Day-tripping; Instagram Heaven (otherwise known as a London lunch with Makelight)

Day 5 of my 7 in 7 and a completely different post today. Rather than some pontification it’s a “what I did today’ post, because I had a rather lovely day.

But first … a little pontificating. Perhaps it’s being an only child but I have always felt very comfortable being alone. I’ve also nurtured a somewhat overly dramatic notion that I’m ‘misunderstood‘ by people (yes, I should have been a Romantic poet). Coupled with the constraints of being a mum and my husband’s chronic health problems, this means it has been easy to isolate myself for years. I have sought occupations I could do from the privacy of a small studio, or from my bed even. Writing, painting or only communicating through social media.

But during my crisis months last summer, my husband pointed out to me that all the good things in my life, the things that have made me feel happy and energised, have been when I’m in contact with people. And that perhaps, rather than keep locking myself away, I could work on making better connections with people in real life. It struck a chord and so since then I have been gently, nervously, making a conscious effort to find my tribe in the real world.

Having lived just on Instagram for a couple of years, I’ve learned that there are many different communities you can get involved with on there (indeed, I’m at the beginning of starting my own with my lovely Renegade gang). But meeting them in real life was a daunting prospect so I went cautiously and usually one by one. However, today ‘operation real life’ went into fast forward as I went to a lunch held by Emily Quinton for her Makelight community and met 20 other creatives and ‘Grammers, all in one go.

I can tell you, put twenty friendly and enthusiastic creative women in a room together and the noise levels are through the roof. (It is also one of the few lunches I’ve been at where getting your phone out and snapping away is not only acceptable but required.)

The lunch was held at the Clerkenwell Bourne and Hollingsworth restaurant, which is Instagram heaven in that it is beautiful, quirky and with many nooks and crannies full of lovely paintings and cosy chairs. After a cold, damp journey there, to sink into a faded old tapestry chair in front of a roaring fire felt pretty good. A some point is I will revisit, so I can let you know about the cocktails….

Although people did have their phones out for much of the time, and many Instagram handles were exchanged, it also became clear how important the real world connection is. Meeting people with similar interests in real life is unbelievably energising. Although my own IG feed has been described as flamboyant leading many people to think I wouldn’t be nervous about meeting new people, I can be as much of a wimp as the next introvert. Yet pushing yourself to get out there and engage almost always brings a positive energy into your life.

Emily Quinton summed it up at the end of the lunch when she said how beneficial it is to meet people in the real world, even if it’s just the once, because it fosters a deeper connection ever after. And some of the people I met today may never cross my path in the physical world again – but insta buddies forever ….

Makelight is a learning community for makers and creatives and offers tools, courses and opportunities to meet up. You can find out more about it here.

Some pictures from today…