Expat Round-up: The BritMums Live Edition

expat roundupOne of the main reasons a lot of bloggers buy tickets and attend blog conferences is to meet up with the bloggers with whom they have been sharing, supporting, and gaining inspiration from throughout the year. This network is valuable to bloggers, it is the essence of what drives many of us to sit down and write, knowing we have a group of people ‘out there’ who will tune in and be part of our world, as we are a part of theirs.

With this in mind it is easy to see how blogging is a perfect past time for many expats. We live all over the world, we have stories that other expats can relate to, and our transient lifestyles mean keeping in touch with other people is made easier by the internet. Even for the long-term expats like myself, the Internet offers a way to find others who are facing the same issues through the years. I’ve made some wonderful acquaintances and good friends through my expat blogging, *waves* Hi guys!

So it was a logical conclusion to think that if a bunch of expats is at the BritMums Live conference, they may be interested in meeting up. Expats are such a friendly, interesting group of people and I always look forward to getting toegther with them. This round-up features all the expats who met up at the Friday night meal. Thanks to everyone who came, it was truly lovely to meet you all.

And just a heads up, I’ll do this again next year! So plan ahead and if there’s an expat going to BritMums Live 2013 that you’d like to meet, let them know. You can get your super duper early bird BritMumsLive 2013 tickets right now if you want a bargain and want to know you’re for sure going, and you can join the Expat Mums Group on the BritMums forum for updates and a great way to find other expats (PS: It’s not just for mums…!)

And now, in no particular order…

Well, in some sort of order because I want to mention Romanian Mum first as she need some advice and I hope you can pop over to her blog and help her out. I sat next to Romanian Mum for much of the night, and it was good to finally have a chat with her–we’ve been at some of the same meet-ups here and there but never really had a chance to speak. She was glowing with pregnancy, I wished I looked that good! Like many of us expats she has had some hard decisions to make and one of them has been about raising her children–where to do it? In a foreign country or back home near her family? In her latest post, Things and Change, she asks for advice, so pop over and see if you can help a fellow expat.

Vegemite Vix, one of the most prominent members of the online expat community, did not attend BritMums Live but made a special journey just to meet up with us expats on the Friday evening! Her most recent post The memory box, was the post that slowed me down today. I always do this. I take far too long to put together this round-up because I become completely distracted by all your great writing. Check this one out and you’ll see what I mean.

Mrs B, the stylish, intelligent, inspiring blogger who I always seem to see at expat get togethers, is the blogger most responsible for inspiring my fitness. I think of her when I’m feeling lazy and I think “forget it, if Mrs B can run 20k then I can get on the rowing machine for 20 minutes!”  I also love her “What I’m wearing” posts. She’s an expat who embraces the styles of her host country, while adding her own touches. When I’m not wearing wellies, I’m wearing…

Julia Boggio, glamorous photographer and vintage goddess, has written her version of what she enjoyed about BritMums Live with some good links to other session leaders, on her blog I Carried a Watermelon. For some jaw dropping photography check out her professional site, Julia Boggio Studios. I love the first image of the girl wrapped in the Union Jack! I would love to have the privilege of being in front of Julia’s camera and all that magic she creates—but only after I’ve followed in Mrs B’s footsteps and increased my fitness!

Metropolitan Mum is our It-Girl expat; living in London is quite easily our top expert on cool things to do in the city, even as a mum. Glamour girl that she is, Metropolitan Mum is currently having a sunny holiday in St Tropez. But this yummy mummy is not all fab clothes and hip cafes. She balances the fun stories with tales of the dirty job of remodelling her new house and more intellectual discussions such as this one on circumcision–respectable religious ritual or bodily harm?

Kylie Hodges, uber friendly blogger who I was delighted to meet at last, blogs at Not Even a Bag of Sugar, and in a recent post explains the name of her blog– a very moving, incredibly intelligent post that is both a contemplation and an explanation at the same time. It has certainly made me think differently about what I say. Her busy blog is full of useful reviews and great information. Her blog doesn’t focus on the expat life as much as some of the others here, showing a side of being an expat that is more about simply making a life in the host country.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Peggy Poyser at last! Peggy blogs at Perfectly Happy Mum, writing reviews and commentary from her point of view as a parent and as a long term expat in the UK. I especially enjoyed her post on the Diamond Jubilee, an entertaining take on a very British weekend, written by someone who clearly loves their host culture. I also discovered that Peggy has another website full of blog tech tips, go check it out as well: Easy Tech Club; I’ve just bookmarked it to check out later!

Transatlantic Mom, is a ‘new’ expat to me and again, it was a pleasure to meet her–if only we had longer to chat! Rather than draw your attention to one particular post, I thought I would let you know about a cool Twitter party she hosts every Monday 8.30 – 9.30 pm, called #MumsNight where she leads the discussion about everything from UK Staycation ideas to household cleaning hacks. You can find her on twitter here: @transatlantimom

Very Bored in Catalunya is an expat who has featured here before. After reading her intelligent, witty blog for ages it was fantastic meeting her in person. Yet another person I wish I had more time to sit and chat with. Hopefully next year! Current posts on her blog include this cute story about differences in children’s culture with Ratoncito Pérez and the Tooth Fairy. And then read on to her sad (but very funny) experience of  The White Dinner, an experience I can totally relate to as an expat who craves certain foods when visiting home.

And yet another yummy expat mummy is Lisa Gusto, who writes at the appropriately named blog, Lisa Gusto, about living a healthy lifestyle–food, cosmetics, body care and inspiring ideas for the mind. I love that she even writes about sinfully rich chocolate cake because sometimes that’s what our body (or mind!) just needs! Lisa and I talk about Scandi crime shows like The Bridge and after she recommended we watch The Killing a few months ago, I had her to blame for a month of intense Danish lessons when we became obsessed with the DVDs. Tak!

Erin Lee is the American Mom in England. Recently she wrote a really poignant piece about visiting home. It was a brief post but it touched me because I understand both the guilt at calling another place ‘home’ and the feeling of carrying a place deep in the heart. I sometimes wish there was some way of translating that and helping others understand the feeling. In this post Erin shares a video in hopes of helping people understand some of what she feels. See if you know what I mean.

Selena is a Texan married to an Englishman, and she writes about her new expat adventures on her blog Oh the places we will go. I especially love her honest post about her Six Month Well-Expat Check-up. Don’t we all need one of these every now and then? Great idea and in the body of the post you’ll see links to earlier check-ups worth reading, as well. Looking good so far Selena! Hope you continue to enjoy your adventure.

Katherine Lightner is another amazing photographer to add to this list. I love how her beautiful blog photos all tell stories. She took some photos at our expat meet-up that showed incredible skill capturing conversations and moments—more stories. There must be a term for photographers who tell stories in their photos, like there’s different types of writers. On her blog, Katherine Lightner, Katherine has recently posted an honest, funny account of translating between American and British English, in Getting to know the UK: Lost in Translation. Oh yeah, I totally relate!

This Mid30’s Life is always a must read when I need a laugh. No, not because I laugh at her, ok–yes, sometimes I laugh at her. But I think she wants me to. I think. Anyway, usually it’s because she writes beautifully hilarious posts. And vids. It was fab getting to meet Rachel at last. Oh, and don’t forget she has another website, Mums Away UK full of great information for the new as well as established expat mums.

Toni Hargis, famous expat that she is, was also in attendance as she was in the UK for a family visit and was able to tie it in with hitting the BML conference. Toni is my literary inspiration and you can check out her book Rules, Britannia here. I highly recommend it especially for Americans in the UK—you’ll be nodding and chuckling along with her writing, knowing exactly what she’s talking about. On her blog, Expat Mum, Toni writes about family life in the US from an expat mum’s point of view, but is also a great commentator on current culture in both the UK and US.

Laura from London Baby was there, the charistmatic, friendly author of the very, very popular and very, very useful guide to London for parents with babies. As an expert on London for babies, Laura also writes for www.londonmumsblog.comwww.Kingsroad.co.uk, and www.reallykidfriendly.com, and other web sites. She also loves wine and I look forward to sharing another bottle with her!

Karin aka Cafe Bebe turned up after her emotional Blogger Keynote reading of her excellent post about laughing again after going through the dark days of post natal depression. Karin writes about parenting and expat life in the UK, and she has just introduced a new blog you all should go check out, called Mummy 365, a really thoughtful, honest blog about parenting–how she has the energy to parent two little ones and be this creative is beyond me. Go Karin!

Oh, and of course I was there too! If you’d like to see more about me, pop by my blog, The American Resident and say hello! I write about being a long-term American expat in the UK and I always love meeting new expats online.

That’s all for now, but remember if you’d like to be a part of the expat meet up next year, reserve that weekend on your calendar–June 21-22 2013, central London. Hope to see you there!

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About Michelle Garrett

Michelle Garrett is the author of The American Resident, where she blogs about making a life overseas, raising a blended family, herding cats, chasing chickens and attempting the Good Life in Essex. Michelle is a freelance writer.


  1. 15 July 2012 / 13:06

    Great round-up. Makes me sad I couldn’t be there in person.

  2. 15 July 2012 / 15:16

    Oooh, some great blogs to go and visit. And wow – I’m your literary inspiration. Gulp! Well, thanks and hope I can continue to be so! xx

    • 15 July 2012 / 22:04

      I am counting on you to continue!!

  3. 15 July 2012 / 22:18

    Ooh thank you for both the inclusion and the invite. It was a great night and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Next time I hope we get more time to have a good natter. x

    • 16 July 2012 / 10:30

      It was great to meet you at last, now I can picture a face to the blog posts that I enjoy so much! Hope you’re able to come next year–and I hope to find a quieter space so we can all have a good natter much more easily. x

  4. 16 July 2012 / 21:52

    I was so chuffed by my mention in this post, thank you hun, quite made my day! By the way I’ve updated the Memory Box post to include a linky so that we can gather all the wonderful posts that other people have written off the back of the prompt, in one place. Can’t wait to read them. First one by Potty Mummy is up already….Vix x

    • 19 November 2012 / 08:31

      I bought the Philippines Survival Guide after movnig to Cebu. I wish I had purchased it earlier, as it showed me exactly how much I didn’t know! It still saved me a lot of hassle, not to mention money and time!

  5. 17 July 2012 / 10:54

    Thank you so much for the mention in a great post! it was lovely meeting you too and hopefully we can do it all again soon, it was such a nice event and evening x

  6. 19 July 2012 / 00:25

    Great round-up. Must have been lovely and bizarre to put faces to names after being so aware of each other for so long.

  7. 21 July 2012 / 06:51

    Michelle, you are such a star for organising all of this and I loved meeting so many divas of the blogging world, what a great bunch of people!

    We are meeting at Liverpool street station in Autumn, my treat, for coffee and cake (will happily come and visit you, too)

    Until September, we are off on a 6 week road trip of Detroit, Northern Michigan, Kalamazoo, Chicago, Ohio, DC, Eastern Shore ME, New Hampshire, York ME and Boston … wish me luck!!