What I learned at BritMums Live 2015

BritMums

This year is my third on the bloggers’ conference circuit, and I feel like a bit of an old hand. My newbie jitters have been banished to the past; instead, in the run-up to events like BritMums Live, I mainly look forward to seeing old friends. And to putting real faces to those avatars I’ve been hounding round the blogosphere (some of whom I’ve been chatting to since 2012, but still haven’t managed to track down in real life. Do they actually exist??)

BritMums Live takes place at The Brewery, a spacious, elegant venue that’s comfortably close to where I live in London. Of course, the elegance was ever-so-slightly diminished by the welcome party of giant CBeebies characters (Twirlywoos, in this case). But it wouldn’t be a parent blogger conference without something to send home for the kids (and my two were beside themselves when they saw this picture of me, on Daddy’s phone).

twirlywoos

I’m finding these conferences more enjoyable every year. As well as catching up with mates, I always find myself coming away with new insights and inspirations. BritMums Live 2015 was no exception. Here’s what I learned.

Social media doesn’t have to be dizzyingly complicated

I was late in adding ‘social media’ to my portfolio of blogger skills. I resisted signing up to Twitter until a good 6 months after I launched the Pigeon Pair and Me; and BritMums Live 2015 is the first conference I’ve been to where I decided to make sure I went to some SEO and social media workshops. But I came away from the social media optimisation session by Ali Clifford and Maggie Woodley with a clear plan of attack. It is possible to make all those social media platforms bring more readers to this blog – I just need to do a bit of tweaking. Phew. And Paul Armstrong‘s talk on understanding social media better was damn near visionary in the range of possibilities it set out for social media promotion. A lot of them seemed to involve payment, which is a bridge I’m not sure I’m ready to cross yet. But Paul made a convincing case.

BritMums

Ali Clifford and Maggie Woodley

Costa Brava is a beautiful place

Aside from the social media sessions, my favourite had to be the Saturday wine-tasting gig by Pirineu Girona Costa Brava Tourist Board. And not just because they were generous with three different types of wine, including the most sensational dessert wine I’ve tried. It wasn’t even the hunky Costa Brava campsite rep that did it for me (apparently, Costa Brava has some of the best campsites in Europe, rated for tourism quality or environmental quality). No, the talk given by Jaume Marin and his colleagues gave us a feast of holiday ideas. I visited the Dali Museum in Figueres many years ago, when I was 22; although we have a picture of Dali’s muse Gala hanging above our bath, I’d kind of forgotten about this special place. I came away from BritMums determined to take the children there (the museum is completely kid-friendly, apparently). The picnics in Costa Brave vineyards, with wine, cheese and fresh bread specially packed for you, and the cooking workshops for kids, also looked incredibly  tempting.

BritMums

the nibbles were very good this year. Check out these rhubarb and custaed mini-cones.

Community is alive

In his talk, Paul Armstrong said that it wasn’t profitable to invest too much in community. He was talking in terms of social media, of course, and perhaps it’s true that some groups fall apart when a particular platform becomes less popular. But I’d like to think that events like BritMums Live help make the community of parent bloggers a force that would be undented if – just say – G+ fades away to nothing.

Over the course of two days, I gossiped, shared trade secrets, and drank far too much wine (thanks, Lindemanns, for that) with a group of people – mainly women, I have to admit – for whom I’m beginning to feel a remarkable fondness. At the final bloggers keynote, I cried when Helen Wills and Jenny Leonard read out their posts about love and the preciousness of life. And I smiled at Rachel from the Ordinary Lovely’s post about how she wants to always remember the sweet, simple moments in her life as a parent of two boys.

I left BritMums Live early. Those beautiful keynote posts had reminded me that life is short; I was aching to see my son, and my small daughter, who was covered in chicken pox. The weird, wonderful and inspiring community of parent bloggers, of which I’m proud to be a part, has made me appreciate even more this short time I have with my children.

And for that, BritMums Live 2015, I thank you.

Follow:
Like this post? Why not share it:

10 Comments

  1. June 26, 2015 / 8:49 am

    Life is indeed terribly short. I was so happy to see my lot when I got home too – I slept for 13 hours first though!
    I can’t believe I didn’t speak to you! I didn’t even spot you at all xx

    • June 26, 2015 / 9:14 am

      I know, I can’t believe it either! I suppose there were a lot of people there in crowds – I didn’t spot you either. Next time, for sure! Thank you so much for reading the keynote to us all. It was an incredibly brave thing to do. x

  2. June 26, 2015 / 8:53 am

    Ah bless you Nell it was lovely to see you. It’s always too brief and too many people to catch up with.

    Where were those cones?? I never saw those!

    • June 26, 2015 / 9:15 am

      Ah no, you missed the cones??? BIG shame. They were out in the first coffee break, on Friday. They were gone in a trice, I think! It was really good to see you too. Here’s to the next get-together! x

  3. June 26, 2015 / 5:56 pm

    Oh this was my first year so I had all the jitters and pre-match nerves. However I was quite relaxed when I was there; I found it very friendly and great fun. The sessions were spot on too. Maybe see you there next time! xx

    • June 27, 2015 / 8:09 am

      Yes, I’ll keep a look-out!

  4. June 26, 2015 / 8:31 pm

    Thank you so much for the mention. My post was so simple compared to the rest and I mostly sobbed through them. It was quite an emotional end to two very hectic days. I felt like I was saying hi to people non stop but when I got back, I realised that I hadn’t seen half the people that I wanted to. It’s pretty full on, isn’t it? x

    • June 27, 2015 / 8:09 am

      It’s really intense! I knew what to expect this time around, so I wasn’t so nervous, but I too felt like there were loads of people I wanted to speak to, but didn’t. Will try and track you down at the next get-together 🙂

  5. June 27, 2015 / 8:47 am

    My third time too, and I enjoyed it the most. So nice to see familiar faces although shame there’s rarely time for a proper chat and catch up! x

  6. July 4, 2015 / 9:22 am

    Great coverage of BritMums Live! I love reading other people’s experiences of the day! xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.