Reflections on Britmums Live 2014

Reflections on Britmums Live 2014

On Friday 20th June, I travelled down to London to spend the next day and a half with 700 other bloggers going to the blog conference Britmums Live 2014.

I had an amazing time!

I’m lucky enough to live fairly close to London, so I didn’t have to drag myself out of bed at the crack of dawn to make it down there for the 12 o’clock pre-meet like so many others, but could have a pretty relaxing morning with my family before heading down on the train. It made all the difference. By the time I got to the coffee shop for the newbie pre-meet, I was no longer nervous, just very excited to meet everyone.

Having said that, arriving at the venue was a little overwhelming. After spending most of my days with one three year old, seeing 700 excited bloggers in one space was a bit of a shock to the system. Somehow, in that mass of people, I spotted Em from Snowing Indoors, who was the first Britmums blog I visited after joining last year and has been a favourite ever since. It made everything better. It reassured me that I would recognise a lot of the people I have talked to online from their blogs or twitter avatars. I was okay after that (Em, on the other hand, may not have recovered quite so quickly from me attacking her with a hug!).

The sessions

I have to admit that I had been wondering if the sessions would be worth my while. I’ve been blogging for about 5 years now and have been pretty good at finding information as and when I need it. Thankfully pretty much every session I went to taught me a little something new, or made me look at something in a different way.

These were my favourite sessions (in no particular order):

* Design tips to make your blog look gorgeous with Lucy from Capture by Lucy.

Lucy is one of my favourite bloggers, and has been so kind to me since I first started talking to her online, so I knew I’d go to her session no matter what else was on the agenda. I wasn’t the only one- her session was packed (standing room only). And it was a good one. It mostly confirmed that I’m on the right track, but I also figured out a couple of small tweaks I’d like to make to my blog design over the summer.

Being squished in a corner, I couldn’t really take notes, or photograph the slides, but I know she will put the notes on her blog in the next week or two, so go there for more.

Lucy later won the Bibs (Brilliance in Blogging awards) for best photography, and I could not be more pleased. I’m so glad I got to meet her, hug her, and learn from her in person.

* Google +: Learning to love it with James Dearsley.

I only got into Google + properly a few months ago, and have loved it ever since. I have devoured everything I can on it, and James brought a few new features to my attention that I can’t wait to try out. He had a really popular session too.

* Podcasting: the hows, wheres and whys with the Love All Dads podcast.

I was really interested in going to this one as it’s something I’m considering for the future (you heard it here first!), and it didn’t disappoint. The guys actually podcasted their session with us (which means we’ll be able to listen to it when it’s released), showing us how they put a podcast together and opened the floor to questions. It was very interesting and a good laugh too.

They won award in the Bibs too (innovate). Well done lads!

*Pinterest: how to be a power pinner with Lizzie Gold from Pinterest

The three main things I got out of the Pinterest session with Lizzie was that…

1) 75% of pinning is done from mobiles so make sure that blogs are mobile responsive, and have images that come across well on mobiles. Check images on your own phone, and on someone else’s.

2) Don’t limit how many pins you put on a board. If someone only follows certain boards (which is very common), they won’t know that you’ve started a new board on the same subject.

3) The real eye-opener for everyone in the room. Ready for it? Hashtags don’t work on Pinterest! It uses organic text, so you’re much better off using colourful, descriptive words instead so your pin turns up in lots of different searches.

*How to Instagram Better: Take gorgeous snaps, build followers, be part of the community with Marte Marie Forsberg

Marie has the most amazingly beautiful Instagram feed, and has been incredibly smart in using it to her advantage. She showed us how she creates the beautiful images we see in her feed, how she gains followers naturally, and  her long-term and short-term strategies for getting recognised by brands.

One of the things that struck me the most about her session was how well she knew herself. Everything she taught us pointed back to that one thing: know yourself inside and out. It was the theme of the conference really, but she personified it.  It made it much easier for me to approach her for a chat later, even though our styles are often polar opposites. I just had to talk to her since she’s another Scandinavian expat in the UK.

***

The keynotes

I also loved the keynote speech from Benjamin Dutton-Brooks from Life As a Widower, which was incredibly inspiring, and probably had half the audience text home to say “We need to sort out life insurance pronto!”.

***

The people

The very best part of it for me though was meeting so many wonderful bloggers. I have heard of a few people who had nasty comments from other bloggers, but I never heard or saw any of that. I saw a venue full of wonderful bloggers who were incredibly friendly and supportive, who chatted with everyone, whether they were big shots or newbies. And I made some wonderful new friends who I hope to get to know better as time goes on. I didn’t take many pictures, but these are just a few of the people who now have a special place in my heart…

BML 2014

Amanda, Emma, and Katrina (with Lucy in the background)

Britmums Live 2014

Me and Amy.

Post BML dinner

Out to dinner after the BiBs, with the wonderful Kanchan.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and will be back!

***

Linking up with Snowing Indoors point + shoot and the Britmums linky.

Comments

  1. Loved meeting you Carin, and thanks for being a beautiful, kindly face in a large crowd! :) I had a very positive and enriching weekend at BML! Roll on next year..x

  2. Oh what wonderful memories! It was wonderful having time to get to know you over the weekend – we had a blast, didn’t we?

    I’m so glad to hear the sessions were so helpful and that your nerves quickly disappeared once you spotted someone you recognised :)
    Amanda recently posted…BritMums Live 2014 – Got Butterflies? Here’s My Essential GuideMy Profile

  3. Sounds like a fantastic weekend! I am determined to be there next year :-) lovely pictures x #Point+Shoot
    Kirsty Hijacked By Twins recently posted…Point + Shoot 21st – 22nd June 2014My Profile

  4. Great round-up Carin. I’m glad to hear that Lucy will be putting her session up on her blog. I would have loved to make that session, but being so overwhelmed and with it being so hot, I just couldn’t so with ‘stand and squish’.

    I would be very interested to hear your thougts on G+ (another one I missed). I am on it and have been a while but can’t say I get it and it has been a bit neglected of late.

    I’m glad that you had a nice time. Saddened to hear that there have been nasty comments about it all, but thankfully I didn’t see or hear any of that! x
    Rachael recently posted…After BritMums LiveMy Profile

    • Rachael, you’re in luck, there’s going to be a Britmums hangout on G+ tomorrow (Wednesday) at 5 pm (but you can watch it afterwards too, just check the Britmums’ YouTube channel). I don’t have my notes here, but if I remember I’ll pop over to your blog tomorrow morning with the link he gave us). xx
      Carin recently posted…Reflections on Britmums Live 2014My Profile

  5. Hi Carin! Enjoyed reading your review!! Let’s make sure we meet next year!

    GW xxx

  6. Wow, I am so envious, this sounds like an awesome bloger event. Thanks for sharing the highligts, I enjoyed reading this!
    iHanna recently posted…Vintage Shooting Target PapersMy Profile

  7. It was lovely to meet you albeit fleetingly and I’m right with you – Lucy and Marie’s sessions were two of my absolute favourites!
    Carie recently posted…{this moment}My Profile

  8. what a lovely round up! i am so gutted i missed the Google+ one i was too busy talking! xx
    Jaime Oliver recently posted…Britmums Live 2014 & Me ….My Profile

  9. I missed the G+ talk to drink tea and am now rather regretting it. Sigh, I am a fool….
    Kate Williams recently posted…Summer Garden InspirationMy Profile

  10. Great detailed reviews and lovely pics. Glad you had an amazing time! :) xx
    Funky Wellies recently posted…London By NightMy Profile

  11. Great round-up of BritMums Carin! I missed a couple of those sessions but enjoyed the weekend anyway. Lovely photos of you and some top bloggers!x
    Jess Paterson recently posted…Blogwarts: A First Year’s ViewMy Profile

  12. Great to read your review and so glad that you enjoyed it! I also loved the design session from Capture by Lucy, it inspired me to come back and totally update and change the layout of my blog!
    Jennifer recently posted…Our first school summer holidayMy Profile

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