Sunday, 11 November 2012

The best chicken recipe.

I am not going to latch, I think, or allow anyone to latch onto me. That’s rule number one of going to a conference where you don’t know a soul. And this is exactly where I am, let loose at the Mumsnet Blogfest on a Saturday morning at Altitude Millbank where key speakers include Miriam Gondalez Durantez, Zoe Williams and Tim Dowling and, wait for it, I can hardly believe it myself because this means I will actually be in the same room as this sexy, clever, witty woman, Caitlin Moran.

So I’m going to be cool. I’m going to observe "in manner of hot shot journalist," as Bridget Jones might say. Which is why when nice, blonde, slightly older lady, sitting next to me near the front row of the auditorium, strikes up a conversation, I am friendly but not too much.

This is like freshers' at uni. She might seem lovely but any minute she might attach herself like she’s my NBF and follow me to the toilets, saying thing like, “Shall we go grab lunch now?” before stalking me on Twitter.

I therefore answer her polite enquiries rather smugly with: “I’m a journalist,” (ha!) and then, “my blog is I Don’t Know How She Doesn’t Do It,” and then I ignore her.

I bet she’s impressed, I think, when I raise my hand and ask, in tremulous tones, what I later realise is a stupid, half-arsed question. If I’d read the programme properly I would have known they were going to cover the issue of blogging, privacy and children later.

Nice, blonde, slightly older lady, leans in to tell me her twelve year old daughter doesn’t mind being blogged about but that she is anonymous, which helps, and she changes the child’s name anyway. I read her lanyard, Eliza Gray, it says. I smile, patronisingly.

For the rest of the conference when I am not happily engaged either eating - there is loads of food and it’s all fabulous - or peeing, or pretending to need to pee so I can go in the loo and sit down and have a quiet five minutes to myself away from all the oestrogen, (actually, there’s probably rather more oestrogen in the loos), or staring out of the window at the view, I fiddle with my iPhone a LOT and constantly update my status on Facebook.

In this way I hope to look like an unflappable swan gliding serenely around, albeit in skin-tight tartan leggings, making clever notes, while beneath the surface my yellow gangly swan’s legs flap madly (stick with the metaphor here, I know it’s ropey), as I make hysterical comments on FB: “Miriam Gonzalez Durantez! Wow!” “Suzanne Moore!” “Eleanor Mills!” And my pièce de resistance: “Caitlin Moran!!!!!!!!!”

So I feel a bit of a prat when nice, blonde, slightly older lady turns out to be successful mum-blogger of '50 is the new black', and is up there under the lights on stage flirting with Tim Dowling during the closing session. Just think of the tips I could have got from nice, blonde slightly older lady. 

Never mind. There’s a great goody bag which includes Caitlin Moran’s new book and a Boden umbrella. Neither to be sniffed at. And now I can stalk her on Twitter.


P.S. If you’re wondering why I’ve called this, The Best Chicken Recipe it’s because it's one of the most googled phrases ever, according to blog clinic man. So here’s mine: brown onions, add garlic, bit of chili, whack in your chicken, brown it, add chopped peppers, lots of chicken stock, herbs, S&P, leave the lid off, add crème fraiche later if you want it to thicken.


  1. Thank you. I wish I could manage your level of honesty - I’m usually a self-conscious wreck, doubting and questioning myself at every turn. Thank God kicking yourself doesn’t count as self harm!

    I joined Mumsnet too late - missing out on blogfest. I did manage to get blog of the day a couple of days after I joined - a boost for my confidence/self esteem levels. (I’m a newbie writer - in brackets so it sounds like a whisper or an excuse, either will do.)

    I think women really appreciate it (when I say women I mean me) when women like you are brave enough to spill your thought stream. It's very welcome, very appreciated and refreshing. I also feel a little less of a loony because your thoughts are pretty much what my thoughts would have been. I wonder what Jung would have made of Mumsnet!

    Hope the comment helps and I promise not to stalk you (too much - maniacal laugh!)

    PS. I don't have a chicken recipe, I tend to rip out pages from the Sunday Times Style Magazine and put them in my 'file' then continue to make it up as I go along.

  2. Thanks for you lovely comment/s. Why are we women so often in need of that confidence boost/better self esteem that you mention? I was struck by something Suzanne Moore said at the conference, that we are too concerned with being liked - so true. We need more emotional resilience. I think it's a work in progress for a lot of us. Hope you get to go to the next Blogfest. It was great.

  3. I really your writing, it's just the kind of style that I really enjoy & makes me smile :)

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who goes to the loos just a little time out ;)

    Thanks so much for your comment over at mine, that's very nice of you. I didn't want to do a big ranty post about LJ, mainly because that's not my style & also because I can see, from some of her comments on Saturday and also from having read her writing for many years, that like there is a Sam Brick style, there is also a Liz Jones style, that's what she does.

    I didn't want to be as equally bitchy or mean or negative as her....I felt overwhelmingly disappointed that so much of the good stuff from Saturday was lost in what she said.

    But I totally get that Liz Jones sells papers & provokes reactions & that is what journalism is about. Mumsnet knew just what they were doing when they paid her to appear on their panel, Justine Roberts is a smart cookie. Great publicity for really :)

    I have heard quite a few bloggers saying that Saturday was more about writing than blogging....but actually I liked that about it, I found it fascinating & inspiring.

    Nice to find your blog :)

    1. Thanks re my writing. Yes, I thought it was more about writing too. Blogging is so often a tool for compulsive writers - like me! And nice to find your blog too!

  4. And my first line was meant to say " really LIKE your writing...". Just clarifying ;)

  5. Ha ha! Was I flirting with Tim Dowling? Well, hard not to! As co-conspirators on the fluffy side...
    Plus I thought the Best Chicken Recipe was a self-deprecating twist on being chicken at the conf! But will remember that tip and see how much more traffic I get.
    Interested to know if you get a right of reply in the DM...or indeed if I do, as have coincidentally done same!
    E x

  6. No, you weren't really flirting with Tim Dowling - but never let the truth get in the way of a good story, as they say. You were talking to him though, which made me jealous enough! LOVE that man, (well, I love his writing, which is almost the same thing). I wrote something for Femail only last week, which is meant to be going in on Thursday, so don't really want to push my own piece off its spot with a silly rant about silly old L J. They don't seem to be going for it anyway... Nice to have found you. E x

  7. Brilliant! But you've sent me into a mild panic. Is latching onto someone at a conference 'a thing'? I'm worried I may have been guilty of it in the past. Luckily, at Blogfest, I split my time between a couple of groups of bloggers I'd previously only met on Twitter, so hopefully neither felt I was following them around! :-)

    Alison @Notanothermummy

    1. No, I don't think it's a 'thing' it's just a way of making me feel better about being such a loser! Thanks for commenting. E x

  8. Ha Ha Ha Ha !! I had the same feeling when I realised I had been sitting next to Dr Tanya Byron !! I did think she was amazing looking and very confident as well as friendly when I finally clocked on - which was after she introduced herself on the mic !

    As for the Chicken Soup recipe, well I don't eat chicken, but someone clearly paid attention during the sessions on Search Engine Optimisation so well done. Of course I now realise that's what SEO stands for and not Senior Executive Officer as it does in the civil service.

    I didn't latch on or get latched onto, but did enjoy the cakes and freebies and am still suffering backache that I got from the weight of the goodie bag - all in all a worthy injury !

  9. Me too! Backache that is. Not just from goodie bag but from carrying my own bag around all day stuffed with laptop and make-up and god-knows-what, all of which I DID NOT NEED. Thanks for commenting. E x

  10. Yep, I carried my laptop around all day and needn't have (but was worried if I didn't take it I'd be the odd one out !) Time to start making loud noises about a tablet for Christmas I think :o)