This is part two of my TOWIB Event Review... For part one click here. Please understand that everything I've posted in this review is my own personal opinion and there is no malice intended. I have the utmost respect for the organizers and I generally had a great day. However, there were elements which I didn't enjoy as much as I could have done so to give a balanced review I am going to be honest. This is just the way I saw the event, and I'm sure many out there saw it very differently and that's obviously fab! Just wanted to give that little disclaimer so as not to become a big part of the big Twitter debate where some people have been ungrateful, disrespectful and classless.
ANYWAY! What happened after the PR session?
We had a break for a little while as everyone 'digested' (aka. gossiped about) the information which we'd learned as there was a fresh batch of teas, coffees and water available as refreshment. This was the stage when no-one could help realizing that there was two very handsome men stood at the front of the room. Amidst whispers and swoons, Hayley made it clear that we were about to have an eBuzzing experience involving these Sex Gods. Unfortunately, this experience was nowhere near as arousing as it sounded. The lady who was supposed to be conducting the first half of the presentation was absent meaning that a hunk with a Kiwi/Australian (I'M NOT AN ACCENT EXPERT OK???) had to literally wing it. It was apparent that Hayley wasn't impressed with his presentation as about fifteen minutes in she actually stood up and gave him advice on where he should have started his speech. This was slightly awkward and despite the fact that the dulcet monotones of him and his sexy colleague were sending most of us to sleep, I still felt kind of sorry for him. After being called out in a room full of women who essentially just wanted the simple facts, this poor guy had to continue with his colleague for another forty-five minutes, and by the end of the hour I sadly felt that although the concept which he was discussing (making between £80 and £130 per blog-post HELLO!!!) was obviously very attractive at first glance for most bloggers, at least two thirds of the room clearly decided the event wasn't worth hanging around for as they made a rather sharp exit once the session was over (with a handful even leaving during the presentation which, whilst being widely considered rude, was understandable.) I will be doing a post about eBuzzing in a couple of days with some of the key points which the handsome men went through, although I promise I'll try to make it less sleep-inducing and cringeworthy than the whole interrupted palaver was yesterday.
This was the time of the day that we'd all been waiting for... Tea and scones. Although most people had already drank a waterfall of tea, since it was what we'd paid for people virtually climbed over each other in order to grab another cup. As before I opted for water as I don't drink hot drinks and no alternative was on offer, and I also helped myself to a scone with jam and clotted cream (do you pronounce it scown or skon? One of the most thought-provoking questions of the event...) a meringue nest with whipped cream and raspberries and a cupcake with what seemed to be coconut on top. Now, this has been a bit of a taboo subject from the event. Many people have (fairly) argued that considering the event began at 12pm and finished at 6pm, there perhaps should have been food on offer if only a selection of little sandwiches and crisps. Others have argued that the tickets were only £5 and considering the amount of benefits we've 'reaped' from the event we could hardly expect there to be a gourmet three-course dinner on offer. At risk of sitting on the fence (which I usually hate) I agree with both. Our £5 got us six hours of blogger-chat in a four-star central London hotel. However, I would rather have spent £15 and had lunch, because six hours is really too long (especially when the event falls across lunch-time) not to have anything more than some tiny scones. Having said that, the scones were delicious but there didn't seem to be enough. This meant that many who were not scared away from TOWIB by the sexy men, were about to collapse from hunger so they left to eat.
After the scones-session, Vikki asked if we could leave, but despite the fact that I have absolutely no interest in wigs whatsoever, I begged her to stomach the hour-long session with Annabelle's Wigs as I was really eager to see one of my favorite bloggers A Model Recommends in the Q&A bloggers panel session at the end. I will post about Annabelle's Wigs at a later date, although I must admit that this session was in no way useful to me (or most bloggers) at all. The founder of the company conducted this presentation, if you could call it that, but again her voice didn't carry very far and as much as I hate to say it, the presentation was not very polished. This meant that she struggled to command much of the audiences attention and I did feel kind of bad for her.
Nonetheless, we endured the wig session, took it with a pinch of salt and eventually managed to have a bit of a laugh with it. Can't say I wasn't happy when that session was over though. Now for my big disappointment for the day. Although I absolutely love Get Lippie who sold me her ticket last week, I was kind of gutted when the organizer of TOWIB, Hayley from London Beauty Queen explained with a couple of throwaway comments that A Model Recommends actually was unable to attend and I worked out that Get Lippie was perhaps her replacement. Now this is something which I'm absolutely not positive of, but I do know that Get Lippie was roped in at last minute about a week ago as she originally had bought her own ticket before being invited onto the panel and no longer needing said ticket sold it to me. If I am right in thinking that she was A Model Recommends' replacement, then this tells me that Hayley may have been aware a while ago that my blog idol wasn't going to be able to make it. Had I known she wasn't coming, I may not even have purchased my ticket to begin with, or at the very least might have left with everyone else for lunch!
AND YET despite my irritation that this might have been the case, I am glad in the end that I stayed as the Q&A blogger session actually was very informative as introduced me to the fabulous King's Road Rocks! blog and allowed me to experience some of Get Lippie's amazing personality. Not to mention that by this point, about 75% of attendees had left leaving a more intimate atmosphere.
Then that was it! Hayley the organizer bragged a couple of times that she had to dash as she was going to an Ollie Murs concert and checking the time I decided it was definitely Nandos o'clock so Vik and I headed off after signing the guest book and having our photos taken by ASOS (all very glam!).
So my overall opinion of TOWIB was that it was a good value for money event where I met a lot of awesome girls and learnt a couple of tips. If I had organized it, I would charge more, serve food and have a bigger room. I would also make sure that each of the sessions was relevant and of interest to the majority of guests, would corroborate the presentations of each of the sessions as there were a couple of contradictions throughout the event (eg. when one of the PR ladies was saying she dislikes seeing that bloggers have been paid for posts... when our next session was with eBuzzing; a company that specializes in paying bloggers for posts... awkward...) Finally, I'd finalize the itinerary before tickets went on sale and make everyone aware of any changes to the itinerary as and when they happen just to avoid disappointment and let bloggers know exactly what it is that they are paying for.
To conclude, Hayley put on a fab TOWIB for my first time. I will attend again if I find the sessions relevant and the price reasonable (going to London from Stoke is a trek if I'm not even interested in what will be discussed). Although there were some statements which were made which I found offensive and unprofessional, I'm not sure exactly what people expected from a lady who is only charging each person £5, works a full time job on top of blogging and is putting on an event for over 100 strangers. Hayley, I salute you.
So thanks TOWIB for a great day :) And thanks to all the beautiful bloggers that I met at the event!
Do you call it a skon or scown? Did you attend TOWIB? How do you feel about events like this?
Let me know :)