What’s the worst possible nightmare for any blogger? Go to a blogging conference & have no Internet for most of your trip! An even worse one would be coming back home & having to send your laptop to get fixed for a few days after that!!! So without further ado, here’s my VERY overdue post on our trip to Paris for the AMAZING Efluent 5 event!
Now for those of you who don’t know, I got selected to represent Lebanon for “Le Spot Des Efluent” in Paris, which is a mommy & daddy blogging event that has been taking place for the past 5 years, only this year, they went international so lucky me! After being sent the details, I was added to a Facebook group along with the 100+ international mommy & daddy bloggers, and boy was I in for a shock. After “web stalking” some of the bloggers, I realized one thing…I SUCKED! Like I really, really sucked at this blogging thing, compared to these guys! I was surprised to get selected in the 1st place, & after seeing the tens of thousands of followers these people have I wanted to crawl under a rock & hide LOL. But in Lebanon, blogging is fairly recent, lots of people don’t really understand it, some people think it’s stupid, others think it’s weird (even my very up to date daddy has no clue what my blog is about), but for that small minority of people that did get me, I was very grateful, it’s thanks to them that Parole De Mamans considered me at all.
We decided to turn it into a mini family vacation since I couldn’t leave Kyra behind, but that’s another story to tell…so for now, back to our event!
We had been in Paris for a couple days but the Paroles de Mamans group had planned a lovely stay for us at the St. James Albany Hotel, so we got all packed up & moved from our hotel in the Bastille area & headed to the St. James. We were received by Sophie Gervais (the mastermind & executor of the whole “international bloggers” idea) who was there all day, with a goodie bag from Klorane to welcome us & check us in.
As I sat in the lobby waiting for our key, I watched groups of bloggers walk in. You could instantly recognize the stylish Italian mommies, the Russians & Romanians as well & then finally my Lebanese mommy blogger buddies arrived! Representing Lebanon along with me were: Yasmina from Supermom blog & Mirna from Nutricycle. I was thrilled to belong to our little group of 3 Lebanese mommy bloggers & felt some reassurance as I was terrified to meet all the hot shot ones alone.
Parole de Mamans was totally pampering us with hair & makeup artists to get us ready for the gala dinner later that night on the Paris en Scene boat cruise. It felt so nice to have to get dressed up after spending 2 years in jeans & I was determined to make the best of it.
Glamour was the code & everyone looked absolutely ravishing…short & long dresses, tuxedos & suits, every single mommy & daddy blogger looked amazing! As we gathered in the lobby, small groups formed according to the country of origin & we walked to the buses in excitement, taking a million pictures from the hotel all the way to dinner.
We had a nice dinner with some champagne, then some wine & danced a little before we headed back (Shout out to Jesus & Leslie my dancing buddies!).
It was freezingggg on the deck but we braved the icy wind & took pictures outside nonetheless, after all it’s not everyday that you get to take a selfie with an illuminated Eiffel Tour in the background.
In true Cinderella fashion however, I was in bed by midnight & as the Wifi at the hotel had probably crashed due to the overload of blogger usage (or maybe they just unplugged it when they found out a 100 of us would be using it at the same time lol) I had nothing else to do but sleep.
After a night of partying, I woke up super early & went downstairs to grab a quick coffee before getting ready to head to the “Carreau Du Temple“.
We gathered in the lobby again to head out & in all patriotism took pictures with the Lebanese flag (good job Yasmina for bringing one!)
After much anticipation, finally D-Day was here!!! I had butterflies in my stomach just thinking about how many people would be there & couldn’t wait to see what the event would be like. As we walked in, we were greeted with a gift bag, handed pins with our names,blog names,& country name & flag (proud moment for me :D).
Serge Akel, the Director of the Lebanese Office of Tourism was also there to encourage us & it was wonderful to meet him & get the support!
It was fun meeting all these bloggers from all over the world & company representatives, & I mostly enjoyed the looks on their faces as they tried to read my blog name (the “my adventures with motherhood” was a bit too long for them) & the “hmm Lebanon, where’s that?” look. We went around the stands, checking out all the latest baby products in the market, introducing ourselves to the reps as well & exchanging business cards (so glad there was a print shop for me to get some printed last minute…I’m such a newbie lol). There were some gifts handed to all the mommy & daddy bloggers so we could try out some free products…super cool!
The day was filled with events & it was super fun watching the professional dancers in their gold outfits then the Flash Mob mommy dance, & the games played with some of the mommy bloggers.
A talk with the big bloggers was scheduled & I sat opposite the stage listening to them share their experiences & took mental notes of the tips they had to give.
By 6pm though I was beat & so I headed back to the hotel for a quick shower & change, but I had been too busy looking around during the day that I skipped the lunch buffet, so I hurried back to the “Carreau du Temple” venue where they had been setting up the dinner buffet & drinks for the scheduled DJ party. Just my luck to arrive 10 minutes after the food was all gone (starving are we?) & there were barely any drinks left 😦 So no food for me that day, but thank God for the Romanian bloggers who somehow always managed to have a bottle of wine or champagne stashed somewhere & gladly shared some of their booze with us :D.
Again, more dancing was involved & we partied hard at 9pm. We danced our butts off until about 10:30 but the party was over before I knew it. I was bummed, but relieved to go rest after such a long day.
I looked out the bus window with melancholy, knowing this would be my last night in the captivating city of Paris & although I was not usually a very big fan of the French capital before (don’t shoot me please :D), this time around I fell in love with it & this will definitely be a trip to remember for me! As a little nobody mommy-blogger from Lebanon, it was a great learning experience & I enjoyed every minute of it. It also gave me the motivation I needed to keep going, to work on improving my blog & the affirmation that YES blogging is actually a “thing”…for some, it’s even a full time job!
It was with a bitter sweet feeling that I bid Paris adieu that morning, but like the song goes “Ce n’est qu’un au revoir” my friends & I will definitely see you all soon…
A very special thanks to:
- Sophie, Leslie, Jesus & Henda from Parole De Mamans whom I loved meeting & had an awesome time with
- Loic & Marilyne from Selectour Afat for booking our plane tickets & making sure we had a smooth trip
- Janet Doman & Camille from Makeup Forever for the beautiful makeup
- Yasmina & Mirna (Thanks for the memories girls am so glad you were there too <3), Gwen Elinais (my instagram instructor & new Belgian friend), Lalie Floutch (my crazy new French friend), Cynthia Bavarde (my French wine buddy), Daniel (Romanian daddy blogger, for the blogging/vlogging tips) & Sabina (my soon to be Italian instructor I hope) thanks for making this a trip to remember! DON’T FORGET TO CHECK OUT THEIR AWESOME BLOGS!
And to all the other mommy & daddy bloggers I met who are too many to count, YOU ROCK & your kids are super lucky to have you! <3<3<3