24 June 2013

The Ramblings of a Britmums Live Virgin



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....

DO
  • 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.  
And the best bit.....
  • Expect to make LOTS of new friends!

DON'T
  • 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?!

59 comments:

  1. I am still laughing! Even my flats were hurting me. X

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    1. To be honest, the amount of walking and 'lugging' we did, any shoes would cause pain. Glad I made you laugh!

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  2. Fab. I have just started on twitter and blogging and have watched on the comments unfold. I even watched the live link. Would love to attend next year but keep putting off buying early bird ticket. Too nervous lol. To buy or not to buy this is the question lol xxx

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    1. You know what, that was me last year. Go buy in faith. I can promise you won't regret it. Hook up with 1 other person before hand and you'll be fine :)

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  3. Some very sensible advice there and don't forget to add the "check you're hugging the right person" too!

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    1. Scroll to the end Nicki and you will see that it's my final DON'T on the list.....that I will never forget!

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  4. Haha, that is a really good post! I am thinking about going next year, with the smallest in a sling/carrier. I was watching it all on twitter again this year!
    Lovely advice xx

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    1. Smallest??? Have you had another baby? It really was great, I can thoroughly recommend and everyone was so nice!

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  5. Thank you for comfirming my lack of psychopathic tendencies!

    This is a great list of dos and don'ts, especially the heels! I had bleeding feet last year... It was great this year, really social which is so important to us bloggers who, let's face it, are all in need of a bit of reassurance.

    Maybe we should try to get to some of the Britmums meet-ups during the year?

    xx

    p.s. still laughing about 'Sonia'....

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    1. Yes I do think it would be great to have a rendez-vous partway through the year - 12 months is an awful long time to wait! Glad I made so many people laugh ;)

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  6. Here from Magic Moments! I didn't go this year but it sounds like a fabulous weekend. I went to Cybermummy (as it was called then)back in 2011 and it was definitely an overwhelmingly good experience.

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    1. It was certainly 'overwhelming' at times but all in all, a really great experience :)

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  7. A great 2 days, love your list of do's and don'ts and I'm with you on the travel lodge, more than OK!

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  8. Awwww sounds completely fabulous and I wish I could have gone!! Bring 2014!! :)

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  9. Love it! The Dos and Don't s are so true.

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  10. Very useful advice on that hypothetical situation. Just in case it ever arises. Which it totally wouldn't.

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    1. Of course not! Just as a precaution, in case it might happen at any point in one's future....

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  11. haha - this made me laugh ;) and made me even MORE gutted I missed it! I will defo be taking your advice and booking myself in for next year no matter what! Glad you had such a fab time xxx

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    1. Do it, do it, do it! It was worth every penny :)

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  12. Great tips. I wore high heels for the Friday half day and was practically crawling after the BiB awards!

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    1. I know! What was I thinking?! I wore mine for both days and then the schlep back to the tube station!

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  13. Sounds like you had such a great time. Nice to read tips as well from a first timer as I will be in that boat next year. I WILL be there next year with my list in hand...

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    1. Well all thanks to you, I got to experience the Travelodge! Look forward to meeting you next year x

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  14. i love this post Suzanne i am so so glad we finally got to meet and got to hug! I am so booking this week for next week!

    Thanks for linking up with #magicmoments xxxxxxx

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    1. All seems like a rather surreal dream now we're back doesn't it?! A great weekend full of fab memories :)

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  15. I attended for the first time this year. It was nerve racking, and I didn't know a soul. I was lucky to buddy up with a fellow blogger just days before and found we had a lot in common which made the whole experience a lot less stressful - I know I would have been tucked away in a corner if it had just been me.

    I thought I was overloaded with my 50 moo.com business cards - don't know when I'll have the chance to give those babies out again - I've still got two thirds left in the box!! That said, I still have about a gazillion of my work business cards sitting somewhere in the house :P

    My don't is "don't bring too much stuff" I didn't know what to expect at all and so had a notepad, pen, iPad, iPhone, a big camera, make up bag, water, brolly, purse...omg, the next day I ditched the lot and just brought a scrap of paper and pen, my phone and my compact camera! And so glad of it with all the swag we picked up on the final day!

    I hope to go next year, but holding out as got so much to pay for at the moment!

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  16. hahahaha you found me in the end.....what a fabulous weekend! :)

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    1. Indeed it was. Just too many people and not enough time!

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  17. Amazing post. so glad there is finally a picture of me I can show The Husband...I can finally prove I was really there. He thinks I sat in the hotel room all weekend. Loved meeting up with you and all the others. You were just just as lovely as I imagined.
    xxxx

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    1. To 40 Year Old Domestic God
      Your wife did not spend all weekend in her room, she laughed, entertained us all and kept me out of mischief. You've got a good'un there, hang on to her!
      Sincerely
      3 Children and It
      xx

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  18. i feel like i should be sticking my hand up now and saying 'my name is sarah and i am a misinformant!' I honestly thought it was her...genuinely...honest mistake guv!

    Dont think i have laughed so hard in a long time tho..still have a little chuckle about it every now and again.

    You rock lady and meeting you was one of my highlights even if i did send you off hugging the wrong people.

    sorry...

    again...


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    1. You are forgiven....just, and only because you were great company all weekend. Thank you for enhancing my weekend in so many ways x

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  19. It sounds fabulous! I will be going next year, for sure. Hopefully will get to meet you x

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  20. I was intrigued to read all about Britmums and would really love to go. I really know so very little about blogging and it would be great to meet some actual axe murderers, err sorry, fellow bloggers! Fab that you made it to the very last stages - well done you - Helen

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  21. AW so glad to hear you enjoyed your first BritMums Live conference adn LOVING your do's and don'ts hopefully see you next year too

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  22. Lol. I've just bookmarked this page so that WHEN I come next year, I'll know what I'm doing! Xx

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  23. Those were fabulous tips - and thanks for making me snort my coffee too!

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    1. Pleasure was all mine! Thanks for a great session on SEO tips :)

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  24. Brilliant post, and some top tips.

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  25. It sounds great. I was too nervous (and skint) to go this year but was well jel. imagining everyone there and was glued to Twitter on my phone to hear the winners being announced. I'm going to grow a pair and DEFINITELY go next year. Honest. I think. No, I will. I'll be brave...but only if you promise to meet up with me ;)

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    1. Of course I will meet up with you! It's definitely worth making a couple of pre-arranged plans, even if it's just so you don't walk in alone! x

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  26. Next year I am GOING. and I am giving YOU and Louise a BIG almighty hug!! x

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    1. Oh you so are! I was sorry not to see you there this year :( x

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  27. Lol I was super surprised when Jaime introduced herself as Jamie too! Fab to get a very quick squeeze with you, sorry you didn't get to win your award but glad you had a fab time.
    Mich x

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    1. I think the 'not winning' was the least of my worries! I had such a great time regardless :) x

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  28. Great meeting you it was so much fun and now it's all over in a blur!
    I was exactly the same as you in thinking I wouldn't go in a million years - still clueless how I got there but glad I did. You must send me a copy of that photo when you get a moment as I hardly took any being far too absorbed by the whole thing.
    xx

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    1. I will Emily. I will tweet it over to you if you like? Great to meet you too :) x

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  29. Ha! Yes to no heels! Flats allllll the way! Love your do's and don'ts list - we must all revisit this next June in prep for the next one :-) Hugs, hugs and more hugs and I still didn't manage to hug everyone I wanted to. Was so wonderful to meet you and so many other bloggers - now friends :-) x

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    1. It was indeed and you were one of my highlights :)

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  30. It was such a fabulous weekend and really, really wonderful to meet you at long last - you are so lovely and bubbly (kind of what I anticipated). Next year I am going to stop over two nights.... (my ticket is already bought!). X.

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    1. Gahh! I missed you, Older Mum! You were on my 'hit list', too....

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  31. Great post - agree with it all, apart from the Jaime/Jamie bit. I used to work with a Jaime and she was forever explaining the pronunciation of her name to everybody, so I was prepared in advance! Lovely to meet you there. x

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  32. Brilliant post, and was lovely to meet you. Glad my hair helped you towards the tube!
    Can I just add 'Don't feel embarrassed about staring at someone else's boobs - we all have to do it to read name tags'. x

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  33. Sounds fun hoping I can attend next year :)

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  34. Haha sounds like you had a great time (and I cannot believe you have only been blogging for a couple of years... I felt sure you'd been around longer lol) We only managed a quick "hello" in the final session but it was good to say "hi" :)

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  35. Great post. I like the bit about the hugging technic! Maybe, as a French girl, I could introduce the kisses on the cheeks-greeting for next year! ;)

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  36. This is a really great post and if anyone is coming for 2014 then please tweet me as I've a list going on :O)
    Look forward to seeing you there :O)
    I also wished I'd stayed the 2 nights and not 1.

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  37. Glad you had a great time x

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  38. Hi Suzanne - I really hope to meet you there this year. Flats seems to be the answer, and think I may even bring one of those collapsible (shooting) stools to sit on even if I look silly. I suppose my thing is getting people mixed up as their names, twitter names, blog names mean one has to learn everyone's pseudonyms as well as who they really are! x

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