When you get asked if you’d like to represent The Dad Network in an International Influential Blogging Event in Paris! YOU SAY YES!
Having been an active member of the Dad Network for the last 6 months, the new manager of the National Local Meetups and a contributor to the website as a blogger it’s fair to say that I know TDN and I’m fully qualified to literally tell the world what being a Dad is all about!
With everything there’s always a sacrifice.
Three days away from my girls and some time out of work. This was the difficult bit as I’ve been away for one night but three nights was a real stretch. It also conspired that the dreaded Christmas bug that normally plagues our house at midnight on Christmas Eve was here on my departure! But being able to speak to companies and raising the profile of “Dad” my family completely understood the benefits of this event.
So despite misplacing my passport and finding it in the washing pile, I set off to Manchester ready to meet my fellow Mancunian bloggers ready to share some stories and questions about this event! I started the day with a beer and
I’m not going to lie, I still thought it was some kind of practical joke that I’d arrive in Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and there would be a banner with a picture of me on and a big “WAAAAAAAAAAAA” in house sized letters.
But thanks to Parole De Mamans my blushes were spared and we were met with a very friendly face and a minibus to transport a small part of the British blogging contingent to our 5 Star Hotel.
Upon arrival to the hotel, I was given a goodie bag with some makeup remover and some pampering goods.
Whilst I didn’t need the makeup remover unlike DadBlogUK following his speaking spot :), the shower essentials came in handy especially after travelling around a very traffic heavy Paris. It also meant that getting ready was an ease and I was nice and fresh for what was to come.
Our brief for the three days was a Gala on the Seine for our first night with a chance to get to know each other and the opportunity to take night time shots of the Eiffel Tower in all it’s glory.
There was then a chance to grab breakfast with a trip to the Le Spot Des e-fluent due followed by a number of opportunities to speak to international brands about The Dad Network.
Travelling down the Seine with a bunch of crazy bloggers is my kind of evening! Being able to freely take pictures of the meal, sharing tips and asking for support when needing that perfect shot. There isn’t another environment that you can do this. They understand why and don’t ask questions! I had some really in-depth parenting conversations and would like to believe that I made friends that night with people I intend on meeting again. One of them was our crazy mad translator who was just as out there as me but more fluent in French.
On day 2, after a very French trip through the Metro, I was standing in front of some of the largest brands across Europe, some which operate in the UK and others that would simply like to know more about what we do.
As a parenting conference, speaking to the various companies, I was very aware at the lack of Dad related products and marketing.
There was a lot of pink and even the odd “Mums” sign which as I’m not a vigilante Dad was an opportunity for me to speak to them, educate on The Dad Network and explain how there’s a need for representation.
One company above all was Baby Bjorn. With their large scale banners depicting a Dad carrying his child in a carrier, after an interview with the lovely Amelie, I was convinced that they truly felt equally representing Dads and Mums was important. With a Dad range due out in Q1 next year, either myself, or any of the 500 Dads that viewed the video, can’t wait for it’s arrival. I did ask about hip displacement issues and they’ve got it covered with zips that can lock in place.
There were brands including Kiddy with their high contracts chairs and car seats, Dyson looking to ensure that your environment is clean and purified and my personal favourite Babyzen with their stroller that can literally be put up in seconds! Have a look here:
Good shocked though. Their bottles and their unique shape, allow baby to drink from a bottle easily but they actually have a very unique way of supporting mum and breastfeeding! Very good.
Any opportunity available to Fly the Dad Flag was taken and conversations were shared Danone, Jardo which makes amazing wooden toys and Centre Parks who have been trying to get in contact with Dads to find out how they can support family holidays that appeal to all!
So the time quickly arrived for John Adams from DadBlogUK to perform his speaking spot about Brexit and how it’s going to be effecting the blogging stratosphere. Standing in front of some of the most popular international bloggers, John delivered a great speech using his knowledge as a journalist and it was actually hard hitting. Brexit can cause us to have some big issues!
I asked the panel what they thought about Brexit and there was a resounding disagreement with the UK’s decision to leave Europe.
Speaking to so many different companies about TDN, the overall message I got was that they’re always looking to see how they can appeal to the full parenting audience but haven’t really been able to get hold of us. We’re here now guys!
Having so many things to do, it got very tiring and after the talks we headed off for an internationally acknowledged delicacy. Beer!
And it was over the beer that we were then able to digest the contents of the day and the conversations that we’d had. Blogging in the UK has a reputation unlike anywhere else. The companies that we work with are in-tune with the writers that win awards for their blogs and how they can reach an entirely unique audience. I felt some of Europe was very much behind the times in that appreciation and actually us being there, gave some support to fellow bloggers.
I cannot express enough my appreciation of the other bloggers that shared the experiences with me. Being new to the blogging scene it was amazing how they took me in as one of their own. Asking for advice wasn’t an issue and they were all more than happy to lend a hand or offer up suggestions. Thank you everyone.
So on the final day I set out early, after breakfast of course, to take a walk around and capture some important pictures. Having walked around the corner I was just amazed at how close to the Louvre we were and was drawn in by it’s phenomenal pyramid structure.
Paris is a place I love, with a passion but it’s bloody expensive! It was before but with the price of the Euro fighting against the Pound this brunch cost me 20 euros, but at least the wifi almost worked :)