Last weekend I headed up to the Gold Coast for the 5th ProBlogger conference. It was my first ProBlogger, and despite blogging on and off for close to 3 years, I am still very much a beginner blogger! I am still amazed at how many people give you blank looks when you talk about 'blogging', but as you are here and reading this post, I'll assume you know what blogging is ;).
I travelled up with the incredibly talented Lainie of Lainie Brookman Couture Dressmaker (who was also lucky enough to be my roomie!), Janina of Piccadilly Market, and Fiona of I Respect Online. We stayed at the gorgeous QT hotel which was also where the conference was being held. We dumped our bags and headed out for a walk along the beach, then headed into the Stingray bar for dinner and drinks (read: cocktails!).
We were welcomed to ProBlogger the next morning by Darren Rowse - he gave up some stats that included that 10% of attendees were male (there were 550 of us there!) and 10% had not yet started their blog. Pat Flynn followed with a fabulous keynote that included his wife's obsession with the Backstreet Boys ('her boys!').
My highlights of day one included hearing Nikki Parkinson (Styling You) present and then meeting her (and she signed my copy of her book :)) and listening to Katrina Springer (The Organised Housewife) and Candice DeVille (Vintage Current). If that wasn't overwhelming enough, you should have seen the food!!!!
Nikki Parkinson presenting
Nikki and I with her brand, spanking new book!
Candice DeVille presenting
Friday night was a networking event down the road at the Helm Bar, that suitably had a nautical theme. More fun, more drinks and MORE food!!
It was lovely to see everyone loosen up a little and I'm still amazed at how friendly everyone was. Lainie and I had a fabulous chat with the gorgeous Merrymaker sisters - Emma and Carla - and we both decided that if our daughters grow up to be as lovely as these two sisters, we will be chuffed (the Papas Parents must be so proud!). We also caught up with Candice DeVille (who just happens to be very dear friends with one of the mums from my mother's group, the incredibly talented Helen McLean! Helen is pictured with Candice in the slide in the above photo).
Having fun at the Olympus photo booth
(they even had a whale spout prop for me!!)
L-R: Lainie, me, Janina and Fiona
The gorgeous Merrymaker sisters with Lainie & I
Saturday began with a massage (oh yes it DID!) and more learning followed. The incredibly intelligent Stacey Roberts (aka the Veggie Mama) taught us about blogging and the law, and totally blew me away with her knowledge. We sat in on a very inspiring panel discussing using social media for social good. Last year, with bated breath, I followed Eden Riley’s trip through Africa with World Vision on her blog, Edenland. At this session, I learnt that World Vision have calculated Eden’s blogging about this trip to be worth more than $300,000 in terms of advertising dollars *blown away*!
Stacey Roberts (aka The Veggie Mama)
The inspiring Social Media for Social Good panel
L-R: Eden Riley, Carlie Findlay, Stephen Ellis, Emma Stirling
After lunch, the highlight of my ProBlogger experience happened – it was Fat Mum Slim herself, the delightful Chantelle Ellem! You may have heard of the FMS Photo a Day challenge? Well, that is Chantelle’s baby. You may have seen the Little Moments App being used on Instagram? Well, that is also Chantelle’s baby. This lady rocks! She has taken blogging to a new level and is an absolute leader in the field (all while being a Mum to two very young little girls). It was an honour and a privilege to hear her speak and learn from her.
The AMAZING Chantelle Ellem
I came away from ProBlogger totally exhausted, inspired, with an overloaded brain, and a few kilos heavier (did I mention the food???). But, words cannot describe how motivating and encouraging the experience was for me. I hardly slept for days afterwards as my mind just couldn’t rest. So, look out Whale Spout blog... a whole lot of ideas are bubbling and ready to be spilled (just like a glass of champagne really)!
Saying farewell to a perfect ProBlogger on a perfect day!