The blognix retreat 2016

It doesn’t feel long ago that I was leaving the house at 5:30am for the first leg of my trip to the Blognix Retreat. Even though it was over a month back I’m still on a high from the weekend. Being surrounded with so many inspiring people and learning from some fantastic speakers really helped me to get focused with my blogs. It’s about time that I shared a little more about the retreat with you.

I arranged to meet up with Sophie from Onetenzeroseven and Fran from Frances Bee in Doncaster and we made our way down to Blognix together (thanks Fran). We arrived on time and helped Sophie fill the (generous) goodies bags with a pair of her beautiful handmade earrings. It was then time to register our names for the talks we wanted to hear before grabbing a coffee and networking.

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Aren’t these little Shopsyle flasks cute? I think it’s a very handy idea to have these at events – less chance of spilling your drink with a teacup and saucer.

The day began with an introduction from Elizabeth and Raj, the founders of Blognix. I actually went to the first Blognix event back in 2014, it’s where I first met my main biz pal, Sophie. A fine example of a lasting friendship through Blognix. I enjoyed it so much that when the 2016 retreat was announced I wasted no time in booking my ticket.

I wore my gorgeous new For Love And Lemons dress, which was an excellent sale purchase. I felt very comfortable in my dress which I teamed with my maroon Vans. I think it’s important to be comfortable at these types of events. You don’t want to be fussing about with an outfit too much when there’s so much to learn.

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 Photo c/o Blognix – The excellent conference room set-up.

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 Photo c/o Blognix – I’m the third one in from the right. 

I was pleased that the conference room was set up with tables and chairs. I find it very hard to take notes and sit comfortably when it’s just rows of chairs. This set up also made it easier to chat to people during the breaks.

The first speaker we heard from was Chrissy Fitzgerald, one of the girls from the Shopstyle team. She spoke to us about the power of affiliate marketing and how Shopstyle help creatives to build an income stream through their blogs. I was pleased to hear that it can be used alongside Skimlinks. I’ve found the Shopstyle interface easy to use and particularly like their widgets.

We took a break to network and fill up on coffee before hearing from Ximena de la Serna. She spoke to us about launching digital products and building quality email lists. Ximena was full of energy and a very positive person, her talk was one of my favourites from the weekend.

After lunch we all split up to listen to the various speakers we’d picked. The first on my list was Amy Jones who shared her YouTube journey and gave tips on how to get started with video content. Next on the list was a talk about time management from Holly Smith. Finally, I heard Raj Dhokia speak about money management and blogging. This was another very useful talk and another personal favourite from the event.

I must mention that Monica from The Travel Hack also spoke at the event, unfortunately I missed out on her talk. If you’re keen to hear her her words of wisdom then you must follow her 12-week blogging course which is launching very soon.

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 Photo c/o Blognix  – The friendly group of bloggers I sat with for dinner. 

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The evening started with drinks and networking before a lovely meal and competitive quiz. I thought the quiz was a very good idea as an ice breaker. I met so many so many different people over the weekend. It was fantastic to have so much time to chat and get to know all the other bloggers at the event.

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At the very end of the evening we went bowling. In the hotel. Yes, you read that right, the hotel has its own bowling alley. It was such a laugh getting into the swing of the game and I think I did pretty well. When did you last go bowling?

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The following morning started with yoga but Fran and I sat in bed drinking tea and browsing through the latest issues of Blogosphere magazine (another treat from the goodie bag). We had a fantastic breakfast, if you stay at Hellidon Lakes you won’t be disappointed. Breakfast gave us the chance to meet even more new faces, chat and share our thoughts on the inspiring weekend we were all part of.

We then made our way back to the conference room to hear from Jen Lowthrop about innovative thinking in regards to content. The final talk of the day was from Laura Agar Wilson on the importance of self-care for success. Be sure to check out Jen and Laura’s blogs, they’re both fab.

To end the day we took part in a business mastermind session. This is where you all share a struggle or challenge within your business (as Raj said, your blog is your biz) and everyone gives suggestions and tips on how to tackle it. I think they’re so useful because everyone brings their own niche and skill set to the table. You’ll hear various perspectives towards your biz challenges. I’ve been part of these before at the Cambridge Business Lounge. They’re well worth getting involved with or you could even set one up between you and your friends. Fran, Sophie and I actually held our own the other week.

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 Photo c/o Blognix

The retreat was held at Hellidon Lakes Golf & Spa hotel in Daventry. The location was beautiful, the staff were friendly and my bed was very comfortable.

I had a fantastic weekend at the Blognix Retreat. If they host the conference next year then you really must try to attend. My favourite part of the weekend is meeting so many new and like-minded people. I would also recommend getting involved with their weekly Twitter chats.

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