In the run up to Britmums Live friends who knew that it was my first blogging conference wondered whether I might be nervous. I felt a little sheepish as I admitted that no, I felt nothing but excitement at the thought of rushing headlong into a crowd filled with friends who had until now lived inside my laptop. I couldn’t wait to dive face-first into the community of people who have never been anything but kind and supportive toward me.
What can I say? I am definitely not an introvert.
The other question directed toward me was, of course, whether I planned to bring the twins. I wasn’t brave enough to bring both (plus, I needed a free hand for the pastries and the wine!) but Baby Lysander did accompany me on the first day. Initially I was a little concerned as to whether he would find the conference to be too overwhelming (he is by far my more sociable twin – hence bringing him – but even sociable babies have their limits!) but after an initial ten minutes of bewilderment he was DELIGHTED to be surrounded by so many women, most of whom were eager to respond to his smiles and to cuddle him when he lunged out of my arms toward them. I am reasonably sure that he thought it was his own personal party, hosted in honor of him!
My attendance at Britmums Live was sponsored by Little Tikes; if you have a child or ever was a child you will be familiar with this company’s products even if you don’t know them by name. Hands up if you ever rode in a Little Tikes play car, hung out in their sand pit or bounced on one of their teensy-tiny see-saws. (I did, I did and I did.) They also sponsored one of my blogging besties, The Mummy Adventure, so we simply had to get a picture of the Little Tikes’ Bloggers’ Babies hanging out at the conference together. Cute much?
Lysander ADORED baby Finn (pictured) and tried his very best to coax him into play, babbling and grinning and waving his fat little arms at him. He was just a touch too little, alas, but next time they meet I’m sure that they will be the best of friends! Lysander certainly has good taste in babies; I borrowed Finn for a cuddle on the Saturday and my ovaries haven’t felt right since!
Quite a few of us brought babies to the conference this year and they were seen as a bit of a highlight by the baby-free. If you’re reading this and wondering whether to bring a babe in arms to Britmums Live 2016 I would say go for it; so long as you’re sensible about removing a screeching little one from the speeches, nobody is going to resent the presence of your child even if he or she is a little noisy. A baby that doesn’t mind strangers will be absolutely fine at the conference (alas, one of mine loathes attention from strangers and so I left him at home!).
The only downsides to bringing Baby Lysander for me was that a) I couldn’t take advantage of the free wine and b) in order to get him home by a semi-reasonable hour I had to leave the conference at half past seven, thus missing the Brilliance in Blogging Award ceremony. It was worth it to share the day with him though and I returned home feeling so proud of my little chap.
I had decided that day two would be baby-free and consequently Kirsty had arranged to take the twins to visit my in-laws. After our success the previous day I was a little sad to return to Britmums without a baby but I knew that their Nanny J and the rest of our family from Kirsty’s side were looking forward to spending time with them, so I made up my mind to embrace the mummy time.
I had fallen in love with the atmosphere at Britmums Live and didn’t want to miss a thing and so I woke myself up at a horrifying 05.30 in the morning in order to arrive in Moorgate for the planned breakfast at 08.30. The little custard-filled pastries made it well worth it and I proceeded to stuff my face with five of them, washed down with a couple of mugs of coffee. Yet another thing that you simply cannot fault about Britmums Live is the food: the pasties were just incredible, lunch was a treat – the veggie pasta could have been ordered from a restaurant, it was so good – and the pudding was divine. Oink.
But of course, nothing was so wonderful as finally being able to put voices to the text that has made me think, smile, laugh or cry over the last year. To finally give the hugs that I have wanted to give for so long. To catch up with old friends in person and to make some entirely new friends too. For me, that was the highlight: not the talks (although the talks were excellent) and not the brands (although I exclaimed in delight over the goodie bags) but the people, the connections, how the atmosphere seemed to crackle, so full were it of our emotions.
My friends. My community. My people.
And nothing was more us than the keynotes, where some people had me howling with laughter and, others made me openly weep at their beautiful, emotionally raw speeches.
I shan’t name drop all of the friends I met and hugged and laughed with and connected to, because I’m bound to miss somebody out and hurt feelings – scatterbrain – but if you were there, if you contributed to the positive atmosphere, if you shared your wisdom or your humour or your pain or your fears, thank you, my friend. I’m pleased and proud to know you. I can’t wait to see you again.
And a great big THANK YOU to Little Tikes for sending me along!
My Two Mums and Goblin Child have made it to the finals in the Mad Blog Awards! We would love it if you would vote for us to win in the Best Baby (Goblin Child), Best Family Fun (My Two Mums) and Best Photography (Goblin Child) categories.