Blogfest Badges 

Blogfest is over! I’ve emerged a bit dazed, just like Lucy crunching her way back from Narnia through the snow/mothballs to the other side of the wardrobe. I’m still trying to remember what happened. I’m pretty sure the gin-soaked reception was to blame and not my poor memory. But luckily I have my camera and sketchbook to help me.

I’m going to do 3 posts about Blogfest 2013 over the next week as there’s so much I want to show you. There’ll be sketches of many of the speakers and other participants. Who knows, you may be there, but I have to sort through my drawings and scan in the least smudged. The first post takes us almost to lunchtime, the second will be from lunch to teatime, and the third and final post will be everything else. I obviously didn’t take on board the suggestions by the writer’s panel to be concise and pithy, although by the end of the evening reception I was at least very pithy.

The Blogfest badges were fab – this was a whole new way of meeting people. Who needs to say ‘hello’ and make eye contact anymore? That’s sooo yesterday. All you have to do is approach someone side on when they’re talking to someone else, and WHACK your badge against theirs. If it lights up you’ve done it. If not, just say a quick “oh sorry!” and get someone else’s. Wouldn’t it be helpful if we could do this as a family – download all the info we need to communicate: “could you do a food shop on the way back from work?”, “go and finish your homework”, “have you washed your hair AT ALL this year?”, “It’ll have to be a quickie then as the pasta’s on the boil”. Just crash your badge against theirs and save yourself from going hoarse.




Here are some of the mums getting up where they belong – ON the stage. Did the organisers really think that several hundred clever, opinionated and time-poor mums would sit there quietly while the experts had their say? I mean just who ARE the experts anyway if not us?  Have smartphone; will tweet. Very soon, in the first session hundreds of thumbs were leaping up and down sending suggestions and interpretations onto the twitter screen at the back. Lord help you if you were just wondering aloud about whether a certain type of beaker for your bedside table would be in the Goodie bag. EVERYTHING was there for the audience to twitter and titter over.

However, I do think when you agree to be a member of an audience, you sit there and listen. That’s what audiences are meant to do. I don’t know how David Tennant would cope at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre with a rolling twitter feed of suggestions about how he could improve his Richard II, but I reckon if you don’t like what you hear, just leave or wait till you’re asked. Next year – mobiles in buckets at the front desk to be returned on leaving perhaps? I confess to having joined in, though less to add my ‘valuable’ contribution, more because embarrassingly, I hadn’t quite understood that when I sent a tweet explaining what was happening to someone who wasn’t there, it would suddenly appear in black and white in public! In my last post, I’ll be covering what Jo Brand said about hecklers, for that’s what the twitter feed was in effect – or I should say approved heckling. Nice idea, Blogfest, though let’s be a bit more traditional next time. But I’m pretty damn sure you’ve got there before me.

Here’s some of the panel from the debate on freedom of speech versus online abuse. The body language between Toby Young and Stella Creasy MP was a physical demonstration of electromagnetic repulsion, though things seemed to ease up by the end of the debate – so go on guys, knock your badges together or at least have a cuppa in the House.



If you can’t agree on stuff, sometimes you just need a good lawyer. This we got in the form of Mark Stephens CBE. The thinking woman’s thinking man. Eeh Bah Mum possibly thought so too as she was stirred to tweet this at the time (reproduced here with her permission), “Mark Stephens is basically a real life Mark Darcy. Can’t wait to see him fighting Toby Young in the canal later“. (It must have been someone who looked like me that you saw hanging around on the terrace that night waiting for the sounds of splashing). Just hearing him, MS, talk about how he dealt with the IED (Improvised Explosive Device) that his wife found attached to his car made you feel warm and fuzzy. Although I was under the impression for a short while that he was talking about an IUD, and wondered how Mrs Stephens would have felt about finding one of those.

Mid morning I spent in an internal argument. Where to go? a) How to be Funny or b) Advanced Social Media. I ran between the two afraid of missing something, but the bottom line was a) no one can help you be funny if you’re not already and b) I should definitely have been in Beginners Social Media

Which leads me to my Blog Clinic with the very helpful Tanya Barrow more widely known as Mummy Barrow. We bumped badges and she graciously took one of my 300 fresh-off-the-press business cards, which of course are almost defunct now we have electronic tags. If anyone has any ideas about what to do with the remaining 299, please let me know.





Mark Warner and the slurpy cocktail; the beautiful Professor Byron, the pink Sue Black and Jon Ronson with tales that would make your hair curl; lunch and ‘How to Make Loads of Money from your Blog’. No, hold on, that CAN’T be right. ‘How to Monetise your Blog’. Aaah that sounds better. See you in a few days and if you don’t remember to come back, just click on the Subscribe button up a bit on the right and I’ll send you the next episode direct. I may JUST manage to squeeze everything I’ve written and drawn into only one more blog rather than two, but don’t hold me to that. Also, please let me know how you got on at Blogfest – will you be going back next year?


Read Part II

Read Part III




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  1. Such a lovely chat with you on Saturday and your post sums up the day brilliantly.

    And thank you for drawing me. Nobody has done that before and I just love it!!!

    You are incredibly talented and I can’t wait to see more of your pics now I have found you

    1. So glad you like the drawing Tanya and if you want, I can send you a signed print? Just let me know, although it would prob be after Xmas now as have taken on a bit too much! Hope you enjoyed the day though I can see from your post it couldn’t have been easy missing out on some of the sessions. However, you provided such a valuable service and I, as a relative newbie, really appreciated it.

  2. I love your line about electromagnetic repulsion – the body language (including that of Richard Bacon) during that session was a sight to behold.

    I too heart Tanya Byron slightly too much – I look forward to the next instalment!

    1. Do you know, I’m so old had never even heard of Richard Bacon until that day. By the time I switched off the bedside light in the Travelodge, I’d got to know him a whole lot better … well just from reading his book 🙂

    1. Thank you so much – I probably didn’t concentrate on what was being said as much as was trying to listen, draw and tweet all at once.
      Need to train my brain to multifunction a bit better. Don’t think the cocktails helped!

  3. Fantastic write up. I guess phones in buckets wouldn’t work because of the very nature of how blogging now encompasses a whole range of social media – but yes it quashes appeasement rituals.

    Lovely to meet you.

    1. Ta very PO. It was lovely to meet you too. I liked what you said on your blog about not needing to take massive steps to change things – so true. x

  4. Definitely going back next year! I love your sketches, and for pointing out the body language between Toby Young and Stella Creasy, and personally I agree with you on the tweets (although suspect that is because I am something of a dinosaur and can’t tweet and think at the same time).

    1. Oh good – perhaps we’ll meet up then as all things considered I think I’ll return. Thanks for your comments on the sketches, it was such fun doing them tbh. By the way, dinosaurs could tweet with the best of us – they had those tiny arms and hands really suited to a Blackberry, although I agree they probably couldn’t think at the same time.

    1. Ha ha! Odd thing is I found it a tad aggressive. Someone came up to me without introduction and just bashed my badge. It felt a bit like those teenage boys at parties who used to try and play tonsil hockey with every girl they met. May be though it was just the parties I went to and the boys I knew.

  5. Wow that was a whirlwind of information, but really interesting to read as I haven’t really read any of the blogfest posts yet. Your sketches are amazing, what a fantastic talent.

  6. Your post sums up the day perfectly. It was lovely to meet you at Blogfest. You are so talented – I love your writing and your sketches too.
    Still have to write up my post – if only to win the Mark Warner holiday. (I so need a break):)
    The day was amazing for me as I met some wonderful people and enjoyed Tanya Byron’s talk.Simple and effective.
    I look forward to meeting you at other events. xx

    1. Thanks for saying that, Jacinta 🙂 Mark Warner hol would be nice wouldn’t it. They should give away more than one I reckon! Glad you enjoyed the day – I liked Tanya Byron’s talk too and listened to it again as a download on the Mumsnet site. I think she really got her message across well – I’ve got website envy looking at her brilliant site. Have a look if you haven’t been there before. See you anon xx

    1. I am trawling my mind for connections to Islington! Lots of friends and my brothers live/d there. Teenage assignations. Nightclubs. Anyway, very flattered and I thank you, but think I’ll be passed over for too many tenuous links. Have you tried asking Kate Moss?

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