Being one of the earlier arrivals, I had been lucky enough to get myself hair and make up appointments but they were a good couple of hours ahead of the festivities starting. I strolled down and a lovely lady from Regis Salons straightened my hair in the blink of an eye. Next, I waited in a busy hotel room as the ladies from Arbonne got ready as I'd arrived a little early and so I became the first to have my make up done whilst the consultant told me about their products (Swiss) and their business (all the consultants work through recommendations).
By 4.30, there I was, all made up but nowhere to go so I headed back to the room I was sharing with Elaine who was a finalist in the best business blog category and is also an NCT friend of mine going back several years. I hadn't seen her in 18 months but this was the second time in two weeks! Still, we managed to spend the next hour and a half putting the worlds to rights in the room before we got dressed in our finery.
Once finally fully glammed up in our outfits - mine was a lovely red dress that the lovely people from Simply Be kindly sent me along with a fab pair of silver shoes - we wandered downstairs to join the waiting throng, accessorised by a Seksy Sekonda watch from Find Watches. Luckily, arriving a little late meant we weren't waiting too long before we were ushered through to the reception. I decided to wander over to look at the table plan. I found my name and looked to see who else was on my table. There were a few names of people I knew, or wanted to me but one name on my table stopped me in my tracks.
Oh my goodness me.
Not only that, I then found out she was brand ambassador for Start-Rite Shoes who were the sponsors of the Best Schooldays category. And the sponsors wanted a photograph of us with her too. Within a few minutes, I found myself sat next to a very beautiful (and very slim!) Myleene on a couch. Very unreal. In my head, I was screaming "oh my God" whilst trying to smile and look vaguely cool at the same time.
Over dinner, she was opposite me on the table but during the ceremony itself, she ended up this close again.
Tweeting on her Blackberry, my kinda girl! Honestly, she was totally lovely - she was prepared to chat with people about anything and everything, have her photograph taken, and showed a real interest in people. When one of the categories for which I was a finalist came up, she was excited for me and when I didn't win, she patted my arm in consolation.
And no, I didn't win either category. I hadn't expected to. In both categories, I was up against some bloody great bloggers. I hadn't expected to win; I just went to have a fantastic evening. The winners of my two categories were firstly Multiple Mummy, who has been very ill in hospital following a brain haemorrhage caused by an aneurysm. Her husband was there to accept her award and there wasn't a dry eye in the house. And in the schooldays category, the lovely Actually Mummy won against some very stiff opposition.
It was fantastic night. I met some lovely bloggers I hadn't met before as well as renewing the friendship with some I've seen here, there and everywhere - and yet there were still loads that I never got to speak to that I would have loved to have met. It was a true celebration of blogging where I felt everyone was genuinely pleased for the winners.
Huge, huge thanks to Sally and her team for organising a fantastic awards ceremony. Thanks to those lovely people who sponsored awards or gave me lovely things to wear on the night. I had a brilliant time and was made to feel very special. Not everyone won an actual award last night, but we were truly all winners.
(I was sent the items mentioned above to wear at the ceremony and my hair and make up were also done for free for me. All opinions, as ever, are mine!)