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Monday, 11 November 2013

#Blogfest 2013. A boob bumping bonanza!

So, #Blogfest, what was it all about then?

Contrary to popular opinion, it wasn't all about cake, celebrities, jam and the F-word.* Although Mumsnet did lay on a cracking full day with all of the above included.

For me, it was about meeting people. Blogging people. Sharing the good time with friends, old and new. Obviously I'm only saying that because I managed to miss out on all the delicious cake and cocktails which were advertised.**

No, really, I just thoroughly enjoyed the social aspect of the day and my favourite pictures were:

Top left: Kirsty from www.damsonlane.com, Penny from www.beingmrsc.com and Jenny from www.cheetahsinmyshoes.com 
Top right: Orli from Orli, Just Breathe, Jane from www.ethans-escapades.co.uk and moi
Bottom left: Claire from Diary of the Evans Crittens
Bottom right: me and the lovely Renata from www.justbringthechocolate.com

Extra mention to Janine from www.janmary.com and Joy from www.pinkoddy.co.uk who I was delighted to meet for the first time, and all the other fabulous ladies (no men bizarrely!) who I chatted with. All these lovely people chose to hang with me and keep me company despite my buzzing hyperactive state - thanks all, love you, mwah. They didn't even laugh when I posed fully clothed on a windsurf board (well at least this time it wasn't moving...)

Mark Warner offer amazing family holidays and have asked for top tips for a family holiday for the chance to win one, so nothing ventured and all that... my top tip would be to leave the children at home oops, sorry, I meant 'to try something new that you wouldn't get chance to do at home'. For more tips on how to entertain the kids on your travels, the kit you absolutely shouldn’t leave home without and more visit the Mark Warner Blog.

There was a focus for the rest of the day too though - plenty of informative and captivating sessions. I'd be hard pushed to pick my favourite, but if forced I'd say the afternoon's session on Blogging for Change was the most inspirational. Four amazing ladies who have used their blogs for great causes talked us through the whys and hows - please do check out their websites and see if you can help any further, or if in fact they can help you:

the wonderful Tania from Special Needs Jungle who has helped so many families with Special Needs children;
the caring Maddie from Gammon & Chips who set up a petition in memory of a 14 year old girl named Izzy Dix who committed suicide after being bullied, the passionate Laura from The Everyday Sexism Project,
and the honking (oops, sorry T) Mummy Barrow who will lead us all on a country wide relay for Sports Relief in 2014, along with Penny from Alexander Residence and Annie from Mammasaurus Blog. Here is Mummy Barrow with her new best friend:
Blogfest
The two T's together!
I thoroughly enjoyed the Think Bombs from Dr Sue Black (@SavvyTechmums fab idea, I'm in!), Prof Tanya Byron (tells it how it is), and Jon Ronson who made tears stream down my cheeks as he told and showed the story of how his identity was hijacked. Richard Bacon*** chaired the opening session enthusiastically as we listened to the horrific stories of bomb and death threats (and worse, believe me, there can be) as free speech and the terror of Twitter was discussed. I talked to some blog experts who reinforced what I already knew - my blog is in desperate need of an overhaul (hence the first little custom url step to www.stephstwogirls.co.uk - please change any links you have for me, Mum). Finally, I belly chuckled at Jo Brand who wrapped the day up in her own unique style.


The boob bumping refers to the slightly futuristic Blendology system of exchanging contact details, which actually involved bashing your badge on the badges of other attendees. I'm slightly disappointed I only managed 35 bumps and kind of wish I'd stuck to my original plan of running amok in the first half hour and accosting anybody and everybody. I wonder who won the competition for most bashing?!****

I'm not going to comment on the obvious other than to say I was delighted to finally be in the same room as @glosswitch. Think she forgot her Stig helmet though.

So I now have a million other posts to write following on from an inspirational day, and I'd like to start with a post on mental health and dementia. One of the sponsors of the day was Red and Yellow Care, who I stopped to chat to - they are trying to remove the stigma of dementia. Why should there even be one to remove I wonder?! Yet I still have so many questions on that topic myself. Time to talk about it. In my next blog post I hope.

So to sum up (phew! I can hear you say), #Blogfest, you were a blast. Thank you.

* that's Feminism, just in case you were worried Mum.
** but for once I did remember to pick up my goody bag and am now the proud owner of a jar of jam! (marmalade actually, but let's not split hairs, eh?!)
*** got a copy of his book in the goody bag and started reading it on the train on the way home - highly recommend it, I almost missed my stop!
**** there wasn't one, or at least, not that I know of... 
Just wondering, is there a limit to how many links you should include in just one blog post? Anyone?! 
Also, edited to add the word 'mimsywoowoo' and to see if anyone asks about it....

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