Blogfest 2016 – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly about my first blogging conference

Done and dusted! I made it! I went to Blogfest 2016 this weekend. My first ever blogging conference since I entered the blogosphere about 6 months ago. So what did I make of it? What are my impressions about Blogfest 2016? It’s all in here! You might read this post and think that I am a bit naïve, especially if you are an advanced blogger, but try to remember  what it was like the first time you attended a blogging conference. You recall it now? Yeah, a very diverse bunch of emotions, right?

Just warning you, lecteurs. This post is a bit raw. I am just putting down my feelings about the whole experience. But at least, I might be helping some new bloggers like me who are thinking about going to a blogging conference.

Before the blogging conference

I was feeling very excited. It was the first time that I was attending that kind of events and I had so many expectations about it! Maybe too many if I am being 100% with you but I always do…

I was both thrilled but also intimated by it. It’s all nice to interact with fellow bloggers on the net and joke with them, but it’s another thing to meet them for real and see if they actually like the person you are.

It was also the first time I was leaving Baba with Grumpy Boyfriend for such a long time. Of course, I have been out a couple of times when my partner had to look after the baby (a dinner out with my work, a girls’ day out with my friend), but it has never been so long. I trusted Grumpy Boyfriend as long as I was not finding poo on the wall! But part of me was like ‘Oh my god, I am such a bad mum for leaving my son all day long and have fun!’ In the end, he was absolutely fine.

a baby in a Jumperoo - Blogfest 2016 my first blogging conference
I am having fun! I don’t need Maman!

Blogfest 16 – the day in question

The day arrived! Blogfest 16 was there! I woke up at the crack of dawn and took an early train in the morning. Of course, it was raining as soon as I arrived at Saint Pancras. I started the day pestering. It is not that often that Frenchie Mummy goes out these days and when she does, it’s just a horrible typical English rainy day!

I arrived super early like at 8.30am, thinking that many other people would do the same and I could have a chat before les festivités. In reality, I ended up sitting on a sofa and interacting on social media with my phone!

Very quickly, people arrived and I felt a bit less isolated. Eventually, it all started to move up a gear and I found myself well busy, listening to sessions, interacting with other bloggers and cooing at gorgeous babies attending the event.

So what did I make of it? What did I like and what did I hate? It’s all in here! I wanted to start with the bad stuff as I am very good at moaning (being Frenchie obliged…), but let’s be positive!

Blogfest 2016 – The Good

I was so happy to meet some of my fave bloggers such as Aby at You Baby Me Mummy, Franca at A Moment with Franca or Alison Perry from Not Another Mummy Blog. It was great just to say hi and meet them in person! They were all so kind and Alison was rocking with style (as usual) a Frenchie top.

I know it might be not everyone’s cup of tea but I must say that Scummy Mummies really made me laugh. It was a great way to break down the day as you get to do and see so much!

Even if I didn’t get as many blogging tips as I expected, it was nice to hear some stuff that I am already doing well. It really boosted my confidence. And I really enjoyed the session on SEO with Alison Perry. I had the impression that she was quite amused by the guy running the session. He was obviously a cool techie young lad who was very interested in looking trendy. I am pretty sure she was quite entertained with his way of leading the conversation and his ideas.

Blogfest 2016 – The Bad

I was very disappointed that I didn’t personally meet everyone! It’s only once home when I checked more tweets that I realised some amazing bloggers I love were there and I didn’t bump into them!

I was so sad to see that Honest Mum was not there! As I already said, I met many fabulous people but I really wanted to see her and have a Frenchie chat with the lady… Next time!

I also realised how massive the industry was. I knew there were a lot of mummy bloggers out there, but not quite that many! You have no idea the number of times I thought ‘OMG, I don’t know her, nor her blog!’ I truly understood the fact that I was a very little fish in a big blogging ocean! There are so many of us in here!

The goodie bag left me a bit puzzled. I will for sure use all the Dove products as I generally love this brand and I actually needed to buy some more shampoo! Merci Blogfest for saving me a trip to the shop. Cependant, the random books and the 3 packs of Soreen loaves are just a joke. Not to mention a toilet spray! Random to say the least!? Do you think it would have any appeal for another Frenchie giveaway?

Blogfest 2016 – The Ugly

The very feminist atmosphereMumsnet organising it, it’was pretty clear that the event was aimed at women and I felt empowered by some guests throughout the day. However, it was a bit too much at times! I know that they were some dads in the audience and it was somehow uncomfortable. I could imagine that they felt a bit awkward.

Sérieusement, some guests were painting men as an evil thing that women needed to fight! You know what I make of feminism. To me, it’s more about equality of sexes than reminding our hommes that they are not good enough or some kind of monstres! I consider myself a feminist and I am sorry to say that some comments really made me cringe

Another awkward thing? The moment when you are clearly on your own while some people are in their blogging tribes. I am going to make a big statement here and probably make people unhappy but it needs to be said. Before attending Blogfest, I read a lot of people online saying that it was very friendly and bloggers were happy to interact with you. Not 100% true! There were some times when I felt that some other fellow bloggers did not want to mix with newbies like me! So clearly, the lovely blogging community is a bit of a mirage for some bloggers out there!

Luckily, it’s far from the majority. So many people really made me feel welcome and were truly happy to talk with me! I know that I can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, but a bunch of ladies didn’t run away as soon as I tried to start the conversation. A massive merci to Emily at My Petit Canard, Muma on the Edge  & Ursula at Mumbelievable. I probably forgot some others but they were the ones that really made me feel welcome!

Le verdict

Blogfest gave itself the mission to celebrate sharp writing and big ideas. Is that really true? To some extent, even if I must admit that I felt a bit deflated at the end of the day. Sure, I got some stuff out of my first blogging conference but nothing major.

Mais the atmosphere was really good and it was nice to be with people who have something in common with me. I also loved being away from home and breaking up the mummy life!

Overall, it was very different from what I imagined. I might go again but will try to have a sponsor next this time.

I would love to hear your views on Blogfest 2016. What was good, bad and very ugly in your opinion? Spit it all out in the comments’ box! I want to know your perception on this so famous blogging conference!


  1. November 15, 2016 / 12:13 pm

    It was lovely to meet you early on, Cecile – a shame we didn’t get more of a chance to chat but it’s always the way at these events. Really sorry to hear you felt excluded at times. I think it’s natural for ‘tribes’ to want to hang out together – bloggers don’t always meet that often and I guess there’s also safety in numbers if you only know a few people – but it is certainly easy to feel a bit out of it if you are on your own, even though I’m sure it’s not meant deliberately.

    I did have an issue with some of the sentiments aired in some sessions, which I felt were overly negative to men – and it wasn’t just men who felt uncomfortable, many of the mums such as yourself picked up on it too, which suggests a wider and more concerning problem that Mumsnet would do well to pick up on. I’ve written a long post about it today and have been in touch with Mumsnet so we shall see if anyone responds.

    Anyhow, lovely to meet you and hopefully you haven’t been totally put off blogging conferences.

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 15, 2016 / 12:19 pm

      No I have not! I am not giving up so quickly. I think you are right about tribes and I can be a bit scary sometimes lol. I would love to hear when Mumsnet gets back to you! Please email me of tweet me so that I don’t miss out the conversation! Well done for raising it to them! Thanks for your comment

  2. November 15, 2016 / 12:44 pm

    thanks for the write-up. great to read and makes me want to go next year. although being a newbie myself does make me worry that I’d just be sat on my own all day!
    I read some other comments about the negativity towards men – Tim, id love to heard what mumsnet say!

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 15, 2016 / 12:51 pm

      It wasn’t that bad. In the morning it was a bit awkward. I reckon a lot of people were new like me but later on, I was really interacting with a lot of people. x

  3. November 15, 2016 / 12:48 pm

    Sorry I missed meeting you! I agree there were some inappropriate comments about men that were unfair to dad bloggers and I’ve sent feedback about that to Mumsnet. I also agree that it was not as easy to talk to different people as I thought it would be. There were definitely tribes and while it may not have been intentional, I did feel excluded at times as a newbie. But there were also some lovely friendly people there too. x

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 15, 2016 / 12:52 pm

      totally agree with you! I can’t believe I missed you. The day was too short …

  4. Nicky Kentisbeer
    November 15, 2016 / 12:56 pm

    I can’t believe I didn’t see you lady! Perhaps we did, but didn’t realise. Not sure if that is possible? Agree with many of your points. The over arching theme of the day was the feminist agenda and I hadn’t realised we were signing up for that. Mumsnet or no Mumsnet. There were several other things that stuck in my craw too. I will be feeding back on these – no point littering your feed is there?! It was my first blog event. I did actually have another blogger stay with me which meant that I had a ‘go to’ person. I also met some of the people that I have been dying to meet. I understand your comment about not everyone wanting to engage. This in the main is in the minority. I go to a lot of events by myself – it happens on occasion. Walk on by is my best advice. On the flipside I got chatting to some wonderful people too. So sorry our paths didn’t cross this time. Love your Frenchie post x

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 15, 2016 / 1:31 pm

      I am very disappointed we didn’t meet but it will be for another time for sure! I agree with all you said x

  5. November 15, 2016 / 1:57 pm

    I can’t believe I didn’t see you! Unless I did but didn’t realise. I agree with you on a lot of the points. I only started blogging in January and these conferences can be overwhelming. Like you I was delighted with the feminist agenda but, I did not appreciate the men-bashing. Feminism is about equality after all and perhaps Mumsnet needs to remember that.

  6. James Hopes
    November 15, 2016 / 2:11 pm

    Was lovely to meet you, Cecile! It was my first time too so definitely lots of good parts but also some less good parts like you have mentioned! See you at the next event hopefully ?

  7. Honest mum
    November 15, 2016 / 2:15 pm

    Sounds and looks fab. I had a shoot on that day. So lovely you got to meet other bloggers. Hope to see you another time x

  8. five little doves
    November 15, 2016 / 2:54 pm

    Oh I’m gutted I didn’t get to meet you! I completely agree with all of this, I’m not sure that I would go again to be honest, I found it all a bit too political and anti-men for my liking. xx

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 15, 2016 / 5:24 pm

      I think I will try to go again as it’s nice and different. Next blogging conference, we need to meet! x

  9. November 15, 2016 / 4:37 pm

    It was lovely to meet you my lovely! I know these conferences tend to be very fast and without realising it is time to go and you didn’t manage to interact with all the people that you wanted. I think my best advice is to go to a smaller conference first which will give you an idea of what this is all about but in a smaller version (hope it makes sense). I did that last year so when I went to BlogFest it was a little better although I did feel a little bit nervous and overwhelmed. I’m sorry you felt isolated sometimes but I assure you it is not intentional. People are so excited to catch up that as I said things happens very fast. I’m sure next time will be even easier and I hope we can have a longer chat! I don’t know how I managed the whole day feeling so under the weather lol. Anyway, thanks so much for mentioning me lovely and for being so kind with your words, 🙂 xx

  10. November 15, 2016 / 8:04 pm

    Awww I so wish I could have gone… just to get a feel for it all!! But this does really help… I’m s 3 month newbie blogger and by next years one will have hopefully made more of an impression on the blogosphere and have a few Momma blogger clan ladies that can go avec moi!!! (… hint hint…) haha! Was there any interaction with brands? I saw a lot of people take business cards?
    I hope that next year it will be a super inspirational and productive day! <3

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 15, 2016 / 9:49 pm

      There were some sponsorsbut it wasn’t massive. It was good as I didn’t have any business cards. Very organised and yes next year we should do it as a duo! xx

  11. November 15, 2016 / 10:25 pm

    Ahh Cecile I cant believe I didnt see you!! Actually though I dont think I know who Im looking for, I’m not entirely sure what you look like?!! Lol I need to do my homework before the next event so I can spot you!
    I totally agree…I didnt really witness any of the sexism, I think I went to different sessions and I missed the keynote at the end…I only went to the YouTube sessions and there was no feminist talk in any of those really. I did catch the first session at the start of the day but I quite enjoyed that one.

    I felt exactly as you did when I went to Britmums Live…I found it so very cliquey and unwelcoming…I didnt feel it so much at this one (slightly from some people, I have to say…) but perhaps thats because I felt more comfortable this time and knew more people to mingle with and talk to than I did last time.

    Next year I plan to try Blog On! 🙂

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 15, 2016 / 10:32 pm

      I think you are right, I will feel more comfortable net time but it was exhausting going to people and say ‘hi! I am frenchie mummy’ some peopel clearly didn’t care when they have been so nice online… lol xx

      • November 27, 2016 / 3:37 am

        Really!!! That’s interesting! Now I want to know who! lol! Popping back from #SundayBest, thanks for joining us…hope to see you there again tomorrow! xx

        • Cecile Blaireau
          November 27, 2016 / 9:45 am

          I just linked up x

  12. Stephanie
    November 15, 2016 / 10:45 pm

    A really interesting blog post, I have never been to a blogging conference before and I’ve been blogging nearly 4 years! Well done for plucking up the courage to go

  13. November 15, 2016 / 11:17 pm

    Bonjour! I didn’t go because things have been so hectic with our windows. It’s so interesting to hear what everyone thought of the day, and you have raised points that I have read elsewhere too. Hopefully at some point we will cross paths ?

  14. November 16, 2016 / 2:19 pm

    Your review is reflective of what I’ve read online so far. I was contemplating going but couldn’t figure it out logistically. Reading this I’m rather pleased I didn’t make it my first blogging conference though!

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 16, 2016 / 5:35 pm

      Overall, I don’t regret going there but many people said some other blogging conferences were better . Maybe one day we will meet at one ? xx

  15. Jane Taylor maflingo
    November 16, 2016 / 11:23 pm

    Hi Cecile! I was the blogger who stayed with Nicky!!! We met with Alex from my Life Long Holiday and Charlie from Mess and Merlot who were traveling alone and went in together. So sorry we didn’t get to meet (or did we and I didn’t realise)?!! If you’d sent baba instead I would have recognised him instantly but, like many of the folks i wanted to meet I didn’t have a clear picture in my head. I was completely surprised by how much the tone differed from britmums. I was uncomfortable with the men bashing…I loved scummy mummies and Davinas keynote though! Plus seeing at least some of my bloggy mates!!

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 17, 2016 / 9:24 am

      I can’t believe I missed you! I would have loved having a chat. Next time for sure!!!! x

  16. November 17, 2016 / 12:38 pm

    I thought this post was really well written – a great summing-up. I was there too and can relate to your feeling of isolation. It’s no-one’s fault, of course, but it made me feel like a youngster at a party where I didn’t know anyone, again! I should have made more of an effort to arrange to meet people there, before the day. My fault, not theirs. I’m glad you did chat to some fellow bloggers though. Having lugged that damn goody bag across London for a post-Blogfest workout – it was a huge disappointment! Thank God for Dove, but my kids are sick of the sight of malt loaf now! As for those noodles…they made me gag!! Overall, I really enjoyed listening to the discussions. I thought they had some great speakers, who I wouldn’t normally get to hear live, so from that point of view, I enjoyed it. Alison x #StayClassyMama

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 17, 2016 / 1:15 pm

      I enjoyed it too. I hope my post didn’t seem too negative! haha. thanks for reading and your honest opinion x

  17. Tony
    November 17, 2016 / 1:55 pm

    Hi, and thanks for this post. I am new to blogging and still feel a bit of a fraud calling myself a blogger, so can imagine what it must have felt like when you decided to sign up to attend, And well done you for living the little one behind, brave, brave act, glad he survived!
    E]SEO is still a mystery to me, the idea that someone could make it amusing as opposed to making it sound like some hidden ritual of the Illuminati really appeals. Did you learn stuff that made it any clearer for you?
    One thing I am not clear on from your report, is Blogfest just for women, or was that a particular track you followed?

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 17, 2016 / 9:28 pm

      I think anyone is welcome really. but it’s mainly parent bloggers out there. I decided to stay in the niche of mummy bloggers because it’s pretty much my life now x

  18. November 17, 2016 / 2:36 pm

    A good honest account. I hope that the BlogFest team are monitoring the blog reviews to gather feedback and more importantly act on it to improve next year’s event.

    Also I share your bafflement at 3 loaves of soreen!

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 17, 2016 / 9:26 pm

      lol about the soreen! I have never ever heard of them before! x

  19. November 18, 2016 / 10:35 am

    I really enjoyed reading this, thank you. I didn’t attend blogfest but spent the day torn between wishing I was there and feeling I probably didn’t belong there anyway. I think in my head it would have been a cross between the first day of school and the hotel scene in Roald Dahl’s ‘The Witches’ . I do love your honest and frank account and maybe next year I’ll have confidence enough in what I do to attend. ?

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 18, 2016 / 11:47 am

      You should! Even if it was not perfect, it’s a good experience. Thanks for reading x

  20. Squirmy Popple
    November 18, 2016 / 12:43 pm

    I didn’t get to go but I heard mixed things. I have yet to attend a blogging conference, but I’d love to go just for the chance to go meet so many of the talented bloggers who I interact with online. #stayclassymama

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 18, 2016 / 12:58 pm

      I agree with you. It’s worth going such to meet other bloggers I love reading x

  21. Leslie
    November 19, 2016 / 12:17 am

    I’ve only ever attended one blogging conference, and thankfully it was a pretty small one. I hate to say it, but it seems like the anti-male feminist agenda is taking hold. I’m so sorry to hear that it got so negative for you on that front. The blogging world is definitely large, but all-in-all I think it’s a wonderful community. Thanks for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

  22. November 19, 2016 / 2:49 am

    I’ve been to two small events and they were lovely and even with the smaller events it was at times overwhelming. Thanks so much for the insight into blogfest hopefully sooner then later I get to go to a bigger event. I hope when BlogHer does another one in NY so I can attend all my kids are old enough that I can go for the day and feel comfy leaving them all day with Hubby… maybe Ha!

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 19, 2016 / 8:39 am

      This Blogher looks fab! I love the name. Enjoy and tell us about in your blog! I want to know! xx

  23. Sarah Aslett
    November 20, 2016 / 2:21 pm

    Ah I didn’t go to Blogfest but I would have liked to have met you! I’ve read some mixed posts on it to be honest. Its definitely good to go these things and meet people and learn some new things tho #stayclassymama

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 20, 2016 / 5:25 pm

      I still liked going just to meet other fab ladies! x

  24. Jayne @ Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs
    November 20, 2016 / 4:25 pm

    Such a shame we didn’t get chance to meet each other!
    I was also disappointed by Blogfest. To be quite honest, I won’t be returning to the future events. It seems quite a few were left feeling deflated by it all. And I agree the goody bag was random as shit! 🙂

    Thanks so much for joiing in with #MMBC. Hope you can make it next week! x

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 20, 2016 / 5:24 pm

      I missed so many people but maybe we see each other next time ? xx

  25. Reuven
    November 20, 2016 / 5:17 pm

    Thank you, Cecile, for this very honest and insightful post. Neither my wife nor I has yet attended a bloggers’ conference and the thoughts and observations you’ve shared will certainly help us be better prepared when either of us participates. It’s wonderful, though, that you’re also able to focus on the positives of the experience. No doubt, the next time you attend, you’ll certainly gain even more.

  26. Kat
    November 20, 2016 / 6:34 pm

    We will have to say hello to each other next time! I had a great time at Blogfest but so sorry I missed you and so many others! These conferences are so big it’s hard to get a chance to see everyone. I loved the Scummy Mummies and have been listening and giggling to their podcast on the school run. Thank you so much for linking up to #DreamandSparkle

  27. Lucy's Locket
    November 21, 2016 / 1:15 pm

    It’s always daunting meeting someone in real life after having spoken to them online! I’ve read a lot about the feminism being overkill too. Hopefully Mumsnet will listen to all the feedback. p.s. Toilet spray in the goodie bag!! haha!

  28. Joanne
    November 21, 2016 / 3:22 pm

    Hi! I was at Blogfest too (Mummyofthesuburbs) but didn’t get to meet you sadly. I agree with a lot of your comments on your blog, especially the ‘men bashing’ which I found just too much! x

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 21, 2016 / 3:49 pm

      A shame we didn’t meet… Next time maybe. thanks for reading x

  29. Roy Miller
    November 21, 2016 / 4:14 pm

    I believe that I would have had the same excitement and apprehension that you did prior to going. The unknown. Would it live up to my expectations? I am sure you were uncomfortable being a male there though. Good to hear that you did get to meet some of the participants.

  30. November 22, 2016 / 5:21 pm

    The more I’m reading about it, it seems a real mixed bag of opinions.thankfully everyone seems in the same boat about the dad sexism which is good as I’m all for supporting dads, they’re half the reason we’re mummy bloggers after all!
    maybe it’s my naivety but I hope that any cliques and people not mixing is due to shyness (I’m all talk behind a screen and once I know you, but initially super duper quiet and anxious).
    I’m hoping next year mumsnet are more dad friendly and cut down on the soreen ??

  31. November 22, 2016 / 8:13 pm

    Really enjoyed your recap! I’m a newer blogger as well and have considered attending a conference-I feel at times that there is so much to learn which can be Abbie overwhelming. Anyway great post- lots of good info and just the motivation I need to attend a conference!

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 22, 2016 / 8:25 pm

      It’s worth it even if it’s not all good just for the feeling and meet fellow bloggers x

  32. Mummy Bee
    November 22, 2016 / 9:51 pm

    Really enjoyed reading about your honest opinion and experience of Blogfest. As a newbie I was curious about what it’s like. #globalblogging

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 23, 2016 / 10:42 am

      Thanks for commenting x

  33. November 23, 2016 / 12:01 am

    I am so glad I stumbled across this post. As a newbie myself and considering going to (and spending way too much money on) a blog conference, it’s refreshing to see that it’s not always perfection. Thank you for the honesty!

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 23, 2016 / 10:45 am

      NOt a problem, still worth it to meet other bloggers if you are not sure about attending a blogging conference x

  34. November 23, 2016 / 9:45 am

    Wow – this was an interesting read, including all the comments. After reading the ‘ugly’ part, I have to say I am not surprised. The blogging world seems to be divided into two distinct parts, people who are kind, magnanimous individuals who are inclusive, warm, big-hearted people. Then there are people who have the ‘mean girl’ approach. These are the people who are cliquey and who enjoy excluding, even hurting others.

    They are the ‘big fish in a small pond’ types who are probably mean-hearted in real life. The sad thing is, many of them publish memes about inclusivity and kindness while not practicing it. This is why I don’t attend events such as this.

    For some reason, the hard, mean people are the ones that set the overall tone whenever large groups of women get together which means the softer, warm people have to seek each other out. Someone needs to organise a conference where the hard-assed bitchy element is somehow weeded out before hand.

    Don’t EVER let being a newbie blogger make you feel inferior, everyone has their rightful place in the blogging world – it belongs to no one. I am older than you, my sons are men now and I have no more tolerance for unkind, unhelpful, narcissistic people.

    I really enjoyed hearing about your experience and am pleased to hear it wasn’t all bad. But shame on mumsnet for allowing men to be made to feel unappreciated.

    • Cecile Blaireau
      November 23, 2016 / 12:52 pm

      Very interesting comment. Thanks for expressing your opinion and you tips. I hope to see you again soon xx

  35. Nikki
    November 26, 2016 / 6:44 pm

    An interesting write up lovely. I have never been to a blogging conference before but I too would worry about some of the blogging cliques. Well done you for not letting it bother you too much! #DreamandSparkle

  36. November 26, 2016 / 9:19 pm

    There were so many people that I didn’t get to see and talk to! I find it quite intimidating to talk to people that I don’t know, and this was only my 3rd ever conference! I won’t let it put me off though. Thanks for linking up to #SundayBest x

  37. One Messy Mama
    November 28, 2016 / 3:30 pm

    I must admit, I found this such a refreshing post! SO many times events like this are raved about, ignoring that for some it might not have been the same experience! I definitely think there is a “click” in the blogging world, those that feel that they are far to successful to interact with “plebs” like the rest of us! 🙂 Its sad really, as we are never beyond learning from someone else! Thank you for your honesty! A very brave and honorable post! #globalblogging

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