A sense of community – Britmums Live

On Monday morning, as I cleaned the bathroom, I felt quite tearful as I reflected on a wonderful weekend. I make no apologies for feeling emotional about my weekend. I didn’t sleep much and drank a lot, but the emotion comes not from feeling fragile but from feeling very fortunate and proud to be part of the parent blogging community.

I attended Britmums Live a two-day conference for bloggers at a venue in London.

It is a treat to board a train alone and head off to the capital city for the weekend. To enjoy the freedom two days in the company of friends. Without parental responsibilities or domestic chores. To learn, to laugh and to have uninterrupted adult conversation. I accept the level of intellectual debate may have been adversely affected by the level of wine consumed. I very much appreciate the opportunity that blogging has given me to be part of such an event.

Alexander Residence, Mid30′s Life, Katetakes5

The weekend was better than I expected for a range of reasons. I found the sessions and speakers useful and informative. There was a good balance of the social. The brands and marketing are something I’ve learnt take at my own pace.

In comparison, last year I attended Cybermummy with the same thrill of a weekend away. I was both nervous and excited to meet people whose blogs I had read, whom exchanged 140 characters with on twitter. Initially, I found the conference overwhelming. I was in awe of people whose blogs I admired. Some I was too nervous to speak to. There was so much to take in.

Over the year I’ve come to appreciate that blogging is actually a level playing field. Of course, bloggers have their friends and their groups, different audiences and stats but there is a shared experience of blogging. Most bloggers are genuinely interested in other bloggers. There is a strong sense of inclusive community.

Taking your blog to the next level – Ask an expert.

I enjoyed being a ‘Butterfly’. Meeting new people I may not have otherwise met. I loved spending time with the people behind the blogs that are favorites of mine. Appreciating the depth of friendship that the daily exchange on twitter, the shared experience of life through blog posts creates.

Northernmum and a Boris Bike.

There are so many people who contributed to the richness of my weekend. I can’t begin to name them all. I didn’t spent time with anyone, however brief, who didn’t somehow add something positive.

I have many highlights. Two things particularly:

The bloggers keynote on Saturday evening. Listening to various bloggers share posts and admire the sheer talent in the community. Throughout those readings I nodded in agreement. I cried. I howled with laughter. With the rest of the room, I rose to my feet and applauded, full of raw emotion and huge respect for one woman’s journey and honesty. For me, this is what blogging is about; Giving a voice. An inspiring voice.

And I won. Actual me. I won The Brilliance in Blogging award for Lit. The other finalists are exceptional and each very deserving. I am genuinely surprised to be the winner. The memory of the warmth in the response of audience was both humbling and exhilarating and something I shall treasure. To be to voted into the last eight by my peers was my pinnacle. To surpass that and to win is incredible. I didn’t have an acceptance speech planned, I’m not sure I said anything coherent. I was overwhelmed. All I can add is: Thank you to those that voted. Thank you to those that read my blog. Thank you to those that comment. It is comments that make blogging so rewarding.

with Penny from Alexander Residence winner Brilliance in Video

When I tuck my son up in bed at night and I’ve tidied away the debris of the day. It is good to know that I can open my laptop and my screen be lit by a diverse community of blogs; to read, to have an outlet to share and to be part of. I’m very grateful for that and I’m very proud to be part of that community.

54 Comments

  1. Kate on Thin Ice

    Oh, I think this is my fave post so far about #BritMums Live and i have read lots. You were so lovely to me when I had just arrived after a rotten journey down. Made a huge difference. Well done on the award and yes, yes, yes for a supportive blogging community. This was my first blogging conference and I already know things I will do differently next time. We learn as we go along I guess. Lovely to meet you

  2. Ali

    So glad you had a fab time, I truly was tearful (for not going) reading all the #britmumslive tweets, so your message on twitter telling me you won was more than appreciated :-)

    It sounded a fantastic time and next year, touch wood and all that stuff I’ll be there, keep a sheet or two of butterfly stickers just for me x x x

    1. helloitsgemma

      Ali, I really do appreciate the time you take to comment on my blog and the connection I have made with you and the other wonderful bloggers who comments so regularly on this blog. It means a lot.
      I do hope you make it to the next one!

      1. minibreakmummy

        I think it helped that I had already been to Cybher, BlogCampUK and other events. So there were lots of familiar faces, and of course it was a chance to catch up with geekmummy and her husband (friends from my undergraduate days)

  3. Older Mum (@Older_Mum)

    That was a wonderful uplifting post by a really deserving winner. It was really nice to meet you. This was my first conference and it really made me feel a little more part of something. I came away feeling proud of my blog and supported by the lovely women I met there! Hope to meet you again at another conference.

  4. HonestMum

    What a gorgeous post-lovely to have got to know you a little via blogging and well done on your deserved award-will be reliving this fab weekend in the cutting room soon!

  5. Asturian Diary

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – congratulations on a very well-deserved win. Wish I could have been there to cheer and holler for you but I did it anyway in the privacy of my own house when I read the tweets. (Btw, I meant to tell you that Richie had written you an acceptance speech prior to the awards….it started ‘Gosh’ and didn’t get much further.) Lots of love to one brilliant lady xxx

    1. helloitsgemma

      thank you! Next year Mrs. Next year!
      I should have tweeted you! It was all very surreal. I didn’t think very straight!
      I can remember thinking – who can I tell? and not coming up with anyone!!
      Tell Richie thats very kind…. mmmm – I wonder how it might have developed!

  6. Michelloui | The American Resident

    You are SO lovely, as I said before it was a real pleasure meeting you, even if we only chatted briefly. And I love this post–you’ve come across so candid, funny and (I’ll have to say it again) lovely!!! x

  7. Midlife Singlemum

    Very heartwarming post – i feel that way about the blogging community even though I’ve not met most of them. Congrats on winning – well deserved!

    1. helloitsgemma

      When I said thank you at the ceremony – I thought of you and the support you’ve given me. I do really appreciate the time you take to comment and that we are part of the same community and yet thousands of miles separate us. Thank you X

  8. Pingback: Firework | Helloitsgemma

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