Sunday, 30 June 2013

Why blogging conferences really are special

Date: June 1st 2013
I had been looking forward to June 1st for months!
There are days when you really have no idea what you're stepping into. You wake up knowing it is going to be a special day because, at the very least, it is going to be a change from your routine of toddlerhood, motherhood, wifehood and workhood. Yes, I just made some of those words up but hey that's how we roll in my 'hood. Welcome to the crazy Tapas household. So, you want to know why blogging conferences really are special? Come this way...

On June 1st 2013 I caught a train down to London, I got up really early (I know that because LittleT was still asleep), was driven by my husband to where he usually drives himself or I drive him for his commute: the train station. Slightly nervous and very excited to be spending the day surrounded by a wonderful bunch of female bloggers, I had arranged to meet my fellow polka dotty lover Kelly from Miss Dotty Loves on the train. She is absolutely lovely and was wearing splashes of red (a total kindred spirit). Make sure you check out her blog!

This was my second Cybher but it was her first so, armed with my previous knowledge of the venue (i.e. where to go when we arrived and where the toilets were), we joined the queue of eager bloggers waiting for their leather satchel from the Leather Satchel Co. (also known as the Cybher badge of honour). 

When you're in a queue, usually (not always) someone comes behind you and joins it after you (in areas of Spain they even ask "¿quiĆ©n da la vez?" to find out who is last in the queue but there is no need for that sort of thing in England, in England queues are formed in a very orderly fashion). On the 1st of June that person was a lovely tall girl with a dark bob and cute glasses. Kelly and I, of course, got chatting to her. Well, we were there to mingle and meet like-minded female souls after all.

Cybher 2013 attendeesAs this girl, mother of two girls, dweller of Liverpool, started telling us about herself, how early she had had to get up that morning, what exact time she caught her train, where she was staying... I clocked on to the fact that I knew this girl, I had been chatting to her about Cybher on Instagram in the run-up to the conference, I got all excited and asked her if she was "X" (there really is an X in her Instagram handle would you believe!), she indeed was and then she realised who I was: THE @feistytapas, of course!

As we talked some more we found lots of things in common, including the fact that she studied for a few months in the university of my home town: Vigo, a town that not many English people have ever heard of.

Fabulous Leather Satchel Co. at Cybher 2013The queue moved along, we chose our satchels from the Leather Satchel Co. and we were a rather well accessorised
trio: Kelly, X and me. Along the way we met other people whose names I can't actually remember right now (yes, I know!). It is brilliant to have a friendly face amongst a sea of 300 when you're starting to feel a bit lost. Even if we chose different talks, we still kept on finding each other.

At one point I discovered e.on and the lovely +Emily Leary from A Mummy Too were giving away an iPad Mini, I promptly grabbed a slip to fill in for the competition and ran upstairs to another talk and made sure I told X about it (of course!). Imagine my surprise when the winner was announced to a room filled with 300 people... Actually first picture me sitting at a table towards the front of a huge ballroom, on the right, with pretty much every attendee to my left. Now see me looking to my left when the winner's name is mentioned and my confusion when I don't see anyone leaping with excitement, only to look to my right as I realised the name was Victoria, Victoria X. Oh my word, there she was sitting next to me, to my right, white as a sheet: Victoria X had won the iPad Mini and was telling me it was because of me (me, the one who never returned her competition slip!). It was such a fantastic moment.

Since we were staying at the same hotel we went to take our bags before the evening cocktail party started, with big smiles because of Victoria's luck and making sure I finally got to meet face to face the lovely +Peggy Poyser who is even more fabulous in real life than I imagined.

With Peggy Poyser from Perfectly Happy Mum
We still couldn't quite believe Victoria's luck when the girl went and got an upgrade to her room, from a single to a double. We then realised there might be a slight chance of getting a lottery ticket for that same evening before the cut-off time if we ran, so run we did down the Strand in one of London's livelies areas and we made it with one or two minutes to spare. Victorious Victoria bought two lottery tickets and gave me one. Neither won but by then it didn't really matter anymore; just in case, I had told Victoria that all I wanted was a new car.

We had breakfast together the next day and said good bye, now friends, my usual bad luck appeared when I lost the pearl on my lovely lovely ring probably in Trafalgar Square and then it was time to head home.

A few days later we were still on a high after a fab weekend and remembering her good luck on Twitter when Victoria sent me an email entitled "Not a new car but..." 

There were more words further down the email, but everything got a bit blurry after that. We have had such a run of bad luck lately but it took one single email to restore my faith in humanity. At every step there has been something hindering us, usually of a financial nature, broken boiler anyone? And, if you follow me on social media, you will know of our many other mishaps.

Among the potential 300 girls who could have joined the queue right after us, the girl in question was Victoria Sutton, the blogger behind Darlings and daydreams (mrsdarlingx in Instagram and Twitter, see? I told you there was an X in there). One of the loveliest girls I have met in ages and the kind of blogger who keeps me writing. I love blogging, I love the support and friendship I find in the blogging community and this may go a little way to explain to my non-blogging readers why blogging is so much more than typing words into a computer, hitting publish and sending them off into the big bad online world.

Blogging is friendship and I can't wait to see Victoria and all her darlings this summer at Center Parcs. We will be going to Whinfell Forest and, have no doubt, you will be hearing all about it. Now, I have never ever been to a Center Parcs and my Spanishness is struggling to get my head around the concept of booking activities weeks before going but I can't wait to be there, Mr Tapas is very excited and LittleT has caught wind that she is going to a fairy party while there and now has a fairy outfit, complete with wings, flower clip and fairy dust (which I keep finding all over the house).

Karma may still be a b*tch and actually not work at all like it's supposed to in the case of the Tapas family but, you know what, fate still remains fate and I can't wait to introduce our fairy godmother to my little family and meet hers.

A big thank you goes to Victoria, Tots100 for running a competition to choose Center Parcs bloggers and Center Parcs themselves for organising everything so extremely promptly.

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