So yesterday I attended Blogfest16 which was a great conference and a lovely day in Kings Place, London. I would have written this post as soon as I got home last night but I was so bloody knackered from all the travelling that I ate and just went to bed. Was it worth the travelling though? Absolutely! I met so many amazing bloggers and I would love to link to you all but I simply wont remember.
I did however love meeting the following lovely bloggers!
Twins Make Five
Five Little Doves
A Moment With Franca
My Petit Canard
Mess and Merlot
Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs
Not Just The 3 Of Us
Whinge Whinge Wine – who won Best Comic Writer!
All About You Blog
Life at 139a
Motherhood: The Real Deal
Rhyming With Wine
There were definitely more because there were hundreds of people there! Either way it was absolutely lovely to meet and spend time with you all. You’re all beautiful people.
The day started for me at around 4.40am when I woke up for absolutely no reason. My alarm was set for an hour later but my hair felt pretty gross so I thought I might as well get up and have a nice hot bath. I got ready, caught up on Eastenders and was about half an hour from leaving when my delightful daughter, who always sleeps in at the weekends, sometimes until past 9am – amazing right? But no. Today she knew that I was leaving. And I heard that “Mummy…” call I sighed. We had lots of cuddles and thankfully there were no tears but there were a lot of “I’ll miss you today” and kisses. Fine. I got out the door, Adam was semi awake and Evie was mumbling something in her bedroom. Onward to the train station!
The train from here doesn’t take too long thankfully and I snacked on an Alpen bar and an iced coffee. I was left in peace for most of the journey which was nice as I was pretty anxious about getting to the venue. I had plans to meet up with the fantastic #KCACOLS crowd at Kings Cross which was so helpful. I am amazed I managed to go on the underground alone, not get lost and stay relatively calm throughout the whole anxious process that is travelling.
Kings Place is a short walk away from the station. It was raining so I was naturally soaked by the time I got there. We entered in the building together, checked in to get our badges and programmes – so helpful, the badges, as I had no idea who some people were until I saw their name badge…and read their blog name…and then I handed my soggy scarf and soaked coat to the lovely cloakroom attendant before grabbing an Innocent Smoothie – delicious!
The welcome and first panel was really interesting and I felt really inspired after listening to Shappi Korsandi, Jess Phillips, Fi Glover, Victoria Smith and the CEO of Mumsnet Justine Roberts. I really resonated with so much of what they had to say and it really got me seeing the power we have as bloggers to share an opinion and get a message across. It really made me think about the content I’m currently writing and what I want to develop that into. I want this blog to be a helpful space but I also want it to be a place I can write about things I love and that I’m passionate about to hopefully help or raise awareness of issues I think are big deals. Hopefully other people will think that too!
After the morning break I headed to the first breakout session which was Pitch to Publication Day. I absolutely loved it and it was so helpful to see how authors come together with an agent, publicist and editor to form a team to create a novel whether that’s fiction or non fiction. As an aspiring author myself (Aren’t we all?) and someone that’s actually got my idea for my book on a few scraps of paper…somewhere…it was really helpful to understand how other authors have approached agents to have their work published. It was also really helpful to hear the stories of how other authors write their books and how sometimes acting a little bit crazy is actually okay…for a writer anyway. Hearing The Unmumsy Mum speak was inspiring especially when she said that bloggers are writers. You don’t have to be a novelist to be a writer. It followed on from Sarah Perry who said that the only difference between people that haven’t written a book and those that have, is that they have written a book. But writing a book doesn’t mean you’re not a writer. So I am pleased to say that I am a writer, and that is now my job.
The Thinkbombs session was fantastic and I loved what Bryony Gordon had to say about mental health. I don’t speak about my mental health enough and I think thats wrong because I’m in a pretty good place with my coping mechanisms and I hope that my experience will really help others. I loved when she said, and I’m paraphrasing a little “It’s normal to have a few weird thoughts, in fact it’s weird not to.” I completely agree with this. We are all a little bit weird and wonderful and sometimes the things that go through our head will shock us but that doesn’t mean we’re not “normal” people. We are, in fact, just people.
I managed to eat half a burrito at lunch and that was pretty much it. I wish I’d had more food but obviously it was very busy and a great chance to actually speak to people. We did get a chance to grab a #KCACOLS picture though!
I think the highlight of the day was watching the Scummy Mummies who are so funny. I will be tuning into their podcast from now on because, well, it’s too funny not to. I loved their show.
It was followed by the next breakout session Who’s Laughing Now. Now, I’m not a comedic writer at all and I was hoping to kind of get a bit of knowledge on what kind of things I can write to make a bit more light hearted or just, well, be funny. The panel featured Kate Thornton, Shazia Mirza, Meera Syal, Samantha Baines and Kate Kirby who had a lot of great things to say and again it really made me think about my writing style and how I can bring my blog back to me a little bit.
The last breakout session I attended was a conversation between Brummy Mummy of 2 and Louise Pentland. I was so inspired by this as both of them are fantastic vloggers and mothers. It just goes to show that you can do both. I found it amazing to learn that Louise, who has recently rebranded her channel, talked about her stats and how it took her a really long time to build her followers. It really made me think well if she can then why not me too? Both lovely ladies had awesome advice and I loved hearing what they had to say. It’s made me want to vlog a lot more, because sometimes the things I have to say are just not enough when they’re just words. Sometimes they really need a voice and emotion and mumbling to get the message across.
This followed on to the last part of the afternoon with the know your voice panel featuring Sara Pascoe, Stella Duffy, Miranda Sawyer, Liv Little and Cash Carraway. I loved this. As a blogger we are always being taught to know our voice which is fine but it can be really hard to find that voice out in the first place. What I think it really means though is to be honest, stay true to yourself and write about the things you care about. Your writing doesn’t have to be people pleasing, sometimes it needs to be raw, harsh and angry but sometimes that is exactly what needs to be said. Never be afraid to use your voice because it has power. Speaking up and out has power. Keeping quiet doesn’t do anything for anyone.
The keynote speech was hosted by Davina McCall and I loved everything she had to say. After a day full of inspirational panels her speech very nearly made me cry. It was just an amazing moment and finish to a great day and lead so nicely into the awards. I’ve got a piece in mind to write that will be inspired by Davina’s speech! Congratulations to the winners of the awards!
This was followed by the drinks reception with some lovely fizz and very tasty cocktails. I have a couple of cosmopolitans in some very cute mason jars and got a chance to chat to and socialise with some amazing people. I will be attending more blogging events in the future for sure because it was great to meet others, chat and come away feeling so inspired again.
Then I got an awesome goody bag! I had a great day at Blogfest16 and I’ve come away feeling very inspired. Thanks so much to Mumsnet for hosting.