Sunday, 23 February 2014

Midlands Blogger Meet Up (or #midsblogmeet as it became affectionately known)

After months of talking about it and more months of Kelly (@ToBecomeMum) and Emma (@LivePeachy) planning it the first ever Midlands Blogger Meet Up was yesterday at the Malt Cross in Nottingham.

I will make my excuses now for my appalling photography.  And like most people I WILL blame my technology!  My digital camera is fantastic, it takes the most amazing firework pictures and has plenty of settings on it.  Like most non-photographers I normally leave it on 'automatic scene detect' with disastrous consequences as it typically doesn't recognise the scene!  I reallly need a photography course!!

Anyway excuses over I will head back to yesterday ..... lets start at the beginning..... well actually when I say the beginning I mean Friday tea time!

It could only happen to me.... right!! Only on the one day I have been planning on going to for ages and counting down the days do I find out I could face massive delays (20 minutes is massive with 2 small boys in tow) and that the train times I had so meticulously planned from were now wrong, fortunately the revised timetable (one train an hour) was in operation. Even more fortunately the new train times worked out much better for us and there was no noticeable delays.

I have learnt from many train journeys, so for any other mums of potty training toddlers and small boys, here is what you need to take for a day out featuring a 1 hour train journey (both ways).....

For the kids

  • pencil crayons - preferably 2 packs for 2 children as they WILL want the same colour at the same time.
  • colouring books - either one with rip out pages to share or one each.  Whatever happens it will be the wrong colouring book and they would have rather had Fireman Sam, Superman or well anything rather than the one they had.
  • books to write in - they won't actually use these, they will draw on the backs of the colouring pictures.
  • story books - these will go unread and come home with you but if you don't take them they will want to read a book.
  • portable DVD players and at least 2 different DVD's..... these are like silencing gold dust.
  • spare pants, trousers and nappies, wipes (we were ok today, tho normally however many you take you will always need 1 more).
  • crisps, sweets and drinks.  doesn't matter which, it'll always be wrong.

Not forgetting YOUR bag!
  • keys and numerous keyrings so you can find them in your bag when you get home in the dark. 
  • purse
  • phone
  • camera
  • diary
  • a book - you never know they MIGHT sleep on the train!
  • make up
  • train timetable
  • map 
  • half the medicine cabinet
  • pens
  • tissues
  • and of course at every bloggers meet you'd take your business cards .... wouldn't you.... it's the number one handbag accessory ..... ok ok guess who didn't pack their business cards!!

So bundled up we were ready to leave!

We made it to the station in good time and, using the lesser known ticket machine, even made it onto the platform 20 minutes early! But it was freeeezing..... so we headed to the cafe and (being a very naughty - but frugal - customer) shared a drink between us!  Very nice it was too, it's definitely on the 'will buy again' list, although Ben was concerned about the lack of the word 'shake' after milk.


We managed to follow the map and made it to the Malt Cross and were greeted by Kelly and Emma and an array of goodies and bloggers.  There were name badges (yay) but of course this then meant we all spent the next 3 hours going around looking at each others chests going "ohhh I know you" :)  The boys also had to have their own names on.

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The Malt Cross is a lovely Charity and Café-Bar on St. James’s Street, just off Market Square in the heart of Nottingham. They pride themselves on supporting and serving the people of Nottingham through the charitable outreach work of Street Pastors, Safe Space & historic preservation. Not only is the café-bar a place where relationships and community are built but they host numerous artistic and community centred events (speed-dating anyone?), as well as hosting live music gigs.

The Malt Cross has been serving delicious home cooked food made to order since 2003 and have recently changed their menu. This meant we were fortunate enough to try a buffet selection of their sandwiches, chips, dips and onion rings now on offer. They even made sausages/ pizza and chips for the kids which went down well.

I stuck to pepsi and the boys to water but they do feature a wide range of premium ales, beers, wines and spirits, leaf teas, and their own blend of coffee. I must say I wished I had tried the hot chocolate as it looked

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Grabbing an empty pew the boys got settled in for the day, we were shortly joined by another Emma (@Etusty) and Samantha (@createitsam) and their lovely children.
Next a quick session of introductions where we got to know each other (or at least attempted to over the noise of my boys - sorry ladies) it was really interesting to put faces to names and find out just how many others blog in secret or have a 'mish mash' blog rather than focusing on just one thing.

Then lunch (see above) before THE BIG SURPRISE!!!  Sophie and Autumn from The Body Shop had bought their products (including some secret new ones) to US!!

We were introduced to some of the new and bestselling products, including the new blueberry range and the amazing hair chalks (more on them in a later post).

Before we got to launch in and sample the goodies for ourselves....

spot the beauty bloggers......

The boys sat nicely....... until the hair chalks came out then they pounced and became just "one of the girls"

They loved baby blueberry

I'm pretty sure between them they sampled EVERYTHING .... yes that includes the eye shadow, lipsticks, moisturisers and scrubs

Before we left the prize draw goodies were distributed..... well done Winners can't wait to read about your wins on your blogs.
Thank you to Poddle Pod (@PoddlePodUK), Tommee Tippee (@tommeetippee_UK) and MamaBabyBliss (@MamaBabyBliss) for sponsoring us.

And then came ....... the goody bags!!!!  With brands such as Weleda (@WeledaUK), Swizzels Matlow (@swizzelsmatlow), Bake It Yourself by Neff and Iris from @BakedByMeUK sponsoring the gifts you know they are going to be fantastic ..... should we take a look?


Weleda have been producing natural skincare goodies since 1921.  They sent us some lovely things to try:

Calendula Face Cream - whilst designed for babies it's also great for mummy's skin.  I can't wait to try it out as Noah's getting some sort of spotty rash from the cold/ dribbling etc so hopefully this will be nicer then turning him into a yeti with sudocream.

Wild Rose Body Wash - which smells just amazing and contains moisturising agents so as not to dry your skin out.

Wheat Balancing Shampoo - this has a lovely, strong rosemary smell (the type you get with the microwavable wheat bags) but actually contains butchers broom, sage and pansy.  It is designed to restore scalp balance and stop dandruff.... hubby will be pleased with that one to try.

For happy healthy hair there is the Oat Replenishing Shampoo and Conditioner.  This contains organic jojoba, coconut oils, organic oat and white mallow.  It is designed to smooth the hairs surface, reduce breakage and split ends while improving suppleness.  

And they are pretty too!!

Swizzels Matlow

It's been 60 years since Love Hearts first hit the market so what better way to celebrate then to donate enough packets for me and the boys.  Plus they send a sample of their delicious new Drumstick Squashies - same great taste as Drumstick lollies but as lot softer on the teeth.
 These chewy sweets also come in Love Heart, refresher and double lolly flavour.  YUM.

Baked By Me

It was great to meet the lovely Iris ( at the MidsBlogMeet and I can't wait to try some of her recipes out over at   Their shop sells a lovely range of products from cookie and cupcake kits to silicone moulds (I currently have my eye on the silicone mouse mould to relive my childhood with sugar mice). 

We were fortunate enough to come away from the meet with 3 of her lovely moulds - buttons, hearts and alphabet letters, the boys couldn't wait to use them and in tomorrows make it Monday you may just be able to see what we made!

Why not pop over and take a look - they have a fantastic Easter range in and UH OH a no-bake chocolate cake - that's me all over!!! 


Bake It Yourself by Neff

Kelly created a PR campaign 2 years ago "let's tell people to BIY (Bake It Yourself) rather than DIY!" and lo the branding was born.  It's now grown to be the second largest baking community in Europe. 
They kindly donated a recipe book with some lovely recipes in such as:
  • sweet cinnamon brunch ring
  • white chocolate and berry brownies
  • rich vegetable moussaka
  • blue cheese beef burgers with crispy bacon
  • and sticky toffee sponge pudding.

And last but by no means least........... Miss Berry gave us one of her delicious light and fluffy muffins.

far too pretty to eat......
.... but somehow I forced myself :)

Don't forget tho Bloggers. ..... all those things I mentioned earlier that you TAKE to an event ....... it all has to come home too........

A fantastic day out ...... until we lost Noah's 'Little Bear'  I've put it in as many places on line as I can think of including the fabulous @Lostteddybear site but if you can think of somewhere I've missed, or if you are local to Nottingham and can pop one along to the shops around that area to put in the windows I'd really appreciate it.  He's a cloth comforter with a teddy bear face.

Here's just a few more pics of the day..........

A detour to the train.....

Almost home......

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So to everyone who attended, even if we didn't get to speak, please link up below with your 
posts about the day!  

If you didn't attend please do check out some fabulous blogs from those who did come.

                @ Basfordian             

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  1. There have actually been loads of Midland's blogger meet-ups....

    1. really, none of us had ever been to any, perhaps you could come out of anonymity and let me know how we get on the mailing lists?
      Thanks for reading.

  2. This is a lovely post....such great advice for travelling with the children too! I'm so glad you all had a wonderful day was lovely to meet you and The boys! X

  3. What a great post, and I hope little bear has either been found or forgotten by now.. it was great to meet you!

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