Warning: this post has no photos from the actual event as I am a rubbish blogger and forgot to take any photos. You might also want to skip this post if you are not a blogger, unless you have a burning desire to learn about me nearly wetting myself and what happens when I drink fizz on an empty stomach.
When I go to a blogging conference I have a very specific set of requirements:
- Food and lots of it
- Time to chat to blogger mates
- Inspiring talks from great speakers
- Booze. Obviously.
I know what you are thinking, how can I rate how good a conference is on the food and let alone how can I make it my number one requirement? Let me say this, me and lack of food is not a good combination. Much like my threenager I become hangry when I have not had enough food. Also, for the price of the ticket (it ain’t cheap folks) plus plane fares etc, I want to feel like I have got my money’s worth. I want to fill my boots, literally. Sadly, there was no boot filling. I arrived at the venue ravenous as I had not had time for breakfast at Gatwick airport. I had managed to snaffle one teeny, tiny muffin but then I struggled to digest it due to sheer terror and nerves. Do not worry I told myself, there will be a fine spread at lunch. There wasn’t. It was either a burrito or fish balls. Obviously, I decided that the burrito was the lesser of two evils. Eating something called fish balls seemed wrong on so many levels. The act of eating the burrito required you to try and hold a plate, glass and bag; all whilst simultaneously unwrapping the burrito. It was like some fiendish challenge. Luckily, I enlisted the help of the very lovely Kelly from Bringing up Georgia to act as a human table for me. She very kindly held my plate as I set about unwrapping my burrito. No easy task for me as I struggle to open up the most basic of packaging. However, I finally managed it. By this point I was salivating. Imagine my disappointment when the burrito turned out to be dry and not very nice at all. I then found some microscopic desserts. There was about 5 of them and I debated whether it was polite to nibble on them as one would expect in polite society or to just put them whole in my very large mouth. I inhaled them. However, I wasn’t keen on them either. A chocolate concoction was very sweet and rich. I now had pumped a load of sugar into my system with no actual proper food. This was a disaster for me as it only meant that I spoke even faster and struggled even more to concentrate. Basically, I started talking very fast whilst gesticulating widely. I had flashbacks to job interviews, ones that saw me doing this and falling off chairs with sheer excitement and enthusiasm at the job. Yes, really.
Therefore, on the food front Blogfest was a fail. A big fat fail.
Time to chat
I’m not going to lie but when I go to a blogger conference it is 1) because I have an excuse to get off the island and 2) more so that I can chat to all of my lovely blogger mates. There was lots of time to chat. It was brilliant to catch-up with the tribe. Mainly, Sarah from Mumzilla (although I would have loved to have had the chance to chat to her more), lovely Claire at Pramshed, Kelly at Bringing Up Georgia (who is a wealth of information, she really should be one of the speakers, she knows so much and is really happy to share it), Beth from Beta Mummy, Sam at Mouse, Moo & Me Too, Laura at Unsung Mum and Suzanne at And Another Ten Things. Finally, but not least, the brilliant and now award-winning Fran from Whinge Whinge Wine. Fran winning the award took what had been a week that seemed so wrong, to a week that seemed so right. Fran took home the award for best comedy writer and quite rightly too. It was nice to have some good news!
There were also lots of other amazing bloggers that I managed to chat to but more about that lovely lot later.
I was surprised by how feminist orientated Blogfest felt. Surprised but also delighted, mostly.
First talk – Women online.
On the whole, a stimulating and engaging discussion. There were some fantastic speakers and I now adore Jess Phillips MP. We need more people like her in parliament. In this talk we were encouraged to write without filter, there was also much discussion about Facebook, which only confirms even more about why I hate Facebook and also the need to be careful that we don’t create an artificial bubble in the blogs we read and follow and on twitter etc. This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately and it was interesting to hear it being discussed on stage. However, something I wasn’t so keen on was some of the comments made with regards to men. For me, I felt uncomfortable and I felt that it was uncalled for. I might be a feminist but I don’t think there is a need for man-bashing, ever. I say this as someone who has been in abusive relationships, but I don’t believe you should ever tar men with the same brush. People are different. Every man and woman is different. It is not helpful to stereotype. There were several incidents of mild men-bashing throughout the day. I felt that this was a shame and perhaps took away from what could have been a really inspiring and positive day. Blogfest does need to think about being more inclusive or perhaps their argument is that they don’t, they are Mumsnet after all.
I did question whether it was me being very aware of these comments and as a result over-analysing (I know me over-analyse, shocker) but several Dads felt a little miffed about some of the remarks. One Dad I was really interested to speak to about it was Tim from Slouching Thatcham as I see him as being a very rational blogger who is always very level-headed (unlike me). You can read some of his thoughts on it here. However, last time I saw Tim at a blogging conference I shrieked at him very high-pitch – Tiiiiiiim and he did the right thing and pretended he hadn’t heard me. To be fair I don’t think he had, only dogs would have heard me. This time I grabbed him after the first talk as I wanted to know his reaction to the talk. However, I was also desperate for the toilet and feared that I was going to wee myself in front of Tim. After the shrieking, I feared wetting myself might be the final nail in the coffin for him thinking that I am not a sane and normal person. Therefore, I had to skip quickly to the loo and never really got to hear what he had to say. Next time I saw him he was deep in discussion with some other bloggers and I felt far too shy to ask to talk to him.
More next time
Yikes, I will have to end this blog post here, otherwise, it will be an epic novel. Come back for Part 2 where I discuss the other talks, how my book pitch went, the other lovely bloggers I spoke to and whether it is ever wise to drink prosecco on an empty stomach……
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