Be a social butterfly...

I’m used to attending large events on my own.  My husband and  I co-create Modern Vintage Magazine and get invited to so many things at the eleventh hour, that often there isn’t time to organise a sitter or a companion who isn’t working/already busy/not interested in ANOTHER vintage event.   Invariably I just go along on my own.  It isn’t always easy: sometimes, you look a bit odd wandering around alone and I’ve even had people speak to me like they feel sorry for me, ‘aww you couldn’t find ANYONE that wanted to come along with you?’

But I just don’t care.

brit mums live 2013 goodie bags

It’s daunting of course, but if you walk into a room with your head held high, looking like you have the confidence of a bull fighter, then people will tend to assume that you do and treat you as such.  There’s also something to be said for how being a ‘lone ranger’ forces you to be sociable and meet new people.

I went to Brit Mums Live alone.  I knew I would meet up with the lovely Morgana at some point, but we only connected on Twitter very recently after having met several years ago (when I sold her a wedding dress!).  Apart from that, I didn’t know anyone.  I’m not great when it comes to making connections online.  I comment on posts and I reply to comments on my own blog, but I’ve just never caught the bug when it comes to meet ups, linkys and group blogging.  So I didn’t know anyone and I didn’t know what to expect!

What I found was that yes, there are lots of cliques and groups, but they aren’t mean girls!  People attend these types of events because they want to meet new people and I wasn’t the only one there on my lonesome.

cherry menlove rachel palmer vintage folly brit mums live 2013


rachel palmer katie hill brit mums live

My Top Tips For Virgin Blog Conference Attendees (especially lone rangers!):

  1. Post what you’ll be wearing. Oftentimes we look very different on a computer/mobile screen and with so many people it can be hard to pick a face out of the crowd.  
  2. Stand out. wear something bright or something unusual that will start a conversation.  This is not an occasion to be a wall flower!
  3. Sign up for a focus group.  100s of bloggers can be overwhelming, but if you can join a focus group of say, six….well that’s a little easier to deal with and will give you the opportunity to make some connections.
  4. Go to the loo.  All women chat in the toilets, I’m sure men do too!!  If you’re feeling freaked out or lonely, take yourself off to the bathroom and say hello to the woman washing her hands next to you.  You’ll be surprised how many friendships have begun in just those circumstances.
  5. Tweet.  Tweet that you’re nervous or that you’re heading there alone and include the relevant hashtag.  The blogging community can be daunting, but they’re a motherly bunch and not one Brit Mum-er would be pleased to hear later that someone felt uncomfortable.
  6. Say hello.  Pretend that you aren’t shy; imagine how a confident person would deal with the situation and just do that until you feel confident for real!  Say hi to people who are close by or whose eyes you catch and introduce yourself.  Join a busy table and when you pour a glass of water offer it to the person next to you.
  7. Pay a compliment.  Maybe you recognise a blogger whose writing you love, perhaps someone has great shoes or a super cute baby.  Just say something nice.  Even if you don’t strike up a conversation, the other person will feel great and you never know when someone may be needing that.
  8. Ask questions.  If you don’t know what to say, then say something with a ???? In the words of Katy Hill ‘bloggers are over sharers’ and over sharers love to be asked questions!!
  9. Take business cards.  You may not consider your blog to be a business, but a little rectangle of card is the best way to give your details to the people you connect with.
  10. Wear flat shoes.  For the love of all that is good and comfy in the World DO NOT wear heels!!
  11. Scare yourself.  Once you face a fear, (like speaking into a microphone ):-S everything else just seems easy 🙂
  12. Bring a bigger bag.  You would not believe how much stuff you get sent home with at Brit Mums Live!!!
  13. Remember why you’re attending.  Are you there to learn something or to meet people or both?  Work out what it is is you hope to gain and don’t forget it.  The best way to leave a conference feeling happy is to achieve what you set out to do.
  14. Find one person!! Use the hashtag and the linkys to connect with at least one person beforehand.  Put yourself out there and ask if you can meet up before the conference.  You don’t have to spend the whole two days together, but it’s nice to know that you have at least one person’s phone number and can find them if you need to.

style finalists bibs brit mums live

I’m thrilled with my first Brit Mums experience.  I had a great time with my new friend Morgana, made lots of other new friends who I am sure I’ll stay connected with and had a very, very promising meeting with a literary agent (more about that another time *squeals*).  I learnt about the legal and accounting aspects of blogging, heard some interesting tips about social media and received some great support on the subject of negativity and trolling.

katie piper

I enjoyed the keynote speakers, particular the inspirational Katie Piper.  I feel privileged to have heard her speak about her journey from victim to survivor and hope that I can inject a little of her strength and positivity into my own life.  But of course the highlight of my BritMums experience was this ……

trophy award 2013 BiBs Blogger award style Brit Mums Live

I won a BiB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Can you believe it? Because I can’t!!!!  I had looked at the competition and thought ‘Pah!  I’ve no chance, infact I’m bloomin’ lucky to be a finalist at all!!’

I had met the event’s compere in the bathroom earlier that evening (whilst trying to tame my hair and make up) and she had told me not to write myself off.  ‘Perhaps’ I thought.  Then, I headed for the drinks reception and told a fellow blogger that I loved her jacket.

‘It looks just like Chanel’ I said.   ‘It IS Chanel’ she said.  :-/  Me, a style finalist, yeah right!

I’d had two glasses of champagne (that’s almost one too many for a lightweight like me) when the announcements began.  Sat at the front with two of my fellow style finalists Kat and Avril, craft finalist Emma, photography finalist Marlene, fashion blogger Fiona and family blogger Morgana. I waited for our category to arrive and in my head I practiced my ‘gracious in defeat’ look.  I KNEW I wouldn’t win.  Morgana and Emma weren’t so dismissive, they braced themselves for the style winner announcement and when they said ‘VINTAGE FOLLY’ they screamed even louder than I did!!

style winner BiBs 2013 Brit Mums Live

I’m still not quiet sure what I said when I accepted my award but I’m very, very grateful.  My lovely man was watching the ceremony on the live feed and admits to shedding a little tear when I won 🙂

Thank you for nominating me, voting for me and ultimately supporting me as I write my nonsense and send it off into the internet.  You all feel like my friends.  Thank you to Brit Mums and to the judges including the editor of Marie Claire who said such lovely things about Vintage Folly 🙂 and thank you to the other finalists who are all so amazing and so friendly.

Love Rachel


Be a social butterfly...

  • I just loved reading this post – it brought back all the wonderful memories of an amazing weekend. It was an absolute pleasure to meet you and share the time with you, especially on Friday night. Congratulations on the Bibs win – SO well deserved. And on your literary agent meeting – it’s all happening! Hope to meet again soon Rachel, Avril xx

    • VintageFolly

      It was so lovely to meet you too. Thank you again for your kind words last week, received exactly when they were needed. xxx

  • Leanne Edwards

    Aww well done – I am gradually adding new blogs into my feed and this one is going in. It was my first year at Britmums and I knew no one, so I struggled a bit – but feel I learned a lot.

    • VintageFolly

      I’ll see you for a tea and biscuits (wine) next year 🙂

  • Well done on the Bib and thanks for the tips on going to the conference. I have only recently signed up with Britmums and really wanted to go, but felt a bit odd about going when I didn’t know (or know anything about) the other bloggers. Definietely going next year though!

    • VintageFolly

      You definitely should take the plunge!! If you check out the hashtag close to the time, it’s easy to see who will be there. Hope to see you next year 🙂

  • Alison Rothwell

    Big hello from me – what are the chances of finding someone else who lives near Chorley! Great tips there and I can’t wait to meet up again with you In Real Life! xxx

    • VintageFolly

      Real Life :-O good grief wouldn’t that be amazing lol. Yes we shall definitely meet up soon xx

  • chocolatecookiesandcandies

    LOLOL! Rachel, you just cracked me laugh about the Chanel comment. Coffee went in every direction (rule of thumb. Don’t read something funny when you’ve got something in your mouth). The girls insisted I wear it and I was feeling like I was being roasted alive in the jacket. Congratulations on the win! I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to talk more. Being not a gregarious sort, it was incredibly intimidating to see that amount of alcohol, people and the noise! Hope to catch up with you again sometime soon.

    • VintageFolly

      Definitely! I’m not one for the booze in situations like that as I’m a complete and utter lightweight, which was why I went onto the fizzy water lol. Was so nice to meet you lovely, thank you for letting me touch your Chanel 🙂

  • sonya

    Was lovely to meet you in the focus group, and HUGE congrats on your BiBs win! Hope to see you there next year xx

    • VintageFolly

      Thank Sonya, was great to meet you too…I’ll definitely be there next year x

  • Huge Congratulations! x

    • VintageFolly

      thank you xx

  • Mummywhisperer

    Congrats lovely – so glad we got to have a chat!

    • VintageFolly

      me too 🙂

  • thefamilypatch

    I love tip number 4 🙂 going to the loo gave me the chance to meet a gorgeous baby & have a cuddle while his mummy went to the loo!!

    Congratulations on your award… I’m glad I found your blog thanks to BritMums Live and it was lovely to say hi to you x

    • VintageFolly

      I never did find out which table was dishing out the cute babies lol

  • Blissful Mama

    I love your top tips – has reminded me of another action point, to get business cards. I will be more organised next year. Was lovely to meet, big congrats on the award.

    • VintageFolly

      You should definitely get some. Hope you’re feeling a bit clearer on what to do next, would love to chat soon xx

  • Franglaise Mummy

    So lovely to meet you. Well done again and great tips! Loving the blog too 🙂

    • VintageFolly

      Merci 🙂

  • ksads1

    Brilliant advice and as a fellow newbie, I found you very nice and friendly (we sat next to each other in one of the sessions). Your business cards are very lovely too. Hope to see you again next year.

    • VintageFolly

      Oh thank you for saying that. Nice is a word that isn’t valued enough, but it is by me 🙂

  • coombemill

    Huge congratulations to you Mrs Style!

    • VintageFolly

      Why thank you haha!!

  • The Baby wears Prada

    Congrats!! A very well deserved win. So sorry we never got a chance to meet up! I think I took a photo of you though in the ‘How I did it’ workshop. 🙂 xx