So after two years in the planning and quite a few hiccups a long the way, the first 30-40+ Blogger Meet aimed at older bloggers finally took place on 16th May in London's Chelsea... What an incredible time we all had! I couldn't have hoped for a better day in terms of the company and the atmosphere - the pictures here speak for themselves.
The event was sponsored by Hope, the fashion brand aimed at the 40+ woman. I was incredibly honoured and lucky to have such a forward-thinking and modern brand as a headline sponsor, and they were also one of the most generous I've ever encountered at a blogger event.
The feedback from all the delegates has been wonderful - it really couldn't have gone any better.
So how did this all come about?
I had the idea of having some sort of informal meet up for bloggers who were more my age. I'd been to a few blogging events and although I'm more than happy to socialise with people of any age, I thought it would be nice to have an event where there were more of the older bloggers that I knew as they didn't seem to be attending events. I had a feeling it was because going to blogging events seemed to be something 20-something bloggers did, and that may be off-putting to older bloggers (in terms of feeling like "the old one").
TWO YEARS AGO I SENT OUT A FEW TWEETS AND EMAILS ASKING PEOPLE IF THEY WERE INTERESTED IN A NON-MUMMY BLOGGING EVENT AIMED AT THE OLDER BLOGGER, AND THE RESPONSE WAS QUITE OVERWHELMING.
As far back as two years ago I sent out a few tweets and emails asking people if they were interested in a non-mummy blogging event aimed at those in their 30s, 40s and over, and the response from everyone was overwhelmingly YES.
The problem it leaves you with is this: If you're the one suggesting it and people like the idea, the inevitable question you're asked is "So when are you going to organise it then?"... It's really up to you to do it - no one else is going to organise it for you. Luckily I'm a demon organiser and list-maker (and, I think, a party planner in a former life) so was happy to take on the responsibility.
TWO YEARS, 250 MAILING LIST SUBSCRIBERS, THREE FALSE STARTS AND SEVERAL WEEKS OF FRANTIC ORGANISING LATER, WE HAD OUR VERY FIRST BLOGGING MEET.
To cut a long story short: Two years, 250 mailing list subscribers, three false starts and several weeks of frantic organising (from start to finish) later, we had our very first blogging meet aimed purely at older bloggers. I secured a gorgeous gastro pub/restaurant (the Imperial) in Chelsea and Hope as the headline sponsor.
With a massive amount of help from Fluorescent PR (Hope is their client) and my close blogging friends, I put together an event that I was very proud of. This post is quite image heavy, but if you're a regular follower of 40+ blogs there may be a lot of faces you recognise... Scroll down and enjoy.
Again, I must say a huge THANK YOU to everyone involved who made the event so incredibly enjoyable and such a success. As well as raising £190 for the Brain Tumour Charity with the raffle prizes, a lot of firm friendships were made, contact details exchanged and potential partnerships organised. There may have been a fair bit of clothes shopping too...!
Plus when I said that Hope were incredibly generous I really meant it: After the talk that Nayna McIntosh (the CEO of Hope) gave, every single delegate was gifted a pink merino and cashmere poncho knit. To say that everyone felt very special and appreciated was something of an understatement.
I couldn't be more proud :)
(You can see all the photos from the event on the 30-40+ Blogger Meet Facebook page - there are three albums - thank you to Timmy Vowles, Annette Hoeldrich and Greetje Kamminga for the photos, there are just a couple by me in this post)
ARE THERE MANY FACES YOU RECOGNISE? COMMENT BELOW, OR TAKE IT TO TWITTER @NOTLAMB!
A busy start to the day (left), and me talking to the amazing CEO of Hope, Nayna McIntosh (right). An inspiring and really warm person with a great sense of humour, she is a beacon of positivity for the 40+ woman. (Photos: Annette Hoeldrich)
The goody bag contents - described by many as "the best goody bag ever!": I Love... lemon sorbet spray | Hope catalogue | Lizzy O bracelet | Evian water | Burts Bee's lip shimmer | Laura Geller waterproof eye pencil | Hope pen | Verso skincare sample | Box of macarons | Notebook | Blogosphere magazine [my photo]
Right: Michelle of RetroChicMama with goody bags and the raffle prizes, including the double award-winning Model KT Workbag by Jennifer Hamley England | Right: Michelle of The Barefaced Chic, Lisa of The Sequinist and Nikki of Midlife Chic enjoying their glass of Prosecco (Photos: Annette Hoeldrich)
Alice, the Fairy Blogmother deep in conversation with Annette of Lady of Style and Michelle of The Barefaced Chic (Photo: Greetje Kamminga)
Left: Beata of Fashion Adventures At Any Age with Yvonne of Funky Forty and right: Greetje of No Fear of Fashion. Yvonne, Greetje and Annette (above) all came over from Switzerland, Holland and Germany respectively to attend the blogger meet - how fabulous and humbling is that? (Photos: Timmy Vowles)
The stunning Lisa of The Sequinist showing some shoulder (Photo: Timmy Vowles)
Left: Annette of Lady of Style looking elegant and right: Suzi of Alternative Ageing (and I) watching ourselves on Periscope (Photos: Timmy Vowles)
A group photo that I photo bombed at first then insisted on joining properly - I think it's your right when you're the host ;) (Photo: Timmy Vowles)
Ready for lunch (Photos: Timmy Vowles)
My talk, which went on a whole lot longer than it should have done... I've learnt my lesson where event organising is concerned: Never be a guest speaker yourself at an event you're organising as you're bound to have no time to practice your talk. I knew what I was going to say (as you can see I talked about "Giving, Receiving and Exposing"!) but didn't know it would take so long. Public speaking is one of those weird things I actually enjoy doing...! (Photos: Timmy Vowles)
Nayna McIntosh during her inspiring talk (Photo: Timmy Vowles)
Left: Suzi of Alternative Ageing and right: Paula of SuperFoodLx both looking fabulous during their Hope try-on session (Photos: Timmy Vowles)
Yvonne of Funky Forty rocking the silk pop-on dress (Photo: Timmy Vowles)
The statuesque Liz of What Lizzy Loves modelling the white ankle grazer pants (Photo: Greetje Kamminga)
Michelle of The Barefaced Chic and I - I think I had cheek-ache at this point from smiling so much (Photo: Timmy Vowles)
One of my favourite shots of the day: A selfie I took with Greetje of No Fear of Fashion and Annette of Lady of Style - we've known each other online since we started our blogs several years ago and although I'd already met Annette at the Blognix Retreat, we'd not met Greetje before. This photo means so much to me.
Another very special photo: The Over 40 Collective, a group of bloggers I'm so proud to be part of - you can read an introduction to the collective in Monday's post. As I said in that post, exciting times are ahead...! (Photo: Timmy Vowles)
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Disclosure: I have written this post as part of the 30-40+ Blogger Meet sponsored by Hope. (click here for my full disclosure). All content is original, however, and opinions are my own and 100% honest.