ABBW: A Wondrous Event for Beauty Bloggers

WHEW! Where do I start?? On Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th of September 2011, 85 beauty bloggers from all across Australia joined forces to unite for the first-ever Australian Beauty Blogger Weekend (ABBW).

What: ABBW is the brainchild of beauty bloggers Kimmi of The Plastic Diaries from NSW, and Jacie of You’ve Got Nail from VIC. Both bloggers are very active in the blogging community and are always there to lend a helping hand. ‘

Why: After attending the event, I was intrigued to know how it all came about. “Embarassingly enough, the genesis of ABBW involves cheap cask wine and Twitter chat”, explains Jacie. “A group of Melbourne bloggers started talking about going to IMATS together. From there it snowballed into a 'Hey, if we're getting 30 beauty bloggers to Sydney, let's make it special'.”

Kimmi added, “Jacie and I had always wanted to do something to bring the Australian beauty blogging community together. I guess a little drunk courage was required to get things really moving!”

“This event is the first of its kind in Australia”, Jacie told Pink Diva Beauty. We brought together 85 beauty bloggers from all over the country to participate in a two day event of content building, beauty loving and friendship making. The ABBW reflects the ongoing and upwards evolution of beauty blogging in this country.” She told us of how the beauty blogging community has grown dramatically in the past few years. “I remember, when you could count the beauty bloggers on one, or maybe two hands.”

And Kimmi was just as passionate, “Blogging in general is still very underdeveloped in Australia. Jacie and I realised the potential for niche specific conferences and wanted to give the beauty industry AND the blogging industry a chance to take that pioneering step.”

DAY ONE: On Saturday 24th September, 85 excited beauty bloggers met in a big hustle bustle of hair, makeup and giggles. Amongst them were bloggers who I finally met in person and others who I proudly call friends of mine including Adeline of Through Beauty Eyes, Helen Lee of Sassy Bella, Megan of An Australian Wintour, Iantha of Bless this Mess!, Annica of Haute & Stylish, Cendana of Blushfully, Kylie of Blooming Diaries, Sarah of The Science of Beauty and Cherie of Ms Critique.

The two-day event incorporated IMATS Sydney, the International Makeup Artist Trade Show which is held annually at the Darling Harbour Exhibition Centre in Sydney. IMATS showcases your favourite beauty brands as well as upcoming brands, key speakers, makeup / special effects demonstrations and makeup academy stalls.

IMATS: On Saturday morning we gathered in a big huddle and made our way around IMATS. Of the three years IMATS has been in Australia, this was the best with brands such as MAC Cosmetics, Inglot, Illamasqua, SLA, Napoleon Perdis and Gorgeous Cosmetics showcasing their star products. Thanks to Royal & Langnickel, bloggers were able to take time out in the ABBW refreshment room where we were treated to mini manis, mini makeovers and light refreshments to keep us going. While interstate bloggers went crazy, I was a little more sensible (I know how boring!!), simply treating myself to a GORGEOUS bronzer from Serge Louis Alvarez cosmetics.
Their brand new eco-cert Tanning of the Sun Bronzer is a winner in every single way.

Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
Final Checks Makeup Academy - my academy of choice.
With Final Checks Academy owner/teacher Debbie Muller. She was also my makeup teacher!
With Sarah of The Science of Beauty and Adeline of Through Beauty Eyes
Unravelling my lucky dip product at SLA.
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
Annica having her nails painted. How cool is her ring!
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
Adeline & I show off our painted talons
This poor guy sat there for about four hours having his face and neck SPFX'd cowboy style.

BEAUTY DIRECTORY: After IMATS we attended an event hosted by Beauty Directory, a company who has supported the beauty media industry for as long as I can remember. They provide us with up to the minute news, events and product information. I sat at a table with BD employee Kym who was super funny and really interested in hearing about what we have to offer the industry as well as what we would like from it.

Jackie Maxted, Owner and founder of Beauty Directory and Beauty Heaven spoke to us about Beauty Directory’s involvement with the blogging industry. As expected, she was a lovely woman who was very inspiring and I could clearly see why so many people stay working at these two companies.

We also had the pleasure of hearing from the owner of La Purete skincare (see my La Purete reviews here), the reps for Tri-Shave (oh my goddess, I am loving their Tri-Shave 3-in-1 for Women) and also Iona Yeung of The Purist Company (see my A'kin reviews here), all of whom were really lovely.

After the event we were treated to some of the best canap├ęs I have ever tried ... and some phenomenal beauty goodies. I thought I had come prepared with the carry-on suitcase I lugged around... but even that could not prepare me for what was to come! A number of brands joined forces to provide products for each blogger to take home and review them and as you can see, I almost drowned in products! Thank you so much to all sponsors who filled these bags – I can’t wait to try your products and share my reviews with Pink Diva Beauty readers.

Lucky, lucky girl!
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend

MAXTED THOMAS: Of all events attended at ABBW, this was my favourite – hands down. On Saturday evening we came together again for a black tie event at swanky nite club and corporate venue, The Establishment. Here I saw some of my favourite PR representatives who work for lifestyle and beauty PR brand, Maxted Thomas. Tahira was full of beans, Claire briefly forgot her name and thought I was Claire (hahaha) while I finally had the chance to chat property with Renee and Amreeta.

I can speak for all attendees when I say that we felt like kids in a candy store! Two rooms were delightfully padded out with some of the many beauty brands managed by Maxted Thomas which included the likes of Burt’s Bees, NIVEA, ORLY, Remington, Sebastian and Beauty Heaven. If that was not enough excitement, global fragrance company Coty joined forces for the event to showcase a few of their new and existing fragrances. Oh, and did I mention there was a photo booth? No? How did I miss that!

Mingling with the people behind the brands.
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
Chatting with Claire of Maxted Thomas
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
Some girls tried the new ORLY Gel-FX nails while others tried fragrances
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
Tahira meets with beauty bloggers while Adeline has her hair tousled
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend

After mingling and having the opportunity to meet the faces behind the brands, we were treated to a formal dinner which was exquisite. I know you couldn’t be there to experience the taste sensations but as you can see from the images, the meal was simply divine. After our meal, Managing Director Ian Thomas took to the microphone. He is the wonderful man behind Maxted Thomas and I love listening to him speak because he is super encouraging and very supportive towards Australian bloggers. I would like to publicly thank Ian and his team Maxted Thomas for again throwing a fantastic beauty bonanza. I would also like to say that like last year’s Maxted Thomas Beauty Blogger event, this is my favourite event of the year. And that is really saying something – so thank you! (Let’s hear a round of applause!! Owwww!)

The delicious main.
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
The extraordinary dessert.
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
Ian Thomas of Maxted Thomas speaks to bloggers.
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
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DAY TWO: After finishing up late on Saturday evening, beauty bloggers joined forces on Sunday 25th September for day two ... and although some of us were a little tired, most of us were charged and ready for a big day ahead! It started with a lovely healthy breakfast and coffee – LOTS OF COFFEE!!

The delicious breakfast to prepare us for another big day.
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend

ALPHA-H: The first event for Day Two was sponsored by Alpha-H and being an Alpha-H fan (see my reviews here) I was just so excited to learn about their star product, Liquid Gold, and the new products in the range. Michelle Doherty, the founder of Alpha-H presented information on the brand's background and her best friend, TV presenter Karen Ledbury share her love for the brand with bloggers. It was during this event that I realised that YES, I would LOVE to blog on a full time basis and YES, I could quite easily attend beauty product launches, events and seminars on a daily basis and never ever get bored. Sponsors, are you out there listening??

The very blonde(!!) Pink Diva tweets news live at the Alpha-H event.
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
FACE OF AUSTRALIA: Australia has come to love home grown brand Face of Australia for their fantastic products and great prices so it was no surprise to see them at ABBW. Bloggers were lucky enough to experience a FOA Makeup Master Class which for me was both exciting and odd because I run my own makeup master classes and I was unsure how it was going to work. Overall the class was a great way for bloggers to learn how to use the products and what to team each piece with but for me I must admit that I preferred to tweet about the event and listen to what was being said. (See my FOA reviews here).

They should call this the MEGA Master Class!
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
Sooo funny - the model looks so depressed!
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
Helen of Sassy Bella & Iantha of Bless This Mess!
What each student's desk looked like / Cherie of Ms Critique gets busy. Her nails match the mirror - Cool!
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
KEY SPEAKER: Bahar Etminan of Rescu.com.au was the key speaker for ABBW and this was also our final event so all bloggers went in to the event with mixed emotions. This soon changed though as Bahar produced a controversial speech which has many of us sitting on the edge of our seats trying to make sense of it all. While she warned us that ‘Professional’ and ‘Hobby’ bloggers are two different types of bloggers, she also made it clear that hobby bloggers were often disregarded by PR contacts and beauty brands which many of us tend to disagree with. While I found the beginning of her speech to be of interest, it dragged on in to a somewhat unnecessary speech that did not appear to have been delivered to the right audience. Sponsored by Proctor and Gamble.

Bahar Etminan ruffled a few feathers
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
Taking notes as I listen to Bahar, with one eye on the controversial Twitter feed!
Image: Liz Giacco for The Australian Beauty Bloggers Weekend
Well my pretties, this is a wrap up of the exciting and wondrous world of beauty bloggers thanks to ABBW, its organisers and contributors. As you can see, it was an amazing weekend and I really do hope it becomes an annual event. As a beauty blogger I take my role in the social media industry very seriously and feel that it is my duty to present to you the very best in beauty, fashion and lifestyle, to give you honest reviews, and above all to always maintain the passion and fire for blogging. Thank you all for your ongoing support.
Kylie of Blooming Diaries & Cendana of Blushfully

Annica of QLD and I finally meet!
No you can't read our Poker Face!

Wish you were there? Have something to say? Share your thoughts - I would love to hear from you!