I can’t believe it’s been a whole week since the #CTMeetup! For those of you not in blogging circles, this is an event organized by the incomparable Cindy Alfino, where bloggers across all disciplines step out from behind their screens and get together in real life.
It is as awesome as it sounds. So why the “Being Brave” in the title? Well, a few reasons really.
Firstly, it’s in reference to me and so many of those that attended. As mentioned, we step out from behind the screen. The screen we have bared our souls on, where we have raged about everything from Eskom to people who wear the colour green, where we’ve shared our opinions on and our disdain for everything – where we are safe and invisible. And then we have to smile and shake hands and tell people who we are, not knowing if that person knows every tiny detail of our lives, or, possibly worse for us bloggers, has no idea who we are. That makes us brave!
More personally, this was the longest I have left Charly alone with Brett. Yes, she is 15 months old; but she is also breastfed and a sincere terror when her routine is messed with. At most other times of day, I wouldn’t have been concerned; daddy is totally capable of handling our little madam. BUT, this was from 2-5pm; when her usual feed and nap falls around 3pm. Sure sure, some days she skips that nap, and is a little extra clingy and tearful but manages ok; but I follow her lead, I don’t force her to skip anything.
Anyway, she was fine; they had great adventures navigating Cavendish, she adopted yet another fluffy toy (meet Puggy) and they chased squirrels. She started sobbing heartbrokenly for me right around the moment I left the event, but daddy was a hero and cuddled her til I got home. So daddy and mommy were brave for this one. And I suffer some anxiety issues being away from Charly and home for any extensive period; but I did it – and it as SO worth it. So, back to that story!
The meet up was awesome. It was held at The Italian Kitchen in Newlands; starting in the courtyard and then moving into the restaurant itself. The courtyard was set up with snacks and some free wine and sparkling grape juice. And then, hidden in a corner was a little slice of heaven where Rain Spa from The Glen Hotel were giving 10 minute massages with their incredible products. I chatted a little to the lovely Radhia from Treatmesweetlie (how divine is that name?!) and Lee-Ann from Mother City Sitters while they worked their magic on my shoulders.
The next hour was spent reconnecting with some of my very favourite bloggers and humans, and meeting some new ones as well. What an amazing bunch of people!
Once we moved inside, we settled at our tables (trying hard to be cool and not instantly delve into the depths of our *goody bags). I was a little star struck by the people at my table – Maz from Caffeine & Fairydust; Nikki from Nikki + Nicholas; Cassan from Cass Lee & Cupcake from CupcakeMummy (AND The person!); and then Cindy from 3 Kids, 2 Dogs & 1 Old House sat down as well. I felt like one of the desperately uncool stars in the movies that gets a makeover and becomes one of the popular kids. And everybody was SO nice.
The speakers were great – charismatic and passionate about their brands (which as an ex PR person I love to see) and they spoke for just long enough to engage us, but not so long that we felt the need to surreptitiously “rest our eyes”.
We started with Cindy’s always lovely warm welcome, sharing some information about our sponsors and introducing us to the speakers.
The Glen Hotel, who homes a gorgeous Rain Africa Spa, then briefly shared some info about their luxurious boutique hotel in Seapoint. He was followed by Ronel Botes from Rain Africa; who spoke with such excitement, love and sincerity about not only their wonderful products made from natural African ingredients, but their brand and the way in which they invest in growing and uplifting their staff.
Melissa Louise from Zana Products started out by giving us the most beautiful pencil cases in their signature designs. The Zana brand started as a mother-daughter project and has grown to the point that you can shop online locally and internationally! I love their story and I adore my pencil case; enough that I need to stay off their awesome site for fear of redecorating my house in all Zana prints.
Lastly was self-proclaimed “foodie” Jenny Coulson from Zomato. I love her theory that if you love food you are a foodie and you don’t need a degree for that. I’m sure you’ve heard the name Zomato recently, they have just started up in South Africa, but have a huge international presence. It is a very user-friendly app that helps you find a restaurant using a variety of criteria – area, average costs, type of food; gives you access to menues, reviews, ratings and photos and also allows you to create your own profile where you can contribute and become a part of the community. A special add on for us is the ability to search which restaurants are still up and running during loadshedding – for that alone it’s worth downloading the app.
Once the speakers were done, Cindy put on her Oprah hat ((we NEED to organise her an Oprah wig or mask or something!)) and started with the giveaways – there were tons of amazing gifts sponsored and we were thoroughly spoilt. I won an awesome hair care hamper from Goldwell South Africa; but traded it with Nikki for the Babaderm hamper because Charly has been struggling a little with her skin. Babaderm products have a special ingredient said to eliminate harmful bacteria and control fungal infections, so I had been eyeing them out for a while. I will do a review after using them for a few weeks and let you know how it worked.
The food provided by The Italian Kitchen was truly delicious, a snack table before and then they started rolling out the most incredible pizzas – thin crispy bases loaded with fresh tasty ingredients. The restaurant itself was lovely and the staff very accomodating. For mom’s wondering, they are family friendly – there was an 8th birthday party on the go inside when we were in the courtyard and the kids were having a blast eating loads of pizza and chasing each other around. Definitely worth a look in!
The goody bag was amazing once again! Cindy has a real gift for getting generous high quliaty sponsors.
Goody Bag Sponsors
- Beauty Pack (2 nailpolishes, eyeshadow & liner) from Revlon
- Coaster & Pen from Admarula
- Double Heart Bracelet from Romeo Foxtrot
- Hair Products from John Frieda
- Lip Ice, Wet Wipes and Key Rings from Zomato
- Magazine & a Car Sticker from Botanical Society
- Pencil Case from Zana
- Savanna Body Cream from Rain Africa
- SPF Cream from Oh So Heavenly Facebook
- R100 Off R500 Purchase Voucher from Spree
- 2-for-1 Vouchers from Graze
- 20% Discount Voucher from Magical Moments In Time
- 20% Off Vouchers from Charlie Foxtrot
- Annual Family Membership from the Botanical Society
- Baby Hamper from Babaderm
- Beauty Hamper from Oh So Heavenly Facebook
- Biologie Hamper from Rain Africa
- Boudoir/Glamour Photoshoot with Magical Moments In Time
- Hamper from John Frieda
- Hamper from Goldwell South Africa
- TWG Tea from Baked In the Cape
- Voucher for Personalised Stationary from Charlie Foxtrot
- Voucher for the Winner & 1 to Give Away from Stylebar
- 2 copies of “Pens Behaving Badly” from Uitgewers Publishers
- 2 Fashion Items from Spree
- 2 Vouchers for 9 Faceblocks from Printwild
- 2 R500 Vouchers from Woolworths
- 3 Sets of 1 Treatment Voucher for the Winner & 1 to Give Away from Ginkgo Spa
- 4 R250 Vouchers with Fire & Ice Hotel from Zomato
- R250 Voucher for the Winner & 1 to Give Away from Kin Shop
- R500 Voucher from Zana
Stationery was sponsored by Gumtree & the drinks were sponsored by Cindy’s company Incompass Insurance.
Time really flew, even with my nerves, and I couldn’t believe it when I realised it was time to call my Uber to collect me. It was such a fun afternoon and I can’t wait til the next one. Thanks SO much to all the sponsors and, most of all, to Cindy for making it all happen – while working full time, keeping her blog amazing, rocking date nights with her Mister AND raising three of the most beautiful kids you will ever clap eyes on. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again ~ I want to be Cindy Alfino when I “grow up”! Thanks for being such an inspiration to us all!
Sending all the love xxx