Sunday, 29 November 2015

Lifestyle: Blogging Events - Are They Worth It Part 2

Go Away I'm Blogging Mug

My recent post Blogging Events - Are They Worth It? has been picked up quite well and since the events season has started with all the press days for SS16 and Christmas parties around, I had enough inspiration lately to extend my index of blogging related events. In the past few weeks, I went to my first Blogger workshop, attended an overcrowded spa party, lusted over new dainty jewellery pieces and decorated my Christmas tree (yes it is already up, #becauseICan). 

Warning, this is a lengthy post!

Bloggeration x Penguin Workshop at the OBag Factory // North London


Bloggers contribute to the community in the most diverse ways: some produce regular quality content, others run their own RT service and then you have bloggers who organise their own events. I have a lot of respect for people who work full time and write an awesome blog on the side AND can plan events. One of these extraordinary people is London and Lifestyle blogger Sarah.

She has organised a couple of individual workshops for bloggers, held at the OBag Factory in North London. I was lucky to get invited to her most recent one, which was an afternoon workshop in collaboration with publisher Penguin.

Before I tell you all about the workshop, I need to spend a few words on OBag’s amazing shop. The moment I stepped in, I felt in handbag heaven. The Italian brand creates handbags with a twist; the idea is to provide basics, such as the bucket or the handles and additional accessories so you can change your handbag’s appearance constantly. You can choose from a wide range of different colours and materials, which makes your handbag unique and individual. Customisation on the next level! Though they also produce smaller cross body handbags, my favourite has to remain their signature bucket bag. Just look at the cute winter accessories and imagine how much shopping you could carry home.

OBag Factory in London

OBag Factory Bucket Handbag

Only ten bloggers were invited to the workshop which felt very private and intimate. Over tea and delicious macarons from Anges De Sucre, we introduced ourselves and our blogs. As this was a workshop with a literary focus, we would also recommend our favourite books and Sarah arranged a meet up with a representative from Penguin.

In the afternoon, Stephenie would join us and talk about her job at Penguin. She gave us great insights into the publishing industry and tips how to break in. It was a very chilled atmosphere and I learnt a lot about career perspectives at a publishing house. 

Macaroons and Notepad
Penguin Blogger Workshop

Workshops - Are They Worth It? : This was an interesting and highly informative experience as I’ve never been to an event with less than ten bloggers. Workshops are an ideal blogging opportunity if you feel comfier in a small group. Though we were strangers at the beginning of the day, we quickly opened up to each other, started chatting and laughing. You got the chance to speak to people and find out about their blogs and concerns. You could give feedback, discuss ideas and exchange improvements. It is very hard to get into publishing these days, so the chance to get first-hand information and insights from an industry professional was an added bonus.

Atmosphere: 5/5, Company: 5/5, Structure of Event: 5/5

Champneys Moments At The Hospital Club // Covent Garden


Blogging events are not always as intimate and private as a workshop. You can get the complete opposite with hundreds of bloggers turning up – or as I had to learn this week, a mass gathering of the press. Press days have been ok for me so far, as they are usually an all-day event where you can just go in and out, but with press events, it’s a different story. Media people rarely show respect towards the work of bloggers, so be prepared that they will be constantly in the way and make your life hard. 

Champneys Spa Press Event In London
Overcrowded Champneys Spa Press Event

When I arrived at the venue, I stepped right into a spring garden with the smell of fresh, citrus in the air. The centrepiece of the venue made a stunning tree in blossom with cute rabbits running around it. Though I arrived for the events start at 6:30pm, the venue was bursting. It was so busy and working was extremely difficult. I barely got good shots of the products as people were constantly in the way, not making a move.

Champneys new range
Champneys Pillow spray

I queued a good 15 minutes for a neck massage just to be pushed out of the way when it was my turn. As I was too tired from work and not up for drama, nor for an another 15minute wait, I left the event a bit disappointed after half an hour.

Press Events - Are They Worth It? Depends. I've been to press days which were a lot more relaxed and more of an in-and-out nature. However, at all press events, I've been to this year, people have been fairly reserved towards bloggers even up to the level of complete ignorance. Most won't tolerate us as equal, which is fair enough as the majority of us aren't professional journalists. However, we do a lot more work by ourselves such as the PR and photography side. We stress a lot about our stats and make sure that we get our daily traffic in. It is also expected of us to be available 24/7 on our Social Media (have you ever had a reply tweet from any of the big magazines or journalists?), so labelling us as 'not important press' feels often very frustrating and I wish the respect for our hard work would be more appreciated. 

The Champneys Spa event was very high-end and well thought out, but I felt more than once massively out of place. There wasn't a familiar face around and it seemed a general disinterest in networking. The event was far too overcrowded to make me feel relaxed but I caught up on that bit when I went home and indulged into some of the generously gifted samples from my goodie bag.

Atmosphere: 3/5, Company 2/5, Structure of Event: 3/5

Paperchase SS 16 and Christmas Challenge // Flagship Tottenham Court Road


One day after work I made my way over to Paperchase's flagship store in Tottenham Court Road. If you've never been there, I highly recommend you to do so, as the store stretches over three floors full of cute stationery. I arrived a few minutes before the official start of the event and had a tiny look around (and spotted so many things that went straight onto my Christmas wish list!). 

Alongside a few selected bloggers, amongst them my dear friend Nadja, I was introduced to the marketing and PR team as well as the design team who presented the SS16 collection. There will be some very pretty items available next year and here's a little glimpse of what you can expect:

Paperchase SS16 collection

In the first part of the event, we were introduced to the new range and pieces. The SS16 collection is very Paperchase, think delicate florals, folded ornaments, cute rainbow coloured pens and sleek rosé golden pens. My favourite part of the new collection was the Mother's Day themed 'Madame Romanta' series which you'll see below. Very girly and pretty. Some items even had a little art nouveau touch.

Paperchase Mother's Day SS16
Paperchase Mothers Day Diary
Paperchase SS16 tea candle

The second part of the event was more creative and action-packed. Give 11 bloggers a £25 Paperchase voucher and 1h to decorate a mini Christmas tree and you'll get a shopping scenario that could rival a Black Friday Sale. Most girls stormed the Christmas section straight away, others found random items on the way. This was my result at the end of the evening:

Paperchase Christmas Tree Challenge

I know it looks a bit colourful and it might not be the taste of everyone but I had so much fun decorating my tree (and competing) with the girls. The whole point was to make the Christmas tree as personal as possible and since I love Pizza I couldn't resist getting this massive slice as my centrepiece :)

Blogger Previews - Are They Worth It? - Yes, definitely yes! This event brought together a handful of bloggers, which made it very easy to network and to get to know people. I enjoyed myself so much and it was exactly what I needed after a long, stressful day at work. I had a lot of fun with the girls and the high level of interaction and engagement to fully immerse into the experience made this event really unique. Whenever I'll get my Christmas Tree out in the years to come, I will think back to this wonderful evening at Paperchase.

Atmosphere: 5/5, Company: 5/5, Structure of Event: 5/5

Jewellerybox Pop-Up Store // Brick Lane 


On a cold and miserable Saturday evening, at an hour when you shouldn't be wandering around on your own as a young attractive woman, I decided to head into Central to Brick Lane #yeahwhynot. Don't get me wrong, Brick Lane is nice with its hipster shops, vintage houses and massively over the top fashion bloggers who bring an entire photography team just to pose in the street. But once night-time has fallen, it is dodgy and you can't shake off the feeling that you shouldn't be carrying a DSLR and iPhone with you. Once I walked it up and down twice from the Liv Pool Street side, I checked out the other end and finally found the small JewelleryBox pop-up shop on the corner. 

I had the pleasure to get to know JewelleryBox a year ago as they are a subsidiary of The Charm Works, a brand that has specialised in charms. 2015 has been their year and their dainty jewellery collection took the blogosphere by storm. I met the lovely PR team a few times, lastly at the Bloggers Festival. So when the invite to see their pop-up store came into my inbox, I felt honoured to get another chance to work with the brand. Blogging is not just writing and taking a few pictures here and there, but it is networking and building long-term relationships after all. 

JewelleryBox Pop Up
C Charm JewelleryBox

The shop was decorated with a thousand little light strings which gave the place a warm and cosy atmosphere. It was so festive and Christmassy inside with all the sparkling jewellery pieces and little holy branches. Alongside a handful of carefully selected bloggers, I got introduced to the brands Christmas collection which features the snowflake in all its variations. The evening was super relaxed and I met my friends Olivia, queen of London Blogging Events, and Laura. We got drinks, we had some snacks and nibbles and lusted over the pieces including this very cute C charm and reindeer necklace.

Reindeer Necklace JewelleryBox

Blogger Gatherings Organised By Brands - Are They Worth It? - Yes, definitely. It was again a super relaxed atmosphere and though I love mass gatherings, these smaller events keep on growing on me. It brought together my friends and we admired jewellery in an enchanted environment. What's not to love?!? JeweryBox have been very generous and we received a small heart-shaped charm, that we got to stamp with our initials. This was a very thoughtful gesture and underlines again the personal and intimate nature of the gathering, which will create a long-term memory and relationship. 

Atmosphere: 5/5, Company: 5/5, Structure of Event: 3/5

JewelleryBox Christmas Collection

That's it for today. Thanks so much for reading my Blogging Events - Are They Worth It? post. Have you been to any blogging events lately? Which blogger events do you enjoy the most? Let me know in the comment section, I'm looking forward hearing from you.

Till next time,

xx Caz xx
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