The UK Blog Awards!

I may have mentioned, just a few times, that my humble blog was shortlisted in the UK Blog Awards 2014 for best food & drink category. On 25th of April the day finally came for us to head to London to attend the ceremony.  As it was a special occasion we treated ourselves to a night in the very same 5* hotel that the glamorous "Oscars of the blogging world" was being held, the Grange St Pauls.

After the 3 hour train journey and various tube rides we arrived at our destination.  Right next door the the iconic St Paul's Cathedral (or as Nick called it, "That big church thing"). We checked in and were told that our hotel room had been upgraded and we excitedly headed to our room to get ready, as guests had already started walking the red carpet for the awards. Our room was stunning, and quite possibly larger than the entire downstairs of our house! A large bed with a desk, seating area and large bathroom that actually had a bath in it!  Perhaps most stunning of all was the view from right outside of our window, St Paul's itself.  This picture is without any zoom!

We got got ready and dressed in our best, and to see Nick in a suit is a rare occurrence and one that I definitely had to make the most of with as many photos as possible, after all it will be a while before I ever see it again!

We walked the re carpet and had photos taken in-front of the sponsor board, just like The Oscars! The stage was decorated with Hollywood glamour, with an Oscar at each end!

We queued for a while to get a drink, but then decided that £6.50 each for a single shot of gin without any mixer was a little excessive, so went to the hotel bar where is was £1 cheaper each, cheeky bastards!

The room was packed with blogging talent from all over the country, and we were soon given and introductory welcome from Alan Stevens, a media coach.  We were then given an introduction by Gemma and Becki, the founders of the awards themselves. After this was a presentation by one of the event sponsors, Content Click, about how to monetise your blog with their advert platform.  This all took about an hour, and eventually we got on with the awards. I was really disappointed at how quickly they blitzed through each category, and while I understand that there was a lot to get through, it all just seemed rushed. Each category had 2 highly commended blogs and 1 winner.  Highly commended blogs were not allowed onto the stage to collect anything and just collected a generic "certificate" at the end of the evening, and were not given any really time in the limelight they deserved! The winner of my category was Veggie Desserts, who, as the title suggests, creates desserts with vegetables!

In no time at all the awards were over, and I think a lot of people felt very deflated at how hastily they went through them, with quite a few of winners not in attendance.  Each shortlisted nomination had to pay £56 for their ticket, and should they wish to being anyone else, the ticket was £85!!  When I originally enquired as to why these ticket prices are justified, especially considering the vast number of sponsors the event had this is the reply I got-

"What I can say is be rest assured the UK Blog Awards are value for money with what will be provided on the night. I will outline what is included within the price:

- Live entertainment
- Goodie bags
- Brochures
- Interactive Entertainment
- x5 different types of bowl food with bowl food dessert
- Quirky extras
- Two glasses of Prosecco (or to at least this standard)
- Entry to the awards
- Great contacts and brands all in one room
- Photographs that you can download from the site post event"

The ticket prices were very unreasonable, especially as a shortlisted blogger.  It all seemed to feel a little more about making money than recognising blogging talent. While we were there we didn't see any bowls of food, but did see some vegan Canap├ęs which were basically deep fried vegetables (what even are "quirky extras")?  As for the "goodie bag", this was more of a "bag" filled with random little bits that looked like someone had to rush to put something together because the goodie bags had been forgotten.  In it was 3 small flooring tiles, a single roll of wallpaper, a biscuit, some tea bags, a travel sized tooth paste, a mojito mix minus the alcohol, lots of advertising flyers and a magazine. A million miles away from the goodie bags of the Oscars or even the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards (which incidentally was a free event). One of the bloggers I met, My Foodee Blog, captures the emotions surrounding the goodie bag perfectly! There was, however, some popcorn and candy floss being handed out throughout the night, which was a nice touch.

The best thing at the event was The Luma Project. They provide products & services to retail, experiential and event agencies to give consumers an unforgettable, immersive experience.  On this occasion they brought the YrWall, a large digital graffiti wall coupled with Ultra-realistic spray cans enable you to design your own graffiti masterpieces without the mess. The best part is that they print your creations onto either a T-shirt or bag to keep forever!  I loved this, and if I ever get married this needs to be at my wedding!

Overall we had a great night together and met some great people! Although I didn't win I was honoured to have even been shortlisted, especially as by blog is not even 6 months old yet! The hotel was gorgeous and the awards gave us the perfect excuse to treat ourselves to something we would never normally do, and great day in London, and I just wanted to say a MASSIVE thank you to Nick for supporting me always, without him this blog would be nothing!

L x
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