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Good things begin with B: BritMumsLive and Butterflies


It’s Sunday night. The tiny girl sleeps in her familiar cot upstairs, H is providing additional commentary on what I’m told is an oh-so-very-important football match (at the time of writing it’s a lament about England’s chances of ever winning anything on penalties) and I’m tip tapping away at the computer to try to condense the two days of learning, camaraderie and shared Mama-jokes that was BritMumsLive into some sort of coherent blog post.  Actually, I’m not sure I can promise coherency, but we’ll try.

The whole event was beautifully organised and The Brewery provided a great venue so the scene was set for the best of times. 
Some of the sessions, particularly the Discussion Dens deserve a post all of their own, so for now I’m going to try to narrow it down to a top 10 moments.

  • Spending ages trying to choose between sessions.  It sounds an odd highlight, but it’s got to be a sign of a great conference if you’d love to be able to split yourself in multiple parts and go to everything.  I’m hoping to catch up on the ones I missed.
  • Meeting up with friendly faces from all over the internet, and discovering a whole heap of new blogs to read.
  • Decorating cupcakes at the LegoDuplo stand in a bid to win enough Duplo for Kitty to swim in.  Sadly my ‘Space for the Butterflies’ themed decor was justifiably defeated by a very cute hedgehog with chocolate button spines (and probably a whole heap of other cakes as well).
  • More cake, cupcakes, and other food, including a delicious blood orange and lemonade slushie shot during the afternoon tea break that perfectly complemented the pistachio banana bread in my other hand.
  • Coming away from Friday afternoon with my so head buzzing with thoughts and ideas that it took a good while to wind down, and when Kitty woke up at 2am my brain was off on yet another tangent. And that was just Friday.  It’s a good job I wrote a ton of notes, I think I’m going to need them.
  • Sarah Brown’s inspirational keynote speech.  She spoke with refreshing honesty about how she found her voice in the online world, and some of the impact of being a public figure on what she was working to achieve.  Her charity, Piggy Bank Kids, who support research into pregnancy complications and premature birth,  were there running a competition with some stunningly decorated piggy banks; I don’t envy anyone the judging decision on that one.
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  • Listening to Kylie of Not Even a Bag of Sugar (who I met at Birmingham Blogcamp), the other panelists and the audience talking about what bloggers as a collective can achieve in the Blogging for the Greater Good session.  On which note I have a little plug for you on behalf of Camila Batmangelidjh of Kids Company who would love you to visit the Royal Academy Exhibition “Childhood – The Real Event”, to showcase what it’s really like for children growing up in the urban wildernesses of London.  It’s on until 22 July.
  • Cherry Healey’s very practical advice about finding your way in the maze of social media which cut through much of my brain fog induced from a previous session on social media planning that was a bit advanced for me (and by a bit, I mean a whole heap and a little bit more).  Essentially, find a medium that you love and run with it, don’t get ridiculously hung up on the ones that don’t seem to work for you.
  • Chatting to other working Mums about whether anyone can have it all, and what we really mean by it – and that’s definitely one that deserves a whole post of it’s own.
  • The Blogger Keynotes.  The finale to the conference, and they saved the best til last.  Hearing thought provoking, sweet, hilariously funny and touching posts read by their authors was an incredibly special session.  Particular mention must go to Hayley of Downs Side Up who read this beautiful post, straight from the heart and reduced the assembled company to a teary standing ovation. 

But best of all was coming back to beaming smiles and cuddles from H and Kitty at the end of each day.  They were both exhausted but happy and from the little pictures that flew though the airwaves to me, I deduce that they went to Hamleys, saw penguins at London Zoo and that Kitty’s butterfly t-shirt and butterfly wing reigns had the residents of the Regent’s Park butterfly house embrace her as one of their own.  They had as much fun as I did, and were just as tired.


I missed them even while I was having so much fun myself, but I joined them to take Kitty to supper in Leicester Square and to buy her a scoop of icecream to lick on the steps of St Martins in the Fields, watching dusk settle over Trafalgar Square, and today all three of us (and all our luggage – no buggy in sight) browsed the Tate Modern before heading for our train and the peaceful greenery of a little Warwickshire village.

If we manage to get up on time in the morning it’ll be a minor miracle.

Birthdays Family

Good things begin with B: Birthdays


Do you remember that feeling of pedalling to catch up with a bike that was galloping away with you the first time you rode down a hill that was a bit too steep for your abilities when you were learning as a child?  If you’re anything like me it ended up in some inopportune braking, a somersault over the handlebars to act as a soft landing for the offending machinery and a special flowery plaster on each knee.  I’m feeling a bit like that at the moment, I have so much to tell and I want to do it justice and not trip over my tongue along the way. 

I meant to blog last Thursday, but I fell asleep putting Kitty to bed and the next thing I knew it was a bit too late to tell you of H and my very

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H had taken a few days off work so he was there to cook us scrambled eggs for breakfast (his culinary piece de resistance), and there to come to Tots Splash at the pool where our 21 month old daughter modelled a beautiful new swimsuit, only a fraction too large – at size 3-4 years.   I know I’m tall and H is tall therefore Kitty being tall is not news to us, but age 3-4 at 1 and 3/4? That I was not expecting.

We went out to lunch afterwards and came home to try to do justice to the cake to end all cakes:

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It’s chocolate sponge, filled with buttercream, topped with chocolate buttercream, and Smarties, and KitKats.  If ever death were truly to be induced by chocolate, this would be the cake to do it, it’s completely delicious, incredibly rich …. and it’s sat right in front of me – would you excuse me for just a second …

It’s a perk of the internet over pen and paper that I’m only dusting morsels of sponge from my own computer right now. 

So 31, what should I say about you as an age? You are the year that we celebrated a first first birthday, the year when Christmas was all about saucer-eyes and the excited squeaks of a tiny girl, and the year in which I tried to figure out my new normal as a part-time working Mama.  We were perhaps on the spring tide of highs and lows but we can live with that, and 32 is looking to be pretty good from four days in.