So bloggers………………….London and our Christmas do.
After a very busy end to the trading week we left work on Saturday with the team brief to meet at the station in the morning for no later than 9.15am. As most of you are aware being in the hair & beauty trade means long hours and working Saturdays, so our Sundays are pretty precious to us! Imagine our surprise then when Glynn and I arrived at 9am to a full posse (well, minus Rob who was having another 10minutes nap!). He duly arrived bang on time and the proceedings could get underway. Having booked train tickets in advance we saved a small fortune and it meant we had allocated seats next to each other; Mr G provided early morning beverages to kick start the team (read in to that what you will).
We arrived at our Kensington apartment shortly after 1pm and I have to say we were very impressed with the place; great location, plenty of room for everyone, clean, tidy and comfortable (I would highly recommend using air bnb if you want a large place for a team get together rather than using hotels; it works out much cheaper). We’d brought some excellent rib eye steak with us for a cook up, so after a quick grocery and booze run we were on it! So far so good.
The evenings entertainment was to be the Alternative Hair Show at the Royal Albert Hall. http://www.alternativehair.org/creativeteams/
Glynn has been visiting this show for years and was keen to get there; however the weather, the tube, taxis and London in general meant we arrived late, wet and a little stressed. The show was very loud, showcased weird and wonderful style concepts and contained the pedigree salons of the business. I shared my seat for the first half with the lady next me; she had no concept of her size, was completely unaware of her close proximity and incredible body heat. My right thigh was on fire and I was pinned. And yes I was grumpy (I had also taken a tumble on the slippery pavements and was starting to bruise), fortunately I could change seats at the interval and share my hot thigh with others! The show didn’t finish until 11pm, it was still raining and there was a distinct lack of taxis or tube action! London baby…………………………….
Monday morning was Salon International at Excel, which is 4 days by donkey from where we stayed (or one tube and the DLR – just being dramatic). The show was packed full of demonstrations, live cat walks, skinny female models, buff male models and the opportunity for hands on with the exhibitors wares. We learned a lot, trialled some new bits of kit and soaked up the atmosphere. By the time we left we had no desire to a) walk any further than was absolutely necessary b) see any more hair related activities c) travel by tube ever again!
We pitched up to Covent Garden, guzzled a few beers in the first pub we saw, followed by eating at Jamie Olivers outdoor muncherie (where incidentally the seats are heated and my hot thighs returned!!) before we caught the 10.25pm train home – exhausted, inspired and slightly tiddly. Well it was Christmas after all!
Next time we go to the big smoke for this event it needs to be a 2 night stay; we were guilty of trying to do too much and forgot that travelling in London takes far more time than you bargain for. Having to carry our overnight bags on the Monday (this is where hotel accommodation has the advantage over air bnb, since they usually allow you to store on check out) and the very rainy weather, conspired to make the day harder than it should have been. Also seeing the Alternative Hair Show before visiting the exhibition isn’t the best, it makes more sense when you’ve seen the models and concepts of the participants in the show up close since you then have an experience to build on when the catwalk begins. Already planning for next year and might start a savings club so we can do it in more style next time; champagne and canapes, luxury hotel, limousine for every trip…………………….delusions of grandeur??