Last weekend I attended Blogfest, Mumsnet conference for bloggers with a fab list of speakers and a drool-worthy bag of goodies.
I’ve been to many conferences before for work, but this is the first I’ve ever attended as a blogger so it felt different. I was going for my own self-indulgence and aimed to learn a few tricks of the trade and of course to meet some fellow lovely bloggers.
Here are a few things I took away from the conference…
Define what ‘having it all’ means to you
The first session was ‘A room of one’s own’: Motherhood and creativity. The panel, including the amazing Meera Syal, discussed whether women can ‘have it all’. From personal perspectives, they discussed how they make time for their creative jobs – similar to how us parent bloggers do – in order to work.
But the answer of whether women – and to be fair, men – can have it all actually depends on what all is. Defining what this means to you and only you is important to be happy (yes, that could be written on a motivational poster). Whether that’s finding time to write or do a craft to find a bit of ‘you’ in between naps, going back to your day job and not feeling guilty about it, or being a stay at home mum. It’s something that’s very personal and it’s all about balance.
Having the support of your partner can also help, so they can look after the little ones while you do what ever it is you want. Even if that’s just a bath while demolishing a chocolate bar and sipping on wine.
But in between these nuggets of wisdom was an undertone of man-bashing which was disappointing. Yes, the room cackled in unison at jokes to dad’s expense, but in an era when we are trying to redefine a more positive balance between parents, I thought this was a step in the wrong direction. I hope that I’ll see less man bashing jokes in future conferences. It’s fine to joke about parenting as that’s our common and uniting theme, but at the expense of modern dad’s just seems a bit old hat.
UK Women’s Equality Party
Sandi Toksvig introduced the new Women’s Equality Party with humour and startling figures. For example, there are 17 men called John who are CEOs of the top 100 UK FTSE listed businesses, compared to seven women. So there are more men called John than the entire list of women in the top UK businesses.
Sure, that list is probably growing with each year, but we have a long way to go for equality and we need a bit of help to speed it up. So to battle this, Sandi is heading up the party in order to stimulate change. It’s a cause that I’ll be following closely!
Brands brands brands
There were some quite big brands exhibiting at the conference. From Coca Cola, Butlins and Unilever – there were plenty of brands to talk to!
There were two things that surprised me. Firstly is my lack of ability to tell the difference between Coca Cola sub-brands. The ones that I identified as being diet were full fat and vice versa. It turns out that I’ve been drinking Diet coke as a lifestyle choice for it’s lack of calories rather than picking the one that I think tastes nicest.
Doing a blind taste test is a great way of finding out which you really prefer and for showing that it’s really harder than you think to tell the difference. Worth a shot if you fancy buying 4 tins as a Christmas game!
The second thing is Unilever’s dedication to deforestation. They were raising awareness about their collaboration with WWF (the panda’s not the wrestling) to stop global deforestation. They already source 55% of their agricultural raw materials from sustainable sources (including palm oil from sustainable sources so as not to harm the orangutans) and have committed to a zero net deforestation by 2020 – which is no small feat.
Usually when a big brand says they find climate change is an important issue, or that deforestation is important, they do it as a tick box exercise, but to commit to having zero impact on deforestation by 2020? I think that speaks louder than a tick box.
I was also impressed by my stash of goodies, which included a Boden umbrella, a Cadbury’s advent calender (of which I’m very impressed to be in the small percentage of bloggers who haven’t eaten it yet), a Selfish Mother T-shirt (AMAZING!), a 3TB external storage device and many many other wonderful things.