This month’s little freebie has been inspired by my wonderful time a week and a half ago in west London with the lovely ladies attending the Blogtacular conference, a get-together for bloggers and creatives.
Kicking off the event was a photowalk around the gorgeous pastel homes and businesses of Notting Hill and Portobello. I’ve been drawing a lot of buildings lately, so when I was trying to figure out what kind of freebie I would offer this month and thought, “Hey, why not a cute little pastel Notting Hill home?” And wouldn’t that be a great way to talk about the event as well?
So go ahead and download this little watercolour illustration of a pastel blue and pink house (you’ll spy me in similar colours in the photos below), set it as the wallpaper on your desktop computer, tablet or mobile phone, and then let me tell you a little about this wonderful event. (And there will be a few more Blogtacular-related posts coming over the next week.)
Ah, Blogtacular. A wonderful weekend filled with inspiring women (and a few lovely men) all talking about creativity, confidence and business.
I work from home and have been pretty bad about getting out and interacting with fellow creatives and bloggers. And I’m not brilliant when it comes to social media; when I don’t actually know the person on the other end, or if someone else hasn’t initiated the conversation, I can be a little shy. I’m one of those introverts who, depending upon whom I’m interacting with, is either one of the nosiest, most chatty people in the group, or almost silent.
So I’d been feeling a little isolated when Kim Lawler of the wonderful Finest Imaginary mentioned the Blogtacular event. I’d heard about it the year before but hadn’t really looked into it as at that stage I hadn’t even launched my company yet. This year I was intrigued, and with Kim’s recommendation, thought, “well, why not?” I’d been trying to figure out the next stages of both my business and my blog. And felt I really needed to get to know a few other people doing what I was doing, to see if I could build a little support network. But still, heading off and spending a weekend with almost 300 people I had never met made me feel a little trepidation.
That trepidation was certainly unwarranted. Within a few moments of starting the photowalk (a little late thanks to train delays when I got off my plane!), as we all stood surrounded by the pastel houses of Notting Hill, an unexpected sun blaring down on us (rain had been forecast), I was chatting away to a group of lovely ladies who worked in similar industries to me, and who often had the same hints of anxiety mixing with strangers.
We strolled through the bright west London streets, taking photographs of the beautiful buildings on our mobiles, our point-and-shoot cameras and DSLRs (while being followed by our wonderful official photographer, Will Ireland), and posing in front of many a wonderful mural. As the hours passed, so many of us made great connections, chatted about our businesses, gave each other advice, and cooed over our pets (many a fellow cat lady at the event). Before the conference had even officially begun, we were encouraging and teaching one another, and making wonderful connections.
After the photowalk ended, a large group of us decided to continue this little get-to-know-each-other by heading to a local pub for some beer, cider, chips and sausages, while waiting for the party that night. Nothing like a cold cider after a long walk in the sunshine.
The photowalk was the perfect way to start the event. Being able to interact with a smaller, less intimidating group of strangers meant that at the West Elm party and the conference proper the day after, we all had a few people to come back to if we found ourselves a bit lonely. And, now knowing that large handful of people, we were then introduced to even more attendees whom they had in-turn befriended. Without the photowalk beforehand, I don’t think I would have spoken to a fraction of the people I did. And looking at my very large double handful of business cards, I certainly spoke to too many to count. And they were all, each one of them, truly lovely.
So, thank you, Blogtacular, for helping me meet so many wonderful people. And thank you to our two wonderful guides for the walks, Kristabel and Natasha, who corralled us and lead us through so many pretty avenues.
Any of you lovely people reading? If I didn’t get a chance to give you my business card at the event, please come over and chat to me on Instagram or Twitter. Want to collaborate on a project or have a deeper conversation, please give me a shout on email!
Some of my own iPhone photos from the event
And from Instagram