#EastMidsMeetUp Leicester
Image Credit: Charlie Jones

PLANNING 

On Saturday 13th August, a 40 strong group of East Midlands Bloggers headed to Leicester for the #EastMidsMeetUp, an event that had taken months of planning between myself, Emmie (Carpe Diem Emmie), Kirsty (Kirsty Ralph) and Lianne (The Brunette Says). I think we can credit Bru Coffee and Manhattan 34 for thoroughly fuelling our planning sessions, as many a chocolate fudge brownie and mojito were consumed during the process! This is part 1 out of my #EastMidsMeetUp posts as I don't want to bore you to sleep with something that would take an hour to read! I also have another post on the goodie bags, as well as one reflecting on the process of organising an event. 

I had never gotten involved in organising a blogger event before, and it was something that I had always wanted to do. So when fellow Mojito lover and Partner-In-Crime, Emmie mentioned about looking for help for this summer's event, I was right in there! I decided that I would take control of brands, sourcing products for the goodie bags and raffle, whereas Em took care of the logistical stuff (venue, music etc.), Lianne was in charge of the guest-list, emails and the ice-breaker and Kirsty was on charity duty. 


#EastMidsMeetUp Leicester
Image Credit: Charlie Jones

THE EVENT 

On the day of the event, we all headed to Bru for brunch to continue the tradition and then popped over to our event venue, Manhattan 34. After a quick set up and emergency Poundland run to find some cups, the guests and brands began to arrive, and the venue was soon buzzing. On arrival, we had the lovely Becky Bruce singing, which gave the event a lovely atmosphere. Becky did an amazing job of projecting her voice over the hustle and bustle of chatty bloggers, and I can't thank her enough for stepping in at the last minute after our planned act cancelled on us. 


#EastMidsMeetUp Leicester


We were keen to get Rothley Wine Estate in on the action, so we were joined by Liz who was on hand to provide everyone with a cup of fizz as they entered the venue. The wine of choice was Spirit of Freedom, a fizzy rosé, and I was really impressed. Now I'm no wine blogger (for that, you might want to check out Laura), but I loved its delicate sweetness, and it was definitely a summer drink, something that I could imagine drinking at a picnic alongside a punnet of fresh strawberries. It was a lovely touch to offer the chance to try a local wine. 

Mahanattan 34 were also on hand to dish out cocktails. I'm a sucker for a cocktail or two and we knew Manhattan had some amazing mixologies up their sleeves. Their bar staff were great at keeping up with the orders of 40 thirsty bloggers too! I had the Secret Garden, which was easily the nicest combination I've had in a long while, with gin, elderflower and blackberry (but don't quote me on that). I saw some bloggers with some amazing looking lemon meringue cocktails, definitely need to pop back to try that one. I'm so glad everyone seemed to love the drinks and the venue as much as we did! We were also joined by some of the lovely staff members from Bru, who generously provided a selection of their delicious cakes, as well as savoury nibbles from Lilu Fine Dining


#EastMidsMeetUp Leicester
#EastMidsMeetUp Leicester
#EastMidsMeetUp Leicester


It was a pleasure to have Blogosphere Magazine at the event, and it was our chance to show off the growing blogging community of our region. Blogosphere were available to chat to bloggers about their magazine, many of which were new to the magazine. Alice (editor-in-chief) and Albertine, (events & editorial assistant), also kindly gave a talk about getting involved in the magazine and their events schedule. The ladies were both so lovely, and it was great to see them so enthusiastic about our growing blogging community in the East Midlands. I love how the magazine also opens it's arms to smaller bloggers, proving you don't have to have a million Instagram followers or a diamond play button to feature on its pages.

We also had a talk from the lovely Gabby from local PR company, Cool As Leicester. Gabby gave us an insight in how to approach brands, what what PRs look for when scoping out blogs for future collaborations and most importantly, what not to do! It was so lovely to see the feedback from our bloggers saying that the talks had inspired them. We really wanted the focus to be the experience, rather than grabbing freebies like some other events, which is why we organised the talks. I know there were a few points that I mentally jotted down!


#EastMidsMeetUp Leicester


We also made sure our guests were sufficiently pampered on the day, as I invited two local salons to the event. We had Danique Hair, fresh from their appearance on TOWIE, covering all things well... hair. They were one of the first brands we thought of as we all loved their demos as part of their event last winter. Below you can see blogger babes Tiff (Frost In Space) and Izzy (A Dose of Chatter) getting the Danique treatment. The girls did a wonderful job as everyone's hair looked amazing! 

We also had the lovely girls from Angel Eyes, who have their HQ nearby, giving sample lash extensions to our bloggers. The girls did a fabulous job and I was extremely jealous as the finished results were amazing. I'm definitely going to book myself in to get my lashes done. The ladies were extremely professional and friendly, and I really hope we get the chance to work with them in the future. 


#EastMidsMeetUp Leicester
#EastMidsMeetUp Leicester
Image Credits: Charlie Jones


We also arranged a raffle, raising money for Bowel Cancer UK and Rainbows Hospice. We had a whole host of prizes, from local meals out, cinema and bowling trips, to hair cuts. The star prize was a Happiness Planner, something we all had our eyes on, but we couldn't prepare ourselves for Izzy's reaction when she was announced as the winner. I really wish I'd caught it on camera as it was priceless! I'll be going into more detail about the raffle prizes and goodie bags in  my next #EastMidsMeetUp post, but again we had some amazing goodies that myself and Emmie worked hard to source. In particular, I want to thank Matalan and MERUMAYA for being so brilliant, as well as Covershoot Cosmetics and Collection for helping us out last minute. 


WHAT THE ATTENDEES THOUGHT 


We had some incredible feedback, and overall the event went better than we could ever have imagined. Some of the feedback really meant a lot to us, as we achieved exactly what we wanted to. To create something where people could make friends, be inspired and... It was great to see everyone interacting. I think a lot of newer bloggers in particular are a bit apprehensive about events, and think those with more established blogs won't speak to them. I know some that I have been to in the past have been a bit cliquey, but I don't think this was the case at ours. 

TWEETS









WE WERE EVEN TRENDING!





BLOG POSTS

Discovering Charlotte - Events: The East Midlands Meet Up
Comic Books & Yellow Ducks - East Midlands Blogger Meet Up
Sophie's Notebook - I went to the #EastMidsMeetUp!
Extreme Housewifery - #EastMidsMeetUp
Kirsty Ralph - Events | #EastMidsMeetUp
Carpe Diem Emmie - #EastMidsMeetUp, Leicester
Frost In Space - #EastMidsMeetUp
If you came to the meet up and I haven't linked up your post, do comment below/tweet me the link etc and I'll add it to the list!