Right, come on, settle down children, you're back to work now. Let's take a seat on the story mat and some of you can tell me what you got up to this weekend. Okay, who would like to go first? Lewis, stop fidgeting and pay attention, do you want to go first? Go on, tell us all about it...
I went to that there London on the weekend, to that there The Brewery, for that there Britmums Live! blogging conference ting!
Five hundred odd people, including about fifteen men, descending on Londontown to spend a day and a half talking about blogging stuff. And other stuff. Also drinking. Oh yes. Drinking.
I met fellow dad blogger Ben from Mutterings of a Fool on the train (strength in numbers, see) and we chatted away the journey into the Smoke. Ben knew exactly where he was going, because he is a proper man who can navigate London. I just followed him, feeling exceptionally glad I hadn't had to brave much of the public transport on my own.
We had a pre-conference beer with a few fellow bloggers (three men, about forty women at this point). The third member of our Y-chromosome triumvirate was Tom Briggs, who I've wanted to meet ever since he was kind enough to give me my FIRST EVER comment on this blog. Anyway, he's a thoroughly nice chap. You'd like him. Katy Hill liked him enough to sit next to him at the Friday night award ceremony, and if he's good enough for her, I dare say he's good enough for you.
Anyway, prior to the awards there was some conference gubbins in the afternoon. Prior to that I had my photo taken to appear in a national newspaper. Y'know. As you do. No big thing. Also in the photo were Darren from One Dad Three Girls (also lovely) and the BEAUTIFUL daughter of Me and the Tiny Three. She was lovely. So was her mum. Sensing a theme yet?
Our little group expanded to include the frankly awesome Lizzie (@eliza_do_lots), who has many websites, including this one, the absolutely delightful Lara Golden (@APluckyHeroine) who blogs over here, and the equally delightful, totally hilarious in person and on her blog Hannah Smith from www.mamabearwithme.co.uk.
I didn't feel I took all that much away from the sessions on the first day, the exception being Pippa from Story of Mum, who gave a great talk on storytelling. It was really good stuff. Also, guess what? She was lovely!
We bunked off the last session, like naughty school kids. Naughty school kids who wanted to check into their budget accommodation and try to quickly eat some food. We only managed the first of those things. Oops.
Awards happened, some extremely talented bloggers stood up and accepted some shiny things, lots of clapping, several glasses of prosecco, white wine, and red wine. Katy Hill was badgered into following me on Twitter six minutes after I tweeted that I didn't actually know who she was. AWKWARD.
We fleetingly met lots of other people (who aren't getting hyperlinks, because I'm tired now) and then decamped to the pub, where we met Andy Harris (a man who trusted me enough to take my advice on what bike seat to purchase, which was nice) of Always Time for Biscuits and the vision of beauty that is Ella Shaw from Trying My Patients. Fucking. Hot. Saynomore.
We were soon joined by EXCELLENT dad blogger Sam Coleman (@DustandLove) who made the effort to come and see us even though he hadn't been to the conference itself. I'm truly glad he did. Great chat. Great beard. Great blog.
There were more people than I've listed there, and they were all just totally great. It was like meeting up with old friends, yet aside from one person I had never met any of them before. There were laughs, there were hugs, there were surprises, there was even some drooling.
No dinner until I managed to order in pizza at about 12:20am. More bloggers in the hotel bar. More great chat. More. More. More.
It. Was. Fantastic.
The following morning, with its five am wake up call from some bastard in a tower crane, wasn't quite as fantastic. But it was okay. Cooked breakfast. Lots of water. Lots of tea. Reconvening at the conference venue. Better sessions on the second day (still not all brilliant though). Meeting more online friends in real life (special mention for @SonyaCisco and @glosswitch, two of my absolute favourite bloggers).
A bit of a blub over some of the blogger keynotes, and the conference was done.
I went and got some proper barbecue at Bodean's then met up with the few remaining delegates in a bar for more booze. Among them, ace new blogger Ruth who writes A Pencil Skirt and is just as funny in person. I spent much of the evening catching up with Annie (www.mammasaurus.co.uk). She also squeezed my bum and told me about hitting seagulls in her car. Good times!
Fate brought me and Her Royal Hotness Ella Shaw back together to finish the evening, as well as gorgeous Julie from www.mamaowl.co.uk. More excellent chat and more tasty drinks. A general sense of all round winning.
So, yeah, in summary: Britmums Live, really good, especially the bits that weren't really anything to do with Britmums Live.
I hope I won't have to wait until next year to see everyone again.