Donning My Big Blog Hat for the Day – BML16

On Saturday I attended the BritMums annual blogging conference, BritMums Live or BML16. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you can find more information about BritMums and the conference here. In a nutshell it is an opportunity to think ‘blog’ for a day – to meet bloggers, to meet brands, and to learn bloggy wisdom.

I feel compelled to share with you a little bit of my perspective on the day despite being fully aware that if you are an avid blog reader or in my Twitter network you’ll most likely have read 43 other similar posts. If you are at saturation point, toodle-oo – do come back soon! If you think you can take another ‘I woz there’ scrawl across your screen then keep reading.

The first thing to say is that I’m a little bit in love with the staff at The Montcalm London City which was my abode for the night before the conference. I will ramble on about this in a whole other post, I’ve got photos to share and everything! What I will say is that we have stayed there before, and we will stay there again but this time was made particularly special in a number of ways and for that I’m very grateful.

Logo of Montcalm on white dressing gown

So Saturday morning dawned bright and not too early (The Montcalm being conveniently located at the conference venue) and I was off with my metaphorical blog hat firmly shoved on my head. Here are ten musings and learnings and experiences of my bloggy day out:

 

The conference was top and tailed with keynote speeches – I thoroughly enjoyed these and the light and shade of emotion they ignited in me. For me, I took away the fact that all voices are valid, and all stories are worth sharing – there will be someone who will be moved in some way by what you’ve got to say, whether it’s moved to tears, laughter or action.

 
If you want to be taken seriously as a ‘professional blogger’ or if you want more control of your website, go self-hosted, collect your readers’ email addresses and ditch the Gmail/Hotmail email address. I am wandering off whistling nonchalantly at this right now BUT I do hope to action this advice at some point in the vague and distant future…nothing like commitment is there!?

 
I think I was riding on a bit of a giddy ‘aren’t bloggers just wonderful’ high! I won’t be singling out anyone: if I met you be assured I genuinely loved meeting you. Like everyone, I’m sure, there are people I wish I could have spent more time chatting to, people I said nervous, stupid things to (like: ‘oh is that your baby?’ Knowing FULL WELL their ‘baby’ is over 1 and not the much littler baby they were holding, oops), people I wasn’t expecting to meet but was so pleased to have done so, familiar faces to catch up with, bloggers to scare with a bit of over enthusiastic blog-love, and a long list of bloggers I wish had been there but weren’t.

 
If vlogging is your thing, Facebook-Live should be your thing. Vlogging is not my thing, Facebook is not my thing, so that’s all I have to say about that, but don’t say I never give you anything.

 
I was impressed with the venue, The Brewery, which, granted, will be of little interest to most people, but having spent a lot of my working life organising events and festivals I definitely think the devil is in the detail and it all felt very slick – I didn’t see a lot of venue staff but at each session fresh water, glasses, pens and paper were on the tables, the lunch was efficiently delivered, toilet paper seemed plentiful…you know all the important things!

 
I learnt that we can all make a difference through our blogs if you free yourself from what others think and tell your story – take your experience and see how it can help you grow and how you can ‘add value’ to it for yourself and for your readers. The value could be empathy, resonance, laughter; the difference made could be to just one person and that can be enough.

 
My face doesn’t come out on my blog and so I was struck by a weird but enjoyable sense of anonymity during the day – I could look at someone I ‘knew’ and know that they would most certainly not know me…until the ritual name badge peering that is. I think I crept into one photo, maybe two…so if you’re reading this thinking ‘I wonder if I met Lucy?’…here I am! I’m with blogging buddy and sunny, sparkly KCACOLS leader, Franca from A Moment with Franca. (I’m on the right with giddy face and no lipstick – I think I need lipstick in my life…). Anyway hiiii!

Franca and Lucy

Blogging is big business. Market research shows that bloggers are HUGELY trusted by consumers, if that floats your boat then use it – you have power.

 
I was encouraged to make a ‘blog wish list’ and think about what my goals are for my blog; what do I want my blog to look like and be achieving three years time? Probably a useful exercise whatever you blog looks like and whatever your blogging reasons.

 
Conclusion and my BML swag:
I didn’t feel I benefited directly right now from all of the sessions – my blog isn’t currently a business and it’s not a campaigning platform – it’s simply a playground for my grey matter. A place where thoughts and ideas can swing next to each other, or more accurately bounce each other off the see-saw and get stuck on the roundabout, before nosediving down the slide.

And that’s ok, I took home a feeling of pride and comfort in my blog

I took home bits and bobs and a few gems of ideas away from the sessions

I took home a feeling of warmth and friendliness from interactions with other bloggers.

I took home a lovely squidgy feeling of fullness that comes from eating a lot of cake at the pre-awards party

I took home a goodie bag and, far better than that, a big wonderful ‘shortlisted in BiBs Awards’ badge from the fabulous fellow-shortlisted Jo Sandelson at Heir Raising

And finally I also took home little whispers of where blogging could go creatively, commercially, socially – maybe my direction will change in time, maybe it won’t, but either way there’s no denying that there’s an untapped bank of possibilities for the futures of all our blogs.

Diary of an imperfect mum
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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48 thoughts on “Donning My Big Blog Hat for the Day – BML16

  1. Ah lovely write up Lucy and so lovely to meet you on Saturday. I definitely got back to my hotel room and thought “aww I wanted to talk to Lucy more” so we should definitely organise another meet soon… I agree with what you say, the take home message of how your voice and story is important was fab, though I didn’t get as much from the sessions as I thought I would. That said, it was such a fab time! Xx #triballove

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    1. Oh absolutely, I felt completely the same – you are definitely in the category of people I wish I could have spent more time with! No I didn’t get as much out of the sessions as I thought I would – maybe more things with bubble up over time. But despite that, yes agreed, it was such a fun day, I really loved it! Another meet up sounds like a brilliant idea xx

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  2. Oh you’re a sweetheart mentioning the shortlisted badge Lucy. Maybe it should get a mention and a place in the post? I’ll go and do that now. Actually have been so busy i haven’t got around to sending Debbie’s at Random Musings to her yet. Must find a jiffy bag. Yr post came across just as you seem, very light in a good way and positive. I like the way you noticed the details of the conference from your own background. Pens and water don’t just turn up by themselves, so i’m sure BML appreciate yr appreciation! Jo x

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    1. I was genuinely impressed with the constant water! Maybe that’s why I spent so much time nipping to the loos, I was blaming a bouncing baby but now I come to think of it…!? Like I said in the post, I was struck by all the warmth and kindness on Saturday and your thoughtful, fun gift of the badge embodied that for me. It has pride of place on my kitchen notice board! Fab to meet you Jo. X

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  3. Sounds like you had a great time and got to meet lots of lovely bloggers. Would have been great to have met you,maybe I’ll go next year. I like all the things you learnt, thanks for sharing them and your thoughts on the day xx #blogginggoodtime

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  4. I love this overview – it’s good to know that there was useful info to take away from the event even if your blog isn’t masking money and you don’t necessarily want it to make money. I just wish I could have been there to soak up the lovely blogger vibe. # ablogginggoodtime

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    1. Thank you – wish you’d been there too! I think there was a lot less to take away if your blog isn’t your business (or if you don’t want it to be any time soon) but the whole thing was a great day…as you say the ‘blogger vibe’ was just fab xx

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  5. oh the untapped possibilities – love that – it was just that wasn’t it? All that inspiration that just fills you with a drive and new found energy – I’m still buzzing from it and feeling that I really belong to something really quite fabulous! So totally gorgeous to have met you and I adored your very personal badge from Jo! #ablogginggoodtime

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    1. Oh that’s brilliant, lots to think about! I loved the feeling of belonging to something wonderful…each session and each room felt so filled with warmth, energy and excitement. It was really brilliant, even if there was less to take away from the sessions than I expected (or than there would have been if my blog was more commercial perhaps). LOVED meeting you lovely xx

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  6. This is a great overview darling – lovely to see your beautiful face too! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and how lovely that Jo made a badge for you! Honestly I think I’d have found the whole conference aspect a little intimidating and overwhelming BUT I really do wish I could have met you all. Maybe next year?! #ablogginggoodtime

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    1. Oh yes, definitely think about next year! It was very friendly and busy so not a lot of time to feel intimidated I don’t think…I don’t know. Meeting people was definitely the best aspect for me, and feeling part of something. Thank you for your kind comment…this will probably be the only time my face makes an appearance! Xx

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  7. It was so lovely to see you again Lucy! You were glowing! I was so happy that we managed to catch up despite being a hectic day. It was so busy! Thank you so much for mentioning me and of course the linky. Even though my blog is very commercial I also felt that I didn’t learn as much from the sessions. For me the highlight of the day was meeting people. Lots of lovely bloggers that we have been chating for months so it was nice to finally see their faces! I really had an amazing time! Great post Lucy as always! I hope I can see you again soon, 🙂 xx

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    1. Ahh thank you lovely, so glad you had an amazing time. You did such a fantastic job of meeting loads of people and getting the #KCACOLS lot together, really impressive. Interesting that, although your blog is more commercial, you didn’t take away a huge amount either. I haven’t read that many glowing reviews of the sessions, some but not loads. I suppose it is hard in 45mins or an hour but interesting…
      I hope we can catch up again soon – I’m sure there’ll be other blogging events and opportunities. Can’t wait xx

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  8. Thanks for sharing your tips, it’s really interesting. I did want to start vlogging at some point, but I always just revert back to putting words down on the screen. I always think there’s no one way to do it, and that we can all find our own path to blogging success (however we define it). I don’t think I’m going to ditch my hotmail address just yet! #ablogginggoodtime

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    1. I completely agree, there are so so many different ways to make a blog ‘work’. I’m not going to lose my gmail one, I was really proud of it and surprised it wouldn’t be professional enough…just shows how unprofessional I am but I’m not yet very brandy so it doesn’t really bother me. Thank you for commenting, glad some of the tips were interesting! X

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  9. I feel like a learnt a fair bit from the sessions at BML and I found the Instagram session so interesting. It’s amazing what you can do with a blog! #KCACOLS

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  10. Wrong – I think yours is the 67th #BML post I’ve read but I find them all fascinating and envy inducing! Your points about going self hosted and doing away with a gmail / hotmail address are echoed everywhere – I’ve got the self hosted domain secured and I’m playing with it but feeling quite anxious to make the leap, probably because I assume it’ll mean a vast amount of extra techy work when I’m just about keeping up with the blogging world as it is. Ought to just feel the fear and do it anyway I think. On a trivial note, I saw that photo of you floating around but I didn’t realise it was you – you’re stunning! Well, both of you are. #KCACOLS

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    1. Haha the number is rising by the minute I’m sure!! Oooo definitely just take the plunge, why not!? I’m saying that with absolutely no intention of doing anything like it at any point soon BUT I’ve head nothing but positives and there are lots of opportunities (money type opportunities if that’s your blogging bag) that you can’t access on free WP.
      Ha, thank you for your kindness about my face – if you see it around town do say hi! Although I actually had makeup on and stuff so it probably doesn’t look like that as I drag it and the rest of me up portswood high street of an afternoon! Not sure why I’m talking about my face as a thing in its own right now either…I’m going X

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      1. Eek, it’s happening! Have spent this evening tweaking and will hopefully launch this week. Oh I have a perpetually miserable and put upon face so if you see me around town do also say hi..! We should meet up one day, I’m always (never) in Trago or Coffee#1 with the cool kids. X

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  11. It was so good to meet you! You’re totally as lovely in real life as I expected 🙂
    I think we have similar attitudes towards our blogs – but as you say it’s always good to have in mind what one could do with one’s blog…if one wished/could be arsed!
    I am currently debating the whole self-hosted thing – I keep changing my mind!
    #KCACOLS

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    1. Ooo I wonder which way you’ll land. I think I’ve been debating it for about a year now. I was going to do it this year but I can’t see that happening now…so, um maybe next!?
      SO lovely to meet you too – south coast meet up surely should be on the cards at some point!!? X

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  12. You have a face!
    Looking lovely my dear and actually this is my first read through of the day as its not really my scene.
    The whole self hosting thing goes over and over in my head, but I can never quite commit.
    Looking forward to nice hotel post, that’s definitely my scene! 😉

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    1. I do! And it’s going away back in its box again after this post!
      Hmm self hosting…yep I’ve been thinking about it and vaguely talking about it for ages now. I think maybe 2017 will be my year…! X

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    1. Ha! Thank you Sassy. Yes me too…sounds like the two day format was a bit better for that but next time I’ll make sure I get to whatever social/fringe events are happening – the meeting people was definitely the best bit for me x

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  13. Glad you had a good time lovey, everyone has come away so inspired it sounds like a fab day, and night in the lovely hotel, lucky you. Xx #ablogginggoodtime

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  14. I’d think I’d have been pretty much the same as you if I was there – not trying to make money or fame out of blogging but doing it for some rewarding mental exercise! Will definitely think about going next year though if I’m still blogging! Now I know what you look like I might even say hello! #KCACOLS

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  15. I live in the US but would love to attend this conference just to meet some of the many wonderful bloggers I have come to know along the way. I’m sure it’s an overwhelming event with lots of do this and don’t do that. I say do what works for you. I’m visiting from #KCACOLS hope all is good with you 😉

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  16. Sound like you had a good time, and how fantastic is it that you were able to see the different directions your blog can actually go in. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.xx

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  17. Hi, odd comment incoming 😛 I wasn’t there, won’t be there due to the whole ocean in the way, that said, due to this lovely linky I have read tons and tons about it. Almost to the head banging point but not quite yet. (haha!) However–I must admit that this was one very refreshing take on the whole thing. I have not done a blogging conference and probably won’t but I won’t say never. You take was wonderful, I love your description of your blog and what it is to you! Thank you truly for sharing 🙂 #KCACOLS.

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  18. Lucy, you always find another angle on something and I found your summary of the wonderful BML experience so refreshing and articulate! I had a blast meeting everyone too! I love your perspective on what your blog means to you and its about using your noggin and enjoying that rather than feeling some huge pressure to monetise it or necessarily quantify its success in some other way.

    You look gorgeous in your pic with Franca BTW!

    Thanks for sharing. #KCACOLS

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  19. I read this and said “ooo yes” to myself several times. I agree with much of what you have said about the day. I’m rather jealous of you staying at the Montcalm though, a bit more luxurious than me travelling in from home.

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  20. What a lovely write-up and yes it did all feel very slick and well-organised didn’t it? Love that tip about freeing yourself from what others think of you – that’s the best advice ever. It was so lovely to finally get to meet you there and I was just sorry I didn’t have more chance to chat to you. Love the photo of you and Franca and glad you had such a lovely time 🙂

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