I booked my tickets for Blogfest (a blogging conference organised by Mums Net) with trepidation when my blog was only a month old. I was nervous that I’d be out of my depth. Could I really call myself a proper blogger yet?
In the intervening months I’d got more involved in the collaborative world of blogging and made some loving blogging buddies. Heading to Blogfest at crazy o’clock in the sleet I was more excited than nervous (although I had spent an inordinate amount of time debating what a proper blogger would wear).
The stand out moments for me were……………
Motherhood and Creativity
This discussion included a number of panellists talking about the mixture of working creatively and being a mum. The phrase that stood out for me was from Myra Syal who talked about at the moment of birth two people are born a child and a mother. This definitely reflects my experience – I don’t think I’ve lost my identity to motherhood but I am a different person.
Bridget Christie made me laugh and my mind boggle when she said she was one of 9 children and her mum also worked.
The take home point from this session was just find the pockets of time and get writing. Hence why I’m simultaneously writing this post and cooking a Balti.
I love Sandi Toksvig and have read her magazine column forever – it was seeing that she was a speaker that convinced me to buy my Blogfest ticket. She definitely didn’t disappoint with a rallying call for gender equality and her newly founded Equality party. Did you know that there are more men named John heading up FTSE 100 companies than there are women?
David Baddiel is another speaker that I was very keen to hear. He had an interesting idea that modern trigger happy outrage is in part people waving a flag of their identity. He gave some funny and mindboggling examples form his own twitter feed. I followed him on Twitter on the train home.
People Power: how the internet changed the world
This was my standout session of the day.
One of the speakers was Nimco Ali is co-founder of Daughters of Eve a non-profit organisation that works to raise awareness and ultimate eliminate female genital mutilation (FGM). Nimco is a survivor of FGM. I was blown away by the power and clarity of her approach.
I had to fight back tears listening to Hayley Goleniowska. She blogs at Down Side Up about her daughter Natty who has Downs Syndrome. Hayley is working to change perceptions of Down Syndrome and to give very practical targeted information to parents from the point of a Down Syndrome scan result. I was imagining how I would feel in that moment and how vital it must be to have the right support. Natty works as a child model helping to bring more inclusive images into advertising. I was very quick to check this blog when I got home.
Kirsty McNeill, Save the Children’s Campaigns Director was compelling as she talked about the work that they are doing to respond to the current refugee crisis. She highlighted the help that is needed for unaccompanied minors who are already in Europe but are slipping through the cracks in the system and are incredibly vulnerable to exploitation.
Public and Private and the Mumsnet Blog Awards
I love Shappi Khorsandi’s stand up and her routine at the start of the Mumsnet Blog Awards really made me laugh at the point of the day that I was starting to flag (that will be waking up at 5.30). It was interesting to see the difference between her standup self and her panel discussion contribution. She ‘fes up to a compulsive addiction to twitter and how some of her comedy material about her divorce was too raw for TV audiences. Robert Crampton who writes the Beta Male column in the Times was also a panellist. I liked his advice to avoid overwriting and to ruthlessly edit your words. The session was chaired by Fi Glover, the voice from the radio in real life!
Meeting other bloggers
This was a brilliant event for meeting fellow bloggers. I wouldn’t say I’m the most natural networker. If I tell myself its just chatting then I’m much less intimidated. I self consciously handed out a few business cards (at this rate I have had enough for another 33 events!)
I loved meeting people that I have chatted to a lot online including – Laura from Laura’s Lovely Things, Rachel from Life of My Family and Me, Franca from a Moment With Franca, Lucy from Occupation (M)other. I also have a list of new blogs to check out that is too long to list.
I did see a couple of bloggers that I love reading online but was too shy to say hi (and am now kicking myself!)
Who doesn’t love a goody bag? I’m completely in love with my #Selfishmother tee shirt. I cannot divulge if the Cadbury’s chocolate advent calendar actually survived the train journey uneaten!
I’m really glad that I went to Blogfest. I heard some inspiring people speak who conveyed their passion for creativity and writing. I have gems of ideas scribbled in my note book. I’m not sure I took away a lot of practical advice that I can go and apply to my blog straight away. This is probably down to my choice of sessions. Overall the day definitely gave me an extra boost of enthusiasm and love for my blog.
I guess I can probably qualify as a real blogger now.