Outfit for a blogging conference

What I am wearing to Britmums Live 2012

 

Are you worried about what to wear to a blogging conference?

 

My main tip is to remember:

There will be cooler better looking people than you.

There will be people worse dressed than you.

There will be fatter and slimmer people than you.

 

So all you have to do is:

Feel comfortable.

Be able to adapt to different weather and temperature.

Dress like you; because one of the points of a conference is that people want to meet you face to face and get to know you better.

I’m off to BritmumsLive 2012 tomorrow – fancy seeing what I’m wearing?

My outfit has been mainly given to me by the lovely Joe Browns.  Why did they give me an outfit you might ask?  Well because about a year ago I raved about a gorgeous coat they had and was seen by Best British bloggers who work with them.  They kindly sent me the coat for a competition, plus a pretty blue top as a reward for me.  This obviously got me shopping for myself for the coat!  So I asked if they fancied sending me an outfit for BritMumsLive and they said ‘yes’ – yay!  Obviously again this has inspired me to go on their site and do another shop.  I’m beginning to wonder whether it’s all a sneaky plan to make me buy even more of their stuff!

I love the Joe Browns stuff because it’s pretty without being insipid, and slightly boho, thus appealing to my tree-hugging side.  Most importantly they make lots of long tunics that cover my pear shaped bottom!

I’m not sure which order I’m going to wear things with, but I think it will be this outfit for tomorrow and the announcement of the awards:

Outfit for blogging conference

 

Plus a burgundy cardigan from last year from Monsoon, one of my many scarves (I go nowhere without one), a bag from next, old gold pumps from Sainsburies, and sparkly high heals from Next from last year.  (I actually bought the leggings and coat from Joe Browns myself, as they could only offer me £75 from their monthly budget to cover both outfits).

 

Then I think that I’ll wear this outfit on the Saturday:

Outfit for a blogging conference

 

Plus the same handbag from next, red pumps (or maybe red heals), tights if it’s cold, and not sure about a coat.  (I bought the bracelet myself)

 

What do you think of the outfit?  I’m aiming for comfy and pretty, whilst giving me a bit of confidence?

 

Hopefully those of you going now know my face and my outfit, so you’ll come and say ‘hello’ and not leave me like billy no mates in a corner?

I’m helping on the panel of the discussion den for ‘online secrets and lies’ on Saturday at 12.20 – hope to see you there to hear about how to deal with ‘Twitter Terriers, Facebook Furies and Blog Bummers’.

 

Big thank you to Nickie from Typecast for inspiring me to write this blog post and play with Picassa rather than do all my To Do’s this morning!

Thank you to Joe Browns for providing me with the majority of my outfit for the two days!

Feel free to add links to your outfits below too.

 

Competition To Win An Amazing Joe Browns Coat: You don’t get if you don’t ask!

I am so chuffed about this competition to win a gorgeous Joe Browns Navajo Coat worth £89.95; just look at that gorgeous lining, which will flash every time you walk or put it on and off.  This coat says ‘I’m happy to stand out, I’m gorgeous, I’m sparkly, I’m bored of being dull’, ‘I might be a Mum, but I’m also a person in her own right’.

When I go on the school run, I’m one of a huge number of black quilted sausages walking up and down the school drive.  Curly Headed Boy’s school has it’s own weird micro-climate which means that it’s always a couple of degrees colder by the school than anywhere else in Hertfordshire, so there is sense in the sausages.  There is one lone Mum in a red quilted sausage!  But even when the weather is good, Mums seem to navigate towards boring dull coats, in dull boring colours and dull shapeless shapes.

Why?  In the few seconds it takes to put on a coat, you can give yourself a massive pick me up straight away.

So next time you catch yourself in a shop window or the mirror of a lift, one of you lucky ladies is going to look fabulous in a Joe Browns coat (sizes 8-18 available).  I hope that those of you who don’t win will consider your next coat purchase more carefully, and just push the boundaries a little.

This coat has taught me a couple of valuable lessons, and made me think through a lot about Mummy Blogging in general.  I have been getting a Joe Browns catalogue for a while, but had never bought anything as I’d been waiting until my weight loss stabilised.  Then I fell in love with their coats and cheekily tweeted did anyone fancy giving me one.  To my surprise I got a reply from the lovely ‘Best British Bloggers‘ – OMG!  So this definitely proves that if you don’t ask you don’t get, and over the last couple of months I’ve been thinking more about my blog and what I would ask for it to achieve and do.

Ironically at the same time a big (rather typical) argument kicked off in the mummy blogging world, with people accusing other bloggers of being blaggers, blah blah blah.  I wrote a post about how important it is to realise that we are all blaggers in our own way, somewhere or other, and that it’s important to not ignore it but ‘use your blagging for good’.  Some people really got it.  Others didn’t, they just wanted to be sure that no one ever considered them a blagger, and didn’t see that I was saying that as long as you are giving a fair deal to your readers, the PR, the company and yourself, then blagging is a really useful quality to use sometimes.

Was it cheeky of me to ask for a Joe Browns coat; yes, thats why I consider myself a ‘blagger’.  But was it without fair reason? I don’t think so.  I’ve been blogging since 2009, I’ve won a national UK blogging award, my stats are above average, I’ve put in the hours and the posts.  Although they offered me the coat, I quickly decided that it was fairer for them to give it away as a competition because they will get more views that way.  Luckily for me they then sent me a top, which is gorgeous.  Which is especially lucky as with the Big Northern Hubby being made redundant I wasn’t going to be able to buy myself my promised stash of Joe Browns stuff.

Expect a lot more ‘blagging’ from me over the next couple of months, because the practicalities are that I need to change my priorities, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be still getting great posts.  My book is out there and written now (only 99p remember, and you can read it on a computer, phone, iPad or Kindle!).  Now I need to cover my fixed costs, my variable costs and the cost of childcare, and that is not a small number.  If I can’t cover the cost, I won’t blog; end of.  Luckily for me, the mummy blogging world is also full of very kind women who have come to my aid over the last couple of weeks and taught me so much.  So my chances of bringing in some money have improved massively; thank you so much ladies!

Back to the competition.  I’m using one of those cute Rafflecopter widgets.  You have to enter a comment, and then click the button to say that you’ve done it.  I’d like a comment about the worst or best coat you’ve ever worn, or why you love Joe Browns stuff please.  You can then increase your entries if you wish by liking Facebook pages and following on twitter etc.

The closing date is Thursday Dec 15th at midnight – any entries after then will not count – and the results will be released first thing on Friday 16th.  I will need your address really quickly, to make sure that your coat is sent out on the 16th or 19th of December.


Blogs

I’m a Blogger Blagger, fancy joining me?

So loads of people have been commenting about whether bloggers in general are blaggers, or whether it’s just the new ones, just mummy bloggers or just a small group or large group of them.

Then there was a particular incident where a ‘Real Mum’ (how self-righteous is that title) decided to have a go at a Mum who had missed a problem her daughter had.  Us bloggers tend to cover our embarrassment and shame with humour, and ‘Real Mum’ didn’t understand the psychology of it, so just decided to lay into the Mum.  Of course what this does is create a scenario where loads of people come to rescue the ‘victim’ and it all escalates.  Included in this conversation was an attack on the ‘new bloggers’, blah blah blah.

It’s a pretty typical Mummy Blogger rant about how some people are better than others etc etc.

Officially a blagger is basically a scrounger.  The feeling is that they ask for too much for free, and they are a pain wasting people’s time.  There is a sense that they are asking for too much and not giving in return and with no discernment.  There is that feeling that they are asking for something that they probably don’t deserve or haven’t earn’t.

So let me set a few things straight.

  1. We are ALL blaggers somewhere in our lives.  If you aren’t blagging on your blog, you are doing it somewhere else, it just might be somewhere more socially acceptable or subtle.
  2. It’s always wise to aim for a fair deal where anything is concerned, and in this case that the PR, company with a product, blogger and reader wins.  It’salways going to catch up with people if they don’t follow this rule, and you don’t have to do anything in order to make sure of it.
  3. It’s crazy in a recession to be self-righteous about earning money or being valued for your time as an entertainer/writer/blogger.  It’s not bad to get something in return as well as the enjoyment of writing.
  4. You don’t get much unless you ask.  Just because you aren’t tweeting, doesn’t mean you aren’t asking.  If you are on any kind of blogging list or using any kind of SEO you are basically putting yourself out there to be found.

So I’m going to confess.  I’M A BLAGGER.

I’m not of the old school, my blog was started in 2009.  So I’m also not of the new school of Mummy blogs.  I have some street cred blogging wise, but there are people who get thousands more hits a month than me.  But I’ve definitely blagged.  There are also times in my life where I didn’t blag.

How can I say that everyone has blagged?  Be open minded for a minute and look back over your life.  Did you ever blag clothes, food, money or stuff from your parents?  Did you ever blag to get a job?  Did you ever blag to keep a job?  Have you ever asked your kids to do something, go somewhere or get ready for bed/dinner/bathtime without really offering something in return?  Have you ever pretended that you were in complete control of the situation with your kids, but weren’t really?  Have you ever asked your husband to buy you something that was probably too expensive, but you ‘really needed those shoes/handbag’.  Did you ever cover up a haircut?  In the case of anonymous bloggers, isn’t there a sense of them pretending to be someone?  In fact don’t all of us do that a bit, as most of us have rules about what we don’t blog about.  Have you ever pestered someone to get something done, at work or at home?  Rather than think that you have never done it, just look for where you did.

Here are some examples from me:

I failed at blagging when it comes to money, rent free living, car etc from my parents, whereas my brothers got all that stuff.  But I did come out of it more independent and financially stable, so it worked for me long term.

I totally blagged my first job, it was a recession, I’d just graduated and I phoned up a company for a consultancy job I didn’t have the experience for.  Someone told me a week ago that they heard me as a 20yr old saying ‘You’ve got to interview me, because otherwise you’ll miss out on a really hard worker’; what a cheek!  I feel that my 13 yrs in IT was a blag.  I might have become a ‘global technical specialist’, but it was actually because I did work hard, and not because I was a techie at heart.

As a blogger I blagged the most amazing competition prize from The Wagon company, and in return I got nearly 600 reads of my post, The Wagon company got more hits, more learning about social media and some great contacts, and one of the 126 people who applied for it got £180 worth of Red Radio Flyer.  I count it as a blag as I hadn’t done a competition before, and suggested it to the company after they approached me to use a picture of my daughter in our wagon.  Plus I was really lucky that I had a relationship with some family festivals who were happy to let me mention it on their walls, so I got lots of mentions.

I don’t do many reviews, normally it’s of stuff I’ve bought already.  Mainly because I do them on a whim and can’t be bothered for a few pounds.  So I’m not just a blagger, but I’m an expensive disorganised blagger.  I can’t really be self-righteous about the fact that I don’t accept many of the offers I get, or that I don’t take free stuff from events, because I’m just a choosey blagger, that’s all.  Plus, if I was more organised, I’m sure that I could review products that I need and it would work out for everyone.  It’s a bit like the fact that there are people who earn a living from competitions, and one of the reasons is that loads of us don’t enter competitions because we don’t think we will win.  They don’t win all of them, but they enter so many that it works out to be viable.

I have just blagged an £89 gorgeous coat for my readers (watch this space, because it’s going to be in a competition in a couple of weeks).  To be honest the lovely ‘Best British Bloggers‘ offered to connect me, after I cheekily tweeted that I loved Joe Brown’s stuff, and had lost weight and couldn’t afford to buy a new coat, so did anyone know how to contact them.  This is still true, however in the rules of wiseness that I mentioned above I’ve now suggested to them that we might all gain more fairly if I do a competition (sob sob, shiver shiver).  So they agreed, and have kindly thrown in a consolation prize of a top for me to review.  It’s totally a blag according to the rules of the game, because I tweeted the company name and was there anyone who could get me a free coat.  No I haven’t done many such tweets, part from a blog post about how much I love IKEA, which didn’t work.  However, it was really cheeky considering the price of the coat, and although it will work with one of the themes of my blog, there are people out there with more hits that might work better for the company.

My blagging is going really well because of the MADs win.  Someone with three times my readership asked me to write a guest post about being a successful blogger, and I agreed.  I decided that if that’s the way people wanted to see it I wasn’t going to argue with them, even though it was really only down to a very beautiful glass ornament.  In reality I blagged the glass ornament by asking my readers to vote for me, several times, and maybe a few more times, and did a silly video.  Because of the blag that got me a MADS win, I’ve won a Netbook, which I’m seriously considering giving away as a competition prize to my readers because of the wiseness rule I mentioned above and because I’m about to ask for something else from my readers.  You see; another blag.

Stop worrying about other people blagging, it’s a waste of energy.  It’s a phase, people will grow out of it.  Things will change.  New ways of blagging/PR requesting/making relationships with companies will come and go.  Yes, it puts us into disrepute, but the media will always find a new way to have a go at Mums or bloggers anyway.  There will aways be blaggers.  We will all blag free stuff somewhere in our lives.  Blagging will continue.  It has it’s uses.  When misused it backfires.

What’s most important is that we are all MUMMY bloggers (i.e. Mums who blog, please don’t get all het up about the fact that you happen to be a Mum and a blogger and that I’m not distinguishing between them).  So we are all MUMS.  What this world needs is stronger MUMS.  It needs MUMS who stand together despite their differences and say that we are a force to be reckoned with.  Mums are where everything starts.  It’s where the family starts and that’s where society grows from.  We are REALLY important.

Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we don’t have much clout out there in society.  They don’t value us much, we don’t get the pick of the resources from the governments, and the media totally enjoys taking a hit at us.  So what do we do.  Do we give other Mums the benefit of the doubt, imagining that we might do the same if we were standing in their shoes?  No, we slag each other off.  No I don’t imagine that we can stop being judgemental, just maybe that we could stop being judgmental of Mums.

I’m not suggesting we stop disagreeing either.  It’s just that there is disagreeing, and there is trying to make sure the other person knows you are right.  There is discussion and there is bullying.  There is open and interesting exchanging of views and there is ridiculous mud throwing.  There is politeness and there is the use of inflammatory words that will piss people off and upset them.  There will always be mistakes in communication.  The key is to own up when we piss people off and not keep trying to defend out ‘rightness’ in making it look like we were criticising someone.  It’s about being secure in the knowledge that we are all different and that is OK.

My final blag is that I’ve written a book.  Some people think this is amazing to have been able to write a book.  To be honest it feels like another blag to me as it is a Kindle book, and I love to write, infact I’ve got another 10 books sitting in my head.  But I know that my intentions are true, even if it is a blag.  This blag could help a pile of Mums who are overwhelmed to get less stressed and enjoy being a Mum more.  It could bring back the sparkle to their lives.  So it’s a blag worth doing.  Oh and it’s a blag that will be out next week, and following that on other ebook readers, and then paper back.  Oh and it’s a blag that will only cost 99p, so it’s a no brainer as far as far as I reckon it.

So I’m all sorts of things that make people cringe.  I’m a Mummy.  I’m a Mummy Blogger.  I’m a Blagger.  I’m judgemental, but I’m trying my hardest to stand in the shoes of other Mums and give them the benefit of the doubt.  I make mistakes, but try to own up to them and not get defensive.

You are also all of those things, but are you aware of it?  Or are you spending too much time in your neighbours business?  Or are you interested in making a change, using your blaggness for good?

I’ve got a plan for 2012.  It’s a HUGE blag.  It’s to do with getting Mums together, and showing how powerful and important we are.  It’s going to encourage Mums to proudly stand together in their differences (not against Dads, or none Mums, just together).  I need some fellow blaggers …. let me know if you can blag enough to make a big enough difference.  I need blaggers with influence, blaggers with something inspiring to say, and blaggers with connections.  I’d like to connect to other blaggers also interested in the same issue too.  I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, more combine a pile of wheels into a juggernaut for change.  I’m not going to explain how/why/what yet, it’s a secret for a little longer, but if you are interested let me know and we can start the ideas growing.