Food Blogger Connect ’10

by Jeanne on June 11, 2010

in Food Blogger Connect, Meeting bloggers

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Food Blogger Connect 2010 (Photo: Mowie)

Q:  What's even more fun that cooking, eating, photographing, talking about and writing about food?

A:  Cooking, eating, photographing, talking about and writing about food with other bloggers!

And it seems I am not the only food blogger who feels this way, judging by the turnout at the much-anticipated Food Blogger Connect conference which took place in London on 4, 5 and 6 June.  Food Blogger Connect 2009 had been a roaring success – could we possibly repeat the success and the elation?  Or would it be like going back to a place you remember fondly from your childhood and finding that you can't recreate the magic?  I was excited and nervous in equal measures as we arrived.

Food bloggers came from as far as Montreal, Finland and Zurich to be part of the fun, and they were not disappointed!  The Hempel Hotel provided a great indoor/outdoor venue for presentations, complete with two elephants from the London Elephant Parade (the strawberry ellie in the lobby and the chestnut ellie in the wonderful Zen garden with its impressively green but wierdly warm astroturf grass).  Even the weather played along and we were able to make use of the outdoor areas, unlike the torrential rain at FBC 2009!

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Zen garden at the Hempel hotel

Events kicked off on Friday afternoon with a wine-tasting led by Laura of Red, White or Pink.  This was a great way to ease into the conference and mingle while nibbling on delicious canapés, including mini pastry cases filled with vegetables and Parmesan, or  shredded duck; and my personal favourite: the smoked salmon mousse cones. 

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This was followed by a very engaging & energetic presentation from Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen on monetizing your blog which gave me quite a bit of food for thought – and made me wonder whether anybody who is not American can ever aspire to the levels of self-belief needed to get where Jaden is :o)  Back on the terrace, dinner was served in the form of a series of small bowls (none of which I photographed – mea culpa – but which included a Waldorf salad, delicious fish and chips with mushy peas; and a lamb stew with artichokes on truffly mashed potatoes) and then of course MINGLING!

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Photos:  Sarah

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   Meeta and me

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Kerrin and Chris

Saturday morning was a really early morning for me and my fellow Spice Girls Meeta, Jamie and Kerrin (not helped by the fact that we were all sharing the single bathroom at CookSister HQ!) but we made it on time to kick off proceedings with my talk on effective recipe writing and editing, and a talk on copyright issues in food blogging.  (If anybody still does not have the handout or has questions, please do feel free to ask me.  I'd also love to hear any feedback you had!).  After Hilda demystified our SLR cameras for us (having stepped in at short notice to replace Kang), I was back behind the mike with my fabulous co-presenters Kerrin and Jamie to talk about writing style and voice in our three very distinctive presenting voices!  I hope everyone took something away from this talk, other than the fact that I seem unable to speak without bringing fluffy kittens into it ;-)  The most interesting that I learnt, thanks to Nando, was that the fastest way to silence a room full of bloggers with a single sentence is to ask:  "So what are your stats?".  :o)

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Me, Jamie and Kerrin (Photo:  Mowie)

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Meeta & Mowie do their thing

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Jamie and Hilda talk cameras

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Karin puts the lesson to use!  

After a buffet lunch (featuring salads, fish an excellent duck breast with cherries), and a little light mingling, it was time for Mowie and Meeta to do their double act on food styling and photography.  Last year, Meeta's presentation caused me to buy a Lowel Ego light – who knows what photographic progress this year's presentation will yield?! After a brief diversion provided by Julia (Always Leave Room for Dessert) and her incredible stash of Bernard Callebaut chocolates, we moved back outside for tea, cake (much of it courtesy of Sarah from Food For Think – thanks Sarah!) and the photography practical, which saw people kneeling below towers of sliced watermelon to get the perfect shot and trying to find a new angle with coffee cups.  Observers would say we are mad – but at least we know we're happy!

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 Aoife and Jamie

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Kerrin and Hilda

Sunday morning we returned, bright and early, for the last day of the conference.  We kicked off on the terrace with a really informative and enjoyable presentation from Kerrin and Julia about getting published.  Julia focused on getting a book deal, while Kerrin specialised in freelance magazine work and a little stair dancing ;-).  Niall Harbison had been due to attend but owing to the usual service levels from Ryanair, he had not made it to London and joined us via Skype.  Other than a) rather a lot of irrelevant talking about the rich people he'd worked for and b) a fantastically ill-judged analogy about using sniper rifle instead of machine gun methods to market your blog, his talk was full of excellent advice on promoting your blog via social networking and left me with much to think about – primarily that I have to stop watching bad TV and go and blog instead!

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 Kerrin and Julia

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 Jamie and Sarah

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Pam and Charlie

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 Mowie & Mayssam

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 Beth and Chris

Brunch (resplendent with bacon butties, perfectly poached eggs and a granola that was 80% caramel) was followed by more mingling and the inevitable FBC video interviews revealing all our dirtiest kitchen secrets :o)

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Sarah and Bruce

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  Giulia and Pam

In summary, the event once again provided a range of really high quality presentations containing information that would have been so valuable to me had it been available when I started blogging (six long years ago!).  I think that the food blogging community is so fortunate to have so many people within it who are passionate and willing to share their tips for success rather than guarding them closely. 

But as with last year's event, the best part was the connections made.  It was lovely to see some old friends again (Julia of A Slice of Cherry Pie, Mowie of Mowielicious, Sarah of Maison Cupcake, Aoife of The Daily Spud, Gemma of Dressing for Dinner, Catty of The Catty Life, Pam of The Cooking Ninja, Sarka from Cooking Your Dream and Beth of Dirty Kitchen Secrets) and to meet some brand new ones (Giulia of Juls' Kitchen; Elisa of Aussie Foodie, Katharine of Girl in Madrid, Charlie of Eggs on the Roof, Anne of Anne's Kitchen, Kevin of One Week Wine Tour, Valentina of Cupcakes do Trem Bom, Andrew, Zoe from Paris and my neighbour for the presentations Karin of Yum and More – the latter three are not blogging yet but we will persuade them!) Great to meet you all and I look forward to getting to know you through your blogs :)

And then of course there were my darling Spice Girls – Sporty, Snarky, Zesty, Saucy and me (Sweary).  It is as if I have gained four sisters since I met this lot and our incredible 4-night FBC slumber party will be the subject of another post soon.  But for now can I just say what an honour it was to share the same podium as these talented, quirky, eloquent funny people.  This is one connection that I hope lasts forever.  Thanks to Beth and the organising committee (Mowie, Hilda, Meeta, Jamie and Sarka) and Roll on Food Blogger Connect 2011!

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The Spice Girls – Sweary, Saucy, Zesty, Sporty and Snarky (Photo:  Mowie)

For those of you who, like me, are struggling to go "cold turkey" after all the excitement of the FBC weekend, here are some resources you might like:

Here is what other bloggers had to say about FBC10:

- Jasmine of Labna – first post and second post

- Giulietta from Juls' Kitchen

- Tiina from Sparkling Ink

- Nando from Cuca Brazuca 

- Anne from Anne's Kitchen

- Sarah of Maison Cupcake – the food and the people

- Mowie of Mowielicious

- Kerrin from My Kugelhopf

- Jamie of Life's a Feast

- Meeta of What's for Lunch, Honey?

- Beth of Dirty Kitchen Secrets

- Tracey of International Foodie

- Pam of The Cooking Ninja

- Sarka of Cooking Your Dream

- Cecilia of One Vanilla Bean

- Bron from Feast with Bron

- Aoife of The Daily Spud

If you have posted about FBC 10 and do not appear on the list; or if I have spelt your name wrong; or if your blog link is wrong, please mail me (emailcooksister AT gmail DOT com) and I will do the necessary!

And last but not least, here is the master list of all the bloggers who attended.  Prepare to see your blogrolls grow – there is some great stuff in there!

Nando http://www.cucabrazuca.com
Andrew http://winit-theblog.com
Julie http://alkalinesisters.com
Katharine http://www.agirlinmadrid.com
Leen http://zibdeh.wordpress.com
Carla http://domesticventures.squarespace.com
Rachel http://www.cookyourlife.com/
Kelly http://www.tastour.co.uk
Adrienne http://www.gastroanthropology.com
Tiina http://www.sparklingink.com
Pascale http://www.extra-relish.blogspot.com/
Cecilia http://onevanillabean.wordpress.com/
Tess http://www.foodmatters.co.uk
Keith www.lookwhatwefound.co.uk
Matina http://www.fetaarepa.com
Charlie http://eggsontheroof.com
Ludger http://www.none.de
Karin http://yumandmore.com
Julia http://www.alwaysleaveroomfordessert.com
Catherine http://www.thecattylife.com
Kevin http://oneweekwinetour.wordpress.com
Leila http://www.delishvillesemgluten.com
Katie http://katielousbites.wordpress.com/
Valentina http://www.cupcakestrembom.com
Tracey http://www.international-foodie.blogspot.com/
Michele http://www.5amfoodie.com
Gemma http://dressingfordinner.blogspot.com
Heather http://www.eggscreamandhoney.com
Giulia http://en.julskitchen.com
Arthi http://debugcooking.blogspot.com/
Anne http://www.anneskitchen.co.uk
Pamela http://www.cookingninja.com
Bron http://practicallydaily.blogspot.com
Stacey http://peanutjealous.blogspot.com
Natashka http://peanutjealous.blogspot.com
Reena http://coconutraita.blogspot.com/
Aoife http://www.thedailyspud.com
Elisa http://www.aussiefoodie.blogspot.com/
Eunice http://heavenwildfleur.blogspot.com
Suzannah http://www.officelunches.blogspot.com/
Mayssam http://www.deliriouskitchen.com
Sarka http://www.cookingyourdream.com
Sharon http://www.seasontotaste.co.uk
Jasmine http://www.labna.it
Manuel http://www.labna.it 
Jeanne http://www.cooksister.com
Meeta http://www.whatsforlunchhoney.net
Mowie http://www.mowielicious.com
Jamie http://lifestafeast.blogspot.com
Kerrin http://www.mykugelhopf.ch
Hilda http://www.saffronandblueberry.com
Julia http://www.asliceofcherrypie.com
Sarah http://blog.maisoncupcake.com
Chris http://www.soulmekanik.com
Bethany http://www.dirtykitchensecrets.com

If you enjoyed this post, you might like my other posts on conferences where I was a speaker, at Food Blogger Connect 2009 and the 2010 South African Food Blogging Conference. 

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

Mowie June 12, 2010 at 1:29 pm

Great summary of the event. I keep reading each new post about FBC as if it were my first. And I can’t believe I’ve been doing just that for a whole week now! Loved reading this. Bring on the braai! x

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Sarah, Maison Cupcake June 12, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Wow! What a super duper comprehensive run down of everyone who was there and everything we did, I really enjoyed it, especially the photo of you and Meeta posing with matching bowls of vertical chips/fish fingery type things.
Jaden really blew me away, I can only imagine how intense her energy would have been if she’d been in the room for real. I often wonder when Americans find time to sleep and turn up at the gym at 5am. She really did start FBC with a bang, I think we were all fired up after hearing her!!
There is a lot to be said for watching bad tv though – if gives us something to talk about to non-bloggers!

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Colleen June 12, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Fabulous summary of a fabulous event. WOW!! No I wish even more……hehe! Well done to everyone! xx

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Jamie June 12, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Oh, Jeanne, fab write up from a fab sister! I am laughing and crying at the same time. But can I say that you have managed to not only put half a dozen PROFILE pics of me here for the public to see – and that is usually forbidden – but you actually make me look pretty good! Love this post and love your wonderful pictures and I can’t wait for the next post!
xo Saucy

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Charlotte June 12, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Looks like you had a wonderful time! Is it just me, or are food bloggers really organised? I can’t see book bloggers or writing bloggers pulling together such a great event.
*ducks in case missiles are thrown*

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deeba June 12, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Wonderful wonderful wrap on the event Jeanne. Read every word with a heavy heart, knowing HOW MUCH I missed! Awesome good photographs, each word brilliantly written … LOVED being here now!!

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Kalynskitchen June 12, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Looks wonderful. You look great in these photos too!
I am still planning to come next year with Lydia, keep your fingers crossed!

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tobias cooks! June 12, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I wish I had known about this before hand. I will look out not to miss the event once more.

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Sunita June 12, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Another post making me wish I was there! Jeanne, what a beautiful post, and what fun you had. Great to see you all again. The four of you must have had so much fun staying together!

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anubhav kapoor June 12, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I envy and love the kind of bonding that is visible through these pics. It looks like a happy bunch of people who mutually appreciate food in its entirety and have personally achieved some degree of success in pursuing what they truly like. I hope to at least connect to a group like this, if not become a part of it…good luck to all of you!

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anubhav kapoor June 12, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I envy and love the kind of bonding that is visible through these pics. It looks like a happy bunch of people who mutually appreciate food in its entirety and have personally achieved some degree of success in pursuing what they truly like. I hope to at least connect to a group like this, if not become a part of it…good luck to all of you!

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anubhav kapoor June 12, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I envy and love the kind of bonding that is visible through these pics. It looks like a happy bunch of people who mutually appreciate food in its entirety and have personally achieved some degree of success in pursuing what they truly like. I hope to at least connect to a group like this, if not become a part of it…good luck to all of you!

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Gemma June 12, 2010 at 3:11 pm

It was great, I’m sorry that I couldn’t make the whole weekend but glad I got the chance to say hi to you on the Saturday.

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Heather Davis June 12, 2010 at 3:23 pm

This was great Jeanne. Each write up
provides and new & interesting prospective
to the event. I love your honesty about the speakers! I am
American (although living in England almost 20yrs) and I think “wow that’s high energy”. Guess I’ve had it knocked out of me! Great to meet you. Hx

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Internatfoodie June 12, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Hi Jeanne. Great to meet you briefly at the end of FBC 2010. Really enjoyed all the advice/information you gave on recipe development, writing voice and Copyright/Plagiarism. (re: the later – it was really great to get some detailed, legal information – complimented the creative aspects of the agenda nicely!) Really love your approach to your blog – The humor and the dedication to South Africa despite being so far away. Very inspiring! Txx

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Kerrin @ MyKugelhopf June 12, 2010 at 5:16 pm

i would like to officially nominate your post here as the best fbc roundup ! wow, rock on sweary !! talk about getting as much info into one article as possible, this is chock-full of photos, people, links, food, … you didn’t miss a beat ! you even got the bowl of granola (ok, i had 2. or was it 3 ?) i had for breakfast – would you like some granola with your caramel ?? ;) and yes, i obviously want their recipe [hempel hotel chef if you are reading, thanks]
bravo for this post, jeanne, just fantastic ! i laughed, i nodded, i learned,.. i even read it twice ! can’t wait to share this with sporty hubs and parents. “if you have ANY questions about my weekend or fbc or anywho was there, just read this!” oh, and i’m ready for more. miss you and staying at cooksister hq ! xo from zurich, sporty hq ! :)

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Food For Think June 12, 2010 at 5:48 pm

You’re very welcome for the cake! Glad you enjoyed it.
Looks like you had an amazing time.
Lovely to see you just now for cream tea, hopefully see you soon.
Sarah x

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nina June 12, 2010 at 8:49 pm

What an amazing event and what an amazing write up!!!

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Joan Nova June 12, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Looks like a great event on every level. Thanks for sharing with folks on the other side of the pond.

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barbara June 13, 2010 at 12:12 am

Jeanne it was really lovely to read your report on the conference. Sounds like it was a great success.

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Barbara Diamond June 13, 2010 at 12:55 am

Good grief – how did I miss this? What a great time… I have to get up to speed so I don’t miss this event next year.

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Charlie, eggsontheroof June 13, 2010 at 9:28 am

This post captures the weekend perfectly with all its fun, charm and excitement. But what makes it even better is that it’s crammed with facts and information too, just like your fantastic talk.

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Meeta June 13, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Love the post Sweary. Looking at the pictures I am missing you more and more. Especially that one of the two of us together. At least we have July – Dresden – a-ha! The weekend flew by so fast and reading all the posts makes me happy and sad all at once. BEREFT!
Hugs Zesty
xx

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bellini valli June 13, 2010 at 6:38 pm

As always it soundfs like an amazing event to bring passionate people together. We really should have a Blogger Connect Canada:D

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catty June 13, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Great post and awesome summary, Sweary Spice!! Great to see you again too, albeit very quickly :)

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Juls @Juls' Kitchen June 13, 2010 at 10:00 pm

“Observers would say we are mad – but at least we know we’re happy!”
I totally agree with you!! I think it is a sentence that can resume perfectly the whole foodblogger world! Awsome!! :D
I’m really happy to have had the chance to meet you and I’ll be reading your blog to get to know you much better for the next time we meet! :D

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Stacey & Tash June 14, 2010 at 9:45 am

Wow, what a fantastic post. Thanks for all the work you put in, this is a wonderful resource for all of us! Whenever we need any inspiration, we will certainly be visiting you.
Also, thank-you for the lovely words about mother-daughter blogging. We are very lucky and now we are even luckier to have met so many wonderful people who love to blog. Looking forward to keeping in touch and to learning loads from you! xxx

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Stacey & Tash June 14, 2010 at 9:45 am

Wow, what a fantastic post. Thanks for all the work you put in, this is a wonderful resource for all of us! Whenever we need any inspiration, we will certainly be visiting you.
Also, thank-you for the lovely words about mother-daughter blogging. We are very lucky and now we are even luckier to have met so many wonderful people who love to blog. Looking forward to keeping in touch and to learning loads from you! xxx

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Stacey & Tash June 14, 2010 at 9:45 am

Wow, what a fantastic post. Thanks for all the work you put in, this is a wonderful resource for all of us! Whenever we need any inspiration, we will certainly be visiting you.
Also, thank-you for the lovely words about mother-daughter blogging. We are very lucky and now we are even luckier to have met so many wonderful people who love to blog. Looking forward to keeping in touch and to learning loads from you! xxx

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Marisa June 14, 2010 at 12:33 pm

The more I read about FCB2010 the more green with envy I get! Really think a couple of us SA bloggers must make a plan to attend in 2011. If for no other reason than to get a taste of all the droolworthy food that you had.

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Bron June 17, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Great post Jeanne – and great talk(s) you gave too. Gave me a lot to ponder later, as did the whole weekend really and much pleasure too. Hope to see you at the next one!

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courtney June 21, 2010 at 10:03 pm

Im jealous. What a great and informative time. You had the perfect settings, food, and company. One day I will bein synch and get over there.

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Jeanne @ CookSister! June 23, 2010 at 12:56 am

@Mowie – I know what you mean. Each post brings back new memories! And yeeaaaah, bring on the braai :)
@Sarah – Thanks for letting me use your food pics – I was so busy clownign around with Meeta that I didn’t photograph any of it :o) Bad, bad blogger am I ;-) Jaden made me feel positively slothful with her energy! Loads to mull over…
@Colleen – If I could have teleported one person over from SA to join us, it would have been YOU! We have to keep on playing the Lotto so you can come to the next one…
@Jamie – aaaah, my Saucy Spice Sister. Thanks for your lovely words – hope I had you laughing more than crying! It was a pleasure to share a stage and my home with you. Roll on the reunion! (And thanks for THAT DVD :o)) Sorry about the profile pics – but I think you look HOT!
@Charlotte – when there’s food involved, we can be VERY organised!!
@Deeba – awwww, I really wish you could have been there again this year. There was a little Deeba-shaped hole in the Spice Girls’ line-up :(
@Kalyn – thanks!! I’m loving my short hair, I msut say. And yaaaaaay, will be so fantastic to FINALLY meet you next year!
@Tobias – oh yes, definitely join us next year!
@Sunita – you can only imagine the fun we had at our 4-night Spice Girls slumber party :o) By the end of it we were making plans to buy a huge house somewhere and live in a commune together! Definitely missed you this year…
@Anubhav – I can’t actually tell you how fantastic it is to meet people who you instantly feel such a connection with! Wonderful.
@Gemma – and I’m sorry it took me a while to make the NaBloPoMo connection :o) Lovely to meet you in the flesh at last!
@Heather – great to meet you too! Really glad you enjoyed the conference and phew, I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt slightly exhausted by the quintessentially American energy that Jaden had ;-)
@Tracey – lovely to meet & share a table with you too! I’m thrilled to hear that you found the talks useful – just shout if you ever have legal questions relating to blogging.
@Kerrin – what can I say, I am a stickler for detail and EVERYTHING that happened of any importance has to squeeze into the post, in strict chronological order, of course :o) I loved your talks and I LOVED sharing CookSister HQ with you for 4 days. I even threw in a free rowing lesson with a sexy coach ;-) Now hom many B&Bs can offer THAT?!
@Sarah – the cake was fab – pity you could not stay! At least we got to catch up last weekend :)
@Nina – the event was as action-packed as the write-up & you would have LOVED it.
@Joan & @Barbara – glad you could enjoy the event vicariously!
@Barbara Diamond – first weekend in June 2011 – see you there? :)
@Charlie – aww, thanks, you are too sweet! It was a real pleasure meeting you and I am glad we had a chance to chat properly.
@Meeta – my sister from another mother… I know what you mean! The pictures just make me miss you & Sporty & Saucy & Snarky even more. But not too long to go now till I come to Germany!
@Val – you really should – it’s the BEST fun! Or you should come and join us over here next year … :o)
@Catty – likewise! And we should just make a date to get together in London – no need to wait till the next FBC :o)
@Juls – what a pleasure it was to meet you! I love your bubbly personality and your beautiful blog and I look forward to staying in touch!
@Stacey & Tash – thanks so much for that! I must admit that the post nearly killed me – stayed up till 3 a.m. for 2 nights in a row to get it done, but now it is a lovely repository of everything I’ll ever need to know about FBC10, plus links to all the blogs of the great people I met – like you two! Love your other-daughter concept & look forwad to getting to know you through your blog :)
@Marisa – would be wonderful to have an SA contingent at the next FBC!
@Bron – glad to hear I gave anybody any food for thought! There was much for me to mull over too, even after 6 years of blogging. And oh yes, you will see me at the next one!
@Courtney – my dear friend, I have no doubt that one day we will be in synch with your vacation, and that you will join us. You would have LOVED the Hempel Hotel, and the fab 4-day Spice Girl slumber party!

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