While I'm on the train home at the moment - and therefore my perspective is possibly a bit warped - I have to say the post-conference drinks and networking was such a highlight today. I was tempted to just leave but instead had a quick chat to the lovely Jane before diverting to the ladies.
From there I could have easily headed for the lifts, but I squashed my introverted instincts and meandered back into the networking fray, carefully making my way to the ready-and-waiting glasses of wine. Red for me, and an easily sparked off conversation with Angela, who was so lovely that we chatted for easily more than half an hour. I would love to link to Angela's blog, but she is still in research mode and hasn't quite started one yet (but had fab ideas, so well thought out).
Anyway, the conversation with Angela eventually segued into a brief chat with Jules from Stone Soup, one of the panelists form the last session of the day on blog case studies. As a part time food blogger, I was grateful for her tips from the podium.
From there I was able to chat briefly with the sweet and colourful Pilgrim Lee, leading to an intro to Cinti of My Poppet. It was great to meet people in real life who I've been following on twitter or whatever. While I had briefly introduced myself to Maddie of L'il Magoolie (as we have emailed in the past), it was great to actually chat a little later on, drinks in hands and snacking on randomly passing finger food.
I had a lovely but brief chat with Kellie from 74 Lime Lane, who I had come across online but couldn't remember where or how. She was gorgeous though. Somehow in the meantime I was briefly coerced into a mini-summary of the day on Social Rabbit's video slash mobile thingy, after which I had a good chat with Paul Cunningham. Paul had been the lone bloke and the lone techie on that same last panel as Jules. I wanted to ask him about blogging about technical solutions, as Ben has mentioned it many times in the past.
Sonia Simone of Copyblogger joined us (well Paul, really, but I stuck around to listen) and eventually we had a nice convo about things like gluten free food and long-haul travel. I felt very disposable at some points of the conversation but I persisted and conversed like a grown-up and everything ;) Paul left to skype with his kids in Brisbane, and Sonia went off for a break.
Having picked up my 3rd glass of wine, I brazenly tucked myself into a group having a conversation nearby, having met a couple of them already and recognising a couple more. It was great, I had a really enjoyable conversation with Alec, Rachel Devine's husband - about work (his and Ben's), autism, kids, travel, the States and Melbourne plus a bit about women's shopping habits which was quite funny - before we merged into the dissipating group and I officially met Natalie from Tiny & Little. If you don't know Tiny & Little, it's a gorgeous online mag. I exchanged cards with Natalie and Rachel (yes, be still my beating heart, what an awesome photographer she is). After a very (un)serious discussion of kids kindergarten photos, and some other things, I was again farewelling Maddie who was headed out for dinner.
Edited to add: I kind of wish I'd gone with, but on the other hand I was so tired when I got home at 9:30 (lame, yes, but I'd been up and busy since 5:30am) it's probably best I didn't. But I still kind of wish I had.
Well, I farewelled Maddie and Cinti and headed once again for the ladies. I'm not sure how but on exiting from the cubicle I ended up in a conversational clinch (a pleasant one) with Debbie of Unlock Your Best Life. After a brief intro and exchange of cards, she enlisted me to watch her bags and we bonded briefly over extravagant Spencer & Rutherford accessories, declaring them inherently practical. I ended up walking Debbie back to her car through the uncertainty of the Melbourne night, and received a lift to the train station in her Rav4 in exchange for my stranger's kindness.
In the process there was a hilarious interlude with the car park attended, once again linked with the apparently astonishing information that I have three kids (it surprised people numerous times). I kept reassuring them that I am 30, it's all legal and everything ;) Debbie dropped me off at Flinders Street station and here I am passing the Surrey Hills stop on the Belgrave line.
I almost left out of this unnecessarily lengthy post an entertaining side-story of impromtu toilet stand-up. Commenting on my husband's preference for silence from the toilet cubicle, I vocalised how outside my comfort zone it was to be talking to someone while she was behind that toilet door. Following up that comment with an observation that serving wine in the morning would have made me way more comfortable all day - though likely less attentive - was quite amusing to a poor innocent blogger who had merely popped in to use the facilities. We didn't officially introduce ourselves, but she seemed very nice and I'm sure I seemed quite bizarre, LOL.
And I didn't take any photos all day.