I was not going to be late!
Leaving the kids at the school gate Farmer Nick and I left the countryside of Cornwall and headed for London; a four hour drive to mull over business plans, reflect on how the kids will manage alone and enjoy our day ahead. With a new tom tom to guide us and hours in hand I was not going to miss half the evening like last year. From the moment we arrived at the Royal Gardens Hotel I met so many familiar faces it instantly relaxed me and I knew I was in for a treat with the great MAD Blog Awards sponsored by Parent Dish.
Still undecided just hours before the event I had both my possible Boden dresses with me. There is only so much dress consideration a man can take so I packed Nick off to his sister in Fulham, and enjoyed a quiet hour deciding between two lovely dresses, accessories, rollers and nail polish before tottering down for my make up appointment with the delightful girls from Oriflame. I felt like a celebrity and everyone I bumped into looked wonderful and full of excitement for the night ahead.
Oh What a Night
It was a giggling, happy bubbly welcome over a welcome glass or two of fizz. The time disappeared in a flash as I snapped away on the camera, tweeted, instagramed and chatted to so many wonderful bloggers both familiar and new to me.
The main dining room was dazzling, dinner was delicious but I must have spent too much time talking as I always seemed to be eating when everyone else had long since finished.
Then the awards, I felt nervous and excited for everyone. It was wonderful to see the delight on the winning faces, but really there were no losers, all the finalists were winners in being there.
The outstanding contribution category was in a league of its own, bring together those who have really made a difference to parent blogging. The brilliant video of all the finalists left the room welling up with emotion; I was so pleased all the finalists were asked up to the front with the wonderful Edspire like first amongst equals which was just how that category should be. I have so much respect for all these bloggers.
A timely interval, a chance to dry eyes and a little crazy distraction with a wave machine. Well under the influence by this stage I was only too quick to follow the vivacious Mammasaurus onto the lethal board.
I'm not sure who grabbed my camera to take this photo but it makes me look much more competent than I was so thank you so much! Despite mouthing off about all the surfing I do with the kids in Cornwall I think I was the most hopeless one there. Regardless it was a great talking point, lightened the mood and brought out the competitive side in many. I'm afraid I was less complementary and took delight in capturing everyone at the point of falling off.
Back to the awards and I think I may have held my breath as my category Family Fun sponsored by TravelSupermarket.com was read out. I remember throwing a sort of *eek this is it* glance across the table at fellow finalist Emily of Family for Fun as the names were announced. Hearing Becky of Baby Budgeting pronounce "And the winner is" was like time on hold, or perhaps that was just my breath. Hearing "Coombe Mill" follow released such a plethora of emotions. I guess I remembered to exhale, as I managed to walk up and collect my award without passing out from sheer excitement.
aka The Evil Overlord surpassed her own high standards with the organisation, content and timing for the evening. The awards ran into comedy and fun with this crazy character giving everyone a giggle and setting the scene for the after party of more surfing, dancing, chatting, drinking and laughing.
Before I knew it I was one of the last left, the music was turned off and it was approaching 2am. I think I just wanted the magic to last forever; Sally I fear had seen enough of us all by then but still humoured me with a photo.
Are you kidding, up at 6am?
Saturday rolled around all too soon. We were the first at breakfast and no I didn't see anyone else there.
On the road at 7.15 my rock of a husband drove all the way. I had planned to snooze but was still too excited and tweeted the journey home. Before you think I've totally lost my marbles, I would have loved a lie in and a day in London, but we had left the children overnight with the responsibility of starting our busy Saturday holiday changeover for us. Arriving home before 11am we were delighted to find everything under control. They had checked out the guests, fed the animals and opened up reception for the cleaners and were busy stripping beds and sorting cots and highchairs. Hugs all round: them to me for winning and me to them for having everything under control at home.
My wonderful family of fun
A huge thank you for all who voted me into this amazing evening, to Sally Whittle and the team for producing undoubtedly the BEST MAD BLOG AWARDS EVER, to Boden for sponsoring my lovely dress from their autumn collection, Travel Supermarket for sponsoring the Family Fun Category and Parent Dish as event sponsors for the night.