Our Night At The UK Blog Awards!

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Friday 25th April 2014 was a big night for many bloggers across lots of different industries – it was the UK Blog Awards, and my blog, The Purple Pumpkin Blog was a finalist in the Individual Lifestyle category!

The awards ceremony was being held in a rather posh hotel – The Grange, St. Pauls, and I bought tickets for hubs and I to attend. We also treated ourselves to a nights stay in the hotel (review in another post!) and donned our glad rags (again, another post!) to join the other finalists and guests at the first UK Blog Awards!

We got to the hotel and checked in around 4pm – enough time to chill out in our room before getting ready and going down to The Wren Suite where the event was taking place. It was very exciting to see the huge column lit up telling everyone in the hotel about the awards, and I didn’t stop sharing everything about my experience across my social media – thanks to Instagram, I’m able to link it with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr and FourSquare – that’s killing 6 birds with one stone!!

It was exciting to receive an upgrade on our room which was gorgeous and had a view of St. Paul’s Cathedral too!

I was a mixture of excitement and nerves as the start time drew nearer, and thankfully there was a mini bar to help with those! I’m not much of a drinker, but a little tipple to calm me down did no harm!

Hubs hired a tuxedo from Couture Pour Homme in Hornchurch, Essex (the same place where we hired his wedding suit), I bought myself some new shoes, but wore one of my favourite black dresses (both from Evans) which I’ve had for many years! We took an obligatory mirror selfie before catching the lift all the way down (we were on the 7th floor, the ceremony was on the -2 floor!) to the UK Blog Awards 2014!

I do wish that there had been photographer to take photographs as we walked in past the huge banner, but hubs took one of me for the album!

We took a glass of bubbly each and then signed in. We were given lanyards to wear, although I didn’t want to wear mine and ruin the outfit, but seeing everyone else with theirs on, I thought I’d best comply!

Walking into the massive function room I spotted Helen from KiddyCharts who was up for an award in the Organisation Most Innovative category, we had a little chat before going off to do the mingling networking thing, which I’m not very good at! I think I only gave out a handful of business cards! I was so glad to have hubs by my side as my wingman haha.

There was canapes being served and of course glasses of bubbles! There was skewers of chicken and lamb – very nice, mini pizzas and lots and lots and lots of pakoras! Oh my, they were never ending! Little cupcakes followed with a topper showing the logo of one of the award sponsors, Content Click. The hubster took full advantage of the free bubbles! There was also a cash bar and luckily we’d brought a few of your British pounds down from the hotel room to pay for drinks!

The stage was set up like it was the Oscars – very fitting since these awards were dubbed as The Oscars of the Blogging World and of course had to have a photo in front of one of the statues! It was all very exciting, and as the back of the room filled up with more bloggers and guests, before long it was time to take our seats for the awards ceremony!

Our host for the evening, Alan Stevens took to the stage and introduced Gemma and Becki, the founders and organisers of the UK Blog Awards. Then the big event began to commence. There were 14 categories in all, with 2 awards in each – one for organisation blogs and one for individual blogs, so that was a huge 28 awards to give out!

It was done in alphabetical order, so there was a while before the Lifestyle award (for me) and Most Innovative (for Helen, who had somehow managed to find us amongst the crowd and sat with the hubs and me) We of course had to do an Oscar style selfie!

Each category had all the finalists blog names read out, before two were given a “Highly Commended” nod before the winner was announced and invited up to the stage. Because there were so many categories and blogs to read out, as well as all those highly commended and winner announcements, the awards flew by. Not that either Helen nor I expected to win, but we breathed a sigh of relief when it wasn’t required to make an acceptance speech. Although, to be fair, it’s a shame that winners couldn’t make a little speech, something for UKBA15 perhaps?

As each winner was announced, it was drawing ever closer to ‘my’ category and the nerves hit – what if I did actually win? Would I trip and fall flat on my face? Would I scream like so many other winners before me had done?! As the soundtrack for the Lifestyle category played – quite apt that it was ‘It’s My Life’ by Bon Jovi (choon from one of my fave bands ever), I crossed my fingers.

The blog names appeared on the screen and were read out. I did a double take – The Purple Pumpkin Blog wasn’t listed…nor was it read out…it was like my blog was completely ignored. Hubs and I looked at each other and said WTF? Helen looked puzzled and through the award programme and yup, I was listed in there. As each blog was read out, there was a round of applause from the audience and a little cheer as people heard their blog names being read out…but not for me. Not a single clap for The Purple Pumpkin Blog :(

As the highly commended were read out, followed by the winner, I just sat stunned. I never went to the UK Blog Awards expecting to win (but oh how amazing would that have been!) but to not have any recognition on the night or promotion by way of huge screen with my blog’s name on it, along with the other finalists in my category – well, I’m gutted. After that, I switched off. I was really quite upset, but I cheered for Helen as Kiddy Charts was read out, sadly, she didn’t win in her category either.

As the ceremony came to an end, Helen and I said our goodbyes as she had a long journey home and wouldn’t be staying for the after party. As the chairs were cleared away to make a dance floor, I saw Gemma, the UK Blog Awards founder and introduced myself and explained that my blog wasn’t read out in my category. She apologised profusely and didn’t know what had happened. I will confess to holding back the tears – I wasn’t upset that I didn’t win, but upset because there was no recognition for my blog on the night – unlike everyone else.

We grabbed a couple of cocktails and tried to enjoy ourselves, but to be honest, but now I’d gotten so deflated I just wanted to go. We thought we’d try the hotel restaurant, but it was now shutting up shop for the night, so we headed back up to our room and made use of the mini-bar and room service ;)

I took one final selfie of my man and me, but how I wish we had a full length one of us in all our finery!

What started out as a night full of excitement and nerves, ended on a downer because of a technical error. I know that I’ve done really well to get into the finals, and the lifestyle category is a hard one because it is so varied and different, so I consoled myself on that and a few more drinks! Will it stop me from entering my blog for awards? Nope! See you next year at UKBA15!!! *fingers crossed*

The next day I thought to myself, maybe I’m not a lifestyle blog, maybe I just don’t fit into any specific category, so I came to the conclusion…

I’m not a food blog, or a craft blog or a travel blog or a photo blog – I’m The Purple Pumpkin Blog! http://t.co/xcl2iJKHVG
— Purple Pumpkin Blog (@cherry_o) April 26, 2014

*Update 29/4/14* Since writing this post I have heard back from Becki and Gemma who have again apologised, as they did on the night, and are very sad that my blog’s name wasn’t mentioned at the awards ceremony. By way of apology I’ve been given tickets to the Blog Journey Conference which is being held in October (date TBC) and will be writing a guest blog post over on the UK Blog Awards website.

The best news of all for me, is that tonight during #BlogHour (every Tuesday on Twitter) I’ll be receiving a “virtual round of applause” to make up for what I didn’t get the chance to receive at the awards ceremony! So, if you’re around on Twitter this evening, then do feel free to join in and give me a clap!

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