I wrote this post the other day about stepping out of my comfort zone and about how I was finally going to stand up and do something that even just the thought of has always made me feel extremely anxious.
I'm always honest with my anxiety. I really see no point in ever trying to cover it. I'm not a shy person. I'm not unconfident. I'm confident in myself and will talk to anyone. People probably assume I hide my anxiety well, but I'm not hiding it. I'm going through it over and over again, but I'm also pushing my way through it. It's like half of me rows with the other half a lot of the time and whilst my anxiety is loud and sometimes can feel a little crippling, I refuse to let it rule my life.
When I received the amazing invitation from Boots Soltan and read what my trip to London would involve, I knew that I had to take the opportunity. For various reasons really - 1. It's Boots! 2. It's BritMums Live. And 3. It was the perfect opportunity to do something I've never felt strong enough to do alone before.
And boy am I glad I did.
I'd been surprisingly calm during the build-up to Friday. I think being a busy Mum helps you to take your mind off of things. On Friday morning, I woke up with excitement. How lucky was I to have been offered this opportunity?! I couldn't wait to meet with Boots and the other bloggers working with them. Right on queue came the anxiety of course and getting to the train station and on to the train was hard. I don't even remember breathing on the train - in fact I was battling my head so much that the journey is just a blur.
I met the lovely Jess at Euston station, just after I spilt my entire lunch down my top (Nice!). She had text saying she would be a bit late, but I was glad to hear it - I needed time to calm down.
When she arrived it was great to have someone to talk to and get to the hotel with. It was the first time I'd met her and she is just lovely.
Our hotel was amazing - I was pretty blown away and it felt amazing to have a company like Boots Soltan believing in me and my blog enough to have invited me. The trip was based around a 5★ theme because all of their Boots Soltan products are 5★ rated (which means that they give the highest level of protection against UVA.).
We were then invited to a Soltan briefing at a stunning restaurant in Mayfair - it was lovely to finally meet the girls from Boots that I'd been chatting to via email, they were all incredibly kind and friendly. I learnt so much during the briefing and I found it so interesting. Like about how once t-shirts are wet and turn opaque they no longer offer any protection from the sun. Below are some other interesting things that I picked up during the briefing..
- Sun damage is caused by two types of ultraviolet light, UVA and UVB. UVA penetrates deeper and is mainly responsible for ageing.
- The level of UVA protection a sun cream gives is shown by its star rating.
- 3 tablespoons of sun cream is enough to cover your whole body.
- Sand, concrete and even grass all reflect UV but if any of these surfaces become wet the amount of UV reflected can double.
- The effects of the sun are cumulative so if you burn an area of skin it may be more sensitive next year.
- 40% of UV exposure occurs when you’re not in direct sunlight.
It was also good to learn that Boots Soltan is actually the No.1 5★ UVA sun protection brand and that they can help you to choose the best sun cream for you online via this SPF selector tool. I'm working with them again next month and so will be able to share more insight into Soltan and sun protection then.
I spent that evening after our briefing with blogger friends Kerri-Ann, Jenny, Lucy, Katie and Clarissa, these girls are amazing and we had such a lovely meal at Wagamama.
I met with some of the girls in the morning and we headed down to breakfast together and then off to register for the event. I was so anxious before I finally plucked up enough courage to leave my room. I find it so hard to explain, because I was having the BEST time and was so excited but I was full of anxiety and nearly cried to Kerri-Ann, bless her, when she asked if I was OK at breakfast. I was OK, I was so excited and feeling amazing, I was just overwhelmed. Girls, if you read this, thank you so much for being so lovely and supportive. You know who you are and you're all amazing friends.
Being at BritMums Live was great - I felt on top of the world being there and so proud of myself. Feeling overwhelmed by the number of people there, I clung to friends in the beginning, but then I slowly relaxed in to it, the anxiety cloud shifted off of me and I truly enjoyed myself. It was amazing to know that I'd finally done it alone and that this time Adam wasn't sitting in a hotel room somewhere waiting for me.
It was amazing to spend time with some of the loveliest fellow bloggers and get to hang out with fellow Channel Mumm'er Sophie from Mumology. Sophie, if you read this, I so hope I get to spend time with you again. You have my same humour and you have no idea how much you made me laugh and helped me to relax!
Sophie and I went to a couple of sessions together. I'm not sure how I felt about the sessions this year, I didn't learn as much as I would have liked, but maybe they're more suited to newer bloggers?! It was however, amazing to see Vicki from Honest Mum talk in her session as I find her drive, honesty and kindness extremely inspiring.
It's impossible to write about all of the little details that went in to the two days and all of the wonderful and kind people I met. But I learnt a lot about myself. Maybe it sounds silly but it's sort of like I almost finally broke chains off of myself a little. I'm eternally grateful to Boots Soltan for believing in me and for inviting me along for what turned out to be exactly what I needed.