Well hello there strangers… apparently it has been 4 weeks since my last blog, but it feels like forever! June 2018 was a huge month to remember for me in so many ways.
Three weeks ago I lived my dream at BBC Gardeners’ World Live – which is exactly what I am finally going to tell you all about now in case you weren’t able to make it to the show yourself. I then returned to work, recovered, re-evaluated and started a few exciting projects which I will share with you soon.
The show though – the crazy wild cuckoo dream that came true, changing my life and actually so many others.
That sounds rather egotistical which I am definitely not – it’s true and I am incredibly proud to be able to share that fact with you.
This blog is dedicated to Izzy, my 8-year-old mini me who I met at the show and to everyone else, both on here and in my personal life that has supported through my rollercoaster life. I haven’t shared all of my lows as it wouldn’t be right to do so, you wouldn’t want to read them either believe me…but I’m here, a very different person to even 6 months ago and bouncing on my invisible trampoline ready to leap into the next crazy wild cuckoo dream.
It is still incredibly hard for me to put in to words how BBC Gardeners’ World Live went. It was and has continued to be since…fantastic, unbelievable, exhausting, mad, nuts, a blur, insane, an honour, blooming amazing and life changing!
The floral marque smelled divine and the show gardens were truly stunning and actually realistic, the latter being key for me. Ok, maybe perhaps minus the giant steam train! The Beautiful Borders were exactly as titled and especially well done to Nikki, creator of Border in a Box and fellow Instagrammer Caroline who entered as a complete newbie and I think did amazing!
I will never forget the first talk I did Thursday morning, as well as the day before the show opened when I did a practice run of playing my new show video followed by the talk. Actually, it was that moment when it really hit me what was about to happen over the four days – I think I ran around and danced like a nutter until I couldn’t get away with it any longer….be professional Annabelle…be professional…oh wait that’s not me..stuff it.
Each talk had their little individual moments at the end which meant each one will always be truly special and completely different.
The Sunday AM talk though will forever be imprinted in my heart…not only was it Fathers Day and I was lucky to have my parents in the audience. Thank you to everyone who joined me in giving my dad a huge Fathers Day applause…it meant a lot and made him shed a tear. Even if he did turn his head so hopefully we all wouldn’t see…I saw! I also told them they couldn’t cry through out the talk but did they listen…no….making it even harder. It was also incredibly touching and emotional because I met Izzy, the little lady who made every second of every struggle in my life worthwhile. I think we can all sometimes sit and think ‘why me’ when bad things happen but meeting her that day…made it all make sense…so I could be in that place, at that time, to help her…which in turn changed my life too. Izzy…you are true star, can be anything you want to be and will be my forever pen pal until your dreams overtake mine and I’m not cool to you anymore…hehe.
The show was incredible but exhausting, I can’t lie and I have to admit I left not seeing all of the show in detail…4 x 45 minute talks a day every day that were very close to the bone with luckily lots of humour and gardening advice in between did tire me out emotionally and physically. It certainly tested my vocal cords too but luckily they just about held up.
See for me, I would have done the talks no matter what or how I felt really, because whilst others may see doing talks as an extra form of income, part of the job – for me as you know it was a dream and most importantly each and every time I stepped up on those stages it was a chance for me to change another life. That thought was permanently in the back of my head every second of the day, even when I slipped backstage for some quiet time to regain balance.
I was also very lucky to speak to the always enthusiastic and talented Carol Klein, as well as Mark Lane who in my eyes is truly inspiring. His passion and ethics are so similar to my own which meant I could have sat and chatted him to for hours…but time did not allow…not then anyway. You will be able to watch both of these insightful chats on my YouTube channel very soon so keep an eye out.
So many of you who follow me across social media came to see me and thank you again for coming to talks, queuing after just to say hi, stopping me as I wondered around or as a couple of you did run after me…you did make chuckle and maybe jump.
Whilst I am on the topic of social, the response was incredible and more than I could of ever imagined both online and offline. To be able to confidently say that I helped way over 20 people across the 4 days with amazing and emotional messages still coming in….that is truly something special.
As I mentioned to the organisers as I left…these shows create a platform to sell plants, give garden design inspiration and allow you to meet Monty and Adam…no Nigel though. Say what?!! But what they also do is allow you to help and change people in ways you may not always imagine – and actually that’s what is most important…not plant sales or footfall through the show gates.
BBC Gardeners’ World Live..you are the people’s show – the diversity across the venue showed that in volumes too. Everybody felt welcome even if they were really there for the food samples and gin from the BBC Good Food Show. Here’s to 2019…with the dates released already – 13th – 16th June.
Lastly, thank you to everyone at River Street Events – especially Laura who is a true superstar and expert at goodie bag control, as well as Sarah and Sophie who helped me change so many lives over the four days! Thank you also to all the businesses who supported me in different ways whether in goodies, opportunities or just a good chat during the show including; The National Allotment Society, Town & Country, Affari, Fat Face, Neudorff, WoodblocX, Burgon & Ball, Suttons, Tesco, Candide and Border in a Box.
You are all absolute stars!
Now as promised at the show…it’s time to focus on making the next crazy wild cuckoo dream come true as well as you know, maybe doing some work on the actual allotment.
My actual last thing – To all you of who offered to help across the country with the new dream and upcoming charity…thank you from the bottom of my heart and please do keep in touch.