On Blogfest

Blogfest funny

So that’s it – I’ve finally popped the conference cherry thanks to Mumsnet! This was huge for me – I have been avidly stalking following the updates and lowdowns of ‘people like me’ as they have jetted around from Britmums to Blogcamp this year, being fed delicious cakes and valuable techie tips to put them one step ahead of the competition (I know, I know, it’s not a competition!). So I had pretty high expectations of what this day would bring and spent some time obsessing over what I would wear and just how many business cards I would need (extremely amusing in hindsight having returned home with 99 out of my 100 lovingly designed expressions of intention).

On the day I was really pleased to be able to meet up with my lovely friend Elfa of Californian Mum in London, and then later, Steph of The Sisterhood and All That and Sian of Potty Mouthed Mummy – I know how intimidating it must be to walk into a venue like that filled to the rafters with faces both familiar and strange, on your own, so I was very happy to arrive as part of a group of newly minted friends.

The first session was a fascinating panel discussion with (I’m ashamed to say) several people I had never heard of before including Tim Dowling, Beeban Kidron & Dr Linda Papadopoulos as well as Fleet Street Fox and Sarah Vine. The discussion revolved around how technology is changing the way we live and touched upon how we deal with our children’s inevitable interface with cyberspace. How much of ourselves are we prepared to share? As the discussion progressed a massive screen above the heads of the panel updated with a live Twitter feed – (we’d already been encouraged to tweet relentlessly with two bottles of champers up for grabs for the best tweets of the day). This was entertaining if distracting and I briefly toyed with the idea of broadcasting to the world that my bladder was fit to explode – nothing like joining the conversation, eh? (Er, no, nothing like it).

I think my favourite bit came in the next session – How to Find Your Funny with, amongst others, Arabella Weir and chaired by Bryony Gordon from The Telegraph. The quick answer is – you can’t – at least not unless you’ve got a sense of humour to begin with. Another answer is ‘be fearless’. Arabella Weir’s version of fearless means that you name and shame (in her case, her father – who, to be fair, sounds like he was a pretty bad father) but not everyone had such a harsh or extreme approach.

I was really pleased to see Kirsty Smith from Eeh Bah Mum up there – I’ve been following her blog for a while now. It did make me feel a little bit star struck when I met her later on at the Fevertree drinks reception and ended up sitting next to her for what may be regarded as a somewhat unconventional date involving 12 women – some of whom had never met each other before, in a restaurant within Kings Cross station – all a little bit ‘ginned’ up and shouting over the top of some rather loud travel announcements/fire warnings over the station tannoy. Later I stumbled across the concourse with Jess of Wry Mummy, both of us wondering just how far the toilets could really be from the restaurants – passing Japanese tourists along the way as they posed for their Harry Potter memento shot at ‘Platform 9 & ¾). (It turned out that we had just completely by-passed one set of bogs but at least we didn’t have to pay 30p for the privilege).

Earlier that day I was really thrilled to meet Michelle of Learner Mother and Lottie of The Secret Divorcee and hang out with them. It’s funny how much I felt I knew them and them me, from nothing more substantial than online correspondence.

We really enjoyed the discussion on, essentially, how to be a writer with some really huge names including Nick Hornby, whose books I happily display on my shelves at home. Again I wondered what it must have been like for the one person on stage known primarily for her blog (in this case the brilliant Lisa Jarmin of How To Be A Domestic Disgrace). Interesting questions were mulled including ‘how do you know when you’re a writer’ and it seemed to be the concensus that you ‘just know’ and no-one else can validate that for you (personally I think a publishing deal or a pay cheque is a pretty good indication 😉 ).

‘Think Bombs’ were awesome – particularly comedienne Francesca Martinez who has overcome Cerebral Palsy to carve out an award winning career in the limelight. It was really inspirational to hear her talk about how there is no normal and how our first world problems and issues can look silly and indulgent in the grand scheme of things.

I may have let some of the more useful techie sessions fly over my head in hindsight, (although I know I need to learn how to back my blog up lest it all disappears one day in a puff of foul-smelling smoke) but I loved being entertained, inspired, given food for thought, and welcomed into a group of people who’s lives I have probably more knowledge of than some of my closest offline friends. For everyone I haven’t mentioned here it was lovely to meet every one of you!

I get the feeling that this year’s Blogfest wasn’t quite as flash-bang controversial as last year’s, and I still found it a bit stressful to know that I wouldn’t see my (often high maintenance!) children for over 24 hours, but it was a really unique and positive day.


33 thoughts on “On Blogfest

    • It was a good day Laura! It is a bit weird but I’d been expecting that! I think the weirdest thing was really feeling familiar with people who I’m pretty sure hadn’t a scooby who I was! I felt a bit like a voyeur in that respect 🙂 I definitely recommend an event like this to anyone who blogs – it’s a real experience! X

    • It is really weird Laura! It’s kind of a cross between being star struck and feeling like you are kind of stepping into virtual reality. Or something 🙂 You should come to an event one day! X

  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed yourself and that you feel that it was worthwhile. I don’t think you can possibly fit everything into the day, you just have to make the most of of it and it sounds like you did. I just hope I get to meet you one day 🙂
    Sara (@mumturnedmom) recently posted…One Hundred YearsMy Profile

    • Ah Sara it would have been lovely if you could have been there! I really would love to meet you, Caroline from Becoming a Stay at Home Mum and Reneé from Mummy Tries too as I feel like my blog has kind of ‘grown up’ with you guys alongside me! X

    • You should Emma! I did enjoy it but it is one hell of a long day! Lots to take in and lots of people to meet. I totally wimped out of approaching any of the brands too which I would have liked to suss out. Next time… X

    • That’s kind of what I suspected Joanne. I had heard such stories about the year before I think there was almost maybe a little anti-climax to it? Plus a lot of the people I wanted to meet had already met and bonded at previous events and it felt like I was playing catch up, but other than that I really enjoyed the day and did get to meet some of my absolute favourites 🙂 X

    • If it’d been someone from the Apprentice or Strictly I’d have been OK which is ridiculously lowbrow! I never have time to read papers and I have to admit that I rarely know what’s going on in the news – shameful I know but it’s just too depressing, especially when you have little children. I have read Bryony Gordon’s column before because my parents get the Telegraph and I really liked her a lot in person too. The Think Bombs were definitely fab. X

  2. I’ve heard so many people say not to bother with business cards because they always forget to give them out… nice to have them in your hand though I guess. Sounds like although it was surreal, it was also a lot of fun and you learnt loads. I’d have loved to hear Nick Hornby speak, he’s one of my faves.

    I’m gutted to have missed out but have been talking to a few bloggers about trying to organise a meet up between now and Brit Mums. Would you be keen? xx
    Mummy Tries recently posted…Book Update: Almost There!My Profile

    • I love my business cards – I didn’t really ever get them out of my bag but if I had I think I might have been very protective over them – not wanting to give them out willy nilly! D’oh! I’m not sure how much I really learned at the end of the day because the advanced social media went over my head a bit, but yes, listening to professional writers and comedians speaking and debating was really a highlight. I hope you can make another event and yes! I’d love to have an informal meet up!! 🙂 Xx

  3. Can’t tell you how lovely it was to meet you at last! I wish I’d stayed on and had dinner with you at Kings Cross, rather than getting on the back of a bleeding motorbike and driving through the rain for what seemed like an indeterminate length of time…

    Hope to see you again soon. xxx

    • I loved her Cathie! She was probably the only panellist (other than the bloggers, oh and Nick Hornby) who I have read! She seemed so fun and down to Earth. It really was a great day X

  4. Oh I am so sad I didn’t get to catch up with you properly my lovely. Not fair. I was so heavenly medicated on cold medicine. I didn’t know which way was which but I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. It was fab. My first at Mumsnet. Sounds like you met some amazing people too. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme
    Jenny recently posted…Share With Me ~ wk 41My Profile

    • Well considering you were ill you looked great on the day! It can be a bit intimidating I think, to approach all the different groups of people and I kind of bottled out a few times 🙂 Will have to seek you out on another occasion X

    • Are you saying you don’t have a sense of humour Zena?! 😉 I’m sure that’s not true! I was gutted when I missed BritMums back in June too but in hindsight I think it was for the best because I think I would have been completely overwhelmed by that and it was nice to just Twitter stalk to see what it was all about at that point! One thing is true – there will definitely be more opportunities to attend a blogging event! X

  5. Aww, it sounds like so much fun Sam! I’m really, really hoping to meet you at something next year – I really love a chance to chat to my favourites face to face! 🙂 Brill post lovely! Xxx

    • Ah Caroline please come along to a conference with me one day! As an experienced conferencer now ( 😉 ) I would happily take you under my wing! One of the first people I met on the way in was Denise from Around the World With a Highchair and she had left her 4 month old baby at home and prepared to do regular pumping! Not sure I’d have been up for that either!! Xx

    • The find your funny was great but I feel like I missed out on some of the ones I’ve read about too. Would have been lovely to have a bit of a chat but it’s all a bit crazy on the day isn’t it? Must grab you next time! 🙂

  6. Thanks for this post, I loved reading it. I’m very new in the blogging world and maybe next year sometime will get to attended a blogging day like this. Not sure I’d be confident enough to go though! Great to learn what its like.
    A Little Lyrical recently posted…Feeling FestiveMy Profile

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