Australia Technology Park in Redfern. It's a beautiful industrial space with locomotive history on display, as well as various conference spaces. Visit Good Googs for lots of stunning pictures of the venue. It really is picturesque.
The conference wasn't just for bloggers who blog about chronic illness and disability, as some may have perceived. It focused on many facets of health and wellness - healthy eating, family time, sex (look out for an hilarious story about sex talk with my mum), sharing stories online, performance art, bullying, mental health and suicide, laughter, health advocacy, social enterprise and social media. My Mum came along to hear me speak. She enjoyed everything about it, and even wants to start a blog now - though can someone else teach her please, because me teaching her the Internet always leads to an argument.
There was a brilliant flash mob who surprised us with Oh Happy Day. It was so vibrant and such a beautiful sound, the room couldn't help but smile.
Lori, Fox In Flats, Catherine Saxelby, Valerie Khoo, and Louisa Claire - and her tiny baby) and the beautiful Sarah Wayland who I have know for year's and I met there for the first time, plus loads of other new friends I made who I will mention in my future posts. Mia and Dea were two bloggers I got to know as they were at my table - and I can't wait to read more of their writing soon. I have a list of the awesome people I met, and want to acknowledge them shortly. It's the connection with people that makes blog conferences worthwhile. Crossing that online to offline space, knowing people by their user name or avatar and discovering how awesome they are in person. Mum said she overheard some bloggers talking about me in the toilets and then they recognised her as being my Mum! How cool?! And can you believe über famous American blogger Jessica Gottlieb knew who I was? She came to say hello and told me she loves my work. I'd chatted to her on twitter before the conference and thought she was funny - she's hilarious in real life!
I felt incredibly privileged to speak at the conference, especially alongside some prominent people from the food, blogging and media industries. And also Richard Branson and his arse. Yes! Here is a list of speakers. Thank you to Kathie Melocco (Healthivate's organiser) for finding me and believing in me enough to want me to speak.
Healthivate's content was focused on health, and so was its food. Forgive me for not taking more food photos - all I have is this one of my little yoghurt pot. The main sponsor was Macro by Woolworths - and we got a huge grocery bag of goodies to take home - organic flour, pasta, quinoa, popcorn and more. I've already eaten the bag of vegie chips and I want more! We were also given fruit and vegie smoothies (made by Vitamix) throughout the day - and I loved them. Though my tummy seemed to wake up too (I mentioned it briefly to Catherine Saxelby - poor thing, she must hear about bowel movements all the time!). When I got back from America, all I wanted was a vegie smoothie, and I think I have to make some at home again. There were yummy salads and sandwiches at lunch, and sushi and wine for canapés. I felt extremely virtuous, especially considering the night before I'd downed three glasses of alcohol by 5.00pm.
Of course, as with every blog conference, there were things that I think could have been improved on. There were two sessions where the hosts phoned it in. I (and many others in the room) found it hard to concentrate and to be honest, the content was quite technical. I'd like to have spent more time on our panel - the speakers' stories - not just mine - were worth detailing further. And I would have loved there to be more networking. Hopefully next year there will be a Healthivate conference over two days.
So for now, this is a really brief post on my thoughts about Healthivate, but stay tuned for more soon.