I've been wanting to write all week about my brilliant night out at the MAD Blog Awards last Friday evening, but I kept getting distracted by captivating posts that other people have been writing instead. More on that another time (if I get chance!) so let me kick off this post with a picture:
I teased my Facebook friends this week with the above picture, and I'm sure they're all dying to know why I thought it would be a good idea to have a go on a Surf Simulator after a glass or two of wine, whilst wearing a floaty dress. So am I. It's a wonder I didn't end up in A&E. Possibly the less said about that the better then...
The MAD Blog Awards have been set up by the amazing Sally over at Tots100, to celebrate the best of the best of the blogging world (you can see who they are by clicking here). I wasn't invited originally (ahem) as I wasn't even nominated *makes mental note to send out begging emails next time around* but I was thrilled when I saw a competition pop up the week before on Twitter for the chance to win tickets to attend, and ecstatic when I found out I'd actually won one! Cue a mad panic to try and get some childcare sorted (thanks muchly Alex and Matt), more mad panic to find a dress that fitted from the back of my wardrobe, and then I found myself nervously (and in a mad rush as usual) boarding a train to that there London.
The lovely Anne from Raisie Bay, who was one of those important finalists, had very kindly offered to let me be her Roomie for the evening, and I almost didn't know what to do with myself, being allowed to escape and stay over on the same night! It was lovely to meet Anne as I've read her blog lots myself - and I soon realised I was with a 'big' blogger (and she's quite tall too) when the receptionist at the Premier Inn, in his very fetching Onesie, let her know he'd read her blog before!
We took a cab over to the posh London Hotel where the awards dinner was being held, and pretty soon after arriving we started to bump into lots of other bloggers. I was so happy to finally meet Marilyn from Soft Thistle as I've followed her blog (she says 'stalked', but I don't think she was really scared of me...) for a long while as we have a few things in common. She is of course just as gorgeous in real life as she sounds on her blog.
The first glass of bubbly was much needed (thanks Sally!) to calm the excited nerves and then I probably started to embarrass myself by going 'oh, it's you, I love your blog!' a lot to people like Ruth who blogs at Geek Mummy, and Fiona from Coombe Mill and the gorgeous Vic Welton from Verily Victoria Vocalises.
My table for dinner was clearly full of greatness, as we had 3 award winners on the night sitting with us; Merry from Patch of Puddles, Emma from Crazy With Twins, Anna from The Imagination Tree, and the winner of the Outstanding Blogger of the Year Award, Jennie from Edspire, who has blogged emotionally through the unbearable sad year following her baby girl's death, to SIDS. I think we all wished we could hug the pain away.
There was not a dry eye in the house as all the Outstanding Bloggers were invited up onto stage to collect awards, and we watched in awe at the clip which had been put together showing what their blogs, and love, can do. They are all truly inspirational ladies who have done so much already to raise awareness and help others, and I aspire to be like them.
I barely bumped into the fabulous bloggers I had met in person previously (Mich from Mummy From The Heart, Hayley from Downs Side Up, Annie from Mammasaurus and Helen from Actually Mummy) all evening, as there were so many other fabulous ladies (and Kip Hakes in his shiny suit) in the way! Jo from My Monkeys Don't Sit Still and Sarah from Working Berlin Mum were lovely to chat to over dinner. In fact I thoroughly enjoyed talking to everyone all evening, especially a very talkative Tired Mummy of Two and the very special Lil from Style Me Sunday. Bloggers are brilliant!
The highlight of my evening pre-awards had to be getting a photo taken with Dr.Ranj. He is a 'real' paediatrician who presents a fab CBeebies show called Get Well Soon, which just happens to be one of Sasha's favourites (verrucas, head lice and tummy upsets are all repeatedly-watched episodes).
Sasha was so chuffed to see the photo of me with him the next day, and did say wistfully she wished she could have been there... Dr Ranj did the whole presenting stint for the evening and he was so smiley and gorgeous up close - he definitely gets top marks from me for having a go on the dreaded Surf machine! Not that he lasted much longer than me, but his fall was definitely with a lot more style and panache....
The highlight after the Awards Dinner (not counting my spectacular Surfing experience...) was Mr.Mozzarella. I'm so gutted I didn't video him as he had me in stitches, but I have found a little clip to show you the man in action. You probably had to be there though.
So it's a massive thanks to Sally and helpers, and Parentdish, and Dr.Ranj, and to all the other bloggers there. I was so happy to have been a part of it! Fingers crossed (very tightly) for next year....