Saturday, 14 November 2015

South East Bloggers Circle Meet-up


As you’ve probably seen, I’ve been rather quiet on my blog recently. This is partly down to my health not playing ball, but also because the little energy I have has been going towards organising the first meet-up for the South East Bloggers Circle! I’ve been really excited to tell you all about it properly, and now I can!

Just as a bit of a backstory – I set up a Facebook group a couple of years ago, as I was struggling to find bloggers in my local area. I also noticed there were a lot of blogger meet-ups in London, but couldn’t find any a bit closer to home. The group gradually grew (we are now at 130 members on the Facebook group, plus a lot more following our Twitter handle @SEBlogCircle) and we changed our name from Hants/Berks/Surrey Bloggers to the South East Bloggers Circle.

I’d wanted to organise a meet-up for a while (I did help organise one with Festival Place, but was in hospital so couldn’t go!), so at the beginning of this year I started making some enquiries. The lovely people at Festival Place were incredibly supportive, helping me to find a location, contact local companies and finding other local bloggers to attend. Originally the meet-up was planned for the summer, but due to various reasons it kept getting postponed. But last Monday (9th November) it finally happened!

On Monday afternoon, my Dad and I headed over to Festival Place with a car full of goodies. Pizza Express very kindly allowed us to use their upstairs to host the gathering, so Dad and I started setting up the room, with the help of some of their staff.






Soon after we arrived, representatives from Bee Good and Lush Basingstoke turned up with bags full of treats – you could quite literally smell them coming! Seeing them set up all their amazing products was so exciting, and I started to relax a bit (I didn’t realise just how stressful organising a meet-up would be!)







Bloggers then began turning up, greeted at the door by my Dad with a name label (a bit sad, I know, but it helped so much to know who everyone was!) It was so lovely to finally put some faces to names and to meet the people behind the blogs/YouTube channels! Pizza Express very kindly took orders for complimentary drinks for everyone and the room was soon full of excited chatter and squeals of excitement from the Lush and Bee Good tables.




After about an hour, various pizzas, anti-pasti and doughballs began to appear on a long table. As well as offering us complimentary drinks, the manager (Ricardo) of Pizza Express was incredibly generous and put on a buffet for us – I’ve never seen so much amazing food! Numerous photos were taken and we all stood there for a while waiting for the first person to dig in! Unfortunately a few bloggers weren’t able to make it on the night, but this did mean we had a lovely sized group and were able to all sit round a big table and enjoy our meal together.






As if the delicious pizzas weren’t enough, we then indulged in the most amazing salted caramel ice cream, kindly donated to us by Jude’s Ice Cream. I often lust over their tubs of ice cream when I go to the supermarket, but I’d never got round to trying any until Monday. I can definitely say that I will be buying some more!




Now in a bit of a food coma, we got back to chatting and seeing what the visiting brands had to offer. Lush did a few fun demonstrations (which definitely just made me want to buy more!) and told us all about their awesome Christmas range. It was really good being able to see their products out of their store, as you could really take in the individual scents and the two ladies were so knowledgeable and full of great tips and advice. They were also doing complimentary hand and arm massages, which were just divine, especially after the amount of time and energy I put in to organising the event!






It was then time for the obligatory group photo. I handed out the cute goodie bags, given to us by Life Tonics, and we all struck a pose in front of the Lush table. They were such a lovely group of ladies, who really made the evening great.


Me - Isla - Sian - Chloe - Alyssia - Naomi - Dawn - Sophie - Lara

Time was going so quickly and people were starting to talk about getting home (it was a school night after all!) when I remembered we had the charity raffle to do! We were donated some fantastic prizes from some very generous companies, including Bill’s, Paul’sBoutique and Jilly Jilly Design. All the money raised is going to the charity Mind, which is very close to my heart. I’m planning to do a separate post about the prizes in the raffle and what was inside our goodie bags, so keep your eyes peeled! I think the ladies who won prizes were really happy with what they received, even if we did have to keep pulling tickets out because one blogger kept winning!






By the end of the night I was absolutely shattered, but also happy that it had gone so well. Despite all the work and energy it took to organise everything, I think it was worth it. I’ve had some lovely messages from the ladies who attended and they’re already asking when the next meet-up will be! I would definitely like to organise more in the future – they won’t all take on this format, some will be big and some much smaller, but hopefully meeting up can become a regular thing for us, as I had so much fun. We are really grateful to all the generous companies that supported us with this event, and are always looking for other companies to work with in the future.

If you’re a blogger in the South East of England and fancy joining us, you can find our group on Facebook, Twitter (@SEBlogCircle) and Instagram (@SE_Bloggers) – it would be great to see you! If you’d like to be added to our database to hear about future events, please drop me an e-mail on jaffacat44@gmail.com

Have you been to any good blogger meet-ups? Are you in the South East and fancy joining us? What sort of meet-ups would you like to see?

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8 comments:

  1. looks like such a fab meet up. I really need to connect with more midlands bloggers x

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    1. Thanks Kitty it was really fun :) I would definitely recommend chatting to local bloggers - it's great to have people to meet up with who understand what blogging's all about! xx

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  2. This looks amazing, I have so much blogger envy! Hope you had a great night with good food and got thoroughly pampered

    Steph - http://nourishmeclean.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you hun - we all had a brilliant evening and I particularly enjoyed my little massage at the end of the evening! xx

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  3. Thank you for orgainising a fabulous event Jenny! My mummy had a great time and is sorry she kept winning on the raffle ;) lol xx

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    1. That's OK Dawn - I had an amazing time meeting you all again! I look forward to more meet-ups this year :) xx

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  4. I am absolutely jealous of this - you girls look like you had so much fun!! :)
    Loving those cute bags as well! :)

    Kayleigh (www.cupofkoko.co.uk)
    xxx

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    1. We had a great time! If you're in the South East, drop me an email as there will be more events this year! xx

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