So another BritMums Live has been and gone and, at risk of sounding like a complete diva, I’m physically, mentally and emotionally drained as I write this. It was a long day and a half of blogging banter, booze and bunions. The last bit is something of an exaggeration, but ‘tired feet’ wasn’t nearly as alliterative.
Thanks to my wonderful sponsor Extreme Pie, I was able to attend. Being out of a job, I wouldn’t have been able to get or stay there, so it means a lot that someone picked up these expenses on my behalf – thanks very much, guys!
As with any big event like this, there were some things that were brilliant and others that could do with a little tweaking to make next year even better. The biggest and best thing for me was the people – it was wonderful to see so many familiar faces from the last two years and to meet as many new friends too. It can be easy to forget that the little faces who seem to live in your phone are real, 3D people. The social element is the main reason I go every year and everyone I spoke to was lovely and that can’t be bad!
It was great that so many of the aforementioned awesome folk were speaking at the conference too. I really enjoyed listening to people discussing a range of topics and related to what they had to say. It’s always reassuring to have it confirmed that I’m not mental, obsessive or just a little bit odd. Either that, or they are too, but that puts me in good company and I’m okay with that.
Then there was the fact that, alongside my podcasting pals Darren, Lewis and John, I was speaking too. We recorded a live version of the Love All Dads Podcast which seemed to be quite well received. Oh and we won a Brilliance in Blogging award! I won’t be forgiven by the others here if I neglect to tell you that I dropped it. It was fine, but somewhat ironic as, moments earlier, I had caught the champagne cork that John had fired high into the air. Oh well, no harm done!
I thought I’d mention a couple of things that I think could be improved for next time too. First of all, I think there were just too many people at this year’s conference. I understand that there were around 700 of us, which made things very crowded at times. It was good to see that there was an outdoor seating area this year, but there could have been more in the way of seats indoors too – especially when it came to lunchtime when everyone was awkwardly stood around trying to juggle the food – which was lovely, by the way – cutlery and drinks with nowhere to put anything down.
The crowding was also a problem with certain sessions which took place in one of the smaller rooms. Unfortunately, I missed two that I really wanted to attend due to the fact that they were absolutely rammed. I tried standing outside, but there were so many people trying to do the same that I was nowhere near the door and couldn’t hear. I know it can be tricky to predict how many people are going to go to each session, but there were some in the massive main hall that could have taken place in smaller rooms.
Finally, the Saturday was very long! Nobody wants to miss the bloggers’ keynote at the end, but I saw several people leaving early – either because they had a long journey home or were completely knackered! These are only minor irritations, but I think it would be relatively straightforward to eliminate them next time. Reducing the number of delegates slightly or making better use of the space and seating, as well as shaving some time of the tea and lunch breaks could further improve the experience for everyone, making it even better.
I, for one, am looking forward to it.