I’ve been meaning to write about my jaunt to London ever since I got home, but I’ve been really time poor and a couple of weeks have already passed!
I’ll start by saying I’m totally new to the whole blogging conference lark. I’m not new to the industry, I just don’t get out much. Living miles away from all the fun doesn’t help much either, any travel plan I make usually involve an overnight stay, which quickly racks up the cost.
I had to get up at 4am in order to get to the conference in time. I put on my best frock, and off I trotted.
This shows some level of enthusiastic expectation, doesn’t it? On a normal day I still groan if I have to get out of bed at 8! Anyway, I had all sorts of ideas (and questions) about what #BML17 would be like. I was incredibly excited. So much so, that the night before I was meant to have this 4am start I just couldn’t sleep at all and didn’t nod off until gone 12!
I arrived just before the first sessions were starting, meeting up with Kayleigh from Candyfloss & Dreams for the first time since I e-met her over a year ago (and pestered her ever since). It was lovely to meet up with my virtual blogging buddies and she was the first of many for the weekend. It was so lovely to put faces to blogs and make new friends.
The sessions were really interesting, I feel like I learned loads. There was an SEO deep dive that had several parts to it. If I could have split myself in two, would have attended all of that as well as the other sessions too. I spoilt for choice and wish I could have gone to every session!
I really enjoyed the session from Aby (You Baby, Me Mummy). I needed to regain a bit of focus and Aby is the best person to help you get your proper blogging head on. She really knows what she’s talking about and her talk left me feeling refreshed and ready to do well. I’d lost my grandmother a couple of weeks before, my blogging had fallen by the wayside and I was feeling a bit flat before this session. She really perked me up.
Some brands had stalls in the main area, so we had a little bit of an explore during the breaks. Mauritius Family were pretty fun guys, they were encouraging us to take silly photos for a chance to win a prize. I can’t remember the prize (I didn’t win) and they were giving away tasty cocktails (completely unrelated to my memory loss).
I spent some time wandering around and chatting to other bloggers who I knew virtually. Kirsty from Winnettes was as sweet in real life as she seems on her blog. She made me feel a lot better about my Instagram account, which is done from my phone and not particularly high tech. Apparently I do bitchin’ flatlays (I may be paraphrasing). Expect to see a million flatlays now I’ve had some encouragement!
You probably want to know what goodies I got, don’t you? Well, the goody bag was super generous and we got loads of treats:
These are a few of the treats from the goody bags, Rob stole some spice and Emma stole a really beautiful copy of The Secret Garden.
The Am I Number 5? people were very generous too, whilst raising the profile of their campaign to get more women talking about periods. The whole idea behind it is that one in five women will have unusually heavy periods, and because people do’t talk about this, they don’t realise it’s a legitimate medical condition that can be treated.
After #BML17 came the #BiBs17 (Brilliance in Blogging awards). I was a finalist in the Beauty & Fashion category, so I was allowed to bring a plus one. Alice from Living with a Jude was kind enough to be my date (I think I showed her a good time, there was free wine on the party boat after all!).
I’m a bit ridiculous and spent the day in ‘fun mode’ instead of ‘blogger mode’, so I’ll apologise for my picture quality now.
The awards ceremony took place on a posh City Cruises boat on the Thames and was gorgeous inside. Some lovely food was brought round on trays and there was plenty of wine and prosecco.
The awards started and the nominated bloggers were introduced. Somehow I managed to win in the category I was up for! I still can’t quite believe it because everybody in that category have such wonderful and professional looking blogs. The competition was so fierce that before my trip, I told everybody I wasn’t going to win!
I’m still in a state of disbelief now! Also, I didn’t just get a trophy, I got treats too!
This is now on my mantelpiece.
Mauritius Family very kindly donated this to the prize, this is some posh rum that was in the cocktails we had earlier in the day. It’s really tasty!
This beautiful pouch was made by Elizabeth Scarlett. I don’t know if you can tell from the photo but the flowers on it have a border of sparkly gold thread. It’s lush, isn’t it?
After the boat we all landed in a local pub where there was more frivolity. We’d met up with Fran from Whinge Whinge Wine before the boat, but she’s such a social butterfly (and I’d such a bad photographer) I’ve only got really poorly lit, blurry photos of her that I’m sure she wouldn’t want me to post on my blog! In the pub she was a hoot, and made the tallest and shortest people have photos together (again, I only have blurry dark photos because I’m stupid).
It was also rather fun to meet and share late night pizza with Tim from Slouching Towards Thatcham and Matt from Man vs. Baby, who were a great laugh at such a late hour (while I’m sure I wasn’t, I was starting to flag when I hit my 21st hour of being awake). Fran and Kayleigh were far better conversationalists than me.
All in all, I had a wonderful time. The people really made it for me. I’ve been doing this properly for two years now and I know a lot of blogs in the parenting niche, but not the bloggers behind them. I loved finding out how sweet and lovely these people are in real life, as well as online. I still think that even if I’d arrived on my own and found no friends I’d still have had a blast. I’m hoping to go again next year, and perhaps a couple of other blogger events in between.
#BML7 was well worth the early start (and I don’t often say that about getting up at 4:00)!