Yesterday was BML16 – BritMums Live – except these days there’s less of the mums and more of the dads (two of which were highlights for me with their keynotes) so it’s better known as BML. I was going for the third time, so knew what to expect… though really you don’t know exactly what to expect until you’re there.
So without going into a long ramble, let’s try summarise BML16 in bullet points….
• Meeting bloggers – I finally got to meet Paula from Mummy vs Work there. Years ago BritMums did a ‘Big Sis’ type thing, where they got experienced bloggers to help out newbies. I was paired up with three bloggers, two of whom I’m still in touch with, so it was lovely to finally meet Paula and her husband Phill after all this time! I hung out for most of the day with Mary from Over 40 and Mum to One, talking wine, politics, 80s pop music and all kinds of things, and it was a fabulous day. Plans will be made to meet again and have H hang out with her boy, Monkey wherever we meet!
• The brands. I never go specifically for them, so I like being surprised by what is there. I was really impressed with the following ones…
– Diary Doll – It took me about five minutes to realise I was buying some pants from Carol Smillie. Someone (maybe a BML16 person) took a photo of me holding some pants up when I was working out which size I was (14-16 which Carol estimated when we were trying to work out my size) – and they’re SO pretty too.
– Bollox. I’d read up about them beforehand, and they’re a brand I want to support. Basically they have men’s undies which contribute towards male cancer charities. I bought a pair for Shaun who says they’re very comfortable – I suspect they’ll be his new running undies…
– Touchnote. I really like what they offer. Basically, you download their app and are able to send postcards from wherever you are from your phone. So, say for example we’re in Disneyland Paris and H has a fabulous picture taken with Mickey Mouse. I take a photo on my phone, I can create a postcard via the app, and get it sent to Shaun’s mum in Australia. Because they have a printing facility in Australia, it gets processed there! It isn’t cheap, but I love that postage is included in the price and that they have several centres around the world. They’ve also got a new service where you can get your photos printed which isn’t cheap – BUT – they have your whole photo on there, not cropped like some services do. So I’m looking forward to using Touchnote.
– Fellowes Brands. I never thought I would want a laminator as much as I did, especially once I was making my way home. We laminated a Snow White style doll and two dresses which are now H’s latest thing, a dress up doll. We’re talking about drawing some more dresses so she can decorate them, or in H’s words “just find someone with a laminator so we can make more!” (if only it was that easy!)
I was impressed with their air purifier too – what a difference something like that would have made when we had our carbon monoxide leak.
– DC Thomson. The magazine people. H now has a Jacqueline Wilson magazine and I think we may be heading in that direction with her reading… she loves watching Hetty Feather on CBBC, so this was a good match for us. Add a goodie bag with lots of things perfect for an almost seven year old, and I hope we’ll be doing more with DC Thomson over the coming months.
– The Big Little Tent Festival sounds like a great idea, though unfortunately we have a back yard – but there are still ways to join in. It runs from the 16th July until 19th September and we’re going to look into this – plus we are staying in a yurt for some of that, so then may be a good chance to dip our toes into the water! They had a lovely room at BML16 with plenty of fizz and food on offer – their tiramisu was FAB!
– Merci Maman. I was one of the lucky ones – at the very start we played Pass the Parcel, with one of their necklaces at the end. I’ve worn it for two days now and it’s so pretty! It was also the most expensive thing I was wearing, worth almost £80 (it’s the Duchess Necklace). I wasn’t sure if it included nickel in it, but was reliably informed it’s an EU regulation that jewellery can’t contain it any more so I should be okay. They do some very pretty jewellery too!
– The Clangers. There was a Clangers Kindness Tree where I added a kind thing I’d done (I’ve given up my seat on the bus or train several times this last couple of weeks – pregnant ladies, people on crutches, when people seem to live in their phone bubble or behind a newspaper ignoring what’s around them) and gushed a bit about how I love The Clangers and have a toy somewhere I’m refusing to let H have. Having said that, when I got home with a magazine and a whistle she’s laid claim to them immediately, so I’m hoping she’ll stay interested for a couple more years!! I grew up with The Clangers and it makes me happy that the new version keeps the spirit going so well.
• Then there’s the speakers. Anne-Marie Cockburn did the BML16 Keynote talking about her book 5,742 Days which deals with her life after her daughter died, up to her 16th birthday. She was selling copies of her book afterwards and I picked one up. I can relate to writing when grieving, I did it a lot when my dad died and found it helped me a lot although it has remained private, and while it feels wrong to say I’m looking forward to reading the book, I’m going to be reading it soon. She was amazing and inspirational.
• Julie Creffield was a proper kick up the backside inspiration. She has the blog Too Fat to Run – the Fat Girl’s Guide to Running, which started because people told her she wouldn’t be able to do something, couldn’t do this, and so on. So she decided she would, and now runs marathons, and has a fabulous motto in life – set Big Fat Stupid Goals, as well as encouraging fat girls to run. She forgot to mention a new campaign which is encouraging more women to run – Julie’s target is to get 1 million women running by 2020, and this one is to get 10,000 women running on the 31st July. We’re on holiday then so while running might be out of the question, I know we’ll be doing a lot of walking so I’m going to try and make this work for me!
• Charly Dove had a brill BML16 photography session. I love her photos, and know I’m more the take the snap and make it better kind of person – whereas she thinks a lot more about the picture. So I had some handy hints in this session.
• Cherry Healey was funny. I bought her book today.
• The BML16 Bloggers Keynote – big shout outs to the two dad bloggers who made me laugh and smile – Tim Liew’s Pretty in Pink was FABULOUS and Al from The Dad Network’s video was so funny too.
Did I enjoy BML16? Absolutely. The one day format works for me, even though I was shattered by the end of it all. If BritMums Live were ever to go back to two days again, please give the option of buying a one-day ticket.
I forgot my business cards! Typical.
I managed to catch up with everyone I wanted to, and met lots of new bloggers too, and put a lot of names to faces.
I even stayed for the BiBs – I don’t normally stick around for awards, but I was having too much fun.
Will I go next year? Well it depends on the format and price. I felt like I got my money’s worth. Thank you Susanna and Jen and the BritMums team for organising such a fab event!