Hi hi hi! How are you all today? I’m back again, and this time I actually wanted to chat to you about one thing I did get up to during my blogging hiatus – the NI Blogger Brunch!
So for anyone who doesn’t know, the NI Blogger Brunch was originally (and still is) organised by Cathy Martin from CMPR. The first time I heard about the brunches was about a year ago, when Cathy mentioned it on one of the NI Bloggers Facebook pages. She basically just asked that anyone not on her mailing list get in touch to be added, so we could be invited to the event. Now, a year on, I still get super nervous walking in to the rooms, but I always know there will be a friendly face that I recognise, and even those I don’t know are extremely welcoming.
Before I go any further, I should probably say this. I haven’t read the new rules on ads and sponsored posts and the likes yet, but I am slowly reading through them. So just to clear this up, I paid to go to the event hosted at the Belfast Grand Central Hotel. During this brunch at the hotel, the girls from Bella Mia Boutique were displaying some of the new stock from their stores, and kindly gifted us a personalised gift bag each after the brunch.
Now that I’ve that mini disclaimer cleared up (in what I think is an okay way? Or am I still not getting this right?) let’s get down to the fun stuff!
So as I said, this time round we were to be discussing all things self-love in the lead up to St Valentine’s Day. I met up with Hama and Aisling, and a few new faces I hadn’t spoken to before, and when we moved in to the Cafe Bar of the Grand Central, I joined them at their table.
We were greeted by scrummy looking “muffins and scuffins” – still not sure what they were apart from delicious! – , some orange juice, and a Clandeboye Yoghurt with cereal and fruit compote.
Now by this stage I was beginning to feel
ravenous peckish so couldn’t help diving in to the food in front of me – all before I even noticed the adorable Hastings seahorses on the plate with the muffins! Naturally, one had to come home to join the collection…
As we all chatted and made ourselves comfortable, Cathy made a start with the usual format – a quick chat and hello to everyone, a brief introduction to the brands there with us for the morning, all before opening up the floor to everyone there to just discuss anything and everything blogging related. During this NI Blogger Brunch, there was a lot of discussion regarding the new advertising rules and how we should be using them, followed by talk of being genuine to yourself, and whether or not shadow-banning on Instagram is a real thing. Now I will be honest and say that a lot of it went a little over my head, mainly because if you know me then you know I use Twitter religiously and Instagram is more like phoning those elderly relatives – I do it when I remember to and because I know I should. But I’m getting side-tracked again.
We stopped for a food break around the halfway point – a yummy poached egg with bacon on sourdough toast. Not going to lie, while it was really tasty, I was so disappointed in myself for not having the vegetarian option – probably lower in WW SmartPoints, and it just looked delicious! Homemade baked beans, guacamole, portobello mushroom, vegetarian sausage, a poached egg, and a slice of sourdough toast. Trust me, my mouth is watering just thinking about it again.
Once we had all had a bite to eat, and everyone had had an opportunity to get those all important outfit photos and shots of the goods on display, Cathy brought us back for another quick open-floor chat. Even though this was my 5th NI Blogger Brunch, I still haven’t been able to bring myself to talk at them, but there’s no pressure to talk if you don’t want to. To finish up the morning, the girls from Bella Mia Boutique gave us a quick chat about their stores and some of the ranges they stock. I’ve put their link above so you can have a nosey! Rounding up the brunch before we headed up to the Observatory, we were each given our personalised gift bags. We each received a personalised genuine leather keychain, along with a few other items selected for us, and I for one can’t wait to wear my earrings out and about! I’ve never worn hoops before, and not sure if they’ll suit me, but we’ll make them work.
Before I headed back to the train station, I joined the others in a trip in the Priority lift up to the very top floor – a bar/dining area with a panoramic view of Belfast City Centre. It was spectacular! As someone who isn’t great with heights, the sheer beauty of the city laid out before me actually made me forget that I was standing in the tallest pub on the island of Ireland. Although it did help that the sun came out! For some reason, my phone didn’t bother to actually save the video I took of the view, otherwise I would share it below, so you’ll just have to book an evening in the Observatory to see for yourselves what I’m talking about.
As always, I had a great time at the NI Blogger Brunch, and I can’t wait to go to the next one! Will you be there?