Where do I start with this amazing weekend? I just love the Barefoot Books Ambassador Conference. It’s one of the highlights of my year when our small but ever growing Barefoot Books community of artists, storytellers and entrepreneurs get together to share stories and inspiration. We had 2 days of workshops, presentations and good old chinwags over a cup of coffee and biscuits. We took a peek inside the creative cauldron and learned some of the stories behind the stories from Tessa Strickland, the Editor-In-Chief. Nancy Traversy, our CEO, nearly brought a tear to my eye as she shared the story of her own personal Barefoot journey with all of its highs and lows.
Storyteller Daniel Morden had me on the edge of my seat as told us some of The Adventures of Achilles. I was already pretty excited about this book which is due to be released in the autumn and now I literally can’t wait! When I finally get to read it I will be hearing the words in his captivating Welsh accent and I am so looking forward to being able to share these ancient stories with my girls. Getting the opportunity to look at the entire creative process from rough drafts to the completed, beautifully bound, hardback book is a real privilege and I feel so fortunate to be able to participate.
Naturally I also took advantage of the chance to get my much loved copy of The Adventures of Odysseus signed and learned some great tips about storytelling from a master of the art which I will certainly be putting into practise in my own work. I make no apologies for my gushing enthusiasm about the whole weekend – I love beautiful artwork and I love gorgeous stories. Needless to say I was in seventh heaven!
This year I was even asked to share some of my own expertise and present a workshop on how to hold successful home shopping events. I received some great feedback and I’m really looking forward to doing it again and helping more Barefoot Books Ambassadors to achieve success through home parties.
Friday night was devoted to an amazing Djembe workshop where we learnt some traditional African rhythms. I think it was a perfect illustration of the magic that can happen when you all work together and to a greater or lesser extent, that’s what being a Barefoot Books Ambassador is all about. We’re part of an inspiring community of women (and men) who are committed to bringing beautiful stories and fantastic illustrations into the lives of children everywhere.
But what were my children doing while I was busy enjoying myself? One of the best things about being a Barefoot Books Ambassador is their total commitment to making sure that the kids have a great time too. The whole family were invited to a delicious dinner at The Perch on Saturday night where we were entertained by the Barefoot Busker, John Ruddock, who performed a great selection of Barefoot Singalongs and other music. The girls spent Friday and Saturday exploring Oxfords many museums with their dad (The Pitt Rivers Museum is an absolute must see) as well as popping in and out of the studio throughout the day.
On Sunday we spent the whole morning together in the Studio where they had their faces painted, listened to stories, played games and enjoyed a lovely organic meal from the Storytellers Cafe before we made the journey home. You really couldn’t ask for more.
To top it all off I actually won the most beautiful Donkey puppet in the prize draw! I ADORE puppets and he is just perfect (not to mention the fact that I never usually win anything, ever!) This puppet must be magic because he can talk my youngest into doing whatever I can’t get her to do. He is a very welcome addition to the family! All the Ambassadors also received a goody bag packed full of the latest book releases, marketing materials and even some lovely foot treatments to make our (bare) feet scrummy. I feel totally spoiled and totally inspired! Thank you Tessa, Nancy and the whole of the Barefoot Books team for giving us such a fantastic weekend.