Observant people who were looking at my twitter and Facebook posts last weekend, may have noticed that I had a weekend pass out of the Iceni heartlands and had headed to London for one of those mysterious things, the blogging conference. More specifically, BritMums Live.
I had visited the very first Cybermummy, but this was my first time out as my current persona, wearing a badge declaring that I, the lady with the bright red converse and lime green handbag combo, was Queen Boudica. For something that started as an anonymous blog, it felt a little like coming out of the closet!
So Friday morning, I boarded the train for my first ever overnight trip away from the Baby Boudica’s. First Class obviously, may as well do things with style! I met up with my fabulous friend, the amazing Wendy from savette.com and her equally amazing daughter Elyssia and together we headed off to join 700 mums and dads who blog for a weekend of laughter and tears.
As someone who flies very much under the radar and who didn’t really know many of the other bloggers present, it was actually quite a stressful experience. As a generally all round obnoxious, overly opinionated gobby person, you might struggle to believe that I would find walking into a room of 700 almost complete strangers and starting a conversation with some of them, downright nearly impossible. Especially when it’s very distracting looking at people’s faces and thinking “I’ve seen your photo on twitter, I just can’t quite think who you are”!
So the one suggestion I would have for next year, is maybe some dedicated networking sessions. Getting the people sat round those tables to actually talk to each other more. Everyone seemed to be in little groups that already knew each other so butting in can be a bit daunting.
But anyway, I met a load of amazing people that I didn’t know before but didn’t seem to catch up with the amazing people I intended to catch up with at all. I really should have planned things better and maybe actually arranged to meet up with some people. We were all so busy rushing about to the various sessions, there didn’t seem to be much time to tweet people and say “where exactly are you anyway?”
So what is a building packed to gunnels with mostly mums and the odd few dads like then? On a child free weekend pass to the capital? Add in food and plentiful free wine and it was a recipe for the most enormous cankles ever seen!
Now I’m not normally into fripperies, but even I managed to join in with the tiara wearing while Emma Freud was delivering her keynote speech. Although the wine may have had an awful lot to do with that too.
Oh my word, plentiful free wine and way too many pink and purple lights (what exactly is it with the purple lights guys?) eventually had me heading back incognito with the shades on. So if you were there and saw the crazy lady at the back, wearing the shades in the purple room, that was me.
The sessions on social media and G+ had me realising that while I’m not a complete technophobe numpty, there was certainly work to be done and some huge gaps in my knowledge. Fear ye not, I have copious piles of notes and have already set about sorting out the G+ profile and Google Authorship for my lovely pages of rantings that you all enjoy so much <cough>.
The conservatory was a great addition, but Mr Boudica is not impressed with my suggestion that I need to be planting out his wellies, as that’s what they did at BritMums and it was really cool.
I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house during Benjamin Dutton-Brooks‘ keynote on Saturday. If I’d known the weekend was going to be such an emotional roller coaster, I would have taken more tissues.
So, I learnt a lot. I heard some very inspirational and brave people speak. I met some amazing people and made some lovely new friends. The hotel was right on the Thames and was rather nice thank you
The only advice I would give anyone attending something similar is not to break your coccyx 2 days before a conference. Believe me, sitting down was not all that much fun. Especially not when it’s on the floor in one session as it was very crowded. “Ouch” didn’t quite cover it somehow.
Only one question remains – did I really meet Elmo or was that the wine as well?………