When I worked in an office Monday morning was the usual, "good weekend ?" "Yeah it was ok, and you ?" "Oh not bad, painted the living room green. Went for dinner and watched Homeland." "Yeah I keep meaning to watch that too. Tea ?" "Oh go on then." I don't work in an office now, so the only way I get to tell anyone what I did at the weekend is to blog about it - well unless I bore the staff at the swimming pool in the morning or at Waitrose when I go to pick up my free tea that is. They smile politely, but they're not interested really.
So at an unearthly hour on Saturday morning I got out of bed and checked what time my friend Soraya was getting into Victoria Station to meet me and Jennifer. I tried to be as quiet as possible so the boys wouldn't be woken up by me, but when I left they were awake and wandering round too. I reminded Hubbie what was for breakfast, lunch and dinner and left the house for my day at my second Mumsnet Blogfest. With free tea from Waitrose in hand I met the others who were Blogfest virgins and we made our way to Kings Cross. I don't mean to be rude, but I was propositioned outside the station years ago and it now looks like a modern and fabulous European station so it feels like it's a million years away from its past. The venue itself is a big glass building with a terrace that overlooks some lovely houseboats - nothing like I expected for Kings Cross.
Having been to the first blogfest alone I arrived and stuffed myself with pastries. In keeping with tradition I did the same this time too. I also managed to find myself sitting next to Professor Tanya Byron last year so I raced down to the front hopefully. I didn't get a celebrity seating pal, but did have a prime seat to watch the first panel featuring a real life Mark Darcy and some cracking discussion with a live twitter feed running along the back screen. I will admit it was so exciting to see my tweet appear that I was only half listening to the panel, but I caught the jist which was Toby stop being daft and Stella the room loves you so you don't need to play to the crowd so much. It was refreshing to have a lively chat about internet trolling though as the subject is pretty dark and upsetting.
The think bombs from Prof Tanya, Dr Sue Black and Jon Ronson were fabulous with some food for thought as well as a new found hatred of algorithms (who knew I had feelings about those ?) It reminded me that years ago I had my first and only letter published in the Guardian Weekend magazine in which I mentioned Jon Ronson. I'm sure it's as memorable for him as it was for me. I attended some really interesting and engaging sessions and how delightful that a fellow blogger got a whoop from the audience while sitting on a panel of well known comedy writers (way to go Sonya !!) Of course Lionel Shriver's pink wellies have now become legendary, but AL Kennedy with her dry delivery is surely the only person who could rock that fabulous tank top and flat cap combo.
[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 www.markwarner.co.uk/blog]
The afternoon session has been written about so much that I'm not going to add anything to the debate by going over it here. Personally I wasn't offended by the panel discussing whether a Mummy blogger can be a feminist. I didn't walk out, find myself shaking with anger, feel the need to shout from the balcony or quote Joss Whedon. Maybe that was the numbing effect of the alcohol or maybe it was the taking down of the live twitter feed during the more heated part of the debate as I sent my pithy contribution to the discussion by tweet. Whatever the case Jo Brand brought the day to a fine end and my friend Soraya prodding me to go and talk to her in the bar afterwards was a stroke of genius. Just before leaving we went into the photo booth run by Talk Talk and decided to pose for our quartet of photos as the Village People - no, please don't ask !
It feels like such a lot to take in and yet the time flies past. Meeting bloggers I feel I know intimately from reading their posts and following them on Twitter was a bit weird, but tapping badges so that we could exchange contact details meant I didn't have to panic about not being able to keep in touch with anyone. I'm reinvigorated and revitalised by it all (although I did spend most of Sunday in a daze and lolling around the house like a student on reading week) and raring to build on my new links and knowledge.
A special thank you to Jennifer and Soraya for hanging out with me and keeping me company on the journey there and back. Please pop over to visit their blogs and say "Hi" from me.