Life as a blogger can have its glamourous moments…discover what I got up to on my day aboard the MSC Preziosa for Blog Camp On Board!
It’s been ages since I’ve done a post going ‘behind the scenes’ of my life as a blogger. This is partly because I am just a complete and utter foodie and I ALWAYS have a recipe post I’m just desperate to share with you, which naturally takes precedence (actually I have a whole spreadsheet of recipes I am desperate to share with you…but there’s only so fast this girl can get them photographed, written and up on the blog!).
The other reason is, if I am totally honest, this blogging lark isn’t always quite as glamourous as it’s cracked up to be. Often my days are spent doing rather mundane things…and I am not sure anyone wants to read a post where I talk about proof reading, dealing with my overflowing inbox or updating my accounts spreadsheet!
However, every now and again, blogging actually does have a touch of glam and Wednesday was definitely one of those days, because I got to attend a rather swanky blogging conference called Blog Camp On Board, run by those fabulous people at Foodies100, on board an actual cruise ship – squeal!
OK, so we didn’t actually go anywhere (Blogging Goals for 2018, clearly), but we did get to spend a rather wonderful day in the very glitzy surroundings of the MSC Preziosa, whilst it was docked in Southampton.
Our day began learning about MSC Cruises and the MSC Preziosa in particular, followed by a guided tour and the opportunity to see some of the highlights of the ship, such as the many lounges and dining rooms (I fear if I ever went on a cruise I would come home the size and shape of a teletubby), luxurious spa and pool areas, giant waterslide and dazzling crystal staircase, where each step is worth around 10,000 euros – for real!
MSC cruises really pride themselves on creating a wonderful holiday for all the family with dawn till dusk kids clubs and entertainment, dedicated children’s areas – including an actual Lego room! (Can you imagine? I’d never get my kids out!), as well as lots of activities the whole family can enjoy together.
Our tour was followed by lunch in one of the opulent dining rooms on board the ship and the chance to experience some of the lovely food the MSC Preziosa has to offer…including a rather delicious fillet of red mullet. (Fish seemed somehow just the right thing to eat on board a ship!)
After lunch, we had the opportunity to attend blogging seminars on topics such as podcasting, food photography and working with brands. I particularly enjoyed the seminar on food photography by Sandhya Harihara of Sandhya’s Kitchen.
My food photography has improved leaps and bounds since I first started blogging, but I know there is still much more to learn and I am in awe of Sandhya’s photography…so learning exactly what she uses and how she sets up a shoot was fascinating. And rather encouraging to see she doesn’t use lots of fancy equipment and expensive kit.
I was fascinated to see her clever use white and black foam boards to get just the right amount of light and shadow in her shot and how particular she is over her choices of backgrounds and props. But my favourite tip of the day actually came during the Q&A, from my friend Mel Knibb of Le Coin de Mel, whose ingenious tip for avoiding reflections of yourself in shiny cutlery is to cut a hole in a large white foam board just big enough to poke the lens of the camera through and shoot through that…and hey presto, no annoying reflection!
The day was also a wonderful opportunity to catch up with lots of lovely blogging chums – several of whom I had never actually met in the flesh, as well as making lots of new blogging friends too! Special shout-out goes to Keri Allan of Ladies What Travel and Jane Batt of Practically Perfect Mums, who I met at lunch…not only did we have a truly lovely time getting to know each other, but they also both decided I looked like Keira Knightly – made my day! 😀
My thanks go to Sally Whittle and her team at Foodies100 who worked so hard to put together a fabulously glamourous and indulgent day and the team at MSC Cruises for hosting such a large group of bloggers and putting up with our need to photograph absolutely EVERYTHING!!
The day has certainly changed my perception of cruises – my assumption has always been that they are mainly aimed at older people, but MSC’s ships are clearly designed to appeal to the whole family…now there just remains to convince Mr G!
If you fancy a trip on one of MSC’s cruise ships you can join the MSC Preziosa or the MSC Magnifica at Southampton for a European cruise, or fly out to join a whole host of cruises further afield. For more details, check out the MSC website.
And if you are wondering where the lovely recipes have gone, don’t worry – there are plenty of them coming up…I have a whole spreadsheet of them to get through, remember…and do let me know if you want that post all about doing my accounts and clearing out my inbox won’t you 😉
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Jacqui Bellefontaine says
wow sounds like a great day. sad i missed it.
Eb Gargano says
I know! So sad you weren’t there! Would have been lovely to meet you properly. Hopefully there will be many more to come! Eb x
Sanna Vegancruiser says
Get that hubby/partner convinced! I have cruised since a toddler with my folks but only convinced hubby to do it for our 10th wedding anniversary and we’ve been cruising since. So great to see many places over one hol… unpacking once etc. I’ve got a blog post on that called 10 reasons why I love to cruise but I won’t link drop, as not cool 😉 So many cool ships.. and even such a family ship as Preziosa, outwith school holiday times they will be more adult minded. And if you don’t have to cruise during school hols, you’ll save a ton too. Med in May and start of June can be pretty awesome already 🙂
Eb Gargano says
Hahaha – I’ll work on him…don’t you worry. I LOVE the idea of seeing so many places and only having to pack and unpack once! I have two school age kids so have to stick to school hols unfortunately – which is a pain as August is seriously not the best time to visit most places. But I love how much they have for kids to do on the ship…my little boy would be in heaven in that Lego room! Thanks for letting me know about your 10 reasons post…may have to leave that open when hubby is around!! Eb x
Jo Allison - Jo's Kitchen Larder says
What a fun day and the ship looks absolutely fabulous! I never thought I would be a cruise person but I think I would definitely give it a go (especially on a deluxe ship like this one) lol! Brilliant “behind the scenes” post Eb! 🙂 x
Eb Gargano says
It really was super fun…I had always liked the idea of a cruise before…but always thought they were very much geared to older people…not so on this cruise! Couldn’t get over how much fun stuff there was for the kids to do, in particular. It would be such a great way to seem lots of places in one go too…without having to pack and unpack continually. Definitely got to work on persuading Mr G 😀 Eb x
Corina Blum says
It sounds like a fab day! Such a shame I couldn’t go. The ship looks beautiful too although there is no way I’d ever ever go on a cruise as I get horribly sea sick, even in a pedalo on a calm sea!
Eb Gargano says
Such a shame! It would have been so nice to see you there too. Maybe next time? Shame about the sea sickness too. I can get quite bad with it, depending on how rough the sea is, but I find those little bands you wear on your wrists make a BIG difference…and I imagine a big cruise ship would be far less likely to cause seasickness than a small boat…I imagine cruise ships are quite stable! But then again…if it’s a big problem for you maybe not worth risking it!! Eb x
Sue Bailey says
Hi Eb You write so well. It looks like a fabulous event and how lovely to be likened to Kera Knightly – I agree! Seems a long time ago since the All Hallows writing course where we met. I have been doing a fair amount of food demonstrating/acting as Fanny Cradock – the first female TV celebrity chef – and thoroughly enjoying it ! But it is now time to get down to better and more disciplined writing and blogging.
When it is term time I would love to meet up again, so will PM you on twitter.
Eb Gargano says
Thanks Sue! It’s been ages, hasn’t it? I love that you have been acting as Fanny Cradock! That sounds great fun! Did you know I have another blog too now? You might like it: https://www.productiveblogging.com/ – lots of tips for bloggers on all aspects of blogging, but especially productivity! Would be lovely to meet up again – perhaps better to email me though. It’s more reliable and I check it more often. All my details are on my contact page. Eb x