Almost three weeks ago, I went to BlogOn blogging conference in Manchester for the third time. BlogOn Xmas was my first conference in September last year and I loved every moment of it. I wore a turkey hat and by popular demand, I was asked to bring it back again this year! My experience at BlogOn X in May wasn’t as as it should have been as I felt unwell and missed a lot of it, but I was back on form for BlogOn Toys this September and raring to go! I just didn’t bargain on a visit to A&E at Salford Royal Hospital until the early hours of the morning.
“A Christmas party, in September?!” I hear you ask. Yes, is the answer, and it was fantastic! For bloggers Christmas starts far earlier than it does for everyone else. Indeed, things may have started to come out into the shops for the last week or so, but chances are most of us have been thinking about our Christmas content for much longer.
I decided that the Christmas party the night before the conference was the place that the turkey hat would make his appearance again. After checking into Hotel Football, I got ready, pairing him with a a red blazer dress, black lace bralet and strappy black heels. I accessorised with a black clutch and my capricorn necklace from Muru Jewellery.
It was great getting to interact with other bloggers face to face, there were fun games on the table and there was even a hoverboard we could try if we were feeling brave.
I loved the moustaches from Paladone! I look great with a handlebar moustache, I’ll have you know.
The views over Manchester at the top of the hotel were absolutely beautiful and I was so excited to get rainbow glitter on my face!
However, as I waited in the glitter queue, I had a worried sounding phone call from my husband.
A visit to A&E
I hot footed it to the lift and ran along the corridor to my hotel room. Dave had had his back turned for a second, when Autumn decided it would be a great time to leap off of the bed, taking a chunk out of her face and giving herself a black eye in the process. I still don’t know quite how she did it, as I felt the edge of the bedside unit and there weren’t really any obvious sharp bits.
We went down to reception to get a second opinion from a first aider, who confirmed what I thought, we should take her to hospital as it was a pretty deep cut. We went back up to the hotel room for the car keys and to grab a few things. I popped on a blouse, jeans and Converse so that I’d be more comfortable.
After a very long 5 hour wait in A&E, Autumn’s face had finally stopped bleeding and she had it glued back together by two lovely nurses. I was relieved she didn’t need butterfly stitches, as they would have been more painful for her. Why do children always injure themselves when photos are due though? The weekend after BlogOn we had Autumn’s second birthday and a christening to celebrate – typical! Still, I’m just glad that my husband managed to catch her mid-fall, otherwise it would have been worse. I hate to think what might have happened had she caught her eye.
We had no trouble getting her to sleep when we got back to the hotel. The member of staff at the desk was lovely, as the earlier staff had been who told him about us. He was very sympathetic towards Autumn and arranged to get some warm milk sent to our room quickly. I was starving as I hadn’t had dinner, so sat in the shower of our hotel room eating a panini and salad from the room service menu at 3.20am. It tasted like heaven!
Having gone to bed past 4am, I woke up very bleary eyed and ended up missing sign in and the welcome speech by the time I’d got ready and had breakfast. Determined to make the most of the time, I browsed the toys in the Toy Awards and cast my votes. There were amazing entries this year, so it was very tough competition! Then I made my way down to the brand den for a little while before heading to a fantastic session about SEO and monetisation. As usual, the rest of the day went in a crazy blur full of excitement and colour, but before long it was lunch time.
The food was amazing, even for me as a fussy vegetarian! It’s very unusual for me to fill a plate, but as you can see, I did! The sandwiches I chose were a festive brie and cranberry.
Despite this not being BlogOn Xmas, there were lots of Christmassy elements to the day. One of these was kilted sausages. I mean, it’s not Christmas if there aren’t pigs in blankets!
There are so many amazing brands that I deliberately missed a session or two just so I could spend time looking at their products and talking to all the lovely PRs. Three of my favourite products were the following:
1. Nintendo Labo
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from Google, it’s that cardboard and technology are a good mix. A really good mix! I had great fun trying out what Nintendo Labo has to offer at BlogOn. I visited them several times during the course of the day! The vehicle kit was great and I had fun driving around a race track (I won!) The steering was so light and responsive and I loved that there was a pedal like in a real car.
The other offerings were great too. I loved the fishing and this little piano was fun too!
2. Mini Mastersports Football
I was intrigued and pleasantly surprised when I saw Mini Mastersports’ stand at BlogOn. In a sea of plastic battery operated toys (not that there’s anything wrong with them, per se) their mini golf and football sets were really refreshing. They’re the sort of thing I can see being passed down from generation to generation and it’s great to see such a traditional kind of game that would appeal to people of all ages.
I was amazed to see the golf set had different golf club heads, just like you need different clubs when you play golf in real life. However, as more of a football fan, I preferred that set. There are different ways to make the game more challenging to add interest. You can even paint the player to wear the colours of your team! When you pull the lever, the player’s leg kicks out very realistically. Here’s an action shot:
3. Design a Friend
I was surprised by the lovely quality of the Design a Friend dolls, especially their hair! The little girl inside me really wants them. I guess I’ll just have to wait until Autumn’s old enough, then secretly play with them when she goes to bed! The clothes they have are wonderful. I loved that there were boards at BlogOn showing the design process and swatches of the lovely materials.
You can’t mention BlogOn without talking about the cake! BlogOn Toys’ cake did not let us down. With so much detail and Party Pop Teenies adorning it, it was my favourite cake yet! Even better, there was a rainbow inside too.
It’s at this point, I should probably say that I upped my hat game for BlogOn Toys with a Christmas tree! Here I am with a life-size Playmobil Santa, as you do!
Oh, and last but not least, you can’t talk about BlogOn without mentioning the epic goody bags! Here is a combination of my goody bag, as well as my tombola and raffle winnings:
If you’re thinking about BlogOn but unsure, just do it! You’ll have a whale of a time! Thank you and well done to Laura and the team for doing such a cracking job again.