Thursday 27 June 2013

My Notes from BritMums Live 2013

So BritMums Live for me began with a meet up at Starbucks that had been arranged on the BritMums' Butterflies Facebook group.

The only photo I took in Starbucks was this one of the radiant Missy B. Send her some love as she is in hospital.

I was on schedule to arrive about 15 mins early, but I got to the station and realised I did not have my phone.  NORMAL me would have gone on ahead and played the martyr being without my phone all day.  But at the ripe old age of 40 I have realised, a little too late, that sometimes putting yourself first is the sane and healthy thing to do.  I knew the ladies would talk amongst themselves while they awaited my grand entrance arrival and that they did :-)  You cannot spend the weekend at a social media conference and NOT have a phone.  Thank God I made the right decision as I ended up staying over night - photos of our gorgeous "The Montcalm" room in my other BritMums Live blog post.

On arrival there was a queue to get in as is usual.  But it is a queue with a difference.  It is a queue of like minded people where you already get to start to mingle.

Photo from above, from the left:
Emma Bubba Blue and Me
Sam, Dreaming of WDW and
Michelle Purple Pumpkin blog   her two BritMums Live posts are really worth a visit

Two butterflies were already on hand as we walked up the stairs to the hub:
THEY don't know what they were doing (having now seen the photo) but it is clear that they were practicing for the wand session in the Warner Bros Lounge - right ladies?

 Clare from Seasider in the City and Michelle from Mummy from the Heart.

Jennifer looking glamorous on the speakers' registration desk.

Anyway enough of this preamble - this post is meant to be me typing up my notes and you can see all 177 of my BritMums Live photos here.

So after Susanna and Jen welcomed us to the event, we had a keynote speech from Kirstie Allsopp.  I think I am the only person in that room who has only seen her on TV a handful of times but I can really relate to her point that she only wears dresses.  Due to my muffin top in jeans, THAT has been me of late too.  She was so engaging and such a natural speaker that I wrote THIS on my agenda:

Kate and Sharon were captivated too:

At that point I did not realise I would be further blown away by Katie Piper and Katy Hill (on Saturday).  +BritMums really did themselves proud withe their choice of speakers this year.

My first session was still in the main room

Brand Panel Debate - what do bloggers and brands really want from each other

To be honest there were many points during this where I switched off, as I could not really see the speakers due to them all sitting on a sofa.  Somehow that stage needs to be even higher.  So I ended up enjoying the free notebooks on the table and doing things like this with Emily from Family Four Fun:

The only notes I took were:
TK Maxx has a dedicated Head Of Social Media
Whereas used to be just a PR Team.
Has its own budget now.
TK Maxx still a big TV advertiser.
They asked that we proactively contact them.
Christine Mosler said she approaches brands herself.

Then it was time for tea and coffee :-) and more time mingling with peers and sponsors.  The hub was rocking this year!

At 17:00 I had a choice to make but I chose:

Putting your best foot forward - How to present your blog to brands along with media kit tips.

The star of this session was Helen from Actually Mummy, as she was SO transparent in sharing what works for her AND what she charges.  She said she would later email us the media kit she uses and do you know what? She ALREADY has done!!!!  Was also lovely to see Juggle Mum and THE Rosie Shelley

Notes from this session:
Juggle Mum said "I am not juggling here, I have already scheduled a tweet [something I have NEVER done] and the first person to RT it will win my book".  My lovely mate Jenny who was sitting next to me won it :-)

She said working with brands can raise your profile and gave the example of her being a Butlins Ambassador which she said raised her profile.  You can see why considering her Butlins You Tube video has had 9k hits.

The Butlins exposure made her more VISIBLE which meant that she was approached by other travel related companies and got to make a video about a Wallace and Gromit ride.  She's even done a video challenge about a day without paper.  For this she received £300!!! Her best month ever in terms of earnings from her blog is £800 - but in addition to that she gets paid for freelance writing and public speaking!
Actually Mummy! or rather her MUM ;-)

I didn't take that many notes from Actually Mummy speaking as I videoed the whole thing.  But of course I lie being the serial note taker that I am:
After 3-4 months blogging she started to get approaches.  Got paid small amounts. 
2 people PM'd her and were kind enough to send her their media pack.  Helps you to look professional.  Your blog is your brand.  First question you should ask is "what is your budget?"  Start realistic and build it up - can't start at £200 straight away! Oh she also said sometimes blogging doesn't increase your incomings but rather reduces your outgoings (as you blog to get things free).  [This can really work if you approach brands and don't passively sit back].Actually Mummy's prediction for the future: paid for links will stop, but brands will pay for posts for specific audiences but less of them.
I then went to:

Getting Paid

Helen was there again as she stood in for someone who could not make it.  Luckily the content was different.  I don't seem to be able to find any notes from this session. Maybe I have it on video.  I am yet to upload my videos as my priority last night was uploading the Remembering Kerry one, which took 190 minutes.


That was the end of the official part of the day and it was over to the #Bibs award ceremony but with plenty of drinking and mingling first.  I HOGGED the Vitamix cocktails stand (being a Vitamix proud owner since 2007 or 8 - bought for £399 at Vitality) and drank about FIVE of their delicious cocktails.  I then moved onto champers, and then at the awards ceremony tables I may have had a couple of glasses of wine ;-)

After the Bibs, Clare and I went to check in to the Montcalm, and then high tailed it to the Chiswell Dining Rooms to meet Monika et al!

Yes they are not sugary but that is the whole idea. Vitamix is all about HEALTH and VITALITY - just on this occasion we added ALCOHOL :-)

Heaving - Mums like a free drink without kids in tow! LOL!

Well done Spen!

Happy at the Chiswell Dining Rooms - great food and great deal (£27 each)

FAB dessert!

The set menu is superb!
Day 2 saw me starting the day eating TWO bowls of porridge in the Hub.  If you read my OTHER BRITMUMS LIVE POST you will know this already :-)

The Saturday Keynote was Katie Piper.  I was probably the only person in the room who did not know much about her story.  I was hanging on her every word. As soon as I have enough money I will be buying all three of her books, starting with the one about daily inspirations!

In the burns unit she was surrounded by other disfigured people and her loving family, she was secure.  Things only went wrong when she went back into real life.  She said "human spirit radiates true beauty" and I just had to write it down.  "Attackers could only attack what they could see!"

The turning point for her was Channel 4 making the TV Show "My Beautiful Face".  3.5 million people watched it!  People stopped her in the street in an encouraging way and she instantly went from victim to survivor!  She read out a poem called "Katie my Old Face" which had me in tears.

Her and her family used to watch lots of comedy box sets as she could not manage to avoid sex or violence on regular TV (try it, she says it is impossible - thank God I only have children's TV on nowadays).

She once had a tube in her tummy and once laughed so much that blackberry juice came out.  She said her family have never laughed so much. Her 19 year old sister stayed in and watched Alan Partridge with her for 2 years and kept her in touch with fashion!  Except Katie had lost so much weight she was in aged 9-10 jeans!

She said a very poignant thing which is that when we want to change we need to start with our thoughts - so very true!

"Success is a journey not a destination!"

She can be found at @KatiePiper_
and @KPFoundation

Again Channel 4 are to make a TV Show but this time it is about fashion and beauty and she is so so proud to have been asked.  She then read out a dedication to her Mum (who was in the room) in the form of the Serenity Prayer.  Everyone at home really must have wondered why we had all stopped tweeting. There could not have been a dry eye in that room!

The first session I went to Saturday was

Become a YouTuber

Crumbs said that:
  • You Tube is about the conversation and audience.
  • Lots of students make their meals.
  • They have lots of family friendly meals.
  • Very real and very immediate - people tell you straight away if they don't like it. One of the sisters works in TV for her day job and she said you don't get that kind of immediate feedback there.
  • Keep videos short - less than 5 minutes.
  • Their HOW TOs get a lot of views.
  • They like a Black Metal Vegan Chef in the States.
  • You Tube has 1 billion users worldwide so is worth spending time on.
I think the next notes were from Lindsay Atkin
  • There is a you tube space at Google head quarters. [Where is it though????]
  • You can turn up and use the equipment and there is food you can help yourself to.  (I will SO SO SO be trying this out!)
  • Brands ARE willing to invest in YouTubers.
  • YouTubers have get togethers if you get involved in the "gated" community!
  • There's one called Summer in The City but it is sold out! 3k people last year 8k this year just to show the rate of growth You Tube is experiencing!
  • Follow @youtubegatherings on Twitter!
  • Lindsay Atkin is @liliesarelike on Twitter.
The next notes are from Christine Beardsell who did the session by herself this time last year
  • For SEO it is important to get the video file name and first two lines of the description right and relevant.
  • Thumbnail is also important
  • Uber search tells you what people are searching for!
It was then time for coffee and pastries - it's a hard knock life for us! :-) Having been there since 8 it felt like lunchtime, except... it wasn't ;-)

Social Media Crash Course

I spent coffee stressing about what session to go to next, as I knew that Mammasaurus and Mummy Barrow would make a SUPERB comedy duo, but their session was listed as for beginners.  But none of the others attracted me (it was only later that I found out how very good "Are we really addicted to the internet" was).  Anyway I made the right decision as (i) there was free chocolate and not as we know it (ii) they WERE pure comedy (iii) the room was standing room only but we craftily did have a seat and a table (iv) I made a lot of notes at this session.

Sharing buttons on chocolate - how very very coooool!

Jenny's "talk to the chocolate cos the face aint listening" face ;-)

My notes from here:
  • Think of platforms as an extension of blog.
  • Put in time before seeing a result.
  • Make social links at top right corner of blog (I am yet to do this #yikes).
  • Be social on social media (I liked this so much that I tweeted it out during the session).
  • Think of self as a brand.
  • Have same user name on every platform.
  • Have active accounts.
  • Don't link twitter and Facebook.
  • Put words before the @ so that all of your followers see it.
  • Oh the next notes are about Pinterest and I HATE Pinterest :-( here goes anyway!
  • Have a blog board of images from latest posts.
  • Portrait photos (not landscape) are easier to pin.
  • Overlay relevant text using picmonkey.
  • You can Pinterest old posts - you can even ADD an image to an old post.
  • Pin in evenings in UK
  • 2-3 a.m. for U.S.
  • 4-5 a.m. for the Aussies.
  • Use natural light not flash for great shots.
  • Change board covers if you want to update your account.
  • Mammasaurus does not overlay @ name as finds they then get shared more!
  • Pinterest very soon will allow you to schedule pins.
  • Reserve your account on platforms you may not be on.
  • Put a bio on there and say I am active "here"
  • Unfollow bitchy people - life's too short!
I then went to:

How I Did it

The Potty Diaries took her blog to Moscow with her :-)
@A dad called Spen did it when they were having naps.  He said we should write from the heart and that it is easier to say than to do!
Stand out - write a post only you can write!
Your blog is successful if fun!

Then it was time for a beautiful lunch.

After that it was very much

Blogging With Heart for Support

I didn't take any notes here as I was a Speaker, but I was privileged to sit alongside
Downs Side Up
Mammasaurus and
Not Even a Bag of Sugar

They all SPOKE from the heart as well as blogging from the heart.  Many tears were shed throughout the room, and I could not even count the amount of tweets we received afterwards.

I THEN BUNKED the next session...... I have never done this at a conference IN MY LIFE but I was overwhelmed AND I had received a rather special phonecall that needed returning.

Afternoon tea and coffee felt a bit undeserved after my truancy but I am glad I was in the hub as I got to meet HEDWIG

We then had the Bloggers' Keynote session which is normally my favourite part of BritMums Live, but I was just waiting for "A Time To Honour Kerry".  Don't get me wrong I enjoyed EVERY single blog post read by its author, in all manner of different ways, but I was on tenderhooks.

If you were not there, let me share with you why:

Thank God Nick (Kerry's husband) suggested we all have a drink after (we needed it), and toast her (he even provided the dosh)! We snuggled, we exchanged memories and we had a BIG group hug.  It was particularly great spending more time with Actually Mummy and Emma Mummy Mummy Mum,  Alice My Life My Son My Way  and Red Ted Art's Maggie (I just MUST buy her book!)
You were with us in our hearts and minds throughout the event!
BritMums Live did not put me in debt thanks to my sponsor alexandalexa.



  1. What brilliant notes, thanks so much for writing this up. I also went to the session on feminism on Friday which was excellent.

  2. This is an amazing post - thank you so kindly for sharing all these notes. I've learned so much more just reading this post. And the blogging from heart was such an inspiring session and changed my life.

  3. It's an intensive two days isn't it? So much to do and so many people to see! Sorry I missed you again.

  4. Yay, a semi decent pic! Nice to meet you there and great to hear about Sat as I couldn't get back for that one.


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