It was an amazing revelation! I attended Food Blogger Connect last year and found it overwhelming in a good way. I walked away with so much to think about and met some amazing people! This year had a lot to live up too.
Just to start out here is a video I made of a selection of my many photos! It can also be found on my rarely used YouTube channel! If you visit it, please ignore the background photo, I'm working on getting a photo to fit it. If you have any helpful tips please let me know!
It started out great with my first lab: Food and Recipe Writing with Sophie Grigson! She was informative and funny! The best part was the hands on experience. She said a recipe can be written in five minutes and to prove it she told us all to write a recipe for Cheese on Toast. Then a handful of us read out our recipes, they were all different. Which is something I suppose we all knew, but I loved how it proves that recipe writing is a very individual thing.
Then she gave us the standards for recipe writing and told us to rewrite the same recipe using those standards and/or guidelines. Basically how cookbooks are written or should I say edited. Some people confuse long instructions to be difficult, but sometimes it’s just better instructed.
Last she read us a nonsense recipe written by Edward Lear circa 1870. It is a good laugh, basically he was making fun of cookery writers of the time. Following that she told us to throw those standards out of the window and right a ridiculous version of the previous Cheese on Toast recipe. I thought it was a fun learning exercise and so I am thinking of sharing my three versions in another post, we'll see!
Ben and the boys at Sorted tend to give their viewers what they want. They do this by always interacting with said viewers. Their latest video is of the best banana bread ever! They asked their viewers how they made banana bread and took their top tips to then create said banana bread. I love this way of creating content. It’s, as Ben said, how you would describe a friendship.
I related more to how David and his wife create content, basically doing whatever they want. It’s your blog and your space to create and talk about whatever you want. It’s how I tend to write my blog…with my stomach. If I want a peanut butter pie, then I will make a peanut butter pie and sooner or later you’ll hear about it.
I found them to very informative and their discussion/talk gave me a lot to think about. This was just on the first day!! The second day wasn’t as great. I found that the main panel that lasted more then one session was a bit over done. If we were taking shots every time one of the ladies mentioned herself we’d all of been sitting under the table. It just wasn’t as informative or professional as I would have liked or expected. That is my personal opinion.
The day was saved by Monica Shaw’s Awesome Analytics! It wasn’t actually a lab I was signed up for, I just snuck in as there were empty seats. As a blogger you need or should be signed up to Google Analytics, it’s a wealth of information that is invaluable. However, when you sign on it’s very unlikely you’ll even know what you’re looking at! I rarely got on mine as I didn’t! Monica basically took us on a tour of it and showed us how to read and where to find certain information. Which was very useful!
The highlight of the last day was Content Planning and How to deal with Blogger Burnout run by Urvashi Roe from The Botanical Kitchen. I had met her last year and had a few conversations during the StrEat Parties and knew she had a lot to say about blogging and content, so I was curious to attend her lab this year. I am mentioning it here as it was like the rest of the stuff mentioned one of the highlights of the weekend.
She asked us why we blog, because without a why what’s the point? Then she shared with us a lot of different types of posts, not just a recipe post. The other great part was she had us talking, it was an interactive experience so to speak!
There were a few downsides to the weekend, like the venue. I didn’t remember reading that it would be held on the gardens of the Chiswick House and Gardens. If it had been in June like last year I might not have minded so much, but it was the end of September. It was cold and it was dark early. The last StrEat Party of the day was a bit of a bust because of those things. Which was sad because I really enjoyed it last year.
Last year I liked the definitive breaks where we got to talk to brands and drink cold brew coffee or tequila. This was sadly lacking this year. We could have done with better coffee and tequila considering it was a chilly weekend.
Over all it was a good weekend! I stayed at Hotel Ibis in Shepard’s Bush. I was there with a few others attending the conference, which was nice. It was really easy to travel back and forth from the event. Having it right next to the tube was a bonus. The staff were really friendly and helpful! The room was very modern and tidy. The bed was comfortable and with a hot shower what else do you need? I would recommend having the breakfast! There was a lot of variety and it was a great way to get the day started! Thank you Ibis for having me! If you're looking for a hotel in London check them out here!
Want to give a shout out to the awesome StrEat Food stalls I tried this year! Give them some love as I’ve linked to their twitter handles.
StrEat Food Stalls that I really enjoyed! (pictures in the video above!)Oh My Dog!
Sibberi Water (Birch Water)
Bit Bourbon Steamed Burgers
Roll n Rock
I forgot to mention the gift bag….. this post is already so long so I will get to the point! The Microplane (original) was the best thing ever to get and I was really excited about the flour from Merchant. Will probably pop up in future posts! I guess that's it! Until next year......
notes: I received two free nights with Ibis Hotel's for an unbiased review. My Top Ten Things I Learned from Food Blogger Connect 2014!