Reflections from ProBlogger 2014 – Part 1, The Tears

Last week I attended my first blogging conference.


Wait, I did what?

My blog is only six months old, I don’t write ‘consistently’, and I do not have any kind of editorial calendar or strategy. I’ve only looked at my stats two or three times (stats leave me feeling queasy) – and yet off I trotted to the Gold Coast last week, to attend the ProBlogger Training Event 2014.

It was a fantastic event, and yet on some level, I found it quite an overwhelming event to attend. Not that people weren’t lovely, they all were. Queensland put on gorgeous weather, the QT Hotel was lovely, the food was AMAZING, it looked set to be a great weekend.


But before I went to bed on Thursday night, having spent a few hours with some RAD ladies from my Blog With Pip course, I recognised that I felt, well, a bit jangly. Unnerved. Anxious. Like tears were in my immediate future. I was so right!

Darren Rowse’s Friday morning keynote was sensational – he reminded me that bloggers are just ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Phew, I fit in the ordinary part of that equation, maybe extraordinary is in my future. And I definitely need to see the LEGO movie, stat!

Pat Flynn, a blogging guru I freely admit I’d never heard of before his name got attached to #pbevent, was also a great speaker to listen to – entertaining, informative, enthusiastic. I’ve had Backstreet Boys tunes running through my mind all week thanks to his illustrations about his wife’s obsession with those dance steppin’, love croonin’ lads. Pat told us that just like the Backstreet Boys have raving fans, bloggers can have raving fans too. I know this is true, because I am a raving fan of Styling You, Woogsworld, Meet Me At Mikes, BabyMac and quite a few more… so the morning’s teaching was excellent. Top notch.

Strange then, that not 10 minutes later I was crying into my fruit salad during the morning tea break. It could have been the sheer number of humans crammed around those tables trying to get themselves some juicy slices of watermelon, but I think it was more of an overwhelming moment of  ‘what the hell am I doing here?!’.

Luckily, I had just introduced myself to Kylie from Life, Love & Lattes, and she coped admirably with my little meltdown. Thank you so much Kylie. Seriously, #pbevent MVP right there!

I managed to pull myself together enough to attend the next session, which was again, fantastic. But at the end of that session, the tears returned, and I retreated upstairs to the bloggers’ lounge (thank you SO MUCH for providing that space for we intoverts, and for the correct apostrophe placement #pbevent team) where I sat crying for quite some time. I was feeling ALL OF THE THINGS and couldn’t quite work out which one was the eye of the storm. So, I did what any writer does, I put pen to paper to try and make some sense of my feelings.

I felt overwhelmed. I felt really confronted by having a few, JUST A FEW – maybe four, people recognise me and say they liked my blog or loved my Instagram feed… I don’t know if I can describe how surreal the feeling of being recognised live in person, in the real world, not from behind a computer screen, is. I felt vulnerable and like I didn’t know what to say to them, I felt unimpressive and awkward. I was so taken aback by that feeling, as I had expected to totally enjoy the face to face meet-ups and find them super uplifting and easy. (Let’s clarify that I DID enjoy meeting people, I had some fab conversations, I just had some issues acclimatising to face to face contact!)

That morning, I felt unsure of myself and out of my depth. I felt like a total wanker for having business cards in my bag. I won’t say I felt like a fraud, because I love blogging and want to get better and better at it, but I felt almost all the other things, and it was a really exhausting morning.

Later in the day, with my composure tenuously in place, I sidled over to Beth from BabyMac before a session, and we had a wee chat, where I CRIED AGAIN. Oh my gawd. Beth has been someone who probably without even realising it, has been a massive encouragement to me as I’ve started out on the blogging journey. So I was crying, again, and Beth was so kind to me (winning at being the same IRL/URL) and she assured me that it is indeed weird to be recognised for something we do in isolation, but that people are generally lovely. The fab Mrs Woog (why does it feel really overly intimate to call her Kayte??) also came and joined in our convo, and offered me a squirt of Rescue Remedy. Bless! I love those ladies. Seriously, you two, you’re AWESOME.

Thankfully, that was the end of the tears at ProBlogger, but it is only one aspect of the amazing weekend that we had together.

I want to really ponder the things I heard and reflect on the awesome people I got to meet, but if I try to do that all in one post, it will be too much.

Now that the tears have been mopped up, and I’m back at home, I’m going to read through my notes, ponder the beautiful people I got to meet and share stories and laughs with, and I’ll fill you in with Part 2, The People, really soon.

One thing before I sign off for today – I want you to know that I appreciate every single one of you that reads my blog – I truly do. I appreciate your comments (blogger oxygen), your encouragement, your ‘likes’ on my Instagram feed and Facebook page, your favourite & retweet button pressing on Twitter, your laughter, and your baking prowess. Without you, this is pointless.

And as fabulous as that QT Hotel bed was, there really is no place like home. Just me and my laptop, and all of you.


Annette xxx




Baking our blues away

Hello! It’s Sunday, which means it’s time to bake. At the moment, there’s a chocolate cake in the oven and I’m really looking forward to sharing a slice or two with my friend Sharon, who is just back from her honeymoon. Wedding photos – yay!

Baking is somehow more satisfying when the results are shared, don’t you think?

Rather than just rave about my own baking prowess today – mighty as it is *cough*, I wanted to let you know about a great event that’s happening this week called Baking Our Blues Away.


This event is the brainchild of Michelle Symes, wife and mother of two, who has had her own experience with dealing with anxiety and illness in her family.

You can read about her experience here on the BOBA website.

Please pop over to the site for all the info about this great volunteer run initiative.

Based on her experiences of life backing up the lemon truck on her doorstep, Michelle is calling on bakers (and non bakers) everywhere to create something home-made (or bought from a local bakery, we won’t tell) and share it with someone in your life on Tuesday 15 July.

You could bake a lemon slice and take it to work, and encourage people to down tools for a cuppa and a chat.

You could whip up a batch of apple and cinnamon muffins and pop around to your mum’s house, or call in on your bestie, your brother or sister. Pop the kettle on, enjoy a treat and connect over a cuppa.

The idea is just to bake, share and connect. Pretty simple stuff really, but easily put in the ‘I’m too busy’ basket.

With 1 in 4 Australians suffering anxiety, something as simple as sharing a cake and a cuppa can be a really powerful thing. I know there have been times when a chance to just chat over a cuppa and cake have been really important. Even though cake is awesome, we know it can’t really help anyone. But conversation can, looking someone in the eyes and asking them how they are can. Caring can.

You can join the Baking Our Blues Away Facebook event here and find out more about this great initiative. Even if you can’t bake on the nominated day, why not make a time to bake, share and care with someone this week? It could be just the tonic someone needs.

Oh, there goes the alarm on my cake….

It needs another five or ten minutes.

Being a big fan of social media (who me? The sun was up when I logged into Instragram, I swear!) Baking Our Blues Away is hashtag ready for all eventualities.

You can share using #bakesharecare or #bobacakefail if you have a bit of a kitchen disaster. My tip – icing covers a multitude of sins!

So, maybe double batch whatever you’re baking today and find a time to sit down and enjoy the fruits of your flan tin with a workmate, neighbour, relative, a new mum, someone just out of hospital, someone grieving… you get the idea.

Let there be baking, and sharing, and caring.

Now, do you think Sharon will mind if I have a slither of chocolate cake before she gets here?

I look forward to seeing what you create to #bakesharecare and hearing your stories about the power of a meaningful chat and a slice of cake.

Bake on, friends!

Annette xx BOBALogo