AD | Gifted Event
Being organised in a modern world can be tough & I happily hold my hands up as being less than orderly in my unstructured life. I also stand proud as a fully certified stationery geek with an eternal love for fancy notebooks, journals & diaries. Contradiction much!
So when I was invited to the first ever PlannerFest in my hometown of Manchester last month I jumped at the chance.
Northern Foundations Stand Strong
Taking place at Upper Campfield Market Hall – a place I never knew existed but one that was perfect for the cause – was the day long shopping, sharing, workshopping extravaganza that united nationwide planner lovers from sticker selling stalls to creative crafters.
Although similar events have taken place in London & Europe with hundreds in attendance, this is the first of its kind up north & this was important for born-in-Yorkshire-and-based-in-Manchester events organiser, Bex. And, wow, what an event it was that she organised.
Every box was ticked & every eventuality catered for – imagine the irony of a disorganised celebration of planning! Goodie bags & lanyards to write our names on were provided upon arrival, hot & cold vegan-friendly food & drink stands were set out & clear areas were sectioned for learning, eating, chilling &, of course, buying.
There were two main elements to the day, which were to shop in the sales arena of 23 stalls of independant stationers including Strawberry Lime Designs, Josephine Bow Designs & Lewis + Louisa (all of who I bought from – happy customer right here!) & to take part in listen or learn workshops, such as an inspiring presentation about self love & happiness by Mo Seetubtim from The Happiness Planner & a surprisingly tough but enjoyable brush letting workshop with Mellor & Rose.
Naturally I spent far more than I’d budgeted for (just don’t tell my Crater – he just thinks the goodie bag was really generous!) but one of the main draws for me in the lead up to the event was that brush lettering workshop as I’d been keen to learn it for a while but Pinterest tutorials just weren’t cutting it for me.
Modern Calligraphy Is Tough!
To cut a long story short, it’s gonna take far more than a 1-hour workshop with 50 other people & a few online guides for me to master this art but it was a great experience & a real talking point of PlannerFest. It not only taught a whole bunch of us a new skill relevant to our hobby but it brought together a lot of people who, like myself, attended the event alone.
Anxiety Disorders Welcome
A lot of attendees were solo planners but, even as a sufferer of anxiety, this was no cause for concern because this was another of the finer details that organiser Bex thought about by setting a “buddy” system & set allocated stall holder stands for anyone who felt overwhelmed throughout the day. Planning & journalling in itself is a very theraputic (if not expensive!) hobby to have in itself but to have had mental wellbeing thought about in such a considerate way was a lovely touch.
So much thought was put into so many aspects that the average event organiser would likely overlook. Whether this is the norm for planner related events (because of the attention us stationery geeks pay to the finest detail!) or whether this was just because Bex is a superstar, I can’t really say, but what I can say is that I was very impressed by every part of PlannerFest.
Even leaving my feedback on the message free was made into an enjoyable activity (…so much so that I hung three tags on it, all in different colour themes. Sorry not sorry!).
Variety Is The Spice Of Life
Aside from the genius personal touches & the smooth way in which the event ran, the whole variety of content of the day – from the collections of stationery for sale to the assortment of food & drink available – was so diverse that is was suited to all personalities & types.
As a woman of eclectic taste in every sense of the word, this really pleased me as it meant I was able to do the things I knew I liked/enjoyed while giving me the option upfront to either learn something new or simply bypass the parts I had less interest in.
Fortunately for me, I’m always keen to try new things so I made the most of everything available; there were the previously discussed Happiness Planner & brush lettering activities as well as two “campfire sessions” for us all to interact & chat about various parts of planning, journalling & crafting, a session on digital scrapbooking with the Silhouette Studio package & an inspirational heart-to-heart of a presentation from Loti Maria of Mama Makes, all about achieving our dreams that may or may not have made me ridiculously emotional beyond motivation!
What Even Is A Planner Stack?
It was a well-structured yet free-flowing day that was finished with a good old fashioned planner stack. No, I didn’t know what one of these was prior to PlannerFest either &, if I’m honest, I don’t “get” it but apparently it’s traditional for journalling enthusiasts. And it is exactly what the name suggests: a stack of planners! But it was a lovely bit of interaction to end the day with & a very popular photo op for all – 10 points if you can spot my cheeky Grace, Gratitude, Grit journal from Leanne Brown.
All in all, I had myself a lovely little day out with lots of take home value of both physical goodies & mental motivation & I’m already looking forward to next year’s PlannerFest!
When I think about what could, would or should have been done differently I pondered whether it would be nicer in a more luxurious venue or if I would’ve enjoyed it more had I taken friends with me. But anyone who knows me will know that I’m all about the gratitude attitude & making the most of what we already have &, as such, I don’t think either of these improvements are really needed (although, of course, they would both be nice!) – it was a great event for solo attendees as it was & the market hall it was held in was really spruced up for the day, complete with colour co-ordinated orange & blue branding & decoration at every turn.
If it’s not broken, there’s no need to fix it. And that’s my take on life in general.
Dani | Mrs Dani Crater x