What BritMums Live 2014 was like for me

Richard Curtis, Jennifer Howze, Emma Freud

My Richard Curtis-Emma Freud #selfie

Whew.

It’s been 4 days since I loaded up my car after BritMums Live 2014 and drove home through the summer sunshine across London. This is the fifth conference I’ve organised and those waning moments are always a little bittersweet. There is relief of course, and exhilaration, and regret for the things that could have gone better or that I could have done better (“Why did I say that? I wish I hadn’t missed talking to so-and-so…”). It’s like organising your wedding every year.

BritMums is my annual “wedding”

Except my own wedding only included 60 people (instead of 700!), had only a handful of speakers (my dad, my maid of honour, my husband and I, instead of 70 experts coming from all over England!), and only lasted 6 hours (instead of 2 days!). Also, with BritMums Live, everyone attending has rearranged their schedules, sorted childcare, bought a ticket, made the journey, turned up with the aim of meeting friends, learning something, connecting with a brand — and my job is to help make that happen. I cannot let them down. A wedding is “My Day”; BritMums Live is “Your Day(s)”.

And to keep Your Days as exciting and rewarding as possible, this year we did some things differently. We listened to what everyone said about having more practical sessions. We heard that you want to come away feeling inspired. We also wanted some surprises and I hope we pulled them off — from tiaras on the tables for Emma Freud’s keynote (about which: awesome!) to the courtyard “garden” for the BiBs party to the fabulous preview of Good Enough Mums Club.

Heir apparent glam

Heir Raising in her gorgeous cocktail dress at the BiBs party

 

Chris & Ali crop

Chris of Thinly Spread and Ali of Incredibusy Mum in colourful dresses

 

laithwaites wine

Wine at the BiBs party, courtesy of Laithwaite’s

 

me and witwitwoo

Me with Kate from Wit Wit Woo at the BiBs

 

mush brained ramblings

Mush-Brained Ramblings lifts a glass at the party

Thinking about next year

Naturally, I only got to talk to 1/70th of the people I wanted to and only sat in on a handful of sessions. But when people tell me they loved a session or had a moment or saw a longlost blogging friend or met a brand they’re excited about working with, I can’t help but feel good. BritMums Live really does take a year to put together — you should see my “ideas” list so far — and I can barely sit still for thinking about 2015. (Send me your ideas and thoughts and feedback while they’re fresh!)

 

with Sarah Ebner

With Sarah Ebner after the Women’s Voice and the Media panel

 

Creasy and Freud

MP Stella Creasy and Emma Freud, with tiaras (naturally)

 

Actually Mummy and BBC

Helen of Actually Mummy (in, er, glasses) talking to the BBC

In the meantime, look out for the pictures and videos and posts we’re sharing via social (+BritMums, @BritMums, BritMums on Facebook) and on the “I was there” BritMums Live 2014 Linky.

Psst — want a bargain? Get your Super Early Bird Ticket now!

I’m a journalist and blogger. Previously I was The Times’s online lifestyle editor and Alpha Mummy blogger. Now I’m co-founder of BritMums and BritMums Live! – our annual blogging conference that draws hundreds. Follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Google Profile+
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15 Comments

  1. June 26, 2014 / 10:56 am

    Love the pics and they really get across the feel of the event not to mention the fab frocks. I too felt that bittersweet bit at the end. It seems to go so fast when you have a happy BritMums Live. See you next year. I am reflecting and will be in touch with feedback and ideas.

    • June 27, 2014 / 11:07 am

      Kate, it’s comforting to hear I’m not the only one who has that feeling. Thank you so much for all your help before, during and after!

  2. June 26, 2014 / 4:16 pm

    Enjoyed reading this, Jen! I wish I had changed into my nice dress for the awards. No-one else seemed to be changing so I just stayed in my jeans – a mistake that I will be rectifying next year! πŸ™‚ xxx

    • June 26, 2014 / 9:18 pm

      Hey I was so much more casual this year, but I saw folks in fancy, pretty dresses, all kinds of outfits. You looked great! Although I must confess I am contemplating wearing a full length red ball gown next year!

  3. June 26, 2014 / 5:59 pm

    I was very pleased with my two days. I got a slot for the literary agent speed dating and enjoyed the sessions + the networking. I also managed to talk to almost all of the bloggers I wanted to meet. πŸ™‚
    Great job! πŸ™‚ xx

    • June 26, 2014 / 9:19 pm

      Did you find the Speed Dating helpful? I love LBA — they are so enthusiastic about bloggers and new talent!

  4. June 26, 2014 / 9:07 pm

    You do an amazing job, Jen, I hope you’re very very very proud of yourself xx

    • June 26, 2014 / 9:20 pm

      Pippa, that’s very kind. Thank you for coming to do your Mini Me-Time. I heard it was an oasis at the end of a long busy day!

  5. June 26, 2014 / 11:15 pm

    Lordy what an alarming photograph of me!!!!

    Great event Jen (and Susanna) and wonderful catching up with all of your glorious team who somehow feel like old friends and are just so welcoming.

    I adored the wellie boot marquee… it was such a great change from the dark inside to have bright high ceilings … could have eaten the entire buffet myself … maybe one for me next year and one for everyone else!

    I thought LBA were tremendous both last year and this and found Luigi’s session extremely helpful they really are the encouraging side of literary agents and seriously know their stuff.

    I was only gutted not to be able to join everyone on Saturday due to totally unexpected bereavement that has left us all reeling and even more fed up to miss out on my goodie bag … if you have any left over stick one in a corner for me it would make my day x So all in all a superb event, well run, inclusive and happy with some extraordinarily inspiring speakers … thank you

    • June 27, 2014 / 11:09 am

      Ellie, sorry to hear about your bereavement. So great to see you again, especially with a glass of wine in your hand! xx

  6. June 27, 2014 / 11:28 am

    It’s phenomenal what you ladies have achieved and you are so humble about it both on arrival and when we say goodbye. It’s like you allow the event to speak for itself. There was a sisterhood vibe this year and you both created and held that space. The 2 days blew me away to be honest. LOVE your photos xx

    • June 27, 2014 / 1:06 pm

      Liska, you are overwhelming me with your comments! Thank you so much. I’m so glad about the sisterhood vibe. Susanna and I think a lot about how to engender that. BritMums Live is not just a place to learn how to use social media. It’s a place to connect with best friends we see once a year, make a connection and (ahem) have a good time. Great to see you there, although we barely had time to say hello.

  7. June 30, 2014 / 11:52 am

    Thanks so much for organising another brilliant event, Jen (and Susanna!) Thought it was terrific and full of brilliant women with so many talents. Not sure about that pic of me though….

  8. August 13, 2014 / 12:19 am

    you are overwhelming me with your comments! Thank you so much. I’m so glad about the sisterhood vibe. Susanna and I think a lot about how to engender that. BritMums Live is not just a place to learn how to use social media. It’s a place to connect with best friends we see once a year, make a connection and (ahem) have a good time. Great to see you there, although we barely had time

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