On Saturday, I went to the Mumsnet Blogfest event in London. It was a huge gathering of parent bloggers at a swish venue involving lots of though provoking sessions and cake. And cocktails. And gin.
Nice work if you can get it eh?
I’d persuaded Husband that it was a good idea for me to go along to network and learn some new bloggy things (funnily enough I omitted to tell him it was really a good chance to natter with lots of lovely bloggers over coffee). So I left him with three kids for the day and hopped on a ridiculously early train to London.
I’ve decided not to mention The Session That Must Not Be Named because it has been covered to death and, frankly, I felt very sorry for the panel members involved. If you want to read more about the uproar, just search for #Blogfest on Twitter and you’ll find plenty of explanations from both side of the fence.
I’m also not going to tell you about what I learned, other than to say I came away inspired. I left with my creative juices flowing and wrote an epic (gin-fuelled) to do list on the train home.
Instead, I just wanted to tell you about the sort of people I met there…
Many of the ladies I chatted to were very new to blogging. I also met many who were attending for inspiration before even putting finger to keyboard. This event wasn’t just aimed at blogging experts. Nobody cared what you’re unique visitor numbers were as you were chatting over cake, or what number you ranked in the Tots100. In fact, most of the people I talked to hadn’t even heard of the Tots100. There were different sessions pitched at different levels of experience, so it really didn’t matter what stage you were at with your blogging journey. If you’ve debated about whether to attend a blogging event but felt too nervous to go, this is a great event to choose. You won’t feel out of place, no matter what your experience. Although I knew some people who were going, I didn’t end up meeting any of them because the venue was so big and it was so busy. Instead I spent the whole day chatting to people I’d never met before, so don’t worry about turning up on your own.
The Blendology badges were a stroke of genius – you bumped badges and collected contacts via an online account instead of handing over business cards. I’ve now followed some new blogs I’d never have found if it hadn’t been for the badge bumping.
The sponsors of the event allowed costs to be kept down (and having worked in event management for many years before having children, I know just how expensive these sorts of events are to run) and it was great meeting up with the brands for a chat during the breaks. I’m gutted I didn’t have chance to try out the Mark Warner windsurfer though, but thanks for the cocktails!
I was going to blog about the event anyway, but Mark Warner is running a competition to win a fantastic holiday if I include a family travel tip in my Blogfest post. Given that travel is massively important to me (being a travel writer by trade and all), it would be rude not to take part! (One winner will be picked at random, so please keep everything crossed for me!)
My top family travel tip is:
Go for it! Don’t be put off on travelling because you have children. Travel is such an important educational experience as well as a great way to bond as a family. Rather than making excuses about why you can’t travel anymore, look at ways to make trips as accessible as possible. Having kids may mean you can’t travel like you used to in your backpacker days, but with a bit of planning and thought you can still visit some incredible destinations. Travel can inspire your children and influence the way they go on to live their lives. Stop making excuses – go for it!
For more tips on how to entertain kids on your travels, the kit you shouldn’t leave your home without and more, you can visit the Mark Warner blog. I suspect I might find myself over there quite a bit next year when our plans to migrate to Australia really start to move forward. Two long haul flights with three children under five means I’m going to be desperately in need of as many tips as I can get my hands on!