BritMums has come on leaps and bounds from the early days and now it’s gathering pace with the second year of BritMums Live TOMORROW, plus a brand new foodie blogging conference BritMums Food in November.
I remember when I first met the founders Susanna Scott and Jennifer Howze. I was in awe, thinking of them as super bloggers, A+ listers and, if you’re like me, that can make conversations a little awkward. So I want to let you into a secret: They are both working mums. They enjoy a good laugh, they love going out, eating, drinking and tucking up their children at bedtime.
Here’s a little bit more about Susanna and Jen — everything you wanted to know and some stuff maybe you didn’t. We have our very own BritMums stand this year where the Butterflies are waiting to say hello if you’re nervous and Susanna, Jen and I will be around to answer any questions.
Prepare yourself for a giddy ride…
Which part of the States are you from?
Susanna: California. The sunny bit.
Jen: I’m originally from Lubbock, Texas and I went to university in Austin. Then I lived in New York City for 10 years and that’s also my spiritual home.
How did you end up in the UK?
Susanna: The weather of course! Just kidding, my hubby is Scottish, you can read about how we met on my blog
Jen: I’d visited the country for work and tried to get a job here. Then coincidentally, I met my husband, who is English, at a conference in Bermuda. Six months later I was approved for my work visa and moved over; 364 days after we met, we got married.
How do you like your cuppa?
Susanna: Made with coffee beans 😀
Jen: Herbal only please, with a couple of ice cubes to cool it down.
How did BritMums start?
Susanna: I started blogging in 2008, and back then there were just a few bloggers. We needed a place to share ideas and inspiration … so I started the network. It’s quickly grown to 5,000 bloggers!
Jen: Susanna started the network as British Mummy Bloggers and I met her first as a member. I wrote a story in The Times about it, we started doing more “blogger things” together, and when I left The Times several years ago, we relaunched it as BritMums, with a blog and more events and activities for bloggers.
Eastenders or Coronation Street … neither?
Susanna: Eastenders! I used to watch it in the US on PBS
Jen: I’ve been addicted to The Fall and the new series of Mad Men, and on Saturdays we like to watch Casualty as a family.
Susanna: Sunday Times.
Jen: The Times, The Guardian, and Huff Post
Name three words or British customs that initially stumbled you/ made you laugh
- Bob’s your uncle (I don’t have an uncle bob)
- Why do you not eat cake at a child’s birthday party? Why bring it home all crumbled?
- My all time pet peeve – why is it so hard to push a shopping cart?
- I love elevenses; it’s not just “snacking”. It’s a ritual everyone recognises.
- British comedy is amazing; it took a few years before I really started to understand it and now I’m hooked.
- As for words, a couple I really love: chuffed and pants, as in “that’s really pants”.
Would you like some Spotted Dick?
Susanna: Excuse me?
Jen: I was actually made this at my first proper English dinner party, long before I moved. It was OK but I really loved the Devils on Horseback.
Where’s your favourite place to visit in the UK?
Susanna: Isle of Wight
Jen: Anywhere in the countryside. The cities are great but the countryside is so beautiful, with gardens, National Trust houses, seasides. Plus the greenbelt means you can access the countryside fairly easily even if you live in Central London. Don’t let the politicians hack away at it!
…and back home? Where should Brits be going in your hometown?
Susanna: One of my favourite places is a little family hotel right on the beach in Santa Cruz – we go there every year.
Jen: Lots of people know why they should visit New York City or Austin. But people don’t know how stark and beautiful West Texas can be. It’s old-school Texas with a dash of Mexico. All around my hometown, there are small towns with beautiful historic squares and cafes where you order things like biscuits and gravy. My husband loves visiting because it’s as exotic and foreign to him as far-flung islands.
How long have you been blogging?
Susanna: Since 2008!
Jen: It must be going on 7 or 8 years now.
Your #MBPW – but of all time?
Susanna: My most popular one was Conversation with a Polish housecleaner It was one of the first ones I wrote, and it’s still stumbling!
Jen: Oh no, I can’t name just one, but I’m particularly passionate about travel posts
Your top blogging tip for the BritMum members
Susanna: Be relaxed. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Let your voice shine through.
Jen: Connect — connect with bloggers and readers on your blog, in social media and in person. It’s what makes blogging so rich and rewarding.