I’m home from what has been an absolute whirlwind of an event; BritmumsLive 2013.
On Friday, Little Mr and I travelled down to Central London to attend the two day blogging conference, BritmumsLive at The Brewery. I was really nervous as I’ve only ever been to a handful of events and with this event being the biggest so far, I was really doubting myself. With Little Mr as my wingman, I knew that I’d be okay. If no-one spoke to me at least I’d have him or I could slope back off to my room at the hotel next door.
After quickly checking in to the hotel (and spotting Emma, Amanda, Pippa and Blog of a Mom who were all checking in to the same hotel) and getting changed into my outfit I bravely stepped outside and joined the queue to get in. I was greeted with smiles from fellow bloggers that I recognised and was introduced to many smiling faces, which of course I can’t remember apart from Annie Mammasauras and Alice who probably didn’t realise that they instantly made me feel like I was meant to be there, thanks ladies! I saw other familiar lovely faces such as Bryony and Monika and my anxiety begin to fade until I had to walk in, collect my badge and actually be at the event I had wanted to go to forever, as myself!
I spotted the crowds in The Hub and it scared me. I wasn’t ready to go in and introduce myself. I needed to pluck up the courage so I spotted a sofa in the lounge and sat down. Little Mr needed feeding so I took the chance to settle him and began to people watch. Luckily for me, the lovely Jo spotted me and came over for a catch up. I’d met Jo previously at the Kiddicare event and have enjoyed tweeting her since then so caught my breath and began to relax. I spotted Lauren who came over for a quick chat and then it was time for the main event to kick off. As I took my seat, I was surrounded by familiar faces; Jo, Fi (my lovely Cosatto travel buddy) and Laura sat on the same table as did Kirsty and Clara. Ericka had left me a message on my Facebook and I spotted her in the crowd and waved. Just to point out that I don’t know Laura, Ericka, Kirsty or Clara at all but from reading their blogs and exchanging a few tweets in recent time I felt like they were blogging friends and I felt at ease.
So the event kicked off with a keynote from Kirstie Allsopp (off Location, Location, Location fame) and after questions from the floor it was time for the first set of workshops to begin. I didn’t really fancy any of the sessions so took the time to browse the various brands who were in the hub whilst it was relatively quiet. It’s not at all what I was expecting. Although I’m not sure what I was expecting. I felt really awkward introducing myself to each brand and that’s probably down to my lack of experience of meeting brands face to face who want to work with bloggers. I lacked confidence in saying ‘work with me, work with Little Mr, we’re great’ so I didn’t really ‘put myself out there’ which looking back is a bit of a shame.
Time really does fly when you’re having fun and it was soon time to head back upstairs for the BiBs Awards. As I had been in a focus group I lost my familiar faces, so when I walked upstairs I was confronted with a sea of glamorous women all in heels and snazzy dresses. This was daunting. I didn’t like it. There wasn’t an easy way through and so I made my way via the free wine (I don’t drink wine so you must know how scared I was) to the top of the main seating area and just sat down in a quiet corner. Everyone knew each other, they were all hugging and kissing, having photos taken and drinking lots of wine. I felt lost. Luckily I had Little Mr with me who was smiling away, he was my icebreaker as quite a few ladies came up to me to tell me how gorgeous he was and how broody I was making them feel. The BiBs started and first up was the award for Fresh Voice. I recognised a couple of the finalists names but didn’t recognise the winner, Life as a Widower. I began to sob which turned into buckets full of tears . I think the enormity of the day had finally hit me and I was in the middle of an awards ceremony crying my eyes out without an easy escape route. I was offered tissues and wine from lovely ladies on the next table but I couldn’t stop crying. Part of it was because Ben’s story upset me and the other part was because I felt alone. I didn’t know anyone. I was sat in a massive hall where friendships were being formed and re-kindled, and I felt alien to it. I looked around and I knew no-one. It took me back to being at school, I wasn’t one of the cool kids and neither wanted to be but I felt really isolated. I felt like no-one wanted to be in my company or spend some time with me and Little Mr getting to know us. I deliberately didn’t make dinner plans as I didn’t know what time hubby would realistically make it down to London. I didn’t want to commit to going to dinner (although I did have offers) as I knew Little Mr would have been shattered and needing his bed. It wouldn’t have been fair to drag an over exhausted baby across London just so I could eat. What a mistake that was? I ended up walking to the nearest supermarket alone to grab a pasta salad and a tube of Pringles.
The tears didn’t stop there. Once hubby had fallen asleep I lay awake trying to take in the days activities. My mind was buzzing, I wanted to put faces to twitter handles and check peoples blogs for conversation starters just in case I bumped into them again. I checked twitter for any tweets, Facebook for any messages and my phone for texts, there were none. I had tried to make contact with a couple of people but I guess they were already busy eating dinner and drinking without their babies in tow. To be fair I could have joined a couple of meet ups but I felt stupid, I felt like I was forcing myself upon them. I’d come all the way to London to mix with all these lovely faces I’ve called friends on Twitter, Facebook and in the bloggersphere and no-one bothered. Now if I’d have been a roomy with someone other than my husband or hadn’t of taken Little Mr with me, it might have been a completely different evening. Who knows! I sobbed into my pillow and promised myself that instead of making an idiot out of myself and my sponsor I needed to (wo)man up and make the most of the next day. I was there to be me. I was there to learn about myself and to better my blog. I was there to enjoy myself!
Day 2 of my BritmumsLive experience took guts. I was flying solo without Little Mr (Hubby and Son were having a boys day out in London) I had to be me, I had to bravely introduce myself and attend the sessions I wanted to go to. I had felt so isolated during the previous evening I needed to push myself out there so I skipped the hotel breakfast and walked into the Hub.
To be continued…