I am Hugo’s mummy; I am a writer; I was at Blogfest

Yesterday I got up bright and early, armed myself with my Hugo stars scarf and headed off to London for Mumsnet’s Blogfest conference.

Waiting for the train

Waiting for the train

My travelling companion was the lovely Carla and fellow Bedford-dweller from Random Thoughts of a Twenty Something, which was a great start to the day.

Me and Carla

Me and Carla

The day got even better when on arriving at the venue a lady approached me to ask if I am Hugo’s mummy. It was such a kind thing to do, and it absolutely made my day. The lady’s name was Sarah; we didn’t get a chance to chat much but Sarah, I wanted to say how much I appreciated that – thank you so much.

One of the things I was most looking forward to during the day was meeting bloggers who have become friends. I was delighted to meet and have hugs with Kerrie from Wife Mum Student Bum; Kiran from Mummy Says; Heledd from Running in Lavender; Lucy from Mrs H’s Favourite Things; Stephanie from Life at 139a; Hayley from Down’s Side Up; Sian the Potty Mouthed Mummy; Kerri-Ann from Life as Our Little Family, Victoria from Verily Victoria Vocalises and Emma from Me the Man and Baby. I even surprised myself by cuddling Emma’s beautiful baby, Charlotte – only the second baby I have held since my Hugo. If I met you and haven’t mentioned you I did enjoy meeting you – my memory has failed me!

Me and Heledd

Me and Heledd

Me and Kiran

Me and Kiran

The panels were excellent. ‘How does technology shape the way we think’ generated some interesting thought, including how today’s children live their lives online and the impact that has on them; a way to deal with trolls is to correct their spelling; that we share intimate details with others on social media, which has huge potential to help others (so true, I’ve had such support this year through social media). I was relieved to hear that Tim Dowling also dislikes removing spaces after commas in tweets in order to fit everything he wants to say in to the required 140 characters!

The technology panel

The technology panel

Finding out how to make use of Google+ was so useful, and I made copious notes. Before the session, I didn’t really understand how it works. In addition, already being on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram made me wonder whether being on another network was really worth my time. The answer is a resounding ‘yes’! Google+ has the potential to massively increase your blog’s reach, and as my blog is about raising awareness I shall definitely be investing more time in figuring it all out.

The Think Bombs were incredible: Camila Batmanghelidjh is always inspiring. Suzanne Moore’s writing rules included “A little passion goes a long way”; “Get out of your comfort zone”; “You are worth it” – and that there are no rules, yay! Francesca Martinez was especially inspiring, with her tale of how there is no such thing as normal, and that “Celebrating yourself is an act of civil disobedience” – I loved that.

Blogging can change the world, as the excellent panel discussed. The main points I took from the session were that the internet in general and social media in particular has opened up campaigning to people who previously would not have got involved; that personal stories are vital; you need to ask people to do something, to engage; you need to consider how to influence the influencers to engender change; and reach, or something going viral is not necessarily an indicator of impact. Possibly the most important message is: if you are passionate about something, do something about it – and I have passion in bucket loads for Hugo’s legacy.

Changing the world: #clearaplate helping to reduce food poverty.

Changing the world: #clearaplate helping to reduce food poverty.

The ‘Blogging and Self-Esteem’ round table was a great idea, with interesting discussions about the impact blogging has had on our lives – both good and bad. I was pleased to have the opportunity to talk about how writing about Hugo has helped me this year. I think we all wished we could have had longer, but there are so many hours in the conference.

Panellists on ‘The Power of Writing’ session were amazing. That a writer of the calibre of Nick Hornby can still be full of self-doubt gives us all hope, and I loved Lisa Jarmin’s top tip: “I am a writer because I said I was a writer…and then I was!” A bit of a scribo ergo sum… (I hope that translates to ‘I write, therefore I am’!).

20141108_161444

Lucy Porter gave a hilarious account of being invited to speak on Radio 4 about the infamous penis cup but being taken to the wrong studio by a scary-sounding producer and nearly going live on the highbrow culture programme presented by Sir Melvyn Bragg. I don’t think I am alone in wondering what would have happened if Lucy had gone ahead on that programme…

The drinks reception with gin and tonics that went down far too easily was the perfect way to round off the day.

Oh, and a goody bag full of lots of lovely…goodies! They include Divine chocolate, Body Shop beauty serum, a Boden bag, a book, and a gorgeous snuggly scarf from Littlewoods that is so huge it is more like a blanket – I shall make good use of it this winter. Thank you to all the brands for the goodies.

Goody bag contents

Goody bag contents

An especially big thank you to Mumsnet for a fantastic day. I was inspired by amazing panellists; I met lovely people who have become friends in person; I ate yummy cake; drank delicious gin and have got lovely goodies.

Best of all though? Being identified as Hugo’s mummy. The number of kind people who approached me to say how much they like my blog. The subject of my blog is challenging and sad: I am genuinely touched that people do read it, and that it has had such an impact. I am overwhelmed to have helped change the way people see baby loss; it exemplifies the power of blogging.

As Lynn Barber said in ‘The Power of Writing’ session: “Just be yourself…but how do you do that if you don’t know who that is?”

Who am I? I am Hugo’s mummy. I am a writer.

I am Hugo's mummy

I am Hugo’s mummy…and a writer

 

 

 

 

 

20 thoughts on “I am Hugo’s mummy; I am a writer; I was at Blogfest

  1. Tim says:

    Indeed you are a writer, Leigh, and a talented and inspiring one at that. I was genuinely interested to see your thoughts on Blogfest. I keep hesitating before taking the plunge into one of these blogger events – there just aren’t that many of us male bloggers out there – but maybe next year …

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      • Tim says:

        One day i’ll drag myself along. If and when I eventually do, it will be more to meet people such as yourself than for the event itself. Would be lovely to meet you and others in person without the need for a keyboard. 🙂

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  2. Kiran Chug says:

    Absolutely – you are Hugo’s mummy and you are a writer. It was so wonderful to meet you Leigh – although I already felt like I know you! I hope we can meet again soon. This post is also a lovely round-up of the day – and I adore the photo of us! xxx

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      I thought I already knew you too Kiran – isn’t it funny how we can feel that way about people we have never met? It was fabulous to meet you, and I so enjoyed chatting with you. Let’s make a date to catch up again soon. I love the photo of us too xxx

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  3. meghanoc says:

    I love that someone asked if you were Hugo’s mum! After writing about my work identity crisis, I recently had someone remind me that she met me as Mabel’s mom and knows me that way first (not meghan the midwife or meghan the anything else). She is a fellow babyloss mom, and the comment meant so much to me! there are a few people who know me as Mabel’s mom first. since we dont have our babies to present living to the word, it’s not often our first introduction. bit when someone makes it so, it means everything!

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Oh, I can totally identify with the identity crisis. With no baby in your arms, how do you remind others you are a mother? I loved that the lady identified me as Hugo’s mummy, and I will always know you as Mabel’s mom first and foremost – although I am so sorry we know each other this way xxx

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