This past Saturday (April 25th) I was lucky enough to be invited to #TheCityGirls event right here in sunny Sheffield. It was my first ever blogger event, so I was really nervous in the days leading up (I'm not even going to pretend like I'm not familiar with social anxiety haha) but once I got there it was so much fun, and I adored chatting with the brand reps and meeting the other girls who were invited! And not only my first event, it was the first ever #TheCityGirls event, one of hopefully many more to come, and it was so exciting to be involved in the birth of what I believe is going to become an excellent blogger event network.
Photo nabbed from Lorna's instagram here
The event was hosted by Lorna and Holly-Lucy, pictured above, and honestly I'm so proud of all of the hard work they put into the afternoon. Everything was thought of and catered for, and you could really see not just the sheer amount of hard work and planning that they put into this, but also their sheer passion for it. I'm sure their next event will be just as successful, and can't wait to hear more news about it through #TheCityGirls hashtag. Did I mention we even trended on Twitter during the event? So exciting!!
As soon as we entered the venue (Bloo88 on West Street, which? amazing cocktails and even better pizza!) we were greeted by tables littered about with goodies for everyone to collect, interspersed with the brand tables, and a raffle area set up to raise money for the event's charity City Hearts. The table in the very entrance was stocked with Voss water as well as Virtue iced tea (they had Lemon iced tea available but I chose the Strawberry & Peach flavour, which was delicious, if maybe a little tart). My bottle of Voss came in very useful at the end of the event, on the long journey home to keep me hydrated!
Some of the goodies that were available at the event. Voss water, a pretty light-up pocket mirror from Pebble Grey, a bottle of Henderson's Relish (which, of course, since we're in Sheffield - but would you believe I've never tried it??) and the prettiest mini bottles of perfume. This smells so very delicious I want to wear it all the time.
Amber came from City Hearts to give us a talk at the beginning of the event before we got started mingling and chatting, to really give us an idea of why we were all here. Amber gave a great talk to the group, which really hammered home the importance of the work City Hearts does, and I admit it made me feel a little emotional.
To quote from their website "As part of the National Referral Mechanism, we work with the Salvation Army, the Police, Social Services, the UK Human Trafficking Centre and other national organizations, to provide a safe refuse and immediate care for men, women and families who have been rescued from modern day slavery."
To raise money, a raffle was held, with lots of amazing prizes up for grabs. In the end, I was very happy to learn that the raffle raised £175 for the charity - and even better, Aviva is going to match the donation, bringing it to a nice, even £350!
There was everything from sets of flavoured instant coffee, bags, cinema tickets and artwork. For my trouble I came away with a Sheffield Cook Book (swapped with new friend Sophie from Books and Beauty, as she said she didn't cook, and since I had never tried Henderson's it seemed like it had to happen!) and a really pretty silver necklace by Thomas Sabo which you can see in my next post, but you may just be able to spy in the photograph below!
I also won an amazing clear/holographic clutch from Second Thread, but I felt bad hogging all the prizes and wanted the other girls to get a chance, so I donated it back in for re-drawing.
I fully admit that I have since ordered the clutch and matching shopper bag direct from their web store though, which you can find by following the above link. #noshame #gottatreatyoself Unfortunately I don't have any photos of Second Thread to share right now, the ones I took didn't come out clear (I need more practice at this blog photography thing) - but rest assured I will be sharing the bags when they get here. They're so pretty!
I was really excited to see that Benefit had come to play! Melissa came to give all of the ladies mini makeovers, mostly focussing on brows and lashes. She was really lovely, and great to chat with as she talked about not just the products but blogging and beauty in general. I considered getting her to look at my brows, but I'd already filled them in and thought it would be too much work to start over, so I asked her to let me try out the new RollerLash. I've actually been needing to buy some new mascara for a few weeks (I'm finishing up my sample of YSL's latest offering pretty soon) and was considering They're Real. But I really loved RollerLash when Mel tried it out on me - so I definitely know what my new mascara is going to be!
Benefit also brought a little goodie bag for each of the attendees, which included a sample of The POREfessional - which I've been wanting to try as I'm in need of a primer that actually does what it says - and a sample of the They're Real Remover, which I think I'll wait to try when I've got some heavy duty eye makeup going on.
Here the masks are being packed into the iconic black pots - and as we chatted away with one of the brand reps, she slipped one of these masks into our goodie bags. It worked out really well for me, since I have quite dry and sensitive skin, which this particular mask is perfect for. I'm planning on a long bubble bath with a mask tonight before bed ^^
They had also brought some of their most popular and limited-edition shower gels (the pink one smells like very sweet pomegranates and the purple one smells like parma violets). We got a choice of taking one of these home with us, but I opted for a Yummy Mummy body conditioner instead - it's a skin conditioner that you wash on in the shower and it hydrates your skin without having to apply a separate moisturiser after drying off. We got a couple other goodies from Lush as well, but you'll have to wait for my goody bag recap for the details!
I didn't get a picture of Cinnamon Buns Designs table either - I got a little distracted talking to the lovely lady showing off all of the prints they had for sale, but you can see her own photo of the display here on Instagram. The print I really wanted had sold out by the time I got there, but I bought the one pictured above instead as it's similar - the only difference is that the one I had my eye on had white text with a multicoloured "splash" design around it. I think this one is just as pretty though!
The only brand I didn't get to spend time with was Panache, which was a shame since I'm already a fan of their lingerie and would recommend them especially to any plus size ladies, since I've never had a problem with underwire breakage or stabbing with their bras and have always found them comfortable. I was really excited for Panache to visit, but so was everybody else since the rep was so busy all afternoon with everyone getting bra fittings. I really wanted to be fitted myself as well, since I always tend to order bras online and just try on and return what doesn't fit, so I have no idea what bra size I am anymore. But at the same time I guess it was for the best at the time since I felt pretty warm and a little uncomfortably sticky so I wouldn't have liked to inflicted sweaty boobs on the poor woman haha. Since we're both in Sheffield though I'm hoping to be able to get a fitting sorted sometime soon anyway, so if I do I'll definitely update with more information!
Between the Raffle items and the Benefit table, there was a lovely display of pretty chocolate cupcakes, baked by Holly. I'm really sad to say that I forgot to go back to try one, but the other girls said they were delicious! I had planned to have one as dessert after our pizza lunch (seriously the girls thought of EV-RY-THING) but when we came back upstairs it seemed like a whirlwind. I can't express how fast the whole day seemed to go!
Speaking of pizza! When I told my friends that I was going to an event at Bloo88, the first thing everyone said was that they do amazing pizzas. And seriously, they were right. We were spoilt for choice as well - I lost count of the number of different toppings on the many, many pizzas that were served to the group. My favourite had goat's cheese and tomatoes on it (I had to pick off the olives, but it was delicious!). Even the crusts were perfectly crispy - I'll definitely be going back for pizza and cocktails sometime very soon.
By the end of the afternoon we were all pretty lumbered down with goodies, but I'm definitely not complaining! I was astonished by both the size and quality of the goody bags that we got at the event (not to mention the canvas totes from The Blogger Programme - I am a total hoarder of printed tote bags, it has to be said). But you'll have to wait until next time to find out what was inside, since this post is already way longer than I had originally intended!
Really though, I have to say that the best part of being involved in this event was the real sense of community. All of the girls came together on twitter, and I felt like I'd made some new friends even before the day - and it was really great to meet and talk to some girls with similar interests and who really "get" the blogging thing. I hope to see you all again soon!!