On missing Blogfest 2015

Rabbit jumpingBack in June 2014, a year into my blogging journey, I missed the first Britmums Live conference I had the chance to attend – even though I’d bought a ticket. As I’ve mentioned before I managed to double book myself that year and our family holiday took precedence. However, despite having a really lovely holiday, I was really gutted at the time. I remember sitting in the car as we drove home from Norfolk flicking through my Twitter feed relentlessly, torn between the desire to pretend it wasn’t happening and wanting to feel in some way connected to events. I took in every Morrisons cake and staged selfie and worried that I’d missed the boat as far as bonding with the people I’d been chatting with for many months was concerned.

When tickets for last year’s Blogfest were finally released I jumped on the chance to attend and attend I did. I think I probably went through the whole gamut of emotions that anyone going to a blog conference for the first time might experience – slight awe of seeing the images of 2D blog avatars come to life, the buzz of being a part of something a little bit special and out of the ordinary, discombobulation at finding myself, at times, alone and wandering between seemingly tight-knit groups of fast friends and the thrill of actually meeting one or two writers who I really admire – bloggers who I aspire to be more like and those who I just enjoy interacting with online.

I liked the journalistic and writerly focus of Blogfest, the discussion of topics which affect us all – not just bloggers – and provision of at least one or two famous faces to make us laugh and make us think.

This year I finally made it to Britmums in June and I had fun there and was really happy to meet some more brilliant people from my online world, but, in hindsight the focus and feel of the event was quite different to Blogfest. As I hadn’t quite decided what direction I really wanted for the blog at the time it felt a bit schizophrenic to be bouncing from sessions on working with brands to sessions on writing fiction and getting it published and making money, to photo styling and curating for Instagram.

For one reason or another I wasn’t able to make it to Blogfest this year but seeing a few updates on the social media and reading a post or two by those who did has made me think about what it is to attend these events and why I was so much less bothered to miss it this year.

Admittedly I would have loved to have seen Sandi Toksvig, David Baddiel, Shappi Khorsandi, Margaret Atwood and Val McDermid speaking and the Think Bombs session alone would have been worth the price of admission. However from the point of view of going for the bonding opportunity, I feel less of a sense of loss. What the other conferences have taught me is that, if you feel a genuine connection with someone online and you never get to meet them in person, that’s OK. We all have busy lives and live in far flung places and becoming part of a ‘tribe’ doesn’t just happen because you find yourself in the same room one day.

I also, coincidentally, had something pretty cool going on in London on Saturday anyway – my mum treated myself and the kids to a play at the National Theatre called “I want my hat back” – an adaptation of a thought provoking picture book by Jon Klassen. As the blurb described it as appealing to ages from 3-300 it seemed like a good time to introduce EJ to the theatre experience and as soon as we entered the NT foyer I felt a rush of feel good dopamine as every single memory of that place is filled with feelings of excitement, anticipation and happiness. The play itself was absolutely wonderful – as brilliant a take on such a sparsely worded tale as you would expect from the NT – everything from the costumes, set, music and just the fantastic energy and enthusiasm coming from everyone involved in the production.

Being back in London, on the South Bank, taking the train journey, seeing the kids enjoying themselves doing something a little bit different from the daily round of soft play and scooters in the park, and not only that but an activity which I was brought up to really value, boosted my happiness and massively lessened the impact of missing out on this year’s Blogfest.

Whilst I would love to go to next year’s conference and hope that I get the chance to be involved in a few more blogging events, this experience has taught me that my world is a bigger place than just my blog and I need to prioritise and embrace happiness in whatever shape or form it presents itself.


And then the fun began...

27 thoughts on “On missing Blogfest 2015

  1. A really thoughtful and intelligent post. A reminder that we can’t have everything but we can relish the memories we make every day especially if they involve our loved ones. I guess most bloggers miss events they would quite like to go to. I certainly have bottled some events, felt uncomfy at others and sometimes realised time with the family comes first
    Kate Holmes recently posted…From blogging to joggingMy Profile

    • Thanks Kate. I really did feel so much less bothered this time round and even though I love what Blogfest is all about and definitely would like to go again, I do think that I have got a lot of the curiosity and misconceptions out of my system by attending Blogfest 14 and BML 15. I am also just really grateful that I didn’t have to miss out on a fab event with the kids.

  2. I can really relate to that! I still remember feeling for you when you realised you couldn’t go to Britmums live, and I was the same: I had a brand new newborn in my arms and I wanted to be there anyway. remember spending most of the day checking people’s Twitter feeds, reading the blog posts etc. Until a few days before BlogFest this year, I had no plans for the day, but I wasn’t really bothered about not going. Just like you said, I’ve already got the bonds, online and offline so I don’t feel like I’ve missed on something huge. It was nice seeing the few comments about the day on social media, but I also had a wonderful day with my little man in London. Sounds like the play was great. Did your little man enjoy the whole thing?
    Mel recently posted…How Do You Make Chocolate?My Profile

    • Having said all this I do feel like meeting you, Louise, Renee, Fiona, Sara and a handful of other people again (and also a few who have never made it to a blog conference) would be really lovely and make me feel more like a “real” part of your lives and you mine – there is definitely something about meeting people in person that makes it friendship more like the real thing despite my comments here! I think JJ really enjoyed the play – he was getting very involved and very vocal! I think he thought it was a panto! EJ was a lot less sure of it all but we’re off to see another play after Christmas – at the Polka Theatre in Wimbledon this time and I hope enough theatre trips and he’ll warm up to the idea! Xx

  3. Lovely post Sam and that play sounds wonderful. So glad to hear you had such a lovely time. Honestly I hadn’t even realised it was happening until I saw pics on the day and like you am far less bothered now than I would have been at one time. I still love my blog but the blogging community aspect isn’t as important to me as it once was… mainly because everyday life is so hectic that I can’t keep up with everyone I want to anyway, hard as I try! It looked like great fun and inthreshing and maybe one day I will make it to one… but for now I am not too worried! Xx
    Caroline (Becoming a SAHM) recently posted…Stopping at Two??My Profile

    • As I just said in my reply to Mel, there are definitely certain people who I think of like distant friends – yourself included – like the friends I made in the past and never get to see due to busy lives. I guess blog conferences are just a way of finally getting to meet each other – an excuse to have a fun day together. Hopefully we will get to do that one day when the kids aren’t such a handful and lives are less complicated and hectic! Xx

  4. Lovely post. Very true. And whats the point in blogging if you don’t have a life to blog about. I’d love to go to a blogging conference one day, but I’m not sure I could prioritise a whole weekend for that over my little ones just yet…maybe when they are older and uglier! x
    Naomi recently posted…I fear a Pinterest fail coming on…My Profile

    • Hi Naomi – welcome to The Truth about! I do enjoy a blog conference and think I will probably get different things out of going in future as a ‘seasoned’ blogger (!) but yes, factoring small children in if you don’t have another childcare option can be majorly offputting. X

  5. Love this post Sam – I remember feeling a similar way seeing my Twitter during the first Britmums after I started blogging and the desperate desire to go and be part of it all. I was taking part in a concert on Saturday so couldn’t make Blogfest either and in some ways it surprised me that I didn’t feel like I was particularly missing out. I think you’re right that genuine connections can be made (and nurtured) online without having to meet in person and that there is a much, much bigger world to enjoy beyond that of the blogosphere. So glad that you had such a lovely day with your family at the NT – it is such a wonderful place to see live theatre and I hope the boys enjoyed it as much as you did. Special family moments like these are definitely worth missing Blogfest for. Thanks for hosting #thetruthabout – lovely to link up again 🙂
    Louise recently posted…Review and giveaway: Miffy book collection from The Book PeopleMy Profile

    • I do think that some blogger get togethers organised completely independent of the whole conference pressures are definitely the way forward and would love to meet you, Mel, etc. again – I think a London based thing definitely needs to be arranged although coordinating schedules is probably the biggest obstacle! X

  6. A very thoughtful post, Sam. You’re right – while meeting people in person is lovely, you can still have very meaningful relationships and bonds with people you’ve never met. Strong friendships can be built and maintained online. I’m glad you had a lovely day on Saturday, it sounds like a perfect family day.

    Blogfest was great, I enjoyed it – I enjoy Britmums too but I relate to the content of Blogfest a bit more xxx #TheTruthAbout
    Leigh – Headspace Perspective recently posted…Blogging and Self-Esteem at BlogFestMy Profile

    • I agree Leigh – I just wish I was a bit better at maintaining ongoing social media chat with people because I think that is probably where I fall down and don’t have as many great bonds as I might like – I am always in awe of people who manage to do a lot of blogging and a lot of Twitter based chat & gossip too – where do people find the time and do they actually speak to their own families?? 🙂 Maybe I’m just not very good at playing this game! Xx

  7. I’m new to the mummy blogging sphere and hadn’t realised there were conferences around the subject. This excites me and I can’t wait to attend one. I’ve felt overwhelming support already from the blogging community and can’t thank those enough who’ve got in touch with me, commenting, liking my blog. You’re so right that times have changed and meaningful relationships can be made online. I met my husband 7 years ago through match.com, so I’m all for internet bonding 😉 x
    Kirsty Ho Fat recently posted…Side Effects Of Weaning For MumMy Profile

    • I met my husband 9 years ago through match.com Kirsty! Blog conferences are really great if you go knowing what you are in store for and don’t have too high expectations of any one aspect. Some people come away massively fired up with creative juices flowing, others feel a bit deflated when so much brilliance is uncovered and you start inevitably comparing yourself and feeling like you come up wanting in some way. Either way I would definitely recommend going to at least one conference for the experience. X

  8. This was really interesting for me to read for a couple of reasons…1/ I’m new to blogging (reading and writing is keeping me sane in these early days of being a new mum – currently typing one-handed with a sleeping baby balanced on my other arm). So a lot of this is all still new to me (took me days to figure out what linkys were, and several more to work out how to engage with them!) So I’ve come across words like Blogfest and Britmums, but having read your post I now understand what they actually are! 2/Its good to have the heads-up from someone already well absorbed into this world that maybe I don’t need to get too bogged down with the ins and outs of it all – everything in balance. So thank you. And the play sounded fab, what a lovely thing to introduce a young child too.
    AmyLovestoSew recently posted…The Truth About Visitng a New BabyMy Profile

    • Thanks for reading, joining in with the linky and commenting Amy! It’s really nice when it feels like you can pass along some wisdom – be it parenting or blogging and have someone mention how useful it has been to read. X

    • I haven’t booked for Britmums at this point Claire. Not sure whether I can justify the cost, particularly if I plan to do Blogfest. It was brilliant though and nice to do a summer based conference too. X

  9. Very well said! I have to say that if a conference is going on that I am not at, I try and avoid the tweets, etc so I don’t see what I am missing. I totally agree – there is more to be done than keep on going to conferences! (that said, I’ve linked up my post about Blogfest but it really helped me creatively this year!).
    Verily Victoria Vocalises recently posted…Reflections on Blogfest 2015My Profile

    • I guess you get out what you go in for Vic – if you have some sort of seed of an idea of a direction you want to take and you go along looking for encouragement and inspiration then that is great. I really enjoyed both BML and Blogfest I have to say, but I think the curiosity factor is now gone so I don’t have to feel like I was missing some mystically magical event! X

  10. I’ve never been to any sort of blog conference but I can imagine all the feelings you described in going. I do, however, understand that feeling of having to chose between two things and your mind lingering on the opportunity you missed. You sound like someone who just enjoys experiencing as much as you can in life wherever it may come from…so I assume you’re probably faced with similar curiosity often. 😉 I’m glad you got a refreshing view from having such a great time with the kids. As you said, “Prioritize and Embrace Happiness.” #thetruthabout

  11. While I have never been able to attend a blog conference and would love to take part in one, I can also one-hundred percent get behind the idea that you don’t have to meet people in person to make a genuine connection. Some of my best friends are people I only talk to through the internet, and we all support each other in anyway we can.

    Brandyn recently posted…Mommy Meetup Mondays Week #47My Profile

  12. Well it sounds like you had a fab time in London. I would have chosen the NT over a blogging conference any day of the week. Your day sounds exciting and one that you’ll remember forever. Blogging is great but there is a risk of living your life through your computer, there is definitely a balance to strike. I must take Seb to London next year, he’d love it. Hope you’re well xx
    teacuptoria recently posted…Our Marriage BeginsMy Profile

  13. Wise words lovely. I couldn’t make Blogfest as was taking my daughter to see Peppa Pig and was then going out for my birthday. I wasn’t bothered. Since BritMums (which was fab) I feel connected to more bloggers and have made friends with some who never went. I think that keeps me going. I’ve realised in the last month this blog is a hobby and that’s all so anything else is a bonus. I’m off to Britmums again next year as had such a good time. Are you going? xx Thanks for hosting x
    Sarah Howe recently posted…Nature vs Nurture?My Profile

  14. Oh Sam what a beautifully written post! I loved this for so many reasons. I missed Britmums this year even though I was actually back in the UK! But I’m planning to go to the next one! Did I mention I love this post? 😉 #TruthAbout

  15. Oh quite right, the world is much bigger than your blog. I think sometimes I need reminding of this! I would have liked to have gone along but I am in the midst of the most expensive period of my life (okay, second, the first was a relationship break up) and I couldn’t justify the expense. Thaks for hosting #thuthabout
    John Adams recently posted…Proud to be #SeriouslyAwkward. Are you?My Profile

  16. I couldn’t agree with you more on this Sam. A couple of years ago I would go to every event going because I just felt I HAD to for some reason, that I would miss out otherwise. A year later and I was over my FOMO. I didn’t go to Britmums or Blogfest this year. I might do the latter next year but I don’t think I will do Britmums. I’m not all that bothered and I know for sure my family aren’t! And as you say, actually that’s more important. Glad you had a good time in London. x
    Suzanne recently posted…Take 5 Friday – Fines, Fur Stoles and FarewellsMy Profile

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