blogfest 2015

My thoughts on Blogfest 2015

This weekend I attended Blogfest in London for the very first time with no idea about what the day would bring.

I have watched the event unfold on social media in previous years and it always seems to be a blog conference that the more established bloggers enjoyed, so I was hopeful that I would take useful information away from it.

The first talk of the day was “A Room of One’s Own: Motherhood and Creativity” with Bryony Gordon, Margaret Atwood (via live link), Meera Syal CBE, Bridget Christie, Polly Vernon and Catherine Mann. Unfortunately the live link wasn’t very good and we had no idea what Margaret was saying, but the other ladies pitched in admirably discussing the amusing parts of motherhood alongside how they juggle parenting with their creativity and work.

I have to admit that I really admire Meera Syal and she hit the nail on the head when she said ‘the loss of a sense of self scares many women – but when a child is born, both a mother and child are born’ but she upset me pretty much straight away by slating childcare providers for charging too much.

Blogfest 2015

She went on to say that ‘if you can afford decent childcare your options are different’ and that ‘there is no affordable childcare in this country’. Whilst I agree that childcare is a significant cost and the reason I left my job in an investment bank was because I could not afford two children in childcare, it was also my choice to have children and to concentrate on raising them for their first few informative years.

What the panel neglected to say was that many of these childcarer’s are mothers themselves trying to make ends meet, this is their job and therefore their wages and these women are looking after their most precious commodity and all on the lowest wages. Looking after other people’s children is certainly not easy and the paperwork involved rivals that I had when I worked in the bank.

The system isn’t perfect but most employers offer tax relief with childcare vouchers, there is 15 free hours of childcare offered to 2 year olds where the parents are on the lowest wages and 15 free hours (soon to be 30) offered to all 3 & 4 year olds, plus if you are on child tax credit they pay up to 70% of your childcare costs. But this is for another post, let me get back to Blogfest.

I came away a little riled but a cup of tea, some cake and a chat with some blogging friends soon cheered me back up and I headed off to the Advanced YouTube roundtable with the Crumbs Sisters and Kate Rushworth. Firstly, it wasn’t really a roundtable, think more a load of vloggers lounging around on bean bags and it was more about the how well the Crumbs Sisters have done with hints and tips along the way and a chance to ask questions at the end.

The only thing I really took away from the session is that I need to find my own style and think about when I am uploading my videos. I tend to use YouTube as an extension of my blog, but in reality it should be a stand alone channel and I should promote the content separately rather than just embedded videos in my blog.

My favourite session of the day was ‘Think Bombs’ with Sandy Toksvig OBE, David Baddiel and Val McDermid. Sandy spoke about the state of the rights of women in the UK and the fact that there were more men called John running FTSE100 companies than there were women. She has launched a new Women’s Equality Party and it is certainly something I am going to look in to.

Blogfest 2015

Val spoke about creativity and how she was miserable if she didn’t get the chance to be creative and David Baddiel had the audience in stitches with his self-depreciating humour and slides of tweets where he made some very witty come-backs against trolls. He hit the nail on the head when he described social media as ‘Everyone in the world raising their flag of self’.

Blogfest 2015

Lunch was delicious and there was another chance to chat with bloggers and some of the brands in attendance, who included Cocoa Cola, Unilever, Arla, Village England, Pitrock and Butlins.

The session where I learned the most was the ‘How to be a YouTube Sensation” with Kate Rushworth who works for YouTube itself. I have come away with a page full of things I need to do to my channel to help make it work better for me.

I missed the other sessions as I chose to network with fellow bloggers instead; well when I say network, I really mean gossip. For me that is what a blogging conference is about, meeting up with friends and putting the world to rights.

I wouldn’t say I enjoyed Blogfest 2015, for me there was something missing, which I can’t put my finger on, and I didn’t come away feeling inspired, however, I did take away some really useful tips and the goody bags were brilliant!!

Did you go to Blogfest 2015 – how did you find it?