Well, I tried to get my title to be all f’s, but informative will have to suffice.  Last weekend was Britmums Live 2014, and this year I made it to the whole lot.  I had a sponsor this year, the fabulous Water Babies, so many thanks to them.

blogger britmums badge

While other bloggers were planning what they were going to be wearing, organising meals and ‘stalking’ who they wanted to meet up with (ok, I did do a bit of the latter –  I was astonished to have a list a side and a half of A4!), I was arranging and rearranging childcare for N.  With a husband who insists on working 7 days a week, and unable to commit because it ‘depends what the weather’s like’, I originally had 4 people looking after N post nursery pick up on Friday.  My sister in law came to the rescue for pick up, tea and bath so N was pleased to be able to play with his cousin on Friday.  For Saturday, a friend who’s son is one of N’s best friends, was going to have him for the day.  Then a couple of days before, the OH announces he’ll be around to have N.  Arghhh.  So I’d had to put people out and disappoint a 3 year old who was looking forward to a playdate.  N of course was oblivious, as it meant he could spend the day working with his dad on the farm.

I’d arranged to travel up with Mary, and after a saga of new parking at Banbury station, got on the train, met her and we had a good natter on the way to London.  She was staying near St Pauls, so we went to meet Tina, before I headed off to Moorgate for early check in and they went to their hotel.

There’s nothing like a blogging conference for meeting new people.  Straight out of the station and I bumped into Amanda.  Embarrassingly for a former geography student, we ended up wandering in totally the wrong direction (damn, google phone maps), before getting on the right trail to the Travelodge.  I definitely recommend early check in.  A quick chance to freshen up, cool down (the 2 years I’ve been at Britmums Live and it’s been beautiful weather) before heading out for a quick bite to eat.  We met other Travelodgers in the lobby there before walking down to the All Bar One meet up.  I didn’t really think about getting food there, but that would have been the obvious place!

The bar was busy, but it was easy to spot everyone.  We were spread across a few tables, but it meant we could get to know people and have a proper chat, rather than having to shout across huge tables.  Along with Amanda, I got to know Di (the ‘Giveaway Guru’), Ojo (birthday girl), Abi (a whizz with Evernote) and Maddie, amongst others who were dipping in and out.  It turns out as well as lots of Emmas, there’s also a lot of project managers who blog.  There were 4 just round our table at one point!

britmums live stage

I’m going to write up the sessions I went to in a second post.  This is already an epic!

People and friendships

It was lovely (as with the rest of the weekend) to be the same place as lots of other people who were on the same wavelength about blogging, and were excited to be there ready to chat and learn.  My OH (and it seems, quite a few others), don’t really get blogging.  I’d love to see it when my OH sees the value in it, whether just from satisfaction, memory storing or the extra pocket money.  700 people at The Brewery certainly think that blogging is worth it.

britmums live

Having been last year and found it hard to get chatting to people in groups, this year I found totally different.  Everyone seemed really friendly…maybe it was because I’ve been around a bit longer and I’d met some bloggers at Blog Camp a couple of months ago.  I was pleased to have met all but a handful of the people I’d hoped to meet, all done from just passing or flukily sitting next to them in sessions.  Goes to show that you’ll meet plenty of people without having to specifically arrange to meet them.

[lightbox title=”LightboxTitle” url=”PageURL” width=”900″ height=”500″]TIP: Some people say, don’t bother with business cards, as you’ll just come home with them again.  But I handed out about 50, and got a whole lot back.  Personally I love them because it helps me remember who I’ve met and how to follow them if I don’t already do so.[/lightbox]

Brands

There was a good mix of brands to speak to.  Lots of holiday companies – big tick for Wyndhams who were really chatty.  The only ones that were disappointing were Carnival.  I’d seen them last year and went to chat this year, only to find a table with a laptop, 2 representatives, and some leaflets.  But they didn’t seem keen to chat and weren’t very forthcoming about their company or what they wanted from bloggers.  A bit of discussion would have been nice however much I tried, so I gave up in the end.  The next day I did see their stand packed, and they’d perked up a bit, but it didn’t really strike me as a good way to represent your brand (even if you had run out of sandcastle goodies).

Vitamix were as great as usual, even convincing Kate that she might like veggies after all – it turned into a work discussion about zero waste, and creating liquid compost from the veg and fruit parts you can’t eat.

I had a lovely chat to the Parragon Books reps – I book buddy for them, and am looking forward to seeing what new books are coming up this year,  and was pleased to this year get my blog name on a Diet Coke bottle.  The A2 people were lovely, as was the Mark Warner representative.  I was a bit disappointed at the Aga/Rangemaster stand, as I wasn’t really sure what they were doing there, other than handing out delicious food, and talking about the new electric Agas.  I would have liked to have had a better chat, but they didn’t really seem approachable.  Or maybe I hadn’t got my brand talking head on.  I had wanted to catch up with Beko, but I missed them on Friday and they weren’t there on the second day.

Although I took part (well, I am a comper, if a slack one recently), I’m not keen on photo comps.  It’s great that there are so many opportunities for bloggers, but there were just too many for my liking.  I guess it’s personal choice, but it would be nice to talk to brands without feeling like they want you to be silly.

Awards

The BIBs were fun to be at.  I missed last year as I’d had to leave early, so it was nice to be involved with the excitement and anticipation.

drinks at bibs awards 2014

With the huge number of bloggers there are, there were always going to be blogs in the finals I’d never heard of.  It was a surprise to see presenter Katy Hill win fresh voice – I would have chosen a couple of others nominated in preference, but some of my favourites won other categories.  The bonus is of course, I find lots of new blogs to read.

katy hill presenting bibs awards at britmums

Katy Hill did a great job presenting, trying to keep excited chatty bloggers quiet.  Congratulations to all the winners.

And the rest

We were a bit vague sorting out something for dinner.  Lots of people get together, and we tried to do a bit of a round up, but ended up gatecrashing a quiet meal not far from Moorgate with Helen from Kiddycharts (who made my day by coming up and saying hi, and that she wanted to meet me), Anya, Di, Kate, Amanda and BIBs winner for best writer, Sarah.  It was a great indian restaurant – I’m sure they were very impressed with us making Sarah flash her award around.  We all said how nice it was to get some time out and have a quiet meal to recover from the excitement of the day.

Back at the Travelodge the evening ended with some fireworks and a dixie band at The Armoury House opposite.  Nothing like some fireworks to keep you up, but entertain.

fireworks at britmums

Saturday was an early start and back for more sessions.  It was a more relaxed day even though I did a lot of sessions.  I’d spoken to a lot of the brands the day before so Saturday was time to catch up properly with other bloggers, and to take time out and mooch round as I wanted.

cakes at britmums live

The food was a mix of good and too much sweet – pastries and a lot of mango (must have had a glut of it).  I quite liked the lunch on Saturday. The wait for the main courses to come out took a while, and in the end opted for the beef as the chicken still wasn’t forthcoming, but it was delicious.  It was lovely to be able to eat in the outdoor marquee’d courtyard. It just made things a little bit more special and more celebratory.

floral-birdcage-display-at-britmums.

Over lunch I met Karen – bit of work oriented chit chat with her, Kate and the lovely Gina. I also bumped into Clare – I can assure you that despite the blog name, she isn’t from the US like I expected.

I had to leave before the keynote blogger sessions, which was a shame as a couple of bloggers i’d hoped to meet were speaking.  But I wanted to get back to see N that evening.  Thankfully I was going from Marylebone so didn’t have the traumas getting home like those going via Paddington.

I had a great time at Britmums Live.  I love to chat, and this is the perfect event for that, whether it be tweeting, or face to face.  And I love to blog, like everyone else who was at the event.  It’s to take time out with people who understand blogging, for it to be a normal hobby.  Everyone has so much ambition for their blogs and the event is one way to learn tips and get inspiration from others.  I’m already looking forward to next year, my tickets are booked.  The one thing I will be doing is upgrading to a nicer hotel.  I had major jealous over some other people’s choices!

What did you enjoy most about Britmums Live?  Will you be there next year?

22 Comments

  1. Thanks sooooooo much for mentioning me – and so pleased I made your day too 😀 It was lovely to finally meet and chat to you. I so wish I could have spent another day there, though I am not sure my kids would have been too impressed. Mummy got told off for being away as it is! Roll on next year xx

    • I get the same from my OH too. He can’t understand why I’d want to go. So I think I’d be pushing it to have had the day in London too. Shame he wouldn’t bring N in for the Sunday to have a day up there really. But my OH doesn’t do London or just places with lots of people in general!

      Definitely already looking forward to next years event

  2. Lovely write up! I agree about business cards, its great to swap them with other bloggers as you’ll never remember their twitter handle or blog name after meeting another 10 bloggers!
    Sorry we didn’t meet each other properly, hopefully we’ll catch up soon x

    • Exactly. I’m pretty good with names, but sat through dinner next to someone, but when it came to my write up, I still had to check with someone else. There’s so many people you meet. Yep, sure we’ll speak at the next event.

  3. So nice to meet you even briefly! I had a lovely weekend and it sounds like you did too 🙂 x

  4. Rachel - 3yearsandhome

    Fantastic write up. Mine’s no where near as eloquent. I thought I saw you at one point but when I second glanced, you weren’t there. I left with quite a few people that I didn’t get chance to meet or talk to but you get carried away with the hustle and bustle and it’s over before you know it. Next time!

    • I did do a lot of wandering with people, and on my own – usually hoping to spot people, but like you I seem to have missed quite a few. Definitely next year, I’ll be more organised and try and tweet people to meet! Or dress totally weirdly and tell everyone so they’ll know it’s me!

  5. Great write up 🙂 So glad I managed to meet you x I didn’t really speak to the brands, being US based it wasn’t quite so relevant, but I spent a lot of time in the brand room catching up with people 🙂

    • It’s a good place to hang out especially on the Saturday when everyone else has blitzed it and it’s thinned out a bit. Nice to meet you too. I think I was a bit surprised to see you there, so sorry if I seemed a bit ‘ahhh’. Really should read the ‘who’s going to’ linky nearer the event!

  6. I loved the whole community feel to it, was glad I went with a few people as think I’d have felt totally overwhelmed to have gone alone. The beef was a good call for lunch! I made a few bad calls on the sessions but you live and learn.

    • Yes, there were a couple of sessions that weren’t really my cup of tea, and a couple I’m sad to have missed due to clashes. Hopefully will get notes from them from elsewhere though.

      Reckon it’s good to be able to hook up with people. Next year I’d like to be in hotel with friends, and sort out dinner – we had a great time, but it was a lucky break to have got together with others – nothing like gatecrashing another meal!

  7. Brilliant write up! I had a wonderful time – and it was so lovely to meet you “in real life”. I was really surprised at how friendly everyone was and how easy it was to strike up conversation. I suppose it’s easier when you have at least two things in common – being a mum and blogging – and it’s nice to actually speak to people about blogging instead of muttering that’s what you do and changing the subject!
    I can’t wait for next year 🙂

  8. Have to say I do love reading everyone’s experiences of the weekend and I’m working my way through all the links that I come across!

    Lovely to see you again, and I do plan on going back next year (even bought my ticket!)
    x

    • I love reading them too. so interesting how everyone experience compares considering we were all at the same event. Will see you there next year again then!

  9. I’ve really enjoyed reading all the posts about Britmums and everyone’s experiences. You thoughts on the brands are interesting. You think they would’ve had a clear and obvious aim in what they wanted from bloggers and why they were there. I’m hoping to pluck up the courage to go next year when I’m not so new and green behind the ears x #sharewithme

    • I guess I come from a trade marketing and food brand background (although not specifically brand marketing). I know what I’d want to do if I was on a stand at a show, and as you say, they should have been briefed on exactly what they wanted. The coke girl was really good on that – getting her message across as well as just giving out the bottles that everyone was after.
      Thanks for popping by

  10. Ahhh what a fab round up of a great weekend and a great experience. I am sad I only got to meet you for a split second and that we didn’t get to chat long. Hopefully I am better prepared next year as this was my first and I was so overwhelmed and lost and wanted to chat with everyone but didn’t have enough time between sessions I wanted to go to. I think there should be a whole day to meet, greet and get to know before the sessions start! Then have two full days of sessions. Would be lovely to get to know you more next year hun!!! Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme

    • There’s never enough time at these events. Plus of course, it’s so hard to get to people when lots are with others – I always feel a bit rude just butting in. But definitely there next year, so hope to meet you properly then.

  11. suzanne3childrenandit

    Epic write up! I can’t believe that I missed you but that’s about the 10th person I’ve said that to! How fabulous to end the night with fireworks. x

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