Since I’ve been back at work I’ve taken two holiday days. The first was for the MADs and as it was the second day back in the office I’m not really counting it. The second, that is therefore really the first, was Thursday.
I went to London and I went to Blogcamp Vibe.
On paper it sounds totally bonkers. Every day when I get up and go to work I leave a little (well quite a big) piece of me behind. My H, my best friend, manfully getting to grips with running the house and multitasking the children, my beautiful girls who are just so chatty and so much fun right now, and my darling Pip Squeak who despite being a whole 13 and a half months old is still very very much my baby. Surely if I was going use a precious day off it would be to spend more time with them.
But instead I got up, got on a train and went out for the day. And it was a good thing. Not just because Blogcamp was a lot of fun (which it was) but because sometimes I think it’s good to be selfish. Well sort of selfish; the sort of selfish that isn’t actually selfish at all.
Let me explain. As parents our families come first. Front and centre first, H, Kitty, Elma and Pip, and then because I have a full time job, that comes second, and when I was a stay at home Mum on maternity leave running the house came second; they’re both activities that contribute to the overall happiness of the family either in the income that buys more milk or making sure there’s actually milk in the fridge.
And Carie? Well she comes third. Blogging, writing, knitting, sewing, quilting, baking, photography, reading books in the bath and getting out into the great outdoors all have to fit around work and family in that elusive and largely non existent “me time” box.
I’m not trying to overturn the order, for me that’s how my priorities should generally look, but I think that if I’m too rigid, in a sort of “eat your peas before you have your pudding” kind of way, then I’m never going to get to the pudding, life will always take over and if I’m too relaxed and just wait for it to happen then again, life will take over. If we’re going to stretch the analogy to breaking point then I’m also in danger of losing enthusiasm for the peas (the job shaped ones anyway).
And that’s what I love about signing up to go to a blogging conference, or going on an Instameet, or taking a quilting workshop; it forces me to take that time that is for me, and I know it does me good.
Selfish because it is a whole day that’s just me me me but not really because I come back recharged, fired up and ready to dive back into life.
This is the first Blogcamp that I’ve been to that wasn’t in Birmingham, and the first that had a bit of a theme beyond just ‘Blogging is Awesome’. It had quite a different feel to it even to previous Blogcamps, and it worked really well.
Every single session was thought provoking, interesting and sparked ideas and inspiration, especially the ones that would seem the least relevant. I’m unlikely to ever want to manufacture and sell a product, but hearing how the mifold booster seat went from canvas and karabiner prototype to something very clever and slick that’s actually selling was fascinating, and the same is true about hearing how Roco Runs got started, or 24Me, or Zeek, or just Vibe Israel itself. Hearing people who love what they do tell their story always helps me to remember why I’m passionate about the things that I do and the plans I’ve got for the future.
And because Blogcamp was a much smaller group than the might of BritMums or Blogtacular it meant that the sessions could easily open up into more of a group conversation. The session on blogging as a business, which I think was largely billed as being about accounting, turned into a great conversation about different styles of blogging, different ways in which people earn money, and sparked a whole heap of thoughts and conversations that spilled over into the tea break.
But lovelier than that, lovelier even than Lucy’s session on Instagram (which was as brilliant as you would expect), was spending time with people who I usually only get to see at the other end of a computer screen and putting faces to the names that pop up in my Instagram and Twitter feeds. I discussed the merits of savoury breakfast muffins or lack thereof with Katy, realise just how cute the combination of little girl and Shetland pony can be in talking to Aby, and to catch up with Amber, and Chloe and Bex and meet the very adorable Baby Finn, who gurgled most obligingly while his ‘aunties’ Amber and Carie tried to entertain him with funny faces and peekaboo.
So thank you Tots100 and Vibe Israel for a much needed and very awesome day out.
And to Pip, who still gave me cuddles when I came home.