Did I mention I was a guest-speaker at Mumsnet BlogFest the other week? I suspect I only really mentioned it in passing in the Evans post … anyhoo, I was, and, out of all the blogging conferences I’ve been to over the years, BlogFest was by far the most fun! And not just because I was one of the panellists …
I bought a ticket for BlogFest as soon as I heard that Liz Jones and Caitlin Moran were going to be speakers. Really, I couldn’t imagine two more diametrically opposed journalists, and I was interested to see what both of them would have to say about blogging. As food was included in the entry price (and I’m a sucker for a catered event), I figured that seeing either, or both of these ladies speak would be well worth the entry fee … and how right (and wrong) I was!
I was slightly bemused at the time of buying the ticket that the “Blog Beautiful” (which I was magnetically drawn to for some strange reason) panel featured no actual beauty bloggers, and, whilst it did contain the utterly divine Sali Hughes, beauty writer of the Guardian, it has to be said that the other panellists: Erica Davies, Avril Keys, Alyson Walsh (who are amazing by the way, go check them out) are, whilst definitely beautiful, inarguably more fashion-focused than beauty. My plan was to go along and ask why they didn’t have any “pure” beauty bloggers involved. I’m nice like that. Alas, my cunning plan was scuppered slightly by them inviting me along to fill that particular slot! Our panel was lots of fun – although I understand a few of the audience were a bit confused and thought it was about making your blog beautiful – and I talked far too much, as you’ll see if you click on the video above.
|Me in full flow (images from the video)|
The rest of the day was great too, I developed girl-crushes all over the place for some of the amazing women on the bill. Caitlin Moran was both hilarious and inspirational, though I’ll never be able to look at a microphone in precisely the same way ever again, it has to be said. Miriam González Durántez gave an amazing, rousing speech at the beginning of the day, setting the tone perfectly for the rest of the sessions. In particular Suzanne Moore and Cath Elliot were amazing, strong, opinionated women, and their tales of the troubles their writing have caused them – seriously, a few “you look like crap”comments on beauty blogs are nothing compared to the trolling other women go through – really helped me put a few things into perspective. Also, Zoe Margolis has the best hair I’ve ever seen. FACT. I may have made a fool of myself mentioning it in one or a dozen tweets or so, afterwards.
As for Liz Jones … well. Some of you have probably read some of the hoo-ha her piece about BlogFest in the Mail on Sunday the other week caused, so I won’t go into it here (it’s dull, she’s dull, the Mail is dull – and IT HATES YOU, so if you have a womb, then you need to STOP READING IT. Seriously, I used to work there. And, before you say anything, I know). Well, let’s just say that Liz Jones is … unwell. And very, very sad.
Oh, and the food was ace. Any blogging conference that has a four separate officially-scheduled cake-breaks is okay with me. The food – and drink – alone was well worth the entrance fee. Oh, and there was a goody-bag, the contents of which still make me giggle, thanks to the inclusion of the Bonne Maman cookery book, which appears to believe that the inclusion of jam into everything (beef stew with blueberry jam, steak in ale and redcurrant jelly, kedgeree with apricot conserve, those sorts of recipes). My only regret about the day is that I couldn’t attend every session. In particular, I was disappointed not to be able to attend the “Blogging Can Change The World” session, as I genuinely believe that blogging is changing, if not the world, then women’s lives all over the world. It’s certainly changed mine, and, as I sit here in my pyjamas, typing this whilst staring at a pile of boxes I haven’t yet sorted, and not sure I have room for even when I do, I still think it’s for the better. Blogging has sent some amazing opportunities, and people, my way and that’s very definitely changed my world.
I’ll be booking a ticket for next year for sure. I doubt they’ll let me speak again, bless ’em …