thoughts and things

Tag: britmums

I’m Going to Britmums Live 2015

I will be joining hundreds of other bloggers on June 19th for the 2 day blogging conference of the year, Britmums Live! It is a fabulous occasion to meet other bloggers , brands and to learn a bit more about how to have a fab […]

Britmums Live 2014

Do you know what I like most about Christmas? I like the build up, the excitement beforehand. I like the christmas parties and the good feeling and happy atmosphere that is generally around the place. But when Christmas Day arrives, it’s fun, it’s lovely of […]

I’m Going to Britmums Live! Again!

So I thought it was about time that I got my act together and focused on the event I have been waiting for FOREVER – Britmums Live!

I thought it’d be a bit of fun to introduce myself so that You can find out a bit about me and possibly you can identify me amongst the throng.

Name: Emily

Blog: Tealady Mumbles

Twitter ID: @ladyemsy for general chit chat or @EmilyTealady for all bloggy bits!

Height: 5ft 4

Hair: shoulder length and brown, the streaks of grey will hopefully have disappeared. I may even try and find my straighteners (last seen in 2012)

Eyes: Blue, I wear glasses mostly but I may try and trick you all and actually wear my contacts

Is this your first blogging conference?

No, this is my second time at Britmums, I’ve also been to blogfest and BlogCamp too!

Are you attending both days?

Oh yes, so excited about it.

What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live 2014?

Meeting so many people I have ‘met’ online this year. I really feel like it’ll be one big party! I am so excited to meet people such as Kelly at Tiasmum12, Michelle at CrotherClan, Katie and Ktbtw blog, Wrymummy, ericka at mum in the south and basically
Loads of people who will not know who the hell I am but will find me groping them excitedly.

I also excited for the BiBs award event at the end of the day on Friday. Last year it was hilarious and such a great atmosphere. I will be cheering all my favourite blogs on to win!

What are you wearing?

No idea! I am probably going to dress up a bit for Friday with a dress and wear something comfy for Saturday like jeans and a t shirt. I really need to buy some new clothes!!

What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2014?

I’m very excited about learning more about making my blog look good in every way possible. I also find other bloggers stories really invigorating and I love finding out tips about social media. I want to try and take my blog forward this year now I have found my groove and am happy with what I’m doing here!

Do you have any tips to pass on to others who may not have been?



Last year I was a bag of nerves, but what I found was that everyone was so nice. It was such a great atmosphere. You just need to gulp down an alcoholic beverage and start saying hello – and take it from there!

I would also say, think about what sessions you want to go to. There are several streams so some sessions may clash with others – a great way to make a friends is to offer to take notes in a session and vice versa so that you still get some great tips.

plan any brands or companies you want to see in the ‘hub’ – there are brands looking for ambassadors, or just to talk to and find out more about, and some with competitions or blogging opportunities. It gets really busy and not all brands are there both days so this time I am going to prioritise who I see!

Bring a bag or a spare case for the goodie bag – it’s huge and rather heavy and dragging it across London was a bit difficult!

There are lots of meet ups planned before and after Britmums on the Friday – try and get in on one of these. I had a lovely meal with some bloggers after Britmums on the friday last year. There are groups on Facebook so make sure you join one and find out what’s happening – also many people may want a ‘roomie’ or a travel buddy – all great ways to start meeting people. (I literally only met my roomie last year on the train down to Britmums! Nothing like sharing a bed with someone you’ve only just met to break the ice!!)

You don’t have to go to all the sessions – I had a great time in the hub with some of my new found blogging friends going round the stands and drinking tea and taking funny photos

I am so looking forward to meeting anyone reading this. Please say hello. I am also rather happy with a glass of something in my hand, and/or cake. So you will probably find me near any of those things.

And here’s a picture of me in case you want to hunt me down:

Britmums Book Club: Clare Balding: My Animals and Other Family Review

Clare Balding My Animals and Other Family This is a heartwarming book. If you’ve ever had a pet, you will know how important they are to you in your life. Clare writes about her life, mentioning the pets that she has had along the way. […]

Britmums Live: Feeling Part of Something

As I was driven to the station, as it drew nearer, I shouted out ‘No, it’s OK, turn around! I don’t want to go!’ in my high anxiety state. I was swiftly kicked out the car and left to fend for myself. I was going […]

Ancient Light By John Banville – Britmums Book Club

This is a book review as part of the Britmums Book Club. I was lucky to be one of the first 100 to be sent a free book as part of the book club, in order to review this month’s book. I have tried to keep this review spoiler free but there may be a few things which have slipped my eye, so beware! This month’s book was:

Ancient Light, By John Banville


Now, I didn’t like this book when I first started to read it: It felt like a stream of consciousness, a rambling tale with no direction. However in the name of reviewing this book as part of the Britmums Book Club, I persevered. And I am glad I did.

The blurb states that this book is about an affair between a fifteen year old boy Alex Cleave, and the 35-year-old Mrs Gray, who happens to also be Alex’s best friend’s Mum. The tale is written from the perspective of the older Alex, 50 years on. Alex is still trying to come to terms with the death of his daughter 10 years ago.

The book is essentially the thoughts, words, memories of Alex in this specific time frame when he is writing his account of the affair. John Banville as been said to write the truth, and I can understand this now. He writes as Alex would think, would write, he goes off on tangents like we all do. He weaves within this, a tale which on the outset looks like  scandalous tale of an affair between a boy and a married woman, but what you actually get is Alex trying to make sense of his life, understand the women who have played big roles in his life. As an actor, Alex seemingly looks at things as if they were an ongoing play or saga, with him the starring role. I feel he thinks he can never out d the greatest acting of his career – that of when he was 15 years old. He seems to have been acting ever since, trying to figure himself out, acting as other people so he hasn’t had to delve too deep. What we have to remember here is that essentially this affair was an abuse, of a child by an adult. Whether Alex realises this or not, it has had a profound effect on him for the rest of his life.

Initially, Alex sounds very narcissistic, selfish and self centered. The book can be hard to read at times especially when you go off on a tangent, I kept reading but not reading the words, and having to back track, especially at the beginning.  Initially I think Alex sets off to write this book to show off about his past, this scandal, but in the end he starts to realise things about himself, and his life, and by the end of the tale I think Alex sounds more human, and definitely more weathered, and almost broken, as a person. I think essentially Alex feels lost, his daughter has died, he has no-one to look after him in old age, or so he feels. I think Mrs Grey was a mother figure to him, and he says this himself. He seems to have connections with women and then they are lost, gone, and forgotten.  His wife Lydia plays an extremely small part in the story, and it is as if the past has taken over Alex’s mind. However it is Lydia who is the constant, who is always there for him, despite his faults, which in the past seem to have been quite a few.

What I liked about this book, was that there was no happy ending, and only a small effort to tie up loose ends. Like life, we don’t know all the answers. I would have liked to have read more about his daughter and what happened to her but that’s the point – no-one knows. No-one will know. Just like in life, some things remain unanswered.

I found the parts Alex ‘talks’ about his latest film role, and the co-star, Dawn Devonport, a bit odd at first, but I can see here that Alex is comparing Dawn to his daughter, and is trying to help her, like he did is daughter (or perhaps like he should have done to his daughter). There are mirrors to his past in his present, and I think Dawn is a mixture of Mrs Grey/Cass to him. I also wonder about Cass as a child and the mental health issues she clearly had from a very young age. Why was this? One could question whether Alex may have had something to do with this, perhaps – this is left open ended, for the reader to make their own minds up about. Her suicide is also dramatic, and the facts surrounding her death sound unexplained. I feel reading this book Alex feels slighted by this act of his daughter, perhaps as if she did it to punish him in some way, maybe? Or perhaps because she did something that overshadowed him, perhaps.

I found it interesting how Banville uses Alex’s memory, and what he remembers of the past, and whether this was a true account of the past, interesting. The issues with the weather and the seasons, for example, could be imagery of Alex’s feelings regarding that moment in time – April – Spring – the start, the beginning of something exciting, Summer – the heat, the passion of an affair, Autumn, the slow ending as the warmth ends, and winter, cold, harsh, depressing. I think it is true, we all look back and remember things differently. One issue I still have though is that I do not believe how Mrs Grey and Alex met, and this is never really explained, and without knowing this, it is rather hard to believe it all ever happened as he says it does. Maybe that is the point as well.

By the end, I think Alex’s memory has been shown not to be accurate, which in turn displaces his confidence, and he starts to question himself more as a person. Finding out the truth about Mrs Grey, and hearing events spoken from another point of view, only adds to his melancholy.

By the end of the book, we know more about Alex, and his past, but in a way, we don’t learn much more either. However I think the journey that Alex goes on through this, is the important aspect. He is coming to terms with his age, his life, the events that have happened to him, and those around him. This is a book about one man’s journey to realise things about himself, and we are just there for the ride. But in the end, I enjoyed it, and it made me think about things such as the past, memories, and what the past means for our future.

As Banville writes, ‘everywhere we look, everywhere, we are looking into the past’ – that ancient light that takes years to reach us – that is the point of the book, I think. The past is always with us.

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