Me and: BritMums Live 2014

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It’s taken me a few days to process all that was BritMums Live 2014. First and foremost, it was one of the best weekends, ever. It was fun and interesting and empowering and emotional and uplifting and inspiring.

I arrived in London last Thursday morning having flown overnight from Boston. Exhausted doesn’t even come close, but I was excited and thrilled to be in London, a city I love and lived in for almost ten years. Coming back to visit always reminds me of all the great times I had here (fabulous job, wonderful friends, meeting my husband…).

After making my way into the City and leaving my bag at the hotel (the Apex London Wall, highly recommended!), I wandered around before finding myself in Starbucks at Liverpool Street station. I sat, catching up on line and people watching, and took a deep breath. I was really here!

I’m still not entirely sure how I managed it, but I stayed awake until 9pm… 39 hours awake! I then slept for 12 hours, bliss :)

Then the fun really began!

The wonderful Jaime from The Oliver’s Madhouse had taken me under her wing, making sure I wasn’t arriving at the Brewery alone, which I am truly grateful for. Meeting some of my favourite bloggers at All Bar One before the event was wonderful, if slightly surreal. I was actually talking to these women, who I have admired from afar; laughed with and cried with; I almost had to pinch myself!

Friday began with the keynote from Emma Freud and, sitting in our tiaras, we heard about the amazing fundraising she has done for Comic Relief. While I agree that she may have read the room wrong when joking about sleeping your way to the top; we must remember that she was talking about her partner of 25 years, who was sitting in front of her in the audience! And, lying to get people to do what you want isn’t something we should be teaching our children, but she was speaking to a room full of grownups. Overall, her message was one of working hard, not giving up and recognising the power of our own voices.

There followed a debate about women’s voices in the media. I would recommend that you read this post from Helen at Actually Mummy, who sat on the panel. It was an interesting discussion, squeezed in to too short a time; but it has certainly generated debate, which can only be a good thing. I found myself beginning to write a post within a post on this session, so I will return to this subject in a separate blog post.

Sessions on ‘How I did it’ and ‘Design tips for a beautiful blog’ followed for me, before the Brilliance in Blogging Awards (BiBs). There has been a lot of discussion about the awards… But the one thing I will say is that I definitely agree that the finalists should all have received a bit more attention, they deserved more recognition for that amazing achievement alone.

A group of about thirty of us then went out for a fabulous meal at Iskele. Organised by the wonderful Vicky from Verily Victoria Vocalises, it was an evening of good food, wine and conversation. What more could you ask for :) Other than perhaps a little more sleep…

Saturday began with the inspiring and emotional keynote from Benjamin Dutton-Brooks from Life as a Widower. I knew I would cry, and I did, but I was left feeling inspired by the strength and love that shone through his words.

Saturday for me was a mix of meeting people and attending sessions. I had made the decision before I arrived that I wasn’t going to do back to back sessions, I’d come a long way and wanted to meet as many people as possible!

The first part of my morning was spent doing just that, meeting people, and it was brilliant, before heading to a great session on Photography from Julia Boggio where she focused on light.

I then headed to a fantastic session on Google +. I am becoming a huge fan of G+, finding it far more interactive and useful than Facebook (particularly since ‘reach’ plummeted into the depths of pointlessness) and it was really interesting to learn more about it. I picked up some very useful tips on circle management and sharing. The most useful tip however was on how to share links; these should be shared using the ‘link’ option (even if you then share again with a decent photo!) as this means that your post is indexed immediately by Google.

In the afternoon I attended a truly inspirational session, Storytelling, from Emily Beecher of Good Enough Mums Club. This was my favourite session of the two days, and I plan to write more about the thoughts and ideas that is has generated in a separate post.

After more coffee and more chatting, it was time to attend the Bloggers Keynote. I laughed, I was inspired and I cried, a lot. Amazing writing from an amazing group of women. I couldn’t possibly begin to do justice to all the women who spoke in the keynote in this blog post, and neither can I single out any for particular mention. Listening to these women read their own words, some of which were funny, some sad and some heartbreaking, was a privilege.

The event finished with a performance by the Good Enough Mums Club, which was hilarious and scarily spot on. Finding myself singing heads, shoulders, knees and boobs was certainly an interesting end to a truly wonderful two days.

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[ I took so few photos! Too busy talking :)]

I spent Saturday evening laughing and chatting, and laughing some more, with Charly from PODCast, Jaime from The Oliver’s Madhouse, Cathie from Wicked World of Lucas, Vicky from Verily Victoria Vocalises and Tammy from Me and the Tiny Three. Thank you ladies for a great evening!

For me, this photo (kindly taken by some bloke in the pub!) sums up the whole event. Friendship, support and laughter. I met so many people, and didn’t meet far too many people. To everyone I did meet, thank you for making BritMums really special. To those I didn’t manage to speak to; next time!

I learnt a huge amount; I was inspired to see so many strong women (and men) supporting each other; I loved the buzz of the event; I was blown away by the immense positivity that permeated the two days.

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Many people asked me if I’d come all the way from America just for BritMums. I hadn’t, I’m currently in Edinburgh organising the final move of our house contents (!) and I’m attending the wedding of a very dear friend on Saturday, but *whispers* next year the answer might just be yes.

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43 thoughts on “Me and: BritMums Live 2014”

  1. Oh Sara this is lovely and I am glad you had a group to be with you when you arrived. I coudln’t have done it alone either. So nice that our online friends become real friends in real life. It was such a great experience. AND IT WAS SO AMAZING TO MEET YOU TOO! I am so glad you had the chance to fly across the world for it. lol You are amazing and just as lovely as I thought you would be. I didn’t know what to expect with britmums live but I wasn’t disappointed. So much to process now too! Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me without your support and others my linky wouldn’t continue on I am so grateful for that support! And keep up the amazing blogging hun! #sharewithme

    1. It was lovely to meet you too Jenny, so glad we managed to chat :) It was a great two days! Thanks for hosting x

    1. Thanks Emma, it was lovely to meet you too :) Once I’m back in the US I have quite a few things I want to write about xx

  2. Certainly sounds like everyone had loads of fun, not to mention – inspired! Perhaps, next year I’ll have the chance to join you guys? Little T starts school this September… maybe, just maybe … Who knows? :) Actually though, seeing bloggers like you, whom I’ve followed and admire, meet other bloggers whom I also follow and admire… It almost feels like being there! x

  3. Ahh SOOOOOOOO great to finally meet you. You are just as lovely in real life as I thought you’d be. I felt instantly comfortable with you and you really put me at ease through Saturday. Wish I’d stayed Saturday night now :) I must admit I like Google+ a lot better than Facebook too – the algorithms and what not drive me bonkers and i’m sure I’m just wasting my time on there.

    1. It was fabulous to meet you too, it felt like I’d known you forever :) Definitely feel like Facebook pages are a colossal waste of time, the reach is so rubbish!

  4. It was so nice to meet you! This post basically summarises my weekend too… it seems we went to exactly the same sessions (except I didn’t go to the storytelling one, which was perhaps a mistake!) but it was just utterly fabulous, wasn’t it? I have come away with my head full of ideas and inspiration, and have met a tonne of genuinely lovely ladies! Bring on next year!

    1. Lovely to meet you too! The storytelling one was great, she got us doing writing exercises :) I’m feeling really inspired x

  5. I was gutted not to meet you! I kept a lookout but there were just a mad amount of people about! So pleased you had a great weekend. Hope you enjoy your time up in Edinburgh.

  6. You did so well to travel so far and not sleep for the entire weekend! Your post has really bought the event to life. Thanks for the tip about google plus links, I shall use it in future x #sharewithme

  7. Was so glad to finally meet you in the flesh, and to hear you had such a fantastic time. I so wish I could have come to Emily’s session too, it sounds fab! I’ll have to track you down on Google + as that session and your enthusiasm here has inspired me to try to do more there (not that I’ve started yet…)!

    1. It was wonderful to meet you too Pippa :) Emily’s session was great, and I’ll find you on Google + !!

  8. It sounds like you had a really wonderful weekend. Much as I’m gutted not to have attended I’m enjoying reading about people’s experiences. I’m definitely going to attend next year!
    #sharewithme

        1. I plan to, sorry I didn’t manage meet you this year x
          Didn’t have the guts to get a ticket for BlogHer this year, I know so few US bloggers, but next year… Meeting more bloggers on this side of the Atlantic is on my must-do list :)

  9. Ah what a lovely write up and lovely photos of you all. It was a pretty overwhelming weekend wasn’t it? I am still tired! ;) So many people I didn’t get to meet, yourself included. xx

    1. It was overwhelming but in a positive way, so much fun and laughter x I’ve followed it up with a really full on week, I’m exhausted!

  10. I really, really enjoyed reading this post, and great to read what a wonderful time you had :o). I really regret not going to that Google + seminar now, especially as I feel quite lost with it. And it was really nice to meet you too, albeit very briefly! X

  11. Pingback: BritMumsLive! and Us, and You! | The Good Enough Mums Club

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