Archive for the ‘Events’ category

In Portland soon

10 October 2015, in Events | 2 comments »

Next month I’ll be speaking at View Source Conference. I’ve never visited Portland, or spoken at a Mozilla event for that matter, so when I was invited I jumped at the opportunity, and I can’t wait!

My session will be focused on how to go about planning and working on a responsive retroffiting project when you’re super busy and can’t start from scratch. This was a big challenge for us when we decided to convert the fixed-width into a mobile-first, responsive site, so my hope is that some of the things we learned in the process, the hard way, can be useful to other teams going through the same job.

If you’re interested in attending the event, you can grab a ticket now. And bring your questions along, I’d love to discuss this topic with other people, get some insights into how other teams work and learn a few things myself.

My husband and son are coming along, so we’ll have a few days before the conference to explore the city — any recommendations on where to go, stuff to do, where to eat, where to drink, coffee shops, weather, etc., would be greatly appreciated. We’re thinking of renting a cargo bike for a couple of days, so we’ll be relatively mobile…

It’s also our first time in the US for Halloween — although it’s not my favourite holiday, it’s going to be exciting. We have a toddler we can dress up as we please, so any costume ideas would be most welcome.

Edward Scissorhands scars by mgibson3. This is not my son

386 days later: returning to work after maternity leave

7 October 2015, in Events, Life, Miscellaneous | Add a comment »

On August 19th this year I returned to work after being on maternity leave for over a year.

It didn’t feel weird. I think I was lucky: I knew my team was looking forward to my return; I knew I’d have plenty of things to catch up on but I also knew the ropes. Things change in one year, but a lot of things stay the same.

I wasn’t scared, or sad. On the 18th, I mostly worried I’d forget I had to go to work the following day.

My son was (and is) at a stage where he moves about a lot, but needs constant supervision, distractions, things to play with. It’s important for me that he meets other babies and broadens the number of people he knows. I felt excited for both of us. And particularly excited that it was up to my husband, and not me, to do the settling in at his new daycare — that wasn’t so easy.

Looking back

I had big plans for my maternity leave, most of which I didn’t follow through.

Firstly, the three weeks I had planned to hand over my work vaporised when my son decided to be born 6 weeks prematurely: no hand over document, no final catch ups, no farewell lunches. Also, no time to even get a hospital bag ready, or make those final purchases you won’t have time (or brain) to think about once you’re handed a newborn.

I decided eventually to put my Open University Creative Writing module on hold until the following year. They make you write. A lot. Every day. Several times a day. I would wake up every morning already feeling frustrated that I wouldn’t be able to do my module work for that day. I hadn’t gotten out of bed and I was already procrastinating. (You’re supposed to write for a few minutes upon rising everyday… Yeah.) Just a few months before, I was debating whether I should sign up to two modules: I was going to be off work for a whole year, what else would I be doing, right?! But it felt good to quit. When I told my husband about my decision, it was like a dark cloud suddenly stopped hanging over my head.

I did somehow managed to complete a few Code School courses over the last few months. It felt good to learn something.

On top of things

I must confess I kept my work inbox clear — that’s how I roll. I’d frequently delete or archive emails I knew someone would have to deal with immediately, and kept the ones I thought might still be relevant when I’d come back — there weren’t many of those. If you wait long enough, requests have a tendency to go away.

For some reason, I received several invitations to speak at events during that year. When I was 6 months pregnant I spoke at Responsive Day Out. In May this year I spoke at Front-Trends, in Warsaw. Last month I spoke at London’s Generate and Oslo’s makingWeb. Next month I’ll be at View Source, in Portland. In January I’m going to Awwwards, in Amsterdam. And more.

It wasn’t super easy to prepare for these events, but the sense of accomplishment was, and is, great once you’re done.

Final words

I can hardly believe we’re now approaching Christmas 2015. I’m back at work, my son is in nursery, and my year off has come and gone. It was extraordinary to have had this time with him, and with my husband, when he could. And I’m also very happy to be back at work, and to settle into a new routine.

I find it interesting that I don’t see this topic mentioned amongst our industry (are we calling it ‘industry’ now?). I follow several parents on Twitter, Facebook, but rarely I see accounts of how being away for a few months or more has affected them (mums, dads, and other carers). I would like to know what other people’s experience has been. Did you keep in touch with work? Did you tune everything out? Did you cancel personal projects? Did you read a lot? Did you watch the news? Did you do freelance work? How did you pay the bills? I’d like to know everything and there’s so little out there that is specific to us.

Responsive Day Out 2

18 July 2014, in Events | Add a comment »

Last month I had the pleasure of speaking at Responsive Day Out 2, in Brighton.

My talk focused on the work that we’ve been doing at Canonical in the process of retrofitting our main site,, to be responsive. We thought it would be cool to share our process, as we had a feeling that, like us, many designers and developers don’t have the luxury of being able to start responsive projects from scratch.

We’ve written in detail about the project on the design blog, and hope to keep writing as we improve the site and learn new things.

You can listen to my presentation on Huffduffer:

And do listen to all the other speakers from this and last year.

The Mechanical Revolution, DIBI conference (video)

21 August 2011, in Events, Speaking | Add a comment »

Last June I gave a presentation at DIBI Web Conference, in Newcastle. For those who weren’t there, or couldn’t make it to the Design Track sessions, here’s the video.



6 November 2009, in Events | 17 comments »

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending Build Conference, in sunny Belfast. I don’t usually write posts on particular conferences, but here’s the exception to the rule, because it certainly deserves one.


How to give a more exciting presentation: a note to speakers

6 September 2009, in Events | 14 comments »

I’ve been part of the audience at web conferences a few times now. Some presentations are exciting and engaging but, most of the times, they tend to be quite underwhelming. I don’t think this is because the speakers are fundamentally bad, but there are a few things that can be done to make any presentation sound as exciting as a Lost season finale.


How to always enjoy a conference

4 May 2009, in Events | 22 comments »

I’ve recently been to my 3rd web conference: Future of Web Design, in London. You can’t say I’m a conference pro — I’ve never been to SXSW or something that big (or even workshops), but I think my experience may be helpful to those of you who’ve never attended a conference and are thinking of doing it in the future.