Photo courtesy Jamsmine Labna.it
I was looking towards this Food Blogger Connect with mixed feelings. There were many hopes and after the simple success FBC 2009 there was a standard to be set for FBC 2010. What excited me was that I was asked to speak again and this time I was teaming up with Mowie. Then I was also going to be seeing some good friends again and the excitement was reaching the summit of my emotions.
I’ve been pensive about this post. How should I present all that happened in four days in one post without overwhelming you?
I thought I would divide the weekend experience in two. This post focuses on the FBC 10 and a wonderful weekend of meeting exceptional likeminded people. My second post next week, I hope to share with you what we did when we were not at the FBC.
My journey to London was a bit of an odyssey and a lot of drama. I almost did not make it. Turning my notebook off, my last tweet on Thursday morning was that I was on my way to Frankfurt airport and I would see everyone in London. As I drove down the autobahn from Weimar I was in good spirits. I had plenty of time and was mentally going through all the people I was looking forward to meet. New faces, valuable experience and cherished friends – it was going to be a fantastic weekend.
Then things began going wrong. Like a bad nightmare – my engine died on me. On a German autobahn driving 180 kms on the left lane your engine has no right dying on you. The big powered cars behind me were closing in as I hit the warn lights, in retrospect I can hardly believe how composed I managed the situation. The steering wheel and brakes froze on me but somehow I managed to squeeze my little VW Golf between two trucks on the right and came to a halt on the hard shoulder. I was safe, alive and had not been wiped off the autobahn by crashing cars nor had I been squished between two trucks. I was shaking, as I put on the warn vest on and got out to put the warn triangle I was shaken some more by the high speeding trucks and cars that zoomed past me. All I could think of was “Haut Couture on the runway of a German autobahn!” A weak attempt at humor to keep my nerves calm.
The clock began ticking as I called the tow truck, got myself a rented car and drove that tiny Ford Fiesta to the airport in record time. There was no way I was missing the flight. While Tom called the airlines ahead to tell them I was on my way, I was driving making up time the GPS was giving me. It was close – too close but I got on that plane.
At this point I think I need to thank a bunch of people, right from the tow truck man, who organized the rented car for me, to the lady at the renting office who had prepared all the paperwork prior to me arriving, to the guy at the SIXT office at the airport who helped me with my luggage and ran down the corridor with me to get to the check-in and to the check-in person at the Lufthansa counter, who apparently knew all about my drama and winked at me when he saw my suitcase was 3 kilos over the limit and simply said “Because you’ve already had a hard day, I’ll let it pass!” Thank you! I think each of you helped me make up a few minutes!
Arriving in London still a bit shaken, I was simply looking forward to getting on with the fun and a good drink!
Friday evening the Food Blogger Connect 2010 opened it’s door at The Hempel Hotel. With wine tasting and good food we kicked off to a brilliant start. The weather was just gorgeous. London presented itself from its best side. A warm summer breeze gently whispered through the trees of the luscious gardens of the hotel. Over canapés and a lot of wine I simply delved into getting to know the people. Of course you head straight to those you know first. Those I met last time, with whom I shared emails, comments and tweets over months were spotted and many hugs and kisses later I took in the rest.
How incredible to be amongst those who understand what you are talking about. Those who do not look around embarrassed or cringe as soon as you whip out the camera at the sight of plated food. It was great talking with so many bloggers who shared the same passion and were on the same wavelength and often faced the same issues. I was loving it.
Chris – the perfect host
The first of the presentations began with a live Skype session with the gorgeous Jaden of Steamy Kitchen.
Jaden talked about “Monetizing Your Blog” and in her beautiful exuberant way she captured the attendees. Treat your blog like a brand was her message and use all the platforms available to you for your advantage. Develop your brand, your skills and reach out was what she advised.
As the presentation wrapped up we were all looking forward to spending the rest of the evening with some good food, wine and more chatter. Mowie whisked me away and made me feel like a star for a few minutes. “You look gorgeous, let me take a few pictures of you in the evening light!” I was flattered and after the crazy events of the day before I was able to relax and have a good laugh with him.
Photos courtesy of Kerrin and Mowie
Saturday came and I got up with a slight nervousness in the pit of my stomach. I was going to be presenting that day and although it is about a topic I can talk about in my sleep – it’s different when one speaks in front of an audience. While I’ve presented on this topic a few times in the past I was still had the case of stage fright.
The first of the talks started with the lovely and extremely hilarious Jeanne of Cook Sister, who talked about “Copyright and Plagiarism” with a smooth lead into “Effective Recipe Writing”
Jeanne explained the difference between plagiarism and copyright. While copyright is a technical issue about ownership, plagiarism on the other hand is about dishonesty where one pretends that someone else’s work is their own. She also discussed Creative Commons. What I personally liked the most was how Jeanne explained how one can use material without infringing people’s copyright and also showed how we can protect our work.
How to write a recipe for your blogs might sound easy but there are many points one needs to take into consideration. These points were comprehensively displayed by Jeanne. She talked about structuring the post and the actual recipe and paying attention to details like metric, volume and other measurements.
Hilda – Dissect My Camera - Photo courtesy Mowie
Hilda of Saffron and Blueberry took the stage and showed “How to dissect the camera”. Not always an easy topic to tackle but Hilda did such a brilliant job and explained how aperture, shutter speed and ISO works to give us a “correct” exposure.
Jeanne, Jamie and Kerrin – Writing Style and Voice
Each of the three ladies had a different style but each harmonized perfectly. Whether one is writing about memories, facts, emotions there are certain things to keep in mind. Find your style and keep it was their message.
Photo courtesy Jamsmine Labna.it
Lunchtime came and I do not remember eating that much, but was fueled to get to my presentation. Mowie and I had a great time presenting to everyone. We talked about “A Food Photography Experience” where Mowie explained his approach on food photography and styling and I tried to tackle certain aspects of the topics, like what is important when taking pictures in artificial light. Where the best light placement is to achieve maximum results and the light is the primary tool for each photographer and not the camera.
We just loved all the questions that were asked and if we were allowed to run loose I am sure we could have talked photography for the rest of the day.
The scene was then moved to the garden with a live photography workshop and where we had time to answer many more questions. If anyone still has questions or has tried something and needs some advice, please folks do not hesitate to drop me an email. The feedback I’ve gotten so far has been brilliant and I am so glad you enjoyed the photography session. If you were at the FBC 10 I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback.
Initially the lovely Beatrice was also planned for our panel but due to a few personal reasons she was unable to make it. We missed you Bea!
After a relaxing teatime with delicious cakes, photo sessions and my favorite part chatting with everyone and finally digging into more food the day ended on a high note.
Jeanne, Jamie, Me, Kerrin and Hilda – All smiles after our presentations
Photo courtesy Mowie
Sunday we all headed back to The Hempel for the final presentation. Julia Parsons of A Slice of Cherry Pie and Kerrin presented “How To Get Published & Get Feature Work”. Julia turned out to be a wonderful surprise. Although I do not follow her blog regularly I have visited her and “known” her for a little while. She was gentle and very open. Both ladies discussed getting published and how to get feature work sharing insider tips and gave valuable ideas on how to approach publishers, literary agents and magazine editors.
My little pot of loveliness - Kerrin
The final session on Sunday was another live Skype presentation from Ireland and Niall Harbison of Simply Zesty discussed “Marketing, Social Media & Word of Mouth.”
Time was coming to say our goodbyes and I could feel the lump in my throat grow as each minute past. Brunch was delicious and maybe slightly subdued due to the farewells that was imminent.
I was focusing very hard on not getting emotional and enjoyed the last few hours with all these wonderful people and more.
Pensive Mowie – I love this shot!
The delightful Charlie of Eggs on the Roof
Adorable Pascale of Extra Relish
Bubbly Anne of Anne’s Kitchen
Sweet Sarka of Cook Your Dream
Lovely Sarah of Maison Cupcake
Simply the best – Bruce of Cunningeye
Food Blogger Connect 2010 came to an end. Saying goodbyes are always hard and leaving the party even more so.
A huge thanks to the organizers of the event Beth of Dirty Kitchen Secrets, Mowie of Mowielicious, Jamie of Life’s a Feast, Hilda of Saffron and Blueberry and Sarka of Cook Your Dream. Plans are being made for Food Blogger Connect 2011 so keep yourself tuned to the Food Blogger Connect website.
Associated Press Horizons: Lifestyle has aired a clip on the Food Blogger Connect 2010, which does put a smile on my face. ;o)
Below are the websites of all of the attendees who were a part of the event and made it a success.
Stay tuned for part two next week.
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