Tag Archives: 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 blog. So if you want to find out a bit more about me, see below! 


Name Emily G


Blog: Tealady Mumbles (er, this one!)

Twitter ID @ladyemsy

Height 5’4 (ish)

Hair Brown with flecks of grey

Eyes Blue

Is this your first blogging conference? 

No, I’ve been to 2 other Britmums, Mumsnet Blogfest, Tots Blog Camp, Blog On Cymru, lots!

Are you attending both days? Yes indeed I am. I am sharing a room with Jess from Mrs Helicopter Writes.

What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live 2015?

I am looking forward to this Britmums as I feel like I finally am happy with me, my blog and everything else. I am happy with where I am in blogging, I don’t need to be in any niche, I just love writing and I am looking forward to learning more about the craft of writing. Last year I have to say I didn’t enjoy Britmums all that much due to various reasons, and nearly didn’t come this year, but then I went to Blog On Cymru, became re-inspired with my blog, met Jess and that was it, I was coming!

I am looking forward this year to meeting lots of new people, lots of blogs I have only recently discovered, and also making some new bloggy friends. I’d also like to meet some bloggers I only met briefly last year.  I am also keen to learn more about how to make my blog look pretty.

Oh and I am very excited as I will be reading one of my posts in the Blogger’s Keynote! So please laugh when it’s supposed to be funny and please cheer me on as I am bricking it slightly!

If you see me, please say hello. I am terrible at small talk but I am a friendly soul!

What are you wearing? 

I am not sure. I have bought some dresses, so one of those will likely be worn. I also have some trendy ripped jeans so I guess I should get those out as well!

I need to find myself something to wear for my Blogger’s Keynote too…something that will instantly make me look 2 dress sizes smaller and possibly withold any wee I may emit in my nervousness….

What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2015?

Friends, new information on how to make my blog amazing, positivity. Happy times. Maybe some exciting opportunities!

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

– Wear layers as it can get very hot in there

– eat lunch or something before you go, as I was starving and then you get free drinks and then….carnage

– Make sure you have enough room in your suitcase for the goody bag, it can be very heavy!

– bring a bit of cash if you want to buy any books and get them signed

– smile! talk to everyone you see, and just have a great time.

I look forward to seeing you at Britmums!

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 course, but it’s never as special or as exciting as the build up has been, for me. It always goes too fast and you never get to do what you want.

I guess you can say I felt like this about Britmums.

I loved Britmums last year. It made me feel a part of something. It made me meet people, have a break from the stresses of being a new Mum, it inspired me and gave me food for thought. I had high expectations, and I don’t know whether this year really met them.

The start for me, was rather disappointing. I must admit, I didn’t like Emma Freud’s keynote speech. It didn’t engage me, interest me or give me any food for thought. I didn’t really ‘get’ what it was about. I saw others laughing, and nodding and were clearly interested in what Emma had to say, so she must have spoken to many who were in the room. I just didn’t really take anything from this talk that could enrich my life, or my blog, in anyway.

The saturday keynote, by Benjamin Brooks-Dutton, was completely different. It really hit me, and I had tears almost straight away. No-one wants to comtemplate what would happen if you lost a partner, but what Benjamin said to us, really hit home. It was surprisingly positive and it made me think we need to make the most of each and every day, and plan for those worst case scenarios.

I was inspired in a few sessions. The session about Writer’s Block was extremely interesting and inspiring; I could have heard the speakers talk about writing for longer. I also attended sessions on podcasting, managed to crane my neck into the super packed G+ session and refreshed my tech knowledge with Ruth – I have read a few other blogs who also felt we could’ve done with a bit more of an intermediate tech session, which I agree.

It made me realise where I want to go with my blog and gave me some ideas .

I loved meeting everyone, and Tried to see as many people as I could. Sometimes it was just a quick hello, and I wish I talked to longer. I missed so many people. I felt really shy and found it hard to approach others. It was lovely to talk to people similar to myself, and to feel a part of something. However this year, there was an undercurrent which I was oblivious to at the time, of people I was with, not really getting on. I know not everyone can get on, that’s life, but when you’re stuck in the middle somewhat, it can take the shine off everything.

I am a solitary person; I always have been. I don’t have many friends. I found it hard to always be around people and not have time to myself, and getting caught up in others issues. But that’s just me. I do tend to walk around in a daydream, to myself, so if I ignored you in anyway, it wasn’t intentional.

My experience of Britmums this year is mixed, both like and dislike. There were some fab moments, moments that made me really laugh. Tims I learnt and soaked up the knowledge. But there were also other times when I felt really quite crappy and despondent. It wasn’t how it was last year.

One observation: and I said this last year: make more time for people be to social! It’s so hard to fit in meeting people and getting to sessions. Friday I feel would be better spent as a networking/ awards side and the serious sessions be on the Saturday.

I have taken a lot away with me, and despite what I’ve said, I do have a lot of ideas and motivation for my blog that has been kicked off by attending. I am feeling more confident in my ability as a writer and I am proud of where I have got to.

I don’t think I’ll be going again. This is purely a personal decision. The sessions and the days are good and worth going to. The social side is fun, but it’s a lot of money to go somewhere to meet with friends. I’d rather meet up separately with my bloggy friends for some fun socials. I’ve got what I can out of 2 years of Britmums, and now I think that’s enough.

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?

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DON’T PANIC!

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. It is fair to say her life is filled with animals, and many funny acedotes and major events involved them. Her Dad being a top racehorse trainer, she mingles and mixes with the racing elite, completely oblivious to any relevance or importance people may have. She even used to meet the Queen and ride a pony given to her by the Queen!

I am have enjoyed this book. I love reading anecdotes and tales of other peoples lives. It is much more entertaining than reading about a persons life from A -Z – this way, the interesting and unusual spring out form the page, important moments are highlighted – the boring bits (like anyones life) are skipped – and that is fine by me. You find out a lot about Clare and her family thorugh her tales – she doesn’t need to spell it out for you.

It reminds me of my childhood – I started thinking what tales would I mention in such a book? Clare has such a wealth of tales, some funny, some sad, and her experiences are something we can all relate to, albeit in slightly different surroundings. When I was younger, I used to feel that my pet dog, Tansey, was the only friend I had, and I would talk to her about everything. I can see from this book that Clare also felt this way. It is amaxing how animals can support you, protect you, and be there for you like no-on else can.

I have never really understood horse racing, but always enjoyed the Grand National, and whilst the book is very much concentrated on a lot of horsey things, and horse racing, it was easy enough to pick up and understand. In fact I found it all very interesting.

It was a delight to read, and I was almost sad when the book finishes, as Clare is at University. The Epilogue covers briefly what happens next, but in a way I’d love to read another book about Clare’s career at the BBC especially. I don’t know how she would do that in the same style though.

I would thoroughly recommend this book, it was a really good read.

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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 to Britmums Live!

As I walked over the train station entrance I heard people calling my name! I was lucky that my journey to Britmums was some lovely South West Bloggers: Jane, Ella, Kathy, Jen and Rachel. I felt much better immediately even though I hadn’t met some of them before!

The train journey went quickly with us all chatting about blogging – of course! We probably annoyed a lot of the other passengers as we were quite loud! I personally could have done with a few glasses of wine at this point but as I’d only eaten a croissant so far that day, it was probably a good idea I didn’t.

 

Me and Rachel (Mummyglitzer) on the train

Me and Rachel (Mummyglitzer) on the train

Getting into London, and finding our way across London, was pretty straight forward (apart from a slight tube detour!) and soon we were at The Hoxton Hotel (very swanky it was too!). A quick spruce up, and a cheeky glass of Vino with my roommate Jane, and we were walking to The Brewery.

Myself, Jen and The Mother Hood Blog all went straight to the Brewery in our excited states. The others went off to get food – seasoned bloggers they probably realised they had to queue and thought better of it! In the queue we found Vic Welton, Jaime of Olivers Madhouse, and everyone who had met with them beforehand. It was so odd, many people I recognised, but others I just didn’t have a clue. People kept saying I looked like my photos, which either means I look hideous or I somehow manage to look the hue of Waldon on Instagram at all times.

Queueing up and getting in did take a while, and at first they couldn’t find my badge under my Surname or my Tealady name, so for the first few sessions I was walking around with my own scrawling handwritten badge, no wonder no one spoke to me as they probably couldn’t read the blooming thing!

The Hub was awash with people, I was so hungry and thirsty at this point I hot footed it to the cakes and water. Everyone seemed to know everyone. I felt so overwhelmed I didn’t really look at the stalls, and I was scared of the people in costumes who kept asking me to play games. It was all a bit much, but soon we went down to the main room for the start of the whole shebang.

I’m not going to lie, Kirstie Allsop did not do it for me; it was not what I expected, it was in no way motivational for me, inspirational for me or gave me anything to take away from it all. All I found out was not to feed jelly beans to your dog, and someone needs to invent a better way of carrying fluids in bags up to Glasgow. Oh, and to go to New York to buy patterned dresses. Look, if you liked it, great, it just wasn’t really my thing.

The next session was about brands, and I did find this interesting. As a newbie blogger, brands are something I havent really worked with very much, and I am not sure if that is the direction my blog will take, but it was useful to hear all the opinions.

What I liked about Britmums was the socialising. It was so good to match faces to names, and blogs to faces. Some people I just got on with straight away – others I tried to find and failed, and others just looked way too cool for school. It really did take me back to school.

After the break I went to sessions about Media Kits, Sponsored Posts, and Blog Ambassadors. I went to these with the lovely Blog of a Mom and Rachel. In hindsight I wish I had been to some other sessions, but you know what going to these sessions made me realise what I want from my blog, and what direction I want to take. I think what it has taught me is it is my blog, be selective, and only do things if they really interest you, or they suit your blog. And that is fine with me.

After the sessions, myself and Rachel went to the main room, for the BiBs, where there was an abundance of champagne, wine, cocktails. I was cream crackered and so was Rachel so we went to shove our things on a chair before we entered the throng.

This was when I met Ericka, who I had wanted to meet but who I thought was way too up there in the blog world to spend time with me. She was with Mrs Shilts, and I’m pretty sure the first thing I said was ‘Mum In The South!’  I love her blog and if you haven’t read it, read it! It is so funny, and just my kind of humour. She was so lovely, and very anxious as she was up for an award she thought she wouldn’t win. We moved with her further down the room to a table, as she had to be near to the stage. We chatted, and myself and Rachel drank champagne, and canapes were handed around (the steak and chips one, I could have done with a massive one of those!) I lost Jen in the throng but she was at a table with some others, our tables suddenly became full, and the awards began. I managed to acquire a bottle of wine that myself and Rachel shared, so I probably was slightly tipsy when I turned around and saw Mummy Never Sleeps behind me. ‘Mummy Never Sleeps!’ I mouthed across to her, as if she didn’t know her own name. She nodded, calmly, as if she would slowly back away if she had the chance. Unfortunately for her I caught up with her at the end of the awards, and drunkenly spouted off a load of mumbo jumbo.

The awards were great, and a real highlight of friday. It was lovely to chat to Ericka, and as her award got closer she got more nervous. I had voted for her and was rooting for her to win – and she did! Amazing! I was clapping and whooping, wine fuelled, it was great and I am so glad she won. In fact, I was really pleased for everyone who won an award, and most of the people I had voted for won, which was fab, although I did feel sad that Cas and Vic Welton didn’t win their categories as they are brilliant bloggers.

Ericka and her award

Ericka and her award

So day one was finished, I was semi drunk and I had met some lovely people. After the awards and we were kicked out of the building, I went for dinner with a group of bloggers which we had planned before the event. It was lovely, and the food was great, and the wine even more so. I stumbled back to the Hoxton with Jen, and the day was done.

Day Two, and in the Hub, I decide I need to make more effort with all the people there, the brands and the bloggers. If anything, to grab more freebies. I caught up with Jen again, and Emma (Mrs Shilts), and soon found Ericka. Eating waffles covered in chocolate and drinking tea, we had a natter and it was great fun. I felt as if I had known these ladies for ages.

I have always admired Katie Piper and I read her book, Beautiful when I was on holiday a few years ago. If you haven’t read her story, I suggest you do. Her talk to Britmums was emotive, emotional but above all, positive. She filled the room with positivity and her strength was astounding. There wasn’t a dry eye on the house as she read out a poem to her old face, and thanked her Mum for being there for her. What a woman. After Katie, I went to the ‘Finding your voice’ talk, which I did find really useful. I am not sure what my ‘voice’ is, but I know that you have to write, write and write a bit more to find it. The people on the panel were varied, and had different takes on the subject, and I wrote a load of notes.

After this, it was a coffee break, and I hot footed it to the Hub to buy ‘Start your day with Katie’, and get her to sign the book. I was again a gibbering idiot when I spoke to her, but I think she got the message I think she is pretty cool and inspirational. And she told me she liked my purse! (I didn’t tell her it was from Primark). We ventured around the Hub, learnt wizard combat, and took as many freebies as we could.

After this, we ended up in the talk about legal issues and Tax with Jen. It was a bit dry, and to be honest tax scares me, so after a while (and after a few messages from Ericka), we escaped into the Hub.

I can honestly say what happened next was the funniest few hours I have had for a long time!

We went round the stalls, got our freebies, and when we saw the photo booth, we couldn’t resist dressing up and getting in. It was so much fun, we did it twice. I have never laughed so much. These girls were right up my street. We had lunch together, and more or less skived off a few of the sessions to basically have a laugh, and venture around the Hub. Afternoon Tea with Mrs Shilts, which was lovely, and I wish I had seen more of her as she is also a right laugh!

 

The keynote speeches were brilliant. Katy Hill was great as the host, and she is a very funny lady indeed! The posts that were read out were sad, funny, heartfelt and touching. We remembered Matilda Mae, and then we remembered Kerry, MultipleMum. I never knew Kerry, or Matilda Mae, but both of these individuals touched me. I sang ‘Firework’ by Katie Perry, and I read every word, I sang every word, I meant every word. It was amazing how a room could unite so much, how all of these individuals could link together, some being strangers a mere 48 hours before.

I had never felt like I belonged to anything in my life, yet Britmums made me feel I was a part of something. I have met some lovely lovely people and I am determined to keep in touch with them. I would so like to go next year, so I need to save my pennies quickly to nab a ticket!

 

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

ANCIENTLIGHT

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.