Blogfest falls in November as does my birthday so I gifted myself a ticket to the “annual celebration of sharp writing and big ideas” that makes up Mumsnet Blogfest.
A winning tweet netted me another ticket which I offered to my sister. She’d have her flight from Dublin to cover but the goody bags alone would negate that spend. Not to mention a programme packed with brilliant speakers and inspiring sessions. Funny to see these folk in the room and not as head shots attached to clever newspaper columns or wise commenters from radio and TV. Bryony Gordon, Polly Vernon, Esther Freud, Tim Dowling, Fi Glover, Lucy Cavendish and Robert Crompton spoke. There were amongst comedians and actors too. Val McDermid, Sandi Toksvig and David Baddiel delivered their thoughts in 5 minute long think bombs. Lionel Shiver was in the house. Margaret Atwood appeared via a live link but problems with sound meant we mostly could only benefit from her reactions. Nods and giggles and a beatific smile.
I attended “25 ways to get published” and left more convinced than ever that writing a novel might be a good place to start! We had talks from YouTube and a session with the Crumb sisters. Is there room out there for another sister team, we asked ourselves.
A random choice led me to From blogging to vlogging. I was one of about 50 I guess. Our instructor was only Mike Figgis, the hollywood film director (Leaving Las Vegas)! He was brilliant. And the stories he used to illustrate practical solutions to cinematography (or iphone shooting as most of us would be) were a complete treat. See my attempt at photo-bombing Mike Figgis.
Later at home I positioned myself in the hallway. I took on board some of his tips, adding my own spin. Light streamed in over my shoulder. I held the camera at a height. I bit my lip as he suggested to get that puckered look and I shot my portrait. But from the neck down. My solution to crows feet and furrows.
I’m wearing the Mother Tee from Selfishmother.com, one of the goodies in our take-home bags. Also in the bag were a mindfulness colouring book, Boden brolly, Cadbury’s Advent calendar, a novel, deodorant and body creams, coco cola, popcorn, stress ball, magazine and pens. There were more products dispensed from sponsor stands.
Butlins are looking to recruit blogging ambassadors. Pitrok are asking for people to trial their #sweatwell deodorants. Maybe. We cooperated with Unilever and headed outside to do their sombre tree walk stressing the devastation of deforestation.
A drinks reception capped off the day perfectly. We had an interesting chat with one of the organisers about the planning that goes into the event. The speakers give freely of their time. It’s testimony to Mumsnet’s great reputation that they fill the programme with such a successful and generous lot. She told me that only 12 people attending this year had been to all four blogfests. I’m one of them. I consider it a part of my own professional and personal development. Yeah, the goody bags are a draw too.