It’s fairly rare these days that my social life resembles anything other than a quiet night on the sofa watching Suits.
The weekend just passed, however, was a busy one, even by socially active people’s standards. It began, as weekends often do, with a late shift at work on the Thursday. 14 straight hours of work, no less.
This was followed, as is also so often the case, by a 6am wake up call, when Joshua decided that sitting on my head whilst watching CBeebies was the best way to begin his Friday. General pre-school run shenanigans were undertaken, followed by the drop off, followed by an hour of frantic packing.
Packing, no less, for BlogOn, followed by camping, followed by work. Three different events over 4 days in one suitcase. I imagine it was similar to how those tasked with building the Pyramids felt, such was the scale and gravitas of the aforementioned packing extravaganza that faced me.
But pack I did. Like no man had ever packed before.
Not quite with the speed required to leave the house on time, but really, who was keeping track?
Into the car went I, zooming through the streets of Reading like a man hell-bent on reaching his mother-in-law’s house at the time he had arranged to meet his car-sharing blogging buddy. Zipping along the M4 with the speed of someone driving exactly 6 miles above the 50 mile temporary restrictions which will seemingly be in place for the rest of my adult life. Flying past the glorious Tolworth Tower, flashing past the coppery windows of the Premier Inn and zoom-zooming through the Krypton Factor-esque streets of Worcester Park.
With the thrill of the chase firmly behind me, it was time to drive at equally slow speeds to sunny Manchester for my 4th ever BlogOn, organised as ever by the lovely Laura and the generally-marvellous Reading-dwelling Alice.
The main difference between this epic journey to the North compared with previous ones was the addition of my longest-serving blogging buddy, Fran from Whinge Whinge Wine. Excessively loud dance music was replaced with very grown up discussions about the school system, life histories, worms and genetic pre-dispotions, interrupted only by a wee and a bag of crisps.
On arrival at the Premier Inn, Old Trafford, a mere 7 hours after setting off, a further wee was engaged in before we hit the bar. Once the others had arrived we set off for Cosmo for a bite or two, or three, before drinking cocktails in what can only be described as a unique mix of magic, mystery and pretentiousness, a.k.a. The Alchemist. It was awesome in there, if a touch on the pricey side. Very Instagrammable too…
The night ended with a return to the hotel and the last 20 minutes of Bridget Jones’ Diary in bed!
Saturday brought BlogOn itself, by far my favourite of the blogging conference options. Even if you ignore the wealth of useful talks, you still have the bacon buttie, unlimited free Prosecco and pizza from the Co-Op, gin cocktails, sausage rolls, 200-prize raffle, and epic goody bag.
My favourite part is always catching up with friends and meeting new people though.
I always enjoy chatting to other people that genuinely enjoy writing and some of my most prolific chatees this time around were Emma, Tim, Jenny, Ian, Abi from the blog that I can’t remember if I’m meant to associate her with or not, Helen and Faith. All properly good people.
Unfortunately this time around I won half of shit-all on the raffle, but it was still a brilliant day all round and I’ve already booked my ticket for the next BlogOn in Bracknell in September.
The evening saw the Star Wars themed party which was good fun and another chance to chat. Unfortunately not as many people as usual attended the party, probably because it was after the conference rather than the night before, but I still had a really good time.
Another late night wasn’t helped by the fact that the hotel was infested with bloody young people who were banging on doors and being generally bell-ended until about 3am – not ideal when you need to get on the road by 8am!
So 8am came and, despite some reluctance from my co-traveller, we hit the roads all over again but in the opposite direction. Having said our farewells in my mother-in-law’s driveway, Sarah, Joshua and I headed off to a farm near Dorking to kip in a field for two of my friends’ joint 40th birthday bash. Despite some initial concerns that we may freeze to death in our tent we actually had a really good time – and slept for longer that the 2 nights in Manchester combined!
Joshua loved it – lots of ball games and hide and seek and all that malarkey, followed by some lovely pizza from a pizza truck and some singing and marshmallows around the campfire.
It was a genuinely lovely end to a brilliant weekend and the weekend as a whole was well worth the 15 hours in the car required to achieve it! Time spent with good friends is always time well spent.