Sometimes my job is pretty cool.
Mostly, it’s when I get to go drinking/eating/frolicking with bloggers. Last week I got to do just that!
I was invited to attend a top secret spy event and bring some bloggers along with me. Details were limited but what I did know was that it was all in honour of a very special Meerkat and that we should be “dressed to kill”. So I gathered the troops, made my way from the depths of the Ashdown Forest into the capital and prepared myself for an evening of intrigue.
That’s where it started to get a bit weird.
The ball was being held at the Troxy in South East London. It’s a gorgeous theater (have a look at the gallery images!) so I was a little surprised that the invite told us to “enter via the back alley” instead of through the glammed up foyer. All dressed up, we headed from the DLR up the road in search of the secret ball. The further we walked, the more people joined us from behind; they were dressed in black tie and looking just as shifty and suspicious as we were. When we finally came to the alley and joined the queue, we realised we were being watched by some mysterious women in slinky dresses, leaning up against the opposite wall. It seemed a bit odd for a second, but as everyone was dressed up the thought passed quite quickly and we surmised that they must be waiting for friends.
Two women were moving down the queue and checking attendees names off a list. When they reached us she gave us a hard stare, ticked us off and moved casually over to a man standing next to the slinky-dress women on the opposite wall. I had the uneasy feeling we were being watched. As we started to chat and wait patiently, I spotted the man click his fingers behind his back and suddenly we were being taken away individually by the “wall women”.
‘Ow do you know ze Ambassador? … I was being interrogated! By a sexy Russian spy! In an alley!
You know that feeling when you’re driving somewhere and there’s a police car behind you and suddenly you feel really guilty, even though you’ve done nothing wrong? Yeah…that. It was the most surreal thing that has ever happened to me. When my interrogation was over (I managed to convince her that me and the Ambassador worked together in 2004 on a top secret project in Meerkovo) and the russians were satisfied that we weren’t a threat, we were all brought to the front of the queue, where the bouncer demanded that I open my locket so he could be sure there wasn’t a hidden camera. They fitted us with a “tagging device” (VIP wristband ;)) and in we went!
We made our way through the pitch black back corridors of the Troxy. There were some seriously strange noises coming from some of the dressing rooms and after reading Paula’s post about the event I am quite grateful that I managed to dodge finding out what they were! When we finally made it through the creepy corridors we emerged through a huge red curtain and found ourselves standing at the top of an incredible spiral staircase, looking over the whole venue with a amazing jazz band playing on the stage – bit different to the darkened alleys we’d become accustomed to!
We were greeted by the ambassador and his wife at the bottom of the staircase and managed to find Erica (I’m Being Erica) and her lovely fella Dean so we headed down to our table in the VIP section (ours was right next to the free bar…conveniently!) Paula and Scarlett appeared shortly after and I knew some of the other blogging agents had arrived safely so it was on with the party!
The Ambassador soon took to the stage and introduced the room to his wife who sang along to the jazz band while we sipped our prosecco and filled ourselves up on incredible dumplings, pulled pork and chicken schnitzel burgers – yum!
While the band continued to play, I managed to spend some time chatting with some of the lovely bloggers that had come for the evening. I pretty much decided instantly that I had a major girl crush on Erica and despite me telling her that I had been Twitter stalking her for nearly a year, she weirdly agreed to stay seated at the same table as me!
I also had a great chat with Scarlett and Paula about the business of blogging and how quickly things have changed in the last year or so. It was really lovely to spend some time getting to know people you’ve only ever spoken to over email and the girls were amazing company!
Once we were all full of schnitzel and apple strudel we finally found out why we had all been invited to such a glam venue as Liz Hurley took to the stage to introduce us to “her very special friend” Maiya the Meerkat. For those that don’t know about the Meerkat adverts:
1 – where have you been for the last few years?
2 – have a read of Penny’s post about one of the biggest advertising campaigns the UK has ever seen. (That’s a fact by the way!)
“The Hurl” looked irritatingly incredible! Completely stunning in an emerald dress and so toned that I almost had to put down my burger (almost).
We were introduced to Maiya the Meerkat as we’ve never seen her before – in a fur-tight catsuit telling us all about being a female spy was far more common back in Meerkovo! We watched the new Compare the Meerkat advert too and I can hand on heart say that it is their best yet. You can watch it here on the Maiya page!
And then Maiya gave us all our secret mission – to sit back and enjoy the film Mission Impossible (Tom Cruise in the good looking days!)
If you have never been to or heard of a Future Cinema event before – they are AMAZING. We didn’t just watch the film; we were totally immersed in the film. From pyrotechnics that exploded in-time with on-screen action, to shoot-outs on the balcony. It was hard to tell who was acting and who was a normal person by the end of the night! The best bit though was from the famous scene in Mission Impossible where Mr Cruise dangles down from a vent (you know the one). An actor emerged from the ceiling a few feet in front of us and re-created it perfectly!
Erica, Jenna (from Sausage Tarts & Marmalade Rolls) and I even got to have a cuddle with the Ambassador himself!
It was an really fun evening with some really great people and TOTALLY worth getting home at 2am for (honestly!). When the evening was over we were even given a special secret agent goody bag containing top secret USB stick and some official documents (I could tell you what’s on them, but then I’d have to kill you), our very own Maiya spy glasses, a UV pen and our very own Maiya toy! (A bit more than chuffed with the toy than I should be as a grown women ;)).
Thanks to all the lovely people that came like the awesome people I haven’t mentioned such as Jen and Sarah from London On The Inside, the lovely Sharon from I Heart Motherhood, Jamina from Gingle Lists Everything and Uju from Babes About Town and to Future Cinemas and Compare the Meerkat for ensuring that I was never without prosecco or food – HURRAH!
Disclosure – I work on behalf on Compare the Meerkat and Compare the Market doing awesome stuff like getting bloggers to come to amazing events. That being said, this in no way affected my enjoyment of the evening and all of the opinions and thoughts here are solely my own (including my love of prosecco and fun).
ScissorsPaperRock Compare the Meerkat Maiya