From the very start of our married life, Pumpkin and I (rather inadvertently) found ourselves in a bit of a summer, beach rhythm, dozing under the protective breadth of shady parasols and pronged palm leaves. The journey started on the aromatic spice island, Zanzibar, during our honeymoon. The following year, the azure lagoons of the Maldives beckoned after a hectic week in Sri Lanka and last year, we dipped our toes into the all-inclusive world in Cuba.
In truth though, the UK is often at its most glorious during July and August so this summer, we intentionally decided to leave our diaries relatively barren and beach-free – until that is, Ice Lolly Holidays read my mind and got in touch to propose a beach day of their very own!
This time, the location was Leeds. Yes boys and girls, I bet you did not realise that beach spirit could come into fruition in a student city in Northern England but a few deck chairs and bubbling cocktails down the line, this particular group of travel bloggers were readily convinced 😀
Blog At The Beach with Ice Lolly Holidays
Joking aside, from the little time I had there, Leeds exuded a friendly and lively vibe. I only wish I could have spent a little longer exploring the city but this was a geeky day where I had woken up at 5.30am (unheard of for me) to make the trip up from London, armed with a notepad and pen. I am a bit of a grandma so by pen, I mean pen – not keyboard – and by paper, I mean paper – not fancy schmancy tablet / gadget / techno what-not.
Blog At The Beach Talks
On the educational menu for the day were three great speakers including Robb from the WMG Agency, Monica from The Travel Hack (one of the first travel blogs I started reading) and Greg from Travizeo. One of Monica’s key messages was the importance of demonstrating personality in blog posts and Ice Lolly themselves mirrored that sentiment perfectly by selecting three engaging speakers, each with very different personalities but exhibiting such charisma and passion for what they do. Perhaps even more credit-worthy was their ability to pitch their talks so that they would be useful to all of us despite the range of bloggers in the room.
Robb got me pondering about all the things I could be doing to improve SEO and he had the kind of humble approach that made me feel like I could ask even the silliest questions. Monica provided valuable insight into how we can work with brands without compromising our integrity or selling our souls and Greg’s exhilarating video footage prompted me to get thinking that the concepts of self-consciousness and camera shyness are SO yesterday and the future of blogging is studded with inspirational video.
I suspected we would be fed well and had fortunately saved space for the lunch that was served after the first talk. Considering it was a buffet, they certainly did not hold back on quantities and I loaded my plate with about three times as much food as was
probably necessary but I must make special reference to the cute platter of mini scones and the squidgy, heavenly chocolate brownies.A wave of excitement was surging at The Alchemist stall, a bar in Leeds renowned for conjuring up innovative cocktails and a more straight-faced mango and passion fruit mocktail for the non-drinkers among us.
The day was paced out well with plenty of breaks to socialise with fellow bloggers.
Myself and Emily AKA The Cosy Traveller made the most of the beach games available.
And I finally met Emma from Adventures of a London Kiwi fame, who educated me about the different properties of chocolate brownies – definitely one of life’s happier conversations, which I think is apparent in this photo!
As we left, we picked up our goody bags and clearly, they know their audience; with the amount of tweeting and Instagramming that goes on at any blogger event, the rechargeable battery pack was a well preempted gift to end the day with.
Have you got any upcoming beach breaks?
Many thanks to Ice Lolly Holidays for hosting me and for such a well organised and enjoyable event.