10 Things I Loved About BritMums Live

Howdy-doodle! It has been very quiet on here the last week or two, hasn’t it? That’s because we’ve been up in Scotland on holiday – blog post and photos to follow later in the week – but it’s also because I’ve been recovering from the fun that was BritMums Live 2013.

One central London venue, 550 bloggers, a smattering of celebs and several conference sessions that provided free wine on the tables… talk about a surefire recipe for success.

This was my second year at BritMums Live. Last year, as a bit of a blogging newbie, I found it all completely overwhelming but this year I paced myself a bit better and had a brilliant time. Rather than doing a minute-by-minute rundown, I thought I’d share my ten highlights.

Kirstie Allsopp BritMums Live

1. Keynote speech – Kirstie Allsopp. It was a really lovely surprise to enjoy this keynote as much as I did. A lot of the crafty bloggers got very excited when Kirstie was added to the BML agenda, but I have to admit I’ve always been a bit meh about her. Mums who juggle careers, do lots of crafty home-made stuff AND always look utterly gorgeous and glamorous intimidate me a bit a lot, so I’d always assumed she’d be a bit up-herself and scary. I totally stand corrected. She was funny, down-to-earth and very entertaining. I didn’t grab her for a post-speech photo, but judging by the number of people who did she was very approachable too. Lovely stuff.

Katie Piper BritMums Live

2. Keynote speech – Katie Piper. If Kirstie’s keynote was all lighthearted fun, Katie’s was a very different story. What an incredibly brave and inspirational woman. Katie – a former TV presenter and model – shared details of the journey she has been through since she survived a brutal acid attack in 2008, and she truly took my breath away with her strength and courage. To turn such a horrendous event into such a positive – through her work in setting up the Katie Piper Foundation – is a real testament to who she is as a person. Katie’s session was moving and humbling, and her words will stay with me a long time.

Hedwig Harry Potter Films

3. Hedwig. That beautiful owl up there is the ACTUAL Hedwig, from the ACTUAL Harry Potter films, and meeting him was one of the highlights of my weekend. Last year I don’t think I ventured into the Warner Brothers Lounge at all, but this year you couldn’t keep me away, because it was all about Harry Potter. I had a lesson in how to wave my wand around (stop giggling at the back…), sampled some of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans (the watermelon ones are luscious… black pepper and earthworm flavours not so much) and even laid my hands on the copy of Libatius Borage’s Advanced Potion Making that was used in the film. It was truly, erm, magic.

Viv Groskop BritMums Live

4. Brilliance in Blogging Awards. The BiBs took place on the Friday night, and they were hosted by the writer and comedian Viv Groskop, who was rocking some kind of glittery hotpant thing, and looked fabulous. I was chuffed to pieces to be a finalist in the Commentary category, and equally chuffed to be pipped to the post by Team Honk, who visited Ghana with Comic Relief earlier in the year and are *apparently* planning next year’s Secret Thing already. Hurrah for deserving winners, and commiserations to all the awesome finalists.

BritMums Live bloggers

5. Blogging for Good. The panel discussion that I took part in was about bloggers working with charities, and I was sitting alongside Chris from Thinly Spread (above left), Rosie Childs from Save the Children (above right), and Michelle from Mummy from the Heart (not pictured and, frankly, Annie is doing a crap job of pretending to be her in that shot). The session took place in the main conference room, which was a bit big for our modest audience, but they were an informed and passionate group, with lots of intelligent questions, and I got through it without saying anything too silly, so I think that counts as a big success.

BritMums Live 2013

6. Community. Well now I have heard all these rumours of bitch and snark among parent bloggers, but I must be very lucky because I didn’t see any of it at BritMums Live this year. All I saw were a lot of hugs, a few tears, and a brilliantly supportive community providing many of its members with comfort and love. It made me proud to be a part of it.

Annie Mammasaurus at BritMums Live

7. Social Media Session. The much-anticipated session on managing your social media was definitely one of my conference highlights. Presented by the lovable, gin-swilling comedy duo that is Mummy Barrow and Mammasaurus, there was chocolate, there were giggles, and there was a very friendly former Blue Peter presenter sat within touching distance. So many wins for first thing on a Saturday morning.

Coca Cola personalised bottle

8. Yes, yes that is my very own personalized Coke bottle. Almost as exciting as the owl.

BritMums Live 2013

9. Meeting people. I think one of the main reasons I was so overwhelmed at BritMums 2012 was that I didn’t actually know many folk. I’d been blogging for over a year, and was an avid reader of other people’s blogs, but not many of those friends in the computer had made the transition to real life friends, and when I was faced with 500 of them all at once, I didn’t know where to begin. This year, when I could put far more faces to names, was SO MUCH more fun. I shared a cab to the venue with Chris from Thinly Spread – someone who I’d been too nervous to even approach and say hello to twelve months ago. There then followed a two-day chat-fest. Some people I’ve now met several times – like Anya and Sarah, the lovely ladies above – and feel very comfortable with. Some people – Alice, Lizzie, Helen – I met for the first time and immediately liked. And of course there were loads – Aly, Jayne, Liz – I wish I’d had longer to speak to.

BritMums Live 2013

10. Being a grown up. I may have mentioned once or twice that I turned 30 earlier this year. I am proud to say that hitting that milestone has instilled a new sense of maturity in me. I was ridiculously sensible at BritMums this year. I wore comfy shoes instead of hurty heels. I went to bed well before midnight, after a decent but not indecent intake of alcohol, and I woke up hangover free. I had the confidence to speak to the brands I was interested in *waves a big hello at Parragon books* but didn’t go around scooping up freebies from all the stands for the hell of it. And I left a bit early so that I’d be home in time to pack for the 7am flight I had the next morning. Very, very sensible and grown up…

Although not so grown up that I didn’t make my tablemates pose for loser photos at the BiBs. Sorry ladies. Must try harder.

36 responses

  1. oh how I love this post.

    And I AM sorry Team Honk pipped you to the post. But you are part of Team Honk, a big big part of Team Honk so you know what you are still one of the BiBs winners.

    Amazing post. Thank you for sharing, and indeed capturing, those photos of me with Tamsyn. Having a moment as we talked about her award and how she is just THE most amazing person. How she had just done that for her boy, for her Alex and how much we all love him.

    Community and friendship is the best thing I have got from blogging. Opportunities are great, but friendships and memories made are the real highlights.

    now we just need to get you to 2014 :-)

  2. I went last year and as a new blogger I struggled a bit too because I was too scared to approach ‘proper’ bloggers, I wish I’d been able to go this year because it looks fab! And for what it’s worth as an almost crafts blogger, I’m normally the most scared of the commentary and feminism bloggers, even though they’re the ones I like the best, because I’m worried they’ll think im thick because I also do some sewing!! I guess we all worry too much…

  3. Awww lovely post, I really must write mine. It was lovely to meet you, and I hope that one day we get more time to chat :-)

    • Likewise! It was lovely to say hello, but I didn’t want to intrude too much on what must have been a very emotional weekend for you. Next time! Xx

  4. Thanks so much for a lovely post – worth the wait my dear, and for the lovely mention. It was a pleasure to finally meet you, and I was only sorry we didn’t get more time to chat. The days seem to pass so fast, and we all still seem to have so much we wish we could have done in them. Roll on next year, we’ll live stream it to you if we have to! :-D

  5. Great post and I can’t wait to go again next year, every time I read a new post like this it just brings back all the fun and laughter.

  6. Such a wonderful round up. I just love this post. And your photographs are brilliant – I really enjoyed the social media session too (great shot of Annie). In fact I think they should have bloggers doing the more techy sessions in general (not techy experts) as that way, they are more understandable. Echoing Mummy Barrow – we need to find a way of getting you there next year! X

  7. I love the way you’ve wrapped this up so well. It was great to see you but there is never enough time, is there? I think it’s much more of a social that lots of us will admit to! And I’m downloading that pic of Sarah and me pronto. Just super – as are all the others xx

  8. Wish I had had a chance for a longer chat, really enjoyed the charity session. Was my first year and I loved it, once I had got all the scary bits out of the way that is! Was about to say see you next year, but….. *sobs a bit* xxx

    • Likewise, we seemed to keep passing in the corridors didn’t we?! You did a brilliant job on the feminism panel representing the blogging massive though :) xx

  9. It looks like you all had a fabulous time – was so gutted not to be able to make it this year. Here’s hoping next year I’m more lucky and don’t end up with a big family wedding the same weekend! x

  10. Cor that photo of Michelle, Mummy from the Heart is shocking – she’s really let herself go ;)

    Twas a fun packed weekend that whizzed by in a flash, I reckon if they could run it for a week next year that would be better. I don’t ask for much do I?

    Love that last photo – look at Mrs Moslers happy little face!

  11. What a lovely post and those photos of Tamsyn and T are beautiful. Sorry I didn’t get to see much of you at BritMums. Coffee and a catch up long overdue! x

  12. Ahh I’m sorry I didn’t come this year but it looked amazing!! I didn’t realise that was the actual Hedwig. Lovely photos, especially Tamsyn with Mummy Barrow.

  13. Pingback: Cheerio 2013! « dorkymum

  14. Pingback: 10 Things I Loved About BritMums Live

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