Here are my edited highlights from the Mumsnet Blogfest 2015.
The day was brilliantly organised. It sounds silly to say something so mundane, but honestly, it makes a huge difference to events like these if everything runs like clockwork. I got up at six yesterday morning and got home at eleven last night, and with such a long day, and frankly challenging weather, the last thing you want is a day of waiting around augmented by low level incompetence.
Luckily the staff were friendly and knew what they were doing (thank you so much to Josephine in particular), the events went without a hitch, except for the audio issues for the link with Margaret Atwood, which was the only bit of the day that made me sad, and one thing flowed into the next with no awkward sitting about.
The venue was great, and very handily only a five minute walk from Kings Cross/St. Pancras.
There was a good selection of food available throughout the day, and lots of things to drink. My only criticism was that at lunch time, the queues for the food got a bit confused, and a little more space would have been welcome, but otherwise everything was terrific.
For my own slot, I was incredibly grateful that everyone else on my panel; Esther Freud, Tim Dowling and Helen Simpson, were so nice to me and made me feel so welcome. I have every admiration for the lovely Sarah Crown, who chaired our panel and kept everyone exactly on track throughout, and made it look effortless. I also want to kiss fervently and with gratitude whoever decided to give all the speakers a cake from Konditor & Cook as a thank you. I have only just let go of the box.
I met some lovely people, which is largely the point of such things for me. I was particularly delighted to meet Catherine from Head in Book, who was on a panel first thing in the morning, and who was a great inspiration to me. She managed her time on the stage with aplomb, being both graceful and interesting to listen to. I hope I followed her example, a bit.
I also met lots of other people at the champagne stage of things, none of whose names I can now remember, due to it being the champagne stage of things, but everyone I spoke to, thank you for stopping to chat with me.
Every single talk I went to had something to say to me that made me think. The mix of speakers was interestingly wide and varied, and made for a day where despite it being so long, I was not tempted to nod off, nor indeed run off.
I was trying to think what my highlights were, apart from me not disgracing myself, but it is so difficult. I loved Shappi Khorsandi and her hilarious confessional style. Fi Glover was a fantastic chair for the last discussion. I just wanted to go and have a cup of tea with her, she was so brilliant. I thought Val McDermid had some great things to say about creativity, and I wish that the five minutes that she, Sandi Toksvig and David Baddiel had to speak could have stretched on to at least twenty minutes each. In fact, that was my only sadness, that just when things started to get interesting, time ran out. It happened all day. What a testament to the day.
Not many men being there, which was kind of sad except that I managed to avoid the line at the ladies twice by nipping into the deserted mens’ toilets. WIN.
Elderly lady who did not have a question, merely a ‘contributionette’. I think this is like a caravanette, but more giving.
Jason and my friend MaryAnn coming with me and staying all day, and cheering me on, and being absolute troupers and just generally brilliant in every way.
All my lovely friends, virtual and otherwise, who sent me messages of support, both in the run up and on the day. It is very, very nice indeed to be loved.
Mumsnet for not giving up on me, and trusting that I would not disgrace them.
Finally, my Goody Bag had some actual goodies in, and no Clearsil, Sudacrem or Pot Noodles. I am eternally grateful, particularly for the Cadbury’s chocolate, and the Boden umbrella, which one of my children has already stolen.