Before we even got through the doors of the Brewery for Britmums Live 2014, I was already thinking about the final hour of the event. My lovely friend Lauren had nominated a post I wrote for her blog, to be read out at the Bloggers Keynote. The keynote takes place right at the end of the event every year and is a great opportunity to hear bloggers read their own posts in their own voices. Last year I really enjoyed listening to Charlotte read her post out and never thought I’d be stood up there. But it seems my words had inspired some and I was chosen to be among some fantastic writers.
Luckily I get to attend these events with my wife and partner in crime as I mentioned in my previous post. I don’t have to worry about walking up and joining a queue on my own, I don’t have to worry no one will talk to me all weekend and I have someone to debrief with on the journey home. But all this doesn’t stop me from being shy. I’m a really shy person who rarely approaches others I don’t know and has terrible eye sight, so can’t read the name badges. I was so happy to kick Friday off in the company of Lauren and Hayley. We enjoyed a lovely lunch from Itsu in our hotel room and it was great to feel comfortable and confident approaching the event.
As we joined the MASS of women and a couple of guys in the courtyard, I was so pleased to see the addition of a seated area outside. I suffered a bit with headaches last year and I think this was down to being inside all day, so I was happy to have a place I could escape for some fresh air. As the doors opened and everyone began the task of locating their name badge, I was suddenly thrown into panic. As more and more people entered the lobby, nobody seemed to be exiting it very fast, it got to a point where someone behind me had jammed me into a small space via my rucksack and several ladies in front of me were meeting and greeting each other leaving me nowhere to move to. My saving grace was Kara, she gestured towards the toilets and we rushed through the pulsating crowd. This gave me a few minutes to regain my inner calm. I wouldn’t say I’m claustrophobic, but I have an OCD about large groups of people and crushing (it’s easier than you think). Luckily I wasn’t faced with this large throng of people again that weekend, but I think it’s something that could be changed in the future.
The conference kicked off with a keynote by Emma Freud, who I found to be incredibly motivating and inspiring. The changes she’s made in regards to companies making it easier for people to donate to charities is remarkable. Plus she did look good in a tiara. After the keynote we nipped back to our hotel to film a couple of vlogs with Lauren, which we hope to share soon and then C and I had a quick costume change in prep for the BiBs and going out to dinner. We don’t get to go out for dinner with friends that often, so it was nice to dress up a little bit.
I really wanted to listen to Lucy’s session “Design tips to make your blog look gorgeous” and it seemed that half of the people there wanted to as well. We squeezed into one of the side rooms and luckily bagged a couple of the last seats available. Lucy was born to speak in front of a group, she was informative, inspiring and motivated me to make changes as soon as I got home. Here are some tips I took away in my own words.
- Sort your sidebar of shame, remove unnecessary badges items and things that don’t fit.
- Create a little bio with picture on your sidebar so people know who is behind the blog
- Align text to the left so that is is easier to read
- Limit use of script text as it’s harder to read
- Keep your template background plain and clean (white) this makes your blog easier to read and shows off images well
- If your photos are grainy or not the best quality, use in a collage.
- Make photos the full width of the post
- Your blog header is your branding, make it memorable and you.
After Lucy’s session the wine started flowing thanks to Lizzie who had rescued a lonely bottle of wine. The wine kept flowing for the next hour or two which helped cushion not winning an award in our BiBs category, but a massive well done to Nadine, I’d already told her third year lucky, so am glad she won. We also got to catch up with the lovely Lindsay who vlogs over at Lilies Are Like. We met Lindsay last year after a great session on YouTube, so it was really nice to catch up again. Lindsay was also on the panel for “How To Be an Agent of Change: Advocacy and charity campaigns” which was one of our favourite sessions to attend during the weekend.
Once the awards had been handed out and we’d all been ushered from the room, we headed to Wagamamas for dinner. It was so lovely to be seated at a table with Jo, Hayley and Renata, three very inspirational ladies. I also was really chuffed to finally meet Kate, as I’ve followed her blog for quite a while now. The rest of the ladies on the table, Kara, Lauren, Hayley and Lizzie are all such fab people that make for great dinner companions, so the meal seemed to fly by.
I’ve aware this is a very wordy post, so you can read part two here.