Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Blog Camp UK

The Studio Birmingham, The Studio, Barbeque, BBQ
Beautiful corner of the cafe, and 3 huge BBQs in the back!

Last Saturday I went to the first Blog Camp UK to learn more about blogging techniques and I had a wonderful time! It was the first time I spent a day away from my children for a whole day, and although I felt sorry for hubby (at least he had family's help babysitting) and I did miss my babies (especially seeing other babies at camp), I felt like I have found the missing piece of me again! I only had a couple of hours to sleep before the day but I was still well charged up until 11pm. Had a rougher Sunday though!

Anyway, back to the camp. It started off with Muireann from Bangs and a Bun who taught us how to turn our blog into a brand that represents us in the social media world. I must remember to tone down my frustration and rant on Twitter as all eyes are on us!

The Studio Birmingham

We had a coffee break to catch up with fellow bloggers, and I went with a few friends to listen to how to be a Snark but not a D*** by Stuart Heritage, who is a witty person and writes for The Guardian about film, music and TV. It was a hilarious session with censored words flying across the room. I think we have outwitted him though by bombarding him with our own snarky questions and comments!

Not Even A Bag of Sugar, The Studio Birmingham
Kylie from Not Even a Bag of Sugar

Then we had a lovely lunch at the venue's open cafe. The weather was fantastic so me and Kylie from Not even a Bag of Sugar sat outside for some fresh air. It was so sunny I think I got a tan from lunch! Then I noticed that I haven't been taking much pictures like I used to as I was really enjoying myself and completely forgotten that I will be writing a blog post about the camp! So here are a few last minute pictures of the cafe:

The Studio Birmingham, open cafe
Outside the cafe on the first floor of The Studio, Birmingham

The Studio Birmingham
Inside the cafe area


The Studio Birmingham
140 bloggers!
The decos at the back were made with recycling materials

The food was delicious, especially the fruit salad with a yogurt dip! The melons and pineapples were sweet and the strawberries were big, red and juicy. Wish I had tried the other fruits as well but I didn't want to seem too greedy! We also had sandwiches, focaccia sandwich (I had smoked salmon one, yummy!), giant potato wedges, salad and coleslaw.

I then moved on to a photography crash course! John Arnold from Photo Walkthrough taught us the science (the gear and terms) and art (the way to take great photos) side of photography, with the kind help from Ruth, who blogs at  Mini Break Mummy. The course was so helpful there just wasn't enough time, so me and a few others stayed on for a short Q&A break (suppose to be coffee break) before John's next session on how to edit photos started. It was so informative and interesting a lot of us thought that the time should be extended! I will definitely check out John's video tutorials on his blog for more tips. And oh, what was that again? John and Ruth from Geek Mummy (they are married in case you are wondering) had some interesting videos made together with adult contents? Must dig those out!

Celebration cake, cake, chocolate cake

Lemon cake, lemon sponge, cake
Lemon Sponge

 cake, black forest, black forest gateau
Black Forest

And then it was the moment all of us were waiting for. The cakes! We had an afternoon tea with some lovely cakes before the final session started. I only managed to take a picture of two cakes, and had to quickly grab a lemon sponge before the crowd from the other sessions stormed their way through! Thanks to the lovely and sweet Carie from Space for the Butterflies, I managed to take a picture of her Black Forest gateau. You'll just have to imagine how the Victoria sponge look like.

The final Q&A session with the PRs were really helpful. A lot of things went on and it was all down to past habits and misunderstandings (and the odd bad apples on both sides, but that's just life isn't it!). Bloggers and PRs should really be the best partners in marketing & media so hopefully the relationship will improve soon.

I would like to thank Sally from Who's the Mummy & co. again for such a fantastic camp. I can't wait for the Manchester blog camp!