not just cupcakes
I went to Mumsnet Blogfest with my chum Melanie from Madame Guillotine. It was inspiring and knackering and the cupcakes were delicious (look, these things MATTER). And the goody bag had chocolate in and a Boden umbrella and a cookbook and a copy of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess so I was happy because pretty things and cupcakes are all I need to make my life complete, aren’t they?
Oh BUGGER off. There’s a lot more to me than cupcakes and gardening, but as a woman with a blog I am lumped in and labelled a mummy blogger. It’s lazy shorthand which I can’t bear – my friend the mummy barrister agrees, as does my friend the mummy investment banker. Jenny Lawson put it perfectly when talking on a panel on Saturday: ‘don’t call me mommy unless you came out of my vagina”. Just don’t.
There was a panel with Suzanne Moore, Cath Elliott, Professor Tanya Byron and Liz Fraser chaired by Eleanor Mills. One of the comments that had the whole room nodding was ‘some of the worst criticism of me as a woman comes from other women’. I was chatting to a new friend the other day who told me when she came out she was vilified for being too girly and not a proper lesbian. My daughter and stepdaughter are currently watching Mean Girls and Clueless on repeat as they teeter on the edge of adolescence. I want them to grow up generous of heart, supportive of other women’s choices, fighting for equality.
It made me inordinately happy to hear Caitlin Moran telling hundreds of women that her prediction for the world of writing was the end of snark. Let’s hope so. Choosing to write a blog can be seen as a massive egofest, but so can writing. But blogging can change the world, give a voice to women who might otherwise struggle alone, provide an income, lead to a career – or just be a chance to let off steam when you’re pissed off at the news.
So in the spirit of being nice about each other – take a look at this lot for some of my girl crushes.
My friend Jax at Making It Up – homeschooling mama to four, knows everything there is to know about the internet, is one of the top literature blogs in the UK.
Sophie Walker, author of Grace Under Pressure, a blog about Grace, her daughter who has Asperger Syndrome. This is something we’re juggling with, finally reaching a point where we are getting a diagnosis for the eldest.
The ridiculously gorgeous Helen’s first book is out in February. She’s a wine expert who spent years pre-children as international wine buyer for a major retailer. She writes the brilliant Knackered Mothers’ Wine Club. She is also funny, sweet and clever. And once you’ve read her blog, you’ll never reach for the bog standard wine again.
It was lovely to discover my fellow Lemonheads lover (report of our Evan Dando experience here) Sandy sitting at Mumsnet Blogfest and have a catch up – last time I saw her was before The Events of Last Year, as I think we should refer to all that stuff. Sandy is one of those people who radiate calm. I tend to radiate crumbs and fluff.
And I love Judith O’Reilly’s take on the conference. Judith inspired me to get off my bum and start freelancing after a chat we had a couple of years back.
Then there’s Cherry Menlove, lover of prosecco and in need of a twelve step programme to deal with her Annie Sloan paint habit. She’s taken her blog and got a book deal, writing work, and a brand new business at Picket Fence Baking. Proof if ever you needed it that a shrewd business brain and a love of cupcakes aren’t mutually exclusive.
Melanie is selling 1000 copies a month of her self-published novels, which are available through her blog Madame Guillotine.
I could go on, but my coffee’s gone cold and it’s time for the school run.
Don’t underestimate women who blog. We’ve got a lot to say, and we’re not going anywhere.