What It's Really Like Going Away With Bloggers.
"My parents said I shouldn't talk to strangers online.....so I booked a holiday with them."
This very much became the quote of the weekend when I went to Hampshire with my blogging pals. Ok so we weren't all strangers this weekend but we were at one point. The background to the group for those who wonder how you make a blog squad maybe? Last summer Sarah had the idea of hosting a bloggers picnic and created a Twitter DM with us in it and the rest as they say is history. She chose us because we'd all chatted a lot on Twitter but I'd definitely say we all talked to Sarah individually more than we did as a group? But we were all game for organising the picnic and as most of you know, we hosted BloggersPitP (Bloggers Picnic In The Park) together in London in 2016.
At the picnic Nina and Effi couldn't make it (and Nina couldn't come to the weekend away FYI) but having met in real life on the most part we made the ultimate commitment and gave out our phone numbers and made the transition to Whatsapp. We haven't really stopped talking since then, if one member of the group goes out you can regularly expect to come back to 300+ messages.
So we did what any friendship group does when they're hankering to escape real life and take loads of candid photos - we booked a weekend away in Hampshire in the countryside.
Effi very riskily booked it having never met the rest of us but luckily we didn't turn out to be a group of middle aged men and I'm sure we've all made it plain we had the best time.
So what's it really like going away with a group of fellow bloggers?
Super, super motivating is the short answer. I think the best part of going away with a group of bloggers is they just get it? Not a word goes between you but yet you all stop to take photos at the same time. There's no sighing at the person lagging behind on the walk - you're just grateful they're taking photos of you looking like a girl band. Nobody berates you for having to re light the candles 3 times to get the perfect image. No one is offended when you ask them to move the eff out of the way because they're ruining your perfectly curated shot.
From the photo taking to the advice on cameras, the voting over 'does this image work with my Insta feed', proof reading blog posts, working out the ins and outs of Christmas content....the whole weekend was SO motivating because you're with people that get it. They know what angle you want for your outfit shot, they know to get snapping when you're pretending not to see, they know what algorithm and google analytics mean. You can talk about other bloggers you love and they know who you mean. You come away with so many ideas, feeling so much more connected to the blogging community and so much happier with the way your blog is heading.
But what's it like going away with THIS group of bloggers?
I don't want to get too mushy but here we go - they do this to me. We were a group of strangers who met online and were thrown together by one person (forever in your debt Saz) and she obviously had good judgement because good god we go together well.
When we came back we discussed how comfortable we all are together, how easy it was to just hang out. We've only met eachother twice at best, we had a lot of personalities, habits and food requirements to take in. We'd never been away together, we've never had a sit down meal together. Sure we talk online every day multiple times a day but there's nothing like real life is there?
And it went SO easy. We slotted in together like we'd been friends for life and this was our 10th weekend away. We went to bed whenever someone said "think I might head to bed" yet I stayed up eating (don't judge) with the light on whilst the other two slept. Hannah appaz wrote 2 blog posts at 2am with Mel sleeping soundly next to her. Effi woke much earlier than the rest of us and just pootled about till we got up. Everything was seamless, we ate when we wanted what we wanted, we did what we wanted, we made no plans, we went with the flow and the whole thing just flowed into one fabulous weekend.
There was no bitching, I never for a second thought they might be talking about me one on one, there was no stinking moods or aggravation over the decisions of someone else. There was no whining, no dominating friend, no awkwardness.
If there was silence it was comfortable and because we were all genuinely happy to be in each others company and nobody felt the need to speak just for speaking sake. There was time for everyone to speak, nobody was over powering or in your face and it was just a very equal friendship all round. We talked about the deepest darkest shit parts of our lives, we talked about the things our blogs will never see, we talked things we don't discuss with our families. We listened, we gave advice, we sympathised and then we ate cake.
For a group of people who started out as strangers who spoke online, I have made genuinely some of the best, most fun, sarcastic, lovely bunch of friends I could ever wish for. Enough emotion, over and out.