…It can only be Day 1 of Britmums Live!
Last Friday started off with me practically running away from the out stretched arms of my children as they prolonged their goodbyes and were one more kiss away from bursting into tears and demanding that I either stayed at home or took them with me. Not a chance. I was going to Britmums Live, a 2 day Blogger event where I would meet the friends I have met through Blogging and hopefully learn a thing or two!
I sat upstairs on the bus listening to music for the first time in years and then leisurely strolled around Reading Station buying magazines and a bagel without worrying about little people being knocked over by commuters whose laptops hang at head height or being run over by the thousands of suitcases being dragged around. Being so carefree soon bit me in the bum because I realised I’d missed the first off peak train. I hop footed it to the platform and discovered I either had to wait 25 minutes for the direct train or jump on the train that stops at Slough. I jumped on the Slough train and immediately regretted it. The difference between the Slough train and the train that goes direct from Reading to Paddington isn’t just the extra 15 minutes it takes. The train was manky. It reminded me of the trains put on late at night that they don’t care about drunks urinating in. It was packed and full of late commuters and some rather unsavoury types. I stood up by the luggage hold and decided to just zone out with my iPod as office types all crowded around me. Gone was the intention to eat my bagel and paint my nails, that would have to wait.
I arrived at Paddington and literally fell out of the train. I have never wanted to get off a train as desperately as I did then and to make it worse it had stopped bloody miles away from the tube! I checked my watch knowing I was due to meet Annwen from Ramblings of a Suburban Mummy at 10.30 and picked up the pace. I jumped on the tube and realised I hadn’t text her to let her know I was in London. I always forget that it’s not possible to use my phone on the underground because I am in fact – underground. I arrived at Oxford Circus ready to meet my online friend that I met 4 years ago during our pregnancies with Spud and C. I thought I’d be nervous but it was exactly the same as meeting up with a friend that you have known for years. We embarked on some window shopping that involved the humongous Disney store and handbag shopping in Selfridges. I spotted one with a 50% off sticker and my heart jumped. It was gorgeous and 50% off, how could I say no? It was £1500 after the discount. – that’s how! We decided not to depress ourselves anymore and I realised we would have to make a stop for some PJs. Yes I had known her for 4 years but that still didn’t mean we were comfortable sharing a twin room naked! We hit Primark – the total opposite of our previous jaunt and I spent a whopping £8!
We decided that it was probably safest if we headed over to the hotel and get checked in to drop our bags and redo our hair after being brutally attacked by gale force winds. We planned to settle in and then head for lunch, with wine – dutch courage and all that. Unfortunately we spent too long looking at ourselves in the mirror and had to run for the tube to the Brewery stopping at Pret to grab Annwen a sandwich on the way – I still had my bagel! We also grabbed Danielle from Blog By Baby on our travels so we all rocked up with more confidence despite not finding any wine.
When the doors finally opened we excitedly spilled in and went to explore. We found the Hub that had the brands set up inside with lots of competitions and goodies for us to have a look at and had a quick wonder around bumping into Bloggers that we knew. After a little browse and chin wag we were invited to go to the main room for the opening speeches. We heard from Ruby Wax about beating the Tsunami of all Depressions which was extremely thought provoking and inspiring. After that there was a session from a panel led by the Huffington Post and it was pretty pants. Tweets were flying around the room about how clueless the Bloggers in the panel were and how boring the whole thing was. Twitter became amazing, I don’t go on there as often as I should but I was on there conversing with Bloggers that I knew and trying to locate them in the room. At one point The Boy and Me was staring right at me and my immediate thought was oh my gosh i’m being stared at, do I have something on my face – Twitter then confirmed I’d been spotted! Trying to find Helen from The Crazy Kitchen was somewhat of a challenge and when we finally worked it out she was sitting on the next table!
When it finally finished we went back to the Hub and visited Duplo, Disney and Warner Brothers where we learnt about some fab new products and entered some brilliant competitions, I was most excited about the brand new Batman Lego console game that was only released that day. We took a trip to the TK MAXX room where we were styled and told that I was a mixture between a pear and an hourglass and Annwen was a strawberry. We were given hints and tips for styles and trends that would be good for us and I was quite pleased to discover that I actually had my outfit pretty much perfect for my shape so felt quite smug as I had always thought I was a bit of a fashion disaster!
We then headed off to the next session called “The Clever Bloggers Way to Write about Parenting.” Being a parenting Blog I thought it would be a good idea. All I really learnt was not to write what you think people want you to write and to be honest. I adhere to both of those anyway. My Blog is MY Blog. I don’t write it for anyone else and I wouldn’t lie or embellish to get readers!
After the session it was time for the BiBs (Brilliance in Blogging Awards) pre party so we headed back to the main room and came face to face with some rather dashing, rather tall and rather naked “wine buffs” handing out Prosecco. Ok so technically they weren’t naked naked. They were wearing flip flops! Ok, Ok and boxers with little aprons. Now I’m not really a Prosecco or even really a wine fan but there is something about a man with no clothes on topping up your glass that makes you drink it!
Danielle, myself and Joanne from Mummy 2 Five decided to go and get a table and took a couple of glasses down with us to keep us going throughout the awards. The next hour consisted of some fab fab Bloggers winning awards for different catergories that were presented by Katy Hill. She was very funny and I loved that she bought in stories about her own Blogging and her own family as she did the category introductions and presentations. When the hour was up we got chatting to the other Bloggers in the room and were then promptly kicked out. After no dinner and 5 glasses of Prosecco I stumbled out of the building and headed off in search of some dinner.