The Vuelio Online Influencer Awards & What It Means for Bloggers Like Us.

Last week we attended the Vuelio Online Influencer Awards in London – a prestigious event for the blogging and ‘Influencer’ industry; recognising those who are leading by example. This was my second time attending the event, and Sharon’s first, however this year it was a whole new experience as we were nominated for an award.

The Best UK LGBT+ Blog Award. 

Being nominated was a shock in itself as there are now dozens of LGBT+ bloggers (in comparison to a few years ago) or ‘Instagrammers’, sharing their experiences and lives on their blog or grid. Plus, looking at the caliber of queer content creators that now exist, there was no way I would ever have imagined being nominated for an award if you were to ask me.

Let alone win.

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Blog On X, Manchester 2018 #BlogOnX

Last weekend, I drove up to Manchester for the annual Blog On blogging conference – which is only my second blogging conference to date. Britmums in 2016 was the last time I went to a conference!

With Britmums being the only conference I had to compare this one too, I was basically going in blind and no idea what to expect – although I’d heard lots of positive things when speaking with other bloggers who have attended Blog On attended previously.

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My First Blogging Conference – BritMums Live. 

This weekend saw the biggest blogging conference in the blogging calendar, BritMums Live (or #BML16 if you’re partial to the occasional hashtag).

Sponsored by Cheeky Wipes, I took myself off to London for the day to meet fellow bloggers, network with brands, and learn a few things about blogging and social media. In black and white that all sounded pretty simple, however once I got there it was actually quite a challenge.


According to other bloggers, this year was the first year that BritMums was a one day event. Previously, it was a two day event, and I could see why. As well as several breakout sessions to pick from throughout the day; ranging from ‘The Dark Net’ to Instagram, you also had the option to network with brands, as well as the mammoth task of meeting other bloggers.


None of this is mandatory, of course, but why wouldn’t you want to try and experience everything or chat with the people you’ve been chatting to for months, if not years?

Starting my day with a 6:30 train to Farringdon, I was lucky to meet up with a few Brighton bloggers on the way – this definitely made walking into an already busy forecourt a lot easier.

The location was great. I’ve been lucky enough to visit The Brewery before with S as part of Christmas Do’s so thankfully I knew my way around.

Before the conference even began I was already recognising a few faces. This was my first challenge of the day; go up to them and say hi, or wait and save myself from looking like a fan-girl. I decided to wait, register myself, and go get (a few) pastries. This is where I met the lovely Emma and John.

After the opening talk I made my way to the “networking” room. I actually found this room to be quite overwhelming, and the majority of the brands didn’t really suit our blog, so I decided to say hello to some bloggers! This is where I met Tom, Tim, Martyn, Dave, Tony, (honestly, I didn’t just aim for the dads), Leanne, and Hannah.

In no time, the first session was about to begin so I took myself off to learn/discuss creative writing. This is where I met Lucy, which was the only plus side to the session. Maybe it was me misinterpreting the session description, but I did leave this particular breakout session feeling quite deflated. With this, I decided to miss the second breakout as I wanted to catch up with the lovely ladies from the BlogBumpClub. Chelle, Hannah, Hannah (I know, a lot of Hannah’s) and Katy were there and I had a blast chatting about (and sniffing) babies. It was hard not to become incredibly broody!


Lunch was suddenly upon us and after much deliberation I enjoyed a lamb curry with a side of nachos. I also managed to find room for some pudding.


The third breakout session was the most enjoyable as it was based around the Sketchbook Club. I’ve never done anything like this before despite always enjoying colouring-in and doodling, so it was no surprise that this session was really enjoyable. If anything, it completely took the pressure off making the conference solely about blogging! I already have a few ideas about how I can integrate sketching into the blog/Instagram.


The fourth session I attended was about Instagram and unfortunately, again, I didn’t come away feeling like I’d learnt much, which was good; without sounding arrogant, as it made me feel that I was actually doing something right!

Apart from meeting fellow bloggers, my favourite part of the day was, by far, the keynote speeches. The highlights for me were Tim and his x-factor worthy parody of ‘Pretty in Pink’ and Al’s ‘Job interview to become a Stay-at-home-dad’.

After the keynotes, the BiB (Brilliance in Blogging) awards commenced. Sadly, quite a few of my favourite blogs didn’t get the award they deserved, but I was still proud as punch to see their names up there as finalists!

The evening finished with cake, wine, and more socialising. Here I was finally able to meet a few more of my favourites; Donna and Stephanie (aka Clarke Kent!).


As you can tell, it was quite the Saturday. I still have a few reservations and criticisms of the event and, as other people have mentioned, I’d be reluctant to go again based purely on the breakout sessions – but maybe that was just me. I was, on the other hand, impressed with the variety of sessions available. 

The socialising aspect, however, was totally worth the journey and I’d like to hope I’ve made some friends this weekend.

Even if you’re new to blogging, I would recommend giving at least one conference a go. It’s a great way to find like-minded bloggers, and the gift bags are pretty sweet.

The environment is lovely, albeit busy, and the bloggers I’ve met this weekend are some of the nicest people I’ve met. I just wish I’d found time to meet more people! I’m sorry if I didn’t get round to saying hi!

Did you go to BML16? What did you enjoy/not enjoy? Any tips?

K

Meet My #BML16 Sponsor!

This year, I’ve finally taken the plunge and decided to go to Britmums Live.

If you don’t know what #BML16 is, it’s the biggest blogging conference in the parenting bloggers calendar. I don’t class myself as a professional blogger (far from it), which is why #BML16 is perfect for me, it’s open to all (or at least I was able to slip through the net!). #BML16 is a great place to network and meet friends old and new, as well as attend workshops and talks.

BritMums

This year, the wonderful gals over at Cheeky Wipes have very kindly agreed to sponsor my trip to #BML16.

My #BML16 Sponsor!

Cheeky Wipes are home to the reusable baby wipe. Simply take a wipe from the ‘clean’ bin, use it, and then put it in the ‘mucky’ bin. Wipes can also be used at the top end – which is perfect for when breakfast is concrete weetabix. Plus, Cheeky Wipes also make cloth sanitary pads!

We’ve been using Cheeky Wipes since T was born and as well as being a great product, Cheeky wipes are a wonderful company. Based in Seaford, East Sussex (just around the corner from us!) they started their company over 7 years ago! Their creator, Helen, is a mother of four and created Cheeky Wipes following a history with eczema that was irritated by disposable wipes.

We’ll be writing a full review of cheeky wipes later this month, but I can honestly say that Cheeky Wipes were one of the best investments we made. As a family who didn’t buy into cloth diapering through fear of creating more work with extra washing, we were sceptical as to whether a) cheeky wipes would actually clean T, b) whether we would use the wipes and c) whether it would just add to our wash load, however over the past 13 months, neither factors have been a problem at all. I can honestly say that we’ve saved a lot of money on wipes by using Cheeky Wipes!

I can’t wait until BML#16 and although I hope to learn a few things whilst at the conference seminars, I’m mostly looking forward to meeting some of the bloggers I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading over the last few years. Some of which I now class as friends.

Once again, a big thank you to Cheeky Wipes!

K

2016 Bucket List

I’ve never been a fan of resolutions. They always seem to target the negative or can turn themselves into a chore. “Lose weight” is usually a popular one, but one that’s often broken first. Unless you want to do it, or would have done it without the resolution, don’t do it. You’ll just feel rubbish about breaking it. If you’re one of the odd balls that can make and stick to resolutions, good for you!

For this reason, we haven’t made resolutions for quite some time but that’s not to say we haven’t set ourselves little targets for the year. Things like; give blood, being meat free twice a week, or screen free Wednesday’s have been some of the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

Inspired by a fellow blogger, and to expand on our yearly “taskings”, we’ve decided to write a Bucket List for 2016.

It’s likely we’ll add to it over the coming weeks, but so far we’re pretty happy with it. Some tasks are more achievable than others, but then that’s the fun of it!

Here’s what our bucket list looks like…

Take part in a photo challenge to document T’s growth through the year • Visit somewhere new at least once a month • Go to a blogging event • Treat ourselves to a new sofa • Complete / fill in T’s baby book • Cook something new • Have a day at the beach • Video more • Fly a kite • Do something selfless • Meet more blogging / twitter friends in person • Spend more time in the garden • Read (and complete) a book (or three) • Go on holiday • Make macaroons • Get T a passport • Get on a ferry to France • Take more photos on the camera (not the phone) • Take the grandparents out to lunch. Give blood • Learn a new skill •

What I like about a bucket list is that there are no limitations. Yes some objectives look like something off of an every day to-do list, but at least this way I’ll be pushed to do it!

Do you make bucket lists? What’s on yours?

K

Our 2015

2015 was a huge one for us with the arrival of T, after trying for two years to meet him.

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2016 will no doubt be just as busy what with T starting nursery, me returning to work, and T making general milestones like walking and, possibly, talking!

But before we start moving forward, here’s what our 2015 looked like.

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