Monday 11th February was a hot date in the calendar for me and one I’d been so looking forward to. It didn’t just live up to my expectations, it exceeded them!
This day marked HiHo Silver’s second ever instameet event, this time named ‘be all you can be’, held in the idyllic location of the Blackdown Shepherd Huts, in Somerset. It was the definition of an instagramable setting!
At last years event I met, my now good friend, Becky. She runs the Country Bumpkin Chic blog, sharing her stories from the beautiful Dorset countryside, Becky’s blog is certainly one to bookmark! Becky very kindly let me travel across to her on Sunday evening, so I was closer to the event and I didn’t have to spend quite so many hours in the car all in one day, which is was very grateful for.
Becky organised such a lovely carvery dinner at her local country pub, where I got the chance to meet up with fellow HiHo & Co goers, Gem Gilbert of @gemeventing on insta and Elizabeth Jones, @ejones34 on insta. We had such a lovely evening chatting; mostly sharing our excitement of the day ahead of us and talking horses, of course!
Morning morning arrived and we were en route to the beautiful location of the Blackdown Shepherd Huts HQ. I soon as we arrived I knew it was going to be a fabulous day. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and it was surprisingly mild for a February day, oh and of course, the Shepherd huts looked sooo picture perfect.
We were a little early (I’m not ashamed to admit how eager I was to start the day!) but warmly welcomed by Emma, who really needs no introduction but she’s Hiho’s queen bee, along side running Dimpsey Glamping and Doris & Co and Rhea Freeman, PR Guru, huge supporter and all round lovely person. Off we went to the main ‘hub’ of the day. The room was an abundance of beautiful items from all of our favourite brands, along with beautiful flowers, a selection of magazines and all sorts of ‘props’ for the day. Quite honestly, I cannot imagine how the room looked before, but they sure worked their magic on the transformation.
Of course, we were greeted with a cup of tea, in a beautiful Doris & Co mug; I think the lovely Tracey from Willow & Fin, along with Andrew, Hi Ho’s King of the Road, made almost everyone a cup of tea that morning… and that’s a lot of cups of tea!? And we were handed the most beautiful, exclusive lanyards, embossed with Hiho & Co, with out name badges on – Mackenzie and George, you really do create the most beautiful quality items and this will hold huge sentimental value, as a reminder of a wonderful day!
Over my morning tea, I got chatting with the very lovely Jessica from Gee Gee & Me, beautiful inside and out, her blog is now a new favourite of mine.
My first workshop of the day was with the lovely Sophie Callahan. Inside the beautiful brace shepherd hut, Sophie spoke about blogging, Instagram, telling a story behind our photos, how to put items together to create purposeful content and how to share that effectively with the brands featured. After which, it was straight to putting it into practise; time to create some scenes for ourselves and get snapping!
I mean, I could have carried on with this workshop all day. Sophie really is a complete fountain of knowledge when it comes to all things, social media, photography and building a personal brand.
After a wonderful morning with Sophie, we were given a ‘behind the scenes tour’ of the Blackdown Shepherd Hut workshops. We were able to see how they’re built, from the very start of the process. It was totally fascinating, seeing them go from an empty shell, to a bespoke, beautifully light yet still cosy space, with such attention to detail.
I have to say, after the workshop tour, I desperately wanted to buy my own…!
Lunch was served from the Towby Hut by Mr Warren & Co and it was off to take our seat in the tea room, where the entire group got together to share our stories from the morning so far and find out about what might be in store for the afternoon, and boy was it good!
The afternoons workshop was hosted by the lovely and extremely Instagram savvy Lucy Heath of Capture by Lucy. Lucy spoke so enthusiastically about her business, her brand and how we can create beautiful images, that really represent our personal brands and how to get the recognition we all deserve, on Instagram.
We got to use some of Lucy’s wonderful backdrops and use yet more gorgeous products to create flat lays. Lucy spent time with each and every individual to offer them personal help and support. Looking at our Instagram’s, telling us what was good and what could be better.
The day drew to an end and we all gathered in the tea room for a round up chat. As ever, Emma was so passionate about getting the ‘be all you can be’ message across. I think she has a real way of encouraging and inspiring others, giving them the confidence they need to keep going and believe in themselves. I dare anyone to say they didn’t leave that day feeling motivated and inspired!
It’s hard to capture the spirit of the event in words alone. Until you’re really there, its hard to imagine a place with such warm, friendly, talented, supportive and creative individuals. The collaboration of everyone, brands and attendees, makes for something really special.
Social media is far more brilliant than it gets credit for; filled with a lot more positivity and sense of community than often acknowledged. Hiho have created something truly unique and inspirational, allowing us to connect with others we’d have otherwise only known online, providing invaluable knowledge through the workshops and having so much content to take away with us too.
After the event I felt as though I’d been handed all the tools I need, to be creative and have confidence in what I’m creating. I’ve never been to another place where you are surrounded by so many supporters and able to show your support, in return.
There was a lot of people there who I haven’t yet mentioned, but certainly not because they don’t deserve to be. A huge amount of work and generosity went in behind the scenes… keep your eyes peeled for a full goodie bag reveal…!
Finally, but most importantly (and would it be one of my blogs if I didn’t end on a gushy, meaningful note), thank you. Thank you to everyone who helped to make the day what it was, to every brand who generously gave their time and gifts, to everyone who attended and made my day so wonderful – I’ve had a smile on my face ever since.