What a weekend!!!
Last weekend I hit London with my new husband for a weekend of fun, inspiration and adventure – we had a blast!
I had been a very lucky lady and received two tickets to the Vuelio Blog Awards for the 30th November. I was ecstatic, especially given I have been unable to make the event last year due to a dickhead dancing session the week before which landed me on crutches. This year, not only was I crutch free, but I also managed to wear heeled boots – yay me!
We set off to the capital with a groovy tunes playlist to last the four hour drive and a massive box of Krispy Kreme donuts. I had no worries about getting the usual swelly belly from food intolerances because I had spent the past few weeks shopping furiously for dresses that could accommodate bingo wings and a football in the frock look, but downplay it enough to avoid getting asked if I was pregnant all night. I tried on outfits ranging from £320 gowns from ASOS down to £59 sequinned boob dresses in Quiz before deciding upon a black, sheer sleeved, sparkly (and stretchy) number from Julian MacDonald’s Star range (link here to it, now in the sale at Debenhams ). A new pair of black sequin boots and I felt photo ready, confident and happy.
The event was fabulous! We arrived at Bloomsbury’s Big Top in the heart of London. A queue of bloggers, PR people and industry professionals mingled around taking selfies, posing for the official cameras, sipping free fizz and generally ‘working the room’. As hubby and I exited the photobooth, my all-time favourite blogger Victoria Magrath of InTheFrow walked in with her photographer fiancé Alex. I went into total Fan-Girl mode.
It was an interesting experience for me, as I am the furthest from a girly hand flappy squealer type chick ever, so for me to practically throw myself on the poor woman with a “Hello Victoria, my name is Lyndsey, really happy to meet you, I bought your book, I brought it to London hoping you would sign it, but didn’t bring it tonight duh (face-palm) could I have a photo with you and Alex, I LOVE your dress…” Got to be honest, I feel rather weird about myself reflecting on this; I couldn’t have been more of a creepy smiling dork if Britney Spears had just broke into my bedroom and flashed me! Victoria and Alex were absolutely lovely and didn’t seem remotely phased by us two old buggers chatting away as if we had known them forever. Guess that’s the thing about a public profile – strangers feel like they already know you!!
Hubs and I were on a table with the mummy bloggers. They were a great bunch of friendly ladies and their fellas. I enjoyed meeting them! It was nice to talk to other bloggers and vloggers about their experiences, as I don’t ever get to talk about this stuff with anyone else; I don’t have any blogger friends local to me except for my lovely Yoda, an author, who is always really busy. As a mum with teenagers though, I quickly discovered that my content is very different from these ladies with their cute little mini-me cherubs, all smiles, songs, hugs and playtime whilst I have to quite literally chase my own kids for hugs and attention before having my own naff’ness and inadequacy as a human explained to me in graphic detail by these former sweethearts who then expect to get fed.
The meals were fantastic, the free wine on the tables delicious and the entertainment was very entertaining. Victoria won two awards that night for best fashion and beauty blog and best UK blog. I discovered several new bloggers that I have started to follow and chat with. As we were leaving, hubs and I were presented with a goodie bag each and I was thrilled with the contents, though admittedly some of the items weren’t my cup of tea, such as cactus water, healthy snack thingies and an advent calendar of chillis, but skinny lager, kettle chips, St Tropez tanning water, hemp protein powders, Denman hairbrush, selfie accessories and so much more, were all bloomin fab!
A massive “Thank you” to Vuelio for sending me tickets, it was a highlight for me!
Next day was the Blogosphere festival, held at the Landmark Hotel in Marleybone; it was a lovely posh place! On arrival, I managed to be the first one to the All Things Hair stand and was quickly ushered over to a stylist for a glamorous hairdo. My stylist was lovely and she did a great job, but with a roving camera filming my every facial expression, I just sat and grinned like an idiot, whilst quietly trying to apologise to her that half a can of last night’s hairspray was layered beneath another half can of dry shampoo; she politely dismissed my apologies as she raked a brush through the mattes. My new curls were very glam and took a bit of getting used to, and I sashayed (just in case the camera was still lurking) off afterwards with a couple of goodies to add to my bag.
I then popped across to have a chat with Rachel from Yolt, which is an app aimed at helping people get smarter with their money, by syncing together all your accounts, so you can see where exactly your money goes, how much comes in and where you can maybe save some money. It sounded great and so I downloaded the app and waited till I got home to use secure internet before adding my banking deets. As part of my day to day job involves helping people to use the internet, I was really keen to find out how beneficial this app could be. I have now started using the app and plan to write up my thoughts on a separate blog post once I’ve given it a good run. Rachel then handed me a few bits for my goodie bag and off I plodded to the next stand.
AudioBoom’s stand was pretty busy each time I approached. This was one I was really keen to investigate, as they are for podcasters. I am currently putting together ideas for creating my own podcast and am excited to get started on it. I suck big time at being in front of the camera, but have done some voiceover work in the past and loved it, so I think podcasting will be right up my street! A rep from Audioboom would later be part of a panel of experts and so I took a few leaflets and looked forward to the presentation.
At the drinks table were a selection of teas, coffees and fruity looking beverages. I stood there billy no mates for a few minutes supping tea with soya and watching the bloggers, probably all half my age, getting excited posing for selfies and posting videos onto their Instagram accounts. I felt old! The stand that I had felt most excited about was Vionic Shoes, which have been created for people like me with dodgy joints but still want to look stylish. I had my purse out within seconds and was gutted to discover they weren’t for sale on the day! I looked over at the make up stands, the shoe stands and all the lovely glam girls enjoying themselves and wondered what age I was when I stopped needing to change my underwear over a shade of lipstick or blusher. Could I muster “OMG”s and “Oh how lush” gushing into a camera without feeling like a pratt, since I have only ever in my life expressed that level of ‘excitement’ for my kid’s bog roll Santas and school-made glitter cookies?
I grabbed a fruity drink which turned out to be pineapple juice with ginger beer – bloody lovely. In fact, I did mutter an OMG to myself after a sip and so ended up having six of them throughout the day. I plonked myself down before the stage and made myself comfy ready to learn and be inspired by the panel of experts for the rest of the day – and they did not disappoint.
I took a lot of info in that day from the panellists which included Lydia Millen, BookishBronte, Ling KT, MariajBlogs, SammijefCoate, LailaLoves, Em Sheldon, Beth Sandland, World of Duty Free, The Food Medic and more. I learned about engagement, working with brands, monetising, time management and integrity but the two key moments for me were the discussions on being true to yourself and presenting yourself as who you are, not who you think you are supposed to be and that patience and consistency are the key to success.
On the commute back, I thought about a lot about those things. I also thought about them whilst hubby and I watched the phenomenal cast of Wicked put on an amazing show. I carried on thinking about it as we sat freezing cold on an open top bus ride round the sights of London and I was still thinking about it whilst munching on the last of the Krispy Kreme donuts for the four hour drive back to my sedate, comparatively dull hometown in Wales.
Be true to who you are and your blog should be representative of who you are and what you want to say.
My blog and my social media feeds are a mishmash of all sorts. My blog is about health, parenting, love, career, finance, friendships, hardships, fun, loss, adventure, loneliness and boredom – my blog doesn’t have a feckin clue what direction it is going in, what it wants to say, who to speak to, whether to laugh, cry or sulk. My blog is completely clueless about its identity… which I realise, after much post-London musing and donut munching, is actually the truest reflection of me possible!
My children no longer rely on me for anything and no longer seek my attention, need my hugs or my approval. My world was being a mummy and now my identity as a Mum is vastly diluted. I don’t know what to do with my mum-brain which as yet, I have not been able to switch into power-saving mode. I have empty nest syndrome and it hurts!
Added to this, my career identity was someone who dressed up nice and glam everyday, went to an office where other humans interacted with me and I worked my socks off in a charity job that gave me lots of warm and fuzzies. Now, I work from home, where I am alone most of the day and have no reason to do anything more beautifying than shower and dab on zit cream. Sometimes I go out to meet clients but it is 90% of the time, a warm and fuzzie-free zone. I have a great job and I feel very lucky to be in it – but I’ve yet to find my identity here either.
Most of my chronic ill-health has been stress related and with my stress-free job and relatively stress-less mum duties, I am finding that I am healthier now than I have been in years. I am now happily married, have more quality time with my family and have lots of good friends, new and old, and the added bonus of my financial world being prettier than it has ever been! At this moment in time, everything is good, great in fact… unrecognisably so.
I have been fighting and striving for so many years to make my world become what it is today. I still have dreams and aspirations of course, as we all should, but when your world has been consumed with the fight and then one day you realise the boxing gloves can come off – what do you replace your determination, passion and drive with?
Patience and consistency is the key to success
I suck at both those things! I approach life as Rocky Balboa, not Buddah. I am not the person who can be slow and steady to win a race – I am a bat out of hell off the starting line, get a stich, think “Feck it” and then dodge left into another race, person. My approach to my social media and blogging also reflects this with its small bursts then silence, small bursts…silence.
So, after all the excitement of an inspirational and motivating weekend with supposedly likeminded people, I am left wondering, is blogging for me? I love being a writer – but that is only a small part of being a blogger. Should I quit until I know what it is I want to say or use this blog as therapy on a journey where no destination has been decided yet? Hold on a sec….an epiphany is trying to form…maybe, what if…ummmm… I almost had a positive, optimistic thought, somewhere along the lines of ‘my mishmash blog has something for everyone at some point then’…shit. its gone. maybe this is going to take another box of Krispy Kremes to work out *shrug*
If you would like to find out more about any of the Bloggers and organisations mentioned in this post, please visit the links highlighted. No part of this blog post has been sponsored nor carry affiliate links – I am just happy to share their info and enjoy their content.