Real Housewife of Suffolk County

Thursday, 25 June 2015

It's Thursday, Stop Crying!

Oh, thanks so much for that intro Ed. You can always count on Ed Sheeran to get things started on a good foot hey? That man seriously has a way with words.

So it's Thursday today and it's almost 11 o clock as I start writing this, and I've already cried twice. Why? Because of the weekend. I know what you're thinking "Broken Record" well....let me just put you straight. I'm a "record breaking broken record" (51 mummies at Britmums Live FYI, thanks Guiness World Records!)
Anyway, it's all still a little overwhelming. The whole experience, putting myself out there and also I think the new found confidence just totally took over.
I didn't expect to feel so at home. I walked in and saw Jen and Susanna and in my head I wondered what on earth I was doing. I felt like a fraud to be honest.
What was I thinking when I sent an email telling them I was confident that I could do this job and that I would be good at it.
But as soon as they said hi, and I realised I didn't need to introduce myself and have that awkward "erm, I was the one who emailed you. You know, the room moderator. We had a conference call. We've been emailing. LAUREN. I'M LAUREN" conversation I felt so ready to just do it and to get on with it.

I don't want to blah blah blah on about things I've already written about (here FYI) but when asked on Twitter by Britmums...well they asked everyone, not me specifically, to describe in one word how I felt at this years conference my chosen word was "accepted".
I think it's an odd one to explain, and I want to choose my words carefully so as to not sound like I have this massive ego. But I think it's easy to feel swallowed up in the blog community sometimes. We are all little fish in a massive pond but it doesn't mean we go unnoticed.
The last two years, I suppose last year in particular, I felt like I was going wrong somewhere. No one seemed to recognise me or wanted to talk to me but this year, it felt so different.
People read my name badge and knew my name and knew my blog and had the sweetest things to say. And for someone who overdoes the compliments on a daily basis I found myself unable to cope with what people were saying.
The bully in me was telling me to ignore them but I was able to override that, which was overwhelming and a big deal for me when I generally tend to let the bully win, and I was letting the nice words sink in and trying to let them find somewhere nice to snuggle and to remain until the end of the event.

I expected to wake up on Sunday and for it to be like any normal day. The odd chat about Britmums Live here and there but it was completely different. All day my thoughts were on the two days just gone. It all felt pretty surreal. I kept reading the most lovely things on Twitter and on blog comments and was a little shocked at how nice people were being. At how much people thought I did a good job. I cried pretty much all day. Yes, I am emotionally unstable. And thought that by Monday all would be ok.
But no...well...yes it was all ok...but it hadn't stopped.
People were still being nice, and they were on Tuesday, and Wednesday and even today. And I kind of can't cope with it.
There are people who I have admired for SO long who knew who I was without me having to introduce myself. There were people who I have admired for so long who wanted to meet me, and talked to me at the event and have kept the conversations going on Twitter and Instagram since.
And that bully pops into my head and says "They're joking. They hate you really. They just feel sorry for you".
But I override that, and instead....oh goodness...lets make the tear count for today three now should we? *pull it together Lauren* I think that what if...what if I am actually likeable? What if these people actually DO like me, and did enjoy my company, and did/do think I am good enough to do that job but to also be good enough to talk to them.
What if those people actually want to be my friend?
What if the people I chose to hang around with actually had fun with me and enjoyed my company too?
What if I am as good as those who I admire and look up to? And what if....what if to other people I am that person too?

I hate myself so much for doubting others, and for doubting myself.
And I'm trying to hard to not do that.
I did that really egotistical thing of screen grabbing lovely tweets and emails just so I can read them and believe them.

This year was big for me too because I didn't have my close friends to lean on for support. I went as me, as an individual, and I was responsible for myself and for socialising and having fun.
And I did it.
I actually did it.
I did a really good job at that.

And maybe these tears aren't all that bad.
But for goodness sake, it's Thursday...when will they stop?

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Britmums Live 2015 Room 4 Session Summary | Prize Promotions

Confession...I took 3 notebooks to Britmums Live this year. And a ridiculous number of pens. The past two years I have taken endless notes in each session, writing down quotes from the speakers and copying things written on their presentations.
Being a room moderator meant that I was able to attend sessions that maybe I wouldn't have attended before. However, I was also really lucky to have some amazing sessions and I can honestly say that I learnt something from all of them.

I felt it was easier for me to tweet anything I found helpful this year, not only because it was quicker than writing it all down in a notebook but also to entice attendees into my room.
I wanted to collate all of my tweets together and thought it would be a good idea to write posts about each sessions but just focussing on my tweets. I figure that even though it may not make sense to some, and there may not be a huge amount of tweets, it could be helpful to others.

‘SuperLucky’ Di Coke is a Prize Promotions Consultant, comper and blogger. With more than £250,000 of prizes under her belt, Di knows competitions inside out and works with brands and bloggers to ensure their prize promotions are fair, fun and successful. Di has been interviewed about competitions on BBC Breakfast, Radio 4 and in the national press, and never tires of welcoming new recruits to the hobby. You can find Di blogging at superlucky.me.@superluckydi


"Prizes make people happy"

"In T&C's, you need to use the word prize draw. Not giveaway"

"Prize draw - picked at random. Competition - judged. Know the difference and use your words correctly."

"The perfect prize- make sure the product is relevant to your blog and your readership"

"Trust your sponsor or company. If they go into administration YOU have to cover the prize"

"Charge for giveaways or ask for one of the products yourself. Don't under sell yourself."

""Visit the sponsors website and tell me what you would buy". Drives traffic to them and increases your comments"

"Make it clear to people what they have to do. Don't set up too many options. That is why people "cheat" on Rafflecopter forms"

"Don't say "I'll pick my favourite" instead "I'll pick the most entertaining/appealing...""

"If you are hosting a competition, get someone else to judge. Someone independent. Not you"

"Set T&C's. Never change them. And never change your closing date."

"T&C's. Include closing date, who can and can't enter (family, outside of UK) Let people know what you will do with their data."

"Make it clear what exactly the prize is. Mention how tickets will be supplied, if travel is included etc."

"You must give winners 14/28 days to respond. Unless it's a time critical prize...ie concert, day out, event"

"Add competitions and giveaways to linkys, share using hashtags, and competition websites."

"Check to see if your winner got their prize"

"Ideal length of a giveaway. 2-3 weeks. Try not to run them all at the same time. 1 a month or 1 every two or three weeks."

"Be confident asking a PR for products or voucher values. Don't devalue yourself. The PR can only say no/give lower. Be brave"

Britmums Live 2015 Room 4 Session Summary | 'How to market yourself and your writing'

Confession...I took 3 notebooks to Britmums Live this year. And a ridiculous number of pens. The past two years I have taken endless notes in each session, writing down quotes from the speakers and copying things written on their presentations.
Being a room moderator meant that I was able to attend sessions that maybe I wouldn't have attended before. However, I was also really lucky to have some amazing sessions and I can honestly say that I learnt something from all of them.

I felt it was easier for me to tweet anything I found helpful this year, not only because it was quicker than writing it all down in a notebook but also to entice attendees into my room.
I wanted to collate all of my tweets together and thought it would be a good idea to write posts about each sessions but just focussing on my tweets. I figure that even though it may not make sense to some, and there may not be a huge amount of tweets, it could be helpful to others.

Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thrillers and non-fiction. She is also a professional speaker and entrepreneur, voted as one of The Guardian UK Top 100 creative professionals 2013. Her site, TheCreativePenn.com is regularly voted one of the Top 10 sites for writers. Twitter: @thecreativepenn


"We are in a binge consumption culture. We binge watch tv series. So write a series of books"

"Take advice from people who are making money in the way you want to make money"

"Be authentic. Be real. Don't fake it"

"Be generous. Share each others work because you want to, because you enjoy it. Not because you want something back"

"Who are you? What suits your personality? Write about things you're passionate about. Stand out."

"Who is the person behind the profile? It's not traffic, it's people"

"What is the point of your blog?"

"Who is your target market? What is your niche? Who do you want to attract? How can you entertain/inspire?"

"Develop your voice & community, social proof and attract opportunity"

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Britmums Live 2015 Room 4 Session Summary | LinkedIn

Confession...I took 3 notebooks to Britmums Live this year. And a ridiculous number of pens. The past two years I have taken endless notes in each session, writing down quotes from the speakers and copying things written on their presentations.
Being a room moderator meant that I was able to attend sessions that maybe I wouldn't have attended before. However, I was also really lucky to have some amazing sessions and I can honestly say that I learnt something from all of them.

I felt it was easier for me to tweet anything I found helpful this year, not only because it was quicker than writing it all down in a notebook but also to entice attendees into my room.
I wanted to collate all of my tweets together and thought it would be a good idea to write posts about each sessions but just focussing on my tweets. I figure that even though it may not make sense to some, and there may not be a huge amount of tweets, it could be helpful to others.

The first session I am sharing is actually the final session that was in my room this year.
LinkedIn with Alice Elliott.

Bio: 

Alice Elliott, also known as the Fairy Blog Mother, offers tuition and advice to beginner and post-beginner bloggers. Her particular talent is explaining blogging “really simply” using ordinary, everyday language, and through tutorials and e-courses in a highly visual, step-by-step format. She is currently working on her new blog Beginner Bloggers, which will be stuffed full of simple and helpful ‘How-To’ posts that aim to clarify WordPress and other blogging issues. Alice believes that if technical things like blogging are explained properly from the beginning, this will make later advanced use a lot easier. @alice_elliott



"Make LinkedIn status updates enticing to read. What would you want to read? What interaction do you want?"

"Limit your posts on LinkedIn in one day. Do not repeat the same title and introduction. You risk being seen as a spammer"

"Reply to comments. Key to engaging and to create conversation"

"Engage. And share other peoples posts. It shows you read widely and appreciate other people."

"Have a LinkedIn badge on your sidebar. Update LinkedIn just as you would other social networking profiles"

"Set up a personal LinkedIn URL"

"LinkedIn is NOT about the *number* of followers but the quality of followers, having a valid reason to connect."

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Britmums Live 2015: "Hey, I’m proud of myself."

This year it was my third time at Britmums Live, and it was a little bit different to the past two years. In fact it wasn’t a little bit different, it was a lot different. Because this year my badge didn’t say ‘Blogger’. It said Britmums Team. Team….TEAM!!

This girl….woman….who two years ago hid in a toilet. Who wore spanx and worried so much about what people thought of her.

This girl….woman….who last year felt so overwhelmed by everything that she had way too much to drink. Who felt a little disheartened by the fact her friends were getting “attention” and she was left to the side.

But this girl….woman who was determined to not go for the third year as a blogger. Who knew that to feel a part of the community she had to do something about that.

I’m sure there is a saying about being in control of your own destiny, and right now, I feel that more than ever. Blogging is a massive community and as lovely as it is we are pitched against each other, there is no denying that. We have close friends but, depending on what you want from blogging, we are all in competition with each other.
It can be brutal. But that’s just life. In any area, in any industry, there is competition and there are opportunities. And I think the thing we have to learn is that if we don’t get certain opportunities then it doesn’t mean we are not good enough, it doesn’t even mean that someone was better than us. Sometimes there is no reason at all. Someone has to be chosen and with so many blogs out there, we can’t all be that one person.

Anyway. So last year I bought my Britmums Live 2015 ticket. But when I got home there was something in me that was urging me to take a chance. See, I wanted to be more than “just a blogger” there. I was in awe of the room moderators and wanted to be able to do what they were doing. I was so eager to do this that I put my ticket up for sale and with a confidence boost from goodness knows where, I “started a conversation that mattered”. And in January this year I was told that yes, I could be a room moderator. I didn’t cry (I totally did!) but in the back of my mind I was worried that maybe the Britmums team didn’t really think about it properly and that I would totally screw it up, but I couldn’t back out.

I felt nervous because I suppose I found myself in this friendship limbo, mainly because I am so close to Hayley (Shutterflies) and last year relied on her so much that part of me wondered how I would cope without her.
I had these images of me turning up on the day and Jen and Susanna being like “Oh. It’s you. We didn’t realise it was you” and to have major regrets. I felt ok on the train journey, but walking into the venue I felt so small. And I wondered if I’d made a mistake. But immediately I was welcomed by Susanna, Jen and Maddie and it was amazing. As a blogger, and a member of Britmums, in fact even before I started my blog I was aware of Britmums and so Jen and Susanna were (and still are) a really big deal to me. I’m not saying that to suck up, but in this industry they are a big influence and after fangirling over them the last two years I realised I had to keep my cool. I stood there couldn’t believe that I was actually doing it. And again in a totally fangirl “HOW DO YOU EVEN KNOW MY NAME?!” kind of way felt like a giggly school girl when Susanna mentioned my haircut. “HOW DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT MY HAIR WAS LIKE BEFORE?!” was screaming in my mind.

As I sat in my room I took some time to breathe. I read through my speaker Bios, excited for the sessions I had in my room, particularly the second session as for the last two years I had attended Nigel Camps video session and this year was moderating his session.
The first year, I didn’t talk to him, and last year I spoke briefly at the end of the Saturday. And I was lucky enough to review his book last year too. But again it was that whole, “I’m going to have to introduce myself” moment because I didn’t for a second think he would know who I was. But he did and I honestly couldn’t get my head around it. This was now three people, who I think of highly, who had accepted me and “knew who I was” and for someone who has blogged hard for the last four years and has seen others who started at the same time and after me fly off and be mega successful, meaning I questionned who and what I wanted to be, what I wanted to achieve, and where I wanted my blog to be, it was really quite overwhelming.

Anyway, massively long post, and this being the reason why I think writing a couple of days after the conference is better, I am now sitting on the train feeling completely….I don’t know. Overwhelmed (a word I clearly overuse) and accepted. The last year has seen me go through so many changes, personally, and particularly when it comes to confidence and the fact that people were picking up on this made me feel so good about myself.

Could I have done a better job as room moderator? Of course I could! However, I did it. I actually did it. I stood there and I did it. I know where I could have improved. I haven’t done anything like this before and I had to remind myself of that. I also had to remind myself that I was accepted to do that job because people had confidence in me to do it. Of course there was that big voice in my head telling me not to let them down, but I think the best thing that I did was to be honest with each speaker and to say “Look, I’m nervous. I want to get straight into it so I won’t go too much into your bio” and every single speaker was absolutely fine with that.
I realised that I didn’t have to be shy. I didn’t have to be reserved. And the best thing to do was to be myself and to be honest. So I made myself comfortable with the speakers, I made jokes and had conversations depending on who they were and on Friday night ended up going to the Bibs and then to the pub with the two speakers from my final session. And you know what, I might have sacked off my early night with Sushi and Orange is the New Black plan to go for a drink, but I had a fantastic time. Why? Because I was able to be me. The proper me. And I knew that, at least I think that, it was ok to be that person because that’s who people seem to like. And I like her too. I enjoy being her. And I wish she would stick around more often.

Saturday, after the final session, I felt sad that it was almost over. I knew I had to take myself away for a bit and rather than hiding in a toilet like I did two years ago, I felt confident enough to be able to go with Alex (Rotolight) to find Nigel and to sit in on his interviews with Carol Smilie and Jaume Marin.
The time went so fast and now it feels like I’ve gone home too early. It is a completely different experience being part of the team, and I felt like most of the time I was in a busy daze. I was also able to accept that no one was putting pressure on me at all, and that I was doing that myself, and it made it easier for me to control.

There were moments of acceptance, little moments, that I won’t forget. A squeeze on the knee, a pat on the shoulder, a smile and a thank you. And a tweet from someone not even at the event thanking me for tweeting so much during sessions. Those moments were worth it and how I didn’t cry there I don’t know.

And finally, after a massive post full of waffling and making probably no sense. I think it would be wrong to not turn round and say “Hey, I’m proud of myself”.

Because....
Hey, I’m proud of myself.

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