Can you believe that this post has been weighing on my mind for the last 5 months?
I've wanted to tell you about Around The Table for so long. It took so long for my brain to comprehend it, but it was too big to pass by without a mention on my blog, sealed in the internets history forever.
Around The Table was a national bloggers weekend we hosted earlier in the 2013 year. The first of its kind here in Christchurch, New Zealand. I think overall what made it such a success is its intended audience were polled months before on what they would like out of it. We tried to meet almost all of the needs and wants, designing the weekend for the attendees. I've only heard good feedback, and I will eternally applaud Treena, Juliet and Miriam for all of their hard work putting everything together.
I've pondered for the last 5 months how I could possibly write a post about all that happened. I thought instead of doing a play by play, I would list some of my favourite memories, the ones that have stuck with me for the last 5 months (through baby and milk brains no less!!) and memories that I often call apon randomly throughout a regular ol' day.
I really did have such a great weekend. It's definitely 'up there' with my top life time memories so far.
It's also probably worth mentioning that I had 2 ear infections through the course of this weekend and was on a constant stream of antibiotics, ear drops and panadol. I was hard of hearing and conversations were difficult. But here's what I took away::
(stoked that I was able to scrounge many photos from the internet to match a lot of my memories!! I've credited the ones I have pinched, the rest are from my Instagram feed)
- The many meetings before hand. Sampling Miriams baking, the cups of lollies, the ideas, the creativity, and the admin genius' that could turn those ideas and schemes into a reality.
- Filling goodie bags into the wee small hours with Amy. Tired, so tired. Sore ear. Wondering how I'm going to survive the weekend.
- Meeting Ange and Pickle at my security gate when she came to stay for the weekend. An instant new friend.
- Meeting Sammy and Stella outside Craft Love Festival. Asking Sammy if she was a blogger and getting terribly embarrassed finding out she was my swap partner and someone I had been blog stalking for the last 2 months!
- All of the people at CLF - the excited buzz, the bright lights, the handiworks surrounding us.
- Paisely Jades deep voice. Just cant get over that. I thought she'd be a high pitched lady. She's not.
- Being sprung by Cat with a beautiful handmade blanket for my womb-baby at the gathering at Miriams on Friday night. For me? No kidding. I felt like the luckiest lady alive.
- Talking in Miriam's kitchen with Rachel. Making new friends.
- The fresh air walking to my car after Miriam's. The kind of air that gets up your nose and makes you feel alive.
- Waking up on Saturday morning before everyone in the house and sprinting up the stairs to the top of our building in my PJs to take a photo of the sunrise. The air was so fresh, I felt so alive and excited for the day. I couldn't believe I got to be ME in that moment. It all just felt too perfect. I instagrammed it and bloggers all over the city liked my photo in the early hours. It felt exciting to know where were all awake and anticipating the day.
- Driving to the morning seminars, my car loaded up with 70 gift bags and 40 spot prizes, all rustling from the bumps in the road. I loved my job of arranging gifts for you all.
- Unloading my car and having (at the time) strangers helping me and knowing I was about to make friends with them all.
- People coming up to me and introducing themselves. The highest honour.
- Handing out prizes with Miriam. If I could do that for the rest of my life I would.
- Running the Blog Advertising "Making it work" seminar with Simone and Stella, two of the bestest loveliest ladies I have ever met. Months of emails back and forward led to that moment and it was all worth it.
- Garland playing at Stellas feet while she talked about magazine work. She's such a creative and driven soul
- The way Simone held her cup and brushed her hair back as she talked. That lady has class.
- Driving to The Make Cafe - Stopping off for a bread roll on the way.
- Meeting lots of lovely ladies around a cafe table.
- Leonie telling me she would love to "pick my brain sometime" "well how about now?" I ask. We sit down for the better part of an hour and get to know each other.
- Stella, in between the fabrics and washi tape at The Make Cafe, talking blogs, life and each other. I'm a big fan, admiring her drive for success and goal making ability. We had a lot to chat about.
- Home time to get freshened up, see my little girl and handsome hubby and touch base with Ange again. She stayed with us but I feel like I hardly saw her all weekend.
- Winnie Bagoes. Nervous. I pushed for that venue in our planning meetings, I assured them it would be perfect. Now crossing my fingers and toes that it is.
- Park in a gravel car park of demolished buildings. Fairly Christchurch-Typical I smile to myself.
- The people. So many people. Overwhelmed feelings and those of saddness, knowing I wouldn't get to meet everybody.
- Standing in the rays of the sunset with Talia and Leonie, Kristy takes a photo and IGs it.
- Handing out more prizes. So many prizes!
- Getting to thank Treena, Miriam and Juliet officially.
- The end of the night. Home and happy. Ready to rest my sore head (the ear infection, remember?)
- Up early with Ange to C1. We drive together, finally some time alone.
- Everyones there taking photos. Helllllooooo, we're here too :) We make our way in, to be greeted and welcomed. Ah, acceptance, its a beautiful thing.
- I order eggs bene, even though I'm pregnant. It's been a long weekend okay, gimme a break.
- I sit with Ange and Pickle, he feeds and we talk. People stop by our table and talk. I especially loved Meghans visit. What a friendly spirit she has.
- The roof top. It was lovely up there, but I can't say I enjoyed the climb up those spiral stairs. I get the opportunity to talk about Christchurch to out of towners. A great love for my city over takes me.
- Sitting outside with Jess and Talia. The bloggy preggos. Looking right into the sun for a photo.
- We leave for a walk around the city. Ange has to leave early, we part ways and I carry on. I find opportunities to talk with each lady on the journey.
- The big stones we walked across with mixed debri between them.
- All the questions. So many questions about our city. Again, a great love for it grows.
- Dancing on the Dance O Mat. Pregnant, ear infection and all.
- My water bottle from the cafe. I don't know why it thrilled me so much, but the H2go bottle looked like it had been yarn bombed. I was tickled pink... a little too much.
- Talking with Stella again. The rattle of Garland in the stroller as we walked and talked, Stella occasionally stopping for photos. Me thinking I just see a building, but knowing with her skill it will look beautiful captured in a frame.
- The good byes. Too many good byes.
- Being handed a hot and hungry toddler to keep for the afternoon. I took her to Miriam's to hang out with the left over bloggers who needed an air port drop off. She didn't share, and was dirty, and I was ill prepared for parenting, when I was having so much fun.
- Driving the girls to the airport. Lots of laughs, getting a tiny bit confused, and feeling generally exhausted and sad.
- The emails between the team over the following days. The final lose ends to tie, the virtual pats on the back.
What a fantastic weekend in my life. Seriously. If I think about it too much, like I have while writing this post, I get a pit feeling in my stomach that feels all empty and I start to miss you all. I really do wish you all lived in Christchurch and we could see each other every week. I loved meeting every single one of you. If we talked, or smiled, or became friends; thank you (even those who weren't mentioned here (remember, 5 months on with preggo and milk brain, sorry if you weren't mentioned).
You made it as good as it was and all completely worth it.
*happy and sad sigh*
You made it as good as it was and all completely worth it.
*happy and sad sigh*
If you would like to read what other people had to say about Around The Table, you can visit the linky party