Posts Tagged ‘Brit Mums Live’

The Good and the Not So Good About BML 17

Another BritMums Live has been and gone. This was my second rodeo…was BML 17 better or  worse than my experience last year?

 

Well I attended a blogger conference that (for me) wasn’t worth its ticket value, attended an awards ‘party’ (I didn’t win by the way) that consisted of us riding down the Thames on a boat which was basically a revolting pub that took me right back to the parties of uni days – EXCEPT the music was not the 80’s tunes of that era but the worst elevator music that made me think I’d somehow fast forwarded to living in a nursing home. And then…THEN lost my fave shoes in All Bar One. On the PLUS side, I got to spend time with some of the loveliest friends a girl could have, thanks to my Absolutely Prabulous world. ❤️ [thank you to @justsayingmum for taking the pic] – – – – #bloglife #bloggingconference #saturdaynightinthecity #saturdaynightinlondon #mumsout #ukbloggers #maltabloggers #stylishmama #instamums #bloggingmum #dressedtothenines #mumstyle #blogawards #backtoblighty #workitgirl

A post shared by Absolutely Prabulous (@absolutelyprabulous) on

Although mainly a humorous synopsis (written by a Prabs who was concerned with the shoes she left in All Bar One more than anything else!), this IG post I guess nevertheless pointed out a couple of serious truths about the BML 17 event (as I saw them).

 

So I thought I’d write up an actual post that highlights what for me was the good and the not so good about BML17.

This is MY perception/experience/analysis of BML 17. Whilst I know these opinions weren’t unique to me, after chatting to other attendees, I nevertheless can’t speak on behalf of others and I’m sure there are plenty of other BML summaries around.

FYI BritMums have sent out an event survey welcoming attendees’ feedback so that is a good thing.

Also, one of the things you can’t put a price on is the opportunity to meet up with one’s blogging friends and meet new people, which simply would not happen if it weren’t for events like the annual BML ones. It was a real shame that many of the bloggers I saw last year didn’t make it this year such as Muma on the Edge, Island Living 365Pink Pear Bear and Maflingo to name a few.

group shot of absolutely prabulous, motherhood the real deal and others for BML 17

[Image courtesy of Motherhood the Real Deal]

Agenda

Before I go into this bit, I just want to emphasise I KNOW event management ain’t easy! Anyone who’s worked in this arena will tell you it’s challenging and exhausting.

I know this first hand as I used to be a conference producer, researching my assigned subject, devising the structure and content, recruiting speakers, managing those relationships  and all on-the-day logistics.

I knew the stress of finalising a brilliant programme only to have last minute speaker cancellations leaving me scrambling round trying to replace them or having to restructure the agenda so it still fitted with the other sessions and didn’t let down the registered attendees. I can still remember breaking into a nervous sweat due to the embarrassment of a speaker not actually delivering the fantastic information-packed session in the dynamic manner they had promised or the venue messing up lunches etc!

The Good

    • For me and where I am with my blogging, from looking at the BML 17 event agenda beforehand, I thought the planned sessions this year were much better as their topics seemed more specific with more tangible/applicable themes.  Then on the actual day, the delivered content felt more substantial (for the most part)* than last year’s.  The ones I attended were: YouTube Deep Dive, How to be a Great Influencer, Who’s Making Money Now, The Not So Secret Life of YouTube Mums and Pinterest: Creative Content That Drives Traffic.
    • I personally probably got the most out of the YouTube and Pinterest sessions as I’m rubbish in those arenas and felt there was a fair bit of meaty content I could get my teeth into and apply. I won’t go into the actual content in this post as it will get too long so I may do a round up of my notes in a separate post.

The Not So Good

As I said, I know from experience how hard it is to write conference programmes. I also think that:

Depending on how long you’ve been blogging and what your objectives are, the fact is sessions are going to be too advanced, not advanced enough or just right!

BUT

    • an agenda with a one size fits all approach, that assumes each session can meet the needs of every blogger in the room, just doesn’t work.  I think BML – and its attendees! – could probably benefit from the effective multi stream approach with individual streams for beginner, intermediate and advanced bloggers. We were in fact asked about our stage of blogging in the email bumpf sent shortly before the event. Maybe the organisers just needed this info for admin reasons but perhaps this it could be constructively used to steer bloggers towards certain sessions in the future.
    • A BIG issue for myself and several others was missing out – it would seem unnecessarily – on sessions we wanted to attend. I desperately wanted to attend the Facebook for Bloggers: Business Savvy Strategies for Visibility & Making Money and amazeballs Harriet’s Instagram and IG Stories: How to Maximise, What to Avoid & Top-Notch Storytelling talks but had to miss them to attend other sessions.The frustrating thing is that there was no need  because there was a whopping hour and fifty minutes to spare between the end of lunch and the start of the afternoon sessions! The morning’s Facebook and IG sessions were a total of 80 minutes; even leaving a ten minute buffer, this means there was ample time to place these sessions one after the other after lunch meaning  nobody had to miss them. Instead, there were presentations by brands none of whom were relevant to my blog and an unusually long coffee break barely an hour after lunch had finished, leaving many of us waiting around waiting for the next session.

       At over £100 a ticket, not to mention the cost of travel to get there, nobody should have to be missing sessions.

Logistics

The Good

    • The location of the venue felt more accessible this year as it was near Waterloo. Moreover, with it being right next to the river with an amazing view of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament and just a stone’s throw from the London Eye, it was a far nicer place to be than the business like financial district where the previous venue Brewery, lovely as it is, was located.
    • Lunch (yes I have to mention the food!) was significantly better this year. The ‘take away’ card boxes last year were cute but left many of us hungry not to mention struggling to eat out of them. The buffet food (dished out by servers) this year was in my opinion much tastier and the bento/tali trays easier to eat out of for those unable to find seating. The County Hall suites tea and coffee was also more upscale (very important!).
    • Badges that went around the neck were a better touch this year as you didn’t have to stick a pin your nice clothing and more importantly, one didn’t have to stare at someone’s boobs to read their blog name. (I’m so short people were instead staring at a different body part on me given where the badge was level with but hey ho.)

The Not so Good

    • The actual entrance to the venue was not exactly obvious and the wait for the lifts at the bottom rather long, long enough that this was a problem for those of us arriving later than desired. Once up at the top, there was a fair walk from the cloakroom to the actual location of the day’s events (unlike the Brewery where access to the event is quicker and easier to figure out). I don’t know whether it was my past life as an events manager that made me so aware of ithis or my tight fitting boots!
    • BML 17 could have done with some helpful signage. Perhaps signs were not allowed at the entrance to the building by the site’s management but had it not been for some other bloggers arriving at the same time, I’d never have known if I was at the right place. Even my blog wife Motherhood the Real Deal spent ages wandering around the block trying to get in. The only sign indicating the event (as far as I could tell) was actually once you got out of the lifts at the top, walked away from the cloakroom all the way down the corridor and turned left and were by this stage, just metres away from the event’s location.
    • Although attendees were given a lovely map showing the location of the rooms, it actually wasn’t the most user-friendly system. Standard individual metal stands with the name of the room are more obvious and avoid the issue of people wandering around trying to find the room they are meant to be in, poking their heads into rooms only to find they are in the wrong one etc.
    • The brand experiences were not my cup of tea at all as none of them lit my fire but I’m sure there are many bloggers who were happy with them so again, this is subjective.

 

Sadly there was one aspect about BML 17 that I felt was just bad

I feel the need to mention this as several people were as taken aback by this as I was. At the end of the day, a handful of bloggers read out their post that won the keynote vote. This year these were (in order) a comedy post from Life, Love and Dirty Dishes about DIY, deeply emotional ones from Mummy Tries on autism and Little Ladies Big World on Baby Loss, rounding off with hilarious posts by Rhyming With Wine about pregnancy and Man vs Baby about  baby’s first holiday

All were brilliant examples of good writing that grab the audience’s attention from the start. However I’ve been trying to understand how the running order of the posts was decided. Maybe the idea was to start and end with comedy and put sad emotional ones in the middle?  Unfortunately the end result lacked thought and empathy for the speakers (and in fact the audience). Featuring Laura’s utterly devastating account of baby loss directly before Dawn’s hilarious post about pregnancy was insensitive and as hard on the audience – who were in absolute bits wiping away tears of sympathy and sadness one minute before being expected to laugh out loud the next  – as it was on the writers of those incredible posts who were placed in this really difficult position.

I’ll be honest, this will stay with me for a while.

All in all, just through the fact of attending sessions, talking to other bloggers and being immersed in that environment…

I came away from BML 17 feeling a bit more energised about blogging (after the lost mojo following the long Summer break).

Coupled with my ‘free mini masterclass’ over brunch the following day with my blog wife Talya, it wasn’t a bad way to spend the weekend.

And I got my shoes back!

 


That’s alright then!

DID YOU ATTEND BML 17? WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE?

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Introducing my #BML16 Sponsor!

Introducing my BML16 sponsor title image

So just weeks after having the privilege of reviewing their rather dashing Stuart Point rugby top

I’m absolutely delighted to announce Lucas Frank as my #BML16 sponsor.  In case, you’ve missed my previous post, Brit Mums Live is the UK’s biggest blog event of the year!

Now, it could just be the overall growing excitement at the thought of spending a weekend hearing inspiring blogging stories, learning essential blog success tips and meeting some of my blog heroines not to mention hanging out with my awesome blogging besties…

It may just be the thought of spending some me-myself-and-I quality time (despite being blessed with three easy well-behaved kids, if I say so myself, I’m still glad to be getting some kids-free time before the onslaught of Maltese heat/11 plus weeks of school holidays/swimming lessons three times a week)…

It might simply be the happiness of being back in my beloved home town, London, and spending time with really good friends the second half of my six day trip…

Or it may just be the giddying fact that I am about to attend my first ever blog event.

But as I sit here writing this on the aeroplane, waiting for my flight to depart (one hour delay and counting by the way) to take me to #BML16

and the Brilliance in Blogging Awards (in which I’m up for a Best Writer award along with four other finalists, which you can read about here), I’m having to stifle the urge to do a happy dance.  Because I genuinely consider myself ridiculously lucky to do what I love and love what I do.  Launching Absolutely Prabulous has enabled me to indulge my passion for writing, put a few pennies in the mummy piggy bank and work with some fab brands that fit with my family’s and my lifestyle.

And this leads me on to my #BML16 sponsor.  For Lucas Frank is exactly such a brand.

This company’s products and ethos really have resonated with me. Their boys’ clothing range is right up my street.  As I said in my review, I often struggle to find clothes that I like for Dreamy D. My daughters’ wardrobes are infinitely better stocked but finding things for D that a) fit his rather small slim frame b) look good and c) don’t break the bank cost-wise, hasn’t always been easy.  I was so happy (and more importantly my son was) with the top we received from the LF guys and I’ve already picked out other items in their range that I love. It’s no over zealous compliment when I say I fell over with excitement when they contacted me a while back to work with them.

I freely admit, I’ve had the biggest smile on my face since Linden and his team confirmed they’d sponsor my #BML16 attendance.  As the daughter of two people who worked relentlessly and tirelessly to grow a grocery store business (in the face of burgeoning supermarket chains) for over fifteen years, I am passionate about supporting newer retail businesses making their mark, if they offer a product line I can put my faith in.  It’s such a thrill and honour to be supported by – and lend my endorsement to – the Lucas Frank clothing line (which you can purchase from here by the way).

Finally, over to the LF chaps themselves, to see what they have to say:

Once upon a time, in a hospital maternity ward far, far away – well, right here in Yorkshire actually – a boy by the name of Lucas Frank was born. He didn’t know it yet but he was soon to become the inspiration of a brand new clothing company. As his parents carried their little bundle of joy home from the maternity ward, they decided right there and then, this little chap deserved the best – of everything.

Much like Lucas, your little man deserves the best too. Designed and created in England, using a 100% renewable manufacturing process with 100% organic cotton, you can be sure that what you are buying is the best. With a mark of quality along every seam, we believe that the small things – like our Lucas – really count.

With polos, tees, hoodies and rugby wear via Britain’s greatest sartorial talent, the Lucas Frank site offers something for every little man. We know what style-conscious parents are looking for – and we’re always ahead of the game when it comes to trends. Love, care and attention goes into each and every stitch of the clothes you’ll see here on the site. And we have the very same focus behind the scenes, too.

Looking for stand-out kids’ fashion? You’ve just found it.

So there you go!

Look out for my mentions across my social media, of Lucas Frank Boys’ Clothing

over the next few days while I’m doing my thang at Brit Mums Live.

And thanks again to Lucas Frank, you lovely lot, for sponsoring me!

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