After collecting our name badges, we were treated to refreshments and the opportunity to mingle with fellow bloggers. We were given the challenge of getting as many blog URLS as possible in the time we had with the prize of a box of Hummingbird Bakery cakes. Let me tell you this, bloggers like cupcakes so we all dashed about the room meeting and greeting as many faces as possible. This is always my favourite part of blogging events as it's rare you're in the same room as some of the people's blogs you read so it's great to finally meet them and meet new ones too!
The first talk of the day was a PR panel featuring Selina from Motel Rocks, Charlie and event organiser Hayley. I've recently completed a PR internship with a well know brand but before that, I admittedly didn't know a lot about the world of PR so I found this talk very useful. I never set up my blog to get 'free stuff' so I felt myself cringeing as the PR's listed stories of bloggers emailing them actual lists of what they wanted - the cheek!
We were then given another break to stock up on cakes and biscuits before our second listing of the day - a talk by E-Buzzing who "specialise in blogger campaigns" and help to monetise your blog. Basically - make money from your blog. If I'm being honest, it was hard to stay fully engaged with the complete talk as there was a lot to digest and as a relatively new blogger, this service doesn't really apply to me as I have no intention at the minute to make money from my blog. I know this baffles a few of my friends who then question why I put so much time into my blog for no 'return' (so to speak), but for me, my blog is my hobby and my release from a lot of stressful university work - so I don't see it as my source of income (for now). It helped that both of the men who presented this talk were good looking and in all fairness their talk was very worthwhile to people interested in monetising their blogs and have more of an established readership, but sadly I don't want/have either.
Our next break gave us the opportunity to divulge in a typical English tradition of scones and tea. I've never been a massive scone fan but these were simply delicious so hats off to the catering staff at the hotel for converting me!
We were then treated to a demonstration of celebrity wigmakers - Annabelle's wigs. From colourful bobs, to ponytails and full head pieces - there were some gasps of 'wow' from bloggers who were impressed by the transformations. Cigdem was treated to a luscious long pony tail which had me very jealous as I've always been after thicker hair - I think she was tempted to sneak out with it on!
The day concluded with a blogger Q&A session which opened up the floor to any burning questions we had for Louise from Get Lippie, Mina from Kings Road Rocks and event organiser Hayley from London Beauty Queen. They gave us their honest answers, advice and words of wisdom. I know that some people took a disliking to some points and comments raised in the Q&A but at the end of the day, you should take everything with a pinch of salt. You should never take what someone else says as gospel and only act on the advice you feel is right. After all, this is their opinion, not the be all and end all.
For any of you aware of TOWIB or that attended the event, you'll most likely know of the drama that unfolded following the event last Saturday. I deliberately didn't give my 'two cents' as I was a little shocked at what was said. I'm not particularly keen on the way the negative post I saw was written with regards to the language and tone but each to their own I guess - everyone's entitled to an opinion.
For me personally, the positives far outweighed the negatives. Yes, I was a little bit hungry during the day and the e-buzzing talk wasn't up my street but we got to spend the afternoon in a lovely hotel in London, eat yummy cakes, biscuits and scones whilst getting to meet like-minded people and bloggers whose blogs I have read for months. It was clear that a lot of hard work, time and effort had gone into this event, for which I'd like to thank Hayley for as I couldn't put together an event of this scale. As with any event, there's always going to be things to change and not everyone will like everything. I felt like I got my moneys worth and I got to meet dozens of new bloggers as well as spending time with these two lovelies which is never a bad thing!
After the event, myself, Elodie and Cigdem headed to The Diner near Oxford Circus for some tea. I had to rush mine to get a train back 'oop North' which unfortunately took an extra hour than it normally does but it was worth having the extra time with my friends. The food was delicious (the best cheesy fries ever) and I'll hopefully return when I don't have to worry about missing my train!
Without events like TOWIB, I would have never met the blogging friends I have now, so I do hope that future events run.