The List #9

Hi and welcome to ‘The List‘.  If you are new here, ‘The List‘ is a great linky that I co-host with Hannah from Mums Days.  The idea is simple, just link up any post that is in list/bullet point format, easy! I use mine to record my weekly highlights and remind myself of my hit list and targets, but yours could be a ‘top ten’ list or anything you fancy.  Your posts can be old or new, all welcome.

This week I am linking a fun post I am me and also a practical post how to personalise your child’s playhouse.  Hannah is sharing 14 reasons to blog daily and her take on UK Holiday Essentials.

Thank you to all the people who linked up last week, it is fabulous to see so many of you joining in again.  Each week both Hannah and I will pick our own top 3 lists and give them a little shout out in our posts.  With lots of posts to choose from, it is always a tricky task to pick!  I have narrowed it down and my favourite’s are;

Big trouble The List #9

I really loved Yvette’s post about the REAL milestones in parenting!

Cardiff The List #9

Cathryn’s post about the things that happened when she ventured to work, made me nod along and giggle.

confessions The List #9

The Single Parent Pessimist’s #My3Things post was right up my street.  A great way to reflect on the week and focus towards the next.

REAL LIFE

  • I met one of my best friend’s new son.  So gorgeous, welcome to the world little B.
  • I drove to Cheltenham to see my friend Em who blogs over at Snowing Indoors.  It was so lovely to see her and her beaut kiddies.  I think Baby loves Ez.
  • Real life high; Spending time with wonderful friends.
  • Read life low; Being shouted at repeatedly by some horrid man on Regent Street.


BLOG & SOCIAL MEDIA

  • My most popular blog post this week was; Apart from a giveaway that has now ended.  My most popular post was Step into the Story, about our amazing night at Bicester Designer Outlet Village.
  • My own favourite post this week was; this one about blogging conferences, as it is got me excited about BlogFest (or) Mr Hubby’s first review!
  • New blog discovery: I feel like I need to raise my game in the style stakes and Helen’s gorgeous blog Coco Mama Style is just what I need!
  • Best post I read this week: I LOVED Dave from Dadventurer post about his first solo parenting day.  So funny!
  • Blog high;  A trip to Hamleys for a blog event (post coming soon)!
  • Blog low; Wanting an early night, but having too much to write.

 

Rules:

1. You can link up to 3 posts per week! Be sure to paste The List badge on each post you would like to link up (code below – paste it into the HTML option of your blogging platform).

2. Comment on this post to say hi!

3. Comment on at least 2 other links – share the love man, it’s what makes this community great!

4. It would also be amazing if you could share your post and the linky party (using the hashtag #TheList) on your social media channels to help grow the community. Hannah and I will also retweet all your posts via Twitter if you mention us in your tweets! (@youbabymemummy/@mumsdays)

5. Finally, if you could please follow You Baby Me Mummy (Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest) and Mums’ Days (Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest) that would be wonderful!

By adding your post to the linkup you are agreeing to be notified of subsequent linkups.

 

So you know what do to, grab the badge and link up your lists. I can’t wait to have a read!

Badge 150 x 150 The List #9
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.youbabymemummy.com" title="The List"><img src="http://youbabymemummy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Badge-150-x-150.jpg" alt="The List" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

 

The Alphabet Project {Y is for….}

Welcome to the ‘Alphabet Project’, a fun photography project brought to us by Charly over at Podcast Dove.  The idea is simple, we take a picture each week based on a certain letter of the alphabet.  The links can be literal or more abstract.

This week it is ‘Y‘ and for us Y is for Yawn

yawn The Alphabet Project {Y is for....}

Click here to check out my Alphabet so far.

Why not pop over to Podcast Dove to check out some others.

4d06e438 4e6a 4f3b 88b2 0c1093350397 zps361ad0e9 The Alphabet Project {Y is for....}

 If you enjoy my posts, why not

 The Alphabet Project {Y is for....}

Zoflora Disinfectant Review

By no stretch of the imagination am I a domestic goddess.  However, living with a toddler and two little dogs, I occasionally have to clean up!  I was looking for a cleaning product that is pet friendly and can be used in a wide range of areas.  I like to wash down our patio regularly and I was using a strong disinfectant, which had an awful smell.  The people at Zoflora sent us some of their concentrated disinfectant to try out.
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‘This powerful concentrated antibacterial disinfectant liquid not only kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, but also contains a powerful odour elimination ingredient and beautiful long lasting fragrance leaving your home hygienically clean and fresh.’
 SECRET LOVE OF CLEANING INFO GRAPHIC 4 Zoflora Disinfectant Review
Wow this infographic made me feel like I have been wired up wrong.  There is no way I have a favourite household chore, let alone a top 10!  Also I would be lying if I said I spend anywhere near 4 hours a week on cleaning….  I think it is also safe to say that I do not have a secret love of cleaning…. (Do you get the picture?)
Zoflora 120 Assortment A 1024x869 Zoflora Disinfectant ReviewWe were sent three bottles of Zoflora concentrated disinfectant, Bouquet, Warm Cinnamon and the Oriental.  The bottles are compact, however the disinfectant is mixed 1 part Zoflora to 40 parts water, so it goes along way.  There are 14 different scents to choose from, so you are sure to find one that you like.  All three that we tested had really lovely scents.  I like that they don’t have a strong ‘cleaner’ smell, but much more of a perfumed one.  I tested the disinfectant on our patio, kitchen floor and our worktops.  I found it really effective and the smell wasn’t over powering at all, but the fragrance lasted a few hours.
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Zoflora can be used as a general disinfectant on surfaces, bathrooms and hard surface pet areas.  Which is great as there will be fewer bottles cluttering up your cupboards!

 

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Disclosure: We were sent this product in return for an honest review.

Weight Loss Weigh in #3- Sponsored by Diet Chef

Weekly Weigh in Badge Weight Loss Weigh in #3  Sponsored by Diet Chef

Welcome to my weigh in.  Today marks the end of three weeks on the Diet Chef plan.  You can read my round up of week 1 and 2 here and here.  If you haven’t heard of Diet Chef before, they offer delicious Chef prepared diet meals, which are delivered to your home.  They are so quick to prepare, just a couple of minutes in the microwave.  Perfect!

Week 3 Menu

Diet Chef week 3 menu Weight Loss Weigh in #3  Sponsored by Diet Chef

Diet Chef week 3  1020x1024 Weight Loss Weigh in #3  Sponsored by Diet Chef

My experience

I found myself about half way through this week having a little craving for something ‘bad’, maybe a cheeky takeaway while watching Strictly!  However, I am determined to do this, so I resisted the urge.  I have had a few times when I have felt a little bit hungry, but it hasn’t been bad enough to make me consider falling off the wagon.  I am actually enjoying the food, so meal times are enjoyable.  I think this is important as I don’t feel like I am missing out, which I usually do on diets.  Don’t we all?!

This week’s vital statistics

Weight lost

- 3lb (total over 3 weeks 1 stone 2lb)

Total inches lost (across 10 measurements)

- 4″ ( total over 3 weeks 26.5″)

Verdict on week 3

I am still enjoying the diet and the results I am seeing.  I like the fact that it is actual food and not mainly shakes.  I think psychologically chewing food makes you feel less deprived.  The food is genuinely so tasty and I haven’t tried anything that I haven’t liked.  I ordered the couscous pot, when it arrived I read the ingredients and immediately thought, ‘oops I shouldn’t have ordered that’!  However, I really surprised myself as it was yummy!

I have also been able to order my first ‘stone’ Teddy Bear.  The WooHoo Bear!  Hopefully, Baby will end up with LOTS of new bears!

The programme I am on would cost £8.75 per day.  However, if you order a 12 week supply this daily cost reduces to £6.61 (this is for all three meals and a snack).  At the moment Diet Chef have an amazing deal on their 8 and 12 week programmes of £100 off!

Disclosure: I was sent a 28 day Diet Chef hamper in order to try to programme and write a review.  All opinions are 100% honest and are my own.

 Weight Loss Weigh in #3  Sponsored by Diet Chef
We Will Do It Support Linky Button Weight Loss Weigh in #3  Sponsored by Diet Chef

Follow Me!

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Share Your Wedding #39

Hello!  Welcome to Share Your Wedding.  The weekly feature that gives you the chance to re-live your wedding day and may just give soon-to-be–weds some inspiration.

This week we have an invitation to Katy’s wedding.  Katy blogs over at What Katy Said and can be found on Twitter

Hi Katy, Introduce us to your family,

My husband and I live in Hertfordshire with our two daughters Little G and Baby L.  While Mr F goes off to work every day, us girls stay at home.  Little G is almost 3 and spends her days making a mess everywhere.  While Baby L is 7 months old and follows her sister around by crawling backwards.  Both sides of the family live within 10 minutes of each other so the girls are very lucky to be able to spend time with aunts, uncles and grandparents regularly.  I am a teacher and will return to it one day, but for now I am happy to spend my days playing with my girls- documenting our lives on my blog!

Let’s set the scene..

How did you meet?

We met at university in Bangor, North Wales.  He lived down the corridor to me in halls and was doing the same course- Zoology/Marine Zoology.  We became friends in the first few weeks and it built from there.

How long have you known each other?

We were 18 when we met, it will be 12 years this September!

How did he propose?

We had been together 8 years.  It was Christmas day and we were staying with my parents that year.  I woke up at about 5am (I am a big kid when it comes to Christmas) and rolled over to wish him a merry Christmas.  He produced a ring and all I could say was “are you serious?  Is this a joke?”.  When he had assured me he was being serious I screamed and ran off to tell my mum!  I realised I hadn’t actually said yes and rushed back to him.  Probably not how he imagined it would go!  I imagine he thought it would be without your mum!

How long were you engaged before you were married?

I got planning immediately and so it was an 18 month engagement, which was just enough time for me to sort it all.

Share Your Wedding

When did you get married?

We got married 14th August 2010, it only seems a short while ago, but it is almost 4 years!! Crazy!!

33500 430723985853 679610853 4890218 1404538 n Share Your Wedding #39You look so beautiful!

Did you have a large wedding or a more intimate affair?

We had 100 guests to the ceremony and another 50 to the evening.  I had 5 bridesmaids (4 adult and 1 child).  He had his brothers as joint best men.

Tell us about the venues?

We got married at Sopwell House in St Albans.  It is a country house hotel with beautiful grounds.  We got married in their ceremony room and then had the whole event in one of their suites.  It rained in the morning, but by the time we were married there was sunshine for the photos.  My favourite photo is of us on the bridge.

Did your wedding have a certain style?

I wanted quite neutral colours initially but my wedding dress was called ‘aquamarine’ – that is my birthstone so I took that as a sign and all of my invitations, menus and the adult bridesmaid dresses were in an aquamarine blue colour.  Everything else was ivory and cream though.

Tell us about the most important thing, the Dress?

I had a ‘classic’ style dress, it had beautiful beads, crystals and pearls on the bodice and a fairly poofy skirt.  It was made from taffeta which I loved as it was crisp and rustled as I walked. It was called ‘aquamarine’, although I am not entirely sure why.

Describe your wedding

Being a neutral theme my flowers were creams, I had roses.  The other arrangements had other flowers in too, couldn’t tell you anything other than they were cream!  I made everything myself, the invitations, the menus, the seating chart.  All in aquamarine. We decided to use balloons as decorations for tables rather than flowers which can be so expensive.  I also made a balloon archway to separate the main room to the dance floor.  The cake was a vanilla sponge with white chocolate icing, I found it on the M+S website and it was perfect as it had white roses scattered over it.  Wow you did so well to make it all!

47206 428022023844 514543844 4966908 4055843 n Share Your Wedding #39

I decided against a wedding car and instead spent the money on a suite for the night before.  That way we could all get ready together in the morning.  My hairdresser arrived at 5am and began working on the bridesmaids.  The photographer turned up at 9am and suddenly it seemed real.  Before I could blink it was 1.45pm and it was time to walk down to the ceremony room.  I don’t think I have ever been so nervous.  I knew Mr F would be there waiting for me, but I was nervous about everything going right.  I had planned it all for months and there was nothing more I could do but wait for it all to unfold.

Everything went smoothly and the staff were great!  Everyone enjoyed the food; a sit down dinner of chicken for the wedding breakfast (a bit non nondescript maybe but we wanted people to enjoy it rather than have something fancy that people didn’t like).  We had a buffet in the evening with a selection of nibbles.

I loved everything about the day, but the guests would probably say the speeches were the best part.  My brothers in law are hilarious and wrote the funniest speeches!  We have everything on video and the guests were in stitches from beginning to end.  Another highlight for everyone was the disco in the evening, a friend organised the DJ for us and he was great!  He knew exactly how to read the mood and there was always a full dance floor!  It probably helped that we had a free bar though!!

41040 459993895026 696530026 6724441 1900021 n Share Your Wedding #39

What was your favourite part of your Wedding?

I honestly don’t remember much of it, it went so quickly!  My favourite part would have to be the dance though – I had dreamed of that moment for so long.  When we first met Daniel Beddingfield was number 1 with ‘If you’re not the one’ and so that is what I chose.  We practiced a few turns the day before, nothing too complicated, but enough that we weren’t just swaying for the 3 minutes!  Oh I love that song!

What extra touches made it special for you both?

My sister was my maid of honour and she did a reading part way through the ceremony.  She cried (and she never cries!!) and that set me off.  There are 8 years between us, but suddenly we were both very grown up.  Awww.

Did anything not go as planned? Any funny stories?

Everything went to plan, as I am a complete control freak!  There are a few funny stories though (most of which are from the speech and Mr F would kill me if I told anyone!).  One funny part was when his brother said where we were going on our honeymoon “he is taking her to Bangor for 7 nights” now if you think of this with a rude mind you can see why people laughed.  Most people knew he was joking, but our poor photographer didn’t get it as at the end of the night he wished us well and said “have a great time in Bangor!”

Would you do anything differently with hindsight?

I wouldn’t change a thing, however I wish I could go back and do it all again, but this time take time to absorb it all.  I didn’t relax the whole day, as I am like a sergeant major and needed to keep everything running like clockwork.  I wish I had just let everyone else worry about the details and take the time to enjoy it.

What song did you walk into and what was your first dance song?

I walked down the aisle to Canon in D, I know everyone uses it but it is just too lovely not to have it.  We walked back up the aisle together to Michael Buble’s ‘Everything’.  I almost chose that as our first dance song, but it fitted better for walking up as a newly married couple.

Do you have any advice for the soon to be married?

Film everything!! Even though people tell you to enjoy every minute you never fully remember it all as you are in a whirlwind.  If you have it all recorded you can revisit it anytime you like!  Great advice!

Where did you go on honeymoon?

It certainly wasn’t Bangor!  We decided to go to the Dominican Republic.  It was perfect for us as it has white sandy beaches, but it also had enough going on that we could go for day trips.  One of the highlights was zip-wiring through the rain forest, not something you do every day.

41110 10150239650935176 842745175 14239051 5891888 n Share Your Wedding #39

Is there anything else you would like to share about your wedding?

I am a loud person in general, but everyone commented that I was practically inaudible throughout the ceremony.  I was aware that I wasn’t speaking very loudly, but I knew that if I relaxed I would just cry!  As it was I had a cry after my sister’s reading.  My something old was my late grandmother’s hanky and I was glad I had to mop away my tears (of happiness).
Something new was my dress, something borrowed was my friend’s wedding garter and something blue was my aquamarine jewellery.  I also had a sixpence for my shoe given to me by one of my bridesmaid’s granddad.

Thanks again to Katy for sharing her lovely wedding.

If you want to Share Your Wedding just drop me a line youbabymemummy@gmail.com

share your wedding button Share Your Wedding #39

 

 

Beer through the post? Yes please!

When Beer52 contacted me to see if we would like to review their craft beer subscription service, I knew just the man for the job.  Mr Hubby is the beer drinker in our house and I think he was quite happy when a box of beer arrived.  Apparently I am the best wife ever!  So I will hand over to Mr Hubby (doing his first review!).

Beer 52 1024x1024 Beer through the post? Yes please!

I arrived home from work to find that the beer fairies had delivered the Beer52 box containing eight craft beers, specially selected to give a variety from microbreweries around the world. Rather splendidly, there was a free snack included too!

I wouldn’t class myself as an expert by any means but I have attended the occasional beer festival with judge 2 in my time (I feel it is my duty to support local businesses whenever I can) and was fairly confident I knew the gist of the judging process. Turns out, there may be a tad more to it than I gave them credit for (as you’ll see if you read on).

In a vain attempt to make the process a bit scientific we decided to judge on colour, taste and smell (which may have been a mistake as we both had a touch of man flu which, incidentally, we were fortunate enough to survive – probably due to the health-giving properties of the beer*).

Our first contender was the Orkney IPA; orangey/amber in colour and whilst we could detect no distinguishing smell (told you it may have been a mistake), we could definitely taste the hops and at just shy of 5% it was a very good start.

Orkney Beer through the post? Yes please!

Next to be opened was the Citra from Oakham Ales; this one had a distinctly fruity smell (man flu getting better already) and was lighter in colour than the IPA. Maybe unsurprisingly given the name, it had a citrusy taste with grapefruit being prominent. The quirky labelling appealed to us too; we both thought that, if faced with shelves of untried beer, this would stand out. At 4.6% it would make a good session beer (ooh, get me with my fancy lingo).

Citra Beer through the post? Yes please!

The Steph Weiss wheat beer was the next to be plucked form the fridge. This was a departure from my usual beer style but I was pleasantly surprised. The taste was completely different from the first two and, to my uneducated palate, had a hint of baked bean! Judge number 2 was far more accustomed to wheat beer than me and was very complimentary also. Unfortunately, by this point we had abandoned the smell category as we were struggling to detect much.

Steph Weiss Beer through the post? Yes please!

All this hard work had made us peckish so we decided to open the Coulls lager and the complimentary Bbq pop chips next! Once again, we were impressed with both. The lager was distinctly lagery in colour (stop me if I get too technical) and I thought I could smell peaches (from the lager, not the crisps). The taste was far more complex than your bog-standard (quite literally for some of them) lager and led me to come up with my favourite line of the evening; wait for it – “a beer drinker’s lager”!! It’s fair to say I was far more impressed with this line than judge 2, but he does have previous for being grumpy. The pop chips were a great accompaniment.

Coulls Beer through the post? Yes please!

We spiritually travelled up north next for the Corby Fox Brown Ale. Dark brown in colour (as you may expect from a brown ale) it had a very smooth and mellow taste and was noticeably less gassy than anything we’d tasted.

Corby Beer through the post? Yes please!

As beer tasting can be a very personal thing, we expressed surprise that we had both enjoyed everything so far and moved on to the Centurion American IPA. Brewed by the Hillside brewery, this was another winner. It too, tasted like a potential session beer but, having noticed the alcohol content is 7%, the session could be relatively short!

Centurion Beer through the post? Yes please!

The penultimate tipple was Killer Cat Manga (I should point out that the ‘killer cat’ in the photo didn’t come in the box with the beer but is resident with judge 2). This one promised to be different and so it turned out – noticeably more bitter than the rest.

killer cat 1024x677 Beer through the post? Yes please!

The Grozet Gooseberry and Chocolate beer we saved until the end as the concept concerned us somewhat! However, it turns out that the clever people at Beer52 don’t just pluck any old stuff from the beer world, they certainly know their business. With a malty taste and a little tartness, it was a lovely way to end the session.

Grozet Beer through the post? Yes please!

In conclusion (stay with me, I’m nearly finished), I realise that we may not have done justice to the seasoned beer reviewer but I’ve always thought that the blurb written in reviews was, quite frankly, a load of rubbish; ‘a hint of hedgerow’ and ‘essence of Badger’ don’t mean much to me (but that may say more about me than the reviewers) – maybe I should educate myself and take in a tasting course when I have some time (probably in about 16 years time).

We both agreed that all the beers were highly recommended but, for us, the champion ale was the Oakham Ales Citra.

 Beer52 are offering all of my readers 10% off the first box, just use code YOUBABY10

* I’m pretty sure this is true but I doubt it would stand up in a court of law.

 The Beer52 subscription is £24 per month for 8 beers.

Disclosure: We were sent these beers in return for an honest review.

Baby’s Konfidence has a wobble

Baby started swimming back in May of this year, when we were selected to be Official Konfidence Swimologists.  We were thrilled to be given the opportunity and after a shaky start, she came on leaps and bounds.  Only a few weeks into her lessons, she was doing everything the other children (who had been swimming for longer) could do.  She really amazed me with how much she improved in such a short space of time and her confidence was so lovely to see.  She was moved up to the toddler class just before the summer break and slotted in well.

Konfidence 1024x364 Babys Konfidence has a wobble

However,  over the last three weeks Baby has changed quite a lot in her lessons.  She has become increasingly clingy and cries a little at times, which she hadn’t done since the very start of her swimming journey.  I am not sure whether it is just a phase she is going through or whether it is a result of her being challenged more in lessons.

We swim each week with Aquababies West and all the toddlers are being put in for swimming awards, which means they have to do more on their own.  Potentially, the change in her could also be down to the lessons being close to nap time.  Whatever the reason, poor Baby hasn’t got the same boundless confidence that she had a few months ago.  She will still happily jump in off the side, but when in the water, she prefers to be in my arms.

Fingers crossed she will work through this glitch and that we will start to see her old level of confidence return.  I miss my confident little swimmer.

Do you swim with your children?  Have your children experienced a sudden loss of confidence?

Follow Me!

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Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Primula Frosting

We were recently challenged by Primula to make some yummy treats using their Primula Kids cheese spread.  After looking at the Primula website, we decided to go for the Banana Cupcakes with chocolate frosting.  I have never baked with Primula before; in fact we usually buy a different cheese spread.  However, we made Baby a sandwich with Primula Kids and she loved it.  Baby is not a reliable eater and so we were thrilled to find something she will eat.  Primula Kids is firmly on our shopping list now.

primula kids Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Primula Frosting

So this is how we got on.  You can find the recipe below, which you can print and adjust if required.  As I am currently on a diet, not a crumb passed my lips, but I am reliably informed they were very tasty!

Primula Cupcakes 1024x944 Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Primula Frosting

The Black & White Photography Project #16

Photographer extraordinaire Charly over at Podcast Dove hosts a weekly photography linky, which gives us the opportunity to show off our Black and White pictures.

Here is our picture.  Baby being a little crazy at the park.

B W 16 The Black & White Photography Project #16

Why not pop over and have a look at some other lovely black and white captures?


4d06e438 4e6a 4f3b 88b2 0c1093350397 zps361ad0e9 The Black & White Photography Project #16

 

What to expect from a blogging conference

What to expect from a blogging conference What to expect from a blogging conference

One of my favourite things about being a blogger is attending blogger conferences.  I love the chance to chat to other bloggers, learn new things and speak to brands.  Just being in the company of others who ‘get it’ is pretty cool.

I was recently asked some questions by a few blogging friends who have never been to a conference before.  They were a little worried about their ‘first time’!  So I thought I would answer their questions in a post for everyone.  I must clarify that I am not a seasoned conference go-er, but have been to a few so far.  Hopefully this post will be useful, especially with BlogFest right around the corner.

What Mummy Blogger conferences are there?

  • BritMums Live - This is held in London at The Brewery, which is a fantastic venue (right next to the Montcalm Hotel).  BML is in June and as the name suggests is organised by BritMums and incorporates the Brilliance In Blogging Awards.  The dates for 2015 are Friday 19th and Saturday 20th June.
  • BlogCampThis Birmingham based conference is organised by Tots100 and is free!  Held this year in April and October, it is a fantastic event.
  • Blogtacular- Another London based conference.  Blogtacular is THE place for creative bloggers.  Being held on 13th June 2015.
  • BlogfestMumsnet throw their hat in the conference ring with BlogFest.  The date for 2014 is 8th November.  Not long now!
  • Cybher - A female only conference, not just for Mummy bloggers.  In 2014 the event was held at the end of May.

What should I wear?

I think anything goes really.  I would say dress to make yourself feel comfortable and confident.  If you are representing a brand, it is a good idea to be smart casual.  Some people rock their jeans and casual wear.  Others have dresses and outfits gifted to them to wear at the event.  I was gifted two dresses last year for Britmums Live (just ask, you never know!).

What will I need?

  • Charging case/Battery pack for your phone or tablet.
  • Normal charger – there are always sockets you can use to top up your phone’s juice.
  • Pen/paper or tablet/ipad – whatever works for you.
  • Business cards – useful to give to both brands and bloggers.
  • Camera or camera phone.
  • Ticket!
  • List of anyone you specifically want to meet.
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Is there a certain conference etiquette? How do I approach other bloggers/companies?

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If there is a blogger that you want to meet/chat to and you don’t know them, just tweet them and see if they have time to meet you.  Remember bloggers will be attached to their phones, so even at the event you can make contact with them.  Approaching brands is really easy at most conferences.  Remember brands are there to meet bloggers, so they want to talk to you.  Just pop along to their stand and say hi.  Ask them in what ways they work with bloggers and if they could consider working with your blog.  Don’t forget to tell them why you want to collaborate with their brand.  Have your business cards ready!

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What

can I expect to learn?

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Do you have to queue early to get into the workshops that you want to attend?

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The sessions often run back to back, with the exception of coffee breaks and lunch time.  So there isn’t really time to get to a session particularly early.  I have only been unable to attend one session before, which was Google + at Britmums Live.  Just goes to show how confident we all are at Google + (it was rammed)!

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How structured are the sessions and is there time to meet people?

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The sessions are laid out in a timetable, but it is up to you whether you wish to miss a session in favour of networking.  However, there is time to do both if you are organised.

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How do people take notes?

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You will see people taking notes on tablets, phones and good old fashioned pen and paper.  Do whatever works for you, there is no right or wrong.

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How do I ensure I get as much out of the conference as possible?

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  • Write a list of any bloggers you are in contact with (maybe via social media) that you want to meet up with.  Contact them and make a plan to get together.  Things can get quite busy and it is often difficult to catch up ad-hoc.
  • Research the brands who are attending;  would any fit with your blog?  Make a list of those who you want to make contact with.
  • If you are being sponsored, make sure you know what your brand expect of you and tweet regularly including their details.
  • Take lots of pictures, especially if you wish to write a post about the event.
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Can I go alone?
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Of course you can!  However, it might help you to have some moral support, especially if it is your first event.  Many events have their own Facebook groups or twitter chats, which is a good way to get talking to others, who may also be going alone.  Arrange to meet at the station/coffee shop and all walk there together.  It will be much more fun!
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What do I need to do prior the event?

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I am going to sound like a teacher now, but you get out of it what you put in.  By this I mean, if you do nothing and just rock up, that is fine, but you may find yourself wishing you had done X, Y or Z on the way home.  Do some research into the people speaking at the event, which will help you decide which sessions you want to go to.  As I mentioned above look into the brands attending and decide which ones you want to talk to.
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Bonus tips!
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  • Find out the relevant # so you can join in with the twitter action around the event.
  • See if any brands you work with or admire, will sponsor you to attend (usually this means they will cover the cost if your ticket, travel and accommodation).  I secured my BritMums 2014 sponsor via an initial DM on Twitter.  If you don’t ask you don’t get!
  • Make a note of the people you meet, you may not remember everyone and it is always nice to tweet people on the train on the way home.   This is a great way to build relationships with other bloggers.
  • Make sure you enter any competitions that brands are running.  At BritMums last year a few bloggers won a holiday with Mark Warner!  It is worth a little look around to see if there is anything you wish to enter.

Have you been to a blogging conference?  What are your top tips?

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