It's always nice to be beside the seaside but I much prefer Labour conference in Manchester. For one I get to see my kids and its always great for the nation's media to show up and showcase the city. As we gather in Brighton this week for Jeremy Corbyn's first conference as Labour leader I've had time to reflect on what a summer the Labour Party has had.
If you'd have told me a year ago I'd be Shadow Education Secretary in a Jeremy Corbyn led opposition shadow cabinet, I would not have believed you. As has been widely reported, I hadn’t even met Jeremy until recently.
The scale of Jeremy's victory and the mandate for change he has within the Labour Party is unquestionable. His campaign generated enthusiasm and a great deal of interest.
The membership of my own Constituency Labour Party has doubled since the election, with an equal number again registering as supporters. For any political party this renewed membership and interest can only be seen as a major advantage.
One of the big reasons for Jeremy's victory is that he offered a change from the old way of doing politics. This is something I very much welcome. His approach to the Labour Party's conference this week has reflected this with the theme being "straight talking, honest politics."
I was delighted to be offered the chance to become the Shadow Education Secretary. Education is a subject close to my heart. As a mum of children in Manchester schools I know what matters to parents.
While there may be some issues where even in the Shadow Cabinet and the Parliamentary Labour Party we have different views and perspectives I think its refreshing that we are putting those differences on the table for all to see. However, we all share the common Labour values of a decent standard of living for everyone, security at work, reducing inequalities and giving power and voice to those who don't always have it.
We shouldn't confuse debate for division though. We've now got a chance to look anew at the big challenges facing our country and our economy and public services and we should do that based on not just our common values but on proper analysis and evidence and in consultation with the public.
So for some this new way of doing politics will require major adjustment but this fresh approach is one that fills me with quite a lot of excitement.