. It’s the one thing we can use to properly control both dogs. Shaking a bag of treats across a park will get their attention, and they’ll come running if they aren’t responding to our voices, food is the thing that gets Flash out of bed in the morning (8am is breakfast time – if it’s late, he’ll let you know about it) and it’s the thing that causes big arguments. Melle is all up for sharing his food with Flash, but the other way round and well, it gets ugly. But recently Flash, being the tease that he is, has taken to dropping some of his kibble at meal times on the floor by his bowl, waiting for Melle to go near it, and telling the puppy off when he goes for it. It’s so devious of him.


We’ve talked about their new favourite treats in the past, but with regards to what they eat for their meals,  We've had both dogs on Tails.com since late last year when we did one of their £1 trials, and they both seem to like it, I mean they wolf it down and neither of them have any tummy issues or other health problems, and it comes right to the door so no more panic buying food whatever rubbish the Tesco express round the corner has. Plus as it works out about the same as the Eukanuba they were on before, it's a bit of a no brainer to just keep them on it. 

(You can get a free 2 week trial of Tails.com by clicking the image in the side bar or clicking here. Full disclosure, if you sign up, we get some credit towards our next lot of food!)  
If you've not heard of Tails.com, it's a bespoke dog food company, who deliver your food right to the door. To get started, you input your dogs likes and any dietary requirements they have and they build a blend of the food for your pooch. Then it's delivered to your door monthly so you never run out! Check out their video on how it works here. So when we were contacted to try some of the wet food they have recently started to offer, I couldn’t say no. And as we’ve had the dogs on Tails.com wet food now for 2 weeks and I felt it was about time we reviewed it.
 
We ordered 4 pots of the 150g wet food in a variety of flavours for both dogs each* but as they were out of that size we received 4 of the 300g pots - 2 were a pate consistency and 2 were more of a wet food in jelly. 
We’ve been mixing their dry food with a spoon of Bakers wet food for quite a while so they are both used to having dry and wet food. It's got to the point where Flash, being the brat he is, sometimes won’t eat just a dry food bowl without wet food in it, which is so annoying when we run out of it. (Yes, I know how spoilt he must sound sometimes, and well, he is!) All of this means that the move to the Tails.com wet food wasn’t a huge change in their eating habits, but it was interesting to see that there wasn’t a moment that they questioned what I was feeding them.
From a dog point of view, they seem to love the food. It gets eaten fast, Flash has started trying to raid Melles bowl, and Melle is always trying to get into the food bags for seconds (sometimes successfully!). They look healthy and their weight is good for their size, so we're happy with their feeding habits. 

From my point of view, the food looks good, we had guests this weekend and one of them asked if we'd tried it because it looked like human food – we haven’t, and I did offer him some, but he didn’t try it in the end. And that has to be a good endorsement doesn't it!  

The only thing I will say is early on in the change to Tails.com wet food, Melle had the worst farts. Honestly, they were so bad!Like leave the room bad at one point, but they seem to have calmed down a bit now, which is a plus. 

But I do like the quality of the food that is coming from Tails.com, and it's so easy to have it all arrive at once rather than having to worry about leaving the house. It  also works out at about 50p a pot for the wet food, which when added to the dry food we currently recieve means we'll be paying about £15 a month to feed each dog, which is excellent value I think.
 
Now tell me, which food are your pups on? And do they have naughty feeding habits like Flash? 


*We were only sent free food for Flash so in order to make sure there was enough for both we bought some for Melle too, which, with the changes in the sizes, in the end meant we had 4 flavours rather than the 8 we were hoping to try. Even though we recieved some of the food for free, we did pay for the other half. All the views in the review are our own.

** I totally wanted to get pictures of the pups sat at the table waiting for their dinner but they kept jumping on the table trying to eat it and wouldn't cooperate in waiting for the food, so, sorry, no nicely styled dog and food pictures from my two gannets!