Sunday, 26 June 2011

My Cybermummy Experience

From the moment our Hyundai Santa Fe arrived, the Cybermummy excitement began!  I hadn't driven further than 20 miles for years.  I had developed a touch of agoraphobia and a total loss of confidence resulting in my self-imposed 20 mile radius of containment. But here I was with gorgeous vehicle that meant I had to drive to Central London without relying on my husband and personal chaffeur Ian.  This time last year I would have been rocking in the corner, rigid with fear at the prospect of having to come out of my comfort zone.  However, since I started my blog in September last year, miraculous things have happened.  My self-worth has grown exponentially, my confidence has increased, I have validation, purpose and self belief.  I feel like I really exist in the world, and not just within my four walls.  So the arrival of the Hyundai heralded an opportunity.  A chance for me to actually break out on my own.

Armed with a spanking new Sat Nav that Ian had bought for me especially for the journey, and with my co-driver Louise, I was raring to go.  Apart from the trauma of leaving my breastfeeding boy I was eager to take the bull by the horns and test out my newfound independence!

The three and a half hour journey from Shropshire to London was made all the more entertaining by Hyundai's challenges that had been set for all six of the carshare cars, and more satisfying due to the hamper of goodies that kept us going whilst navigating the M6!  The car itself was a joy to first foray into the automatic car market was something I thoroughly enjoyed.  The car was responsive, powerful and the steering was light for such a big 7 seater 4x4 vehicle!

Finding a parking space in Central London was a bit hair raising, and we ended up in a scary place up a narrow, steep ramp in the back of beyond.  But we had made it!

The Hoxton Hotel was a very modern and funky affair.  My room was amazing with modern decor and a huge bathroom with wet room.  Once I worked out the I needed to put the keycard into a slot by the door to activate the electricity I was fine (till then it was a bit dark!)

Being on my own for the first time in years was not at all scary.  I have really grown through the miracle of blogging!

We spent the evening with Sandy Calico and her dinner guests at a little Italian Pizzeria.  Bar being given bad directions and walking in the London rain for half an hour longer than we needed to, with Lou in her spiked heel party shoes, we made the rendez-vous to meet with some old friends and make some new ones!  We were slightly bedraggled but as soon as the food arrived all was well in the world! Our first goodie bag, courtesy of Sandy,  was very impressive!  Walking back to the hotel resulted in poor Lou's feet Converse may not have looked as sexy, but my feet were unscathed!

The night spent alone in the crisp white sheeted luxury of the Hoxton bed was devoid of any sleep.  I'm just not used to being free from the high alert state of wakefulness that co-sleeping creates.  However, it was a very comfortable sleepless night!

Next morning we took a black cab to the Brewery and felt very official with our lanyard and name card.  We had to go to hand in our Hyundai keys at their stand first thing, and the seductive nature of the other brands with their giveaway goodies and friendly banter was quite addictive.  Chatting to the PR ladies at Crocs, Butlins, the Portland Hospital and E45 made us lose all track of time, and before we knew it we had totally missed the opening speeches and Sarah Brown's Keynote speech.  Oops...note to a watch!!  I had no idea of the time but the lack of bloggers really should have given it away!  I was gutted to have missed the highlight of the morning....and pretty sad to have missed the Dodo Pads which were given away on the tables.  But this faux pas is very typically me.

We attended a Facebook and Twitter Workshop (we meant to attend a different one about marketing your brand but again, it is typical of me to go to the wrong place!!)  However it was imformative and I learnt all about bitly.

I also attended the Working With Brands workshop which was really informative and interesting (except for the last speaker...sorry, the sociology of parenting just wasn't a good fit to the proceedings.  Apologies if our sneaking out was offensive!)

It was an incredibly exhausting day, but coffee, chocolates, pop, smoothies and other goodies (Johnson's Baby Cupcakes were so divine!) were on hand for caffeine or sugar hits when the energy levels sapped.  I was very good and ate next to nothing naughty....but with Sandra from Thinking Slimmer there, I wouldn't be anything other than virtuous would I!  She was as lovely and supportive in real life as she has been in the virtual world!  Meeting Trevor, the voice of the Slimpods, was a particular highlight of my day....he has been "with me" on and off since last November, helping me lose weight and keep on the dieting straight and narrow. (And he smelt really nice!)

The final crowd sourced speeches were a wonderful way to round up the official proceedings.  There were a range of subjects covered from the incredibly moving story of childhood cancer to the hilarious story of vibrator disposal.  They really showed the diversity of the blogosphere, which to me is its beauty.

Most of all to me, it was meeting the wonderful women from behind the words, that made Cybermummy 11 the wonderful experience it was.  Catching up with Blog Buddies from previous events was fabulous.  Having a laugh with Emma my fellow Graco Ambassador was such fun.  Meeting the lovely Mumentum ladies including  Liska , was a wonderful way to put faces to the names of the supportive bunch who have encouraged me along  my weightloss journey. Sitting with Working London Mummy who I first met through the Brit Mums Comment Group, as we watched Boris Johnson's sister get a bit of verbal abuse from the floor was memorable!  Super Amazing Mum lived up to her moniker...when we first met in the virtual world last year, due to both being finalists in the same national competition, we would never have believed our blogging would have lead to us both meeting at the biggest UK conference for Mummy Bloggers.  There are too many other people to mention by name, but I loved meeting everyone on my 'must meet' list.  I was just sad that I didn't get to meet Kate Takes 5...but I saw her up on stage, so that will have to suffice.

I was delighted, humbled and overjoyed when people recognised me and wanted to talk to me.  I felt proud of myself and my blog, and a little incredulous that I was actually at a conference in London, unthinkable just 9 months ago!

To top off a fabulous day, I won the top prize in the Cybermummy Prize Draw and will be off to a hotel with the family as a result.  I was thrilled to bits!

We drove home afterwards and arrived back in Shropshire at 1am...knackered but in a good way.  My baby boy and his daddy were sound asleep in our bed.  Freddy woke up at 5am and I couldn't have been more delighted to see my little man because by this time I was actually crying with intense boob pain from not feeding him for over 36 hours.  I hadn't anticipated just how bad I would feel...weaning by cold turkey would have worked for him, but not for me.  I had rock hard boobs and lumps in my armpits that made my toes curl with cringy agony! But I am starting the gradual process of weaning him now, knowing that he can cope without breastfeeding during the day.  Another step on my journey begins.

Cybermummy 2011 was an experience I am delighted to have had and I am grateful to Graco and Hyundai for making it all so possible!


  1. Read this in the bath on my gorgeous new smart phone about half an hour ago. Not easy to comment from it, so doing so now.
    Really enjoyed this post as it goes through so many elements of the day.
    I loved the hyundai car too :-) We were in car 1. Really added to the glamour of the day.
    Thanks for the mention and it really added to the day to meet and hug you.
    Liska xxx
    (only wished I could have talked to you for longer)

  2. I am so so sorry to have not found you - maybe next year !!!

  3. It was lovely to meet you briefly Wendy, and your as lovely in person as you are on your blog. I was also rock hard and so sore when I got home! I literally felt relief when she had a feed! X

  4. notyetayummymummy26 June 2011 at 19:58

    It was so nice to meet you and I just can not believe your amazing blog has been going for such a short time. You're an inspiration to all us newbies x

  5. Sounds like you had a ball, lovely to see you, even if it was only brief. So many people and so little time - wasn't there?

    From chatting to you online I would have had no idea that you were nervous to travel and come to the conference. You always seem to confident and sure. I am pleased to hear that blogging has helped you to gain your self-worth, that makes blogging really worth it, doesn't it?

    Mich x

  6. Was such fun to see you again Wendy, I can't believe you made me have my pic taken for Hyundai! Thanks for linking me, I am cream crackered now but agree it was a woderful weekend.

  7. Was so lovely to see you. Wished had more time to chat but glad you got home ok and all was well at home (despite the sore boobs) xx

  8. I met Geek Mummy my fellow Craniac! I looked out for you but didn't see you x

  9. It was all so fast paced wasn't it! Lovely meeting are such a stunning and lovely lady! :) x

  10. It is such a relief isn't it! Glad you had a great time after all the worry and Mads was OK! xxx

  11. Thank you so much :) It was so lovely to meet you xxxx

  12. Thanks Mich...even though it was brief I enjoyed meeting you! x

  13. Hahaha!!! Team Graco all the way! I still can't believe the sociologist! xxx

  14. Thanks! Lovely meeting you...loved the pink ipad!!

  15. Wow sounds like you had an amazing time! Will have to make sure I attend next year :) x

  16. You really really was great! xxx

  17. Sorry I missed you! And well done on the London driving!

  18. What a delight to read your interesting, informative and amazing blog - I loved all your comments and am delighted you had such a fantastic time and met up with so many lovely fellow bloggers. I can't wait to read your next blog - they are much more interesing than mags and tele. Well done.

  19. Sounds like you had a FAB day - good for you! I'm SO going next year :D

  20. I didn't sleep much the night before either. Glad you enjoyed the day and congrats on winning the top prize.

  21. Am so pleased that you had a great day, and more importantly have achieved so much through blogging. I'm reading all the Cybermummy posts and trying to pretend that I went :)

  22. Congrats on winning. I'm not jealous, no, not one bit*. It was lovely to meet you xxx

    *That is a lie!

  23. Congrats on winning! Some awesome pics too!



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