BritMums Live: Mixed Feelings

BritMums Live 2012

I always find it useful taking a day or two to reflect on a new experience before writing about it, and this weekend – BritMums Live and the Brilliance in Blogging Awards – is no exception. The post I can write today is a lot more measured than the post I would have written on Friday night.

Friday was the BiB Awards, and I will confess to finding the event totally overwhelming and not a lot of fun. I headed into London late Friday afternoon with friend and fellow nominee Emily (The Start up Wife). We had a lovely walk from the station to the venue – although we were so busy chatting that we didn’t pay enough attention to the map and took a much longer route than we needed to. It led us through some funky and interesting parts of London though, and gave Emily the chance to take some photos.

Some parts of the evening were lovely. Some big name bloggers who I’m a fan of – Kate Takes 5 and Michelle Twin Mum – came over for a chat and were both incredibly friendly and down to earth. I had a lot of lovely compliments about my dress, which had been provided by White Stuff, and a few people even recognised me because of it, saying they had seen my What I’m Wearing post earlier in the week! I was delighted to see Emily win the Snap Category, and also to see Lisa from Mummy Whisperer (another St Albans blogger) win the Inspire Category. It was a real honour to be a finalist in the Fresh Voice category myself, but I had no expectations of winning – it was only ever going to go to one person – and I could not be happier for the mighty Mammasaurus who has done so much to foster a sense of community in the year that she has been blogging.

But arriving just for the BiBs after the majority of other bloggers had been there for the afternoon of the conference made it feel like I never quite caught up; the sheer number of people and the noise levels made it very difficult to have proper conversations with fellow bloggers, who had already established themselves in tight groups. Drinks were served by ‘Wine Buffs’ – waiters dressed in little more than their pants, with slogans scrawled across their chests in body paint. I am no prude, but I don’t think they were a good addition to the evening. They made me feel extremely awkward and uncomfortable, and I was astonished to hear some bloggers – the very same ones who would have a hissy fit if there were scantily clad women serving drinks at an event – directing some pretty lewd and crude comments at them.

In all, I think the combination of the free-flowing Prosecco and the competition element of the evening brought out the worst in some people, and after I saw one BiBs winner being subjected to some pretty catty comments in the toilets after winning her award, I decided it was time to head home.

After a not-very-awesome start to the weekend, I can’t say I was much looking forward to the Saturday. Again, I was going to be showing up late. The Saturday morning pancake and bacon routine in the DorkyHouse is so enshrined that I wasn’t prepared to miss it, even to see Sarah Brown speak.

Piggy Bank Kids

However, when I did arrive at the venue just before lunchtime, the Piggy Bank Kids stall was the first place I headed, where I had a good chat with their Projects Assistant Charlie, and made my very own Piggy Bank for DorkySon. The work they do is amazing, especially with such a small team, and I’m looking forward to staying in touch with them.

Shortly after that, I met up with Chloe from Cookiejar Life and it was really nice having someone to chum me for the rest of the afternoon. We grabbed some lunch and had a quick browse of the sponsor stalls, but there were no brands there that I really felt a connection with, so we didn’t loiter.

I had intentionally chosen sessions that focused more on the writing side of blogging than the promotional or commercial side. Sod The Stats: Blogging for Happiness was an excellent discussion den, with lots of honesty and emotion both from the speakers on the platform and from the attendees. Beyond Blogging: Writing About Your Life by Andrea Stuart from the Faber Academy was also interesting, but probably aimed at people further on in their thinking than I am.

The final two sessions of the day – Cherry Healey’s 360 Media session, and the Blogger Keynotes were both absolutely brilliant. There were some really incredible posts – Hayley from DownsSideUp made me weep buckets, Ellen from In a Bun Dance put a broad smile on my face, and Cari from The Secret Diary of a Secret Diary made me snort my wine out of my nose with laughter. This was the session that really exemplified for me what blogging should be about; funny, smart, honest people writing from their hearts. I’d like to say a huge thank you to whoever nominated my post Twitter is Like to be included as a keynote, because it was an enormous honour to stand up there and read with so many other talented bloggers. I have been overwhelmed by the lovely response. (Thanks also to lovely, lovely Mother Scuffer for this photo of me – see more of her BritMums photos on her own blog here.)

DorkyMum at BritMums Live

So how to sum up? I have to acknowledge the incredible amount of work that must have gone in to organising the conference. Huge thanks are due to Michelle, Susanna, Jennifer, Karin and everyone else at BritMums. I hope they are all taking it easy this week.

On balance, I’m glad I went and I’ve taken some valuable lessons away from the experience. The Blogger Keynotes, the Blogging for Happiness session, and a lovely, lovely chat with Cherry Healey have reminded me of the best bits about blogging. If you are prepared to put the effort into producing strong writing then you can create genuine connections with people. That for me is a far more important reward than high monthly stats or rankings, so I think it has given me the confidence to blog less, but blog better.

The swag bags and the sponsor stalls are all harmless enough, I suppose, but it’s not really what I’m about. I have only recently started to receive PR offers that are even halfway appealing, so I’ve said yes to a couple of things to see how it feels – and the conference has reinforced what I’d already decided. I don’t want to do many reviews on my blog. It doesn’t sit right with me. If I write about a company I want that to be because I love them anyway, not just because they’re providing me with products to test.

It would be great to find one brand that I felt a connection with in the same way that I have one charity I feel a connection with. But the dribs and drabs – a craft box here and a photo book there – is not really for me.

Similarly, I will stick with promoting my blog on Facebook and Twitter, because I have fun on those two sites anyway, but I’m not going to join Pinterest or Google+ just to try and add a few zeros onto the end of my monthly page views. I’d rather spend that time coming up with ideas for posts, I think.

Everyone had said before the conference that the best bit about it would be meeting other bloggers, and in a way that is true – I met a few really interesting and sweet and funny people. But I think my desire for a ‘genuine’ blog experience also extends to the way I’d like to forge friendships with other bloggers. I already have a few brilliant friends that I have made through blogging – but they are all based on pre-existing connections. Maybe we support the same charity, or maybe we live in the same town, or maybe we have something else in common… I would like to have more blogger friends, but I think I would like those friendships to happen organically – because I have connected with someone’s writing rather than because I happen to have sat next to them at a conference.

I’m really glad I went. It has reminded me of the important things about blogging. I’m just not sure that the important things – for me – include conferences. A year is a long time to think about this, so by next June I may well have changed my mind, but right now I’m not feeling like BritMums Live is my natural or most comfortable territory, and I don’t think I’ll be going again.

77 responses

    • Ooh, I’ll look forward to reading yours too. Thanks for the comment – definitely good to be honest about both the good and the bad, that way hopefully blog conferences will keep getting better and better for those who attend 🙂 x

  1. Really lovely to hear about the conference through your eyes. I couldn’t go to BritMums but, for me, my main reason for feeling like I missed out was missing the opportunity to catch up, in person, with the bloggers I love to read – yours was definitely in the top of that list. x

  2. The idea of “wine buffs” really makes my stomach turn and surely just trivialises what so many women work hard to achieve???

    • Seems to have really split people, if you read the posts going up this week. Some thought it was a bit of harmless fun, a lot of others found it quite uncomfortable. x

  3. People’s thoughts and feelings about Britmums Live are starting to flood my reader today, which I was expecting.

    It’s encouraging to see that people who didn’t enjoy every aspect of the event are happily writing about it. The honesty of bloggers on display! Kudos to Britmums also for still encouraging the writers of less positive views to add them to their linky for Britmums posts.

    I couldn’t go this year, though I’d have liked to. For me it would have been more about meeting the writers of blogs I enjoy, yours included. Maybe that is something which could be achieved more easily in other ways, Tweet-ups etc. Regardless, I’m pretty sure I’ll give it a go next year, as long as enough other people intend to be there too.

    • I agree with that – I think BritMums are genuinely open to feedback and constructive criticism, and it’s great that they are getting such a range of very honest views. I don’t doubt they’ll take it all on board and use it to make improvements BML2013.

      One of the suggestions I’ve already made is to start on the Fri morning & have it just for bloggers to meet each other informally, with no workshops. Although you’d maybe have to do something similar for an hour on Sat morning too, otherwise the people that can only make it for one day will find it even harder to break into the established groups.

  4. I sail through life as Pollyanna, and it upsets me when I hear of cattiness. I didn’t win my award. I said to the beautiful Lisa hours before the ceremony ” and the winner is The Mummy Whisperer” and was delighted when she won. Cyberspace is huge and there’s a place for us all.

    I do hope by next year you reconsider. I am gutted we didn’t get to meet up, but hopefully next time somewhere around the ridges we will do!

    • Hope so too! You were definitely on that list in my head of folk I wanted to see! It was just so big though, no way of getting round everyone. Glad you had a lovely weekend – Pollyanna is not a bad thing to be at all 🙂 xx

  5. I was in the same position on Friday evening – and couldn’t accommodate Saturday as family came first. I’m delighted for Lisa, Annie and Ben for their awards – but I found the inability of so many to just offer a basic courteous “hello, who are you” quite baffling – in a saddening way. I never believed I had a hope of winning my section (and indeed still wonder quite how I ended up in there) but was hoping to chat to a few more people – instead it was a bit of a blur of alcohol and lack of food. On the positives, I had a lovely dinner with some other St Albans folk plus the amazing Hayley from Downssideup – that most, definitely was the highlight for me.

    • Ha, yes, Emily and I ended up grabbing a bag of chips when we got off the train – starving! Glad you had a lovely dinner though. Wasn’t Hayley incredible? Total conference highlight. xx

  6. Hi DorkyMum, it was really lovely to see you again and I’m sorry we did not get the chance to talk more after the BiBs – I had to dash straight off on both nights so missed out on a lot of the socialising aspect. Sarah Brown’s speech and meeting her afterwards made my weekend and I too really enjoyed the Blogging for Happiness session. I was on my own a lot of Sat too and probably would have ducked out a bit earlier, had I not had to get up and speak at the end!! TERRIFYING.

    • But you did such a fab job 🙂 Was v proud to see you up there. I don’t know about you, but I felt like it was dead heard to try and read a lighthearted one after all the really moving ones! See you at the MADS, hopefully get more chance to chat then! xx

  7. Great to read your point of view. We went to the MADs last year (haven’t had the time or money to do anything this year) and it was great to put some faces to names and feel like we were part of something.
    But it’s a huge undertaking to get down to London from Scotland – when we have five kids to organise and it’s necessary to throw quite a bit of money at the weekend. I’d love to do one conference sometime, just to experience it.
    I agree with you about friendships. We said “hello” to a lot of people. But few have kept in touch since – and many haven’t even remembered us (or they sometimes ask me which one I am!)
    You either connect or you don’t. And meeting at conferences rarely forges firm friendships.
    Shame people couldn’t all be happy for each other, and you had to witness some bitchiness.
    That’s why, when it comes to getting together with other women, I prefer quality, rather than quantity.

    • Yes, it’s a bit epic to get down isn’t it? I suppose it depends what kind of event you feel comfortable at, but if I were in your position and had to make a choice I’d probably try and make it down for one of the charity blogger conferences, where it’s a more manageable size and you still get some helpful blog advice, but it’s also a lot more focused and everyone feels more united.

  8. It was great to finally meet you (as it was to meet Cheetahs!) but I know exactly what you mean. I veer between two extremes, either extremely garrulous and exceptionally stand offish. Fortunately it was the former that took to the fore on friday night rather than the latter and I had a great time catching up with everyone. Even if I was just there for the BiBs rather than the whole conference.

    I even sat on a table with mostly people I didn’t know, which is very not me 🙂

    *waves at kykaree

  9. I wasn’t a huge fan of the wine waiters either, but thought that was just me until I read a few posts today. I didn’t see of hear any cattiness, which I’m glad about, it seems such a shame that we can’t all just be happy for each other. xx

    • Ach, it’s not particularly bloggers though is it, its just people. Law of statistics says that if you have 500 folk in a room together some will be absolutely lovely and some will be ‘orrible! xx

  10. Just wanted to leave a comment to say I’ve stopped by and read your post. I don’t really have much opinion on blogging conferences as I’ve not got caught up in it, probably because my blog is a bit rubbish. Anyway, importantly I wanted to say that, whatever you blog about I always find your posts interesting to read. If you wrote a book I know it would be a page turner. You are a very good writer, no matter what you write about (I hope that is coming across as one big compliment because it’s meant to be). Have a good week xx

  11. I am kind of glad that I missed the Friday. I’ve not heard many people say positive things about it. The cattiness is such a shame, I hope the poor BiBs winner was nowhere within earshot. It would have been really nice to meet you!

    • She was right there – it was cattiness to her face, at least! Handled with great dignity 🙂

      Would have been lovely to meet you too – hopefully there will be another opportunity soon x

  12. Like you, I only came for the awards party and was terrified. And like you I was dismayed by the waiters, a concept more akin to a low-life hen party than an awards. But, despite my nerves, I was luckier. I didn’t meet many, because time was so short and the crowd so huge, but I sought out my particular heroes, including you, and found them all delightful. In fact it changed my view of the blog and twittersphere which I’d always assumed fun but superficial. Happily I didn’t experience the loos or else I’d have been disillusioned. I don’t doubt there are many disagreeable personalities in blogdom, but so far, touch wood, they’ve yet to cross my path. Hope you cross it again soon though!

    • Bless you Anna, I have to say that having you come up and say you like my writing was probably my highlight of the BiBS night, although I didn’t say that in the post because I thought it would sound bigheaded! Having someone whose writing I really admire take the time to come up and speak really meant a lot though, so thank you. Hope to see you again soon (although perhaps without the naked men this time…) x

  13. This was such a good post. My experience of Britmums was largely positive, and is reflected in the post I’ve written about it. I think this is because I’d already organised some blogging buddies for the weekend and I hung onto them all weekend. This made a huge difference to the event. I think I would have felt terrified if I’d gone on my own or had arrived on the Saturday evening. The whole thing was overwhelming. I am very glad I got to meet you though, just wished we could have spoken for longer. I’ve always admired your blog and writing. Still at least I got to say a hello. I did feel rather shy for most of the weekend though – blogging buddies and wine came in handy. Your reading at the end was wonderful – that was my favourite part of the whole thing, the bloggers key note!

    • I’m so glad you had a good time – and very sorry we didn’t get to chat for longer! Hopefully on another occasion… The last session was my absolute favourite too 🙂 xx

  14. So pleased to have met you at the conference!!! And of course, pleased to hear you read 🙂 One of the reasons I like working on the hectic registration desk is so I can start to put faces and names together but of course I have to realise I can never see everyone. It’s just my little method at attempting to overcome that hurdle. I LOVE that idea of a mingling period and someone else suggested something like ‘speed dating’ but with business cards and a quick chat about blogs–perhaps a mix of the two? It will be interesting to see what they come up with next year!

    I didn’t realise there had been cattiness but my head was spinning with trying to get the BiBs stuff organised so perhaps I was only seeing the happy excited people! I did hear one comment re the ‘wine buffs’, though. I know there was a LOT of discussion on that before the conference and I think it ended up being a case of ‘well, lets try it and see, and if it doesn’t work out then we’ll know for next year!’ I heard one woman telling a wine buff they shouldn’t be there, that they were being objectified and he chuckled and said ‘well, I work hard on this body, I don’t have a problem showing it off AND I get paid for it!’ So I supposed there’s always different points of view on a thing.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment Michelle – lovely to meet you too 🙂 And I can’t believe you’re back online already rather than lying down in a darkened room somewhere… I hope you at least had a nice chilled day yesterday!

      I think the speed networking idea for next year will work really well. It still won’t be possible to meet everyone, but if every blogger had the opportunity to chat with even a dozen or so others early on, I think it’d help those people who find it all a bit intimidating (like, erm, me!).

      Reading blogs and tweets today, I’ve seen a lot of mixed opinion on the Wine Buffs – some people loved them and others really didn’t, so I guess you’ll never please us all. What’s good is how open you all are being to the feedback.

      I think the other thing to bear in mind when you’re reading all these very honest posts is the range of characters/interests/personalities in the blog community – and no matter what you do and how you tailor the conference, there will still be some people who feel it just isn’t for them. So I hope you take any criticism in the constructive way in which it is intended.

      Thanks again for all your hard work xx

      • I think all constructive criticism is a GREAT thing–it is the best way anyone has of learning how to improve!! One thing that has impressed me about working with Jen and Susanna is the genuine desire to create the best experience they can for the blogging community. They don’t pay me to say that! It’s true. That’s their driver. I know they are very keen to learn what to do differently next time, and what to keep the same.

        Chilled day yesterday…? Well there was the laundry, oh and the dishes that were left from Saturday night and taking kids to sports, then dinner…! But I must admit I was allowed a rare nap, which I very much appreciated 😉

  15. Madame Dorky,
    You are delightful and I thoroughly appreciate your honest and thoughtful commentary on the event. I’m sorry it wasn’t everything you were hoping (?) it would be but I am so pleased that you were able to take away some good things. Your reading was wonderful and I am so happy to have finally met you in person. I hope we’ll be able to chat more throughout the year…you’ve been a real source of support and encouragement to me this year so thank you so much for that too!

    Hugs x

    • Hello lovely! Thanks so much for coming over to comment – it was so lovely to meet you too. I’m really glad that even with my grumbles in this post, it comes across that I took a lot of really positive things from it too, because I really did. Your reading was fabulous too – so emotional – and definitely hope we cross paths again soon xxx

  16. Goodness, our posts are very similar indeed! I am absolutely gutted that we didn’t manage to meet up because you were right at the top of my list. I’m not good in large crowds of people and I’m useless at leaping on people and asking them who they are which means I missed out on meeting a fair few I would have liked to. It was totally overwhelming but with that number of people who didn’t really know each other I guess that is quite hard to avoid!

    • That is because we are awesome 😉

      Very sorry not to meet you too, but as you say there were SO many people that it was very hard to track down the ones you wanted to see. I should have made better use of Twitter as a tracking device! Hope to see you at another event soon though x

  17. Love your balanced post – I was definitely with you on the waiters – I hovered down in the main hall childminding lots of iphones being charged!

    Would loved to have met you, maybe next year?

    Definitely would love some speed networking, and more time to chat to others also feeling lost.

    • There were some people chatting on Facebook last night about the best way to do ‘speed networking’ because it would be almost impossible to do one-on-one. The noise and logistics would be a nightmare.

      I used to work for an NGO where we had lots of very nervous volunteers who wanted to lobby MPs but were too nervous to make individual appointments, so our solution was a speed lobbying event where we sat 12 MPs down at tables and let six volunteers at a time circulate from table to table.

      I can see that working at a blogging conference if you had a room with x number of experienced/confident bloggers to host a table, and groups of 6-10 newer or shyer bloggers circulating around them for 5 mins at a time. So everyone gets a wee chat with some new folk on a similar experience level who may turn into friends, but also gets a quick chat with lots of ‘top’ bloggers who can hopefully be friendly and pass on some wisdom.

      It wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it might be a nice ice breaker for those that were interested.

  18. I only crossed paths with you very briefly and would have loved to spend more time that’s one of the problems of these events that’s hard to master. I was also in working mode too and lived the BML from the other side so to speak.
    I knew from the offset that the #winebuffs would be Love/Hate, it didn’t bother me as I saw it as a bit of light hearted fun and certainly not degrading but you can’t please everyone and fortunately we aren’t all the same otherwise it would be a very boring world indeed.
    I’m saddened to hear their was cattiness regarding a winner but again, that’s life isn’t it? You’ll never please everyone, I prefer to rejoice their achievements – all of them and be proud of being part of such an inspiring crowd.
    I found your post very constructive and I know Brit Mums will be very appreciative of you taking the time and stepping out against the grain
    Well done you 😉

    • Thanks Missus – glad you feel I’ve struck the right balance between honesty and appreciation of the EPIC amount of work that must have gone in! As you say, the diversity of people there was huge, so you’re never going to keep everyone happy, but I don’t think anyone can doubt that you all did your best! Hope to see you again soon xx

  19. Hi! I am really really new in the blogging world, ie it started in May! I have blogged for business but that is completely different really. Anyway I was there with a very good friend of mine, but she couldn’t get there until the awards part so I spent Friday afternoon by myself. I went expecting the butterflies to be immediately visible to help me over the not knowing anyone, disappointingly this was not the case, so I quickly decided I was happy to be by myself really. I was happy chatting to the sponsors and pleasing myself. Both my friend and I were not fussed with the Winebuffs, (I’m currently pregnant so not drinking anyway) and we were a little disappointed with the awards. But we really enjoyed the saturday and I loved some of the products available because I know how much fun we as a family will have with them (whether the sponsors wanted me to review them or not!) On saturday I got to meet a couple of the bloggers that I have met via twitter and Love New Blogs and that was definitely a highlight, as were the keynote bloggers because it has opened me up to even more blogs – such as yours! So as terrifying as it was for me on Friday afternoon I still came away having caught up with a brilliant friend, and enjoying myself!

    I think from having spent many times at networking and business events I have learnt to go and concentrate on the things I like and enjoy and not to get overly involved with ‘clicky’ groups as they are notoriously unkind when they want to be. I will definitely be coming back to read your blog though because I enjoyed your keynote and found this review of the weekend really refreshing and honest!

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment, lovely new blogger! Wow – you are very brave jumping right in at the deep end and coming to BritMums when you’ve only been blogging since May! Really pleased to hear you found it mainly a positive experience 🙂 Love New Blogs is brilliant isn’t it – I still have a lot of fondness and a connection with the ‘cohort’ of bloggers who started at the same time as me, all of whom I found through there too. Look forward to reading some of your posts xx

  20. I love this post. Even when you are just writing a review of a blogging conference, you write in such an engaging way. The Fresh Voice category was a very tough one, but I am really hoping you win big at the MADs.

    A lot of what you’ve written resonates with me. I wasn’t there for the conference, but the things you’ve described are some of the same things that had me hesistating at buying a ticket.

    The awards bit was lovely all in all, although it was all over just as I had enough confidence (and prosecco!) to start warming up to the idea of walking over to people I recognised. Nerves weren’t helped by the fact that the majority of people had been there for several hours beforehand at the conference and already formed groups, but then I expected that and it’s perfectly natural for things to happen that way. Big shame about the catty comments. I am glad to say that I didn’t witness anything like that – it was lovely to see so many people genuinely pleased for the award winners .

    I love the idea of speed-networking at the beginning of a conference. Bit daunting, but it would be great to get people talking.

    • I have taken FOREVER to finish replying to these, but thank you for your lovely kind comment. You’re right that FRESH VOICE was such a tough category, mainly because we all really liked each other’s blogs, and depending on what they were being judged on anyone could have one. Some were hilarious, some were well written, some were packed with lovely photos… I think the right person won though 🙂 Sorry not to see you – maybe next year? xx

  21. Thank you for the kind mention. I was very pleased to meet you and hopefully we can do it again and have a proper chat.
    I wonder if it will help to say that i felt exactly the same as you about the party bit at Cybermummy last year. It was as if I had been transported back to the fifth year and I had a huge spot on my nose! This year was very different somehow. Perhaps I knew enough people to feel more like I properly belonged. I don’t know
    Equally, one of the best bits was walking past a very packed and noisy All Bar One and finding a quiet curry house with four other bloggers I’d met for for the first time but knew on line. We had a lovely evening. So it wasn’t a Britmumslive thing, but one that wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t there, if you see what I mean.

    • Yes, likeywise, although I was very aware of dashing off and leaving you with enough time to prepare for the Blogging for Happiness session, which was one of my highlights of the conference. Thanks for your very reassuring comments – maybe it was just being a newbie that made it all so overwhelming! x

  22. I really enjoyed reading this and it was reassuring to hear of your similar thoughts on it to mine. I really didn’t enjoy the Friday evening and was shocked by some of the behaviour displayed at the end by people attending. I enjoyed going and meeting people, there were some really lovely people (including you!) but I think if I went again I wouldn’t go out afterwards for the drinking part as it was way out of my comfort zone. I initially felt like I wouldn’t go again but stepping back I probably would, but I would only attend certain bits. On the Friday night I had an evening just with my “roomy” and that was lovely and chilled. I don’t know about next year and I don’t know about my blog, but I shared a lot of your views which I think made me go for a photo based report of the event so I could have time to consider it more.

    • Ooh, I missed the drinking part afterwards – was there drama?! Or just drunk women… It sounded like you managed to get away from the conference for a bit and do some other fun stuff in London which is good. Twas lovely to meet you xx

  23. I found the whole thing intense and think your idea of a chilled morning just to relax and meet fellow bloggers is spot on. I snuck out of some sessions just to get some space and am sorry we didn’t get to chat more. X

    • Likewise, but it was very nice to keep bumping into you and Older Mum for the occasional two minute chat! We’ll definitely have to do more of that next time! x

  24. I entirely agree about the waiters. They were utterly inappropriate for the conference and I felt incredibly uncomfortable. I’m so sorry that I didn’t get to meet you. Hope we will one day!

  25. I didn’t go; I couldn’t because of family birthdays. Still I’d love the opportunity to meet many of my bloggers and twitter friends but I’m not sure britmums is my cup of tea though it sounds like the organisers did a fantastic job of organising it. There were some great speakers that I would loved to have listened to but aside from that I am not comfortable in a noisy and crowded environment. It’s not that I don’t like living it up; I’ve done plenty of that years ago but I don’t want to go to a blogging conference that feels a bit like a hen night. Perhaps I shouldn’t be saying that as someone who hasn’t attended but that is the impression I’ve got from looking at some of the pictures. Thanks for writing an honest post. As usual you write in a lovely way that inspires confidence and trust in your readers, well this reader anyhow. Deb x

    • Yes, definitely no complaints about the organisation, I think in the end it comes down to taste, and what kind of event you enjoy. Hope to get the opportunity to meet you at something soon, thanks for your lovely kind comment xx

  26. Ruth Ruth Ruth! I was smiling all of the way through this as, as usual, you’ve articulated similar feelings to me way better than I ever could! This was me last year with Cybermummy and I always felt like the event just highlighted what was important about blogging for me, and like you it was the writing. Great post, honest and fair as ever. I loves your blog I do! X

    • That’s brilliant, because I was actually thinking of you as I was writing it! I remember reading your CyberMummy post last year when I was incredibly new to blogging and you came back a bit shell shocked from it all! You said something about people stuffing their bags with free baby wipes & that not really being what blogging was about for you. I felt v guilty as I swiped ONE packet of baby wipes on my way out the door on Saturday!! Xx

  27. Brilliant post (as per…) My idea of hell is a room full of hundreds of females and I was nervous as hell going along to BML. I did what I’ve done for the last couple of conferences I’ve gone to – STC and Cybher – and connected with some other bloggers to meet up with ahead of going in. There were times when I was on my own and it is always a slightly uneasy feeling when it seems everyone around you is having the time of their lives with all their best friends. But the reality is often – as it turns out from reading some of the follow-up posts – that when you scratch beneath the surface, most of us are all dealing with the same worries and emotions.

    Cattiness – that just makes my blood boil, really saddened to hear of that.

    Keynote – as I’ve alluded to on Twitter, I think an event – ideally for charity – based around blogger keynote posts would be a fantastic thing to do.

    • I didn’t experience any negativitiy. Having been before I guess I’d found my comfort zone. You were fab in Saturday. This is a brilliant post and yes I didn’t like the waiters either!

    • A blogger keynote event for charity sounds WICKED! I would totally be up for that. You could have a nice friendly one, or turn it into a blogger slam (like a poetry slam) where bloggers competed against each other…

  28. It’s refreshing to read this. I’m a new blogger and find the whole stats, conference and awards mentality rather intimidating. I just love writing about me and my baby. Isn’t that really what it’s all about?

    • YES! yes it is! And it was really good to hear a lot of more experienced bloggers who have been doing this for years talking about ‘returning to their roots’ and just going back to writing for pleasure instead of writing reviews all the time, or feeling obliged to do posts when they have nothing to say. You stick with that zen-like attitude and you’ll be grand 🙂 xx

  29. Aw, lovely honest post Ruth and of great interest to me as I hover around on the periphery of this strange new world, still a tiny bit scared of aspects of it, if I’m honest! Love the pic of you and would have loved to have heard you reading. Very much hope to meet you in the flesh one day soon. x

    • Likewise, lovely. It is a bit of a scary world, for sure, but there are a lot of really lovely people in it too. Just take it at your own pace 🙂 xx

  30. Ohh I love you, you really are brilliant Ruth. I’ve told you that before, right?

    You had me chuckling, big name blogger indeed!

    and you have given me some good food for thought – do I want to invest time in Pinterst etc to gain zeros or use the time wisely and enjoy what I do already.

    Brilliant. Mich x

    • Ahh Michelle, we’re having so many big blogger love-ins just now, no?! Thanks for your comment, and for the really lovely post you did that mentioned this one. I hope you come to a decision that you are entirely happy with, it sounds like you are just about there 🙂 x

  31. So much to think about in your post so want to revisit it a few times to capture all of it.
    Cattiness is unforgivable. First I have heard of this and am appalled.
    I imagine I might have more to say but for now will say as follows
    1. BritMums are always keen to hear feedback and I find them very responsive to it.
    2. I wish I had met you and had time to chat. I think it was a bit odd for me as have gone from blogging obscurity to being speaker and BritMums team member so was not quite sure how to play it and was wracked by the usual shyness that I know can come across as standoffish.
    3. Your keynote was marvellous and so very well observed.

    • Oh bless, you didn’t come across as standoffish at all… and you did a marvellous job from what I saw! I agree about the responsiveness of BritMums – I’ve been hugely impressed with that. Thanks for your kind words, and I very much hope to meet you before too long x

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  33. Survivormum says;
    Bri my partner, was one of only a handful of intimidated men amongst 500 women at Britmums Live. I’m not sure he felt the waiters balanced out the sexes, but I get your, if the shoe was on the other foot, point – would it be acceptable?

    I am a newbie (May 2012) to this all-consuming blogging world and blown away by this exciting community – I thus far knew nothing of. Bri is helping me with the technical minfield that is setting up a blog; so it seemed to make more sense him going.

    He came back buzzing about keywords, links and talk of something called Pinterest. But like a weary traveller from exotic lands (well we are in Wales) he returned with a bag full of goodies. I know you won’t approve – but Bigger boy got an atlas, which I was delighted with and also a couple of Skylanders (Xbox game with mini monsters) which he was delighted with. Littler boy got some colouring in things and a couple of books. While I lucked out with body lotion, hand cream, some snazzy lolly makers and a pretty mouse mat; things I have used every day since.

    I would like to come to Britmums Live next year and your blog certainly gave me some great advice of things to guard against. I will make sure and meet up with fellow bloggers who I’ve been in touch with, as well as joining in any organised speed dating activities, but most importanly of all I shall avoid the loos – especially after I’ve won my award!!!:-)xxx

    • Brave man!

      It’s definitely not that I don’t approve of goodies! We got the atlas too, and absolutely love it – so much so that I’ve blogged about it! I think it’s just that personally I want to find a balance that feels healthy and comfortable between blogging for fun, and feeling obliged to blog about products. The joy of this is that our blogs are our own personal spaces, where we should feel free to write what we like without being judged for that 🙂

      Look forward to giving you an almighty round of applause at next year’s awards!


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  35. Pingback: 10 Things I Loved About BritMums Live | dorkymum

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