Last weekend I made my way from Northern Ireland to London for a two day blogging and social media event, BritMums Live 2015. The event is one of the highlights of the year in a bloggers calendar. It was my first time, both at the event and in London, so I was very nervous and very excited, as I’m sure you can imagine!
It was an early start for me, having to leave the house at 4:30 to catch a flight from Belfast to Luton. Knowing I would have to get up at 3:45 to get ready, you would imagine I would go to bed at a reasonable hour, but I was still awake close to midnight! Riding on the high of pure excitement, I didn’t feel too bad getting up at such an awful hour. I did start to fade as the afternoon went on, but free coffee at the event was my saviour, more on that later though!
The first hurdle I had to overcome was flying. I am absolutely terrified of flying, and I mean TERRIFIED. Anyone who knows me knows what a big deal this was for me, having to fly on my own. I spent most of the journey hyperventilating! It didn’t help that I had chosen a seat next to the emergency doors, and had to listen to a little talk from the flight attendant about how to open the doors if we crashed!
I managed to survive without needing to operate the emergency doors, thank goodness! My next task was almost as scary as flying, I had to navigate London on my own. After making my way through the cattle market that was the queue for the coach at Luton, and after a relaxing coach journey, it was time to find my way to my hotel. I took a little detour via Paddington, and picked up a little stow away on my journey.
After making Paddington Bear comfortable, and making sure my tooth brush was well hidden so he couldn’t clean his ears with it, I made my way nervously to the Brewery.
I can’t tell you how much my heart was pounding as I walked through the busy streets of London toward the venue, with both fear and excitement.
I arrived at the Brewery and met up with some lovely bloggers. I’m glad I arranged to meet people there, because it’s quite overwhelming the amount of people everywhere. I think there were more people there than there is in my whole village! I’m quite shy, and find it difficult to approach people, so it was nice to see a friendly face upon arrival.
The Brewery is a fantastic venue, I loved all of the little details around the building. I was particularly impressed with the free coffee and buns all day. It was great for giving me a well needed energy boost, not so great for my diet though!
After coffee and a lot of chatter it was time for the first Keynotes, and then we did an official word record attempt for the most mummies wrapped in toilet roll in 3 minutes. I chose to be one of the mummies, and Lindsay from Newcastle Family Life and Nikki from Keeping Strong & Moving Forward did their best to wrap me from head to toe with toilet roll. It was so funny, I don’t think I’ve laughed that much in a long time!
Brit mums kept us in suspense until the start of the awards, but I can tell you that the previous record was 50 mummies, and we managed 51, so I’m now part of an official world record team, how awesome is that?
After a couple of sessions, which I’m not going to go in to detail about, it was time for a bit of a mingle at the pre BiBs awards party. The wine was free flowing, thanks to Lindemans wine, and the craic was great!
The awards were hosted by Carol Smilie. I enjoyed the ceremony, and came away feeling inspired. It’s great to see normal parents, just like me, being recognised and awarded for their writing, and it really gave me something to aspire to in the future. I’d love to be at a level where I could even be considered for an award!
After the BiBs, we went out for a few drinks, but I couldn’t keep up with the pace! I’m usually a bit of a party girl, but after such a long day I just wanted my pjs and a bed, so I headed back to the hotel room for a good nights rest.
The following morning, we were treated to a beautiful spread for breakfast including fresh juices, pastries, muffins, yoghurt and more lovely hot coffee.
Saturday was a busier day, I spent as much time as I could chatting to brands, and soaking up information in sessions, not to mention talking to some more lovely bloggers. I didn’t really speak to that many people, I wish I had more confidence to just say hello to people, but the ladies I did speak to were all lovely.
Of all the sessions I attended over the weekend, I think I enjoyed the YouTube one the most. I’m already on YouTube, and I really want to push my channel and take it further, and I feel I got a lot of great information from the session.
There were one or two sessions I was a bit disappointed with, and I think if I attend next year I wish choose where I spend my time more wisely.
The day ended with the bloggers keynotes, which was a chance for chosen bloggers to read one of their posts. The reading were a mixture of funny, eye opening and completely heart breaking. I’m not usually much of a crier but I must admit I shed a wee tear.
I left just before the end, so I could get away before the rush. I headed back to my hotel room, and a strange wave of emotion came over me. It was odd, after 2 days being surrounded by people, to suddenly be in silence. It was hard to believe after 6 months of planning, the even was now over. I felt excited about the future of my blog, inspired by what I had learned, tired, happy about a great weekend and sad that it was over, all at once.
After a some reflection on the weekend, and a call home to speak to my family, I headed out to meet an old friend who now lives in London, and she took me to see some of the sights.
It was lovely to see Emily after 5 years, and once we got chatting it felt like only a few weeks since we had seen each other. I really enjoyed doing the tourist thing and visiting the Palace, and taking a lovely evening stroll along the river.
I had an early start on Sunday morning to make it too the airport for my flight back to Northern Ireland. I loved my time in London but I was so happy to be going home to my family, I had missed them so much!
I’ve been on a bit of a Britmums comedown since I got home, going back to work on Monday brought me back down to earth with a bump! I’m still trying to process all of the things I learned at the event, and my head is buzzing with ideas on how to go forward with my blog. It was great to spend the weekend surrounded by like minded people, and I got such a buzz from it. I’m already looking forward to Britmums Live 2016!