UK Gathering – How It Went & Spring 2015 Gathering

On Saturday 3rd January 2015 we held a UK Gathering for people interested in Personal Finance, Financial Independence and Early Retirement. 

I received a lot of comments and personal emails from people expressing interest in attending such an event, but for several reasons the one I proposed didn’t work for them. I think this was down to people having other Christmas/New Year engagements and the isolated location. The weather didn’t help either!

I met a great couple from Warwickshire – Darren and Karen. They were poets and they didn’t realise. We ended up spending the next 2+ hours in the Saracens Head, sat next to the wood-burning fire. As we drank our tea and coffee we discussed our views on frugal living, self-sufficiency, early retirement, investing, ongoing projects, Blogging and goals whilst getting to know each other. 

It was fantastic!

Darren and I mentioned how refreshing it was to talk to someone about all of this stuff. We are a rare bunch of people (Darren, Karen, me, and all of you other readers and bloggers). We sit in the minority. I don’t work with anyone or have any friends that are as passionate about this subject as I am. They understand why I do what I do, but they’d prefer to talk about other things. It was so nice to be able to talk to people who were equally as passionate as I was. 

They both share a great love for living this way which is embodied by their VW Camper Van, impressive self sufficient living, side projects and over 80% saving rate! Darren has built a jet engine, he services his own car (and others), he’s building a motorised bike (like what was featured on MMM), and he eats noodles every lunch at work. He’s planning on creating a Blog this year, which I think would be extremely interesting. When he launches it I’ll be sure to let you all know. 

Karen has a blog which is based around her passion of letterpress design and printing. She creates beautiful greetings cards, limited edition posters, wedding and personalised stationery. I’ve linked in her Website and I would suggest checking it out if you like Scandinavian design. She also has a great eye for photography and gets a lot of interest in her Instagram, which you can access on the Website link. 

After we shared stories, knowledge and experiences we went for a nice walk next to the river all the way to the rope bridge I pictured in Life On A Bike. After returning from the walk we chatted a little more and then we headed our separate ways. 

They traveled all the way down to meet up with me and spend some time with a like-minded person, and I’d like to publicly thank them for doing so!

The gathering was low on numbers, and the weather was pretty poor, but it didn’t dampen our spirits. I’m really happy with the experience as a whole and I’m looking forward to meeting them again, and more people, in the upcoming Spring. 

Spring 2015 Gathering

There seems to be a lot of interest in the Spring 2015 meet up so far which is really encouraging. We’re going to host it in Stratford upon Avon, which will hopefully be a much shorter commute for people around the UK. I’m hoping this will increase the turn out for it.
The date is yet to be confirmed, but I’ll be confirming it in the next week once I know what Miss FFBF’s plans are at work. I’m aiming for a Saturday in March. I want to give plenty of notice for you all so you can reserve it. 
I plan on stopping overnight, which isn’t necessary for everyone, but I don’t want to feel I have to leave to get back home. If no-one else is stopping over then me and Miss FFBF will amuse ourselves. I’ll also suggest a slightly earlier meet up time like 10am to maximise the day too. Not that you have to arrive at that time, but as a guide to kick things off. 

I want to keep things relaxed and informal for now. My intention is to get people together so we can meet face to face, talk about our interests and get to know each other more. That’s it!

The location is yet to be confirmed, but fortunately Darren was brought up in Stratford and he offered to help me find a suitable spot for us. My plan is to be slightly outside the town centre in a quiet spot, where we can talk and relax. Sound good?

I will continue to update you all when I know more. 

Have a great 2015 everyone, and I look forward to meeting you in the Spring!


  • sparklebeeblog

    Reply Reply 4th January 2015

    Hi Huw, Happy 2015! Glad a meeting did take place, one in Spring and Stratford would be easier for me too as per your comments on location. With the UK FI bloggers spead across the country and growing in numbers it would be good to get a gathering to allow people to really meet poeple with the same views and goals.

    Keep posting updates on this as I would be very interested in joining the Spring gathering.

  • weenie

    Reply Reply 5th January 2015

    Hi Huw, glad to hear that this meeting took place and went well – thanks for letting us know how it went.

    I'm very much looking forward to the one in Stratford and meeting yourself and other fellow bloggers/FI enthusiasts.

    I'm unlikely to be staying over but not sure if I'll be driving now as train fares to Stratford-upon-Avon are coming up at around £28 return which is quite decent. I will decide when a date and location to meet has been set, although taking the train means I get time to read and also I can have a couple of drinks 😉

  • The Big Monkey

    Reply Reply 5th January 2015

    Hi Huw,

    Thanks for the kind words. I'm not sure if we (or at least me) have been described as poets before. Thanks also for sharing Karen’s site / work. We also need to thank you for organizing the event. We both found it inspirational.

    We are indeed a rare bunch. I hope that more like us are able to join the sprig gathering. The location you have chosen is beautiful. Roll on spring.

    To everybody else out there who is thinking of attending the spring even, make sure you do. I think we have a lot to offer each other as a community.

    That’s me for now Huw.

    Darren (AKA The Big Monkey).

  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 5th January 2015

    Hi SparkleBee,

    Happy 2015 to you too! I hope the location and date help increase the uptake for the Spring. I have no doubt it will. I look forward to meeting you then!

    I'll be sending an update out when I have a date confirmed…..getting exciting now!


  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 5th January 2015

    Hi Weenie,

    It was great Weenie, and although I was unsure how it would go, especially when there was only two people going, I'm really glad it went ahead.

    There seems to be a bit if buzz on the Spring date. I think if we can get a few UK Bloggers to mention it on their blogs we should have a good turn out!

    I like your style Weenie. I'd like Miss FFBF to come along too, and she works every other weekend. She said that she'll know which weekend she has free when the rota comes out in two weeks. I hope you can wait that long. Unfortunately, I don't live near a train station so I'm reliant on a car to get there. I'd really like to go with Miss FFBF too!

    I'll send out an update when I know more. Speak soon!


  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 5th January 2015

    Hi (I don't know what to call you now?!) Darren,

    No need to thank me, I meant it.

    I was trying to be funny by referring to the rhyme of Darren and Karen – "your poets but you didn't know it", the comedy 'really' kicks in when I switch the rhyme 'know it' for 'realise'…….. (Tumbleweed rolling). 🙂

    I'm confident from what I've heard so far that Spring will be a nice turnout. I'm prepared to stop overnight too, so even if it's us again we'll get to spend more time together, which would be cool. I really don't think that will be the case though.

    Thanks for stopping by. Speak soon Big Monkey.


  • M

    Reply Reply 6th January 2015

    Thanks for updating us on this. March is looking good. I guess later in the month might have the slim possibility of being warmer?! And potentially nice flowers will be out and about in Stratford-Upon-Avon. There's a butterfly place there, so if anyone is stopping over, then it could be something to do on the Sunday?


  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 6th January 2015

    Hi M,

    No problem at all. I'm so pleased you can make the Spring gathering. It'll be great to meet you and everyone else in person. You're absolutely right, March's weather should be much better than what we had on the weekend. Thank you very much for the suggestion. I'm looking forward t visiting Stratford as I've never been there before, and I've heard a lot of good things about it.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  • No More Waffles

    Reply Reply 7th January 2015


    I've been looking forward to this post for a while!

    Even though attendance wasn't as strong as hoped, it's great to see you enjoyed a deep conversation with two like-minded people. Next time there'll be more people for sure.

    Now I definitely want to organise a meet-up in Brussels too!


  • Huw Davies

    Reply Reply 7th January 2015

    Hi NMW,

    It went really well, even though there were only three of us. It's made me more excited to get a bigger gathering in the UK now because I got so much from it. We'll be doing one in Stratford in March (Date TBC).

    I would highly recommend doing it if you can. You're in a key location in your country too. Please keep us posted if you do go for it!

    Thanks for stopping by.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field