Can it really be the last day of February already? Are any of you brave ladies going to propose to their man on this leap year day?
One woman that did just that is my blogging colleague and friend Catherine from Not Dressed as Lamb. Having met her lovely husband, I can say that it was a good decision on her part and they recently celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary.
She and I were among a group of around 70 bloggers from all genres who attended the Blognix Retreat over the weekend at the Hellidon Lakes Hotel in Northamptonshire.
It was a weekend of learning, of inspiration and of sharing new ideas and networking. The primary focus of the retreat was business and well-being and the workshops were the best I’ve ever attended. Some were quite specific to the blogosphere and some more generic and applicable to anyone in business. I have reams of notes to read through and assimilate and I will share these in blog posts over the next month or so.
After registration on Saturday morning, we attended four presentations, punctuated by coffee breaks and a wonderful buffet lunch.
Following the afternoon sessions, I checked into my room which was spacious with a very comfy bed.
Despite being among fellow bloggers all day, I forgot to get a photograph taken of the outfit I wore during the day, so a mirror selfie must suffice. I wore my colour block shift dress with nude tights and flat Mary Janes, accessorised perfectly, I think you’ll agree, with my conference lanyard.
I had a little time to get ready for dinner, which in itself was rather blissful.
We ate in a function room and were seated on given tables which meant we met and chatted with new friends.
One of the biggest and loveliest things about the blogging world is how very supportive it is. Most of us here are working mothers with several income streams so juggling is the norm. Most had connected previously via social media but to meet these wonderful and like-minded women, all aged 40 plus, in person was just wonderful.
From left to right:
Lisa: The Sequinist
Annette: Lady of Style
Michelle: The Bare-Faced Chic
Catherine: Not Dressed as Lamb
Lorraine: Her blog is in the pipeline
Nikki: Midlife Chic
This lovely lady is Leigh and we were thrilled to be seated at the same table after meeting on Instagram a few months ago. She is author of the blog Headspace Perspective in which she writes about life after losing her baby son. She is a beautiful and remarkable woman and I was honoured to meet her.
We all had a brilliant night.The food was good and the fizz even better but my 4am start meant I was ready for bed way before I’d have turned into a pumpkin.
On Sunday morning, there were three more presentations and workshops which again, proved to be invaluable.
We said our final goodbyes at lunchtime, Catherine took a group selfie and then I headed home back to my children and to iron the school uniforms!
If you are a blogger, I cannot recommend Blognix highly enough. I’ll definitely attend any future retreats. It’s made me even more determined to succeed as a woman in (a very very tiny) business and to strive to make my blog the best it can be. I am full of ideas and enthusiasm and I hope to implement a lot of new things over the next month or so, some overt and some behind the scenes. I take my hat off to Blognix founders Elizabeth Sellers and Raj Dhokia who organised the event.
In fact I did one thing yesterday which was to open a separate Instagram account for my online jewellery business Lizzy O. If you are on Instagram I would be very very grateful if you would follow me.
Love Liz x
Art Class Colourblock Shift Dress, Great Plains £65
In the first group picture:
Dipped hem, zipped front printed dress, Mint Velvet AW15
Black suede high heeled ankle boots, Clarks, several years ago.
In the last group photo:
Pink embellished collar top, Dickins & Jones at House of Fraser
Boyfriend jeans, Next
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It was such an inspiring and information-packed weekend, wasn't it? I learned so much, and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting my 40+Squad ladies! You are just as sweet and gorgeous in real life as you are online, which comes as absolutely no surprise. It was such a pleasure meeting you, Liz xx
It really was Lisa, yes. I am just full of ideas that I can't wait to implement. Aw, what a lovely thing to say. Thank you so much. And the same goes for you. So lovely to get the squad together xxx
You're a fast worker Liz! This is a brilliant post, really summed up the entire weekend beautifully. You know I've been working on my shopstyle pages ALL DAY & just loving it!
I feel so full of ideas I could burst – my fingers won't type fast enough Hahahaha.
lots of love x
Thank you. I got as much, if not more, out of the social aspect of the weekend. I'm the same! Just so excited! It was lovely to meet you. You had me laughing from start to finish and it was a pleasure to be in your company xxxxx
I'm still very much on a high from the weekend, what a great experience! It was great to meet those of you that I did – and I hope to meet the rest of you at a future event!
Oh me too! Absolutely buzzing! I'm sorry we didn't meet but as you say, hopefully sometime soon at another event. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, love Liz xxx
I am so glad everyone had a blast!!!! Hope to join next year!
We really did. It was brilliant and I'll definitely be signing up as soon as it's announced. Hopefully, we'll meet. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to comment, love Liz xxx
This looks fab, I would love this! I have so much to learn too so it's double was my. Get to meet all my favourite bloggers and learn new things.I need to learn a lot regarding Shopstyle
Oh Laurie, it was brilliant and so informative. Hopefully you'll be able to come next time. I'd love to meet you xxx
Brilliant write-up Lizzy! You've really captured the weekend! It was such a blast to meet so many likeminded, lovely women. Can't wait to see all of them and you again.
Thank you Michelle. It was brilliant wasn't it? I loved every part of it and meeting new friends was the best part. So looking forward to meeting you again soon xxx
It was the most amazing weekend wasn't it Liz? I came away buzzing with ideas. Meeting you was the icing on the cake! You're every bit as lovely as I thought you would be. Thank you for the kind mention, I love that photo of us too. Hope to see you again soon xxxx
It was amazing and I loved meeting you too. You are an amazing woman and have such a beautiful way about you. A true inspiration. I love the picture of us too. I so hope we'll meet again soon but for now, I'm enjoying your brilliant blog xxxx
Oh Liz what can I say – I was so excited before the weekend and knew it would be great, but didn't realise it would be abso-bloody-lutely fantastic!!!!!!! Just meeting the other girls and seeing you again would have been enough for me and well worth the trip, but to add all those inspiring talks and the delicious food and the friendly atmosphere, well..!!
I was so glad to see you under happier circumstances and get to enjoy your company again. Your post is wonderful, can't believe how quickly you worked to get it up!! My post this afternoon will be about squad goals in reference to the weekend, hope you like it 🙂
Much love to you, and hopefully I'll see you again in the summer if we arrange a London meet up for a mastermind as suggested by Retrochic Michelle? That would be so good!
Much love to you
Ah Catherine, it was a joy to meet you once again and yes, I'm definitely in much happier circumstances! Thank you for your generosity in sharing your knowledge and in supporting your fellow bloggers like you do. I am very grateful and could sit and pick your brains all day. I do hope we can meet up soon but if not, let's hope Blognix 2017 will happen. And…can you believe it's 2 years ago since we modelled for Fever? xxxxx
Thank you so much for coming the retreat! I am super happy that enjoyed the weekend both for meeting up with your friends and for the content we shared.
It was brilliant Elizabeth, thank you. Please tell me you're doing another next year? xxx