I can hardly believe it, but three years ago today, I rather nervously published my first blog post. It was something I’d wanted to do for quite some time and it took a lot of courage to bite the bullet and to put myself out there. I had no specific plans for it, nor did I know how long I would do it for. It was simply a hobby born out of a passion for fashion and a love of writing. I knew nothing about web design or social media and I didn’t even know how to re-size the images to fit.
But I learned on the job and over time phrases like SEO, deep-linking and feed-burner became part of my vocabulary and gradually, very gradually, my audience grew and I began to receive lovely comments, feedback and enquiries from those that take the time and trouble to read my blog.
With everything in life, I believe in authenticity so I write openness and honesty, so reflecting my nature. Those that have followed my blog from the start have read of some quite life-changing events that I described two years ago on my blog’s first birthday and the support offered was overwhelming. It is the friendship from those readers and from fellow bloggers that is without question the most remarkable and rewarding part of blogging.
A close second comes the opportunities blogging affords me and the doors it has opened. I learn of new brands every week and get the opportunity to collaborate with them and to wear things I wouldn’t ordinarily choose. To try new things. I also attend blogger events and press shows, many of which are in London, a place to which I never tire of travelling.
So it was with perfect timing that on Monday of this week I had the privilege of combining all of these things with a trip to London for the 30-40+ blogger meet which took place at The Imperial on the Kings Road in the heart of the Chelsea Design area.
It was sponsored by Hope, a brand which despite being in its infancy, has rapidly become a highly regarded brand aimed at the 40+ woman. I’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with Hope on several occasions now, (my reptile print leggings and a black cocoon dress that I wore last week) and I wore a pair of their stretch trousers to the event. I can honestly say that they remained pristine all day and did not betray the 6 hours spent on trains and the hour spent sitting in a cab. (I did however think it prudent to avoid a cooked breakfast on the way down, instead opting the far safer yogurt and granola). I have a blog post in the pipeline dedicated to the outfit which I’ll share later this week.
This is Hope founder Nayna Mackintosh. (I was wearing vertiginous wedges and I’m 5’9.” Nayna who is petite was wearing flats!)
We were welcomed at the event by a glass of Prosecco, canapes and a goody bag. There followed a choice of lunch and despite not being vegetarian, I chose the meat-free option of spiced aubergine, cashew nut cheese puree, Arabian salsa, fresh red chilli, spring onions, hazelnut dukka topped with spring baby cress. It was divine and lunch provided the perfect opportunity to catch up with the new friends I’d met earlier in the year at Blognix.
It was also the perfect time to peruse our goody bags.
After lunch event organiser, (and dear friend), Catherine from Not Dressed as Lamb gave a very insightful talk about her own blogging story as well as reminders about the three most important things in blogging – Giving, Receiving and Exposing. The title was of course of humorous intent and it definitely made the key elements memorable. Catherine’s talk was honest and relaxed and she invited and answered questions throughout. I’m in touch with Catherine very regularly and with her, every day is a school day and her knowledge about blogging and photography is boundless.
There was time after the talk for chatting and I took the opportunity to step outside take a few photographs of the Imperial, while the sun shone on London.
The interior is as stylish as the facade with a large well-stocked bar, statement lighting and a very impressive wine rack.
The second talk was given by Nayna who gave us a round up of her quite extra-ordinary career in retail followed by the inspiration and motivation behind Hope.
Many of the garments are made in Britain from high quality fabrics and everything is cut to flatter and to drape beautifully. She explained that the whole collection is designed upon the principles of divine proportion which is found in science and nature and represents the balance of working in thirds. When dressing according to this principle, the body can appear elongated making the silhouette look taller and slimmer. In reality this would, for example, mean the top one-third of a woman in an outfit is comprised of her head and her top while the trousers down to the shoes make up the remaining two-thirds.
Like Catherine, Nayna talked about how important it is to give back and in the most wonderful gesture, she gave each and every delegate a bright pink Merino and cashmere poncho, individually wrapped with a hand-written note attached.
After her talk, we were invited to peruse the rails and to try the clothing if we so desired. Every item is universally flattering and it was great to see, as well as feel, everyone’s excitement.
It was wonderful to meet so many women that I had connected with via social media including Beata (Fashion Adventures at Any Age)…
…and Siobhan (WellStyled).
It was a brilliant, brilliant day and Catherine, Fluorescent PR and Hope did an amazing job. The overwhelming feeling was one of friendship and support and those who were at their first blogger event felt comfortable and welcome. It is a very special thing to be part of this 40-plus blogging community and I feel incredibly lucky to be among women that support and celebrate each other.
When friendships that start off virtually become real, it’s wonderful and my day out in London was the best blogging birthday present I could have wished for.
Love Liz x
*The cotton stretch ankle grazer in chalk, Hope Fashion £95
Pink pussy bow blouse, Closet at Aspire Style £29
Pink strappy wedge sandals, LKBennett, past season.
Double star ring in matt gold (also available in silver) £25 by Danon at Lizzy O
T-bar heart and freshwater pearl bracelet, £49, Danon at Lizzy O
(sign up to my monthly newsletter in the right hand sidebar of my blog for exclusive discounts for Lizzy O).
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