Book a hotel.
Sort out childcare.
Buy a new dress.
Check train times and car parking spaces.
Decide whether to wear heels or flats and which bag will match.
No, this isn?t my checklist for a romantic break with my husband, but the preparation I carry out before I head off to Britmums Live, an all singing, all dancing event I love.
Last year was my third year at Britmums Live, and I felt more confident than I had in the past. It?s not easy walking into a venue packed with over 500 people, most of whom you?ve never met, but this time it was OK.? I was more comfortable in my blogging skin and didn?t feel like a fraud who shouldn?t really be there.
I genuinely felt that I was a part of the community, I knew what I was doing and loved that people were reading my blog. Meeting Ella Woodward AKA Deliciously Ella was pretty cool and coming away as a World Record Breaker really impressed my sons. The overall memory from the weekend however was the feeling of being totally and utterly inspired.
Inspired to keep writing.
Inspired to be passionate about my posts.
Inspired by the speakers who put themselves out there, tell their tale and bare their souls.
Inspired by the blood, sweat and tears that people put into their tiny part of the Internet and the stories they tell there.
Inspired to be me.
Inspired to book my ticket for 2016.
I am not the biggest blogger.
I am not the best blogger.
I don?t win awards.
I?m not part of any clique or tribe.
But I am passionate about blogging and I love it.
It gives me a voice and a place where I can talk about my life, my struggles, my book, my charity and in a funny way, it has become the glue that keeps it all together.
That said, I totally get that it?s one thing to sit typing in the safety of your office but to step into the big wide world where you are vulnerable, as we do at an event like this, is quite different.
You might feel as if everyone else feels confident and knows exactly what they are doing, but you know what, most of us are just winging it and have our fair share of niggling insecurities.
The first year I went I hid behind my phone, too scared to speak to anyone in case they thought my blog was rubbish. Each year it got easier and whilst I won?t arrive this year feeling uber-confident, I am already looking forward to what I know will be a great day.
My tips for BritMums Live
Yes, you might be worried about what to wear, scared that no one will talk to you and you won?t know anyone, but don?t be.
Believe in yourself and your blog.
If wearing a pretty dress and heels makes you feel good, wear them.
If you want to hang out with friends and catch because you live miles apart, go for it.
Fancy bright red lipstick for a day? Then pop it on and make that bold statement.
Find sponsors to help pay for the ticket and any expense and build professional relationships at the same time.
Easier said than done and I am rubbish at this, but don?t think anyone is ignoring you or leaving you out. It?s a really busy day with so much to see and do, most of the time you?re chasing your tail and holding in the wee you have needed to have since 11am.
If you?re feeling nervous the Britmums Live ?butterflies? are there to give moral support and there are some great Facebook pages to bring people together.
Bring business cards and network with brands if you want to start making your blog into a business.
Look at the day?s events, it?s only one not two this year, and if you?re there to learn, make sure you work out where you need to be and when to get the most out of the experts on hand and to nab a chair.
Most of all enjoy it and if you see me drinking coffee and taking in the world around me, please do come and say hello.
Natalie is an author, blogger and freelancer writer. As a mummy, wife, cat and dog owner she doesn?t get much free time but when she does she?ll be found drinking coffee, reading Grazia and dreaming of living by the sea. Lover of heals, wearer of trainers, she has many dresses but spends most days in gym gear.
BritMums is the UK’s largest parent blogger collective. We offer bloggers the latest support, advice and how-tos as well as feature great content on food, travel, relationships, health, charities, crafting and much more. Our social network is free to join and helps bloggers connect with others; our BritMums Pro programme connects bloggers with brands on our high-quality projects and our annual conference, BritMums Live, is the blogging event of the year.