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?