Saturday, 25th of April. Dublin. It’s lashing rain, clearly, because we all want our hair and our tan to work out properly. The long awaited Irish Parenting Blog Awards. Inaugural awards night, which started as an idea a few months ago and thanks to the work and serious effort put in by some incredible bloggers (more about them later), it not only became a reality but a brilliant one.
You probably saw mention of the awards over the last few weeks. I myself was a tiny bit gutted to not be a finalist for any of the categories but when I saw the level of the competition I knew the right choices had been made. I got my votes in last week and then the wait was on, as was the influx of planning of outfits, hair and eyebrows. Especially eyebrows. I got mine tinted for the very first time for the occasion; slightly terrified, as the last time I’d asked to have my eyebrows tinted, I was sixteen and on holiday in Turkey, and the hairdressers version of tinting was to peroxide my eyebrows as well as my hair. Picture an albino-esque sunburnt girl with freckles. And No Eyebrows. Yeah, the fear was real. This time though, I was slightly more trusting with the lovely girl from Benefit. Mainly because they were just my eyebrows and not my full head of hair at the same time, and I’d seen the last lady walking away with decent looking eyebrows. I must admit, apart from a slight “Oh holy crap, how dark are they?” moment, I love them. All filled in and effortless. Am slightly ashamed to not have tried it sooner.
Eyebrows and reading numerous reviews of which Spanx would make me look like I hadn’t had a baby and a serious HobNob addiction later, baby was handed over to his very wonderful grandmother, and we headed up to Dublin. I lamented my “way too big” suitcase and vowed to purchase an overnight bag soon (I hear buying luggage is one of those things that makes you a proper grownup). Aha. This lament did not continue for the whole weekend, as you will find out later.
We got the AirCoach up; which I always find to be a much nicer experience than Bus Éireann – even if only due to it being on time and slightly roomier. As sitting for three hours at a time is really, really stretching my limit these days, a tiny bit more leg room to move about was certainly welcome. As was the discovery of sockets. Beside every chair. Genius. Student Me would have been so thrilled (I was permanently hopping on 2 hour bus journeys with a half dead phone, silly me). Not even the presentation of our room with two single beds (which got rapidly changed) was getting me down. A few outfit changes later, the rain having impeded my desire to wear a long black dress and inspiring the mom jeans and pretty top look, we ordered a cab and wound up in a black Mercedes with a chauffeur on the way into the city. The joys of Hailo.
We hit Odessa around 5.30 and as well as the wonderful goodie bags, we were handed a glass of bubbly on entering and ascending some of those stairs. There were also tiny hors d’oeuvres from Glenisk which were incredible. It was great to see so many people that I speak to on a daily basis and am on such close terms with virtually but had never met before – there were some that I had last Summer and others at the Netflix trip to London, but others who I’d been dying to meet. There was a contingency at home partying along with us on Twitter too, which was great. Much posing and small talk later, there was dinner.
Oh there was dinner. IPB Goddess Organisers, you have done well.
Along with a rather lovely glass of wine, the mackerel starter, pork belly main and incredible chocolate brownie for dessert were absolutely mouthwatering. I sat next to the lovely Suzy (The Airing Cupboard, her with the fab eyebrows) with our other halves opposite us. Company and food were fantastic, and then Sylda (MindTheBaby Blogger), one of the fantastic organisers, announced the games.
I’m a competitive person. I like taking part but I rarely win anything. So when I won the first game, of Heads and Tails, for the voucher for Mammy Jeans from Next, I was thrilled. Ecstatic. Disbelief.
And then I guessed the correct answer for the next game, that Sara (Where Is My Mind? Blogger) was infact being a bear, to represent “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt”, and wound up the very lucky winner of a six week course with Superhands, the Baby Sign company. At this point I was a tiny bit mortified as it was two in a row. But definitely thrilled and feeling extremely lucky.
The meal ended. We all filed up those many, many stairs, with promises of a bar and a display of wonderful teapots at the top. We were not disappointed. The awards were held on the roof terrace, which is absolutely gorgeous, if roasting with the fire roaring! After a small amount of catching up with bloggers who were sitting on the other side of the room for the meal, the awards began. With Deborah (At The Clothesline Blogger) on the music and Sylda as our MC, we started making our way through the awards. Without a doubt, every single winner was extremely deserving – from the blog award process, I got to read a lot of blogs I’d not really come across before and there is an amazing amount of talent contained within this little group, I feel extremely lucky to be a part of it.
This part of the evening contains many of my highlights:
– Emily (The Nest) wrote a hysterically funny acceptance speech which was read by Deb in her absence; it had the room in stitches and definitely added to the evening.
– House of Blogs, a quiz game where two teams of three competed to win a years subscription to Netflix each. Advantage points were given for singing the theme tune to Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and naming the Laura’s, but not for birthing one of the answers.
– My very favourite quiz question ever – it is a “you have to be there” moment, but it really did reinforce how much of a community it is that we do have our injokes and references.
– Tric (My Thoughts on a Page) won twice – Best Writer and Best Personal Blog – and both times was very touching in her speeches.
– We actually trended on Twitter, beating out Britain’s Got Talent at one point – not too shabby for a first time event! Go #IPBAwards!
There was a bonus question for the House of Blogs quiz open to the whole room. The prize, a fantastic Netflix hamper was up for grabs. Up went the question; a picture of a life-size giraffe; we had to name the blog and the giraffe. I knew the answer. Deborah’s tale of her adventures with a life-size baby giraffe named Jack had me in stitches, and was a post I shared with numerous friends and family members who all laughed until they cried at it too. However, in the back of my head, I did kind of go “Stay quiet”, but it was kind of beaten out by the answer being shouted out. I was the very lucky winner of an incredible Netflix Hamper and am definitely feeling like I should do the Lotto this week; although perhaps I should let someone else win.
The Winners of the incredible teapots by the very talented Colorines Wonderful were:
Best Blog Post – MinisandMum: A Mini Tale About Down Syndrome
Best Overall Parenting Blogger: Office Mum
Best Homespun Blog: The Nest
Best Writer: My Thoughts on a Page
Best Special Interest Blog: Dr How’s Science Wows
Best Personal Blog: My Thoughts on a Page
Best Newcomer : My Little Babóg
Most Beautiful Blog : Where Wishes Come From
Most Entertaining Blog : At the Clothesline
Congratulations to all. It was an absolutely fantastic night. After our trek home with the now full “too big” suitcase and the Netflix hamper , I sit at home, looking through the incredible goodie bags (more on those soon!) and the photos being uploaded online (far less dark than most of mine thankfully!) I am already looking forward to next year!
Were you partying with us, in person or on Twitter? What was your favourite part? Let me know in the comments!