#BML16 and why I’m choosing to focus on the positives

I’m quite sure most of you who read my blog have no interest in the practical side of blogging. I can’t imagine how boring a post about a blogging conference would be to someone with no interest in the industry. But more for my own sake really, I’ve decided to write my reflections on my first one, #BML16, that I attended in London this past weekend.

So ok, I’ll be honest (as I always am) it wasn’t perfect. What event is? I could talk about how I spent some of the day wandering around alone, unable to find a familiar face or approach an unfamiliar one. I know now others were feeling exactly the same and I suggest next year giving some space over to a dedicated ‘making friends’ area. Not everyone who attends has a group to ‘hang out’ with. I’m pretty confident and even I felt I couldn’t always approach people in case they didn’t want to talk to me!

I could talk about how mixed in terms of usefulness the sessions were. The technical ones were fascinating, but waaaay too short. Other just felt like a massive ego stroking session (theirs not mine!), not really what I signed up for.

I could also talk about how I was so dismissed by the first brand I approached, that I barely spoke to another all day. I went in fully aware that, in terms of stats, I was a small fish in a big pond, but to be shot down like that so early, meant I didn’t get the network contacts I went to the conference hoping to get. My fault and not theirs I guess, but still….

But you know me. I try and focus on the positives when I can. And so I have decided to concerntrate on my personal highlights of #BML16.

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My dress

Come on! How could I not talk about my mushroom dress? Everyone else was! I received so many wonderful compliments on the dress, it’s material and look. Which was lovely! But the best bit was totally the amount of these faces 😱🙀😮 I saw when I told people that my husband Ben had made it for me. For one it was a great icebreaker (oh my god you’re the girl with the mushroom dress /didn’t you make this or something/ btw can I just saw I love your dress etc) but everyone was soooo nice about it that it also gave me confidence in a room where I knew practically no one.

Top conference tip: wear a dress in an eyecatching fabric that someone unexpected has made for you!

Mushroom pattern dress

The mushroom frock

A good lift selfie. Gotta be done

A good lift selfie. Gotta be done. The dress looked surprisingly good with my Next pleather jacket

Friends

Blogging is a funny old sport. You get to know people you have never met in real life, sometimes quite intimately. You can talk for years before actually meeting in person. So actually getting to meet and hang out with some of what I would class as my blogging buddies was fantastic.

Me and Natalie from Diary of an Unexpectant Mum

Me and Natalie from Diary of an Unexpectant Mother. This is a bit blurry but I had just had a bottle of wine!

Me and Maria SuburbanMum

Me and Maria from Suburban Mum. Crazy lighting in the main room for the Brilliance in Blogging Awards (which I was not nominated for boohoo 😉 )

Kelley from BringingupGeorgia, when we finally got our full size Coke Zeros. Happy!

Kelly from Bringing up Georgia, when we finally got our full size Coke Zeros. Happy!

Fangirling

Getting to talk face to face to some of the bloggers I admire was an amazing, if a little disconcerting, experience. Once I got over the “oh, I know her from somewhere don’t I?” feeling, I was able to approach people to thank them for their writing or to introduce myself (although the first time I did this it came out a bit gushing “hi I’m Lisa I follow you on Instagram I love your pictures” literally without pausing. I’m not sure poor Hannah from Make, Do & Push knew what to make of me!).

The Fat Girls Guide to Running

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I have nooooo interest in running. Never have. However, the keynote speech given by Julie Creffield from The Fat Girls Guide to Running, really touched something in me. Not to start running necessarily, but the points she made about motivation, self belief and setting goals, or as she calls them Big Fat Stupid Goals. My life is about to change. Oscar starting school is really going to shake things up around here and it feels like the time to DO something is coming. I got to talk to Julie afterwards and it was super interesting. Watch this space!

Making new friends

I’ve been joining Laura’s #effitfriday link up over at Life with Baby Kicks for a while, but we only started talking recently over Twitter. We had a great chat on Saturday. I couldn’t get over how much she reminded me of my sister in law Rachel, which may explain why I later went on to pinch her bum as I walked past. It was only afterwards that I wondered if that might have been a bit forward for someone who I’d only just met. Turns out not, when I saw this on Sunday.

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And this really is what I went to this conference for. The human connection. Reaching out to real people. I love blogging and the space it affords me and the friends it creates online but nothing compares to real human interaction.

Yeah the conference had it flaws and if I’d gone with the sole goal of making money I think I might be feeling pretty maligned. Thankfully I got to make connections and touch someone (and I don’t just mean their arse). Conference made.

This was next door to my hotel and seemed so very apt!

This was next door to my hotel and summed up my feelings about the day.

 

The gift of friendship

It’s not often a friend comes along that just gets it. Be that you, or the situation or whatever, they’re just right on the money every time. And you know they’d have your back, whatever the cost. Which is nice.

It’s my birthday this Saturday. I’m turning the grand old age of 37 (37! boohoo 🙁 ), but to be honest I feel like the past few months have aged me so much more. But it doesn’t matter how hard or weird or confusing or miserable my life has been this year, Bethany has been there. And it means a lot.

So anyway, today, as an early birthday treat and while the children were in preschool, she took me for pancakes and coffee. And she bought along my gift. We’re off for a night of drinkin’ and bitchin’ on Saturday night, so she wanted me to have my present today, so I didn’t have to carry it round with me on Saturday.

First off it was beautifully wrapped. And who doesn’t love gorgeous wrapping?

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Then I opened it. And burst into tears.

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In fact I bawled. In public. If you’re not sure why, you should read this post

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Then I turned it over. And bawled some more.

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But she didn’t get embarrassed at my outburst. She cried with me.

Cos she’s got my back.

She’s going back to work full time in January and I’m going to miss her so much. It can’t help but change things. But I couldn’t be more proud of her for taking this massive step.

Because she inspires me too.

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Thank you for my beautiful present Bethany. See you on Saturday! And I promise not to cry again.

Much 😉

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10 things you never wanted to know about me…

I’ve been tagged by Catie at Diary of An Imperfect Mum to tell you all 10 things you may or may not know about me. The questions were posed by her and there’s some head scratchers in there I can tell you.

So without further ado, here I am:

1. Who do you admire the most and why?

I admire Nigella’s writing and the way she has forged a career, bringing fun and sass to food when no one else was. I don’t agree with some of the life choices she’s made, but I don’t think it should detract from her work.

In real life though I admire my friends. They all have qualities I respect or have achieved amazing things. Like Bethany and her ability to speak up and her interesting career. Or Rosie for moving to another country, learning a whole other language and working as a diplomat and knowing when the time was right to move on. Or Michelle and her infinite ability to care or Helen and her amazingly strong spirit. Basically if you’re my friend it’s because I admire you in some way. I have no time for false friendships.

2. Do you have any hidden talents?

I have an uncanny ability to remember song lyrics. Not sure that’s a talent though 😉

3. What is your most treasured possession?

I don’t really have any. I’d love to say our Grandfather clock, inherited from Ben’s grandma, but if the house was on fire I think I’d grab my phone and possibly my iPad.

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4. What are you scared of?

I seriously dislike rats, but really the thing that scares me most is what the future holds for Oscar. I try not to think too far ahead. The fear of how the world will treat him sometimes paralyses me.

5. If you could learn a new skill what would it be and why?

I’d love to learn to drive. I never learnt when my epilepsy was under control in my 20s, because we lived in London and didn’t need a car. Then it stopped being so well controlled and I couldn’t learn. I have my provisional now but I’m too scared. I’d love to have the freedom, especially to be able to take Oscar places.

6. Do you play any musical instruments?

Nope. Although I did learn violin for a year at primary school.

7. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Before Oscar I would have said Australia. Or the States. We seriously considered moving stateside when we first got married. But now if we ever move, I’m always going to have to consider if it’s appropriate for Oscar’s autism support first.

8. What is your biggest regret?

University. I wish I’d done the whole experience differently. Different course, different attitude, different time maybe? I was so desperate to leave home, I just fell into it without really thinking and wasn’t prepared in the slightest.

9. Did you always want to have children?

Yes. Always. When I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome and told I may struggle to conceive I was heart broken. As it was we didn’t have any problems conceiving at all!

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10. Why did you become a blogger?

I needed somewhere to call my own, some space to say things I wasn’t brave enough to say in real life. Mrssavageangel has allowed me to be more honest and more courageous and for that I’ll always be thankful.

 

Big hugs to Catie for nominating me.

 

So the idea is I ask a couple of other bloggers to answer the following questions. So here you go.

Shannon at Shannonagains

Toni at GymBunnyMummy

and

Maria at SuburbanMum

I’d like to know:

1) High leg or thong?

2) last time you got ‘throw up’ drunk?

3) Chandler or Ross?

4) Ever broken the law?

5) Coffee or tea?

6) Best haircut you ever had?

7) Mayo or Salad Cream?

8) Most popular post you’ve ever written?

9) Uni mates or School friends?

10) If you could have chosen your own middle name what would it have been and why?

ENJOY
xx

 

EDIT:

I’ve been tagged to answer the following questions from RockinRandomMom . Thanks Michelle.

1 If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be?

I’m not a big celeb follower, but probably Nigella Lawson for the reasons I gave above.

2. What’s your favorite social media outlet to use for blogging?

This is hard because they all bring something different to the table. But if I had to chose, it’d probably be Twitter

3. What’s your favorite movie genre?

I love a good thriller. I love Alfred Hitchcock – his films just haven’t aged

4. If there was one event you could change in your past, would you do it?

Yes, Oscar’s birth and early days

5. Referring to question four: Why or Why not?

They were fairly traumatic and I feel like I missed out of so much. I’d also do what I wanted to do and not be bound by what I was told to do

6. How many times have you been tagged for this 10 Things about Me?

I think this is the third time

7. What’s your favorite childhood memory?

Christmas Day, age 5. I thought I heard my dad talk to Father Christmas, I got my pram and my Barbie house and I saw Mary Poppins for the first time. The whole thing was magical.

8. What do you think will be your child’s favorite childhood memory?

Wow, I’m guessing it’s yet to come as O is only 3.5, but he see the world so differently to me I doubt I’d ever guess it.

9. Ice Cream or Cake?

What? Can I not have both? OK, err, cake.

10. Music related because, it just has to be: Did you play a musical instrument at anytime during your school years and if so, what was it?

Yes a violin for a couple of terms in primary school

A Teen Dream?

I had a shocker of a time as a teenager. From age 13-16, life sucked. Maybe I’ll write about it one day, but for now let’s just say I wouldn’t go back and do those years again if you paid me in cold hard cash and pretty handbags. When I was 16, things started to change and that was largely due to the people I met, the group that pulled me in and the confidence it gave me. Some of those people are still my closest friends. The kind of ‘don’t speak to for months, then it’s like no time has passed at all’ people. You know the kind.

Anyway I got to talking about these people and that time with new friends this weekend and it got me thinking. I was a teen in the mid 90’s. No one had a mobile phone let alone access to Facebook or Twitter (our school only got internet access in 96. On one computer in the library. That you had to book to use!). If we wanted to find out what was going on in each other’s lives, we had to use the landline (after 6pm) or meet up. In person. We rarely made plans. The summer evenings were for hanging out. But we never made ‘appointments’ or sent iCals. No, we had the ‘circuit’. Our circuit was a network as much any social media platform; only ours was a network of roads, within a self defined area of my home town. Our way of finding each other was to go to those roads. Our plans went as far as “Stay on the circuit. I’ll find you” We didn’t know where each other would be, we just trusted that one or more or us would be there somewhere. And we were.

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6th Form Me circa 1996

Teenagers today would never need to be so haphazard. Every meet up can be planned and re-planned and cancelled and locations changed at the ping of a message on any one of the hundreds of social media platforms available. And that makes me just a little sad. Surely it takes some of the spontaneity and indeed camaraderie out of those fleeting years. Or maybe it doesn’t, who the hell am I? I don’t know any teenagers. I’m just making old people assumptions. But in my eyes everyone using the same platforms and having access to everyone else at all hours makes me wonder if these kids wont lose some of the freedom, the uncertainty, the fun I had growing up? Which may or may not be a bad thing. I mean the only time we ever arranged to all be somewhere in advance was for the occasional party at someone’s house. And they NEVER went well (I mean parts of them were brilliant, but something always went awry, usually caused by the same over hormonal girl – not me may I add!) I bet today’s teens could arrange a much better house party than we ever could. We were so unused to organising that we would whip ourselves up into a ridiculously over excited frenzy. Like toddlers hepped up on sugar. No wonder it always went wrong. Today’s teens are so much more sophisticated than we were. I bet they’d never get so excited over a silly house party.

Or maybe they would? I hope so. I hope today’s kids spend as many hours as I did daydreaming about this month’s favourite guy, or deliberating over which dress to wear to the next party, or playing albums til they know all the words off by heart. I hope they have real friends, who they can muddle through these bonkers years with, people they can be themselves with, whatever that may be. The new friend I was talking with this weekend, was of the opinion that teenagers have been homogenized and that there is no opportunity for sub-cultures to exist or develop any more. I hope that’s not true. An entire generation of teens thinking and doing and being the same thing, is going to result in some fucking boring adults.

Do you have teens? What do they reckon to all of this? Do they think I’m just old and out of touch? I’d love to know.

 

 

Life with Baby Kicks

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