I have to say, I have been to around 5 conferences over the years I've been blogging (at the first ever Britmums meet up at London Zoo, I only had one blog), from Cybermummy, to Blog Camp and then to Britmums Live. However, I have never, ever known one to be so, well, emotional.
I cried so much Saturday, I gave myself a stonking headache. I cried my darn make up off. (Apologies if I scared anyone).
I want to say though, it was OK to cry. It was what so many of us needed. Friend's of the never forgotten Kerry and Matilda-Mae. Those who had met them, those who had merely heard about their passing and felt empathy, emotion and feeling for their families.
The strength of support over the weekend, well, I do say sometimes that blogging can be a bit of a mindfield, friendship and angry moments wise, but not this weekend. We hugged, we laughed at certain bits. We were there for every single one of each other.
I have a few thank you's:
To Chelsea (the gorgeous MS Mummy of Two), I am so gutted you had to go home (and shame on the hotel for not putting you near the lift), but it was an utter pleasure to meet you, and your lovely other half. I am so jealous of your tats by the way, and sorry my phone was unhearable due to noise before you left so I could have given you a hug. I hope you're feeling better x
To Liska ( the sublimely talented New Mum Online), thanks for keeping me company, for laughing, for the gossip. You looked lovely in my dress (!) and your speech at the seminar was thought provoking and heartfelt. I hope you are not emotionally drained, and you are so right, Kerry would have told us all off for crying like a mad bunch, and ordered us to drink wine and jump around like loonies.
To Susanna and Jen- how you guys do it every year is amazing and astonishing, it must have been terribly hard this year with the sheer upset everyone has felt these past few months. But, hats off, you did it. I'm my opinion, wiping the floor with all the others. I look forward to next year. Now go get some rest! (Oh and Jen, I still giggle when you say y'all).
To Kylie and Annie (The wonderful ladies behind Not Even a Bag of Sugar and Mammasaurus) thanks for sharing such personal experiences with us all. It takes guts to read and say what you do, and I'm humbled.
To Jennie (From the amazing Edspire). Just because it must have been overwhelming, intimidating, hard beyond belief. But you are so strong, so admirable. I personally don't feel I'd have the strength to leave the house, but you did it. You came, and you let us hug you, and cry with you. I pray that life gets better for you, more hopeful, and the darkness lifts x
To Kate (From the great blog Kate on Thin Ice) I hope your poor feet have recovered from the stairs! You make me laugh all the time, and it's a pleasure to have been in your company again.
To Pippa (Come on, we know where Pips from, right?), I love you to bits. Don't go changing ya mad thing!
So, what of the rest of the conference?
I met the humbling and beautiful in equal measures Katie Piper, who deserves a medal in the triumph over adversity stakes. I am working towards organising a little project for her Foundation. It was a privilege to chat to someone who I have admired from the first TV show I accidentally stumbled upon.
I found Katie Hill hilarious. I didn't expect to, but my God she's one of us. Over sharing as an art form, funny, witty and just plain normal as a Mummy like the rest of us. I hope to bump into you again soon.
Kirsty Allsopp was a pleasure to listen to, she was exactly how I thought she'd be, funny, in a flap, and lovely to be around.
On Friday, we went for dinner right near The Brewery and were there from 8.30 until gone 11pm. Our waiter was like Manuel from Fawlty Towers, the food was delish, and I'm sure their are Instagrams around of what we ate! Monika- well done for finding such a posh place and dictating what we'd pay! Let's do it again next year, with bells on!
Saturday saw me being hugged by a Lion, eating more lovely food, and seeing more lovely people, friend's old and new. I cried, I danced to Katy Perry (Kerry, only you could get me singing a pop song from after 1995). I met some amazing new bloggers, and proved I'm actually quite a nice person (cheers Liska!).
I came home tired, drained and happy.
I did pitch my book idea but, well, not to be negative, but the session made me a bit cross. The lady I spoke to is obviously knowledgeable, but trying to convince me to turn a book for young kids with a special purpose into a dark tale of ghouls and children who talk to walls perhaps made me glaze over. Onwards and upwards and perhaps to self publishing?
I just want to sign off by saying I am going again next year! I dare those who didn't come to come next time, as it was such a great event, yet again, for so many different reasons. At times it was hard, for the most part we had a giggle.
What more could this old timer blogger ask for?