The 2015 MAD Blog Awards took place last Friday. Wow, what an incredible night – where to start?
There were tens of thousands of nominations and votes submitted…and I was hugely honoured to be a finalist in two categories, Best Writer and Outstanding Contribution.
My day started with a trip to the hairdressers’ for a root touch up and the creation of this really pretty hairstyle.
Gladrags were donned, make-up was applied and I was ready to get on the train to London.
I was pleased to bump into Ting shortly after arriving at the swanky Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington and with Cathy we got the evening off to a good start with a G&T in the bar.
Next stop was a make-up and hair touch-up by the wonderful PowderPuff Girls (generously laid on for free!). I was chuffed that my lovely PowderPuff girl complimented me on my eye make-up, but I’m not very good at a base: she made my complexion look like it had been airbrushed it was so flawless, and added a bright pink lip.
The drinks reception (with Prosecco!) was great fun. Judging from other people’s photos I missed loads of things during the reception – too busy chatting! It was wonderful to meet and chat with Louise, Amber, Kate, Julia, Emily-Jane, Susanne, Heledd, Emma, Emma, Lucy, Jenny, Steph, and so many others. There is never enough time to spend as long chatting to people as you want, and unfortunately there are always people you don’t get around to saying hi to.
Dinner was delicious: goats’ cheese pannacotta; chicken risotto; and chocolate fondant (I didn’t take any photos, but there are zillions that other people took if you really want to see!). There was free flowing wine (“Would you like to drink more, Madam?” “Um yes please!”) I chatted to the lovely ladies on my table – great fun Kirsty and Katie, and Lucy and Jasmine from Penguin who sponsored the Best Writer category.
I wasn’t expecting to win either category, and it’s just as well I didn’t because I was so convinced I wouldn’t win I hadn’t prepared anything to say. People had said such kind things about my writing and about Hugo I was already rather emotional, so not winning meant I avoided being a blithering idiot on stage!
Huge congratulations to Hayley for her very deserved win in the Outstanding Contribution category. I have admired Hayley since I started blogging about Hugo’s Legacy and always hope to emulate her passion that is always conveyed in a constructive, respectful, and inclusive manner – and I remain amazed she knows who I am!
Inviting all the finalists to the stage was a lovely touch, as was giving us all a trophy. Each of us works hard to help improve the lives of others through our blogs and actions.
Congratulations to the Unmumsymum for her win in the Best Writer category. I’m sorry I didn’t get an opportunity to say hello to Sarah.
I had an absolutely brilliant night – it was laid back, friendly, good-humoured, and so much fun. Sadly it had to end and I picked up my fabulous (and unexpected!) goody bag. Kate, Jess (it was lovely to have a proper chat with her) and I got a cab back to the mainline stations of north London to make our respective journeys home.
Those of a (in)sensitive disposition might like to reach for a sick bucket now…because at the end of the night I felt like a winner, despite not winning either of the categories I was a finalist in.
I had been in London the day before the awards at a baby loss conference organised by the Royal College of Midwives, SANDS, and Bliss. Health professionals approached me during the breaks saying they read my blog, and that it helps them better support families they work with. When I started writing my blog, it was one of my main aims and I am so very proud people know about Hugo.
Another of my main aims was for people in general to know about HELLP syndrome. It really has surpassed my greatest expectations.
Through my blog I have met wonderful people who I am proud to call my friends, people who are comfortable talking about Hugo. Friday in particular gave me a lovely night out in a pretty dress, having fun with fabulous people, echoing Becky’s beautiful speech about friendships being the best part of blogging. The fact I felt able to let my hair down and enjoy myself was a really important step for me – on many previous occasions I have resented the fact I wasn’t home with my baby Hugo being a ‘normal’ mum.
That resentment is never going to completely disappear, not really. But with time has come a greater acceptance that there is nothing I can do about it.
My boy has made an outstanding contribution to the world, achieving more and providing more inspiration than many people do over the course of a long lifetime. The trophy is for him.
I also feel I am a winner for very serious reasons. HELLP syndrome could have taken my life, too. The emotional impact of Hugo’s death nearly led to me not being here, too. I am a winner because I am still living despite everything the past 18 months has thrown at me. With exceptions, I am thriving.
On a not-so-serious note, I felt a winner when I arrived home in the early hours of Sunday morning because my new shoes hadn’t rubbed, and I remembered to take out my contacts before going to sleep. Yay!
A huge thank you to the Tots100 team for a fabulous night.