Monday, 30 May 2016

Winser Pink Sweater and Camel Wide Leg Pants | Over40Collective #iwillwearwhatilike

Winser London pale pink sweater, camel wide leg trousers, black cross body bag, flat cap, grey heels | Not Dressed As Lamb

I'm really excited to be not only wearing sugary pastels (this week's #iwillwearwhatilike theme) but to be wearing Winser London for the very first time. 

Until a couple of months ago I hadn't heard of this young brand before, but I'm officially in love with their quality and styling. It's run by Kim Winser, herself a 40+ woman, who is obviously someone who understands what older women want from their wardrobes.

The key pieces I'm wearing - the pink cotton sweater and the jersey wide leg trousers - are so beautifully made and comfortable that I could probably wear them as loungewear. In fact I've worn the trousers to London and back, and anything that copes with a total of five hours on the train and doesn't annoy me or make me uncomfortable is a winner in my eyes.

The gorgeous pastel colours really make the outfit, but I wanted to add a little hit of bold so (unusually for me) I went with black: An embossed cross body bag from Zara and my trusty black cat eye sunglasses. My third pastel was the grey pointed toe heels from ASOS I first wore a couple of weeks ago - and who doesn't want a fourth? The taupe flat cap adds a certain boyishness to a somewhat ladylike outfit, plus I've always been a hat girl. I have to thank Carrie Bradshaw for making flat caps acceptable...!

This is a very special post for me as I'm introducing for the very first time a blogger collaboration I'm very proud to be part of and the reason I'm wearing Winser London today - scroll down for all the details and to see what this new project is all about. Good times ahead!

And of course do add your outfits to this week's link up and you may be featured next week if you've linked up pastels!

HAVE YOU ROCKED THE PASTELS YET THIS YEAR? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!

Winser London pale pink sweater, camel wide leg trousers, black cross body bag, flat cap, grey heels | Not Dressed As Lamb
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Winser London pale pink cotton v-neck sweater Winser London camel jersey wide leg trousers Zara embossed cross body bag Zalando grey block heel shoes Beige linen flat cap Black cat eye sunglasses Onecklace gold monogram necklace pendant

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Thursday, 26 May 2016

Hobbs SS16 London In-Store Style Session Hosted By Not Dressed As Lamb

Hobbs SS16 style: Yellow fit n flare dress, Head to toe white, Red pleated swing dress, White trench with patterned trousers | Not Dressed As Lamb
NDAL banner

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned a photo shoot I did with the lovely team from Hobbs in my nearby town of Exeter - I can now tell you what it was all in aid of, and I'm so excited to show you the full set of photos! 

Next week Hobbs are opening a new store in Kensington High Street, London, and they're celebrating with a series of events (see below). On Wednesday 8th June there will be an in-store Style Session open for everyone to attend and it will be hosted by... me!

So if you'll be in London on the evening of the 8th and can make it to the new High Street Ken Hobbs store I'd love to see you there:

"JOIN US ON JUNE 8TH FOR AN EVENING OF SHOPPING, SOCIALISING AND FIZZ, WHEN CATHERINE WILL BE ON HAND TO OFFER HER EXPERT STYLING ADVICE; SAY HELLO TO COLOURS AND PRINTS, GOODBYE TO THE PHRASE, "I'D NEVER WEAR THAT"."

Hobbs have written a lovely page that introduces me and my style philosophy (which really boils down to simply "Wear whatever you like") wearing the outfits from the photo shoot that I styled myself. We had such a fun day shooting - all the photos are by the amazing photographer Kate Forster... I'm so pleased with the way they've turned out.

Hello Kensington: The opening of the new Hobbs store in Kensington High Street
Hobbs SS16: Yellow fit n flare dress, pearl choker | Not Dressed As Lamb (photo: Kate Forster)
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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

My Favourite Fun and Fabulous Links - May 2016

Favourite Fun & Fabulous Links May 2016 | Not Dressed As Lamb
This month I'm sharing stories about a dog's life and another about female body hair, a feel-good music video and a teen transformed into Hollywood icons. My Favourite Fun and Fabulous Links are monthly posts of things I've seen, watched and liked on the internet that I'm sure you'll love too... There are too many good things here, you don't want to miss them.

Summer has definitely worked its way into what I've seen this month - enjoy!

WHAT LINKS DID YOU LIKE - AND HAVE YOU FOUND ANY FABULOUS NEW BLOGS TO FOLLOW? COMMENT BELOW, OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!

Favourite Fun & Fabulous Links May 2016 | Not Dressed As Lamb
(Photo credits: Top row, left | Top row, right | Middle row, left | Middle row, right | Bottom row, left | Bottom row, right)

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Michelle proves why she should have won the best storyteller award at the UK Blog Awards with this touching but hilarious story: It's a Dog Life...

Elizabeth grew her body hair for 10 weeks and then wrote about - and photographed - the results. Absolutely fascinating (and not as "let's burn our bras" as you might expect).

Can we take a second to wonder at Sharron's dreamy photography and eye-wateringly beautiful gowns here? A Côte d'Azur location doesn't hurt, either.
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Monday, 23 May 2016

A Peach Double Breasted Blazer and Boyfriend Jeans #iwillwearwhatilike

Relaxed Spring/Summer Style: Peach double breasted jacket, Breton striped top, boyfriend jeans | Not Dressed As Lamb
After a hectic couple of weeks I'm back down to earth and back on schedule with my posts! The #iwillwearwhatilike link up hasn't been affected apart from there being no theme for a second week - next week we'll be focusing on pastels so get your lemons, baby blues and pale pinks at the ready. I'm wearing peach this week, but as a lover of all shades of orange right now that's no great surprise...!

The peach jacket is just the yummiest colour ever, and for a day out involving breakfast then an early morning cinema treat the blazer/boyfriend jeans combo was the comfiest I could go for. Smart, but not over dressed. Casual, but not scruffy. This was basically the Goldilocks of all outfits.

THE BLAZER/BOYFRIEND JEANS COMBO WAS THE COMFIEST I COULD GO FOR. SMART, BUT NOT OVER DRESSED. CASUAL, BUT NOT SCRUFFY. THIS WAS BASICALLY THE GOLDILOCKS OF ALL OUTFITS.

Relaxed Spring/Summer Style: Peach double breasted jacket, Breton striped top, boyfriend jeans | Not Dressed As Lamb
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Friday, 20 May 2016

9 Fashion Bloggers With a Really Unique Sense of Style

9 Fashion Bloggers With a Really Unique Sense of Style


It's time for another post in my series of featured fashion bloggers - today I'm featuring fashion bloggers with a really unique sense of style! 

Bloggers that don't look like "typical" fashion bloggers are, in my eyes, always a refreshing change from the countless generic bloggers you see filling Instagram these days. Don't get me wrong, it's lovely to see minimalist, chic looks in neutral colours with the obligatory loose beachy waves and long, tanned legs, but when you see one after another after another...

When that is all you see (I'm looking at you, rewardStyle and your "Spotlight On" feature), you find yourself craving quirky. Or kooky. Or loud. Or bold. Or colourful. Or anything that's different to leggy, tanned 20-somethings making their way round Coachella in cut-off jeans and fringed everything.

YOU FIND YOURSELF CRAVING QUIRKY. OR KOOKY. OR LOUD. OR BOLD. OR COLOURFUL. OR ANYTHING THAT'S DIFFERENT TO LEGGY, TANNED 20-SOMETHINGS MAKING THEIR WAY ROUND COACHELLA IN CUT-OFF JEANS AND FRINGED EVERYTHING.

So I've picked out bloggers whose style I admire greatly for their ability to step out of that tanned, minimalist, sleek box and just have fun with what they wear - and show off a huge amount of creativity and individuality. They don't look like anyone else. They just look like, and dress for, themselves.

They're true style bloggers rather than fashion bloggers; fashion bloggers are often ten-a-penny and all much of a muchness. So if you're tiring of that generic fashion blogger "look" that's all over Instagram then get yourself comfy, make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy these ladies and their originality.

HAVE YOU FOUND ANY NEW-TO-YOU BLOGGERS THAT YOU'RE NOW OBSESSING OVER? (I HOPE YOU HAVE!) TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!

9 Unique Style Fashion Bloggers \ Not Dressed As Lamb style blog
Image credit above: Kelsey Bang | Top image, L-R: The Brave Life | Lella Victoria | B. Jones Style

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Monday, 16 May 2016

Classic White Tee and Asymmetric Midi Skirt #iwillwearwhatilike

Ladylike Spring/Summer look: Plain white tee, pastel grey assymetric hem midi skirt, grey strappy heels, headscarf | Not Dressed As Lamb

No theme for this week's #iwillwearwhatilike - I'll be hosting the 30-40+ Blogger Meet in London when this post goes live so feel free to add anything and everything you've been wearing, 

old posts or new (no link ups or giveaways though please, the linky is called #iwillwearwhatilike, after all)!

This was a simple but (I thought) elegant outfit worn on one of the warmer days we had recently. I wore the asymmetric midi skirt once before on the blog - in the autumn with boots and a peach jacket - and thought it was about time it was dug out and styled in another way. Luckily this skirt isn't too office-like thanks to the hem line, though it's not a style I'd recommend on a windy day... Cue much holding down of that wrap front!

THIS SKIRT ISN'T TOO OFFICE-LIKE THANKS TO THE HEM LINE, THOUGH IT'S NOT A STYLE I'D RECOMMEND ON A WINDY DAY... CUE MUCH HOLDING DOWN OF THAT WRAP FRONT

I wanted to keep the overall look light and fresh, so instead of a blouse (which would have made it look too formal), I went with a classic white tee, this one being from white t-shirt specialists Yunion T. It's my second t-shirt from this start-up brand and I can guarantee you won't be disappointed if you want a high quality white tee that keeps its shape and isn't thin. (Someone I know on Twitter bought one on my recommendation and she couldn't praise it highly enough either.) They sell four classic styles of white t-shirt and that's it, so of course they're bound to have perfected this wardrobe essential.

Ladylike Spring/Summer look: Plain white tee, pastel grey assymetric hem midi skirt, grey strappy heels, headscarf | Not Dressed As Lamb
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Thursday, 12 May 2016

Primary Brights Colour Blocking | Yellow Sweater, Denim Blue Midi Skirt

Primary brights colour blocking: Yellow sweater, denim midi skirt, orange tote bag, white pointed flats | Not Dressed As Lamb

I didn't quite realise quite how bright this outfit was at the time - I guess you could call this look (extreme) primary brights colour blocking. 

I was purposely wearing two pieces from the Hobbs SS16 collection (the yellow cashmere sweater and the orange tote bag) as I spent a rather fabulous day with a few people from their team shooting some street style photos in my part of the country (Exeter in Devon, SW England).

The photos are for a campaign I'm working on with Hobbs at the moment - if you're in London on the 8th June and would like to meet me at an event I'm hosting (for customers, it's not aimed at bloggers), get yourself on the Hobbs mailing list or check back here on 26th June when I'll have full details in a post for you. It promises to be an exciting event and I'd love to see you there if you can make it!

I wore my sweater and took my tote because I own them already and I wanted them to be part of some of the outfits I chose for the photo shoot... It made sense to just take mine rather than having duplicates sent down from London. (You can see a little sneak preview of one of the outfits on my Instagram, the stunning red Santiago dress.)

IT WAS THE SECOND TIME I'VE DONE A STREET-STYLE PHOTO SHOOT, BUT THIS WAS IN MY LOCAL AREA. I WAS IN FEAR OF SOMEONE I KNEW SEEING ME STRUT ABOUT CROSSING THE ROAD, SWAYING IN A RED DRESS OR POSING AT A CAFÉ
.

It was the second time I've done a street-style photo shoot (the first time was for Fever London), but this was in my local area. I was in fear of someone I knew seeing me strut about crossing the road, swaying in a red dress or posing at a café - all while a photographer was shooting endless shots and two other girls from the team looked on. Luckily no one I knew saw me - or at least I didn't see them [thank god]!

Primary brights colour blocking: Yellow sweater, denim midi skirt, orange tote bag, white pointed flats | Not Dressed As Lamb
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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

How to Fit in Exercise When You Have Zero Time to Spare #notlambFIT Update No.5

How to Fit in Exercise When You Have Zero Time to Spare | Not Dressed As Lamb #notlambFIT
Due to so many deadlines I missed the usual Sunday slot for this latest Getting Back to Fitness post, which is quite apt considering the title! I thought I'd talk about what you can do to ensure that you fit in some exercise when you have zero time to spare - please note these are short-term solutions only for when you have an incredibly busy schedule for a few weeks or are up against the clock in some way with a project or something that's taking priority in your life.

THESE ARE SHORT-TERM SOLUTIONS ONLY FOR WHEN YOU HAVE AN INCREDIBLY BUSY SCHEDULE FOR A FEW WEEKS OR ARE UP AGAINST THE CLOCK IN SOME WAY.

I'm currently ploughing through some of the busiest weeks work-wise I've had all year (and probably ever since going full time with the blog). I'm organising a blogger event that's happening on Monday in London; I have another major project I'm working on that I have to start planning the second Monday's meet is over; I have all my blog posts to write and schedule for while I'm away; I have a mountain of parcels to send back... You get the picture.

We all have these times in our lives when everything comes at once and some things just have to be put to one side. And exercise is often one of them.

However, staying healthy should always be a top priority in your life - always, always. Therefore these tips should help you keep up your fitness levels when you absolutely can't find the time for a proper run or a workout, but remember - these are just for short periods and not meant to replace a regular exercise routine (though they would be better than nothing at all)...!

How to Fit in Exercise When You Have Zero Time to Spare | Not Dressed As Lamb #notlambFIT
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Monday, 9 May 2016

A Purple Prince Tribute With Florals and Denim #iwillwearwhatilike

Casual Spring Summer look: Floral drape jacket, purple tank, boyfriend jeans | Not Dressed As Lamb

Super casual for the start of the week: Florals, denim and a belated purple tribute to the late, great Prince. This week's #iwillwearwhatilike theme is purple - I went simple with my purple tank and a pretty lilac nail colour

We actually got to enjoy some warm - and in some parts of the country, hot - temperatures at the weekend, would you Adam and Eve it...?! As we usually say in the UK that was probably summer, been and gone. We'd waited so long for anything resembling mild this year that I don't think Brits knew what to do with themselves over the weekend!


I did a little window shopping on Friday after a fun day in Exeter with the team from Hobbs (more on that soon) with one of my rare shopping trips in town (I usually buy everything online), and of course window shopping turned into a few impulse buys. My favourite was this gorgeous New Look floral waterfall blazer - the colours are so pretty and the sleeves are slightly ruched so it helps if you like the sleeves-pushed-up look (that then always fall down) like I do.

The rest of the outfit only needed boyfriend jeans and white Stan Smiths - the tan Barella bag added a touch of grown-up just for some contrast.

Next week there's no theme as I'll be hosting the 30-40+ Blogger Meet in London: If you're a UK blogger who'd like to attend a grown-up blogger meet (minus any parenting talk!) then grab one of the last few tickets while you can - it promises to be a great event with a gastro-style sit down lunch, talks and workshops... Hope to see you there!

And of course do add your outfits to this week's link up and you may be featured next week if you've linked up something purple!

WHAT PURPLE TREASURES DO YOU OWN AND LOVE? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!

Casual Spring Summer look: Floral drape jacket, purple tank, boyfriend jeans, white Stan Smiths | Not Dressed As Lamb
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Thursday, 5 May 2016

Dressed Like a Fairy Princess in a Sparkly Crop Top and Maxi Tulle Skirt (The UK Blog Awards)

Fairy princess Cinderella style: Blush pink crystal covered crop top, floor length tulle skirt, pink pointed heels | Evening wear, gown, dress | Not Dressed As Lamb

Have I ever been more excited about an outfit I have ready waiting to wear to an event? Probably not. Last Friday I channelled my inner fairy princess 

in a sparkly crop top and maxi tulle skirt for the UK Blog Awards - I was nominated for Best Fashion/Beauty Blog which was down to your endless daily votes around Christmas time.

And I can't thank you all enough for voting for me which was what helped me get shortlisted: Alas I didn't win - for the second year in a row. But you know what? Getting in the top 10 from all the fashion blogs in the UK is pretty phenomenal, and we had such an amazing night that not winning didn't really matter all that much.

What did matter is that I received an endless stream of good luck wishes on my social media coverage of the event (I'm so sorry I haven't yet thanked everyone, I'm so behind!) which means that I have an incredible support system of both loyal readers and fellow bloggers, and that means the world to me.

So THANK YOU for voting for me you lovely lot, I'm sorry I didn't bring home the trophy but it's all good...!!

The fairy princess outfit

As I wore a vintage 70s gown last year that drew a ton of admiration, I knew I had to up the ante this year - and to be honest I was really feeling the pressure. I saw this blush maxi tulle skirt temporarily reduced on ASOS before Christmas, and in moment of madness I bought it even though I hadn't actually been shortlisted at that stage... I took a chance that thankfully paid off in the end! I loved the skirt so much - and was rather enjoying prancing about the house like a fairy princess in it - that I set out to get a top to go with it once [my sensible head had kicked in and] I knew I'd been shortlisted and was definitely going to the awards ceremony.

I ordered top after top after top... Nothing seemed quite right and was beginning to despair when this long-sleeved, crystal crop top in one remaining size popped up on ASOS: I think it must have completely sold out over Christmas and then this single one was returned and back in stock. And would you believe it - it was my size.

Oh, the joy! You know sometimes you just know something's going to be perfect? I just knew it was the perfect top for my skirt. I knew it.

I THINK THE COMBINATION OF WATCHING TOO MANY EPISODES OF SAY YES TO THE DRESS COMBINED WITH GETTING MARRIED IN TROUSERS MEANT I WAS TOTALLY UP FOR LOOKING LIKE (TO QUOTE KIT DE LUCA IN PRETTY WOMAN) CINDERF*CKINRELLA. 

So when it arrived and I tried it on with the skirt I actually felt my heart flutter a little: I stood in the mirror and felt like a flippin' fairy princess in my sparkles and tulle. I think the combination of watching too many episodes of Say Yes to the Dress combined with getting married in trousers (not that I regret that) meant I was totally up for looking like (to quote Kit De Luca in Pretty Woman) Cinderf*ckinrella.

Fairy princess Cinderella style: Blush pink crystal covered crop top, floor length tulle skirt, pink pointed heels | Evening wear, gown, dress | Not Dressed As LambFairy princess Cinderella style: Blush pink crystal covered crop top, floor length tulle skirt, pink pointed heels | Evening wear, gown, dress | Not Dressed As Lamb

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Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Bloggers: Why You Must Disclose Sponsorship, and Readers: Why Not All Sponsored Posts Are Bad

Bloggers: Why You Must Disclose Sponsorship, and Readers: Why Not All Sponsored Posts Are Bad

Lately there's been a lot of talk in the blogosphere about bloggers that don't disclose when they've been gifted items or paid for sponsored posts and the effect it has for themselves - and for their readers. 

If you're a blogger accepting freebies or payment (cash or vouchers) and not making it clear in your blog and social media posts that you've accepted payment, then you could fall seriously foul of Google's most recent crackdown on non-disclosure. Not only that but it's not fair to your readers if you're not being open and honest with them.

I'm also addressing why bloggers often don't disclose (it's often for fear of putting their readers off) and why sponsored posts are NOT all bad (and this is for both bloggers and readers) if they are written - and disclosed - properly. But first - bloggers:

Bloggers: Why You Must Disclose Sponsorship, and Readers: Why Not All Sponsored Posts Are Bad | Not Dressed As Lamb

1. As a blogger, are you up to date with Google's best practices on reviewing free products?

Google Webmasters blog, March 2016:
"As a form of online marketing, some companies today will send bloggers free products to review or give away in return for a mention in a blogpost. Whether you’re the company supplying the product or the blogger writing the post, below are a few best practices to ensure that this content is both useful to users and compliant with Google Webmaster Guidelines
1. Use the nofollow tag where appropriate. Links that pass PageRank in exchange for goods or services are against Google guidelines on link schemes.
2. Disclose the relationship. Users want to know when they’re viewing sponsored content. Also, there are laws in some countries that make disclosure of sponsorship mandatory.
3. Create compelling, unique content. The most successful blogs offer their visitors a compelling reason to come back."
Read in full: Best practices for bloggers reviewing free products they receive from companies

If the points above are news to you, read it in full right now. Then make sure you read it and re read it again - it is VITAL that you are complying with this. By failing to disclose clearly when goods have been gifted or you have received any kind of payment for your posts or links included, you are risking annoying Google and the visibility of your site.


What are no-follow links and do I have to use them?


If you are a blogger you have to be aware of no-follow links and know how to use them. Last year ago I answered the "what are no follow links" question and explained how and when to use them here:

6 Important Things to Include on Your Blog
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Monday, 2 May 2016

How to Style the Archive by Alexa Ruffled Blouse #iwillwearwhatilike

SS16 Style: M&S Archive by Alexa ruffled Harry blouse, distressed boyfriend jeans, black biker jacket, orange tote | Not Dressed As Lamb

I finally made a decision over the M&S Archive by Alexa ruffled Harry Blouse - it was a keeper after all...! I'd been wrangling over whether to keep it after talking about my concerns over wearing something so hyped, but you know what? 

Sometimes you have to remember that what you see constantly online isn't necessarily what happens IRL (in real life), and just because I kept seeing it all over Instagram and Twitter doesn't mean I'm going to see it on every person walking down the street.

IT WAS ONE READER'S GREAT SUGGESTION TO WEAR IT WITH DISTRESSED DENIM TO COUNTERACT THE FEMININE RUFFLES, AND I WENT ONE STEP FURTHER AND ADDED MY BLACK BIKER JACKET AS WELL.

So thanks to many of you who told me to keep it (thank you!), I did - and wore it in London over the weekend. It was one reader's great suggestion to wear it with distressed denim to counteract the feminine ruffles, and I went one step further and added my black biker jacket as well.

The verdict: I like it. No, I really like it. Ruffles are quite different to anything I normally wear (I think this is a first), and although it's not the sort of top you can style that many different ways I think it's such a great statement piece. Plus there's that nostalgia thing I mentioned, so a reminder of my first ever fashionable piece of clothing is no bad thing.

The Harry blouse is unsurprisingly almost completely sold out (I think some people must have returned theirs so a couple of sizes are in stock), but if you scroll down you'll see some other pieces I've found if you do want to jump on board the ruffles train.

So of course this week's #iwillwearwhatilike theme is ruffles - so do add your outfits to this week's link up. You may be featured next week if you've linked up something ruffly!

ARE YOU ON BOARD WITH THE RUFFLES TREND? TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS OR TWEET ME @NOTLAMB!

SS16 Style: M&S Archive by Alexa ruffled Harry blouse, distressed boyfriend jeans, black biker jacket, orange tote, pointed two-tone flats | Not Dressed As Lamb
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Sunday, 1 May 2016

UK Bloggers: The 30-40+ Blogger Meet 16 May 2016 - Are You Coming?

Bloggers: You're invited to join us for the first UK 30-40+ Blogger Meet in Chelsea, London!

This will be an afternoon of blogger networking, guest talks, mastermind workshops, a fashion brand pop-up, bubbly and lunch (not forgetting goody bags).

This event - aimed at bloggers aged 30-40 and over - will be a fantastic chance for both old hands and newbies to network and enjoy some great food and drink, be inspired and come away bursting with new ideas for their blogs and businesses.


Blogger events are one of the best ways to get to know (and be inspired and encouraged by) like-minded people who don't mind waiting for you to Instagram your food before you eat or tweet while you talk.

Tickets will be on sale tomorrow for this first-of-its-kind event which we hope will be the first of many!


EVENT DETAILS

DATE: MONDAY 16TH MAY 2016
TIME: 11:30 till 17:45
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