Blogfest 2014 – So much more than just a blogging conference!!

WOW!

Talk about being totally overloaded with so much super cool information that your brain actually buzzes!!!

I take it that’s what you get after attending your first ever Mumsnet Blogfest event!!!

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My lovely pink notebook is freshly full and brimming with juicy snippets of all the fantastic information I managed to glean from the amazing hosts and presenters at this years Blogfest, and my pen is poised and Mac at the ready to start getting down to some serious blogging!!!

And considering that just days before the event, with my silly low self esteem and lack of confidence I had decided not to go (and was actually considering if I can cope with blogging at all – read here), all I can say is that I’m so glad I changed my mind at the last hour!!

It was rather a rude awakening on the Saturday morning mind you, with my train to Paddinton leaving at 06:22am!! But, with bleary eyes I managed to trudge in the darkness down to the platform to meet up with fellow bloggers, Aby and Em, who were both totally brilliant and looked out for me the entire day as I was so very nervous being a newbie blogger and a first timer to an event!

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So early – there was no-one else on the platform!!

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Met at the station by the lovely Aby of You Baby Me Mummy, and Em of Snowing Indoors

So, having been home a few days now and with a trip to Germany in the middle of the week, it’s taken me lots longer than I’d hoped, but I’ve had time to reflect on the event and have considered the top things I believe were beneficial to me and the main points I’ve taken away with me which I can now work on and develop further……

It pushed me out of my comfort zone!

I have always been a bit of a home bird.

Boring I know – but sadly true.

Throughout my entire life I’ve never really ventured into anything that pushes me into new and potentially awkward situations and places unless forced to.

To me, the norm is comfortable. It’s safe and it’s what I’m used to.

I never really tend to venture anywhere much, be that to drive to different towns, go on business trips etc. But this – made me get out of the house, away from behind the secrecy and safety of a computer screen and well and truly into the lions den so to speak!! And boy was I glad of this!

It opened up my eyes to the potential of the blogging world!

It explained to me the endless possibilities that blogging brings you. Whether you want to practice your writing style to become an author, a journalist or copy writer. So although this journey started out as a diary of my home life and of charting my babies as they grow through childhood, perhaps there are further opportunities that lay in wait?

It provided me with inspiration.

Tonnes of it!!

The speakers were tremendous. Renowned commentators, presenters, authors, comedians and directors; all of whom we have come to recognize and respect. With such a wealth of knowledge between them – there was really no doubt it would be any less than motivational I suppose!

Those I especially loved were Susie Boniface of Fleet Street Fox, Francesca Martinez for her courage and passion for life, Suzanne Moore’s witty, frank and plain speaking, Sarah Vine and Lucy Porter for her sheer comical brilliance!

It was also fabulous to hear from the greats of the blogging community. Tara Cain of Sticky Fingers, Lisa Jarmin of How to be a Domestic Disgrace and Charlotte Taylor of Write Like No-Ones Watching.

Personally – I would really love to have the option of attending a complete session actually run by the top bloggers. With plenty of Q&A time so we can quiz them about how we can reach the top spot too one day perhaps!!

It made me realise that I’m just like everyone else and we can all be who we want to be!

As I eluded to above, I was very dubious about attending Blogfest, not because of what it was, but because of who I am.  But now on reflection, having plucked up the courage to attend, I am now content in the knowledge that I’m not alone.  Many of the other lovely ladies I met were equally as full of anxieties as ai was. Many suffer from depression.  Many have been through traumatic and heart wrenching moments – but there we were – all of us together – sharing these experience and feelings with one another. With strangers almost. but feeling all the more better for it. Almost like a form of relief and acceptance that I’m me – and that”s just fine!

It’s made me more determined to speak my mind.

Less scared to be controversial, outspoken and persuasive. As Suzanne Moore mentioned in her marvelous Think Bomb, you need to piss people off from time to time, because after all – you’ll never be liked by everyone!!

Fact!!

So with this insightful snippet of wisdom, why not say what you think occasionally. I won’t go out of my way to offend people obviously, but equally, I don’t want to keep quiet over topics I feel strongly about just for the fear of bearing the wrath of opposing views.

Maybe it’s time to get pushy and go out and actually ask for you want!

If you don’t ask you don’t get! Perhaps there is truth behind this after all. Especially when it comes to blogging and working with brands. Its no good just hiding behind the screen as I mentioned above, looking longingly at all your fellow bloggers reaping the rewards of their new brand alliances. Maybe its high time to go get them for myself too!!!

It’s presented me with a wealth of knowledge, and impelled a yearning for more.

I learnt so much over the course of that one day, but this was just the tip of the iceberg. It was an overview if you like. With the helpful headers its time now to look into each topic even further and take it to the next level.

It’s shown me I need to read more. Much more!!

 To watch the news, to read up on the politics, not to shy away from the big issues or debates. To read and comment on as many other blogs as I can. To involve myself in discussions, and to learn more about topics totally alien to me. To seek other channels for inspiration.

It brought to my attention how pretty hardcore us women really are and can be!

From the tenacity of the elite journalists and authors, to the sheer determination and independence of those bloggers who turned up to the event as mums with babes in arms. I remember just sitting in my seat in front of the panel and recognising just how amazing us women actually are!

All of us!

And no, I really don’t mean to exclude you men – as you are totally fab too!

It shows it’s not always about how much you know – it’s about how much you want it and are willing to push for it!

I noticed and hugely admired how assertive, persuasive, influential and confident and self-assured, single minded (in nothing but a good way) the speakers all were. And one of things I loved to hear was from Confessions of a Domestic Disgrace when she said to just put yourself out there and pretend to be the person you want people to believe you to be. If you believe in yourself – others will believe in you too.

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But most of all it has enabled me to make new friends!

From only a few months in to blogging – I started speaking far more frequently with a couple of other bloggers over twitter, and since that day – I’ve never looked back. We have a fantastically close knit group now of beautiful, talented bloggers, who I’ve found so inspirational and supportive along my blogging journey. It’s a bit like having a new family!!

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Me in the middle with Amy of Everything Mummy, Jess of Mummy of Boy Girl Twins, Karen at Mini Travellers, Karen of Stopping at Two and Sarah of Extraordinary Chaos.

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My beautiful, supportive, caring and hilarious blogging friends!!!!  Also with Heledd of Running in Lavender, Lucy of Mrs H’s Favourite Things, Kat of Beau Twins and Bonita of Mama’s VIB

So, from the very negative headspace I was in prior to attending the event, to where I was when I stepped out of that building (perhaps it was the Fevertree gin and tonics!!) I have a new outlook on my blogging life and I’m excited!!

I feel empowered!

I feel as though I actually might have more to give to the world after all!! That perhaps I have finally found something I enjoy immensely, and with some determination, hard work and a great deal of time and effort – perhaps I can make this work for me, maybe even be good at!!

So – why so much more than just a blogging conference? Well I’ll tell you why.

Because it’s taught me a whole lot more about me! To push myself further, to enjoy what I choose to do, and to love myself just that little bit more.

And to top the lots we even got given a fabulous goody bag!!  Totally worth turning up again for next year eh!!

Blogfest Goody Bag 2014

 

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22 Comments

  1. 17th November 2014 / 7:12 am

    Fabulous post! Definitely needs sharing around to any newbie when considering attending a blogging conference I think!!
    So glad you changed your mind about coming, as it was great to meet you in person x

  2. 17th November 2014 / 7:48 am

    Fab post! So glad you braved it and came along! Was lovely to meet you! Xxx

  3. 17th November 2014 / 8:00 am

    Great post. I loved that comment from Frances too. I need to keep that somewhere prominent! Particularly at work. Really good summary of the day gorgeous lady. Let’s sort out a get together soon. X

  4. 17th November 2014 / 10:10 am

    AMAZING post. This has put a massive smile on my face and inspired me. You write wonderfully and with masses of passion. It is contagious. It was lovely to meet you beautiful lady and I’m thrilled that you took so many positives away from Blogfest. Hugs Mrs H xxxx

  5. 17th November 2014 / 11:20 am

    I am SO SO SO glad I met you!!!! 🙂 Brilliant post and great advice and tips for anyone thinking of attending a blogging conference. Jess xx

  6. 17th November 2014 / 12:43 pm

    Sounds like an amazing event. Next year i need to book a day off work and get along! Great advice shared though. Thanks for reporting back 🙂

    • 20th November 2014 / 9:59 pm

      My pleasure. It was brilliant. Although you’d not imagine how nervous I was – so much so that I didn’t speak to half as many people as I should have done. But yes – defo grab your ticket for next year!!! See you there!! 😉 xx

  7. 18th November 2014 / 8:09 pm

    I do think that blogfest is sooo much more than a conference. When I went for the first time, last year, my mind was completely blown by it. I’m glad you enjoyed it this year.

    • 20th November 2014 / 9:53 pm

      It really id have a mix of everything – which was fabulous – but I was a total bag of nerves the entire day and just wished I could have plucked up some courage to speak to more people. But I suppose there’s always next time isn’t there. 🙂 xxx

  8. 20th November 2014 / 7:21 pm

    Great post and hope to make next year, would love to meet you all, sounds like such an inspiring event! Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

    • 20th November 2014 / 9:26 pm

      Yes – you were one of the Bloggers I’d have loved to see in the flesh – but I’m sure I’d have been too nervous to say hi!! See! I’m silly like that. But at least I have a while to work on my bravery until the next one. Hope to see you there. xx

  9. 20th November 2014 / 9:22 pm

    Glad you had such a good time and got so much out of it, meeting other bloggers face to face is wonderful! #brilliantblogposts

    • 20th November 2014 / 9:25 pm

      It was amazing Sara but so daunting at the same time. Just fabulous to put names to faces finally!! xx

  10. 21st November 2014 / 10:05 am

    Sounds like you had a good time. I was there waving the flag for dad bloggers

  11. 21st November 2014 / 12:28 pm

    Still my dream to go to any event! I am so scared and shy! How can i overcome this shyness!? This is such a lovely post about your experience and those lovely ladies =) #pocolo

  12. 21st November 2014 / 2:04 pm

    I’ve never been to a blogging conference and I suspect I never will, but I do love reading about everybody else’s experiences.

    I’m pleased you plucked up the courage to go. It means people like me can live vicariously through people like you 😉 !!

    xx

    #pocolo

    • 24th November 2014 / 10:18 pm

      Haha, I like what you do!! Ok so it’s a deal – I will attend the conferences and you can read all about them. Thank you so much for commenting. Steph xxx

  13. 21st November 2014 / 2:51 pm

    Brilliant post – I too am a newbie and, even though I come across as fairly confident, I still haven’t plucked up the courage to go to a blogging conference… until now! I’ve booked my BritMums tickets for next year! Reading your post has made me feel more at ease… Thank you! #PoCoLo

    • 24th November 2014 / 10:21 pm

      Oh wow!! I’m so pleased I made you feel like you could go to one of these events too. I feel all warm inside now!! I haven’t actually booked my Britmums ticket yet, as funnily enough, I’ve still not plucked up the courage, but I know a lot of other bloggers who I speak to are going, so I’m sure I will do. It’s a bigger one than Blogfest and is a double dayer isn’t it! That means a girlie night off!! Woohoo!!! You may just have have spurred me on to go book those tickets too. Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Steph xxxx

  14. 22nd November 2014 / 1:45 pm

    I have toyed with the idea of attending these events many times and have always chickened out. I don’t know if it’s the ‘out of the comfort zone’ thing, or just that I’m shy but I can’t bring myself to do it. Saying that, I have got a blog plan together recently and am going to try and blog to a schedule rather than randomly. Perhaps when I’ve accomplished that I’ll be more inclined to attend an event. It does sound like it was really useful and who doesn’t love a goodie bag?

    Great to hear you’re feeling better about blogging and I look forward to seeing what you get up to in the future! 🙂 #PoCoLo

    • 24th November 2014 / 8:57 pm

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment. If I’m honest you sound a bit like me. I am a very nervous person and attending something like this was BIG for little ol’ me!! The trick is to get friendly with other bloggers and agree to meet at the event or even travel together. There are so many lovely bloggers out there – me included – who would all gladly meet up. And well done for trying to get your blog organised. I’m trying this too. If you are self hosted on wordpress use the calendar plug in to help schedule the posts for the week ahead. Thanks again for commenting. Steph xx

  15. 22nd November 2014 / 6:43 pm

    I am so sorry I didn’t see you! Although I am terrible at putting names to faces so I may well have done & didn’t realise. I am so pleased you enjoyed it. Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo 🙂 x

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