This weekend it was the 2015 MAD Blog Awards. It was a chance to get dolled up and party with some of my blogging besties and it was the most amazing 24 hours. The most amazing 24 hours because I only went and won Best Family Travel Blog. I couldn’t believe it and still can’t. I bumbled my way through my short (very short) acceptance speech but what I really should have said is “Thank you, thank you so much to each and every one of you that took the time to vote for this blog, you have made this blogger very very happy indeed.”
I love writing it. I spend more time than I should commenting on social media and updating the world about our family adventures, but it has given me so much enjoyment and I love the special moments it is giving to my three Mini Travellers who are the inspiration for everything I do.
So what did we get up to in those 24 hours.
I ran for a train at just after 9 and met the truly wonderful Julia from Rainbeaubelle on the train from the Wirral into Liverpool. We had decided to make a day of it in London and make the most of some kid free time to chat, eat and drink – basically the short summary of the weekend.
Apart from checking Twitter and Instagram throughout the journey to see what other bloggers were up to following the #madblogawards photos and updates, we literally did not pause for breath. I have known Julia for not quite a year but feel like I’ve known her forever and love spending time with her.
We made our way over to Earls Court when we got into London as the very kind people at CityBase Apartments were hosting us at the Collingham Apartments in Kensington for the night. We had every intention of spending the afternoon relaxing in the apartment, reading magazines, maybe even having a bath, just doing all those things you never get chance to do at home, but inevitably we decided to stop for lunch first, and a bottle of prosecco was ordered!
Caro from The Twinkle Diaries joined us in Zizi’s and once again we simply didn’t pause for breath. I love the new friends that blogging has brought into my life. Caro is another twin mum and was a finalist in the Best Home/Interiors Category. Caro is a fantastic designer, so why not pop over and have a look at the beautiful personalised book covers and papercuts she makes.
Sarah’s train got in slightly later, and after a quick wine (obviously) we made our way over to the apartment which was around a 5 minute walk from both Earl’s Court and Gloucester Road tube.
The apartment was in a beautiful part of Kensington in an old big house. The reception staff greeted us warmly and it was nice to see a bottle of wine and chocolates on the table (not just for us we saw loads waiting on the stairs for the other guests). The beauty of having an apartment for four friends to stay in, is the large lounge and fridge for the wine! We flopped on the couch for more gossiping and enjoyed the time to chat. I would definitely book an apartment like this when we come back to London with the kids, as having a separate room to eat and relax in when the kids have gone to bed makes for a much more relaxing stay than a hotel.
We suddenly realised that we needed to get ready as we had hair and make up booked at 4.30pm at the Royal Garden Hotel, the location for the awards! Thankfully the two bedroom apartment had two bathrooms as well, so we managed to get ready quickly (ish).
We took a short cab ride over to the Royal Garden Hotel and made our way to the basement to join a roomful of excited women all having their hair and make up done!
It was such a treat to not only have my hair done but have my make up done too. I don’t usually wear a lot of make up at all, but was persuaded to have a red lip by the lovely lady from The Powderpuff Girls and I loved it.
Over the next hour, more and more bloggers arrived in the make up room and I had chance to meet the lovely Emma, Katy, Ting, Cathy, Elfa and many many more. I always find at these events that you just don’t get time to chat to as many people as you’d like to, but it isn’t for the want of trying!
The event (read booze) kicked off at 6.30pm and the fizz flowed. There was a photo booth, a chance to have photos taken with various friends and a real opportunity to let our hair down. I caught up with Bon, Heledd and Jenny again (wonderful ladies) and met Katie for the first time (she was my dinner buddy) and she is just as fabulous in real life as she seems in her blog.
I also spent lots of time chatting to my fellow travel bloggers. It’s always lovely to see Nisbah from Five Adventurers and this time I got to meet Victoria from Globetotting and Nicola from GlobalMouse too.
Then came the awards, you can find out who won all the awards here, but I just couldn’t believe it when I heard my name being called out. Tottering to the stage in my too high heels from the table right at the back of the room, I mumbled some thanks. It was such an incredible feeling, as was returning on Sunday to this from my eldest and flowers from hubby! An incredible 24 hours! Thanks Tots and everyone who made the weekend what it was.