Monday 24 June 2013

I sang, danced, spoke, cried and laughed at BritMums Live

Ready to start the day on Saturday

Saturday I returned from BritMums Live and boy what a whirlwind weekend it has been. I had such a fun time and loved being a BritMums butterfly, it was a real privilege to get to talk to a million and one different bloggers.  OK, that is an a bit of an exaggeration but I honestly think I managed to say hi to at least 300 people.

What did I think of the conference? Brilliant, amazing, great fun, super, emotional, touching, a privilege - there are so many words I could use to describe my time out this weekend. I hardly went to a session at all and I think that is what comes of having been to a few conferences and having blogged for quite a number of years now. This weekend was all about the people - the meals with friends, the coffee shared, the hugs (yes even the hugs and I'm so not a hugger), the frivolous conversations with people I have chatted online to for ages but never yet met in real life and meeting a whole bunch of newer bloggers for the first time. BritMums Live is brilliant, I do love it and I will be coming again next year and yes I'll be a butterfly again if they'll have me.

Finding my style...
One thing I really enjoyed this conference that I've not experienced before was a style consultation with TK Maxx. This is not the normal type of thing I would sign up for, my assumption would be that there is not that much they can do for me as I'm pretty large and that really I'm doing OK myself anyway.  I was sent to take a seat and this uber glamorous red-head greeted me with a big smile. She asked me what I was there for, what did I want to know?  Ohh, no idea I told her, I had just heard that the sessions were fab and I got brave for five minutes. I started to feel a tad nervous and gabbling about how I never did things like this as I'm fat and fat people don't have stylists.

My stunning TK Maxx stylist

I need not have worried, she was really lovely and made me feel so at ease. There wasn't any outfits for me to try on (being a large lady) and to be honest I was glad of that as it was too hot but we did go in the dressing room together and she asked if she could adjust my bra to show me the difference good underwear can make.  Well let it be known that when you hoick my bra up I look far slimmer. I always thought I did OK in terms of bra fit but it turns out I should probably go down a back size and go up two cup sizes. What a difference this made to me, my torso lengthened visibly and for the first time in years my boobs looked bigger than my belly - yay!

Never before have I seen any value in personal styling but I would definitely give it a go for real now.  I'm thinking the MAD blog awards in September will be a great time to see what someone can do for me, although of course you perhaps need to be a bit cautious with a free personal shopper/ stylist who works for a store as they have an obligation to get sales and I wonder if they might tell me I looked fabulous when really it was just OK.

It was good to hear that I am doing some things right in the style and fashion stakes. Apparently wearing patterns on my torso is a good move as this breaks up my ahem 'problem area' and then instead of the light cardi I had on Saturday I should go for dark colours to slim me down but pinning my butterfly badge just under my chest to create a soft waterfall look at the front of the cardi was a smart move.

The stylist (I really should have asked her name!) asked me what bodyshape I felt I was and I said presumably an apple as all my weight retains around the middle, I have at least 4 or 5 spare tyres instead of the classic one.  She got me to stand up and do a spin and informed me I was in fact an hourglass but I was just retaining some excess tummy weight. Ohh make my day, how fabulous to hear that if I lose some weight I would go all Jesscia Rabbit.

She told me layered tops, ones with detailing at the tummy area and those with fabrics that lift away from my tummy are the right way forward. I can even wear little belts to help accentuate my waist.  I told her I lost my waist many years ago and no she tells me I'm wrong, if my boobs are wear they should be I in fact have a good waist it is just higher than I might have thought. Apparently I'm balanced in terms of my shoulders to my hips but I could do with a narrower leg on my jeans. She confirmed that I'm right to go with high-waisted jeans so I don't get cut in the middle.

I was interested to hear that if I am wearing light colours on my top half I should go bold with my lipstick to give a focal point but if I am wearing bold and dark colours on top then no lipstick is necessary, it is all about my eyes. Of course the suggestion came up that I should wears heels sometimes, particularly wedges and do I really like wedges but the comfort factor is so much more with flats I find.

All this advice managed to fit into about ten minutes and I was a happy lady. I have a £100 Debenhams voucher at the moment and I'll be scheduling myself a bra fitting in the near future.  I have always thought that £25 was a lot of money for a bra but after this advice I imagine I might be spending a whole lot more than that!

With the beautiful Butterflies (image credit - A Residence)

Speaking with confidence
I sat on a panel on Saturday afternoon to talk about what it is like to work with charities, we only attracted a small intimate audience and this was great as it meant we could really chat to people and answer their questions. Check out my top tips post if you would like to work with charities and you can see what happened on my blogger journeys to Ethiopia and Belarus last year for a flavour of how things can work with blogger/ charity partnerships.

The highlight of the event...
Had to be the blogger keynote speakers and the tribute to Kerry (Our own Multiple Mummy). It was an immense privilege to end the conference singing my heart out to 'Kerry you are a firework' and remembering her beauty and contribution to parent blogging. It was also special to honour the other MM Matilda Mae and I was so proud to watch Jennie conduct herself with such elegance cross the whole weekend. Kylie from Not even a bag of sugar also excelled herself reading her post 'Jimmy Saville is Dead'. Then as a tonic to the sadness it was great to laugh along with some fabulous bloggers with more light hearted posts.

Watch out for me at BritMums Live 2014 I hope to be arriving a much more clothes confident Mich than I did this year.......  see you then.
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