13 things I learned from Blogfest ’16

After braving my first blogging conference, BlogOn, earlier this year, I decided to take the plunge and attend this years Blogfest. Had it not been for making the final three in the MumsNet Awards “Best Campaigner” category, I may well have lost my nerve and pulled out at the last minute. But knowing that I owed it to those who voted for me, and most of all to Joseph, I pushed my anxiety aside and after a sleepless night and a 4am get up, I made it there, albeit bleary eyed and looking rough as hell.

Given I have only attended one blogging conference previously, I suppose I expected Blogfest to be the same, only it really wasn’t. It was actually very different, and I’m still trying to work out if that was a good different, or a bad different. Either way, after a couple of much needed sleeps, and having regained the ability to string more than two words together, here are thirteen things I learned at Blogfest.

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1. Unless you live in London or close by, be prepared for the longest day in the history of man.

By the time I got home on Saturday night I had been out of the house for 21 hours and awake for over 40. I still feel hungover four days later which is even more annoying given I only drank one tiny glass of Prosecco. Which leads me on to point two….

2. Take a taxi to the train station.

At the end of the day, once the awards have been announced, there’s a drinks reception with FREE drinks. Re-coup your ticket price in cocktail consumption, it’s common sense!

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3. The lunch is miniscule, take a packed lunch!

Even those without special dietary needs were complaining of being hungry after being offered just half a burrito, noodles or fish balls (what the hell are fish balls?). Having asked if there was a gluten free lunch available I was told to have a burrito (duh!) and when I explained that it contained gluten I was offered two measly lettuce leaves with a scrap of parmesan. And that was literally all I was given to eat in the ten hours I was there! I was absolutely starving, despite the three bags of crisps I snaffled at the station, and I’m pretty sure I’ll still be harping on about those lettuce leaves this time next year!

4. Blogfest is all about the two subjects I know the least about – politics and feminism.

This really should have come as no surprise to me, it was only last week I thought that The Suffragettes were a new band, so for the most part, I sat there nodding along, feeling as though I had wandered into the audience of a strange political/feminist BBC chat show that ordinarily I would have flicked straight over, most likely onto TOWIE. But what I do know about feminism is that there is a huge difference between being a strong, empowered, and empowering, female and simply being a man-hater. And yet that line was crossed countless times throughout the day. And actually, even more so with several men in attendance, at times I felt less empowered and more embarrassed.

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5. Jess Phillips kicks ass!

As far as MP’s go, she couldn’t be any more different from the straight-laced, dull, stereotypical MPs we are used to hearing from. Not only is she hilariously funny, sharp, witty and incredibly interesting, but she was one of the only women speaking that day who really made me sit up and take notice.

6. If you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything.

Listening to the likes of Sarah Turner (The Unmumsy Mum) and the very successful Steph Douglas, who created her business, Don’t Buy her Flowers, off the back of her blog, I felt inspired to keep working hard, to continue writing my book, building our business, and having realistic expectations of how difficult it is to be a success, but striving for it regardless.

7. I LOVE Davina McCall.

I’ll be honest with you, I really wasn’t a fan before this weekend. I always thought she was a little bit too shouty and over the top, and more often than not when she comes on the telly I flick over to another channel to give my ear drums a rest. But seeing her stood there on the stage, completely stripped back of her TV persona, I realised that she was just like the rest of us; vulnerable and insecure at times, genuine and honest, and most of all a real warrior with all she has had to face. And despite the fact that she really didn’t have the best start in life, she has the most amazing “attitude of gratitude” the belief that although bad things do happen and life is never easy, there is always something to be grateful for, and that is such an admirable quality to have. Now when I see her on the TV I will think about her stood there, tears in her eyes, telling us about the death of her sister, the years when she couldn’t even face her own reflection in the mirror, the battles she faced with addiction and depression, and remind myself that in the face of adversity, we are all capable of such strength.

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8. Use your voice.

Amongst the feminist propaganda, this running theme really did strike a chord with me. I worry far too much about what other people think of me, writing blog posts that sit for months in my drafts folder, never daring to publish them. But using your voice, having your say, simply having an opinion, is so very important. And from now on that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Watch out world!

9. Woman are amazing.

I knew that already but, having met some of my blogging tribe this weekend, it simply reaffirmed this belief. Funnily enough it wasn’t the speakers or the break-out sessions which inspired me this weekend, it was my fellow bloggers and the ladies who I love and admire. I have been so lucky to make some amazing friends through my blog, who have my back in the same way that I have theirs, and that sense of solidarity and support is so refreshing amongst the back-stabbing and bitching that I have also witnessed. There are far too many lovely ladies to mention, and I’m sure I will forget at least one, but a shout out to the ladies at Sticky mud and belly laughs, Beauty, baby and me,Ethan and Evelyn, Mum muddling throughMorgan’s Milieu, Life at 139a, Candyfloss and dreams, Motherhood the real dealThe Little Book of Sick, My Petit Canard and Mess and Merlot, who were all so lovely and friendly, got me to and from the train station, stopped me from falling asleep, made me laugh and fed me nuts. Thank you.

10. Pre-arrange a time and meeting point.

I was so looking forward to meeting some of my favourite bloggers and yet sadly I didn’t get the chance to meet them all. In quite a sizeable building it really is possible to be sat just metres away from someone, whose face you are so familiar with, and completely miss them. Next time, Life is Knutts, next time….

11. Although I didn’t win the Best Campaigner award, I am still the best campaigner for my cause.

I think that’s a really important point to remember, that, regardless of whether I made it to the final or not, simply having a cause and raising awareness of it where possible, is something to be proud of……and I am.

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12, I am far braver than I thought.

The idea of going to London and back, by myself, and spending the day with a group of people I had never even met before, would, at one time, have sent me into a full on melt down. But I did it, with only three near death experiences, and no need at all for my Rescue Remedy spray, and I’m really quite proud of myself and how far I have come.

13. The “legendary goodie bag” really isn’t all that legendary.

After receiving the most amazing goodie bag at BlogOn, I was super excited to receive another this weekend. Given the hype surrounding it, I was expecting something pretty special (and truth be told, something edible that I could wolf down there and then!), but other than a few Dove toiletries, a couple of packets of Soreen fruit loaf (which actually DOES contain gluten!), and a book or two, there was nothing to write home about. Infact the only thing that excited me was the Spray-poop-flush sample which says rather a lot about the other items in there!

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In all honesty I think that as well as being my first Blogfest, it will also be my last. Although I took a lot away from the event in terms of writing and building a business, in terms of blogging I learned very little at all. I think it’s an awfully long away and a huge amount of money for two pieces of lettuce (did I mention the lettuce??) and a whole lot of men-bashing. And as much as I did come away inspired and empowered, that came purely from my blogging friends, and we could have had a damn good meal and a night on the town for exactly the same price.

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98 Comments

  1. November 16, 2016 / 8:33 pm

    Sounds like a fun packed day! And like you I found Davina McCall a bit too loud on TV too. Glad to know that she’s the opposite in person, that she’s real just like the rest of us 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      November 16, 2016 / 9:46 pm

      She really is, although it was interesting to see her slip back into “TV Davina” afterwards. I think perhaps it’s a barrier she puts up to protect herself maybe, I guess a lot of celebrities aren’t always as loud and confident as we assume? xx

  2. November 16, 2016 / 8:42 pm

    Ah always really interesting to hear other peoples experiences! I enjoyed the day but I was sponsored to attend so I think that makes it slightly different, if i had paid for myself Im not so sure I would have been 100% happy as I honestly didnt learn a thing. I did have fun meeting people though! I’m gutted I didnt get to meet you, I did walk past you but you were queuing for the coats and Id only just arrived so was still feeling shy and wasnt sure you’d know who I was lol. So I thought I’d catch you later to say hello then never saw you again!!

    I also LOVED Jess Phillips!!

    Thats terrible about the food! My vegan friend was given a bowl of mixed bean chilli and rice, surely that would have been gluten free, why didnt they offer you that?! xx

    • Laura Dove
      November 16, 2016 / 9:36 pm

      I enjoyed it too, I did learn a lot about writing but very little, if anything, about blogging. I was actually sponsored too so it’s not like it even came out of my pocket, but I still travelled a long way and I really had hoped it would be more worthwhile. I loved the socialising part, although I wish I had seen you! You should have grabbed me, although I was in a complete daze the entire day and speaking to people who I only realised who they were when I’d got home!! I’m so mad about the food, I asked the server who didn’t offer me any alternative (other than the burrito!!) and turns out the noodles were RICE noodles so I could have had those too – they told me they were pasta!! Booooooo!! xx

  3. November 16, 2016 / 8:48 pm

    Ha ha the lunch was rubbish wasn’t it? The goodie bag no way as good as last year I was really disappointed. Davina and Jess Phillips were awesome! I think they need to look at the feminist balance some of it was really inspiring, but there was a bit too much Dad/man bashing. Great write up 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      November 16, 2016 / 9:33 pm

      Thanks Laura. I had heard amazing things about the goodie bag so was more than a little bit gutted to have some Soreen and a few toiletries!! I’m sure I could be persuaded to go back, although right now the memory of the sleep deprivation and hunger is just too clear in my mind! xx

  4. November 16, 2016 / 9:11 pm

    Thanks for the kind mention Laura! So lovely to finally meet you. I agree about the goodie bag – what was all that leftover Halloween soreen all about?! What next? Gone off easter eggs?! xxx

    • Laura Dove
      November 16, 2016 / 9:28 pm

      And you too!! God knows what the Soreen was about, they weren’t even a sponsor! So random and when my kids won’t eat something you know it’s bad!! xx

  5. November 16, 2016 / 10:08 pm

    Thank you for the mention Laura. You are a sweet heart! I am gutted that you didn’t win. But yes, you are the best campaigner for your cause. I thought Jess Phillips & Davina McCall were kick ass as well! I have never seen/ met an MP as so funny as her before! With Davina – Wow! I thought that she was very open and that’s what make her an amazing women! Love you my Blogger friends! Sorry, we didn’t have a proper chat. But yes, if you fancy night out dinning and drinking with crazy old me then do let me know. I am in! 🙂 XXX

    • Laura Dove
      November 17, 2016 / 10:44 am

      Ahh thank you Su, it was so lovely to meet you!! Davina’s speech really will stay with me, her attitude of gratitude is admirable and inspiring, it has totally changed the way that I look at life. We should definitely organise a night out next year, it would be lovely to all get together and have a proper catch up with more than a bit of lettuce to keep us going, haha! xxx

  6. November 17, 2016 / 12:00 am

    Lovely to meet you Laura – I did rather better at the food because I decided to try a bit of all three of the things on offer, because there was no way that one burrito (or sorry half of one burrito) was going to do it for me. And the fish balls were as odd as people thought. I don’t think I could have survived on two lettuce leaves and would have needed way more prosecco – apparently we drunk they dry, no idea how that happened. I too wasn’t comfortable with the men bashing, but enjoyed some of the sessions and meeting lots of lovely bloggers. It was my second blogfest, the first a couple of years ago, and I’m not sure I’d go again, perhaps we should all just do the meet up bit somewhere else and eat properly while we do that! XX

    • Laura Dove
      November 17, 2016 / 10:42 am

      And you too Steph! I was so hungry and tired, which had a knock on effect in my enjoyment of the sessions, I could barely stay awake let alone take in everything that was being said. I’m gutted I drove to the station, I would love to have taken advantage of the free drinks!! We should definitely organise our own blogger meet up where we eat good food and drink prosecco that never ends, ha! xxx

  7. November 17, 2016 / 6:33 am

    I have been waiting for your write up of the day and glad you have given it warts & all . I was a wee bit jealous but now after seeing lots of other bloggers with the same opinion as you i am glad i didn’t make the trip and spent the day with the kids 🙂 You are a winner in my eye’s too X

    • Laura Dove
      November 17, 2016 / 10:39 am

      Thanks lovely. You really didn’t miss out, it was NOTHING at all like BlogOn, more like an anti-men political chat show with no audience interaction and I learned very little. As far as the writing side of things I did learn a lot about publishing, but not everyone has that interest. I’ll be back at BlogOn next year and looking forward to a decent goodie bag, ha! xxx

  8. November 17, 2016 / 7:56 am

    Oh I’m reading such mixed message about blogfest so was keen to read your view – what a shame it wasn’t quite what you expected. I think the lack of food wouldn’t help though – I can’t do or like anything when I’m hungry. Glad you met some wonderful bloggers – I think sometimes that can be the best bit! I feel in two minds as to whether I’ll go next year or not xx #CoolMumClub

    • Laura Dove
      November 17, 2016 / 10:36 am

      I do think my entire day was clouded by lack of sleep and hunger! Still, it was just cringeworthy how anti-men the sessions were, I really felt for the men in the audience. I love the social side of things, I’ll definitely go to more blogging conferences but probably not this one! xx

  9. November 17, 2016 / 8:23 am

    Thanks for the mention beaut! It was an absolute pleasure to meet you, I have a friend for life there 🙂
    I can’t believe how disappointed we were, I expected to get so much more from it.
    The one thing that I am thankful for was to finally meet some lovely blogging friends. I think next year I will just invite everybody round ours, get the gazebos out and get sponsored by bargain booze! It’s the way forward 😉 xxx

    • Laura Dove
      November 17, 2016 / 10:35 am

      Haha YES!! That would be amazing wouldn’t it! You’ll have to come to BlogOn though, you’ll love it and the goodie bag was amazing, not a Soreen fruit loaf in sight! It was so lovely to meet someone who is on the same page, friends for life absolutely. xxx

  10. November 17, 2016 / 8:27 am

    I feel so jealous, I’ve always wanted to attend a blogger event but like you I would get so anxious about going on my own with strangers, but reading this and your experience it doesn’t sound as good as I thought it would be, the food sounds terrible fish balls I haven’t heard of, sorry your experience was rubbish I didn’t know all that stuff about davina mcoll I wasn’t a huge fan of her either xxx

    • Laura Dove
      November 17, 2016 / 10:34 am

      It’s so nerve-wracking to take the plunge and go but its an amazing feeling when you do it!! Fish balls is just ridiculous, I’d have been happy with a plate of chips!! Davina really is so different when she’s not on the TV, she completely ad libbed the entire speech and it was heartfelt and inspiring. It’s totally changed my opinion of her! xx

  11. November 17, 2016 / 9:06 am

    It’s great to read about Blogfest. I really want to attend one of the blogging conferences next year, more to actually meet all the lovely bloggers I encounter online. It’s good to read reviews of what they are like.

    • Laura Dove
      November 17, 2016 / 10:33 am

      My favourite is still BlogOn, it was fantastic and I learned so much! xx

  12. Jemma Anglesea
    November 17, 2016 / 9:12 am

    I really enjoyed the day. It was scary for me as I went on my own and being new to blogging had no blogging chums to pair up with but people took pity on me! Ha! I felt the same about a lot of those points (especially Davina!!) but it really opened up my mind to things and I got a bit of fire in my belly. Well done on the nomination. Being short listed is fantastic!

    • Jemma Anglesea
      November 17, 2016 / 9:24 am

      #stayclassymama

    • Laura Dove
      November 17, 2016 / 10:32 am

      Thank you. I enjoyed the social aspect, and I agree I came home fired up and ready to go (Thanks to Obama!), but there was far too much of the feminist propaganda for my liking, I would have liked to learn a little more about blogging too! xx

  13. November 17, 2016 / 9:43 am

    It does sound a mixed event. I would have liked to listen to the talks but also feel sorry for the men who attended. Did anybody ask them their opinion of the event?

    • Laura Dove
      November 17, 2016 / 10:30 am

      Oh a lot of men have given their opinion since!! Tim (Thatcham Dad) has wrote some amazing blog posts telling them exactly what he thought of the event. It was just too much, if they are trying to ostracise men they they’ve gone about it the right way! xx

  14. November 17, 2016 / 9:59 am

    Every time I see bloggers talking about how they are heading off to a conference, I wonder if I should consider going along. But like you I feel very anxious about it plus they are expensive. I’ve read a few less favourable reviews about Blogfest from different people – some good ones too, but more negative comments are flying around than you would expect. Your view is really interesting. I would expect a reasonable amount of food for the price to be honest; But it sounds like the offer was terrible and as a vegetarian it frustrates me when different dietary requirements aren’t accommodated. I mean honestly, being a celiac is very common these days!

    I’m glad you enjoyed meeting people and that you overcame your nerves to go along! Also congratulations on your nomination. But similarly, I can see why you might be tempted to pass next year…

    #CoolMumClub

    • Laura Dove
      November 17, 2016 / 10:29 am

      It’s HUGELY nerve wracking attending a conference, more so when it’s a long way from home and means leaving the house at 4am, ha! I think my whole day was clouded by tiredness and hunger, had I got a good nights sleep and a good meal I might have felt very different. Still, the men-bashing was on a whole new level and it made me feel really uncomfortable! Thank you, reaching the finals was amazing and perhaps if I was in the final again I would get myself down there, if not then I’ll stick to BlogOn! xx

  15. November 17, 2016 / 10:04 am

    This is really interesting, I didn’t go but I have heard a lot of people say there was a vast amount of man bashing. I don’t much consider that feminism. I love that it has inspired you to publish those posts you are unsure of. I could do with that sort of motivation. Many people who know me well know that I don’t always voice my opinion but I always have one.
    #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Laura Dove
      November 17, 2016 / 10:27 am

      I’m the same, I worry far too much about sharing my opinion, especially on here where you never know how people will react, but I’m definitely going to do more of it!! I don’t consider men-bashing feminism either, it really put me off, so much so that I doubt I would go back. And the goodie bag SUCKED, ha! xx

  16. November 17, 2016 / 10:38 am

    I can’t believe I didn’t see you! I agree with a lot of your points but I think I will still try to go next year just to meet people and have a day out. Plus I am in London so it’s not such a mission for me I suppose. The toilet spray is great, my fave item from the goodie bag for sure! #brillblogposts #stayclassymama

  17. November 17, 2016 / 11:01 am

    It’s very good to hear your experience. I’ve not been to any blogging conferences but this is really helpful. I would be with you on the food, not nearly good enough, and that is one long day! #coolmumclub

    • Laura Dove
      November 17, 2016 / 4:34 pm

      I wouldn’t go back unless something dramatically changed, like more food, less man-bashing and a hotel stop over the night before!!xx

  18. November 17, 2016 / 11:44 am

    Not to mention they didn’t serve any booze until the end! A glass of something at lunch to take the edge off the nerves would have helped. I met some lovely bloggers and wish I’d been braver to meet more. I think I just assumed no one would know who I was and didn’t want to come across as a weird stalker. It was good, but not sure I’ll be rushing back next year. Congrats on your nomination, shame you didn’t win, but a bit round of applause for being the best campaigner for your cause. #stayclassymama

    • Laura Dove
      November 17, 2016 / 4:33 pm

      Thank you so much. The lady who won was completely deserving and she had my vote too. But yes!! A glass of wine with lunch would have been fab, I was super nervous too and also needed something to help me stay awake!! I felt the same, I spotted a few bloggers I knew but was a little too nervous to say hi incase they had no clue who I was, but the ones I did meet were absolutely lovely! xx

  19. November 17, 2016 / 12:12 pm

    So amazing to see you again hun and sorry for making you choke on my nuts! Thanks for the lovely shout out. Numbers 6 and 8 were the biggies for me….well, I already know these things but you know you tend to forget. And the fact I now love Davina!!! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely xxx

    • Laura Dove
      November 17, 2016 / 4:29 pm

      Hahah imagine if you’d had to do the Heimlich manoeuvre?! It was so lovely to see you though, and I too have a new found love for Davina! I’m going to watch “This time next year” on catch up later, I’d heard it was fab but her being the presenter put me off! Ha! xx

  20. November 17, 2016 / 1:18 pm

    This is a really great review of what you learned. If a couple of bits of lettuce is what their gluten free lunch amounted to, I’m glad I got some of my money for my ticket back and didn’t go! That’s an extortionate amount for what sounds like a terrible lunch from what everyone’s been saying. It would have been lovely to see you again though! x

    • Laura Dove
      November 17, 2016 / 4:20 pm

      Ahh I know, I did think about you on Saturday, it would have been fab to have a proper chat although you really didn’t miss too much, especially not in terms of the lunch!! I’m really angry about it actually having since heard that other people had their dietary needs met. Will be at BlogOn next year for sure though! xx

  21. November 17, 2016 / 2:44 pm

    I’ve never been to Blogfest but it’s always interesting to read what people think. Everyone has said Davina was really good so I’d have liked to see her!

    • Laura Dove
      November 17, 2016 / 4:18 pm

      She was fab! Completely ad-libbed her entire speech and it was both honest and inspirational, I really enjoyed that part and I took a lot away from it. Just the rest, blah! xx

  22. November 17, 2016 / 3:24 pm

    All these reviews are illuminating and reinforce my decision to not go next year (if I am still blogging by then).

    I thought that BlogFest would be feature more on the writing side and less fruit loaf (bleh…).

    #StayClassyMama

    • Laura Dove
      November 17, 2016 / 4:17 pm

      Blogfest was definitely more centred around writing over blogging, but the topic of every single breakout session was about feminism and not in an empowering or inspirational way either. The men in the audience were visibly uncomfortable as the panel cackled at yet another joke aimed at men, it really was quite bizarre. The social side of things was good, it was lovely to meet some of the bloggers who I felt I already knew so well, but as I said, we could well have done that over a night out with far less feminist propaganda! xx

  23. November 17, 2016 / 8:15 pm

    I can’t get over the two pieces of lettuce! I can survive on little food but thats ridiculous! I always loved davina but I’ve heard her speak previously a long time ago.

    • Laura Dove
      November 18, 2016 / 9:53 am

      I was set to drop!! I think the Davina we see on our TV’s is very different from the real Davina, she’s an incredible lady. xx

  24. November 17, 2016 / 8:23 pm

    Just me popping back from #coolmumclub.
    It’s me by the way SARAH from MUM MUDDLING THROUGH…just in case you thought I was someone else 😉
    xxxxx

    • Laura Dove
      November 18, 2016 / 9:53 am

      HAHAHAHA I just laughed out loud! Hi Sarah!! xxx

  25. November 17, 2016 / 11:36 pm

    I didn’t make it to Blogfest but have been reading everyone’s posts. Kinda of picking up a theme – the speakers were great, the food and goodie bag not so. Glad to hear though that this trip helped you, hope you can make many more. #Sharingthebloglove

    • Laura Dove
      November 18, 2016 / 9:49 am

      Yep! That’s exactly it! I won’t be going back, not unless something drastic changes before next time! xx

  26. November 18, 2016 / 1:13 am

    Haha, loved this – why is conference food always so bad? I didn’t realise it was so political, I’d probably quite enjoy it if that’s the case as I usually do stuff like union and women’s conferences. Will definitely remember to bring food though!

    • Laura Dove
      November 18, 2016 / 9:48 am

      I think if you write about politics and feminism then you’d have taken more from it. I blog about neither of those things, nor do I really have any interest, and so I came away having learned nothing I could then use going forward! xx

  27. November 18, 2016 / 6:59 am

    It’s been really interesting reading everyone’s posts about Blogfest. There has been a lot of mixed feelings about it. But the thing I’ve noticed through all the ones I’ve read, is no one really learnt anything. Yes, they may have been inspired, which is great. But for me I want to learn too. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove X

    • Laura Dove
      November 18, 2016 / 9:47 am

      That’s exactly it Laura. I mean I did learn a couple of things about publishing but I could have looked them up on Google too, they weren’t top secret! I felt like I learned so much at BlogOn but here? Nothing! xx

  28. Kerry Norris
    November 18, 2016 / 7:15 am

    I seem to be reading mixed reviews of this years blogfest. I’ve heard so many people say it was like a feminism convention. Shame the lunch was so small. I’ll have to remember that incase I ever go x

    • Laura Dove
      November 18, 2016 / 9:46 am

      It was just too much, I felt like I just zoned out in the end because it was becoming embarrassing! xx

  29. November 18, 2016 / 9:09 am

    Living in the North East of Scotland I always feel like I’m missing out on this sort of thing. Its just too expensive to fly down and get accommodation. Your post is making me feel a little better about it! Man -bashing is not my thing. I have a Masters degree in Engineering, I’m all about empowering woman but on an EQUAL field to men. We are not superior!
    I’m guessing you wont be having lettuce again for a while? haha #thelistlinky

    • Laura Dove
      November 18, 2016 / 9:43 am

      Absolutley, and that’s what it should be about, not trying to belittle men to make women feel better. It was really quite embarrassing and I think many people felt the same way! And I don’t even like lettuce, hahah!! xx

  30. November 18, 2016 / 9:17 am

    there was far too much feminism and ‘angry feminist’ stuff for me. Long old day for me too, even though I live in london! The poop spray was the best thing about the goody bag, but did there have to be so much bloody soreen?! It will keep my toddler happy for the next few weeks though.

    #effitfruday

    • Laura Dove
      November 18, 2016 / 9:42 am

      Haha my kids wouldn’t even eat the Soreen! They said it tasted weird!! xx

  31. November 18, 2016 / 9:22 am

    Really informative – and funny! – post. (Mostly) made me want to go to one of these events (with a McDonalds in my bag!).

    • Laura Dove
      November 18, 2016 / 9:41 am

      Haha yes! If I’d have known where I was going I’d have nipped out for food too! xx

  32. Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons
    November 18, 2016 / 10:45 am

    So glad you liked Davina – I really like her (used to do all her exercise DVD’s back in the day and she’s great on those), would have loved to hear her talk. But as for the rest of it, the whole men bashing thing would have wound me up, and I have no interest in ever publishing a book myself, so it sounds like a massive let down. Plus, the lunch sounds horrendous, even for anyone without any dietary requirements!! (Although a free bar is never something to be sniffed at!) But I’d have loved the chance to meet so many of my favourite bloggers – one day soon I will make it to a conference! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Laura Dove
      November 18, 2016 / 4:50 pm

      I think the woman we see on the television is very different from the woman who addresses a small audience. I really have seen her in a completely different light! You should definitely do BlogOn next year, I would love to meet you!! Although no free bar there…we could always find a pub! xx

  33. November 18, 2016 / 11:14 am

    I’ve never fancied Blogfest as a conference, it’s pretty much the only one I’ve not been to, and having read your post, and a few others, I’m pleased I didn’t go. Such a shame when people want something else out of it, and the feminist slant comes up every year – and doesn’t quite get the level right it seems #thelist #sharingthebloglove

    • Laura Dove
      November 18, 2016 / 4:48 pm

      I had heard a few negative things about Blogfest before I even went but I thought I’d give them the benefit of the doubt and try it. Now I get what everyone meant, I can’t say that it was fun in the same way that BlogOn was, I felt like I was just watching a chat show that I wasn’t a part of. And I was hungry, and tired, and a long, long way from home!! Never again! xx

  34. November 18, 2016 / 11:58 am

    I haven’t been to a blogging event yet so I’m always interested in how other people find them so its really good to hear what you thought about Blogfest. Its a shame the food wasn’t good and that it was a bit too focused on women (a lot of others have said the same!) however I’m glad you got to hear some great speakers, despite the long day! 🙂

    #brillblogposts

    • Laura Dove
      November 18, 2016 / 4:47 pm

      Yes, there were some good parts to it. Davina was so impressive and I did learn a little about writing and publishing. It’s always nice to have a child free day too, I did enjoy that part! xx

  35. November 18, 2016 / 12:02 pm

    It’s really interesting to read how you got on at BlogFest. I’ve only been blogging for a few months, so haven’t taken the plunge yet, but think I might go to BlogOn next year instead (if I can get up the courage that is!) #brillblogposts

    • Laura Dove
      November 18, 2016 / 4:46 pm

      BlogOn was FAB! You should definitely go to that, you’d love it I promise and if you want to meet up on the day Id be more than happy to hold your hand! xx

  36. November 18, 2016 / 4:13 pm

    Hi Laura
    Ah maaaan there were SO many people I wanted to meet at Blogfest too – and didn’t get the chance! Shame we missed each other. I’ve just come across your blog and think it is beautiful. I look forward to catching up on lots of reading.
    I agree about the man-bashing and feminist stuff – the best bits for me were chatting to other lovely and brilliant bloggers, and the practical sessions like Digital Photography for Instagram. As a newbie blogger I was hoping for more actual blog stuff and concrete ideas and suggestions but hey…
    I also had to dash straight after Davina, so am GUTTED I missed the free drinks. AND Goody Bag (we love Soreen!!). Sob.
    Kimberly x

    • Laura Dove
      November 18, 2016 / 4:42 pm

      Oh no!! You missed the Soreen?? It’s passed the sell by date already, my kids refused to eat it, ha! It would have been lovely to meet you too, there were so many people I had on my hit list and yet I just couldn’t find them on the day! I missed the Digital photography as I wanted to do pitch to publication, it felt like all of the best sessions were in the same slot! Maybe next time you’ll be able to get the goody bag….and the cocktails!!! xx

  37. November 18, 2016 / 5:58 pm

    Wow what an honest post. I love it. I have heard a lot about this particular event. I have had zero interest in attending this and likes so never bothered. I won’t even go if I got a free ticket so I can’t understand why many bloggers do. But I think we all see blogging differently. Great post.

    • Laura Dove
      November 20, 2016 / 4:04 pm

      I think I thought I would learn a lot more from it when actually, I came away feeing really cheated! xx

  38. November 18, 2016 / 7:06 pm

    It’s not anything I’ve considered going to before. I guess I’m lucky I live close to London but I think my main reason to visit something would be to meet all my Instagram buddies in person. I feel I know all of you really well and I’d look on it more of a meet up. Maybe we should all just arrange a little get together some day in the future?! Sarah #FabFridayPost

    • Laura Dove
      November 20, 2016 / 4:03 pm

      I would love that Sarah, I was saying to Su we should do just that, maybe next year and all just get together and eat good food and take lots of photos, ha! xx

  39. November 18, 2016 / 7:56 pm

    I really enjoyed reading about the highs and lows of the day. I didn’t go and I’m not certain it will be on my list in the future. That’s an incredibly long day you had, but it’s nice to see that you overcame your anxiety to go. Goody bag does sound a bit rubbish but at least you didn’t have to drag it through London to the train station. Imagine doing that with the BlogOn goodies…

    • Laura Dove
      November 20, 2016 / 4:02 pm

      Haha I know! I LOVED the BlogOn goodie bag, I think it has spoiled every goodie bag for me from now on! xx

  40. November 19, 2016 / 12:57 pm

    Well you definitely got to pack a lot in and despite the goodie bag being a bit rubbish, you went, you managed it and you survived x

    • Laura Dove
      November 20, 2016 / 3:54 pm

      Yes!! I did it!! I still can’t believe I was so brave! xx

  41. November 19, 2016 / 9:42 pm

    Sounds like an absolute blast, and the ability to meet up with the people we all write to and with — amazing! Good for you Laura, and fun pix too! #FabFridayPost

    • Laura Dove
      November 20, 2016 / 3:45 pm

      Thanks Lisa, it was amazing to meet so many of my blogger friends in the flesh, I felt as though I already knew them! xx

  42. November 20, 2016 / 10:41 am

    I’d love to attend a blogging conference at some point in the future but after everything I’ve heard I don’t think it will be this one. I’ve never understood the need to put men down to feel empowered as women, you can guarantee that if the roles were reversed it would be these same women up in arms about sexism. At least you managed to get some good out of it, and meeting everyone in person sounds fab x
    #FabFridayPost

    • Laura Dove
      November 20, 2016 / 3:41 pm

      Completely agree. I won’t be returning but I would definitely recommend BlogOn, it was fantastic! xx

  43. November 21, 2016 / 1:37 am

    Sounds like a good job that I decided not to buy a ticket lol I wanted to go blogon but ive only been blogging since June and I think I would feel out of my depth #fabfridaypost

    • Laura Dove
      November 21, 2016 / 9:25 am

      BlogOn is great for newbies! Super friendly, really interesting and a great opportunity to take a step into working with some fab brands! You should come next year! xx

  44. November 21, 2016 / 12:50 pm

    I have to say I always find these time of events a bit disappointing so I stopped going but maybe I should try again..

    • Laura Dove
      November 21, 2016 / 2:37 pm

      I wouldn’t try Blogfest again, but it was good to meet some of the bloggers I speak to regularly! xx

  45. November 23, 2016 / 7:32 am

    I went to Blogfest last year and really didn’t get much out of it so decided not to go this year. Would like to have seen Davina though. Well done on being a finalist

    • Laura Dove
      November 23, 2016 / 2:53 pm

      Thanks Kara. I heard a lot of people saying they wouldn’t go back, I think that speaks volumes doesn’t it? Did you do Brit Mums? I’m hoping to do that and return to BlogOn next time too! xxx

  46. November 23, 2016 / 10:01 am

    Really interesting to hear a different perspective on this! Thanks for being so honest I think a lot of people just like to tell the positive side of the event rather than their honest opinion. Sounds like meeting bloggers was the highlight and the MP, sounds like a legend ; ). Thanks so much for sharing with #StayClassyMama!

    • Laura Dove
      November 23, 2016 / 2:46 pm

      Thank you. My husband read it and was a bit like, erm should you really be slating such a huge event? But I don’t think I was slating it, just pointing out that it wasn’t what I expected and that the lunch SUCKED! Hahah! I’ll go to another event definitely, but this one? No thanks! xxx

  47. November 24, 2016 / 11:14 am

    I haven’t heard very good reports about this event at all! Thanks for being so honest! #coolmumclub

    • Laura Dove
      November 24, 2016 / 9:56 pm

      I hadn’t before I went but thought I’d give it the benefit of the doubt, turns out they were right! xx

  48. November 25, 2016 / 4:26 am

    I found exactly the same at #BML that it wasn’t really worth the money to go all the way down. Maybe we just need to arrange a big social with a meal on a smaller scale! I heard about the man bashing and that would make me feel really uncomfortable. Looking forward to your opinion posts 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      November 25, 2016 / 12:32 pm

      Ahh I was considering BML but wasn’t sure if it would be the same. I totally agree we just need a big social meet up, bagsy not organising it though!!! xx

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