Britmumslive 2016 started for me the moment I picked up Lauren from Real Housewife Of Suffolk in a taxi from her hotel. That was it I was now in the company of a blogger, someone who understood me in a way my non-blogging friends doesn’t. I could have a conversation about all things social media and not sound like a total weirdo – yay! We were off to the Holiday Inn Friday Night Fringe Party, naturally, the moment we heard the words ‘complimentary drinks & nibbles’ we signed up to attend straight away. The venue location I thought was rather delightful; it was just a few minutes away from Camden Town tube station, and we got to drink our wine while enjoying the view of Camden Locks.
The guest list was filled with some of my favourite blogger friends who I had met before except Jenny from The Brick Castle, who I have talked to for many years but have never met in the flesh; she was just as lovely offline as she is online. I caught up with the ladies (first photo where my face is ruining it) Faye from Tales and Tea, Ami from My Mummy Spam, Chantal from Milk and Nappies who I met at the Cambridge Bloggers meet up at the start of the year and Stacie from Parker & Me , ran over to Tim from Slouching Towards Thatcham and Amie from Finding Our Feet who I consumed beer & pizza with after Blogfest last year and I reminisced with Sonia from This Mummy Loves & Cathy from Wishful Wonderings about previous blogging conferences. Can you believe this is my 7th year of blogging conferences? No neither could I until Susanne from A Modern Mother pointed it out to me!
After the party we headed back in the direction of our hotel, stopping off at All Bar One (unofficial blogger hangout area for BML) for food and drinks. You could spot the group of bloggers a mile off! I & Lauren ordered half the food menu and joined in with Claire from Emmy’s Mummy, Jaime from The Oliver’s Madhouse, Kerry from Oh So Amelia and Jennifer from Jennifer’s Little World who were working their way through the cocktail menu. Some time later we ended up back at the Travelodge bar where we saw Martyn from Inside Martyn’s Thoughts, and the rest was a blur. Explains why getting up at 7 am the next morning to join everyone for breakfast was a painful experience. Coincidentally John from Dad You Geek joined us around that time.
We arrived at registration (was totally thrown by the change of registration area) to collect our badges before grabbing some coffee. On the stairs, we found Kate from Lesbemums, and this had made my day before it had barely begun, I have been following their blog more less from the start and have enjoyed watching their son T grow like some proud virtual aunt.
By the time we had wandered through the crowd of bloggers and sat down, Susanne & Jen were on stage with the start of #BML16. This was then followed by the poem ‘Britmums We Are Live‘ by Kirstie Pelling from Poet In Motion. Our keynote speaker this year was Anne-Marie Cockburn, campaigner and author of 5,742 Days. Her daughter died in 2013 of an accidental overdose.The way she dealt with her grief was a way I had never come across before; I was both saddened and inspired at the same time. Find out more about Anne- Marie and Martha at What Martha Did Next. Next on the agenda was the inspirational short with how to achieve your goals with Julie Creffield from Too Fat To Run, which if I’m honest I didn’t take anything away from this.
Next up was pass the parcel which of course was the perfect party game to kick off the start of the birthday celebrations (BML turns five this year) and put us in the party mood. Here’s Tony & Martyn opening their layers, I’m still gutted Tony never offered to share his Mars bar with me! (So what if it was snack size!)
After we had finished our game (Jaime won) we headed to the Hub where the brand stands and refreshments were. Along the way I found the Dad blogger legend that is Dave from The DADventurer, I like to think I get on rather well with Dave after bonding the previous year over marshmallows on sticks & canapés. This year we bonded over dummies and crepes.
I didn’t take much more photos during the day from that point, the rest of it was filled with sessions and mingling with other bloggers. The lunch was the best one so far, kudos to the brewery chefs. None of the brands in the Hub caught my eye; I do love Coca Cola, but I’m all about the full-fat stuff and not coca cola zero sugar stuff. I enjoyed the lounges as somewhere to escape from the business of the hub. The MAM lounge had the yummiest cupcakes, sadly (or not so sadly) all my children are too young for most the MAM stuff now. The Big Tent Little Tent I visited with Debs from Super Busy Mum, had some funky lei’s passed us which we bagged for the kids and grabbed a glass of something fizzy (elderflower for Mrs fragile over here!)
Later on in the afternoon saw a birthday cake followed by the start of the evening events. First up was a chat with Cherry Healey about her new book which somehow led to bloggers revealing some truly horrifying moments of their own. Up next was The Bloggers Keynote – a selection of top posts read by the bloggers themselves. Rather excitedly for us, we had Tim not just reading out a post but singing for one out for us, it brought tears to the eyes. You can either relive or watch it for the first time below!
Next came the Brilliance In Blogging (BIBs) party which would have happened in the courtyard but thanks to our pleasant British weather we had it inside. Much wine was consumed before returning to our chairs (and tables full of more wine) for the BIBs Awards ceremony which was being presented by Carol Smillie. I was so pleased to see Amber from The Goblin Child, Maggy from Red Ted Art & Fiona from Coombe Mill win their categories.
And that wrapped up the end of #BML16 and all that was left for us to do now was to grab our goodie bags and blogging friends to go and consume as much alcohol and food as we could find. Luckily enough we had the super organised Martyn arrange for us to eat at Nando’s that evening. You are a star Mr Kitney! After that, we headed to All Bar One for some delicious cocktails!
And that was it. Off to bed with the excitement of a midday check out to look forward to! The idea of actually rolling out of bed about 11 am was thrilling, and I made sure the no housekeeping sign was displayed, and my phone was on silent. So come 5 am I was slightly confused to why my phone was going off and why it was loud. Then my eyes started to process the flashing light and realised that it was the fire alarm going off. It at this moment that I realised I am one of those people that will just leg it, I had my jacket on the bed next to me so grabbed that and my phone which was already glued to my hand. I didn’t even grab my room key. However what I did manage to grab that was important was one Daddy Blogger in the form of Martyn! It seems the Travelodge didn’t have priority when it came to collecting the disabled from their room. It was left to me, Faye & Jade to get him to safety. There’re not many people I would stand in a stairway minus underwear for! It was a false alarm, but it still left us disappointed at how the situation was handled and those who were evacuated outside felt the same. Naturally being the bloggers, we are we thought it would be a fab idea to selfie the moment!
Overall the weekend was a rather enjoyable one; it is a brilliant place to socialise with blogging friends both old and new. Roll on #BML17!