I recently attended the Traverse 15 bloggers event which was hosted over three days at Kingston, a lovely market town south west of London. Traverse 15’s main focus was on travel blogging; however some food and lifestyle blogger friends and I decided to attend this event to broaden our horizons.
Friday Day 1
After checking into Hotel Antoinette, a short walk away from Kingston town, I met a bunch of friends for lunch to catch up with our news. After lunch, we decided to check out the town and did a spot of prop shopping before going back to the hotel to get refreshed and prepare for the evening activities.
Kingston is an amazing place by day with it has a large shopping centre and nearby historic places to visit. By night it turns into a gastronomical delight with its array of lovely restaurants lined by the riverside. We decided to have dinner at the Comptoir Libanais a magnificent Lebanese restaurant. The restaurant is beautifully decorated with stunning Middle Eastern props; there is also a selection of Middle Eastern groceries and spices for sale at the restaurant.
We decided to try a selection of dishes from the meze, so that we could sample a variety of different dishes. I must say the choices of vegetarian dishes on offer were excellent and I really enjoyed everything I tried.
After dinner we all made our way to All Saints Church for our first Traverse 15 welcome party and networking event. As we sipped chilled glasses of prosecco, we enjoyed meeting and chatting to new friends; this was going to be an excellent start to a fab weekend.
Saturday Day 2
Our venue for day two was Kingston University Business School. Registration started at 8.30 and it was a full day of work shops, lectures, panels and debates. We were initially concerned as to what we would learn from this travel conference; however our concerns were soon wiped out. In between the workshops and sessions we enjoyed cupcakes, coffee, lunch and drinks which kept us charged up throughout the day. The conference was very interesting and we gained a lot of knowledge from SEO to pitching to working with brands, accounting, photography and monetisation. It looks like future Traverse events will definitely be attended by food bloggers.
The day ended with a final recap of the day’s sessions and a very unique bar service, where drinks were ordered through tweeting! What a super end to a fantastic and educational day. Tired after the long day, we made our way back to the hotel to refresh before dinner and the Saturday night party at Kingston University Student Union. Sadly dinner at Little Italy in Kingston was rather disappointing and did not match the amazing experience at Comptoir Libanais the night before. However the Traverse 15 after party made up for it. It took me back years to my student days, drinking, loud music and fun!!!!
Sunday Day 3
Sunday morning was a day of experiences. Kingstonfirst had organised a wonderful selection of experiences in and around Kingston. These ranged from cookery classes to boat rides to Hampton Court, to beauty treatments and also historic guided tour walks. Sadly the weather did not work in our favour as it rained all morning and I was so glad that I had chosen to do the Thai cookery class at Busaba Eathai restaurant.
My friend Heidi and I made our way to the restaurant where we were greeted by Hesh, the senior Chef, at Busaba Eathai. After fuelling with hot piping coffee we donned our chef coats so that we could experience Thai cooking in a real working kitchen.
This proved to be one of the best cooking masterclasses I have participated in. Being able to cook in a real working restaurant kitchen was a dream come true. I felt like areal celebrity chef in my white chefs coat!! Hesh was an amazing teacher; the dishes we cooked with him were Pad Thai, Som Tam, Smoked Chilli Mushrooms, Thai Fish cakes and the Thai Calamari. The food we cooked for our lunch was packed with flavour and was so tasty it left a lasting memory on out taste buds.
After such an exciting cookery experience and elaborate lunch, it was time to enjoy a little bit of pampering and what better way to end a lovely weekend than to have a beauty treatment. Heidi and I made our way to John Lewis Clarins department where we were greeted by our beauticians who pampered us with facial skin treatments and a mini back and neck massage. We left with a detailed personal beauty plans and samples of Clarins products so that we could continue to use the beauty regime our beauticians had prepared for us. It was a lovely relaxing way to end a really exciting, informative and fun filled weekend.
The organisers of Traverse 15 and Kingstonfirst did a fantastic job to make the weekend so successful. I am looking forward to next year’s event with great anticipation.