Blogtacular 2016: Lessons from Lisa Congdon

Oh ‘Hi’ there! If you’ve been hanging around the blogosphere lately, you might have spotted a fair few posts about Blogtacular – an annual blogging conference which was held recently in London. This year was my first ever Blogtacular, and I was not disappointed – just check out this crowd…

Blogtacular 2016

This year’s conference was held at 200 Aldergate, a stone’s throw from St. Paul’s Cathedral, opposite the Museum of London. A very kind security guard helpfully beckoned us all inside before we wandered blindly past. Once inside however, and it was clear that we’d reached our destination!

Blogtacular 2016

I thoroughly enjoyed the event, and wanted to use this first blog post to share some of the important lessons that I took away from this year’s opening keynote speaker – Lisa Congdon – author, artist and illustrator, who delivered a truly inspiring talk on the realities of blogging.

Blogtacular 2016

Re-evaluate the meaning of “success”

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Blogtacular 2016 (& embracing my blogging fears)

Blogtacular 2016 logoIn case you missed it, tickets to Blogtacular 2016 are now on sale! Blogtacular is an amazing event for creative bloggers to meet, share and inspire one another. The event, hosted in London in June, features a range of keynote speakers and workshops to help you become a better blogger.

I’ve been looking forward to Blogtacular since January, when I set my 2016 blogging resolutions, and have been joining the weekly #blogtacular Twitter chats in anticipation ever since. Blogtacular chats are a little different to other chats in that they are geared towards sharing expertise and best practice.

Learning from Blogtacular 2015

This morning I came across a blog post by XOMISSE who attended last year’s conference, and discovered the 2015 keynote speech by Grace Bonney from Design Sponge, one of the most famous interiors and lifestyle blogs on the web. I started watching, and was immediately enthralled.


Grace’s talk was all about ’embracing fear’ – as the online landscape endlessly evolves, we have to constantly face our fears to learn or try new things, to help us stay on top of the wave. The talk really struck a cord, especially as, not long ago, I joined a Blogtacular chat on the topic of bravery.

In her talk, Grace describes her 5-step process to overcoming fears. The first step is to ‘Acknowledge’ the fear, which she calls the ‘private therapy moment’. The key is to identify the things that scare you (for example that you don’t think your content on Instagram is good enough), and air them.

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All fears are valid, and by acknowledging them, you can start to do something about them. During her talk, Grace encourages the audience to write down three things that they’re afraid of. As I continue on my blogging journey, I thought it was about time that I started to air some of my fears, as I’m sure that I’m not alone, and by talking about them, hopefully I can start to better forge my blog’s future.

So, here goes…

Fear #1: Content: What is my blog’s USP, and what do readers want?

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Finalist in the UK Blog Awards 2016

I’m delighted to announce that I am officially an Arts & Culture Finalist in the UK Blog Awards 2016! Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me. The awards received 73,000+ votes in total!

Over the years, I’ve seen the awards recognise some exceptional UK blogging talent; when I wrote my blog post In it to win it, I never imagined that I’d end up as a finalist, and I’m thrilled.

finalist_instagram_Shelley Makes picIntroducing the 2016 Arts and Culture Finalists…

There are ten finalists in the Arts & Culture category, including Aditi’s Pen (personal, fictional, and travel tales), Blazing Minds (film, theatre and event reviews), Film Doctor (a script and film consultancy), HCMOVIEREVIEWS (film reviews), Hello Emma Kay (theatre reviews), Hookedblog (street art blog), Making A Scene (community arts project), SLM Pickings (cultural events and entertainment), Shelley Makes (me!), and Urban Kultur Blog (street art, underground dance music, and urban culture).

If anyone needed any more proof that the blogging community is the best, I found out that I was a finalist via some awesome blogger friends (and previous winners) on Twitter – what sweethearts!

Thank you once again to everyone who voted for me. I’m thrilled to be waving the flag for UK arts and crafts, designer-makers, and creators, and am honoured to be a finalist in this category.

Thank You Facebook

The overall winners will be selected by a panel of judges over the next few weeks, and announced at an awards ceremony on the 29th April. I can’t wait to attend, and meet the other finalists!

Until then, stay tuned for #BlogHour which runs on Tuesdays at 9pm. The next chat (2nd Feb) is co-hosted by Hills Balfour, and we’ll be discussing press trips, social media and periscope!

5 Crafty Twitter Chats for #Creatives

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to join more crafty Twitter chats, and since then, I’ve noticed a lot of other people looking to do the same. As a result, I wanted to share details of some of the weekly chats that I join, so you can add them to your crafty calendar – I have diary alerts to remind me!

Twitter Chats Instagram


1. #CraftBlogClub – Tuesdays, 7pm – 8.30pm

#CraftBlogClub is a weekly chat for craft lovers and bloggers alike, devoted to all things crafty and creative. The brainchild of founders @KatieGetsCrafty and @Fizzijayne, it’s an extremely friendly and supportive community for crafters of all skill sets. As well as weekly chats, they host regular crafty challenges, such as the annual #CraftBlogClub Secret Santa. I started joining the chat late last year, and I genuinely enjoy joining in every week – they’re a lovely bunch!

To join the chat follow @CraftBlogClub and use the hashtag #CraftBlogClub.


2. #CraftHour – Sundays, 7pm – 8pm

#CraftHour hold a weekly Twitter chat dedicated to connecting crafters with customers. Hosted every Sunday at 7pm GMT, they also host daily ‘events’ from 8am, dedicated to promoting crafty makers, including #TreasuryTuesday, and even a 15 minute #CraftFlash – be quick!

To join the chat, follow @Craft_Hour and use hashtag #CraftHour.

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The UK Blog Awards 2016 – please vote!

Hello chipolatas. A few weeks ago you may remember that I told you I was entering the UK Blog Awards 2016 – ‘Art and Culture’ category. You might also remember that I told you I might have to light-heartedly harass you to vote for me in January? Well… it is time!

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The public vote is now open until the end of January, and I would really appreciate your support! You can read my full entry here, and it takes just a few seconds to cast your vote.

If you’re really keen, you can even vote daily. Thank you in advance for your support – it means a lot!

In it to win it! The UK Blog Awards 2016

It’s that time of year again when bloggers in their masses flock to enter the UK Blog Awards – one of few annual awards that recognises a huge span of categories, industries and individuals.

I’ve entered Shelley Makes into this year’s Arts and Culture category which is quite diverse, featuring everything from theatre and film reviews, to sculpture and craft tutorials – ever so broad!

ukba16entered

Over the years the UK Blog Awards has recognised some fantastic blogger talent. Last year, the unstoppable Natasha from Graphique Fantastique, whom I greatly admire, was Highly Commended in the Arts & Culture category (and the year before that she won Best Young Persons’ blog).

My good friend and old colleague Lauren, and her blogging partner Felicity, won the Fashion and Retail category in 2015 with Pretty, Posh, Oh My Gosh. Back in the day, Lauren and I would head to the local park on our lunch breaks to do an impromptu photoshoot for PPOMG. My claim to fame!

I was also really pleased to see the wonderful Faya from Fitness on Toast as the Lifestyle finalist, having worked with her (in a PR capacity) on brand campaigns in the past – a worthy winner!

Entries are open until 29th December, and then the public vote will commence on the 4th January, at which point I might light-heartedly harass you to vote for me (if you’d like to!)

Until then, stay tuned every Tuesday between 9-10pm for , courtesy of the @UKBlogAwards.

National UK Blog Awards 2015 – Please vote!

As some of you know, Shelley Makes launched in Feb as a belated New Year’s resolution to achieve more in my evenings and learn new skills. Just eight months later, and I’ve already blogged 50+ times. Ranging from inspiration posts featuring my favourite DIY’ers, to event write-ups (such as The Handmade Fair), Shelley Makes documents all things crafty, including my own tutorials.

I’ve always taken a lot of inspiration from those around me, and blogging would not be half as fun without the blogging community that comes part and parcel with it. I have loved learning from you all, and won’t be leaving the blogosphere or Pinterest any time soon. It’s a wonderful place.

Whilst I’ve enjoyed following the rise of many of my favourite bloggers through amazing award programmes like The MAD Blog Awards and Company Blog Awards etc., I was excited to learn about the UK Blog Awards, whose inaugral awards ceremony took place last year.

The UK Blog Awards are the only Blog Awards that recognise a broad range of industry professionals across the UK, with award categories in 12 different sectors including Food & Drink, Lifestyle, Travel, Arts and Culture and Education etc., as well as ‘Individual’ and ‘Organisation’ categories.

You can vote for me in two categories: (by clicking the links below)

Voting opens from midnight tonight and will remain open from Monday 10th November – Monday 1st December. If you enjoy reading Shelley Makes, or just like the look of it, I’d appreciate your vote!

Do check out who else is up for the awards too! #UKBA15 #BeBold

UK Blog Awards