Food Bloggers Connect ‘09- a weekend to remember!

by Sunita on December 2, 2009

Yes, after all the talk, it was finally time to pack and hop on the train to  attend the Food Bloggers Connect in London, the first ever food bloggers’ conference  in this part of the world. I was leaving the kids for an overnight stay for the very first time since they were born. But after a few initial querries, they took it in their stride; Rengoni even offered to help me pack, which I subtly refused though :-)

This event was the brainchild of Jamie, Hilda, Bethany and Mowie; four very talented bloggers in their own right.

Before I go further, let me thank all those numerous people who carried my rather large suitcase up the stairs in tube stations without even been asked to. Some even insisted with a smile. I usually like to carry my own luggage, but I must admit that on this occasion, I was more than happy to be helped. This also made me fall in love with the world again and made me feel that all is not lost yet. There is still plenty of kindness being showered around. So, to all those good Samaritans out there, thanks again, everyone! It’s people like you who make the world a better place to live in !

Now, getting back to the FBC, I must admit,  that inspite of all the enthusiasm, there was a slight apprehension too, in some corner of my heart. The ‘what if’ question seemed to be  getting louder in my heart as I approached  my destination. We went along so well in the virtual world; but will we in reality? Before leaving home, even Rengoni marvelled at the thought of  me spending time with so many people whom I’ve never met before and even sharing a room with two of them. But, all those nagging doubts soon disappeared into thin air once we met, and we got along as if we had always known each other. Hugs and cheerful banter was the order of the day. There were about 50 of us, few I’ve known for a very long time and some were new faces. But it did not matter; food was the common thread that bound us all together.

See those smiles? It’s like they’ve always known each other! Clockwise from top- Pam, Davina, Ozoz and Kerrin exchange pleasantries

First , there was mingling,

From left- Kerrin, Alessio, Nic, Myself, Claire, Deeba and Pam( photo credit-Davina)

and then it was lunch time. The event was held at the Lebanese restaurant Levant.

The buffet was fabulous; we ate to our hearts’ content. A few snapshots; well, you didn’t expect a food blogger to eat without taking pictures first, did you!

From left- myself, Deeba, Nic and Pam sharing a laugh.(photo credit- Davina)


Aromatic mint tea being poured with a flourish!


Reaching out for the sugar fix!


These gorgeous cupcakes were sponsored by Lola’s ( through Davina’s efforts).

This was folllowed by presentations by Kang ( social media and low light photography) and  Meeta (photography basics), Jamie and Jeanne (copyright and writing voice) and each one did a great job; so many tips and tricks to be learnt; thanks to all four of you.

Clockwise from top left- Kang, Jamie, Meeta and Jeanne

So, after all the eating and chatting and collecting our goodie bags,

it was time to say goodbye to most of the people; but if you thought the fun ended there, then you are truly mistaken! Well, that was just lunch, dinner was yet to come! A little later, a small group of us who were staying over, headed towards Vivat Bacchus ( Jeanne had found this lovely place for us in Central London). There were just 11 of us this time and it was once again a light hearted atmosphere with everyone chatting away to glory. And then the food arrived, and without a cue, cameras came out from everywhere spontaneously!

Clockwise from top- Mowie, Meeta and Alessio deep in conversation and later Alessio shares a laugh with Jamie.

No, please do not leave yet; there is still more to come! That was just Saturday, Sunday’s story is yet to be told! In the morning, me and my room mates, Pam and Deeba left our hotel and headed to Baker street to join the group for a Marylebone Village Food Lovers’ Walk.
Me and my room mates( myself, Deeba and Pam)

The weather was miserable, but  there was too much of good food and good company around,to care !  I love farmers’ markets and this one had some great items and plenty of home made goodies for us to oggle at.

No rain can dampen the spirits of this jolly bunch!

From left- Sarah, Deeba, Jamie, Alessio, Pam, myself, Mowie and Bethany(Photo credit- Ozoz)

This specialist cheese shop , that we came across on our way to lunch, caught our fancy pretty quick and we found it  too irresistable not to step in and look around. They had a cheese room, and it was not long before we started clicking away. If you are a cheese freak ( which I am), this is the place to be. Meeta ( another cheese freak) and I thought we could almost live here forever!

We were  thoroughly famished by now and frantically hunted for a place that would sit all thirteen of us together . We found a place and the eating ( and clicking) began all over again!

Finally, it was time to say goodbye, and me, Pam and Deeba headed towards our hotel to collect our luggage and head towards home. Yes, it was the end of our weekend( Pam did stay longer) and I must say that I was sorry to be parting from all those amazing people. It  felt as if we’ve always known each other.

And yes, I was showered with so much love from different parts of the world; Meeta, Pam, Deeba, Alessio, Hilda, Mowie, Claire, thank you so much everyone, for those amazing gifts; Christmas came early! The kids are on a candy high :-)

Phew! Hope I haven’t over fed you, but I thought it was better to get it out of the system before I forget everything. It was such a surreal experience  to meet those people whom I’ve only known virtually, and give them a real hug. The weekend passed by in  a daze, and though I had lots of fun, at the end of it all, it was nice to see the hubby waiting at the station to take me home.

I’m now looking forward to next year , with even more enthusiasm. Do keep checking the FBC website for more details on this and forthcoming events!

Take care, and stay tuned for my next post for a give away on a special occasion!

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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

1 courtney aka glamah December 2, 2009 at 5:17 am

What a wonderful gathering. Thanks for sharing. I know you will never forget this.

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2 Sunita December 2, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Oh yes, it was lovely to meet everyone. maybe you coukd come too, next time :-)

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3 Nanette December 2, 2009 at 5:19 am

Thanks Sunita for such a wonderful post! It kind of made me feel like I was there for albeit a moment!

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4 Sunita December 2, 2009 at 5:32 pm

You should have come Nanette, would have been lovely to meet you; next June perhaps?

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5 Aparna December 2, 2009 at 5:23 am

It certainly was a weekend to remember. Can see you all had loads of fun. Truely a Blogger Connect! Wish I could have been there too. :(

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6 Sunita December 2, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Yes,. we did ‘connect’; wish you were here too :-(

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7 DK December 2, 2009 at 5:27 am

Looks like u had so much fun! Ppl with similar love and passion – awe come on How can it NOT WORK?!!!

You luk awesome, lithsome and svelte ! Girl come again once again – Mother of two kids you said?

Hugs
DK

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8 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Yes, love for food bound us all together :-)

And thanks for the compliments , I’m just a plain ol’ momma ;-)

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9 Miri December 2, 2009 at 5:39 am

Wow!! seems like such an amazing time was had by all!!

I got the same kind of help om my first trip to London last year – what with my petite frame and a huge suitcase, there were many people who just came and took my suitcase from me – I was so touched!

Miri

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10 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Yes, it was a blast! And it helped that we all got on so well together :-)

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11 Sharmila December 2, 2009 at 6:17 am

Sounds wonderful Sunita! The snaps say it all! :-)

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12 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Yes, it was wonderful :-)

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13 Happy Cook December 2, 2009 at 8:15 am

Looks like you all had such a wonderful time. Loved reading aobut the FBC.
Yeah isn’t it funny how we feel close to people whom we have never seen.
It eally must have felt great metting Deeba, Meeta, Jamie and the rest for real.
I can imagine the kids are in sugar high :-)

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14 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Oh F, you should come next year, would be lovely to meet you. Yes, it was great to meet the gang :-)

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15 Jamie December 2, 2009 at 8:27 am

Wow! I just relived this stunning weekend again! It was too fabulous and I now want to move to London. Actually I want all of us to move to London! Truly a fantastic weekend, fun and laughter but we all learned so much, too. Thanks for this beautiful write up and the pictures! Hugs to you lovely Sunita!

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16 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Hugs back to you too jamie; yes, it was such a memorable weekend indeed!

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17 Mowie @ Mowielicious.com December 2, 2009 at 8:39 am

Sunita, what a great post and so many gorgeous photos! I love the ones of La Fromagerie. It was so nice to finally meet you, and we were so glad that you could make it down to our little ‘do’ =) I hope we don’t wait until FBC ‘10 to meet again. Lots of love, Mowie x

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18 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Mowie, it was lovely to meet you too. It was a lovely weekend, hope to meet you again, soon!

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19 Sarah, Maison Cupcake December 2, 2009 at 9:27 am

What a lovely lovely round up and so nice to see so much about what we did on Sunday too. It was great to meet you and thanks for letting me put the group shot at the market on my blog too.

Well done you for getting in pictures of the contents of the goodie bags, noone else (so far as I know) has done that yet!

Roll on FBC 2010!

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20 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Thanks Sarah, was great to meet you too :-)

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21 Meeta December 2, 2009 at 9:46 am

lovely lovely review! my risotto looks actually good in your shot. wow! haha! it was a lovely weekend and meeting you was one of the many highlights! hugs!

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22 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:44 pm

LOL, you remember all the talk about “the risotto”? Yes, it was lovely to meet you too :-) _

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23 Latha December 2, 2009 at 9:48 am

Dear Sunita,

what lovely pictures. your smiles are infectious… i enjoyed every bit of this post. Now tell me something. do you also eat your bakes or not? you’re soooo trim. i haven’t visited London yet; you’ve tempted me.

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24 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Latha, thank you, and yes, I do eat my bakes :-) You should sometime.

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25 diva December 2, 2009 at 9:57 am

amazing photographs – i’m gutted i missed the sunday market! it looks like so much fun and mmm, great chow too! :D i miss FBC already and such fun we had. so much laughter and giggles. goodness! best weekend ever. definitely will have to do it again. thank u for all my sweeties. sorry to hear u didn’t get to try one of the truffles. i’ll have to make them again soon so u can have a taste!

i spy a bag of ottolenghi cookies! i have one new me in Islington and will be going there for brunch on sunday. can’t wait to blog about it! xxx

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26 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:47 pm

D, it was great to meet you again, wish you were with us on Sunday too! and those are small sponges (courtesy Hilda) :-)

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27 Nirmala December 2, 2009 at 10:05 am

Thats a fabulous meet na? Nice to see all your faces gleaming and happy! A wonderful time and thaks for sharing those lovely moments Sunita!

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28 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Yes, it was a great meet :-)

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29 Juls December 2, 2009 at 10:42 am

Wonderful! I would have been there!
Next time I’ll catch a flight from Italy to be part of it!

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30 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Juls, yes, you must come next time :-)

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31 Hilda December 2, 2009 at 10:51 am

Sunita, it was so nice to finally meet you. :) K was totally in love with your shirt at lunch and thank you for keeping an eye on her for me. I hope you’ll come back to London soon so we can meet up again. And wonderful write-up!

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32 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Thanks Hilda, it was great to meet you too. and K is an absolute sweetheart. We should meet again, soon.

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33 Melanie December 2, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Looks like a lot of fun and great food.

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34 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:51 pm

It sure was :-)

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35 Bethany December 2, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Great round up sunita! It was absolutely lovely to meet you and I can’t wait to do it again! You’re pics are fantastic as well. Hopefully we can all have a meetup b4 FBC10 xx

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36 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Same here Beth :-) Yers, hope we can meet again soon :-)

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37 Mamatha December 2, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Delightful post Sunita! Thanks for sharing the experience with us. Posts like this make me wish that I were a food blogger too.

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38 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:53 pm

You’re welcome Mamatha. Btw, maybe you shoud start a blog too :-)

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39 Bellini Valli December 2, 2009 at 1:51 pm

I am so glad you all had such a fantastic and memorable time Sunita!!!!! Here’s to next year, where it can be bigger and better..if possible.

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40 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Valli,it was a wonderful weekend indeed! And we are all looking forward to next year, maybe you could come too?

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41 The Purple Foodie December 2, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Such a well spent weekend! Loved living it through your photos! =)

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42 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:55 pm

Yes, it was a weekend well spent indeed with great people and great food.

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43 Suparna December 2, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Thanks for sharing the pictures. I wanted to see the food bloggers since long time(You,Meeta,Mowie etc….). You are superb and so are your recipes !!

-Suparna

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44 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:58 pm

You’re welcome Suparna :-)

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45 usha December 2, 2009 at 4:29 pm

looks like a wonderful meet….

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46 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Usha, it was indeed :-)

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47 Colloquial Cook December 2, 2009 at 5:33 pm

Groovy-doovy :-)
Ok, that’s all I can manage for now. I’ll go nap off my rum cake glazing.

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48 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Hey sweetie, it wss great to meet you :-)

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49 Bong Mom December 2, 2009 at 5:40 pm

What fun Sunita. All of you look wonderful and great food.

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50 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Thanks Sandeepa :-)

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51 Nic December 2, 2009 at 5:56 pm

It was great to meet up with you again Sunita!
Looks like you had a ball on the Sunday, I would have been in heaven in that cheese shop too. Nice write-up!

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52 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Same here, Nic, was lovely to meet you again. Yes, Sunday was great fun :-)

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53 Rosa December 2, 2009 at 9:12 pm

A great post! Thanks for sharing!

Cheers,

Rosa

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54 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Rosa, you must come next time, would be great to meet you :-)

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55 Priya December 2, 2009 at 9:46 pm

What a lovely and heartwarming post!! So wonderful that you all got along so well and had a fabulous time. Gorgeous pictures……………makes me so hungry. Thank you for sharing.

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56 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Yes priya, we di have a wonderful time :-)

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57 Radhika Vasanth December 2, 2009 at 10:04 pm

It is truly amazing to see all of you and thanks for feeding us virtually..

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58 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 3:08 pm

You’re welcome Radhika :-)

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59 nags December 3, 2009 at 3:00 am

omg! so much fun!! I hope to join some time too :)

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60 Sunita December 3, 2009 at 3:04 pm

nags, you must come next time- it’s happening in June’10 (5th and 6th)

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61 Daily Spud December 3, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Lovely round up of events and I’m sorry I didn’t get to meet you on Saturday – will just have to come back for more at FBC10!

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62 Kavey December 4, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Sorry we didn’t get to chat but nice to meet you, albeit briefly.
Lovely photos, so many great ones but my favourite is your one of that man pouring the mint tea. Really love that shot!
Kavey

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63 Sarka December 7, 2009 at 10:44 pm

It took me a while to read through so many posts on FBC09 without working internet at home, but I’ve finally read yours! What a nice round up! And your photos are really wonderful. It was great to meet you, and I hope we will have more time to chat next time!

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64 Jeanne January 13, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Oh, that was like reliving it all over again!! It really was a fantastic day that none of us will ever forget. Thanks so much for my wonderful goodie bag – those truffles…. :o )

And yes – it really is surprising and heartening how often people will volunteer to help you with your bags on the Tube stairs – and (gasp!) not all of them are intent on stealing your bag and running away (although with MY suitcase they would probably geet a hernia if the attempted anything over a brisk walk – they always weigh a TON!).

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