This post is about firsts. My first time attending a blogger conference, my first time being naked in a public toilet and about why and how I left and arrived home in the same outfit.
Friday morning, school run done, bags packed and with a tummy full of excitement, I headed to Kate’s house. Together we caught the train from our little village in Oxfordshire to Reading where we would change for a London bound train. Upon arriving at Reading, I ran my hands over my dress to smooth it after sitting and discovered a wet patch! After some spectacular contorting in order to see my own behind, I noticed that there, on my right butt cheek was a nasty patch of ‘something’. I had lived in London for 10 years. I had caught the trains and buses daily and this had never happened before!
This may not have been a problem had it been on any other day, but I was heading into London for my first ever BritMumsLive blogging conference and was already wearing the outfit I was due to be in all that day. And it’s a deliciously pale pink. So bearing in mind the light nature of the fabric, this nasty mystery stain looked like a target on my butt. Awkwardly I scurried (there is no other word for it) into the nearest ladies loos. But as luck would have it, the positioning of said stain meant I had to remove the dress in order to reach it for some much needed emergency attention.
So there I was, in my underwear- yes, not really naked..I mean there was no need to remove those-, scrubbing my dress with hand wash over the hand basin in Reading Train station toilets. I got what I thought was enough of the stain out, and shimmied over to the hand dryer. Thankfully it was not one of those excuses that gently blow air vaguely at your hands, but one that claims to dry your hands in 10seconds. I flapped the (now mostly wet) dress in and out of the drying area ,using the actions of a washer woman scrubbing on the old-fashioned washing boards. All the while, the uber list loving, organised, bemused Kate ( she shared with me that she had actually taken a photo of me doing the dress-drying portion of this expedition) gave me time checks so that we did not miss our connecting train to London. I’m glad I provided her with some comic relief…With 2 minutes to spare, I deemed the dress acceptable, albeit still damp, and put it back on.
But now, I was totally paranoid about every seat I sat on, and hyper conscious of the stain on my butt. After the usual shuffling and dashing of the London underground, we exited at Moorgate and made our way to our hotel. I took off the offending dress and gave it another more thorough scrub in the hotel room basin…so my carefully selected Friday BritMumsLive outfit was not happening. A quick outfit change later, and wet dress hung up to dry, we met up with a few other bloggers at the local pub for pre-conference drinks.
It was a relaxing start to the weekend and a good way to have a little chat before we exited en masse and headed to The Brewery where Britmums was being held for my first ever BritMumsLive.
It was exciting, nerve-wracking, and overwhelming walking into a venue and realising I was about to spend the next day and a half meeting the real people behind the blogs I read. I did not know anyone else apart from my travel companion. At first glance I saw many faces I recognised and felt I knew but had never actually met. Where did I know them from? Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, their blogs?
Soon it was time for a spot of silly fun with Guinness World Records as they set us the challenge of breaking the record for most people wrapped as mummies (yes, in toilet paper) in 3 minutes. After a quick demo, we spent a frantic 3 minutes wrapping our volunteer. The mummies then waited to be judged by the GWR judge. But as with all these things, they made us wait for the result.
After freeing our mummies from their paper, we dispersed to various talks going on around the venue. I chose to listen to Emily about turning pitches into profits. An informative and fun session involving superman poses. I’m definitely going to be trying out my superman pose when I next need a confidence boost!
It was time for the BiB’s party and award ceremony where Carole hosted with a natural ease and humour that created a lovely atmosphere. It was a real treat to see all the fabulous bloggers who went up to receive their various awards. We were also informed that we had in fact achieved the GWR for most mummies wrapped in 3 minutes, breaking the previous record by 1!
Wandering into the courtyard, I met up with Abi, Hannah, Kate, Tanya, Louise and Emma to head out for a meal. It had been booked at a pizza chain by Abi who went ahead by cab with some of the other bloggers. Four of us decided to walk following a map. As we arrived at the restaurant , we got a text asking where we were…Turns out that in some sick twist, there are 2 of these restaurants locally and we were at the wrong one! After a rather convoluted walking tour of the side streets, we found the right place and sat down for a couple of hours of chatting and food.
Around 11 we headed back to our hotel and to bed. Day one had been a blur of faces, business cards and introductions. It had been a day of learning and laughing, we were off to a good start!
So that is how I managed to be naked in a public toilet, attend my first conference, and of course wear the infamous pink dress to and from the conference on different days! More about day two and what I learned to follow!!
**I did spend the rest of the weekend obsessively checking every seat before I sat down, thankfully without further incident 😉