Now I’m still new to the bloggers networking scene and only really know Bloggers Love, so I was really excited to be invited to their London Fashion Week Dinner and Gifting Lounge event. However I was truly gutted when it turned out to be one of the most disappointing experiences.
The theme set was Gossip Girl, now I know it’s been a while since we’ve seen the frenemies from the Upper East Side on our tv’s, I figured I’d roll with it, but deciding who to go as was harder than I thought. In the end I chose to channel my inner Georgina Sparks (AKA Dawn from Buffy), I rocked black skinnys, heeled shoe-boots and leather jacket ensemble. Apart from her scheming ways and great one liners, Georgina was also known for her chunky jewellery, unfortunately the top didn’t allow for a statement piece so I opted for something more suited to the evening’s theme – my engraveable from Stella & Dot for promoting star stylist and of course a good ole arm party!
I went to the venue with @flomatthews , on the train we did speculate what the dinner was going to be like. Our main concern was the fact we’d paid £28 for the dinner which initially was meant to be a 3 course meal with 2 drinks. This had to be changed due to caterers pulling out, so we were then told it was going to be a buffet dinner, which is no big deal. However this then got changed to “gourmet pizza” a few weeks before the big day you can understand our speculation. I wondered what kind of pizza costs £28? I’ll come back to that in a moment.
The event was held at Arch Gallery in Hoxton. On arrival, we were checked off the guest list and entered the gifting lounge. One of the great reasons to book the dinner was that we were given exclusive access to the gifting lounge ahead of the other bloggers who were just coming for the lounge. On previous confirmations there was meant to be around 20 or so brands represented, I think there was only half that on the actual night. Unfortunately so many weren’t really ready to talk to us as they were still setting up, so whilst waiting for food to be ready I decided to get my nails done by the lovely ladies of City Swish I’m a big fan of the fast beauty and this was ideal as my beautician couldn’t squeeze me in this week and I didn’t have time to do them beforehand. I went with a vampy ox blood red by OPI.
As soon as they were done I had a chance to speak to Collagen Gold who have a range of Collagen supplements which come in drink form, and Sniffy Wiffy who are a lovely family run company that make fab beauty products with a cancer awareness at the heart of their mission statement. They’re cute labels come with a “how to” on checking yourself, there’s products are made for the boys too! They came with a few samples which had wonderful scents. I particularly liked the Cinnamon & Orange scent but having checked out their website I have learned they have over 30 different scents! I’m most definitely going be treating myself to a pot of scented goodness, the question is which scent to choose?
Before I had the chance to chat to anyone else we were whisked off for our meal, which was already late. The queue was long, slow and we were all very hungry. As we entered the room we could see stacks of take away pizza boxes. It was obvious that there was an issue with labelling as we saw a poor girl frantically checking all the boxes to find each persons order. This sent alarm bells ringing. Where is the gourmet experience? Is it even a gourmet pizza? The food was obviously cold especially after seeing them being opened and checked over and over. When we finally got to sit down the room was small, freezing and very cramped. There was no dinner party hostess as confirmed to us the atmosphere was quiet and subdued, I think everyone was more in shock as to how wrong the dinner had gone. A couple of the girls I spoke to on my table were bitterly disappointed. I just felt awful for them as one had paid for her friends ticket as a gift and had come down from Grimsby, another girl had flown in from Glasgow!! Whilst all the ladies had made a day of it in London, you couldn’t help but feel really upset for them to pay for travel and accommodation as well as the dinner. By then I was grateful my commute was only 40 minutes!
The seating arrangements were large picnic benches, plastic dinner settings and the tables were delicately decorated however there was no sign of any beverage other than cucumber water, which was fine with the meal but what happened to the 2 drinks we were promised? I would have thought a glass of wine or something fizzy would have been the least that could have been provided. After a little wait (some waited nearly over 10 minutes) I was finally given my pizza which by then stone cold and to add insult to injury it was burnt! So food was cold pizza out of a takeaway box and a glass of water!
At our tables were cute little VIB cards, which we were supposed to be able to show a brand and choose an item to be gifted. With all the stress of dinner I had almost forgotten about the card. So I quickly ate headed back to out the lounge so I could take advantage of this opportunity. After the dinner the lounge was open to all bloggers however as soon as I entered back in the lounge I found myself stuck in a corner and unable move. The room was filled with over 200 people and apparently based on what I’ve seen on twitter there were a few celebrities (totally missed that!)
The brands were completely swamped by fellow bloggers, it was overwhelming for all parties concerned. Queues started to form all over the place with people fighting to to get past each other. The crowd was so big I couldn’t get to any of the brands to talk to them nor could I chat to other bloggers. By then my stress levels had reached its peak and unable to cope with the masses I decided it was time to leave.
My journey home gave me time to reflect on the evenings events, though it didn’t take long for the tweets start appearing, it was clear I wasn’t the only one left feeling upset and bitterly disappointed.
Following this Danielle the founder and organiser of Bloggers Love issued a heartfelt apology. She explains that the original catering company were fraudulent, which is why there was a change to the dinner. As an experienced event organiser I can appreciate things go wrong, however as a paying guest I can’t help feel really upset about it all. I have contacted Danielle directly with my thoughts and whilst there are valuable lessons learned as a guest and as the organiser I do feel I need share with you the events of my night out!
So to summarise :
The Good : Meeting with lots of lovely fellow bloggers, catching up with friends, meeting some great brands (that I managed to see and speak with)
The Bad : The food, the organisation of the event, the venue was just too small for the number of guests attending, having a VIB that was completely useless
The Ugly : Losing £28 for a pizza, without and form or offer of recompense. (I won’t be holding my breath) Being crushed and unable to move in an small room which exceeded it’s capacity.
I love to network and despite the blogging community still being new ground for me, I don’t feel that I will be deterred from attending event’s like last night. In fact it’s probably encouraged me to seek out other events and meet more fellow bloggers. Will I attend another Bloggers Love event in the future? I think it’s too soon to ask, but I will be sure to eat before attending.
I know I’m not the only one to have posted about the whole experience and I won’t be the last, but if you are reading this and wonder whether to go to these type of events I would urge you to still go, get yourself out there, meet fellow bloggers and get to know the brands, more importantly it should always be an enjoyable experience.