Not long ago I took a little trip up to Oxford.
I’d been asked to give a talk at the University on Women In Business, and blogging as an industry.
What better excuse could I possibly ask for, to spend a couple of days in one of Britain’s most beautiful cities?
Also a rather handy excuse to visit Le Manoir; somewhere I’ve wanted to go for a while!
A country house hotel run by Michelle starred chef and all-round fabulous Frenchman; Raymond Blanc.
Custard, my fella and I drove the short distance up from the capital and checked in around sunset.
We made our way through the winding, saffron yellow corridors to our garden room.
A palatial room I could quite happily move into for some time!
Complete with cosy bed for Mr Custard.
Which, of course, he ignored completely.
Bagging the big one for himself.
Along with the welcome treats!
We all dropped off our bags and strolled out to explore the grounds.
Thrilled to be out in the countryside, Custard made himself very much at home.
Whispered “chase me?”
And I had to oblige.
We took it in turns, and soon covered every inch of land anywhere near the hotel.
Very, very happy to be back together after a week apart.
Oh, it was nice to see my boyfriend too.
We left Custard snoozing upside down in his bed, he grunted goodbye and we drove into Oxford for my talk.
In front of a packed room of brilliant girls, I wittered on about my beginnings, my experience of the blogging world and my thoughts on a growing, green industry that is almost entirely run by independent women.
I spoke for a little over an hour, and then answered a multitude of questions and we chattered away for quite some time.
I left with an arm full of flowers, a head full of ideas and a heart bursting with inspiration.
There’s something about talking at universities I find so exciting, it’s so interesting to meet young women so full of potential and ideas. I find it so wild to think that only a few years ago that was me… I wonder what I would have done differently if a blogger had given a talk back when I was wondering what to do with my life?
I feel so lucky to be able to call this my career, when I started it was just a distraction, a creative little hobby to enjoy outside of work.
The talk wasn’t recorded, or I’d share it. Perhaps I should record my own? Would you be interested in hearing it? Perhaps I should do another, updated version of my “How to start a blog” post.
After the talk we had planned to head into Oxford for dinner, but having traveled across half the globe that morning I was far too tired.
Instead we plumped for room service in bed.
Dinner as a family, with Pretty Woman on the TV.
Complete with Monsieur Blanc’s wicked Millionaire’s Shortbread for pudding.
Completely, totally, utterly exhausted, I fell asleep covered in crumbs and slipped into dreams about pelicans in graduation gowns.