It’s been a week since BritMums Live 2015 and it’s taken me this long to gather my thoughts! It was an amazing weekend; full of laughter and friendship, inspiration and expression, discussion and exchange.
It has left me motivated and unsure in equal parts.
I arrived on the Thursday morning and spent the day keeping myself awake! I met the lovely Jaime (The Oliver’s Madhouse) and Sam (The 40ish Year Old Domestic Goddess) for dinner and cannot thank them enough for such a wonderful laughter filled evening, and for ensuring that I was still awake at 9pm, thereby beating my jet lag into submission with a fantastic 10 hour sleep :)
On Friday morning I joined the rest of the All Bar One crew and was thrilled to meet lots of faces from last year’s BritMums alongside new friends, who it was wonderful to meet in person at last.
The first hour at The Brewery was full of hugs and hellos and I felt a little bit like a pinball, bouncing from one group to another; a feeling that remained with me for the rest of the weekend.
The event began with a keynote from Ella Woodward (Deliciously Ella) and a truly inspirational speech from Victoria Wright.
We then broke a Guinness World Record!
Yup. I am now the proud holder, along with several hundred others, of the record for the most mummies wrapped in toilet paper in three minutes. This rather surreal activity resulted in a sea of mummies (thankfully I was a wrapper not a mummy, as by all accounts several layers of toilet paper are hot and scratchy) and we beat the record by one, wrapping 51 mummies!
I then headed off to a wonderful session, Friday Book Club, about books and publishing with a panel of three novelists (Amanda Jennings, Cesca Major and Abbie Ross). I loved this, it was inspirational, funny and informative. And I think I’m probably a pantser :)
I joined the session on How successful bloggers do it, which while interesting and inspiring (and wonderful to hear such amazing bloggers speak!) was the start of my feelings of uncertainty about where I fit, and where I go next with my blog…
Wine, more chat and the BiB Awards followed, and I was very happy to get back to my group of BritMums besties at this point!
After a lovely dinner and a few drinks, bed beckoned at a reasonably sensible time and I was up and raring to go first thing on Saturday and the keynote from Carol Smillie was an entertaining start to the day.
I went to a session on Social Media Optimisation (with Maggie Woodley and Ali Clifford) and left that feeling that I do actually have a rough idea what I’m doing, that there really are not enough hours in the day and that there are a few more tools to help me that I need to investigate!
I then attended a session on Bloggers and Brands, which again left me with that vague feeling of uncertainty; are reviews and sponsored opportunities really for me?
I was ready for a break after this and spent the next couple of hours chatting (which was definitely my priority for the weekend!) but I’m sorry to have missed the Post 40 Bloggers session, which I hadn’t spotted on the agenda.
The last session I attended was with the fabulous Joanna Penn on How to market yourself and your writing. This was a session that left me feeling inspired and motivated!
By all accounts the sessions on Your child’s digital footprint and Pinterest were well worth going to, but there were only so many hours available and having traveled so far, my focus was on catching up with as many people as possible. There still wasn’t enough time, and there are several people that I only managed to spot across a room, or missed entirely!
The event concluded with a keynote from Caprice and the, quite simply, incredible Bloggers’ Keynote. I knew from last year’s experience that I would cry; and I did. In fact, I left feeling truly wrung out. But, I cannot express how much I admire those who read heart breaking words while remaining composed, and equally, those who made us think and those who made us laugh.
For me, this is what blogging is all about.
As happened last year, I only took a handful of photos, but they do a give a flavour of the weekend… Wine and mummies?!
BritMums Live is an amazing experience. Yes, it can be overwhelming, and my feeling of being a pinball and never quite managing to speak to anyone for long enough, was an overriding one. But, getting to speak to so many fabulous bloggers, face-to-face, is truly awesome!
I loved BritMums this year, it seemed less frenetic than last year. More relaxed. More people taking a break from sessions and chatting. Less overpowering.
I feel inspired by those I heard speak and those I met. I feel honoured to call many wonderful bloggers friends. I love blogging. But, I wonder where I go next…
I am a family and lifestyle blogger, I am an aspiring writer, I am a sometime expat blogger. I don’t have a niche, I don’t have a hook.
I’m not sure whether I want to write lots of reviews and sponsored posts, but I do want to start earning money from blogging. And, I’m not sure where that leaves me, as those two things seem mutually exclusive!
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about my intention to take a break over the summer to refocus and plan.
I am even more determined to do this now; to address those feelings of uncertainty and to become more sure of my direction.
Because, above all else, I love writing.
I want to say a huge thank to everyone I had the pleasure of speaking to (I wish I could name you all, but I’m terrified I’ll forget someone!). You made BritMums such a special weekend for me.
I’m so glad I came. I’m so glad that I got to meet up with everyone (as I am so far away the rest of the year!). I’m so glad that I enjoyed it just as much as last year!
And, I’m very lucky to know you all.
[Update: I’m still worried I’ll forget someone, but I do want to try and mention all those bloggers that made BritMums so fabulous for me, so here goes: Jaime (The Oliver’s Madhouse), Sam (The 40ish Year Old Domestic Goddess), Charly (PODCast), Sam (And Then The Fun Began), Kriss (Wild About Here), Leigh (Headspace Perspective), Renee (Mummy Tries), Tim (Slouching Towards Thatcham), John (Dad Blog UK), Iona (Redpeffer), Fiona (Free Range Chick), Jo (My Monkey’s Don’t Sit Still), Jane (Our Little Escapades), Louise (Little Hearts Big Love), Sophie (Sohpie Is), Fiona (Coombemill), Tracy (Mummyshire), Afra (Mad Mum of 7), Cathie (Kid GL Loves), Aly (Bug Bird Bee), Kirsty (Hijacked by Twins), Gailann (Mumma G), Emma (Bubba Blue and Me)… You all rock! And, I am truly sorry if I’ve forgotten someone.]