In a nutshell: the Northamptonshire Blogger Christmas event was a success!
This blog is all about the WONDERFULLY FESTIVE event we had at Bell of Northampton, a home lifestyle store based in Northampton.
If you didn’t know, back in October 2016, I founded the Northamptonshire Bloggers Network. I wanted a place where local bloggers could mingle and connect, as apart from one event that was organised years ago, there wasn’t an actual group or place where Northants based bloggers could come together.
That all changed when I made the network, where we had our first event in Christmas 2016. Go forward two years and we’ve just had our 2018 Christmas event.
I am really bad at asking for help when it comes to organising anything, so naturally, I organised the majority of the event by myself, with the wonderful help of Tammy from Bell who helped with all the catering and venue options.
On the day of the event, I was feeling nervous and rushed off my feet. But once I got into Bell’s snug area and finished setting up, I quickly relaxed and felt at ease again because everything was in hand.
Bell’s snug area couldn’t have been a more perfect venue for us. It was a great size for the 10 of us, it had the most instagramable decor and walls (perfect for bloggers) and I was so touched with the additional little details that Bell added to the venue for an added touch such as the signage saying “reserved for some fabulous people” and for giving us little goodie bags with a 10% off voucher to spend in the shop and other little treats.
I felt at ease when I saw familiar faces approaching me, whilst I played host pouring Buck’s Fizz which Bell kindly supplied us. As much as it was lovely seeing and catching up with familiar faces, it was also so nice to see and meet new faces!
For the past two years, the network has grown massively, so it was great to see new people attending the events.
Everyone seemed to really relax once introductions were made and I tried my best to mingle with everyone as much as possible. One of the biggest comments of the morning was how much they LOVED the venue, which made me really happy to choose Bell for our event.
During the morning, we got to enjoy some rather festive food, courtesy of Bell, who gave us our own Christmas menu especially for the event. Everyone but one went for the Cranberry Sausage Roll, which was definitely a winner!
The crispy and flaky crust on the outside, with the meat smooth and tender on the inside, with the added sweetness of the cranberries and the fresh salad on the side, filled me up.
As a network, I always want to try and put our influence to use. That’s why following on from our last Christmas event, I decided to run a charity raffle, which I choose The Lewis Foundation as the charity of choice to raise money for.
Knowing Lorraine personally and her attending our last event, she spoke to me about the work her, her husband and team do for The Lewis Foundation and they have continued to go from strength to strength and have provided some wonderful work to cancer patients in hospital – I was more than happy for them to be the charity of choice.
And to help with our fundraising, we had some wonderful prizes given to us from local brands for the bloggers to win. I was jealous because I didn’t win any, but I’m glad some of the bloggers went home with some fab prizes.
With the raffle done, we managed to raise a total of £50 which I thought was pretty good for 10 of us! It meant our small efforts went towards The Lewis Foundation’s work, which I thought was a great achievement.
The snug area was perfect for our event, as it really was snug, relaxing, comfortable and had plenty of seating to accommodate everyone.
It truly is a great little area which is available to book at Bell for coffee and cake, afternoon tea or for events like ours – you can’t help but feel like VIP when you’re in the snug area.
I added my own touches by popping a Christmas card each for everyone and some Christmas crackers to pull over dinner. I also got together a goodie bag, which some of the brands who contributed to the raffle, also added little bits inside, plus I added little things like Quality Street sweets, pink fairy wands and other little treats.
The goodie bags were kindly gifted to us by Sol Northampton – which the bloggers fully appreciated, as not only do they have great branding and are supporting a local business, but tote bags are great for shopping!
After we wrapped up in the snug area, it was time for a spot of shopping in Bell’s lifestyle store which included lots of little businesses inside.
Thanks to my 10% voucher (thanks, Bell) I managed to purchase some Two Birds Sloe Gin from the Cheese Kitchen, a sassy mug from Luxe Cookshop and a present for my dad from MOOCH (who have a fab store on Giles Street in Northampton!)
As bloggers, we are attracted to all things pink and pretty, especially if they are as pretty as Bell’s signature flower wall. It was so popular, that there was a queue to take a photo and guests even moved out of the way for us!
Overall, the event ran smoothly, everyone looked super relaxed and seemed to enjoy themselves, all the food was eaten, drinks let flowing and everyone got to experience the wonderful hospitality that Bell gave us.
Thank you to the local business who contributed to our charity raffle and goodie bags which include Katie’s Cakes, Sol Central, Birch Beauty, Magnolia Florist, The Waxy Spoon, Heart Felt Fancies, and Kettering Park Hotel – we couldn’t have done it without you!
A huge thank you to Bell of Northampton for being a wonderful venue for us. The snug area was the perfect location for us to mingle and it gave us plenty of opportunities to take photos!
I’m really excited to work with Bell on upcoming events for the Northamptonshire Bloggers Network and its fab that we now have our own hashtag to use with them #lovebellbloggers – thank you Bell once again for being so accommodating, helpful and bringing our bloggers together in your luxury venue.
I also want to say a HUGE thank you to the bloggers who spent their Saturday morning with me to come to the event – it meant a great deal to me and seeing how much everyone was enjoying themselves was a real highlight to me.
As a blogging network, my primary aim is to ensure local bloggers feel comfortable in getting together to mingle, Network and talk about experiences as freely and as openly as possible – but also, we are all human, so ultimately, it’s all about making new friends too! So I hope I have achieved that.