My life would be vastly different without social media. In fact, I can hardly imagine my life without it anymore. This blog, facebook, twitter and now Google+ have and are making a tremendous impact on my life. Without social media, my life would be different, emptier even. Without social media I wouldn’t have interacted with, heck, I wouldn’t have known a whole bunch of people I now consider friends.

group photo FBC'11 by Sarka Babicka

Group photo @ Food Blogger Connect (c) Sarka Babicka of cookyourdream.com

Last weekend was spent in London, at Food Blogger Connect ’11. An annual, international Food Bloggers conference/get together/party which lasts three days and leaves you with experiences and friends worth a lifetime. At FBC, people get together from different cities, countries and even continents. People with completely different backgrounds, but one common denominator. We share a (in other peoples eyes possibly unhealthy or strange) hobby, or profession that brings us together. We’re all food bloggers.

Olives from Spain during the drinks

Olives from Spain (one of the sponsors of FBC11) on the table during drinks

The thing is, in normal-people-land I am considered a weirdo. I get excited by kitchen gadgets that have only one use, and are only useful once every other year. Herbs and spices make me giggle. I make my own pasta and vanilla sugar. I’m no fan of yardwork, but I have a little garden, because fresh veggies just taste so much better. I think it’s completely okay to spend 6 hours decorating a cake that will be devoured in 5 minutes. I buy flour and chocolate in bulk because who knows if I’ll feel like baking and I don’t want to be low on ingredients. Laurens gave me a cookbook titled ‘the perfect Dutch kitchen maid’ for my birthday and instead of smacking him upside the head, I kissed him and told him it was the perfect gift.
You understand by now, I get a little giddy about food. I know this and have come to accept this. The people close to me have gotten used to it and see it as one of my strange-but-charming quirks. The rest of the world - I really don’t care what they think about it – give me strange looks when I mention it.

Falafel during drinks at FBC11

Tasty falafel during drinks at FBC'11

And then there was Food Blogger connect. Suddenly I wasn’t a weirdo at all. Suddenly the fact that I like to talk about recipes and social media or technology or photography was completely normal. Suddenly taking a picture of food instead of eating it wasn’t strange at all.

Long live social media. It unites the freaks and outcasts of the world and makes them realize they’re actually the normal ones. Or something like that.

Giulia (Juls' Kitchen) and I at FBC11

Giulia (Juls' Kitchen) and I at FBC11

When I first heard about Food Blogger Connect last year I got excited and a little sad that I’d missed it. I made sure to get on the mailing list so I could go this year. I blogged my prequel a little while ago, after I booked my hotel and plane tickets and got more and more excited as preparations started. I agreed on a prop exchange with Giulia of Juls’ Kitchen, agreed to share my hotel room with Kelly of Condensed Stew and arranged to meet Simone of Jungle Frog Cookingat the airport. All people I had never met before, which instead of making me nervous actually excited me more. I knew there was no way I wouldn’t have fun. A weekend filled with other people with the same obsession just had to be fun.

Dutch girls at FBC'11

Marthe of Baking Bluefinger, me, and Simone of Jungle Frog Cooking

And fun we had! Simone and I arrived in Londen late Friday morning. We walked around, had lunch and then met up with the other attendants for drinks and snacks. Everyone talked and laughed as if we had known each other for  years. Even though I hadn’t met anyone before, it didn’t feel like that. I knew they were foodbloggers, or even knew their blogs and therefor had taken a glimpse of their soul.

Tasty chocolates at FBC11

Tasty chocolates at FBC'11

There were sessions and many more sessions and food, lots and lots of food. Breakfast and pastries and chocolates and lunch and warm cookies filled me up. There was wine and talking and getting to know each other, advice giving and receiving, friendly banter, serious conversation, food photography, pictures with newfound friends, exchange of business blog cards and Aaron of Cuisinart made wonderful cappuccino’s.

Kelly of Condensed Stew, me, and Regula of Foodwise at FBC'11

Kelly of Condensed Stew, me, and Regula of Foodwise at FBC'11

I can’t properly convey how wonderful this weekend has been. There is just no way to explain how awesome all these people are. They’re instant friends – but instead of water, you just add food to ensure a wonderful, wonderful time.

Duck canapes at FBC11

Duck canapes, served at FBC11

Thanks Bethany, Sarka, Nando, Joclyn and everyone else who made this happen! Oh, and thank you social media, for existing, and making my life just so much more awesome!

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32 Responses to Food Blogger Connect 2011

  1. Ulrike says:

    It was so nice to meet you and the other foodies. We are not alone …

  2. Regula says:

    You are so right! It really was amazing how we all connected!

  3. Great write-up. You’ve captured what it is to be a food blogger – meeting people in the real world, who you have shared a foodie obsession with over the Internet! :-)

  4. angela says:

    Beautiful photos and a lovely post. I really like the look of your site thanks for the recommendation of the theme. Look forward to getting to know you better next year!

    • Valerie says:

      Thanks! I am especially pleased with the olives-photo. It just caught my eye and it came out exactly the way I wanted! Do look into the theme indeed. It’s so versatile! And yes, next year we must talk more than 5 seconds :-)

  5. Zita says:

    Great summery, well written post, Valerie!

  6. Jacqueline says:

    What a great account of a wonderful weekend. I think we are all having withdrawal symptoms. You did make me laugh when you talked about the type of spam comments your blog attracts ;-)

  7. Nic says:

    I enjoyed reading this Valerie, it reminds me why us food bloggers all get on so well, even with those we’ve only just met!
    I’m really looking forward to reading through your blog and browsing your recipes – I have kitchen envy now after seeing yours!

  8. Simone says:

    O haha… sounds like we have the same experiences when it comes to other people’s opinion about foodbloggers! Loved meeting you too and maybe we should get together with the Dutch girl some time soon… :)

  9. So lovely to have met you at FBC, Valerie. Really happy that you enjoyed the conference and that go to click with more people like “us”. Whole reason we started it! Thanks for the support and hope to see you at next year’s event. We’re planning some cool activities.

  10. Valerie says:

    Thanks Beth! It was wonderful meeting you as well and I’m already looking forward to next year!

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