It’s taken me so long to write this post. I keep starting and restarting. And procrastinating. I think I’m just scared that I’m not going to do the event justice. However, here I am. I’m going to bite the bullet and just write.
Thursday evening saw me trying to sleep and not at all succeeding. I gave up at 3.30am after about an hour of broken sleep and got up and got ready. I felt terrible waking poor Lily up but she came in her Hoot pjs and look completely bewildered as we drove to the airport. I jumped out and said “ok bub, see you tomorrow” and her whole face crumpled. Cue massive mummy guilt!!! I choked back tears as Mr Monkey quickly distracted her with a toy and drove off.
I’d made sure I was at the airport early enough to be able to get something to eat and have a much needed coffee. Of course, I had forgotten that all coffee at the airport is pretty much horrendous! I knew Lori from Random Ramblings of a Stay at Home Mum was catching the same flight as me and I was a little worried that she wasn’t going to make it. Thankfully while sitting on the plane I saw her little head poke up over the seats a few rows in front of me.
We arrived in Melbourne and arranged with Kellie from Three Li’l Princesses to meet at the buses for our pre-booked transfer to the hotel. I called the service to confirm we had arrived and they directed us to the correct bus zone. Of course, the bus was a bit late turning up but it took awhile for Kellie’s bag to come through anyway. As we were standing and waiting we noticed more and more people approaching our bus driver and asking to use the service. Suddenly it seemed like a good idea to get on the mini-bus before there was too many people.
Next thing we know we’re being asked to get off the bus and on to another! At this stage it was 8.25am and we were starting to think we wouldn’t make it to the hotel for the 8.30am registration. We explained to the driver we needed to be there for 8.30am (our flight had landed at 7.35!) and he just said “no can do, lady!” Steam started gushing from our ears as we calmly explained that we needed to be there AS. SOON. AS. POSSIBLE. After a comedy of errors as the driver tried to radio in his pickups we finally got moving. After the third drop off and Lori yelling at the driver because “PROBLOGGER IS TALKING RIGHT NOW!!!” we started to realise something wasn’t right. A lovely lady behind us kindly informed us that they had obviously reversed the drop off order – we should’ve been dropped off first but were now going to be dropped off last. Great.
So, we arrived fashionably late, an hour and a half after we were supposed to. We met the gorgeous Parental Parody in the hallway who handed over our lanyards and attempted to help us find a table. I, as unobtrusively as possible, snuck in the door and sat at a table towards the back. I was so upset that I didn’t get to meet everyone at the beginning and it didn’t start my day off very well. I felt on the back foot from the very beginning.
We joined the end of the “Blogging for Social Good” panel and I really wish we had heard all of it. I haven’t done much “social good” work on this blog but I do have a post coming up for a great initiative starting this month for Vicks.
It wasn’t long before it was morning tea break and I was able to grab a much better coffee and meet a few people. The next session was “Blog to Book” which was interesting but something that I’m definitely not ready for with my blog, so I slipped out a few times to meet some of the mums outside with their bubbas and some of the brands at the stands.
Lunch was a working buffet and a chance to meet some more people before we all headed in to the different workshops. I wanted to go to all of them, which was of course impossible, but decided to attend the Writing Workshop as I feel that’s where I need the most work. And I am very glad I did because it was definitely one of my highlights of the conference. Valerie Khoo is an excellent presenter and shared some really great tips. I intend to write a full post soon about what I learnt from the session.
I was following the #DPCon12 twitter stream of the other workshops when suddenly it exploded with tweets from the Working with Brands workshop. I wasn’t there but it seems there was some controversy about a comment made about bloggers, sponsored posts and loss of credibility. Definitely seemed to create some tension! I think we’ll be hearing a bit about that in the coming weeks.
The afternoon continued with a panel discussing “Is Mummy Blogging a Radical Act?” I think the surest sign that it is was when Eden from Edenland announced that she was flying out the next night to Niger, Africa to blog about the current food crisis in West Africa for World Vision. I really can not think of a better blogger for this trip; Eden will write with such honesty and such beauty that the world will have to pay notice! You can follow her trip on Twitter – #EdenInNiger.
It was then time for the “My Blog My Story” session. I was already aware of which bloggers were going to be sharing their story so was prepared for some tears. When Kristie from Hespera’s Garden took the stage I took a big breath. I know Kristie’s story and knew her speech was going to be confronting, heartbreaking and incredibly, incredibly moving. If you weren’t there make sure you head over to her blog and read the transcript.
After all of the MBMS speeches the conference ended and I checked in to my hotel room and called home on FaceTime. Apparently Lily had been fine all day, except for the occasional “Mummy?” and was more interested in watching TV instead of talking to me. I had hoped to have a sleep but ended up simply getting dressed and decided to see the concierge and let them know about our experience with the bus. Let’s just say I wasn’t very happy with the response I got!
I met up with the lovely Georgia from Parental Parody and Kristie from Hespera’s Garden and some other bloggers for the pre-dinner drinks and then we headed back in to the main ballroom. I somehow ended up on the “cool” table next to Georgia with Mrs Woog, Eden, Baby MacBeth, Veggie Mama, Kim from All Consuming and Styling You. Little old me felt very out of place! Dinner was nice but to be honest I was just trying to keep my eyes open. Once the dancing and karaoke started I decided it was probably best I headed back to my room. So back I went and straight to bed.
I was up early for breakfast the next morning then checked out and headed across the road for the Kids Business Bloggers BBQ. There was a great selection of brands to chat to and I gave my business card to many and got quite a few free goodies. It would’ve been great to have Lily and Mr Monkey with me as it was more of a family occasion but I still had a lot of fun.
I left early and caught a taxi to Southern Cross Station where my transfer to Avalon airport was leaving from. Let me tell you, next time I’m making sure I have a suitcase that has wheels after lugging my 14kg bag around the train station! The rest of the trip home was pretty easy except for the 30min flight delay and having to arrange for my in-laws to collect me from the airport as Mr Monkey had somehow hurt his hip and was struggling to walk. I was hoping for a enthusiastic welcome home from Lily but she had come down with a bad cold so was very, very grumpy. I gave her the bag of Crayola goodies I had received and she was much happier!
Overall, it was a tiring and overwhelming weekend but also very, very rewarding. I’m very proud of how well I handled myself seeing as it was my first time away from Lily by myself, my first time SO far away from Lily, my first time on a plane by myself, my first time in a hotel by myself and definitely my first conference.
I want to say a big thank you to Lori, Kellie, Kristie, and Georgia. You all saved my sanity at some point or another. Especially Lori. Xx
Thank you to Brenda and all of the team for a fantastic conference, the brands for some great conversations and goodies, and the Kids Business team for a great morning at the Bloggers BBQ. But most of all, thank you to all of the other bloggers who made my weekend what it was. I feel so proud to be part of this community.
Plus an extra huge thank you to Coffee Alchemy for sponsoring me to attend! I wouldn’t have been there without you!!
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