It all started with an invite to the MAD Blog awards
Back in the Summer I was thrilled to discover that I was a finalist in the Family Fun and Small Business Categories for the Mums and Dads Blog Awards held in London. I was determined to attend the event and at the time it seemed like a great idea to make a family weekend trip to the 'Big Smoke'. As the time drew near I had my reservations. Planning all the business cover for our absence was tough and there is no getting away from the fact it is a long drag for the children from Cornwall to London. However with cousins desperate to meet up and family in Fulham and the East End it felt like a great idea to combine a visit with the awards.
The Awards Evening
The expert planning and preparation from Sally Whittle with help from and was faultless, or at least that's how it came across to me from emails before hand to sponsored outfits and even hair and make-up on the day if you chose, I felt like a show biz girl in the run up to the evening! Thank you ladies for making me feel special.
All dolled up I grabbed a quick photo with the family, before setting off full of nervous excitement in taxi "Farmer Nick" for The Radisson Edwardian in Bloomsbury Street. Nick had the Sat. Nav. programmed and three quarters of an hour to spare for the 5 mile journey from Fulham; what could go wrong? I had my lovely French Connection gold dress, Glamorous Ravel shoes and silk Ted Baker bag all courtesy of Littlewoods and felt a million dollars. Incidentally I have never before bought clothes on line, but found Littlewoods to have an amazing range and their delivery service first class.
Things didn't quite go to plan
We are Country bumpkins and despite living and working near London years ago had quite forgotten just how bad the traffic can be!
After about 20 minutes we were half a mile away and all seamed manageable, however after another half an hour we were totally lost, had completed 3 very slow laps of Piccadilly Circus and the Tom Tom was virtually thrown out of the window having clearly lost the plot, or Bloomsbury Street at least! Finally with nothing else for it at 7.20pm I clambered out of our bus in my beautiful but not sensible high heels into the throbbing bustle of central London and looked frantically around for a black cab while Farmer Nick disappeared off into the distance to try and find his way back to his sister in Fulham. At that moment I felt so silly and so alone it was all I could do not to cry. It took me another 10 minutes to find a black cab that would stop for me, only to be told he had just come from Bloomsbury, that the traffic was hideous (well I knew that bit) and he wasn't prepared to go back! I could have hugged the cabby who finally agreed to take me, it felt like an age, but we were in fact no more than 10 minutes away!
Back on track
I passed with some official forms and knew I was in the right place. The first person to catch my eye was Annie from , well she would be hard not to recognize! Everyone hugged me warmly when I introduced myself and me them, my 'almost' tears of frustration were now 'almost' tears of joy and relief! I had missed all the reception but at least made it in time to sit down for dinner and hopped up at every opportunity to meet and chat to fellow bloggers I had missed at the introductory drinks.
As well as some lovely bloggers, all of whom I knew virtually, my table had a surprise for me. Across the table from back here in our little Cornish village sat our neighbour's daughter! I don't know who was more surprised, I knew she was pursuing a successful marketing career in London but had no idea she was working for the MADs Awards sponsor Parentdish; it really is a small world!
The wine flowed, the meal was delicious and before I knew it we were into the awards.
I now have an inkling how the big celebrities feel at prestigious television and film awards, thank you MADs for creating that sensation for us too. It was wonderful having the categories and nominees read out and cheering all the finalists and winners. The shine, sparkle and glitter from the dresses knew no bounds, I may have felt silly stranded in Piccadilly but I felt right at home by now! Every winner looked so totally delighted and overcome I grinned with them all, had an inspired recording for us from her daughter for her winning speech while and Multiple Daddy brought a tear to every eye as they collected the well deserved award for Science Sparks, and Kerry's win for Family Fun, I surprised myself how truly happy I was for her even though it meant I hadn't won.
My Turn did come....
I had that "Oh my God it's me" heart flipping moment when my name was read out as winner for the Small Business Blog Award, I just remember wondering if I would pass out, my heart was pounding that fast as I thrust my camera at the lovely Becky from Baby Budgeting for a photo or two and wobbled through my wine head and my oh so beautiful high heels up to the stage. I hadn't prepared anything, thinking that would be unlucky and conceded and suddenly regretted it as babbled on about goodness knows what and needing the loo! I just remember falling into the arms of afterwards so happy! Thank you a million to everyone who spared me a vote, I believe it was very tight with the other great bloggers in the category, so every vote really did count. You all made my weekend for me. Thank you , , Mummy Whisperer and Kiddy Charts for the stiff competition, it could have been any one of us up there and of course thank you to Anywhere Working who sponsored the category.
More wine, more chat and more photos of increasing dubious quality:
With an amazing goody bag in my hand I made for a taxi home around one am. Thankfully it was an uneventful journey and nothing like the route we came in. I tip toed into the house expecting to find everyone asleep, but Clio was still awake and gave me a welcome warm hug as she excitedly inspected my award and rummaged through the goody bag. Poor Nick had to be woken up to hear of my evening whether he liked it or not!
I spent the rest of the weekend in a mad dash around London with the children and Nick; the highlight being seeing my sister in the Tate Modern, where she is working as a live piece of art. None of us understood the first thing but it was a great experience and so totally different to life on the farm in Cornwall!
We were all exhausted by Sunday night with travelling, visiting and late nights but on balance it was the right decision to go as a family, catch up with our London relatives and remind the children there is a whole big wide world beyond our farm; thank you MADs for creating the occasion.