Me and: BritMums Live 2015

Me and: BritMums Live 2015

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 2015 [1]

BritMums Live 2015 [2]

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.]

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62 thoughts on “Me and: BritMums Live 2015”

  1. It was a exhausting weekend for me but it was so lovely to meet people like yourself who i chat to via the internet. It would have been nice to talk to you more and hope i get another chance in the future xx

  2. Potty Mouthed Mummy

    So glad you had such a good time lovely. Hopefully one day we might be in the same country, at the same event, at the same time to say hi!! I think a break over the summer over a fab idea. Sometimes it feels as if we all have to follow the same route as bloggers, but some things aren’t for all of us.

    You are a fab writer and one of my faves, sorry I don’t stop by and say that more often xxx

    1. You’re so right, some things just aren’t for all of us. I’m going to cut back a lot over July and hopefully come back more refreshed and focused! And, thank you, that last comment really made my day x

  3. awww biggest hugs in the world lovely, I know what you mean about the next steps I struggled that why I have 2 blogs :-) (although harder work in itself!)

    I am so glad you got to make it again this year it wouldn’t have been the same without you xx

  4. Fiona @ Free Range Chick

    Was really nice to meet you, Sara. I’m happy to say that I recognised you instantly, and really enjoyed the brief conversations we had – particularly the vegetarian one (and the waxy versus floury potato debate).

    Hope you had a good journey back to Boston and are settling back into normal life again after your London whirlwind. I’ll look forward to continuing to follow your blog and maybe see you again one day xx

    1. Ah, thank you Fiona, it was lovely to meet you too (and talk about floury potatoes!). I’m glad to be back, and we’re well into summer holiday mode here!

  5. I’m glad we got to say a couple of quick hellos, it was lovely to see you again. Great to read your thoughts on the event. I felt pretty much the same but I’m sure at some point I will gain more clarity x

    1. It was really lovely to see you, I had no idea you were going and I was so pleased when I sat down opposite you! Ah, clarity, that would be nice, wouldn’t it…

  6. It was really lovely to meet you, Sara, even if our conversation was brief. It did feel like meeting blogging friend after blogging friend and there were loads of oooh and aaaahs. I recognised at least half of the people there and the atmosphere was amazing. I haven’t even started to take it all in and I will probably wait another few days to write about it all. x

  7. One of my biggest regrets was to keep passing you in the corridor but never spend anytime. I now realise we were always at different sessions so lovely to read your post and hear your highlights. If you had made the post 40 bloggers one I’d have caught up with you! Never mind, there is always next year!

    1. I know, we just always seemed to be heading off in opposite directions! I wish I’d realised that the Post40 Blogger session was happening!

  8. I didn’t even go to BritMums but I know that feeling. I’m a nicheless blogger and, haivng tried to fit a niche, I know I just can’t. It makes for far less opportunities and, in my case, far less readers, but I keep trying in the hopes one day I’ll hit the blogging big time! lol!

    1. It’s a tricky one isn’t it, I write what I want to write and what I enjoy writing… and that’s a bit of a mix!

  9. It was lovely to meet you at last, Sara – I thought you lasted the course well, as I saw you still smiling at the end of Saturday.

    The bloggers’ keynotes were incredibly moving, weren’t they? It’s inspired me to explore developing something along similar lines to promote bloggers’ voices to a wider audience throughout the year. (Watch this space. Maybe. If I ever get round to it.)

    I know exactly what you mean about feeling like a pinball. There were so many people to speak to and so many fleeting contacts where I would bounce off someone and say “hi, see you later?” only to never get that chance. I’d love to have been able to find more time to speak to more people in more depth, but alas!

    Ah well. I’ll just have to come back again next year … :-)

    1. Ah, yes, the pinball thing! It’s lovely to see so many people, but I often felt that I was being rude, diving off to another conversation… It was lovely to meet you, and I would have loved to have managed to speak to you for longer!

  10. Was lovely to see you. The whole making money thing is a tricky one – I think it is more about being picky. I certainly need to use my blog to earn some money but need to learn to say no sometimes for the things that are small and time consuming x

    1. It is tricky isn’t it, and I think you’re right about being picky… Although, I need to start saying yes first!

  11. Sounds like you had a great time catching up! Whether you take a break or not, do what you want to do. Sure I’m no blog expert but I enjoy reading posts written by people who enjoy writing them. Doesn’t matter what niche – just be you! x #sharethejoy

  12. What a great round up and it was just super to meet you again. I do know what you mean about the whole BML experience; there was so much to take in, lots of sessions which I just physically couldn’t get to and then lots to process. For me, my big take out was ‘where does my blog fit’ and it sounds like you’re going through that too. Initially I started blogging in order to record my life with my family, but sometimes I don’t think I get the balance right either – esp if I start looking at the numbers!
    I think taking a step back and reviewing what you have is a good thing, because you have a great blog and you write beautifully.

    1. Ah, thank you Tracy, and it was lovely to see you again too. Interesting that you left with the same feeling, glad it wasn’t just me! I started my blog for the same reasons as you but it has evolved so much since then I worry that I’m no longer doing what I originally set out to do, which is fine as long as I am happy with what I am doing! One to ponder :)

  13. I am so glad your trip was worthwhile and it was so lovely to finally meet you. BritMums messes with your head, amazing, but exhausting! I hope you find your way and remember your voice is your niche x

  14. I know exactly what you mean by the Pinball status, is frustrating and overwhelming in equal measure! I also question my place in the blogging community. My overriding incentive is to write – I love it. But I’m not sure where I’m going with it long-term and am scared of completely falling into a rut/trap. Have a break over the summer is a great idea. I will definitely be slacking off, it worked well for me last year. I’m glad that above all else, you felt the trip was worth it. Will you go again next year do you think? I’m in two minds again. Sorry not to see you this year :( x

    1. Yeah, I’m going to cut right back during July and just enjoy time with the kids. Still blog, but only when I feel like it! Mainly, I want to spend some time thinking and tinkering :) I’m finding the long-term view hard too, but perhaps it really is enough to just love what you do. Everything else is just a bonus.

  15. I’m gutted I missed the marketing yourself session-I really wanted to get to that but my burn out had peaked much earlier than I’d anticipated! Loved reading this post, I too feel uncertain on a regular basis about where I want the blog to go. I’m not sure I really want lots of sponsored posts and reviews either, what I’d love more than anything is to write and for people to read and enjoy what I write and earn money from that somehow. Not sure that’s even possible?! I’ll be interested to follow where you decide to go with it all. And thank you so much for the mention-I really enjoyed catching up with you too x

  16. I’m dead impressed you came so far for britmums lovely! Glad you got to meet so many fab bloggers and had such a fab time. It is tricky to know where to go next isn’t it? How commercial to make the blog? I like reviews mainly because I like free stuff but I like being the only person to write content for my blog and be completely in control of the content! Xx

    1. Yeah, I have to maintain control, whatever I do :) It is hard to know what direction to go in, or do I just keep doing what I’m doing?!

  17. Sounds like you had a great time and got lots out of it, you definitely win the prize for most dedicated blogger!! I’m so pleased I got to meet you, but it was all way too brief. Although my own BML experience didn’t go to plan (and perhaps partly because of that) I’ve had a big old rethink… I honestly don’t know what the future holds, but I’m hoping that blogging will be a part of it xxx

    1. Oh, I do hope it is too, I love your blog, it’s always one I return to. I’m so glad I got to meet you, but yes it was far too brief!

  18. I’m gutted that I missed that Friday book club session! I think I spent most of that period with Fiona chatting up the Vitamix man :-) I know exactly what you mean about coming away feeling like your head is spinning and you feel like you need to make changes or somehow ‘consolidate’ what it is you do, but maybe you don’t? Just a thought, but actually I think our blogs kind of keep changing subtly, organically, with the needs of our families, the changes in our lives. If I started to make money from my blog (or even get a single free thing to review) then that would be kind of weirdly exciting (and make blogging feel like something completely different to me) but I haven’t had the need to pursue that path and whilst my circumstances remain the same I don’t need to (doesn’t stop me feeling envious of those who seem to get all the good stuff though, but I know it involves heaps of hard work and a lot of time). I did feel inspired by The Creative Penn though – to write a book would be amazing.
    Anyway you were one of my must-meet blog friends and I’m so glad that Britmums gave us the chance to get together albeit briefly! Thanks for linking up #thetruthabout Xx

    1. Oh, I’m so glad too, I would have been gutted not to meet you. And, it wasn’t long enough!
      You might be right about the natural progression, perhaps I need to just see where it all takes me :)

  19. You sound like you had a blast and now I know who you are as remember your face from BritMums!! It was such a good weekend and more relaxed in parts than I thought! I hope to go next year so maybe meet you then xx #thtruthabout

  20. Fab round up, I’d love to know more about the sessions you attended if you’re ever stuck for writing ideas. I feel like you where I don’t fit into a particular niche as I’m a parenting and lifestyle blogger with a baby, tween and teenager so I can’t even fit into an age bracket for my kids! I like to read your blog from the ex pat stance if that helps you decide where you fit? #allaboutme

    1. If I manage to gather my thoughts (and my notes) any further! I sometimes think that I don’t write about our expat life enough, even just in terms of places/activities etc, and feel I should be making more of it, so it’s really interesting to hear you say that… thank you!

  21. Glad you had a wonderful time and it sounded really useful. I keep hoping they won’t hold it over my husband’s birthday / Father’s Day so I can go one year.

    1. I know what you mean, it’s just after my son’s birthday and obviously I end up missing Father’s Day… Tricky!

  22. Michelle Reeves (bodfortea)

    This is a fab roundup Sara and I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to meet face to face at BML this year. Like you I find it such an inspirational event and not just from the speakers but the wonderful bloggers there. I formed some plans for my blogs before I went that I shaped through talking to other bloggers at the conference and I’m now putting into practice. Like you I’m taking a break over the Summer and relaunching in the Autumn. Exciting times! Thanks so much for linking this up at #sharethejoy

    1. Absolutely, it’s as much about the bloggers you meet as the sessions. I have lists upon lists at the moment :)

  23. It’s refreshing to hear someone came away feeling inspired and a bit unsure. I have a feeling I would do the same. I didn’t make BritMums this year but hope to in 2016. I love hearing other people’s advice and would really like to meet some of the people whose blogs I have been reading for quite a while now. However, I already don’t have time to do all the things I’d like to with my blog, so I wonder if I would come away feeling frustrated? Anyway, I’ll never know for sure until I try :) #sharewithme

    1. Thank you! I think there is an element of frustration, there simply are not enough hours in the day to do all the things I would like to do :)

  24. You won’t be surprised to hear that I’m 100% with you on this confusion and uncertainty :) Brit Mums was fab though – so much for me to take in as a newbie, I’m still digesting it all to be honest… But it was very lovely to finally meet you and some of the other bloggers who have kept me going this far! Good luck with carving out your path – I look forward to seeing where it takes you xx

  25. It was a brilliant experience and I’m so sorry I hardly saw you! But reading this post I now know why – I don’t think we went to a single session that was the same!
    I know what you mean about finding where you fit in and uncertainty about whether you want to do reviews and sponsored posts – I’m just the same! And then I think, sod it! I’m me and I’ll carry on being me. If the right reviews and sponsored posts come along, I’ll take them, but it’s not what I’m all about and I will never take them simply to make a few quid if they don’t fit in.

    1. I completely agree, anything I do has to fit with my blog, and I keep coming back to the same conclusion, that I just want to do my own thing!

  26. I would have loved to go to BritMums although mainly just to meet you and my other lovely blogging friends. It’s been interesting to read the post britmums blogs posts and I’ve found a number of people are feeling like you are with that sense of uncertainly about where to go from here. A summer off sounds good and I think the main thing to remember is that you already have a blog to be proud of so don’t feel pressured into being something you’re not. Thanks for linking to #WhatImWriting

  27. Sounds like you had such a great time and I am sad I didn’t get to see you again this year at it. It was just too close to Blogtacular and me leaving for America. I really am trying to make sure I don’t miss out next year though. Hope to see you next year!! Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

  28. I was great to meet you , even if only briefly. I love your description of being a pinball – that sums up the event superbly!

    Thanks also for the mention at the end. It’s very difficult to know who to mention and hwo not to isn’t it??

    Just FYI, I have been writing a little fiction so hope to join in with The Prompt over the summer break! #BrilliantBlogPosts

    1. Pinball is definitely apt :) And, yes, very difficult indeed!
      It would be lovely to have you back on The Prompt :)

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