Going to London on my own was something I never thought I would be able to do. You see I have spent the majority of my life in this green grass, village shop, drive to any sign of civilisation bubble. I feel comfortable that I can spend a few days at home, with only my loved ones for company, not seeing others for days on end, unless I drive a few miles away. Unless you count the cows out of my window, that are my daily reminder of country life when they belly-ach at me, or the dog. As you can imagine, going to London feels like I am jetting off to the Moon, for a country girl such as myself. However, I am drawn to experiencing the new, adventuring amongst the hustle and standing in the iconic spots of London.
Nonetheless, when Next invited me to their Next Blogger Event in London, I was super excited to leave my bubble, for an afternoon and go. What an opportunity and adventure for little me! So, after lots of nervous discussions with my sister, who lives in London, I was persuaded… and I sent my acceptance!!! Ekk it was official I was off to London to an event on my own.
Friday morning came around quicker than I could have imagined, the daily routine of mum life is as quick to play out, as it is to write the hashtag mum life on Instagram. The school run had been done and the baby was napping. So, I set about getting ready. For this occasion, it was a necessity that I wanted to look like a decent version of myself, not the usual cardigan wearing, mum-bun expert that I feel comfortable I can pull of well! So, when approaching my wardrobe, I decided it had to be Next. Luckily being a Next-a-holic had its advantages and I was able to select a beautiful floral red, autumnal dress, which I had been saving for such an occasion.
I am finding that I am starting to enjoy getting ready again, given the time, I am forming a love affair with my makeup bag and enjoying playing dress up. Yes, its different since I have had little ones, I have nowhere near the same amount of time to entertain such a passion, but it’s something that feels like me. A me that isn’t revolved around being a mummy. A me that was lost for some time when I was in the new-born baby haze, but is starting to come back. For so long I would hide under oversized clothes and big chunky scarfs, afraid of the fashion, beauty and beyond.. feeling so outdated and ‘Mumsie’… but with the yearning to have the freedom to play with the pretty outfits and shiny lipsticks. My Wardrobe constantly evolved. It changed as I went through these processes, but I always have found Next a trustworthy ally in my evolving lifestyle. Whether it be dressing for my changing body, dressing my little ones or buying way too many candles for my home. Next seems to provide me with the stability I needed, and the reassurance that no matter my mood I can always find something In Next. Therefore, realising my obsession…I was buzzing for this event.
Once in London, I headed to the Ace Hotel in Shorditch. Where I was greeted by a trendy hotel reception full of low comfortable seating, glowing apple laptops, perched on the laps of people who kept their pens in their beards and coffee cups on the arm of the chair. Immersed faces, glued to their screens or close huddled friends scattered the floor. It reminded me of a classy version of the school canteen. A place where people could go, be comfortable and chill before rushing off to the next lesson, or in this case back to the hustle and bustle of city life. While waiting for the lift I clocked a photo booth and smiles at the teenage memories of squeezing more people that possible inside. That’s probably why there was a ‘not working’ sign on this one. Too many people had attempted this scenario.
Walking into the Next event was a revelation for all the senses. The click of the camera lens, the hum of constant chatter, the smell of the Next home fragrance surrounded me (mental note, must add more candles to my house). The soft furnishings scattered on the window seats and the prosecco popping away merrily in my hand reflected how I felt. Comfortable in this new trendy surrounding but excited to explore. Everyone was so friendly. The Next team greeted me and talked me through the outline of events, with particular note to a workshop taking place among the glass windows by Monica Welburn.
Monica was doing a workshop on flat lays and how to provide a cohesive Instagram feed. her knowledge and beautifully styled outfit shone and inspired us ‘young’ bloggers. Our itching hands desperate to attempt a flat lay half as good as she showed. The constant merriment of the room was contagious, and friendly faces greeted me where ever I turned. I felt like I had found my calling, such a society of sociable, positive role-models, all coming together to chat, laugh and network in an enthusiastic manor. This is where I belong!
As I floated round the rooms and chatted to others I felt buzzed from the excitement support that I found. So many smiles and friendly faces where ever I turned. As the day went into the evening I completed a whole host of activities. From looking through the rails of Next fashion, grouped together in style, such as evening and autumnal outfits. To eating fruit skewers and drinking fine coffee. As well as, completing questionnaires, admiring the WAH nail girl’s creations and playing around in the photography station. Furthermore, at 5pm we all gathered in the main room to listen to a Q and A with some very inspirational experts. Including Lilly Pebbles, The Anna Edit, Naomi Smart, Chloe Digital and the lovely ladies from Next.
The Q and A was probably one of my favourite parts of the Next event. Being a ‘young’ blogger I felt enriched with information from these friendly faces, that I watch daily on YouTube, in the comfort of my living room. It was relaxed, funny, and relatable. Their support and knowledge soaked into me, inspiring my creative flow. I loved how they talked about removing the pressure of providing content over quality. That by providing one or two platforms to focus, then linking the others in as you grow, which will be a greater benefit to your brand. So many words of wisdom for us to devour.
As I walked out of the Next Blogger Network event and headed out of the Ace hotel into London I felt a new-found confidence in this career path. Blogging and Vlogging is becoming more recognised in society, and providing an outlet for people and brands to cohesively work together. What an amazing, positive thing to be part of, which I truly believe is only just beginning.
If you enjoyed reading this blog and would like to watch my footage of my London trip. Head over to my You Tube channel and watch my Day In The Life vlog linked below.