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Feeding on the train / Train sleeping
When I woke up on Friday morning and saw that some of my fake tan had transferred itself to Huxley’s head I knew it was a good omen: I was going to have fun at Brit Mums Live.
I was right, too. I had the most wonderful weekend, from the friendly tube tramp offering swigs of red wine to meeting Aly and Bryony at The Hoxton and finally getting to ogle Steph in real life. The brilliant seminars, the great brands, the BiB awards, the prosecco, the cocktails. It was a whirlwind of hugs, learning, chatting and laughing.
Hux relaxes while I have lunch at the Hoxton / Room 1 at BritMums Live
Meeting people in person who you’ve known online for a long time is a bizarre experience. It’s a relationship you’ve invested in time-wise as well as emotionally, so if they aren’t what you were expecting in real life it can be heartbreaking. Luckily, all the friends I met over the course of the weekend were just as I expected: warm, friendly and funny. My kind of people. I’m sad I didn’t get to spend more time with some bloggers, especially that I didn’t get to re-create the great Cybermummy rose evening of 2011 with Grenglish and Richmond Mummy. Next year, ladies?
Photobooth with Aly / Photobooth with Bryony
So, that Friday was a whirlwind. Hux and I were able to check into our hotel at 11 before we had a bite to eat with Aly and wandered over to the venue with her and Bryony. Let me tell you- 500 women (and, like, 4 men) in one room…. That gets LOUD. And a bit intimidating, actually. I spent a while slightly freaked out at the amount of women I recognized.
Prosecco! / Espresso Martinis!
The first speaker was the hilarious Ruby Wax who spoke frankly about depression and her new website Black Dog Tribe, and then the first session began, the state of UK blogging today. Shamefully, I was having so much fun socialising that I only attended that one session, and spent the next couple of hours chatting.
Next up was a drinks reception courtesy of my new friends at Radcliffe’s Wines followed by the Brilliance in Blogging awards. I was up for an award in the Tasty! Category and was not disappointed to see it go to the inimitable Maison Cupcake (I’d spent hours practicing my ‘grateful loser’ face), plus I would never have lived up to Mammasaurus‘s amazing acceptance speech. I did win a bottle of prosecco though, which pretty much made my evening… and made me very hungover the next day. I stumbled back to the hotel with Aly and Bryony for a drunken feast of steak and Espresso martinis, Hux being safely tucked up in his pram upstairs in the hotel room while his dad watched the football.
Dinner with Briony and Aly at The Hoxton / With Aly, the best person to have come out of Northern Ireland ever!
I thoroughly enjoyed the next day’s sessions, especially the Advanced WordPress one. It was so weird to spot Katy Hill wandering around the venue and every time I heard her speak I froze, expecting her to leap out having built a mini Tracey Island replica out of newspaper and loo rolls. Totally starstruck.
Outside the venue with Bryony / Licking Steph’s face…
One of the highlights for me were the keynote speakers. I remember sobbing at Nicki from Typecast‘s amazing story of her dayghter’s diagnosis with cancer at last year’s Cybermummy, and this year Hayley from Downs Side Up completely stole the show. Her post titled What To Say When A Child Is Born With Downs Syndrome was simply brilliantly delivered with frankness, emotion and a touch of humour. There was not a dry eye in the house and she received a thoroughly well-deserved standing ovation. I think it resonated with all of us for different reasons, for me aspects of it reminded me so much of when Elfie was diagnosed and I wept again when I thanked Hayley for sharing and told her a little about our own journey. I can’t imagine having the confidence to recount the sadness we went through in front of all those people and think Hayley is truly one magnificent lady.
Grenglish and Ministry Of Mum get props from me for sharing their hilarious posts, as does Karin for bravely reading out her post about the time she realised she was over her PND. Another warm and funny new real life friend who enjoyed her Hux cuddles!
I was starstruck again to meet Cherry Healey, another brilliant and inspiring woman. I saw her present at last year’s Cybermummy but didnt have enough balls to introduce myself then so I’m glad I did this year (after some gentle bullying- thanks Aly).
Bryony and Aly in a session / Meeting Cherry Healey
I returned home that evening knackered and on a total high after spending two days in the company of such inspirational women. It was such a great weekend and though Hux was the star of the show I really look forward to attending next year’s event child-free (it’s impossible to take notes on a seminar while simultaneously rocking your child to sleep).
And of course there’s no better feeling than returning to your home, babies and husband after a weekend away, even if the man in your life does rip the piss out of the mutual love-in that was going on via Twitter. What does he know? Ladies, I love you!