My second conference at BritMums Live and who did I know? Some familiar faces from two years ago, but otherwise only a couple of acquaintances who’d be there for a while. Not as scary as Stand-Up comedy but it’s up there. But hey, I’m a blogger and this is what bloggers do. But by the end of the day this happened many times …




I arrived late due to London Transport closing all the direct lines from Marylebone to Moorgate, and everyone was in a session when I got there, so after a lovely welcome from Kirsten, I headed for the courts. Better get warmed up for practising for Wimbledon – our exports may not be as attractive abroad given the soon-to-be-raised tariffs, but a home grown tennis player is always good for shifting barley water and trainers. Serena I’ll be seeing you next year.




The lovely Will from LTA put me through my paces for 10 minutes, and feeling more relaxed though a bit steamier, (sorry about the whiff especially with the double hit of chorizo breath from Costa Barcelona), was feeling ready to introduce myself to complete strangers.




Here’s my sketch of the indomitable Vicki Psarias-Broadbent from Honest Mum. I’ve seen her before but our paths never really crossed. She gave some great advice in her session about blogging. Here are some of her tips: –

“There is enough success to go around – enough for everybody”.

“If you’re approaching a possible client, follow up and crack on – don’t just give them your card and not do anything about it”.

There are no rules about how many times you should post a day. The more content you create, Google will be over it. Learn the rules then know how to break them”.



I’d love to have met her in person – first time I was at BML I was a bit shy and didn’t talk to that many people, but was prepared this year to speak to some of the Blogging Grandees.  However, Vicki is such a ball of energy, she was off like the Road Runner every time I came close!  (Could it have been the chorizo?). Will try and catch up with her next year, if I can move fast enough. Well done to her for winning both Social and Outstanding BiB Awards. Bet she’s celebrating all week.


This is me and Carol Smillie. Yes, the Carol Smillie that everyone knows – apart from me. I was pondering aloud whether to buy a pair of her fabulous Diary Doll pants, and whether it meant reverse potty-training. (This would enable me to sit all evening in the wine bar without having to get up). I said to her,

“I’m sure we’ve met before, you look really familiar”



Carol was absolutely delightful and happy to talk to this oblivious blogger. We had a good old rant about the extraordinary events taking place in the world outside, and I bought a pair of her pink knickers which will be much needed as I won the Chucklemums Pants-wettingly funny blog Award recently. Chatting about the undercrackers and Carol Smillie with my husband the next day, he said,

“Is she something to do with John le Carré?” which shows we need to get around to paying that damn TV licence and start watching. A woman cannot live on a diet of The Archers alone.




Since coming home, I’ve organised an informal photoshoot with Plummy Mummy in the garden. She’ll be wearing her Diary Dolls to Sports Day and hoping to make a bit of a splash when she joins in the 100 metre Mummy hurdles in her tennis skirt.




Here are Mission Mum and Higher Flyer testing them out – LOOK! NO LEAKS!



Wayhay LUNCH! In the Orangerie I caught up with the very sassy Catherine Boardman from Catherine’s Cultural Wednesdays who was a fellow Shortlisted blogger in Reader’s Choice. More importantly, she knew where to get the delicious colour coordinated meringue tarts.



This is us plus Alice from The Fairy Blogmother (who knows EVERYTHING) after we’d demolished a whole plateful. You can see the sugar rush on our faces.



Next session was working with PRs and some really useful information was given out by Alexandra Delf from Ophir PR and Susan Schwartz from Best Bits Worldwide.



Tips for success: –

You need a good looking media kit.

Tell PRs everything about you and make it easy for them to get in touch by email – they don’t have time to be trawling through your site looking for a way of making contact.

Make sure you get clients’ names right.

Set up a date with them by saying “I’m going to be in your part of the world in 3 weeks time”.

Always use a proper title ie. Ms or Mr. Younger people often assume using a first name is fine, but some might see this as over familiar.

If you’re going away during a campaign or assignment, let them know when you’ll be back.




A sketch of bloggers at that session. Recognise yourself? Apparently the Sketchbook Club run by Jenny Maizels which ran at the same time as this one was really good – I couldn’t be everywhere though. As others have said, two days of BML would have been a bit less frenetic, with more time to really digest information.





Now I’m kicking myself a little, as the most fantastic dress of the day – mine was only a little bit fabulous ! – was worn by Fiona from Coombe Mill, and I didn’t take a photo! A hand-knitted slinky green / yellow shift and her Blog name in vast letters all over it. With 6 children and an idyllic if slightly muddy life in Cornwall, my hammer clanged the bell very high up on the envy metre – but what a lovely, inspiring woman. Oh yes, a huge cheer as she WON the READER’S CHOICE AWARD and I wasn’t even a teensy weensy bit like this …




Next up I found my way into the Instagram talk but only because I was following Jen and Susannah, admiring their glamorous dresses yada yada yada and that’s where they were headed. I don’t even do Instagram for goodness sake, but I was taken with Ali Clifford’s fabulous bird dress and stayed if only to find out where it was from.



Ali and Maggy Woodley from Red Ted Art (wearing a skirt from the same designer – I did a little research there!) looked extremely natty and both twirled for my camera.  The clothes are designed and made by Bryony and Co. Their website is brilliant – go and have a look, but can we agree not to wear the same one if you’re thinner than me?



A sketch of Ali, Maggy, Diana from Paint, Sew, Glue Chew and Sian Tucker from Coldatnight.

Instagraming seems to be one platform I’ll have to let slip as they own all visual copyright – rather at odds with this artist trying to make a living.

The irrepressible Tim from Slouching Towards Thatcham stood on the stage and bravely sang his musical parody. I love poetry and W.B.Yeats is in my Top 5, so although we didn’t talk poetry, it was great to meet another fan (another Shortlisted blogger from Reader’s Choice). A decent, smart and brave person who is exactly as I’d imagined him to be. For my money, he should definitely have got through to the Finals. There’s always next year …




Getting changed into my LBD for the ceremony, the wine started to flow, and the cheering and clapping for all the unsuspecting winners went on till we could hooray no more. One of the highlights of the whole day for me was meeting the funny and talented Beth from The Adventures of Beta Mummy.



… not to mention Fran from Whinge Whinge Whine




… and Sarah from Mumzilla.  The Chucklemums themselves. I hope they’re wearing the right pants.




Finally, we all hugged goodbye and I tottered back to The Montcalm, where I found out the most uplifting word in the English language …



More excellent advice and cartoons on BritMums Live 2016

Childcare cartoons – great advice for your next conference

How I survived my first BritMums Live


Give me a shout if you’ve been tagged in any of these pictures – I’d love to hear from you. I met too many others to mention but you all added to a fun day and stay in London. It was a bit of a whirl trying to fit everything in, and session-hopped a bit, missing some of the best bits. But I came for the craic, loved the tennis, and met some amazing bloggers for the first time in real life. Yes, I’ll be back! Will you?

nb. Despite the company links, this isn’t a sponsored post, I just wanted to share the love.

My Random Musings
 Diary of an imperfect mum
Brilliant blog posts on


You Baby Me Mummy
A Mum Track Mind
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Mama Owl

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  1. Just recently ‘discovered’ you – absolutely love how you combine very witty text with your gorgeous illustrations here. Wish I could be a fly on your wall when you’re in full creative flow.

    1. Haha you wouldn’t want to be a fly on the my wall especially when I’m gnashing my teeth if 2 hours of drawings disappear into the ether or slurping tea biscuit enriched tea. I really appreciate your feedback on the blog – it’s what keeps us all going isn’t it. Thank you Jo x

  2. What a fabulous and funny round up, I was smiling throughout…only what I expect having got to know your blog in the last few months and meeting you in person on Saturday! Just fabby. Glad you had a good time. Me too. Lucy

    1. Hi Lucy – it was lovely meeting you albeit briefly – and having just read your post, can see you had a good time on Saturday too. Sorry we didn’t cross paths at The Montcalm either, my stay was even better than last time and i agree about the wonderful staff. There was a young Ukrainian woman who was the waitress at breakfast. We started talking about the EU Referendum poll results and had an interesting discussion after I saw the table was covered in anti-immigrant Mail on Sundays and nothing else. All the very best for the next few weeks and maybe everything go smoothly for you. Jo x

  3. What a fab post and you’ve shared some great blog advice on here too that I missed. As for your missing Sketchbook club I have it on YouTube Newmumonline channel and there’s also a pic of Coombe Mill’s dress in my blog post. I’ve met and chatted with you at BML in the past. Love your drawings and there’s lots this time xxx

    1. Ah thanks so much Liska. I’ll go to your YouTube for the Sketchbook club to catch up and have a butchers at Fiona’s great dress. Cheers for stopping by, it’s always thrilling getting a comment, makes my day Jo xx

  4. What a fab round up! Shame we didn’t get to meet in person! Goodness my chin looks big in that illustration (haha)! Glad you enjoyed the talk and hope to catch you next year 🙂

    1. You remind me of my Grandmother for some reason though she had a big blonde bouffant but was also very energetic. Please don’t be offended by drawing – they are rough sketches done at the time and are not strictly figurative. Just trying to catch the spirit of people there, and I was enthused by your talk – a bit of a kick up the arse for me 🙂 Hope to see you next year Jo x

        1. My Grandma was one of the most stylish women of her generation. Her nickname was ‘Lighting’ because she whizzed in a chauffeur-driven car up and down Bond Street, stopping off at boutiques along the way, and go to a Bridge party, drinks, dinner and opera all in one night. Top lady!

  5. Love this truly animated fantastic colourful account of the event I wish I had been to! Fabulous enthusiasm and amazing art! you are hilarious and talented thank you so much for this! #brilliantblogposts

    1. You are sweet thanks so much. Have just been over to your blog and bathed in the colour. When I was younger there was a fab diner and bar called Peppermint Park in St Martins Lane, London. Heard of it? Think it was run by Peter Stringfellow. Had lots of debauched evenings there and have happy associations with anything blue green and minty. Thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂 #brilliantposts

  6. Sounds like a fab day, gutted I wasn’t there! It’s great reading these posts and seeing all the pics. Love your cartoons of the sessions 🙂
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂

    1. The silly thing is that the whole day whizzes by in about 10 minutes and even though I knew than from before, failed to arrange any meet-ups. Apart from a couple of people I wanted to see, only bumped into lots of bloggers in the evening. It would have been better to have it over 2 days really though the expense is prohibitive. Badge on should be on its way to you #BloggerClubUK Jo x

  7. SO glad I found your blog post today. Your sketches are ace! I didn’t realise Carol Smilie was on her pants stand either. She looks quite different to how I remember her so I would have probably nattered to her being completely oblivious too. If I had known she was famous I would have made a complete fool of myself by getting all nervous. I am hoping you are at a future blog conference so we can meet. #fortheloveofblog

    1. I suppose she was quite low key that Carol during the day and seen out of context too behind the leak-free knickers. I’d love to meet up at another conference do please let me know when you are planning to go to one Jane. I’ve only been to Blogfest and BritMums, but it all makes for a day out away from domestic duties and a chance to meet really interesting people like you. #fortheloveofblog

      1. I’m going to go to BlogFest this year and I am going to Blogon in September so it’ll be lovely to meet you if you are going. I had such a great time at Britmums but I think that was partly due to the fact I already felt I knew people through their blogs and so I didn’t feel so nervous. I laughed so much and kept thinking about how lovely it was to meet everyone in person. In fact, I felt a bit flat the next day after such a marvellous experience. I learned loads too! My ‘TO DO’ list is MA-HOO-SSIVE!!

        1. Oooh off to look up Blogon. I know what you mean about the next day – really wanted to carry on the party atmosphere. x

  8. I did not notice you taking that picture of me and Fran! Luckily I was wearing my giggle-proof pants because I did A LOT of laughing that day! It was such a pleasure to meet you and I still need to message you! Xxx #fortheloveofblog

    1. The best pics are when no one is noticing. I get self conscious and start to pull Kodak faces which never look good. It was great meeting you too Sarah. What do you need to message me about? Oh yes, your poem its just come to me. My agent is away at the mo, but anyway lets DM. XJ #fortheloveofblog

  9. Wow! A whirlwind of a post on BML16! I’ve read a few now and as I wasn’t there I have enjoyed reading them all. Yours is brilliant with your amazing cartoons – you absolutely brought it to life for me, thank you! Alison x #KCACOLS

    1. Thanks so much Alison – really lovely to get such warm feedback. I missed out alot being late there but glad my post gave you a good sense of the experience. Maybe see you next time Jo x #KCACOLS

  10. A brilliant write up with some excellent bloggers in there 😉
    It was a great day and lovely to meet you – I don’t remember laughing so much in a while (apart from every Tuesday at #chucklemums of course)!

    1. It was great to meet you too – it’s given me the taste for more blog conferences as i haven’t felt as relaxed as i did at this one #chucklemums

  11. Great round-up; I’m so sorry I didn’t see you – had to leave half way through as NC threw himself down stairs (at home). I wish I’d made the sketching session too – you don’t need it though! 🙂 #chucklemums

    1. I read about that – attention seeking children (and partners) who cant live without us for a day. Perhaps see you at another conference – you do make me giggle and we could swap royal stories. #chucklemums

  12. Oh Jo I knew this would make me laugh but I had no idea how much. You are so clever and hands down the best BML blog write up I’ve read. I’m honoured to have finally met you in person. In my eyes you are always an award winner with your creative and hilarious posts. Thank you for the lovely mention xxx

    1. Wow I’m blown away Fiona. Thank you so so much as comments like yours make it all worthwhile. I get quite hard on myself for not blogging more frequently, and lie awake thinking of all the posts that need writing. My Grandma used to say, “draw faster Joanna” and that would drive me mad really, like someone saying to my son, “run faster”. Maybe i’ll do a post about that now. It was so lovely to meet you in person too, please send me a pic of yourself in that amazing dress if you have one, and I’ll tweet it with the post. X Jo

  13. This is brilliant and such a fab way to highlight the excellent day at #BML16, you have summarised it perfectly especially Vicki’s talk. We had a quick chat during the hour party but before the awards, I loved your short listed badges. Such a great day and fab to meet all the bloggers. Are you going to BlogFest? Thanks so much for linking up with us this week at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

    1. Thanks Claire. Of course one cant fit it all in and i wasn’t there Friday night etc. I wish the whole thing was videoed and we could see it all in slo-mo later. Or even invite each person on stage, introduce them and give them a sort of Roman standard or those tall banners at festivals so anyone can come and say hello. oh i suppose that wouldnt work as then everyone would have to stay in one place. I have no idea how to do it better actually. May go to Blogfest – went twice before. You? Jo s #fortheloveofblog

  14. What a fab round up, it had me chuckling away! Your illustrations are absolutely fantastic! I especially liked the last one with the ‘Bollox’ model! Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS we really hope you join in again next Sunday xx

    1. Thanks Clare, yes he was very sweet. Actually about 20 years too young for me and not really my type. I prefer men with their underpants OVER their trousers. Jo X

  15. Sounds amazing, now I wish I could have been there! Sadly, I’m too far away. It does sound like there’s too much going on to fit into just one day, though. Great illustrations! #BloggerClubUK or was it #KCACOLS ?!

    1. A long way for you to come. Another year? Thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂 #bloggerClubUK #KCACOLS

  16. I didn’t go to britmums this year. I’ve loved all the hype and am very inspired to go next year. Your round up certainly is one of the more entertaining blog posts. Loved reading #bloggerclubUK

    1. Glad you felt I caught a flavour of it. Do come next year – the more the merrier but please come and say hi as I love meeting new bloggers. #bloggerclubUK

    1. That’s great i’m really glad you liked them Sarah, and yes it was great fun for me thanks. Good to see you too briefly – so hard to find a reasonable amount of time when we’re not all about to start a session etc. Next year perhaps ?

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