As I was driven to the station, as it drew nearer, I shouted out ‘No, it’s OK, turn around! I don’t want to go!’ in my high anxiety state. I was swiftly kicked out the car and left to fend for myself. I was going to Britmums Live!
As I walked over the train station entrance I heard people calling my name! I was lucky that my journey to Britmums was some lovely South West Bloggers: Jane, Ella, Kathy, Jen and Rachel. I felt much better immediately even though I hadn’t met some of them before!
The train journey went quickly with us all chatting about blogging – of course! We probably annoyed a lot of the other passengers as we were quite loud! I personally could have done with a few glasses of wine at this point but as I’d only eaten a croissant so far that day, it was probably a good idea I didn’t.
Getting into London, and finding our way across London, was pretty straight forward (apart from a slight tube detour!) and soon we were at The Hoxton Hotel (very swanky it was too!). A quick spruce up, and a cheeky glass of Vino with my roommate Jane, and we were walking to The Brewery.
I wasn’t so nervous as I was with others, and we met up with The Mother Hood Blog too along the way. From me sitting in my very messy house writing rubbish, to walking along to the The Brewery, it all felt very surreal.
Myself, Jen and The Mother Hood Blog all went straight to the Brewery in our excited states. The others went off to get food – seasoned bloggers they probably realised they had to queue and thought better of it! In the queue we found Vic Welton, Jaime of Olivers Madhouse, and everyone who had met with them beforehand. It was so odd, many people I recognised, but others I just didn’t have a clue. People kept saying I looked like my photos, which either means I look hideous or I somehow manage to look the hue of Waldon on Instagram at all times.
Queueing up and getting in did take a while, and at first they couldn’t find my badge under my Surname or my Tealady name, so for the first few sessions I was walking around with my own scrawling handwritten badge, no wonder no one spoke to me as they probably couldn’t read the blooming thing!
The Hub was awash with people, I was so hungry and thirsty at this point I hot footed it to the cakes and water. Everyone seemed to know everyone. I felt so overwhelmed I didn’t really look at the stalls, and I was scared of the people in costumes who kept asking me to play games. It was all a bit much, but soon we went down to the main room for the start of the whole shebang.
I’m not going to lie, Kirstie Allsop did not do it for me; it was not what I expected, it was in no way motivational for me, inspirational for me or gave me anything to take away from it all. All I found out was not to feed jelly beans to your dog, and someone needs to invent a better way of carrying fluids in bags up to Glasgow. Oh, and to go to New York to buy patterned dresses. Look, if you liked it, great, it just wasn’t really my thing.
The next session was about brands, and I did find this interesting. As a newbie blogger, brands are something I havent really worked with very much, and I am not sure if that is the direction my blog will take, but it was useful to hear all the opinions.
What I liked about Britmums was the socialising. It was so good to match faces to names, and blogs to faces. Some people I just got on with straight away – others I tried to find and failed, and others just looked way too cool for school. It really did take me back to school.
After the break I went to sessions about Media Kits, Sponsored Posts, and Blog Ambassadors. I went to these with the lovely BlogofaMom and Rachel. In hindsight I wish I had been to some other sessions, but you know what going to these sessions made me realise what I want from my blog, and what direction I want to take. I think what it has taught me is it is my blog, be selective, and only do things if they really interest you, or they suit your blog. And that is fine with me.
After the sessions, myself and Rachel went to the main room, for the BiBs, where there was an abundance of champagne, wine, cocktails. I was cream crackered and so was Rachel so we went to shove our things on a chair before we entered the throng.
This was when I met Ericka, who I had wanted to meet but who I thought was way too up there in the blog world to spend time with me. She was with Mrs Shilts, and I’m pretty sure the first thing I said was ‘Mum In The South!’ I love her blog and if you haven’t read it, read it! It is so funny, and just my kind of humour. She was so lovely, and very anxious as she was up for an award she thought she wouldn’t win. We moved with her further down the room to a table, as she had to be near to the stage. We chatted, and myself and Rachel drank champagne, and canapes were handed around (the steak and chips one, I could have done with a massive one of those!) I lost Jen in the throng but she was at a table with some others, our tables suddenly became full, and the awards began. I managed to acquire a bottle of wine that myself and Rachel shared, so I probably was slightly tipsy when I turned around and saw Mummy Never Sleeps behind me. ‘Mummy Never Sleeps!’ I mouthed across to her, as if she didn’t know her own name. She nodded, calmly, as if she would slowly back away if she had the chance. Unfortunately for her I caught up with her at the end of the awards, and drunkenly spouted off a load of mumbo jumbo.
The awards were great, and a real highlight of friday. It was lovely to chat to Ericka, and as her award got closer she got more nervous. I had voted for her and was rooting for her to win – and she did! Amazing! I was clapping and whooping, wine fuelled, it was great and I am so glad she won. In fact, I was really pleased for everyone who won an award, and most of the people I had voted for won, which was fab, although I did feel sad that Cas and Vic Welton didn’t win their categories as they are brilliant bloggers.
So day one was finished, I was semi drunk and I had met some lovely people. After the awards and we were kicked out of the building, I went for dinner with a group of bloggers which we had planned before the event. It was lovely, and the food was great, and the wine even more so. I stumbled back to the Hoxton with Jen, and the day was done.
Day Two, and in the Hub, I decide I need to make more effort with all the people there, the brands and the bloggers. If anything, to grab more freebies. I caught up with Jen again, and Emma (Mrs Shilts), and soon found Ericka. Eating waffles covered in chocolate and drinking tea, we had a natter and it was great fun. I felt as if I had known these ladies for ages.
I have always admired Katie Piper and I read her book, Beautiful when I was on holiday a few years ago. If you haven’t read her story, I suggest you do. Her talk to Britmums was emotive, emotional but above all, positive. She filled the room with positivity and her strength was astounding. There wasn’t a dry eye on the house as she read out a poem to her old face, and thanked her Mum for being there for her. What a woman. After Katie, I went to the ‘Finding your voice’ talk, which I did find really useful. I am not sure what my ‘voice’ is, but I know that you have to write, write and write a bit more to find it. The people on the panel were varied, and had different takes on the subject, and I wrote a load of notes.
After this, it was a coffee break, and I hot footed it to the Hub to buy ‘Start your day with Katie’, and get her to sign the book. I was again a gibbering idiot when I spoke to her, but I think she got the message I think she is pretty cool and inspirational. And she told me she liked my purse! (I didn’t tell her it was from Primark). We ventured around the Hub, learnt wizard combat, and took as many freebies as we could.
After this, we ended up in the talk about legal issues and Tax with Jen. It was a bit dry, and to be honest tax scares me, so after a while (and after a few messages from Ericka), we escaped into the Hub.
I can honestly say what happened next was the funniest few hours I have had for a long time!
We went round the stalls, got our freebies, and when we saw the photo booth, we couldn’t resist dressing up and getting in. It was so much fun, we did it twice. I have never laughed so much. These girls were right up my street. We had lunch together, and more or less skived off a few of the sessions to basically have a laugh, and venture around the Hub. Afternoon Tea with Mrs Shilts, which was lovely, and I wish I had seen more of her as she is also a right laugh!
The keynote speeches were brilliant. Katy Hill was great as the host, and she is a very funny lady indeed! The posts that were read out were sad, funny, heartfelt and touching. We remembered Matilda Mae, and then we remembered Kerry, MultipleMum. I never knew Kerry, or Matilda Mae, but both of these individuals touched me. I sang ‘Firework’ by Katie Perry, and I read every word, I sang every word, I meant every word. It was amazing how a room could unite so much, how all of these individuals could link together, some being strangers a mere 48 hours before.
I had never felt like I belonged to anything in my life, yet Britmums made me feel I was a part of something. I have met some lovely lovely people and I am determined to keep in touch with them. I would so like to go next year, so I need to save my pennies quickly to nab a ticket!