I needed to make an early start - no leisurely breakfast in my pyjamas as I would normally do.
I had already picked an outfit to wear so minimal thought was involved there but trying to remember how to put my make up on with eyes that were refusing to come properly into focus was a mission. Add to that the complication of my Baby Boy crawling around my feet and taking great delight in pulling the toilet paper in billowing white streams from the toilet roll - and I am seriously wondering how working mums EVER manage.
My three year old didn't cause me too much trouble - as long as you don't count the 'house' she constructed out of my shoe collection. Shoes can be put back in the cupboard relatively easily!
I left the house on time with no tears from my babies, abandoned for the day and left to the mercy of a big sister that thoroughly dotes on them.
One last OCD check that I had my ticket, my phone, my credit card etc and I was on the road: first stop - my sister's Wendy house - next stop - Manchester.
Wendy's daughter is at University in Manchester so it should have been familiar territory to her. However, knowing her as well as I do and having experienced her confusion with left and right while navigating, I left nothing to chance. I had my Sat Nav programmed with the correct postcard, a map printed off from the computer and even some written directions.
I'd been feeling really confident until Wendy started saying that this was not the way she and Ian usually come and she didn't recognise this road or this road. All my hopes were hanging on the Sat Nav knowing best. Much as my hopes were hanging, the Sat Nav was hanging too - by one loose screw which eventually gave up its valiant attempt to hold the display screen in position on the windscreen. The whole thing just fell off.
We were potentially lost and the Sat Nav had just committed suicide.
Wendy retrieved the fallen Sat Nav and tried propping it up somewhere visible but the touch screen that makes it so easy to use was now a booby trap. In her 'propping' attempts, Wendy would inadvertently reset the Sat Nav so that it was no longer directing us anywhere.
Now I REALLY felt lost.
We eventually settled on Wendy holding the Sat Nav, very carefully, and telling me where we should be going.
We made it to the target Car Park, found three spaces together (which is always best for me!) and parked.
Now I'm not saying that we wouldn't have found our way to the venue on foot from the Car Park but I was glad that we happened to be in the lift with a very helpful young man who gave us idiot proof directions.
We did have to rush the last little bit of the journey to get to the venue just on time but at least we weren't late.
After a quick loo stop and getting a cup of coffee we were almost straight into the first talk which meant as far as socialising was concerned, we managed little more than a quick hello to a couple of fellow bloggers. It was amazing though to simply look around the room from our seat and try to match the real life people to the Blog Names that we know and love. I was surprised at how many of the Bloggers there I had never even heard of which served to remind me how I have barely scratched the surface of the enormous world of the Blogosphere.
The talks were all lively and informative. Lunch had plenty to satisfy my veggie needs. But I have two disappointments.
Firstly, I wish I had been braver when it came to socializing. I am disappointed with myself for not.
The layout of the venue was not particularly conducive to easy interacting and I am so out of practise when it comes to circulating and working a room. I've never been great at it but I was a complete non starter yesterday if I'm honest. I spent most of the time chatting with Wendy. We always have far too much to talk about but I can do it whenever I want - I should have saved it for the journey home and used my time more productively. For me there was also a slightly odd feeling of not knowing where to begin when chatting with somebody I'd never met but whose life and opinions I have intimate knowledge of. And what of their knowledge of me? Had this person sitting in the same room as me read the post where I shared the embarrassing details of my post pregnancy piles?
It was an odd and unnerving feeling but having had a day to think about why it made me feel more than a little inhibited, I don't think it will be a problem again should I get another opportunity for face to face interactions.
My second disappointment is one out of my control. Where was that promised cake?????
Thank you to Nic's Notebook for taking the photo but I really need to work on my posing!!