I'm a little late to writing about this, but a couple of weeks ago I attended Mumsnet Blogfest 2013. I was a bit hesitant about attending, as I needed to carefully consider the ticket cost. What swung it for me in the end was the excellent line up of speakers, as well as the opportunity to meet up with many of my blogging friends.
The only other conference that I've attended was Britmums Live, so I was curious to see how the two events compared, and I wasn't disappointed. Although I didn't spend the sessions writing copious notes about ways to improve my blog, I came away really inspired and motivated, and not just in a blogging way.
I was a bit nervous about going in by myself so I arranged to meet my blogging friend Swazi on the way, who introduced me to her friend Soraya. It is definitely a lot easier to go into an event like this if you have a friendly face or two by your side!
My absolute favourite session of the day was "Cracking yarns and tall tales: how to tell a better story". Lionel Shriver is one of my favourite authors, and it was wonderful to see her up on the stage and hear her talk about her writing. The first keynote session was also very good, and the Think Bombs provided by Tanya Byron, Sue Black and Jon Ronson were excellent. There has been plenty written about the "Can you be a mummy blogger and still be a feminist" debate, so I'll just say that although I feel there is room for a debate around this subject, the title could have been better phrased and the debate taken in a different direction, perhaps about how "Mummy blogging" has changed and improved lives and situations. Then Jo Brand ended the talks on a high.
There was lots of time for socialising, during breaks and over lunch, with a fab drinks reception at the end. I don't see myself as a particularly confident person, but I found that the atmosphere was very friendly and it was great to chat to lots of new people. I found that there was an excellent mix of bloggers from different niches. Of course, the unlimited free gin probably helped a little with my confidence! People do often seem to recognise me at events which is good (I look just like my photographs) and I love when people come up to me to chat, whether they know who I am or not.
I came away with a gorgeous goody bag, filled with things for me rather than the children, in particular a lovely little purse from Boden which has replaced my ancient old wallet, and some chocolates - although these quickly disappeared to my parents, as a thank you for letting me use them as a hotel instead of paying London prices!
Sponsor Mark Warner are running a competition for attendees to win a holiday by sharing a top tip for family holidays. My tip would be - always make sure that you are carrying plenty of snacks! Ensuring that children eat regularly definitely keeps them in a better mood, and a small snack is a great distraction on a long journey or when waiting in a queue. My favourite is a small tub of raisins, cheap, easy to pack, develops those fine motor skills when removing them from the tub, and most importantly takes a little one ages to eat!