Friday, 29 November 2013

Convention 2013 - the long report!

As I mentioned on Wednesday, Convention was amazing – even more so this year for being able to choose your activities.

It was fantastic this year that 10 of my team were able to go to Convention and we travelled up to Manchester on Thursday afternoon, most of us in a minibus but some by train or car. We grabbed an early bite to eat in our hotel before heading off to Convention.

I and my downline Tracey were honoured to be invited to the Silver 2 Reception at the Victoria and Albert Hotel. This was a special event for demonstrators who met certain sales and recruiting requirements.

We checked in to Convention here and received our Convention bag – every year we get a bag to carry our goodies around in – with our free stamp sets. All Convention-goers get the same; this year it was a lovely white rucksack with silver trim – loads of pockets and room for a laptop, too! Our stamp sets for this year were Tag It, Gorgeous Grunge and Hello, Lovely. Your bag also contains your special Convention pen, programme and your name tag with badges representing any awards you’ve earned

But at the Silver 2 reception, we received an extra gift of a handy conference folder and commemorative Parker pen. We were also treated to some stamping demonstrations and inspirational presentations, followed by a buffet and entertainment from a singer.

We didn’t stay too late, though, as we knew we’d be missing all the gossip back at the hotel, where we found the rest of the team exchanging gifts. You’ve seen the gifts I made for them – well they are put well and truly in the shade as I am proud to have a very talented team. There were baked goodies, handmade toiletries, beautifully stamped items and more.

Most of us have been to Convention before, so knew not to stay up too late as the Convention centre opened next day at – gasp! – 7.30am. No chance of getting there that early, so we arranged to meet up in time for doors opening at 8.30am. We could find each other easily this year as one of our team, Patsy, had made us all a distinctive flower to wave in the air. These worked brilliantly!

After some frantic swapping, Convention began with the words “the show will begin momentarily” which always makes me chuckle.

Sadly, this year our CEO and co-founder Shelli Gardner couldn’t be there as she was in a nasty horseriding accident several weeks ago and is still not well enough to travel, but she sent us a video message and her daughter, Sara Douglass, did an admirable job of stepping into her shoes.

I won’t give you a blow-by-blow account of the rest of Convention as that would involve writing a book! And I promise you that I didn’t take pictures of all the food, either! Suffice to say that this Convention saw the introduction of the “Expo” which was brilliant. Aside from the main presentations, we could wander round as we wished, visiting the areas of most interest to us – business talks, demonstrations, display boards, hands-on areas and more.

I was excited to see several of my own creations on the display boards – see if you can spot them!

After each on-stage demonstration there’s a drum roll for Prize Patrol, which is always very exciting. We all had a coloured wrist band and, if your colour comes up on screen, it means you’ve won a prize. Well, it has to be said that I NEVER win a prize at Convention – and my friend Alison ALWAYS does. She says this is down to positive thinking so, for the first Prize Patrol, I told myself (and her) that I would most definitely win. Didn’t work. The colour which came up was Alison’s and not mine! She won the new Undefined set which I showed you on Wednesday.

Never mind, there were plenty more Prize Patrols and I’m happy to say that I did win on the second day. This time I really DID know that I would win... as it was a stamp set I wasn’t at all keen on and that’s just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes! But it didn’t matter as I quickly swapped with Ann, who loved it and had won something she wasn’t keen on! So everyone was happy in the end.

Even if you didn’t win a Prize Patrol, in among all the prize-giving were “all-attendee giveaways”. The clue is in the title and I was staggered when I got home and counted up to discover that there were FIVE of these! Stampin’ Up!® are always generous at Convention but this year were extra generous as it marked the end of our 25th anniversary celebrations. This is what everyone received:

o               Undefined rubber, foam and block to carve (don’t forget to guess which was my stamp!)
o               Oh, Goodie! Stamp set with Real Red Goodie Gear Simply Created Kit
o               Gold Foil Sheets with NEW washi tape and trim which is coming in the Spring/Summer catty
o               NEW DSP pack – again from the Spring/Summer catty
o               NEW Language of Love stamp set – from the Spring/Summer catty

Friday night was the time for glad rags for Awards Night, where demonstrators are recognised for their achievements throughout the year. This was kicked off with a flash mob, where certain demonstrators around the room started singing “Stamping Queen” to the tune of “Dancing Queen”, and others joined in with a dance at certain points in the song. Soon the whole room was performing the same (or near enough) dance. I’ve never witnessed a flash mob before, so stayed at the edge of the room trying to capture it on film! Not sure if it will work here but here goes...

Then the Awards Night could begin and first up on stage were all those demonstrators who have served five years and received their commemorative badge. So up we went – Alison and Tracey and I – to do our five-year walk. I have to say that I wasn’t half as nervous as the last time I had to go on stage, partly because I knew it was happening this time and partly because I had my team-mates with me!

I had to do one more walk during the evening, for Leadership – but this felt rather fraudulent as it was the efforts of my team which earned me this award. Thank you Tracey and Tricia!

After the awards there was a buffet and live band, and a chance for some of us to squeeze into one of the photo booths…

Saturday saw more inspirational presentations, demonstrations, sneak peeks and ideas… until we headed back to the hotel on a high at about 4.30pm.

After a short rest we headed into the markets, which were just a street away from our hotel. What a crowd! I’ve never seen so many people in one place, but it was a friendly crowd and we picked up some exciting goodies, including a gorgeous Christmas wreath and a couple of Christmas presents.

We ate out that evening in a little Italian restaurant where Patsy got more than she bargained for from the waiters and the rooms seemed to be wall-to-wall demonstrators!

Then, I’m afraid, we stayed up rather late – but we had a great time, laughing until it hurt about who knows what now? Whatever it was, it was hilarious at the time.

After a lie-in and a short shopping trip on Sunday morning, it was time for our bus driver to collect us for a rather more subdued journey home.

For the next three years, Convention will be held in Brussels, so we’ll be heading off on the Eurostar for another fun-packed weekend. Why don’t you join us? All you have to do is sign up as a demonstrator – and I can advise you of the best time to do this.  With a little planning and effort, you could be paying for your trip out of your commissions!


  1. It all sounds fab and great photo ladies x

  2. Sounds like I missed a great time at convention! Glad you all enjoyed yourselves and well done on your leadership award.


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