Firstly, I would like to pledge to my non-blogging readers that this will be the last mention of Britmums Live.....for at least 6 months anyway!
Last year, I sat at home, watching the Britmums Live 2012 shenanigans unfurl via my Twitter time line. It was fascinating. It was safe. As a very new blogger, with only 2 month's experience, I felt a tad envious but concluded that I would never in a million years, have the confidence to attend such a thing. Never ever.
Then I began to make friends with the people I followed on Twitter and the blogs I read with interest - yes they were virtual ones but I found myself relating to these people on so many levels. The lure of meeting them became too much and I decided to purchase a ticket, in the hope that they would indeed be the nice people they professed to be and not a bunch of psychopathic axe murderers that the little voice inside me (and my husband too on more than one occasion!) suggested they might be.
Then something quite incredible happened....my little blog had been shortlisted for a BiB (Brilliance in Blogging) Award. And by some even greater miracle, I then found myself a finalist in the Family category - one of the final 6 no less! Thank you to anyone who voted for me, I am so very grateful.
So last Friday, I left the sanctuary of my home, to head for Britmums Live! 2013 - the UK's largest blogging conference, held at The Brewery, London. Thankfully, Louise from A Strong Coffee was there to hold my hand (and drag my out my front door!) or I'm not sure the little courage I had, would have upheld me!
Did I win? No. But the fantastic blogger who did - Mum in the South - was a very worthy winner (and I'm not just saying that!)
Was it what I expected? No. It was so much more!
I thought it might be worthwhile writing a list of 'Dos and Don'ts' for anyone considering attending Britmums Live next year. So without further ado, here they are....
- Book your Britmums Live ticket and hotel room as early as possible. The early bird rates for both are fantastic and the Travelodge in particular, sells out early on.
- Attend both days - you will regret missing any of it.
- Take an emergency pair of 'flats' in your handbag. There's a lot of walking to be done and the days are long.
- Write a list of the bloggers you definitely want to meet and make a plan beforehand. Once you arrive it's overwhelming and any rational thinking goes completely out the window.
- Practice your hugging technique - there's a LOT of hugging going on!
- Have a good night's sleep the night before you leave. It's exhausting.
- Get some business cards printed. I was very jealous of the moo.com ones.
- Take a decent camera. The lighting isn't great and my iphone wasn't adequate.
- Take tissues - there will be tears of both laughter and sadness.
- Expect to make LOTS of new friends!
- Be afraid of staying in a Travelodge - it really wasn't all that bad!
- Assume other bloggers are too important/famous/experienced/popular to be interested in meeting you....everyone was lovely.
- Take 250 business cards. They will be a dead weight in your handbag and you will spend the entire weekend forcing them on people so that you don't have to lug them all they way home again (just me?)
- Wear high heels.
- Feel you have to fill every session slot. It's nice to spend time relaxing and getting to know people.
- Believe anyone who insists that a certain person is the blogger you've been desperate to meet, give them an enormous hug, commiserate with them over not winning the BiBs, only to realise it is someone entirely different and that person has not even been nominated for an award. Obviously this is just a hypothetical story...
Did you attend this year? Was it what you expected? Is there anything you could add to the list? If you're not sure whether you have the courage to go next year, take it from me - it's so worth it!
As always, I'm linking this post up with Sarah Miles' Monday Club (who I can confirm is not a psychopath and her blog is well worth checking out!) and Jaime from The Oliver's Madhouse who runs a 'Magic Moment's linky and whose name is actually pronounced Jamie - who knew?!