ITWBN Second Birthday Bash

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And I was seated at the Chris O’Dowd table 🙂

The very first Blogger Event that I ever attended was the Into the West Blogger Network (ITWBN) first Birthday party (you can read about it here) so I was excited to be also attending their second birthday bash which took place last month. For those who may be unaware the ITWBN is a community set up by Sinead and Saibh (who are also bloggers!) to help create a community for bloggers to come togeather network but also help each other. I would highly recommend that you check out their blogs; Yummy Mummy and Wild Cosmia. I love the idea of supporting others and if you search on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram for #ITWBNShoutOuts then you will see everyone supporting each other!

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The event was held at the beautiful Connacht Hotel and we were spoiled from the moment we arrived and walked up the red carpet. In typical ITWBN fashion our seats were pre-set and that really takes you out of your comfort zone and helps to get you chatting to more people. The first event that I attended I found this quite stressful but now don’t mind at all as I have gotten to know some of the other ITWBN bloggers. This time the tables were named after Irish celebrities – such a nice touch and I was excited to see who as at my table.

There were delicious Juicy Lucy old pressed juices on the way in and since I am trying to be healthier I loved these and the green one actually tasted quite delicious, make sure to follow them on Twitter,Instagram and Facebook as their juices are seriously good.

Working with PR agencies - Olivia Collins from Food PR Floralesque

The first event speaker was from the super talented Olivia Collins from the Food PR Agency. Her talk was one of the most interesting to me personally as dealing with PR firms is always an intriguing subject for me. She went into detail on why PR companies like working with bloggers and why we should like to work with PR agencies.

It was interesting to listen to what they want from a blogger and how best to approach them. I was also delighted that she mentioned this Blog Media Kit post and recommended that everyone take a read to see what you should include! I have written a separate post on the interesting tips that I picked up that may be useful if you were not at the event that I will share with you next week.

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Next up was the inspirational Nikki Bradley who launched ‘Fighting Fit For Ewing’s‘ and her story nearly brought me to tears – she has had it tough health wise over the years and yet she quite literally shone with life in front of us. She is so motivating and after hearing her talk really made me want to grasp life with both hands and really enjoy and live it.

Nikki’s battle to date has been a courageous one and here are the details in her own words;

‘”Ewing’s Sarcoma is a rare form of bone cancer that I battled in 2003. I have been cancer free for twelve years thankfully, although the treatment I went through has left me unable to walk. I use crutches permanently and experience pain on a daily basis. My hip is getting progressively worse and there is nothing my doctors can do for me anymore. Depressing right?? Well I chose not to think like that because quite simply, what is the point?” {via}

She made the conscious decision to roll with the punches and that she was just going to deal with it –  looking at it as mini-punches and when she took this mindset she seen that everything started to change. When she accepted it things began to fall into place. Nikki began to go with things and started to say yes. I love the idea of this and it is something that I try to embrace – sometimes when you just roll with it things do not seem so overwhelming and more manageable.

Nikki has also embraced fitness and it has changed her life. The impact that the exercise has had on her bad parts has helped her embrace her good parts. She found that she didn’t need the same number of tablets when she was exercising daily. It made her realise how important exercise is on the path to recovery. She has also done so many things that some people thought she would not be able to do – like absailing off a lighthouse, climbing Mount Errigal, Kayaking, rally driving and stand up paddle boarding but to name a few. This girl is hands down one of the most inspirational women that I have had the honor of meeting and I love her message that we are the people to either hold ourselves back or else push ourselves forward.

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ITWBN 2nd Birthday Bash Speakers Floralesque 7

Next up was a delicious lunch – we were treated to delicious sandwiches, hot nibbles and then every blogger’s dream – the plate of sweet treats. There was also delicious refreshing Solaris Tea.The girls planned it well and we had over an hour to chat and network – sometimes this time is nearly more important than listening to the speakers and I love talking and learning from the other girls.

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Many of us who live in Galway know who Gill Carroll is – the business mastermind behind 37 West and 56 Central and she really believes that you need to own your life. Gill is very motivational when it comes to pushing you forward to be a better business woman and version of yourself. She works with Project Impact which I have spoken about before here and works tirelessly with Foroige. There will be another post linked to this one on the importance of having a vision board coming up soon.

Gill had many tips for both business and life – here are some of her top tips;

  • Know what your core values are – this may take time to figure out but it will really you excel in your area if you know yourself.
  • Have your goals in line with your highest value in life – this will help you be the most authentic version of yourself. And push your staff as well to be the best versions of themselves.
  • Be unique and don’t compete with others – it is easier to be friends than to try and outdo others.
  • Fake it until you make it! But keep your authenticity and you need to get out of bed for it.
  • You have to push and keep challenging yourself – always push yourself to be uncomfortable and you will be strong.
  • Shine and Share – things happen when you are open to things.
  • Give back to the world – it is not all about you and the impact is important no matter how small or large it will make a difference. Know “what your message is to the world”.

ITWBN 2nd Birth

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ITWBN 2nd Birthday Bash Speakers Floralesque 12

The last speaking session of the day was a #ITWBNSofaSession hosted by the fabulous Kerry from Fabulicious Fifty. She was hosting a panel of blogging speaker that included Kieran O’Malley (Fear Nua Blog), Doug Leddin, Dolores Andrew-Gavin (Irish Health Hour), Ciara Daly (Getting Fed Up) and Sarah-Jane Donoghue (Siren and Soul The Edit). And I have to add honorary Sofa Sessions girl Lisa Ralph MUA who shared her tips as well. It was really interesting hearing their thoughts on all of the Social Media Platforms and how they use them.

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Suzie Mahoney Designs

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Siren & Soul Products

After the speakers I took the time to talk to some of the vendors that were showing that included McCambridges,  The Cool Bean Company, Bellissimo, LookWest.ie, ClothesPartyU2 and two of my favourites were the award winning milliner Suzie Mahoney and also Siren & Soul. The Suzie Mahoney headpieces are just beautiful and the Siren & Soul pieces on display were edgy and very wearable. You can view Suzie’s headpieces on her website as well as her Facebook page. Siren & Soul have a fantastic online store and are on Facebook also.

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The ITWBN ladies also gifted us with the most amazing Swag bags. They were brimming with amazing products and generous vouchers. And I have to also say that I was gifted with the most beautiful Front Row Society scarf as well  – my photos are not doing it justice so here is the link for it 🙂  There was so much and I will hopefully don’t miss anyone but the bag included; Boots No7 products, shower gel from Thalgo Ireland, some beautiful beauty products from Paese Cosmetic, the amazing contour brush from Blank Canvas Brushes, a stunning stag ring from Flea Style Market, some products from Ultrapure Laboratories that I am so excited to try, vouchers from The Body Shop, Essential Oils from Irish Health Hour, a beautiful blusher and palette from Wet N Wild, mustard from the Lodge Barna, some delicious granola made by Wicked Granola and so much more!! 🙂

If you are thinking of starting a blog or already blogging and if you haven’t checked out the ITWBN blogging network then I highly recommend that you do as the network is super supportive and I have made some great friends through it.

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I am quite the sucker for some pretty florals

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