My Plus North

Hiya pickles!

Grab a cuppa, this might take a few minutes of your time. 

Where to begin? What was Plus North like for me? Mind-blowing describes it quite well. I've never felt that I truly fit in anywhere. I've always felt slightly apart from (or excluded from) any kind of collective of people, other than with my close friends who are by and large of the alternative bent; fellow misfits and other people who feel like square pegs in round holes.

It may sound strange because I've made many friends from blogging and have a lot of interaction with fellow bloggers, but sometimes I don't feel very connected to blogging. I can't get to blogger events as much as I'd like because of the pain & fatigue that will inevitably follow, and because I'm so far south there's no one close to me I can pop in to see on a whim. I often feel isolated. Being at Plus North made me feel connected for the first time, like I'm really a part of this living, breathing thing whose roots go far and wide, beyond the bounds of my imagination. I hope the feeling lasts, as it felt really good.

At Plus North, I felt like I belonged. A year ago, when I was so crippled with anxiety even the thought of getting on a train alone was enough to almost send me into a panic attack, I'd have laughed if someone had told me I'd walk into a bar full of people on my own and be OK. Admittedly, it did take a vodka to stop my hands from shaking, but I walked in without really thinking about it!

Let's start at the beginning. James and I left home at the ungodly hour of 6.30 am headed for Leeds. He still didn't want to take me, but he did. (By the time we left on Sunday morning he could see why I'd wanted to go so much and was glad he took me.)

No make up 6.30am face/I put on make up at the McDonald's drive through/lunch/ lovely Yorkshire countryside

Jimbo dropped me off at the venue at about 1.30 and I went into the breach! I think I'd been in the building for around 60 seconds when I got my first hug, and they just kept coming all day. I've never felt so loved. All day (and into the night) there were a stream of people exclaiming 'Leah!!!' and throwing their arms around me. It was fantastic having so many people pleased to see me, getting so many hugs and meeting so many wonderful people whose blogs I read or who I know from Instagram and Tumblr. I met so many bloggers I've wanted to meet for ages, as well as catching up with people I've been lucky enough to meet before. It was so life affirming and I can't wait to see everyone again soon. I wish I could name check everyone I met, but I know I'd forget someone and end up kicking myself.

I watched fashion shows from Yours Clothing and Simply Be and I liked SO much of what I saw. I spent ages in the Yours alcove looking through their wares and talking to the ladies, who were so lovely!

It was oppressively warm in the venue and I started to flag after a couple of fashion shows, so Natalie and I went upstairs to find a seat. I also had awful period pains and was up to my eyeballs on codeine so I felt a little spacey. (That vodka wasn't such a good idea in retrospect). After a rest I had a look at most of the stalls upstairs and chatted to more of the people behind the brands. I loved Apples and Pears (whose clothes look sooo much better in the flesh than online) and Topsy Curvy. The Evans girls were sweet enough to come to us while we were sitting down, which was nice. I had a good lust over Chunky Cat Cuddler's jewels, met Jim Hawkins the photographer who I know from Twitter, (lovely man!) and appeared in his radio podcast. I left my business card with a few brands and felt a bit silly doing it (I'm so socially awkward when meeting people for the first time) but it got easier with practice. Everyone I spoke to was so nice which made everything less daunting as time went on.

Because the fashion shows were held downstairs I did miss some of the catwalk shows while I was sitting upstairs. I didn't get to see all the stalls downstairs either as it was a lot more crowded, but I don't feel like I missed out at all because there was still plenty going on. Too much for me to document in fact, so I reverted to the old faithful - a million and one selfies! If you have any photos taken with me please let me know. I'd love to see them.

After the main part of the day had finished, James came to meet me and we went to lunch with Natalie and her lovely hubby to Nandos, which was near the venue.

Sarah, my sister from another mister/NANDOS!/carrot cake/evening loo mirror selfie

Evening face/evening ambience/Char and Natalie/drink face

Photo courtesy of Charlie.

The day wasn't without its issues - Sarah had her purse nicked and the staff in the venue left a lot to be desired much of the time, but the main thing is there was a lot of hard work that went into organising the event, and overall it was a blinder of a day. The evening was all too short as the owner of the venue was a sod and kept us all waiting downstairs for ages. I only wish I was energetic enough to party the night away elsewhere with everyone after the venue kicked out. If I have one regret it's not being able to attend the Sunday and not having enough time to talk to everyone. I'm already looking forward to next year and have told hubby we're going for both days so he'd better book time off. ;)

Tomorrow I'll be posting some DSLR photos of the Yours and Simply Be catwalks and some Instagram photos I also took of clothes which particularly took my fancy.

Thanks for reading!
Leah xoxo

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