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Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue And the dreams that you dare to dream, really do come true.  Judy Garland Dear … Continue reading

Six fears conquered at BritMums Live

Six fears conquered at BritMums Live

Dear Mummy, everyone knows that going somewhere new and meeting new people can be daunting. Over the weekend you stepped out of your comfort zone and headed to London for a bloggers conference called BritMums Live.

BritMums Live Review

Here’s some of the fears you conquered over the weekend.

1) Navigating to the venue – on your own. Well done for figuring out the underground and making sure you got to the venue on time. Especially on the second day when you were running late and there were problems on the Northern and Circle Line. You diverted across several lines and managed to cross the whole of London without getting lost. Phew! You’re braver than me mummy.

2) Pre-meet nerves. Heading to the London Eye for the pre-meet BritMums Live Insta Walk was very daunting – you had no idea what anyone looked like or who was meeting up there. In a sea of tourists and large groups, at one point you were ready to turn around and head back to Waterloo Station. Luckily for you, you noticed other people who ‘looked’ like bloggers. Beautiful 1950’s dresses, phones in hands and large backpacks kinda gave it away.

3) Am I good enough syndrome. Whenever you meet other bloggers you are constantly measuring yourself up to them, you know you shouldn’t but you just can’t help yourself. Questions whirl around in your mind like “do they like me” and “have they heard of my blog”. It’s easy to get disheartened when people haven’t got a clue who you are, but also nice when people recognise you or have heard of ‘Baby Isabella’.

4) What if no-one will talk to me. It’s so hard entering a room filled with bloggers on your own. On the first day you made a beeline for the refreshments and stood by a stand nursing your drink, while glancing around the room to see if there was anyone you knew. Making the first step to approach someone and strike up a conversation takes MAJOR balls. So mummy, I congratulate you for that. You seemed to make the first move a lot over the weekend.

5) Talking to brands and not coming across as an idiot. I think you were fairly successful at this mummy. You didn’t stumble over your words and were confident at explaining your blog to people. The more you interact with people the easier it will get.

6) Leaving me behind. You are always fearful of leaving me behind and feel guilty for having some ‘you’ time. This will get easier and you are lucky to have a good family support network to help look after me.

A lot of hurdles were crossed over the weekend at BritMums Live, you feel a bit more confident as a result of it. You’ve got to know London a bit better which has made you more comfortable about travelling on your own up to the ‘big smoke’.

Well done mummy, have a pat on the back. I think you were a good ambassador for me and you did me proud.

Love Bella x
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My time at BritMums Live 2015

My time at BritMums Live and home again…

Dear Mummy, we’ve had a really unusual weekend. Very hectic and frantic but rewarding. My mummy attended a blogging conference called BritMums Live 2015 in London.

London, Southbank

She got to meet other parenting bloggers and listen to some fabulous speakers. She finally met some of her online friends and interacted with brands and PR companies. Entered some fab competitions (my mummy loves competitions and she actually won a ticket from Bella Bathrooms to attend BritMums Live)

BritMums Live

She had fun, however she felt daunted and out of her depth too. So many bloggers had travelled up together and knew each other beforehand by attending previous events and she had come alone on the train. Some were welcoming and happy to talk to my mummy over a cuppa…..some were not. One blogger in particular was looking around the room while my mummy was trying to be friendly until another came across to chat to her and she quickly left without saying goodbye. Shame as I would have liked to get to know her a little better as she’s local to us. A smile can go a long way!

BritMums Live Craft

Anywho, apart from that little hiccup my mummy had a great time. She enjoyed bumping into Em @snowingindoors and chatting while making her fabric corsage in the craft zone. Listening to some live music and absorbing the keynote speeches from other bloggers. The kindness that Grace @EatsAmazing showed her by lending her a charger.

Here are some of our photos from BritMums Live, we hope you enjoy them.

BritMums Live 2015

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My mummy had fun on the BritMums Instagram Walk with Darren @OneDad3Girls and meet some friendly bloggers. She was amazed at the creativity from Maggy @redtedart and Ali @incredibusy with their beautiful Poppy England story book dresses and perfect Instagram poses and photos.

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She had a giggle with Louise @liquoriceuk and Sarah @RunJumpScrap.

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She took me with her, as I wasn’t able to attend. I appeared in some of her photos #Babyonastick hehe 😉

BritMums Live 2015

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It was the longest she’d walked in the past 2 years! Past Southbank, over the Millenium Bridge and past St Paul’s to the Barbican Centre then onto The Brewery where BritMums Live 2015 was held.

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It was a whirlwind couple of days. Her main highlight was making Happy Hearts at the Embrace Happy Session with Pippa @storyofmum and Karin @embracehappy and I think that session resonated with a lot of attendee’s there….it wasn’t ALL about the blogging!

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Afterwards my mummy was glad to get out of the big smoke and head home to her family. Her heavy goodie bag slung on her shoulder as she travelled on the stuffy tube back to Waterloo. Her feet were hurting and she was tired. She slept on the train back to Basingstoke.

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In the evening she enjoyed a date night with Daddy while Grandma babysat, taking on board the comments from the Embrace Happy Session.

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She attended another local blogging event over the weekend hosted by Festival Place to launch their summer festivities, called the Style Council and had a lovely breakfast while chatting to local bloggers like Louise @northhantsmum, Lara @adventuresofamum and Jenny @JennyCole04. She took away some style tips as well from stylist Melissa Murrell (pictured below).

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We had a great day on Fathers Day, the weather was beautiful and it made a stark change from the previous 2 days in the busy city. We had a great day on the farm seeing the animals and enjoyed some outdoor fun at 4 Kingdoms, Newbury. We sat in the sunshine and had ice cream. We reenacted rescuing a princess from a dragon and played hide and seek.

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My mummy is so glad she’s home, she’s thankful for the opportunity to go to London and to be a part of the buzzing blogging world and equally thankful for the normality of being a mummy and spending quality time with her family.

Love Bella x

snowingindoors

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My mummy is going to BritMums Live!

My mummy is going to BritMums Live!

Dear mummy, Eeek! What have you got yourself into now…..?

You’ve only gone and won yourself a ticket to BritMums Live 2015! Bloomin Eck! Well done mummy, however slightly jealous I won’t be coming! We came runners-up in the Bella Bathrooms Blogging Competition and won tickets to BritMums Live 2015 and some spending money, which my mummy has already spent on little ol’ me! We were both so chuffed to win and our little blog to be recognised.

Dawn Cameron (@dear_mummy) caught our attention with her blog “Our Monochrome Magic Bathroom” due to the clever writing angle she used. This blog was written from her little girl Bella’s (ironically!!) perspective who wished to create that relaxing haven for her mummy to retreat to. Bella definitely had some wonderful bathroom ideas a lot of mums would appreciate!
By James Chapman who works for Bella Bathrooms

This is the first time my mummy has been to BritMums Live and she’s a bit nervous having been to BlogFest14 and not really having good time there. Oh dear. She hopes this blogging conference will be a bit different…in a good way. She’s a bit more confident in her blogging abilities and has come out of her shell a bit too.

So mummy, being a bit late to the party, with only 2 weeks to go to the event, it’s best you share what you look like before you end up looking like a numpty in the corner nursing a drink on your own. Here’s my mummy. You can’t really miss her! Those black geeky glasses can be seen a mile away. If you see her just say ‘hi’ she won’t bite you, she’s just as nervous as you are!

My mummy

Name – Dawn Cameron-Hollyer (AKA Baby Isabella)
Blog – Dear Mummy Blog
Twitter ID – @dear_mummy
Height – 5’6
Hair – Jet Black
Eyes – Blue
Distinguishing marks – Unicorn tattoo on left wrist

Is this your first blogging conference? This is my mummy’s second blogging conference, the first didn’t go so well… you can read about it here.

Are you attending both days? Hopefully yes, provisions have been made and there are some great speakers on the second day too.

What are you most looking forward to at BritMums Live 2015? My mummy is actually looking forward to the Insta-Walk on the Friday at 12:00, before the event starts with @OneDad3Girls

What are you wearing? Black. My mummy always wears her black skinnies, band tee and a pair of vans.

What do you hope to gain from BritMums Live 2015? My mummy would like to meet new friends and connect with brands.

Do you have any tips to pass on to others who may not have been before? Nope. She’ll be worrying before the event that no-one will speak to her, so a friendly smile is good to break the ice. My mummy is very nervous you see without her baby sidekick. We think it’s a great idea that @OneDad3Girls is doing an Insta-Walk before the event, it means my mummy can just jump off the train and meet the other bloggers under the London Eye. It gives her the opportunity to say hello without being in a pressurised room and take some cool photos.

So now we’ve shared with you, is anyone else going on the Insta-Walk or going to be at BritMums Live on the Friday so she can track you down and say hi? The full BritMums Live agenda has been posted and it looks awesome!

She’s looking forward to seeing some of our online friends and saying hello 🙂

Pippa Story of Mum @storyofmum
Em @snowingindoors
Aby @youbabymemummy
Victoria @vicwelton
Amy @AmyCooperEM
Amy @2boys1mum
Zena @zenas_suitcase
Kaz @IcklePicklex
Claire @clairejustineo
Kara @ChelseaMamma
Karen @Minitravllers

I’d love if you give her a gentle prod or a friendly smile 🙂

Love Bella and her very nervous mummy.

BritMums

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How NOT to become a blogging monster

How NOT to become a blogging monster!

Blogging monster

Dear mummy, last week I posted a list of reasons why I think you might be turning into a blogging monster.

This week’s post is about helping you out of the blogging hole you’ve got yourself into. I’m giving you some pointers on how NOT to become a blogging monster mummy!!

Yes you have ambition, I get that mummy. But this constant striving to be the best at everything that you do must get you down.

I’m not saying have low expectations just don’t measure yourself on very successful professional bloggers!

A) you don’t have the time to be like them and B) this is a hobby that you enjoy. Not a business, not your livelihood.

So here’s my ten tips to STOP yourself turning into a blogging monster:

1) Stick to you guns mummy, you don’t have to be on every social media channel. Don’t spreads yourself too thinly. We’re not on Instagram you see…so what.

2) Take time out. For at least one day during the week don’t check your phone or computer.

3) Turn off notifications after 9pm. Don’t be a slave to notifications!

4) Limit your Twitter and increase your life balance. You don’t need to be online all the time! Leave temptation at the door. Hang your coat up and leave your phone on charge for the evening.

5) Blog for yourself. Do as much or as little as you want to.

6) Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers (they are travelling their own journey) it’s good to be different.

7) Only take your big camera when it’s a very special event – you don’t need it for a trip down the shops!

8) Be supportive of the blogging community. Show this though likes, shares and comments on other people’s blogs.

9) Have fun, when blogging becomes a chore it’s time to cut back or quit. Don’t feel that you have to do everything. When you don’t worry about followers and joining in every single Linky then you won’t feel the pressure to make everyone happy.

10) Don’t forget about family (especially in the evenings) disconnect from you phone and reconnect to daddy. *hubba hubba* 😉

Heed my words of wisdom mummy! I want to see you put this into practice soon….and if you don’t…. I’ll take control of EVERYTHING! Hehehe!

Lots of love Bella (your lifestyle guru and blogging buddy)

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Are you a blogging monster?

Are you a blogging monster?

Ten signs you’re turning into a blogging monster…RAHHHH 1) Every moment has to be captured and recorded. Everything is a blog post waiting to happen. 2) Sometimes you over-share with the world. What a dirty word ‘over-sharing’. 3) You have … Continue reading

My first time at BlogFest 14

My first time at BlogFest 14

Dear mummy, pheweee! What a weekend! It’s been non-stop and not the relaxing weekend we hoped for at all. My mummy attended her first Mumsnet BlogFest on Saturday in the big smoke and came back feeling mixed about the whole thing. Why you may ask? It’s not as if she paid to go, surely it’s like looking a gift horse in the mouth? My mummy is not ungrateful at all and had a lovely, quick catch up with her fairy godmother Karen @Minitravllers to say thank you for the free ticket and she passed on her thanks to Alice @skimlinks too.

Travelling to BlogFest 14However, she came back with a feeling like she didn’t belong in this world of professional blogging. It all started at the beginning of the day, butterflies in her tummy on the cold dark platform waiting to get the train up to London, leaving me behind for the whole day and feeling guilty for doing that. She wasn’t off to a great start and was worried about what she was letting herself into. Thankfully she met another fellow blogger at Waterloo, Amy, who was nervous about crossing London on the tube and getting lost, so mummy offered to help her navigate the dark tunnels of London.

It all seemed a bit rushed and hectic as she joined up with some more mummy bloggers at Kings Cross station, they seemed friendly enough, even though they hadn’t planned to meet her and hadn’t a clue who the hell my mummy was! Awkward smiles and exchanges about the event were made, but my mummy still felt out of the loop and that she was hanging onto other people’s groups of friends. It was like being back at school and my mummy didn’t like it, she felt like the odd one out – on the fringe, so broke away trying to find other bloggers who were on were on their own and strike up a conversation. Blogfest was held at Kings Place and was massive and as she travelled down the escalators my mummy was overwhelmed by how busy it was.Entrance to BlogfestMumsnet had laid on coffee, tea and pastries but she hardly had a tea or anything before the breakfast session was over and everyone was ushered into the main hall for the welcome talk. It’s was so busy and the air was buzzing, lots of chatter and laughing, tweeting and photographs were taken.

For the first time mummy felt like she was part of something important but maybe still out of her depth. See, my mummy is only a part-time blogger, it’s not her intention to take her blogging to the ‘next level’ or to make a profession out of it like some others she met. She felt like a fraud too, my mummy is not a writer, she’s bad at grammar and spelling. Afterwards she came out of the main hall feeling suffocated by expectation and pressure. At least she could go and hide in the next session ‘Getting more from Google+’ she anticipated that it would be empty as everyone surely would want to attend the ‘Masterclass in Making Money from your Blog’? See my mummy isn’t really that fussed about making money from this blog *shock horror* you may not believe it, but this really is a hobby. (That phase was repeated over and over again during the course of the day to people’s disbelief) The Google+ session was going to be interesting as mummy wanted to know the power of it and what all the fuss was about. She wasn’t disappointed James Dearsley was fantastic and gave a brief but brilliant overview of Google+ in a simple and visual way.

Sessions at BlogfestMy mummy was dying for a drink afterwards and a bit of a break after absorbing ‘too much input Stephanie’, so started to queue to get a her nails done and soak up the atmosphere while the majority of the bloggers went into the ‘Think Bombs’ session on the main hall. It was nice and quite out here on the mezzanine level, she watch staff set up the yummy lunch and stopped by the TalkTalk stand.

Before she knew it the masses descended on the mezzanine and foyer area for lunch. The decimal level increased and the chatting reached fever pitch. My mummy takes after my Grandma and likes to talk, however she dodged all the large circles of giggling bloggers drinking mulled wine in their clicky groups, others taking selfies and felt very alone, surrounded by so many people.

Thankfully @Vaichin at Rambling Through Parenthood struck up a conversation in the Nail Bar queue and my mummy and her found some solidarity in being on their own and not in a large group. The queue was short when we joined, see my mummy NEVER gets her nails done, so this was a real treat and was the perfect excuse to people watch. She chatted to some other ladies, but never got their names as they whizzed past only stopping to perch for lunch at the glass table next to her. Finally after an hour plus wait my mummy got her nails done and it was worth the wait, they looked awesome and WAHLondon did a fab job, maybe next time they could do with some more technicians as there was a lot of disappointed bloggers waiting who never got served. My mummy grazed on her lunch (as she didn’t really feel hungry) and before she knew it is was time for the next breakout session ‘Advanced Social Media’ with the witty and fast talking Paul Armstrong in the main hall. My mummy really enjoyed this session and was amazed at Paul’s knowledge on new trends and platforms in social media, she really felt she was getting the inside track on TSU and Hello Bar. She took lots of notes. I looked at them last night and couldn’t make head or tail of them, her shorthand is awful!!

Stands at BlogfestShe bum-shuffled up another seat to get a better view on the next masterclass ‘How to be a YouTube Star’ she was intrigued with what all the fuss was about with Vlogging and was even brave enough to ask Kate Rushworth a question, her hand shaking holding the microphone.

Afterwards it was Afternoon Tea and Cake, this is the part my mummy didn’t really enjoy as it was the start of the ‘back turning’. My mummy was trying to engage with other people, by this time in the day, circles had formed, mulled wine was consumed and people didn’t seemed that interested in mingling. She felt disheartened. After a smile from my mummy gets rejected by a passerby, my mummy slinks off to the corner of the mezzanine level to hide by the Coca-Cola stand, again, not the wisest move, the girls at the stand were unfriendly and pretentious, looking down their noses while my mummy was trying to be nice and talk to them..anyone. She felt so alone at this point. Thankfully her smile wasn’t wasted on @snowingindoors who took her under her wing. They had the same sense of humour!Masterclass at BlogfestAt last the final sessions were about to start and it this stage my mummy was about ready to go home. This was the session that everyone was looking forward to. ‘The Power of Writing’ my mummy arrived late and wanted to get a good seat so foxtrotted over to the front.

Meanwhile, throughout the majority of the day, a ‘ninja’ blogger called @needaphone had been tweeting my mummy, playing silly buggers and making her feel at ease. A lot of banter was shared and some stifled laughs during the keynote speeches saw shoulders rising and falling, glances and tweets of ‘what are you wearing?’ My mummy enjoyed listening to Harriet Kane and Nick Hornby, while the tweeting exchange carried on.

Finally after Power of Writing session my mummy finally caught up with her. @needaphond was actually not a cat as the Twitter profile suggests but in fact Claire and she was great fun. My mummy sat next to her through the very funny and entertaining Lucy Porter closing speech. Through Claire my mummy met bloggers and tweeter extrodinaires Oliver’s MadhouseYou baby me mummy, pigeonpairandme she enjoyed a quick gin (or two) and hung out briefly discussing the day and her first impressions of Blogfest before heading back to Kings Cross in the rain with a overpacked goodie bag of treats with ramblingthroughparenthood.

Highs
The F and the C word at 10am
James Dearsley – Google +
Paul Armstrong – Advanced Social Media
Harriet Lane – her cafe Nero story
Lucy Porter – and the penis cup story
Finding out about the #clearaplage, Project Sunlight
Getting nails done
Meeting singular bloggers like @Vaichin @needaphone @snowingindoors and getting introduced and greeted into larger groups of blogger friends
The big screen which caused some amusement during the keynote speeches

Lows
Well established clicky groups of superpbloggers, some of them back turners and air kissers
Too many selfies!!
Queues for nail bar and lunch
No seats for lunch and the constant balancing act of food vs drink (a lot of people sat on the floor)
Quick turnaround of breakout sessions
The Coca-Cola stand
The rain and getting soaked on the way home
Travelling….it’s such a long day

So in hindsight did my mummy enjoy this event? Yes for networking it was a great opportunity, but you have to be thick-skinned and confident in yourself and your blog to chat and carry a conversation. Sometimes if you have nothing to offer people or nothing in common a lot of the more established bloggers seem to get a bit turnt off. Which is a shame as we all had to start somewhere right? Will I be returning next year? I don’t know, probably not if the cost stays the same. Blogging events don’t seem to be part of our world yet, they may never be and my mummy may never feel comfortable attending another one and we have to ask the question is it worth the stress?

When my mummy got back from the big smoke she felt guilty, even though she was triumphant about being out of her comfort zone, she felt drained and at a lost. Today was a much better day, she was back in her comfort zone playing with me and daddy while we were out on one of our adventures. This is our world….professional blogging/networking may have to wait.

Bella and Mummy x

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