So here I go with my belated post on BritMums Live – a UK Conference for Mum Bloggers, based around the BritMums Community. While I’m not a regular contributor to the community – I am a big fan (or sucker) for Blogger Conferences and it was a great opportunity to meet some of my new online Blog and Twitter friends from the UK.
The conference started on a Friday afternoon and continued through Saturday. I found it kind of an awkward time as I had to take time off work to make it there as it started mid-afternoon. I’d have preferred it over a Saturday and Sunday. A lot of people travelled from outside of London – so I’m not sure if this time made it easier or harder to travel.
Like many of the conferences I’ve been to in the US – it was a nice mix of panels, talks, keynotes and sponsor showcase area. As usual my favorite conversations and learnings came from the casual hallway chats and new friends made in the moment.
Having come straight from work – I didn’t get quite so fancy for the awards night on Friday evening – but was lucky enough to be sporting some gorgeous earrings by Sarah Hickey Jewelry. It made me feel very glamorous.
— Transatlantic Mom (@TransatlantiMom) June 22, 2012
On Friday evening while waiting for the awards ceremony to begin I had the pleasure of meeting “My Funny Mummy. while she didn’t win the award she was nominated for – certainly made a lasting impression on me and I can’t wait to connect again in the future. Unfortunately she had to leave the conference early due to an unfortunate incident at home – you haven’t read about it? check it out here: “Why Me”
On Friday evening I went to the expat blogger meetup with some of my fav old and new online friends – unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay long at all as I had a horrible headache and the loud music in All Bar One had me beating a hasty retreat quickly after arriving. The expat meetup was organized by the amazing Michelle, The American Resident – who also wrote a lovely recap of the conference and meetup here: Expat Roundup
One of my favorite sessions was the Food Blogging panel, Good Taste: Blogging about food which included Kerstin Rodgers, Ms. Marmite Lover; Sarah Trivuncic, Maison Cupcake; Katie Bryson, Feeding Boys and a Firefighter.
I think one of the things that made it so special was how real and open these ladies were. They shared their rates for sponsored posts and what they’d charge for putting together a new recipe. I think there should be more transparency in the blogging community about this – and about compensation or sponsorship in general as women I think we often undervalue our contributions and are therefore more easily taken advantage of when it comes to putting money to the time we invest in things.
On Saturday I shared lunch with the lovely American expat Bump2Basics and her babe in arms, and had a long lovely chat. While in the sponsor area – one of the first people I met was Penny Alexander of The Alexander Residence. Penny told me about Give As You Live, which allows you to shop online with thousands of stores and raise money for your favourite cause with every purchase – at no cost to you. (I later won a lovely gift bag from them which included some fair trade goods and items made by hand and or which supported charitable causes and community building)
I was also delighted to see LEGO in the sponsor area as my munchkins are huge fans and was delighted to see they’ll be releasing more book/toy sets. They did a cupcake decorating session which was well received.
— Transatlantic Mom (@TransatlantiMom) June 23, 2012
While in the sponsor area I also ran into Andy from Dad’s Cooking Tonight – one of my favorite #MumsNight contributors! It was lovely to see Andy nominated for some awards and see Dads included in this event.
One of the things that most surprised me was all of the Americans – both attendees, event organizers and sponsors! In the sponsor area there was Disney, ThermoMix, Crocs and Visit Orlando.
Thanks to Visit Orlando I was able to have a truly evil moment of parenting -> Visit Orlando had a photo booth where you could take your photo with a backdrop of iconic Orlando locations, including SeaWorld and DisneyWorld. The day after BritMums Live the boys found my photo – and asked “Mommy what’s this” grinning evilly I replied – “What does it look like?” The look of horror on their faces as they said “You went to Disney without us?!” was priceless. Ok so I only let them believe it for a second a quickly corrected them that it was just a pretend photo and I hadn’t gone to their holy land and left them at home.
It was a full day and a half and by the end I was ready to head home – which of course was complicated by tube closures. This did give me a great opportunity to connect with Christine Mosler and Circus Queen ( Christine wrote a great writeup of the conference here: BritMums Live 2012 – How was it for you? ) as we tried to navigate alternate routes across London.
All in all – I enjoyed the event but like BlogHer in the US – I always find I enjoy the unscheduled hallway chats more than the panels themselves. I find panels problematic in that with so many people you never have time to get in depth in a subject. Or, like Advanced blogging: Video blogging – Building your online presence and YouTube profile. Christine Beardsell, VCCP - we ran out of time before she could share more of the advanced details which I really wanted to hear.
Will I be back next year? Yes, probably – I really enjoyed it for the opportunity to meet people in person I’ve connected with online. Did I learn much, no but I’ve been online for a few years now so wasn’t really expecting to. It’s nice though to meet people, connect and share online and off so for me, it was worth it.