Life, Simply Led

Braintree Clothing and Me at BritMums Live 2013!

I can barely see to type this morning having spent the weekend at the BritMums blogging conference in the heart of London – I’m shattered, it would appear that I am no longer capable of staying up past midnight without turning into a pumpkin!

This was the sixth blogging conference I have been to and my third time at BritMums, this year I was honoured to be attending as both a finalist in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards and as a speaker.

My Braintree Dress and the Bloggers & Brands Panel Debate

One of the points I wanted to make during the bloggers and brands debate was that we don’t have to passively sit and wait for brands we like to approach us. We can actively go out and seek to work with companies which we admire and want to bring to the attention of our readers and we are allowed to say ‘No thank you’ to brands which don’t fit our ethos or our blogs. With that in mind I approached a brand for the first time ever to ask them if they would dress me for the awards and my panel debate…and they said ‘Yes please’!

Braintree clothing make beautiful, practical, eco friendly and ethical clothing and I really wanted to have them on Thinly Spread. Here I am in my Braintree dress pontificating about the importance of bloggers and brands working together creatively, see how well the rest of the panel were paying attention? See how comfortable I am? I was amazed how much a dress and a pair of borrowed shoes did for my confidence!

Braintree clothing and Thinly Spread

and here I am paying attention in return (@schoolgatestyle did tweet at this point ‘Great brand session…tho slightly distracted by @thinlyspread’s fab shoes’…this has NEVER happened to me before, I don’t own these sort of shoes!)

Braintree Clothing and Thinly Spread on the Bloggers and Brands panel at BritMums Live 2013

On a serious note, I did feel that this debate didn’t really get off the ground, I would’ve liked to get my teeth into it a bit more but, with limited time and a packed agenda, it was inevitable that we would only really skim the surface of the relationship between bloggers and brands. I would like to have talked about honesty and transparency and I would REALLY like to have talked about big brands using bloggers to manipulate their presence on search engines but it was not to be on this occasion. I shall have to write that post here shortly instead!

The Brilliance in Blogging Awards

My new dress stood up to the rigours of a long day and I was still cool and comfortable when the evening’s celebrations began. I couldn’t help but encourage people to stroke the 100% organic cotton to see how soft it is – one or two thought it was silk – and I also showed off the 55% hemp 45% organic cotton throw which I had been sent to keep me warm once I’d left the heated confines of the conference room!

I spent time with one of my very favourite people before she leaves us in September for a new life in Tasmania. Ruth was a fellow finalist in the commentary section and, if you haven’t already read her blog then you absolutely must.

DorkyMum

I caught up with Anna, Emma and Liz and laughed, a lot

Brilliance in Blogging Awards

I didn’t win an award but losing to Team Honk in the Commentary section and Knackered Mother’s Wine Club in the Outstanding Category isn’t a bad way to go!

Brilliance in Blogging Awards

My cheesy grin in this photo is genuine – if a bit blurry!

Braintree Clothing

The Braintree dress which made me feel so fabulous is the Dakota May dress, it retails at £39.90, this is ‘floral ikat’ but it also comes in ‘weekend spot’. I was also sent the Banyan throw to wear with it, the throw retails at £39.90 and I can see it becoming a real staple in my wardrobe, I think I may need to invest in another colour to ring the changes! The clothes are really good quality at a good price and with a sound ethical background – this is eco fashion at its best!

I am still processing the rest of the conference in my head and I hope to write about the sessions and events of Saturday when my head is less jumbled and my emotions less raw. Suffice to say here that BritMums Live has come of age, it was a professional conference with a good balance of workshops, debates, discussions and speakers. The coming together of a blogging community in mourning for a lost friend and a special child was sensitively and thoughtfully handled.

I do worry that it is still a little overwhelming for people new to blogging but anything that big will inevitably leave some people left reeling and it was good to see the BritMums Butterflies attempting to scoop up people who were looking a bit shell shocked. I was delighted to speak on the Friday and again on the Saturday (‘Working with Charities’), I loved meeting up with old friends and new, I was pleased that the brands were less pushy and the Hub more relaxed – there was plenty of food and drinks which is always a bonus for me! I heartily congratulate the organisers and their team!

Disclosure: I was sent the two items of clothing as mentioned in this post. All words are my own.

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35 Comments

  1. I’m so pleased you were there. That’s all. xx

    • *hugs you hard* xxx

  2. I sat next to you an stroked your dress, it was one of the most calming moments of the weekend!

    You looked knockout lovely x

    • Having my leg stroked by you was a highlight for me ;-) Thanks for your company this weekend, you really are as sound as a pound xxx

  3. You looked fantastic Chris, it was a lovely dress and fab shoes.

    I’m so glad we got to spend time together again, and I’m sorry if I was a bit out of it at times. xxx

    • Aw, thanks lovely. I think being ‘a bit out of it’ was entirely to be expected in the circumstances. Looking forward to seeing you soon xxx

  4. The dress really suited you I thought, I missed the brand panel, but thoroughly enjoyed the charity one. Was my first BritMums and my first conference, and thoroughly enjoyed it, even if I had the odd moment of anxiety!

  5. I didn’t stroke your dress but you did look fabulous and you need to keep those shoes for good!
    I agree, it’s quite overwhelming and there is so much to talk about – one post, in some respects, isn’t enough. I also agree that it was an excellent conference.
    Great to chat about non-blogging things with you too. Will talk more over the coming weeks!

    • Oh Trish, it was SO good to spend time with you! I had to give the shoes back today but I *may* have tracked a pair down and ordered them online ;-)

  6. bloody lovely to see you, I think you may be one of my favourite people.
    x

    • Oh you. You’ve made me cry a bit. Come to the West Country ASAP xxx

  7. I did come to your session and was impressed with the whole thing. I do however know what you mean about it not quite taking flight as by the time you wonderful panel had introduced, started chatting about saying no or how well you’d done, the session was over.

    So glad to have seen you again.

    • You too, thank you! x

  8. I loved seeing you again and I agree with your comment on the Brand Panel debate but it was the first one of the day and maybe it needs to be moved to a later time when speakers are ‘warmed up’ a bit? It is and will be an ongoing discussion and I loved your DH’s comment about sitting in the stream and waiting rather than actively searching. THAT made me sit up and look at my blog in a hugely new light. Thanks for the tip and the hug.

    • Oh Mari, I LOVED catching up with you, you are so lovely. Thank you for taking on board what I have written, I do love that Britmums seems to listen to constructive criticism and to act upon it, I was impressed with the way the conference has evolved over the last three years. So glad to hear you are with me on the bank, fishing ;-)

  9. FABULOUS dress – twit twoo…you looked fab in it and it was the perfect day-to-night option. Off now to check out the Braintree website. And I totally agree with you on the brand debate…there’s SO much more to it all. But it’s difficult with a big audience and limited time. I felt that with a couple of the sessions…they got interesting too close to the end so I look forward to a future post dedicated to this issue. Avril x PS Thank you for the mention! x

    • Thank YOU! Your tweet made my day! Braintree is fab, I loved the fit and feel of that dress and I’m looking forward to wearing it on the school run (read ‘walk’) very soon, it’s one of those dresses which works well in most places…perhaps not climbing a tree or doing the high jump but most other occasions! x

  10. It was lovely to see you, speak and listen to you and the dress looks fabulous!! xx

    • Thank you Emily, it was all a bit of a whirl wasn’t it?! I think there is space for a calmer, social event where we can all natter and share our experience! x

  11. Lovely dress, and you’re absolutely right and I am getting out the stream as we speak. It was my first time at Britmums and I loved it. I came away feeling inspired and a part of an awesome community that I am proud to be a part of. Off to put my ladder against the right wall, hint, it is not tweeting rubbish to make money.

    • I was so sorry not to hook up with you properly Ella! I look forward to seeing where your ladder takes you! x

  12. It was a delight to meet you and you certainly looked fab – loved that dress straight away. I was present at that Blogger Brands session and felt it had further to go, so I look forward to your post x

    • Thank Anya, it was lovely to finally meet you! I have so much more to say about bloggers and brands, I would like a proper debate really!

  13. Hi Chris!
    You look absolutely fabulous! :)
    We’re so pleased you approached us, thank you again and we look forward to hopefully working with you more in the future.
    All the best x

    • Thank you! I can’t tell you how much joy working with you has brought me! Your clothes, your ethos and you are lovely :-)

  14. That was a gorgeous dress. And I wholeheartedly agree with your brief summary of the conference. It is a bit huge and overwhelming but I had a fantastic time! :-)

    • It was lovely to chat with you, sorry if I was a bit over excited ;-)

  15. You were great in your session and looked amazing in your dress. I wish I had more time to catch up with you but you were a lady in demand!

    • Thank you, how kind! I didn’t have nearly enough time to chat, it was very frustrating! x

  16. You looked amazing!

    • So did you! :-) It was fab to have a bit of a catch up x

  17. i enjoyed the session you were in with Kelly. You did look lovely in that dress, my regret is that I didn’t really get to chat to you much other than to say hello, but it’s such a big event, it becomes impossible.

    • It is totally impossible, I do think there is room for blogger socials on a smaller scale. We have so much to teach each other and so much to talk about!

  18. It was FAB to spend some more time with you this weekend – and makes me giggle a bit to think that at last year’s conference I was too nervous to even go up and say hello to you! What a difference a year makes… Thanks for your lovely kind words, very sorry that you didn’t win your Awards. Fingers crossed for you at the MADS, you are most definitely the very loveliest blogger out there and it would be nice to see that rewarded xxx

    • I’m gutted you didn’t grab me last year, how much time was wasted?! Your kind words have me grinning and a wee bit teary! :-) xxx

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