Mumnset Blogfest – Who I Met & What I Did

I’ll be honest, when the Mumnset Blogfest was first advertised, I didn’t think it would be that beneficial for a fashion blogger. I imagined long sessions about writing, getting published and a focus on parenting blogs, as opposed to style/fashion related content. I’m delighted to say I was wrong about it. Yes, there were of course sessions on writing but there was so much more than that. Inspirational speakers, blog and social media clinics, photography sessions and of course, a session dedicated completely to Fashion & Beauty blogging that I was lucky enough to be a panelist on. I honestly got so much from the day, useful information that I can apply to my blog, great contacts to keep in touch with and a fabulous goody bag.
Before the day had even started, I made some new blogging friends – Lynn from Salt & Caramel, who has written a book about Twitter and Sandy from Baby Baby blog.
First up in the auditorium was Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, a partner at an international law firm…oh and the wife of the Deputy Prime Minister…but she’s famously not let that define her. Her inspirational talk about motherhood, the challenges of juggling work and parenting and her anecdotes about her three boys (three boys- eek!) had the whole room falling in love with her. While at this talk I met the lovely Rachael from Pink Blue & You and Frankie from Frankie’s Fancies.

Next session was about finding your voice as a blogger. The wonder of technology meant that The Bloggess was able to join us live all the way from Texas (with her cat). While the room discussed writing with passion, authenticity and personality, myself and Gemma from Mission2Mum fell in love with Zoe Williams’ shoes… #shallow

It looks spooky but the Bloggess was wonderful on big screen

After some refreshments on the 29th floor – a room with a view and great coffee – I opted to attend the Flight or Fight session (Social Media and Photography for Bloggers were the other choices at this time). The Flight of Fight session discussed how bloggers should deal with detractors and trolls and the panel included Prof. Tanya Byron, Cath Elliot, Liz Fraser, Suzanne Moore and Eleanor Mills. There was great advice about how to cope with negativity on your blog. My favourite quotes were ‘Work out who you want validation from and ignore the rest’ and ‘if the Daily Mail is saying bad things about you, you are truly a remarkable woman’ (one for all the mummy bloggers out there today!)

The Fight or Flight 

After this session, I had a lovely chat with Laura, a follower of my blog, who also has a blog of her own (Two Point Four Cycles) and we enjoyed lunch together..while yakking about blogs, clothes and commercial property!

And this photo won Laura and I a copy of ‘Twitter in Ten Minutes’ – thanks to Lynn @ Salt & Caramel

Next I took some time out to talk to the girls from Boden and met up with Ellie from The Mumday Times. Ellie was wearing the navy coat I’ve been trying to get in a size 12 from Primark. Want it even more after seeing it on her! 

Ellie from The Mumday Times & Chloe from Boden

After I checked out the Boden SS13 new range – photos to follow – I went to the green room to prepare for the panel discussion. I mentioned my co-panelists on last week’s post so it was lovely to meet them in person. Erica, our chair made use feel so relaxed about the experience and once we were miked up, the session began!

In full flow with hands going! Photo courtesy of Mumsnet.

The conversation included some great discussion about getting involved with brands yet retaining integrity as a blogger. There were lots of questions around approaching brands and how to make money from fashion & beauty blogging and unfortunately not enough time. But I did chat on afterwards with a couple of bloggers who had additional questions, Sarah from All Worn Out and Thea from Journey to Style.
Earlier in the day, I’d already spotted (in my opinion) the most stylish woman at the event. I discovered at our session that it was in fact Sian Sutherland, the founder of Mama Mio skincare, sponsors of the Blog Beautiful session I was part of. I managed to have a quick chat and get a photo with her and her gold blazer but not including her pink patent brogues – I have requested a photo from her to share with you!

After the break, I had to begin my journey back home as I was flying that evening (though not before I had a quick chat with Transatlantic Mom in the cloakroom queue), so I missed the session ‘Private Lives on a Public Stage’ and the closing keynote speech from the amazing Caitlin Moran. But the goody bag more than made up for that as it included, amongst other items, Caitlin’s latest book….and chocolate….LOTS of chocolate!

Thank you to Mumsnet Bloggers Network for a great day full of inspiration and lovely co-bloggers. I’m looking forward to 2013 already and next time, I’m staying Saturday night for the party!

Disclaimer : as a panelist, Mumsnet covered the cost of my ticket to attend the event and my transport costs to and from the event (tho not the extra I had to pay for missing my flight over!!). I was not paid any money to be on the panel, nor am I required to blog about the experience – I just wanted to. All views my own.



  1. What a wonderful day – I’m sure you knocked ‘em dead as a panelist too. Well done for coming so far in such a very short time!

  2. Thanks for linking to my blog, and it was wonderful to meet you. Do get in touch so I have the address for sending your book.

    I saw Sian around but didn’t get the chance to speaking to her. I was wishing for one of Caitlin Moran’s famous cards to hand to her.

    (Caitlin had little cards with ‘I love your look’ printed on them, for when she does not feel confident about approaching someone to say that she thought they looked great – she simply hands them a card).

    • Hey Lynn, I heard about Caitlin’s cards – what a great idea! And perfect for Sian too! I’ll drop you a mail re: the book – so delighted to win it! Wonderful to meet you on the day – you were the first person I spoke to on the day! Set me up very well for the rest of the day, Avril x

  3. PoppysStyle Reply

    What a fantastic time – must have been great bonding with like minds!

  4. Life, Loves...... Reply

    Avril you certainly sounded like you had a great time and all the interesting stuff that was going on. a bloggers sweetie bag!

  5. That looks like a really awesome day and you got so much out of it. I would have been fascinated just to hear what was being said. I’m going to check out some of those new Blogs you mentioned now.

  6. Sounds like you had an amazing day. I bet you learnt a ton of useful stuff. And does Liz Fraser really look that orange in real life lol?

    • Hey Emma – the more orange persona wasn’t Liz – that was Suzanne Moore and she wasn’t as orange as she looks! My camera must have been playing up! Liz was on the end on the right. She was lovely too – had some great hints and tips. Avril x

  7. Glad it went well Avril…sounds like it could have stretched to a full weekend!

    nic x

  8. LaDawn Reply

    You did a fabulous job as a panelist! A natural talent.

    • Aw, thank you – that’s so kind of you to say. It was nerve-wracking but really interesting too. Found myself taking mental notes of some of the things being said. So much to take in over a short period of time! Avril x

  9. Looking Fab in your forties Reply

    Sounds like a jam packed, fun filled day! So glad you enjoyed it!

  10. AS Reply

    What’s busy day! I love the gold blazer- think it’s from The Kooples?! And I love Erica from MMM, she has a great blog. Really interesting to hear about negativity, I’ve had a lot of it lately (funnily enough, people from mumsnet chatrooms!), but at least they’ve bothered to talk about me, even if they do hate my glasses! :(

    • It really was Alex…and isn’t that blazer fab. The photo doesn’t do it justice. She is such a stylish girl. And on the negativity, it’s ironic but most of mine comes from MN too but as Tanya said, if you put yourself out there, you have to take it and keep thinking of the page hits :) And your glasses are FAB – what do they know!! Avx

  11. Oh no! You missed Caitlin?!?
    Do try to watch a video of her talk (there must be one on Mumsnet somewhere…) because she was BRILLIANT!

    PS – it was great to meet you, and thanks for the mention ;-)

  12. Just brilliant, I felt so inspired from our day at the Mumsnet Blogfest! It was like being a celeb for a day, albeit a minor one. Just being part of such a fantastic group of like-minded women was enough, but with all the sessions and the input from so many figures of authority in the world of blogging, publishing, design and social media it was awesome. Not to mention the food….
    I was gutted you had to leave early Avril, I wanted a photo of you and I together! Ah well, next time. Thanks for including me in your blog post, I’m a very happy mummy.
    Rachael x

    • Next time indeed Rachael – hopefully meet you again soon. It really was an amazing day and I only wish I had had more time to eat! I seem to have missed all the cupcakes :(
      Thank you for your mention also … so great to meet you, Avril x

  13. TransatlanticMom Jackie Reply

    It was lovely to meet you Avril and thanks for the shout-out in your post! I hope you made your flight on time. :0) It was lovely to chat – and have already been steering a few ppl in your direction based on some of your experiences and advice you shared on the panel. (And – have just gone back and read your feature in the Daily Mail ) I think you did a fab job on the panel – and wish you’d had a bit more time on the panel to share your blogging experience. I liked how you gave real examples and related it back to how new bloggers could implement it. You insights made it actionable.

  14. simone antoniazzi Reply


    I thought you were great on the panel, loved what you all had to say, well done!!

    You looked extremely “well groomed” too…one day I hope to look equally so!!

    Best wishes

    • Thank you Simone for your feedback – so kind of you to comment. I’ve been over to your blog today also and enjoyed reading about your MN Blogfest experience – it reminded me of some of the bits I hadn’t written down so thanks for that also, Avril x

  15. Well done for being on the panel, you are amazing for having the confidence to do it! It would be great to get somehting like this organised in Belfast, even if it was on a smaller scale.

  16. Sandy Calico Reply

    Thanks for the mention, Avril. It was great to meet you and – my goodness – it’s a small world. I hope to see you again next year!

  17. Get Lippie Reply

    GAH! You were sat right behind me in the trolling session – that’s a *mighty* fine picture of the back of my head you have there! Was lovely to meet you, sorry you couldn’t stick around for the lovely drinks afterwards. I was NOT trashed. NOT AT ALL.

    • LOL – we didn’t do the meeting up in the morning thing very well, did we? I was actually in front of you…I got up and walked around the back to take that photo! I SO wanted to get drunk with you…next time for sure! Avril x

  18. The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy Reply

    Hello Avril, I also stumbled into this talk by mistake and found it more interesting than I might have imagined. Lots of ideas, and your blog makes me recall the many years of school gate modelling I’ve done – I remember being fully pregnant in a tiny dress, that bowled them over more than once. My blog is mostly expat really, though my love of Italian shoes makes a regular appearance. I loved your look by the way! Ciao xcatinitaly

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