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Cybher – The Mum’s the Word Run Down Pt. 2

So, this is the second part of my Cybher debrief and the last post ended just before lunch…

Sian To, interviewing Zoe Margolis.

Lunch was…well, how do I put this? I found the food to be pretty mediocre. Some bland sandwiches, crisps in jars and not much else. The sandwiches were okay but  they didn’t seem all that fresh and I was all that keen on eating crisps out of a jar that literally hundreds of other people had put their hand in. I know it’s not about the food, but I had hoped for better, given the price of the ticket. 

During lunch, I had a mill about, got myself measured by the ladies at Freya and spoke to some people, as well as getting a sneaky peek at the rooms of the hotel, thanks to the lovely Laura (The Mummy Life), who let me use her loo and charge my phone! We were late down to the next sessions, which wasn’t too much of a problem as I wasn’t that into any of the sessions on offer straight after lunch. We went back into the main room and did a bit more milling (as well as me, furiously picking the brain of Jax, who is my new guru, about homeschooling!

I noticed, at various points throughout the day that the atmosphere at Cybher seemed very subdued compared to the atmosphere at last years Cybermummy and I do have a theory about why this was. Last year, from the moment we arrived, we had dozens of brands, vying for our attention, giving away freebies. People (myself included, to an extent) seemed to go into a bit of a frenzy for seeing how much loot they could collect, most of us had to decant things into smaller bags or leave things with the coat check to enable us to carry on. I also know several people who went to barely any sessions because they were too busy being courted by PRs.

This is by no means a criticism of either CybHer or the attendees, I would hazard a guess that Sian’s exact intention was to strip away the commercial maelstrom of last year and focus on content, which I admire greatly, but it did seem to affect the atmosphere. The content of the sessions was a vast improvement over last year but people didn’t seem as excited as they did at Cybermummy. Everyone loves a freebie, I guess.

As I said, I managed to miss the session straight after lunch, but for session 4 I attended ‘Is There a Book in Your Blog?’, which I found really informative, I love hearing about Violet Fenn’s site and thinking about niche writing. The final session was ‘Revamp Your Blog for Under £50’ with Peggy Poyser, which I think was my favourite session of all (did anyone else find it really cute they way she said about three sentences then said “Oh, I’m French, by the way. That’s what the accent is”!). Peggy gave us some brilliant tips and I think I’ve thought about the content of her session the most since the day, spending ages looking at complimentary colour swatches and background patterns!

All in all, I’m glad I went to Cybher, it was a great day which had far more positives than negatives and the whole Cybher team did an amazing job. When I got home, I told Husband that I probably wouldn’t be going to any more blogging conferences, as I didn’t think I had anything more that I could get from them…until I got my hands on a ticket for BlogCamp London that is!

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Cybher – The Mum’s the Word Run Down Pt. 1

“Muuuummy, come and fiiiiind meeee”

That’s how I was woken up on Saturday morning, and thank goodness for Sausage because my alarm on my iPhone failed to go off for some unknown reason, which meant that my planned 6am rising became a 7.20am rising…and my train was due at 7.58am. Somehow (and it must’ve been magic or a fold in the space-time continuum) I managed to shower, wash, dry and straighten my hair, get dressed and to the station in a cab in time to get the right train! Actually, sod magic, I deserve some credit here; the reason it was so easy to get ready is that I was organised to the nth degree and had my bag packed, clothes laid out and shoes by the front door. I threw my make-up into my handbag and did it on the train.

The train journey was uneventful (except when “I Don’t Smoke The Reefer” came on my iPod and made me laugh out loud, like a mad woman, in a packed carriage) and I watched Twitter and Facebook as the excitement built amongst the blogging community. Because Sian had the genius idea to hold Cybher so centrally, I only had two tube changes and my travel was super easy. Once I got out of Charing Cross station, it was just a short walk to the venue and I didn’t get lost once, quite an achievement for me in London!

The venue was beautiful, a mixture of old-fashioned glamour and modern clean lines, it oozed class. We queued to get in and lots of bloggers were moving up and down the line, recognising each other from their pictures online. Once we checked in, we got to choose our very own Cybher branded leather satchel, which is probably the best free gift I’ve ever got at an event. The bags are so well made and utterly gorgeous.

The main ballroom is where the action began with the intro from Sian and then the panel discussion, which was informative and totally relevant to what’s going on. I saw a few tweets about people’s opinions of one of the panel speakers, who made it clear that blogging was a business and that it didn’t matter what the blog was about, as long as it was commercial. I think it highlighted the division in the blogging world, about what people want and expect from their blogs and really made me think about Mum’s the Word and where I want to take it.

The next talk was from Zoe Margolis, who is my new hero. I’m sure you’ve read about all of this on other blogs, but I found her really inspiring. The thing that struck me about her was that, even this many years after what happened to her at the hands of the press, you could still see a genuine sadness and vulnerability, however you could tell that she’s extremely strong and has real character, the combination of which makes for a very interesting and urbane person. I’d love to go to the pub with her and just have a chat, you know?!

We stuck around in the ballroom to hear Spark and Fuse with Di Coke talking about the laws and rules surrounding competitions and not only was the material (which had the potential to be quite dull and legislation-heavy) delivered brilliantly and I found every scrap of information useful in this session, I’m really glad I went.

During the next session, I attended Phillipa Davies’ talk ‘Blog to Book in 30 Days with WordPress’, which was great but not what I thought it would be. Phillipa was so charismatic and natural, I could have listened to he for hours and her anecdotal style was very comfortable to watch.

I have to say, I heard several people say that the sessions were not very clearly titled. Two people I spoke to ended up in the Digital Diaries session, which happened to revolve around having kids, though neither of them have children. I wonder how many other people ended up in sessions that were unsuitable, because of lack of clarity?

To be continued….

Knowing Myself (Or ‘Help Me, PLEASE!’)

After yesterdays session at Cybher with Peggy Poyser about revamping your blog for under £50, I’ve started with gusto to try and make my blog exactly what I want it to be. One of Peggy’s tips was to work out exactly what it is your blog should say to other people, then create a colour scheme to compliment it. (That was the general gist, she obviously put it a lot better than that…)

Great, brilliant, a point to start from.

Except, I can’t work out what the hell it is that I’m trying to say or who I even am.

Sure, I guess I could be called a mummy blogger, after all, I am a mummy and I am a blogger. But a pastel colour scheme with cute cartoons over it is so not me. I may not know myself but I do know I’m just not that… insipid. So if I’m not going from the mummy blogger angle, I need to look a bit deeper at what appeals to me.

Animal print.

If there’s one prevailing pattern that I tend to choose for bloody everything, it’s leopard print. I just love it. So a few days ago, Husband created me a banner for my site, complete with leopard print background and funky lettering. I loved it, but Husband made the very good point that ‘Mum’s the Word’ written over a furry leopard print background made my blog look a bit like a landing page for plushophiles (if you don’t know what that is and have to look it up, do so with caution and at a decent distance from children or relatives with a weak heart).

During the session, Peggy showed us a series of swatches of colour and asked us to identify what type of blog each swatch represented. We all got the answers right and Peggy’s point was perfectly made. But I don’t really know what my readers get from coming and reading my random musings? What is it you expect from Mum’s the Word? I’m asking for help here, people! If you have any ideas at all, let me know.  I have a Pinterest board set up for brainstorming and if you see anything that makes you think “Ooh, that’s so Jayne”, be it a colour, pattern, font – anything, tweet me, Email me, link me up on Facebook. Help me make Mum’s the Word a beautiful place to be!

What I’m Wearing to Cybher

Sian To, the lovely organiser of Cybher and blogger at Mummy-Tips has urged us all to share our outfits for Cybher with this link-up, so I tried to be all clever and use Polyvore or ShopStyle to create a look, but both websites appear to hate me, so I’m doing a simple collage instead. The look I’m going for is comfy and casual, with a few splashes of colour.

White Neppy Vest – Next It’s a damn sight more see through than it looks on the site though, so I’ll need to wear something underneath it!

Beige Chinos – Next I wanted something comfy and casual without resorting to my usual uniform of jeans

Pink Cardigan – Next As close to Cybher pink as I could find, though a lot darker in real life than it looks on the site

Birkenstocks – Amazon These are from the Papillio range, which is the usual super-comfy Birkenstock footbed but with uppers made of on-trend prints. I’m a sucker for anything animal print and Husband got masses of Brownie points when he randomly ordered these for me a few weeks ago!

Lego Heart Necklace – Etsy Again, a gift from Husband, I tend to wear this all the time, it’s like my comfort blanket. I’ve had so many compliments on this necklace and it’s so geeky and adorable, I just love it.

So, that’s me. I’ll no doubt be sporting my Cath Kidston bag that I got for Chrimbo as I tend to use that every day too. So now, if you’re at Cybher and you don’t recognise my face, you might recognise me from my outfit so come and say ‘Hi’!

Cybher Meet and Greet

In true ‘Jayne’ style, I left everything to the last minute (a bit like I did with Cybermummy, actually), but I finally managed to wangle a ticket to Cybher and with less than two weeks to go, I’m dreading working out what I’m going to wear super excited so I thought I’d get involved with all the Cybher meet and greets.

Name: Jayne Crammond

Blog: Mum’s the Word

Twitter ID: @jaynecrammond

Facebook: Mum’s the Word

Height: 5′ 4″. I used to be 5′ 3 1/2″, but I seem to have grown. 

Hair: About a million shades of blonde/mousey/gingery type colours and quite short (but long at the front as I have a football head and my face is too round to look any good with a crop. Which I would love, by the way)

Five things you should know about me: 

1. I have a lot to say about a lot of things. In fact, I talk quite a lot. A bit too much, in fact.

2. Despite the above fact, I’m actually quite shy and can take a while to open up. But once I do, the floodgates open and fact no.1 comes into play.

3. I’m a worry-wart. I worry about everything and I’ll probably spend the day of the conference in a state of high anxiety!

4. I’m a bit of a Monica. You know that episode of Friends where she goes to adult college and she’s up the front of the class with her hand up for all of the questions? That’s me. Don’t hate me for it, I can’t help it.

5. I’m not much of a drinker, in fact I very rarely drink alcohol, but I do tend to like anything that’s bad for me – so, er, all of the nice things in life!

How about you? You too can link up with the Cybher meet and greet here.

Cybher 2012