Well, it happened.
I went to #BML16, the conference formerly known as Britmums.
And although my dreams of making my way up a lengthy red carpet past hordes of paparazzi whilst TV crews vie for my attention, as I imagine is the lot of the superstar blogger, are as yet unfulfilled; and I am yet to sweep the board at the accompanying awards ceremony, being plied with such accolades as Best Blog, Best Writer, Best Outfit and Most Fabulous All-Round Individual, I have to say it was pretty good.
In fact I loved it.
Admittedly the speakers, although interesting and at times informative, were not as good as Blogfest. However, that didn’t matter as for me the focus of the day was more on networking than learning new things. For me, blogging is a constant push and pull between trying to be successful and get all the page views and have all the followers, and just writing whatever I like, even if I know it’s never likely to be remotely commercially successful. Speaking of which, I am as yet undecided on how and even if I want to monetise my blog. Obviously I want to earn megabucks and be showered with accolades, but I had always envisioned these coming from writing plaudits and book deals (HA! May as well dream big) rather than writing overly sincere puff pieces about the “lovely people from (insert name of company here)”. I have never seen myself as a digital marketer, but it was interesting to explore the possibility by speaking with some of the brands in attendance.
In other words, you could be seeing me flogging some stuff on here very soon. Watch this space.
No puff pieces though. I will be telling it like it is. Wit, sarcasm and straight to the point, no faffing around talking about the Queen Mother for two paragraphs (OK, no promises there).
I am also unsure about the suitability of my blog for Pinterest. I love Pinterest, but I am not sure if I am qualified to give advice on any of the topics about which Pinterest excels. My home decor leaves a lot to be desired (I will spare you the trauma of a picture, but suffice to say I sleep in my brother’s old room, and there are piles of clothes on the floor, as wardrobe space is sadly lacking). My recipes are hardly original and anyway there aren’t any on my blog, and I switch off entirely when people start talking about “crafts.”
So there we go, Britmums. I spoke to some brands. I attended a talk on Pinterest. I ate some food…
OH, and I met loads of people from online. People I had secretly feared might not even be real people, but avatars, or 55 year old men called Roger from Wolverhampton who still live with their mothers (NO JUDGEMENT).
But they were real people. Utterly fabulous real people, who I only wished lived closer (like, maybe in my street), so that we could get together more often, and share copious free bottles of low-alcohol spritzers, or their non-free, but higher alcohol, alternatives. I won’t go into names here as there is such a long list that I know I would definitely miss someone out, but basically, big shout outs to everyone I spoke to. You know who you are. And (whispers) there were even some people there who had heard of me EVEN THOUGH I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW WHO THEY WERE. I am beyond flattered. I’ve basically made it.
Highlight of the night, however, was without a doubt the moment that Island Living 365 won the Brilliance in Blogging Award for Fresh Voice. Let’s just say that our table was like that rowdy group you always get in the bar at some of the cheaper caravan parks, who start whooping and shouting every time the compere asks if there’s anyone in tonight from Birmingham.*
I also managed to take this brilliant photo to capture the moment. Although by the time I’d worked out how to use the zoom lens on my “blogger camera” (which I spent the day wearing around my neck in an attempt to look like the serious blogger that I obviously am) the moment had basically passed.
Well done Island Living. Definitely a well deserved win. I am already preparing my acceptance speech for next year. Or at least my dignified loser face anyway.
So basically, the long and short of it is, if you are a parenting blogger, and you are thinking about going to Britmums at some point in the future, I give it my sincerest recommendation.
And the lovely people at Britmums didn’t even tell me to say that. You can trust me for a 100% honest review.
*Is it just me who holidays in these establishments?