I’ve Been To BML16

 

BritMums Live — aka #BML16 — is the UK’s biggest, buzziest blogging and social media conference and it’s where you’ll find technical workshops, creative juice, social media leaders sharing their secrets, panels that will leave you enlightened, conversations that will inspire and friendships that will last all year long.

And let me tell you, BML16 didn’t disappoint. The day started bright and early with a train to London at 05:58. Three hours later and I arrived at The Brewery, the venue for BML16, in the heart of London. I was full of excitement, nerves and if I’m honest, one too many coffee’s. My hands were literally shaking as I met up with my linky co-host Claire, who writes at The Pramshed. Meeting someone who you have been chatting to online for months is a bit reminiscent of a dodgy blind date. “What are you wearing?” was a phrase I saw a lot online in the lead up to BML16 by people wanting to meet up. I needn’t have worried though. Claire is as lovely in the real world as she is in the virtual one. This proved to be true for many people I met that day.

BML16 First Impressions

Throngs of (mainly) women were gathered in the courtyard at the entrance all hugging, pointing, laughing, chatting and sharing in the excitement of the day. The whole place was alive and buzzing as people spotted other bloggers that they knew and every so often the buzz would be broken by an excited squeal as someone (probably me) spotted a “pro-blogger” that they admired. For us, this is the equivalent of mingling with celebrities – sad but true!

I heard many bloggers say it would be fine to turn up alone as everyone is so friendly and I really think that this is true. People were just getting stuck in and introducing themselves and each other. The whole atmosphere was really inclusive, warm and welcoming.

BML16 Agenda

The day started with a welcome speech from the BML16 founders, Susanna Scott and Jennifer Howze.

Kirstie Pelling then got up and bravely read her poem; BritMums we are live! It’s hard to get the attention of a crowd of bloggers who are all surgically attached to Twitter so I felt a bit sorry for her to be honest. It was a good effort though.

Following on from Kirstie was a lady called Anne-Marie Cockburn. Anne-Marie is a campaigner and an author of a new book called 5,742 Days, a mother’s journey through loss. Most importantly she is a Mother to her daughter Martha, who died three years ago at the age of 15 after taking an ecstacy pill. As she read an extract from her book I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room. What an incredibly brave woman to stand up and stoically read her story to us. It must still be so raw and painful – unimaginable for those of us who haven’t suffered loss like that.

BML16 a Mother's Journey throough loss

BritMums Live was celebrating its 5th birthday so to lift the mood and celebrate the occasion there was a game of pass the parcel. Yes really. Each table at it’s own parcel and in true party spirit there was a little edible prize in each layer of wrapping and a gorgeous piece of jewellery as the final prize.

Coffee and cake in the hub followed. The hub was filled with brands who had come to meet and speak with bloggers. There were loads of big brands in there such as Johnson and Johnson, Coca-Cola, Touchnote and many more. We particularly enjoyed the Soltan stand in a strictly professional capacity obviously…

BML16 Soltan

Back to work after all that pitching and fun professionalism! There were loads of different workshops to choose from at this point but I ended up plumping for:

  • Travel Blogging: What leading coverage & travel social media looks like now. Interesting session with a panel of leading travel bloggers and an emphasis on utilising Pinterest as well as some of the newer social platforms like Facebook Live and Periscope.
  • Up Your Game: Innovative ways to make money. This was one of my favourite sessions led by a panel of three experts including Vicki from Honest Mum . It was a Q&A session so we all got the opportunity to ask something relevant. A really inspiring session that has given me lots of ideas for the future of A Mum Track Mind! I also got a chance to have a little chat with Vicki and thank her for the support she has shown me recently.

BML16 Honest Mum

Lunch was another chance for gossip, chat, networking and of course sampling the amazing food laid out by The Brewery. I’m lactose intolerant and had forgotten to let the venue know so it was really limiting for me – that’s my own fault though! Still, who needs food when there’s prosecco?!

BML16 Link Hosts

The next workshop that I went to was Up Your Game: How to work smart with PRs and this was a really useful collaboration between a successful travel journalist, Susan.L.Schwartz and Alexandra Delf from Ophir PR agency. For a new blogger like myself, this was a really helpful session to hear what worked from both the blogger and the PR perspective. I was able to grab a coffee with Alexandra afterwards and try some of that all important networking. Practice makes perfect right?!

BML16 Highlights

One of my highights of the day was meeting Cherry Healey. She was there as the keynote speaker for the end of the day but I’ve been watching and loving her BBC Three Documentaries for ages now. To be honest she is a bit of a girl crush so I just had to say hello! She is as funny and nice in real life I’m glad to report!

BML16

After Cherry’s talk I had to leave and get home to Sophie. This was the first day apart and I was really missing her by this point. It was a shame to miss the BIBS Awards but this Mama had a three hour journey ahead of her so had to call it a day. Congratulations to all the well-deserved winners!

The train journey home was spent writing out all the things that I want to do with my blog. I have a new upload schedule on the way and a clear focus for the future of A Mum Track Mind. BritMums Live is a conference that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to someone who wants to get serious about blogging. Blogging is fast becoming a powerful medium and one that I am really excited to be a part of. I cannot wait to go again next year – hopefully with an overnight stay so I can join in the after party!

Thanks once again to my lovely sponsor Holiday-Sitters and to all you lovely bloggers who made the day so warm and welcoming.

xxx

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51 Comments

  1. June 26, 2016 / 10:15 pm

    A lovely round-up Fi! It was so lovely to finally meet you yesterday. It was such a fab day, great talks, food and wine. Let’s do it again next year. A great picture of us too for the linky. Claire x
    The Pramshed recently posted…#fortheloveofBLOG Week 8My Profile

  2. June 27, 2016 / 4:00 am

    This sounds brilliant – I’m a bit too new as a blogger to have gone this year but it’s something I’d definitely like to go to in 2017. I bet it was daunting and lovely all at once to meet all your blogging pals in the flesh! Good call on Cherry though, love her. Pleased you had a good day in that there London (I laughed at the coffee shakes, to me nothing says “London” like a scarily early start on the train and heavy coffee intake!) xx
    MouseMooMeToo recently posted…#14: The Mummy Tag Q&AMy Profile

  3. June 27, 2016 / 5:39 am

    A very comprehensive run through of the day! Glad you left feeling inspired. Was fab to meet you on Saturday. #tribe

  4. Julia
    June 27, 2016 / 5:54 am

    Sounds an amazing day!

  5. June 27, 2016 / 6:09 am

    What a lovely wrap up of BML16! I loved Cherry Healey, she is totally awesome. I also love your pics from the Soltan booth haha : ). It was such an amazing and busy day, so glad to have met you only if it was briefly! #triballove

  6. June 27, 2016 / 11:42 am

    Oh it was such a brilliant day wasn’t it? I’m still trying to take it all in and work through my scribbled notes and jumbled mind thoughts! lovely to have met you even though very briefly – it was a bit like that all day wasn’t it?! Wonderful summing up xx
    justsayingmum.com recently posted…Surviving Teens With AttitudeMy Profile

  7. June 27, 2016 / 5:42 pm

    So wonderful meeting you lovely, thank you for mentioning me here. I’m a fan of your blog and it means a lot that you attended my session and came to chat after. P.S You are gorgeous. xx

  8. June 27, 2016 / 7:04 pm

    Brilliant round up Fi and so wonderful to finally meet you in real life! I felt like I knew you already after watching your vlogs and it was great to chat briefly. Love all your pics and I agree about how amazing Cherry Healey’s speech was, I was in stitches too xx #triballove
    Bridie By The Sea recently posted…BritMums Live 2016 – How I Got OnMy Profile

  9. June 27, 2016 / 9:35 pm

    I’m rely enjoying reading about the aftermath of BML16. Unbelievably jealous though. Would love to go some year. Thanks for sharing with us #thebabyformula
    Geraldine recently posted…Bamboozled by BloggingMy Profile

  10. June 27, 2016 / 9:48 pm

    Sounds like an incredible conference. You looked like you were having so much fun.
    Bev

  11. June 27, 2016 / 10:41 pm

    Sounds like an amazing day. I didn’t go but it sounds like I missed out on learning lots of new things and meeting loads of lovely people. Good luck with all your future plans for the blog, can’t wait to see them all in action xx #bigpinklink
    wendy recently posted…Fabulous footwear by ChathamMy Profile

  12. June 27, 2016 / 11:22 pm

    So pleased you enjoyed your day. I had a great time too, it is wonderful meeting people you have only chatted to online before. #BigPinkLink

  13. June 28, 2016 / 1:28 am

    Wow! Firstly… SUPER JEALOUS! Secondly, hoping I will be able to join next year. It seems like a great time was had by all! Thank you for giving us the “inside scoop”.. #bigpinklink

  14. June 28, 2016 / 6:12 am

    Ahh love it! Id love to go to a bloggers conference one day. I’m still a newbie but who knows, maybe next year! Love Cherry Healy too. Sounds like you had a Great time! #dreamteam
    Sadie- the secret life of mum recently posted…A letter to my firstborn My Profile

  15. June 28, 2016 / 6:14 am

    Wow! That looks amazing!!! I am so going next year. The brewery is such a cool place, reminds me when I was free and young…
    OMG! You met Cherry Healey! I really like her, she seems to be so down-to-earth. I also read about Anne-Marie Cockburn and her daughter. What a teriible story. I think that’s great she wrote a book and what she is doing out of it… On a more positive note, fab pics. Thanks for sharing x
    #DREAMTEAM
    the frenchie mummy recently posted…It’s 7am and I am already cryingMy Profile

  16. June 28, 2016 / 6:21 am

    It looks and sounds like you had a wonderful time. I’m really hoping to go next year and will hopefully meet lots of you lovely bloggers. Cherry Healey sounds lovely too. #dreamteam

  17. June 28, 2016 / 7:01 am

    Ah it looks like you had a fab and very informative time, I so wish I’d gone! Next year! #DreamTeam
    Mrs Lighty recently posted…All Things SMASHED!My Profile

  18. June 28, 2016 / 7:28 am

    Great review of BML16, I am super jealous as I was desperate to go this year and yet due to my husband being in Amsterdam for the weekend (another stag do – grrr!) I had no child care for the four children. I’m definitely going next year, although I am a little nervous about it, but all of these posts have made me so jealous, I want to get in on it too!! Fab pics, thanks for sharing. #TheBabyFormula
    laura dove recently posted…Making memories.My Profile

  19. June 28, 2016 / 7:47 am

    wow looks like it was fun #TwinklyTuesday

  20. June 28, 2016 / 8:18 am

    That was such an interesting read. Having heard bits about it, it felt like a virtual tour of the day – very useful for me, as I had no idea really what it was all about. It looks like you had fun and made the most of the day. It was also interesting to compare this with the Dad blogger’s view (Papa_Tont) who says he won’t be going back. All food for thought. Alison x #DreamTeam

  21. June 28, 2016 / 11:01 am

    Sounds like a fantastic experience! And well done you for going for it as I am sure it was quite daunting! I’d love to start taking my blog more seriously so I hope to go next year. Great photos! 🙂 #KCACOLS
    Rebecca recently posted…Malta and Gozo – my favourite places to visitMy Profile

  22. June 28, 2016 / 11:38 am

    Sounds like an amazing day – will definitely have to try and make it myself next year ! your hair looks awesome by the way ! I hadnt heard about Anne Marie and her daughter Martha, how devastating; so strong her to be able to speak at an event like that. #kcacols

  23. June 28, 2016 / 12:24 pm

    That sounds fab thanks for the inside view. I’m hoping to go next year so I am glad to hear you thought it was a genuinely friendly atmosphere 🙂 #KCACOLS
    The hippy christian mum recently posted…The Lead-up.My Profile

  24. June 28, 2016 / 12:57 pm

    Haven’t been to a blog meet up for about 15 years but would definitely consider it next year now that I’ve finally started writing again! Glad you had a lovely time #twinklytuesday

  25. June 28, 2016 / 1:21 pm

    Oh it sounds like fun! I’m definitely going to try and pluck up the courage to go next year! #twinklytuesday

  26. June 28, 2016 / 1:55 pm

    How very exciting. I bet you are so glad you went. I didn’t get there this year (bad planning), but certainly want to get to the next event. Sounds like you really made the most of it. Must have been weird seeing people in real life #kcacols
    Nicky Kentisbeer recently posted…Silly Mummy, Silly DaddyMy Profile

  27. June 28, 2016 / 2:21 pm

    I’m really loving all these Soltan pictures! I’m so jealous of everyone who went to BML, not so sure that I’m jealous of the early start though (ouch!). Lucy xx #TribalLove

  28. June 28, 2016 / 8:24 pm

    Wasn’t it fab? Looked like you had a brilliant time. I had the same thing and luckily my linky co-host turned out to be real life lovely too! 😀 Thanks for linking! #bigpinklink
    Louise Pink Pear Bear recently posted…Big Pink Link 27 JuneMy Profile

  29. June 28, 2016 / 9:17 pm

    It sounds like you had a fabulous day. The afternoon sessions sound really good, I would have to learn from them. Hopefully next year I will be able to join you all there.

  30. June 29, 2016 / 12:22 pm

    So glad you had a good time at BML and came away with a positive experience! It was my first time too and I loved the social side of it all but missed seeing so many people as it was a full on day!

    Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS and I hope to see you back again on Sunday
    Maria recently posted…Should we move to Sydney?My Profile

  31. June 29, 2016 / 1:03 pm

    Fantastic post! I’m reading so many great reviews of BML and I so so so wish I’d been able to go! Next year for sure! Great review of the day. #KCACOLS

  32. June 29, 2016 / 2:41 pm

    Oh wow how lovely I’m so glad I read this I am hoping I can do my first BML next year! Looks like you had a great time and the sessions sound so helpful. #kcacols

  33. June 30, 2016 / 2:09 pm

    I really want to go next year now! You’ve made it sound really welcoming and inclusive which is so reassuring for someone who hasn’t been before. And it sounds like you had so much fun! x #KCACOLS

  34. July 1, 2016 / 3:20 pm

    It looks like you had a lovely day, I really learnt a lot from the sessions. I found the Instagram one really interesting. I travelled back on the evening too and missed the BiBs, it was a shame but I was missing bedtime already and I didn’t want to stay out overnight. #KCACOLS
    Jenni – Odd Socks and Lollipops recently posted…Ten Things I’ve Loved – JuneMy Profile

  35. July 2, 2016 / 3:53 pm

    It sounds UK’s you had a great time. It was a brilliant day, wasn’t it?! It was my first Britmums too and I found it just as fun and friendly as you did. I’ll be booking up my early bird ticket again for next year! See you there?! #KCACOLS
    Claire at Tin Box Traveller recently posted…Tin Box Traveller Diaries: June 2016My Profile

  36. July 4, 2016 / 1:35 pm

    Ahhh it looks amazing! It’s lovely to be able to read what you thought and find out a little bit about the sessions. I am hoping to come next year, maybe I will see you there 🙂 Thank you for linking up to the #DreamTeam x
    Annette, 3 Little Buttons recently posted…Inspire Me – Full of WonderMy Profile

  37. July 6, 2016 / 9:20 pm

    It was a fab day wasn’t it! I think it’s great it helped you figure out where you’re going next and you really did manage to network and meet everyone! Well done, I’m not so sure I networked to it’s full advantage, and really should have had more confidence, but hey ho!

    Thanks for linking up to #TheBabyFormula, hope you can this week too x

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