|On the sofa with the travel panel |
(Photo courtesy of Boo, Roo and Tigger Too)
The shrieking, over-tanned, under-dressed and highly entertaining group of Geordie girls had taken over Carriage E with an iPod playing Abba songs, Cactus Jacks Schnapps, packets of Haribos and tubes of Pringles. As they sang along to 'Take a Chance on Me', supping Pinot Grigio from purple plastic goblets through willy-shaped straws, little did I know I'd be sipping though the similar-shaped straws with a gaggle of mummy bloggers later that evening.
As the train pulled into Kings Cross they diligently placed their rubbish in bin liners and apologised to everyone for making such a racket. I heard one girl shout out to the group, "Have yuzz gor any dregs?" and I knew their weekend had got off to a cracking start. It was only just after midday.
Mine was only just beginning.
To mention everything about the blogging conference in one post is impossible so here are a few highlights:
- Attending a variety of sessions over two days and being proud that members of the blogging community are just as inspirational and informative as invited experts.
- Cheering everyone on, Margarita in hand, as the winners were announced in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards. I didn't win my category but was delighted for Kirstie from The Family Adventure Project, who thoroughly deserved the crown.
- Having pizza with over 50 bloggers and being astounded that Pizza Express can cook 44 pizzas and serve them near enough at the same time.
- Returning to my blissfully quiet room at The Montcalm Hotel for a long soak in the bath and a few hours kip in a very comfy bed.
- Chocolate croissants and waffles back at the conference centre the next morning.
- Listening to the inspirational talk by Katie Piper, telling us how she survived a terrible acid attack and is now a driving force for her charity which makes life easier for people living with burns and scars.
- Thoroughly enjoying being part of a travel panel with Kirstie Pelling, Steve Keenan (Travel Perspective) and Kelly Lees (Gogobot).
- Meeting so many online friends: Emma (A Bavarian Sojourn), Melissa (Talk about York), Asturian Diary, Tattie Weasle and many, many more. However I'm very sad that I couldn't stay after lunch to see more sessions and listen to the Bloggers' Keynote.
- I know you shouldn't judge a conference by its goody bag but this loot was exceptional. Something for all the family including a £10 TKMaxx card, Bahlsen and Fox's biscuits, speck iPhone cover, children's books I can give to my nephew and numerous vouchers, pens and sweets.
- Visiting the Coca Cola stand and getting personalised bottles for my son and his girlfriend.
- Coming home and seeing the look of astonishment as I handed them their bottles with a loud 'TA-DA"
A fantastic achievement by organisers Jennifer Howze and Susanna Scott to create such an extraordinary event. A big THANK YOU for inviting me to speak. Of course, you only get out of something what you put in. I was game as a badger...so I came away very satisfied. Count me in for 2014.