Yassss it happened! It'll come as no surprise to you now that this weekend was the Bloggers Picnic In The Park, a bloggers meet up (and food fest) in Hyde Park in London.
Well 6 weeks ago the angel that is Sarah from ItsSarahAnn got a little Twitter group chat going and started with an opener along the lines of 'so I was thinking it was about time I met some of the bloggers I talk to online and I was wondering if you guys would be interested in a picnic in Hyde Park' and that's all it took for me to be sold. The group message included me and Sarah, Mel, Hannah, Effi, Nina and Amyleigh and surprisingly quickly we decided on Saturday August 20th as the date and started praying for hot weather right there and then.
I'm going to do a blog post in a few weeks about the ins and outs of organising a bloggers event (hey, why not milk a topic as much as you can right?) but we essentially talked, planned, tweeted and schemed every single day. We all took on different rolls during the planning and shared the work out and Mel and Sarah let out their homes to boxes and boxes of freebies for weeks on end.
But! On Saturday, finally, finally all the hours of planning came together and we had a ball.
Honestly, we cannot thank Benugo enough for all the food they gifted us.
Up at the crack of dawn I hopped on the train from Cardiff to London Paddington with many a bag and suitcase in tow. After a brief Oyster card mishap in Paddington I rushed about a few tube lines and changes to Lancaster Gate station and waltzed through the entrance to meet Sarah, Mel and Hannah.
I just want to take a mo out of the story of the day to say for someone usually VERY nervous about new situations and prone to a sneaky bit of anxiety, hopping off to London for the day to meet 20 people I didn't know didn't faze me at all. Whilst meeting all the other bloggers felt like putting a face to name of people I talk to online, meeting my fellow organisers felt like seeing friends I'd seen last week. Maybe it's because we talked so much, maybe it's because they just seem exactly like me, either way when I spied them (I used Hannah's hat as a reference point FYI), I sprung out of the tube station with a big HEYYYYYYY and we launched into conversation like we'd know eachother years. Baes.
Sarah, Hannah, Mel and I dragged our suitcases and bags and hampers and big silver trough (yes really) through Hyde Park to the location Sarah and Mel had scouted out for the venue weeks beforehand. They absolutely nailed it and it worked so well (despite a few people getting lost, soz guys, glad you made it!). Just off the path in between a load of trees for shelter/bunting with a bench for goody bags and near the toilets in the Serpentine Gallery we could not have found a more ideal location with such a stunning view that I erm, forgot to take a photo of. Bad blogger.
In hindsight, maybe we needed to show up to set up at the crack of dawn because the decorating and organising took A LOT of work and we were still going when guests turned up. Luckily they were all major babes and helped get out the blankets and food and managed to chat to me whilst I was tying 724027358623453 name labels on goody bags.
Thanks again to Benugo for their generosity.
After a lot of running around and a lot of patient guests who tucked into the grub and let us do our thang, we could eat. Except lol we couldn't cos we had to take photos of all the spread beforehand naturally, we are bloggers after all. Amongst everything the guests brought (which was A LOT, they were incredible) we also got gifted a lot of food and drink including a delivery from Benugo, plus snacks from Oreo, Robinsons, Ritz, Mikado and Vita Coco. The amount of food we were given absolutely surpassed our expectations and there was no way I could eat it all, I think I managed a bit of everything around me but the other half of the picnic I couldn't even reach, it was insane. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and the food and nobody could really believe how much we had.
To top the afternoon off, at 3pm we had arranged a delivery from Only By Nature who got in touch to ask if we'd like some icecream brought to the event. Insanely generous and we didn't need to do a thing, their reps brought us a huge bag of icecreams in Mango and Summer Berry flavour icecreams that really just ended the picnic on a sweet note. Naturally loads of us let ours melt whilst we were too busy taken photos but luckily there was more than enough and in the end we still had some leftover and they were kindly given away to children and people playing in the park.
Huge huge thank you to all the brands who gifted us food and drink for the picnic, we weren't expecting half as much and it really gave an edge to the whole afternoon. There'll be a proper brand review later this week!
Decorations really made the difference to the day in my opinion. The things we bought and the things we were gifted took the event from just a picnic to an Instagram event! Bearing in mind it had rained in the morning the ground was pretty dry but 10 towels given to us by Hammam Havlu meant we were saved from sitting on leaves and getting dirty bums! We got sent a range of colours and patterns and they were huuuuuge so they spread out and fitted us and the picnic lovely! As organisers we were lucky enough (honestly, they were my fav things of the day) to get one towel each to take home and 4 lucky raffle winners nabbed one each as well!
Interior Goods provided us with 6 strings of bunting, all in a range of colours and patterns which Hannah and Sarah bound together and hung from the trees, making a triangle for the picnic to be held under. With that we also hung butterfly bunting and decorations which were given to us by Talking Tables along with party supplies like straws and serving trays and whilst some of them got uhm, a bit battered by the wind, we all got to take some decorations home with us too!
And if that wasn't enough, just to add to the atmosphere and to give us something else to take photos of, Bloom And Wild sent us 2 bouquets to display in the picnic and they took pride of place in the middle. Bloom and Wild are well known to bloggers, I have seen a lot of people work with them before but even after all the reviews I was still so impressed with their service and so thankful for what they sent us. Hand packed and delivered in a long thin box they fit through your letterbox so there's no need to wait in for them and that makes such a big difference to flower delivery in my opinion. They're sent in bud so they flower a day or two after you get them which was ideal for us and they looked gorgeous amongst all the food and handled the windy weather with just one little tip over.
Andddd if that wasn't enough fun and food and goodies, we only went and nabbed a few more things for our lovely guests to take home with them as a huge thankyou for coming down and supporting us. Goody bags is a bit of a grey area at events these days I think, I feel like lots of event organisers now don't want to put one together because some bloggers expect to be given one and essentially just come for the freebies but we decided we would organise a little one just to say ta.
We didn't expect half as much for the goody bags as we got and we were so thrilled to be able to put together such a selection for people to take home - it took some serious packing! Each bag included the following;
1x brand information card
1x handwritten thank you card
Leaflets from some of the brands involved
1x Gwennan Rees Illustration discount code and #BloggerPitP pencil
2x Sparkleberry Illustration prints and 1x greetings card (this is Effi's work FYI)
1x bag of Propercorn popcorn
1x handbag sized Robinsons squash
1x Bassett's Vitamins
1x Zap It insect bite remedy
1x Frezyderm suncream sachet
1x OTeas teabag
1x Milton antibacterical wipes
1x Aduna superfood sachet
1x Graze bag
1x bag of Ape Snacks Coconut Curls
1x Lily O'Brien bar of chocolate
1x Lily O'Brien bag of chocolate pieces
1x Talking Tables pineapple decorations
We were so so pleased people wanted to get involved with items for the goody bags and we'd like to say a huge thank you to the brands who reached out and gave us things - it did make the difference and each goody bag was named for each individual guest.
And as if that wasn't enough, to top it all off we also held a raffle which worked out perfectly as we had enough prizes for everyone who attended to win one, and I'm sure some people managed to bag two! We gave away 6 pieces of bunting from Interior Goods, 4 towels from Hammam Havlu, 2 huge boxes of tea from OTeas and countless boxes of Lily O'Brien chocolates.
Everyone said they had a fabulous time at the event and if the reviews and following tweets and Instagrams were anything to go by, they didn't lie. Personally, I had a bloody lovely afternoon and we can only thank the people who came and the weather for holding the rain off, even if the wind did cause a few loose flying obstacles!
I was so excited to see some of the people I chat to on Twitter particularly Libby, Sarirah, Kat, Becky, Jessica and James because they're some of my absolute favs! I was also made up to see some of the people I follow on Twitter that I didn't realise were coming like Sophie, Georgie, Izzy, Megan and Poppy. And then I got to meet a whole bunch of people I didn't know, who I now do like Harriet, Mario, Gavin and Mark and it was so lovely to have a chat, get to know them and find more blogs to read! It's so good to put a face to a blog or a Twitter handle and to just chat to people about blogging, SEO, youtube, brands and photos!
Finally, cos I know this post has gone on and on already, I'd just like to end by taking a little moment to gush about these three gals. They made the whole day so easy, so much fun and you would not believe the amount of work that went into planning it.
From the second I met them at the station to the moment we hugged our goodbyes I could not stop laughing, they were fabulous and I can't wait to organise the next one with them!
Huge shout out to Effi and Nina too for all their hardwork organising when they couldn't even make it to the actual day, it was a real team effort - lots of love for all of you!
A lot of the items for our picnic, the raffle and the goody bags were gifted to us for free.