This weekend just gone, I attended my first ever blogging conference. It had taken me an age to get enough balls to buy the ticket – with all that’s going on in the world lately I am even more nervous about travelling in London and going to big public events than I ever was before and with the new venue being right in the centre of the city it’s safe to say I went back and forth about going hundreds of times. However, now that I am trying to really make this blog something… special?… I thought I’d best up my game and throw myself into a day of learning and networking.
Despite missing our train and leaving my make up behind on the sofa we made it to County Hall in one piece. It was quite daunting really, I had been so worried about getting there that I hadn’t really considered how nervous I would be walking into a room filled to the brim with glamorous and successful Mums. Thankfully, a few days before the event I had chatted to Jade & Victoria who I knew were going to be there so I at least had two friendly faces to find in the crowd! They were both so lovely and it was great to meet them after all of this time.
The first session I attended was all about YouTube. As you may already know I have tentatively dipped my toes into the world of YouTube recently and while I am still not sure if I want to dive right in just yet, I learned a lot about what it takes to get going properly and I’ve taken away some really valuable tips for when / if I decide to take the leap. Many of those tips were transferable to blogging too, so I have made a plan going forward to put the lessons I learned in place. More on that in another post. The session was lead by two brillianty engaging reps from YouTube – Jules & Magali. Both were incredibly knowledgeable and I am very glad I sat their session. We were sat next to Ed from Librio, who was very kind to entertain Florence’s fascination with his watch! (Make sure you head over and follow him as he’s about to launch Librio in the UK – they make personalised children’s books and if their website is anything to go by, the illustrations alone will be beautiful! We are adding one to Florence’s Christmas list.)
After the coffee break, I decided to sit out the next session and instead chat to those who’d opted to do the same. Jade introduced me to Harriet, Hannah & Hannah who made me feel very welcome in their little group. I had read their blogs for a while and it was funny to meet these lovely ladies in the flesh. I also met Heather who was so kind & friendly when I looked a bit lost! It was nowhere near as intimidating as it could have been. I also managed to catch up with Victoria and her little boy Rex — we were two of three who had their babies with them so we had plenty to chat about!
I wasn’t sure which session I’d wanted to attend next, but after chatting to Harriet I decided to go to the instagram session that she was leading along side Alice from More than Toast. This was more informal than the YouTube presentation. They chatted about how they built their instagram following and the different things that did and didn’t work for them. They talked about their take on the ever changing algorithms, how to handle bots & organically building following in order to reach more people and stay authentic. With no phone until the end of the month and limited access to Sean’s phone when he gets home from work, my instagram game is lacking slightly lately, but I will be dedicating a lot more time to my favourite social media platform again soon. I’m hoping that taking full advantage of Insta Stories will build my confidence for vlogging and creating YouTube content too. Here we also met Ursula and Kimberly, two incredibly inspirational women who I’m very pleased to have bumped into. Florence was rather taken by them too and even managed to get a cuddle in!
Next was lunch and another chance to network. I have to say, the room was fairly cramped and where it was divided into three sections it made it quite difficult to meet different people. Thankfully, Florence was my little wing woman and caught people’s attention wherever we went so she definitely helped break the ice with some! I also took this chance to speak to the different brands who were there, spending most of my time with the Wear White Again team before they held their very own session about their work. They were there to launch a women’s health campaign #AmINumberFive raising awareness of how heavy periods can affect women’s lifestyle and how they plan to take away the stigma. Dr Dawn & TV personality & blogger Katy Hill ran the session to share their experiences.
My work last year running Know Your Normal touched on this slightly and I am really looking forward to supporting their campaign and shouting out about their work. They were offering free manicures on their stand and with Florence in tow, I had my nails done to represent the one in five women who deal with heavy periods & endometriosis.
The final session we attended was the photography deep dive held by pro photographer Rachel Riley. This by far was the best part of the day for me. I learned so much about my own camera, basic techniques that make all the difference & her presentation was just brilliant! I am hoping to work with Rachel in the future as I was just so inspired by her session. I’ve since taken some of my best photographs after learning from her. During the break out part of Rachel’s session I finally got to meet Kat who I’ve spoken to on Social media for years! She is even lovelier in person and introduced me to her friend Amy who is just equally as lovely!
I was so proud of Florence on the day, she wowed everyone with her smiles and how well behaved she was. She didn’t grumble once! I think I will likely do a separate post on my tips for taking a Baby to BritMums Live soon.
Overall, I did take a lot away from the day, however I think I would have really benefited from some sort of ice breaker at the beginning as I found myself wandering around on my own quite a lot feeling a little lost.
Now to get my head down and put everything I learned into place and see if maybe, just maybe, I can turn this hobby of mine into a career.