What I learnt at Britmums Live 2013

This is as close as I got - well done to all winners, including Actually Mummy in the Laugh category.

This is as close as I got – well done to all the BIBs winners, including Helen at Actually Mummy in the Laugh category.

This weekend I got a pass out. I don’t get them very often, mainly by choice as the tears they cause really aren’t worth the effort.

But this was important, this was Britmums Live and I was bu****ed if I was going to miss it this year. Last year I did, and spent the weekend ignoring Twitter so I didn’t feel like Billy no Mates.

This time I was in the thick of it as I was lucky enough to be actually helping out, from the chaos of giving out the name badges at registration, through asking questions on a couple of panels to keeping order in one of the presentation rooms. You name it, I was trying to do it. Thanks so much to Britmums for asking me – it was a wonderful experience.

I was so pleased to be part of an awesome weekend. There are many, many reasons why, but these are some of the most important things I learnt from my time there:

There are most people with surnames A-D in the blogging world than ANY other letter

How do I know this? Because the poor Britmums lady who was helping out with this lot of letters had a scrum of people needing help, and at my desk with letters H-L? *tumbleweed*

Being a virgin doesn’t matter

Even though I was helping out, I hadn’t been to the event before. See I am even fooling Britmums that I have a clue about this blogging lark…

I was very nervous about the whole thing. However, almost as soon as I got there I realised that I didn’t need to be worried. Everyone is there to help each other, whether its the speakers to give you that bit of important knowledge, the butterflies to help newbies like me settle in, or even the old hands that know their tweets from their twonks.

Not being able to recognise someone isn’t a crime

I am utter crap at remembering people’s faces and their names. Add to that the need to remember people’s blogs as well and that’s a recipe for disaster. Being a room monitor was great fun, but it did mean that people came up for a chat, and subtly looking at boobs for badges isn’t something I am well practised at. I adopted the “what the hell ” approach and apologised for my inadequacies. Guess what, it was fine, and nobody shot me. In fact, the lovely Donna Pinnell from Little Lilypad forgave me with such good grace she put me to shame.

Big girls really do cry

I hosted a very moving talk on Blogging with Heart, and the four panellists are not only lovely people, but had extremely moving stories to tell. We listened to Hayley Goleniowska from Downs Side Up, Kylie Hodges at Not Even a Bag of Sugar, Liska from New Mum Online, and Annie Spratt who writes the Mammasaurus blog. The room was full of love for them and their stories and it was very moving to be part of it. It was fine for me, and anyone else to cry, including them. No-one should be ashamed to feel. Its what makes us human. Blogging is many different things to many people, but for a lot of the audience in this session, it was a way of coping with what life has thrown at them; a means of support, and of supporting others. Something truly wonderful.

Bloggers really are amazing

I have never seen a room cry and sing at the same time; singing for a beautiful, inspiring lady, Kerry. We cried hard, and we cried too for a gorgeous little girl, Matilda Mae, taken from her mummy, Edspire, and family too soon. But bloggers are indeed amazing, and even in their darkest hours, they are still supporting others, and striving to stop other people from going through their pain. Jennie is working tirelessly with The Lullaby Trust, and has even partnered with Mia Tui, naming a gorgeous bag after her little daughter to raise funds to support the charity. Help where you can too.

Waving frantically at the front stops people talking…

but also makes people think that you are a lune.

Agents are actually quite nice people

I had the pleasure of leading the Conversation with an Agent discussion with Luigi Bonomi from his very own book agent company, Bonomi Associates and a nicer man you couldn’t meet. He was full of excellent advice for any bloggers looking for that publisher deal. His advice focused on making the first few pages so exciting that your reader will be drawn into your book, and won’t want to leave. Agents typically take 15% of a publishing deal, but anything they do up to that deal should be done for free – they are taking a punt on your work being worth the time it takes them to get it publishable. They do edit, and chase you for your work too – always nice to have someone to keep you honest….

Online friends are real friends too

Everyone I tweeted with before the conference, or had a chat with on Facebook, when they realised who I was, they were, quite simply, gorgeous. None of them ran away scream *she’s a nutter,* or at least openly anyway… *realises they may just have been too polite* Even though I may have only exchanged a few online words with them, it was like we have sat down for a beer already, it was so easy to talk to them. There are too many to mention, but thanks must go to Older Single Mum and Older Mum in a Muddle for listening to me rabbit on over an evening Pizza, Cas from Mummyneversleeps who looked gorgeous, and chatted to me in the hotel foyer despite me repeatedly saying I was going to go to bed… *got there in the need*, Cat from Yellow Days because she did the same, Aly Hodge and Jane Crammond because they gave me food, and Fairy and the Frog whom I wanted to chat to with longer, but had to run off and be efficient *shock horror*

I was so very sorry I couldn’t chat to people for longer because I had to be roomy for Britmums :-( You are all fantastic, and I love you all mahoosively.

Losing doesn’t matter

I was up for a social media brilliance in blogging award along with Kelly Innes, Fiona from Coombe Mill, and One Dad Three Girls. We all lost out to the legend that is Mummy Barrow. It didn’t matter. She really truly deserved it. There is always next year after all.

Good shoes really are very important

My feet are a mess; standing up blabbering, walking between hotel and venue and back again messes feet up. They do not look pretty….

shoes-giving-me-blister

I should have got some shoe porn like Kelly I think…

shoes-that-dont-blister

I could go on, but I don’t want to bore you all. I learnt about WordPress, Pinterest, Mooncups, and even spoke to a few brands, and got a personalised Diet Coke. Who would have thought that Diet Coke actually doesn’t have enough caffeine in it to keep you jabbering all week.

S**t – can’t blame my gob on that anymore now, can I? Talk to all next year, I hope….

What did YOU learn at Britmums Live? There were so many lovely people to meet, and so much to see and do there…I could go on FOREVER!