I arrived at the hotel to a red carpet reception and noticed a group of lovely looking ladies in the foyer - I made a beeline for them and found out they were bloggers too (I think we have a certain look!). We all got chatting and I eventually felt at ease.
We entered one of the hotel suites where we all posed for photographs and were provided with plenty of glasses of champagne as we mingled and chatted amongst ourselves. Most of us posed for photographs with the event host Dr Ranj (of Cbeebies fame) and with the crazy giant pokemon that was walking around.
Soon, it was time to enter the very elegant dining room where our tables were set with glamorous candlesticks.
I was lucky to share a table with the lovely Alison from Not another Mummy blog (and foodies 100 editor), I was entertained with stories from Sian who blogs at You're not from round here and loved hearing about Vicky's family from Being Tilly's Mummy. I was sat next to Amy who works in PR for Brabantia who were sponsoring and presenting the best interiors blog. It was interesting seeing these events from a PR point of view too.
The service was of the highest standard and the food and wine were free-flowing and absolutely delicious.
We were well and truly spoilt and our meal ended with a selection of personalised chocolates provided by wrapped for you and coffee and petit fours from the hotel.
After our meal, we got down to the main event of the night which started with a crazy flash mob dance who interrupted Dr Ranj's introduction dancing to Olly Murs 'Dance with me tonight.' Dr Ranj was a fantastically fun and natural host and we all had a giggle at some of his remarks and comments (v-bomb anyone?!).
There were 6000 blogs nominated for the MADs and to get down to the final 5 in the best family fun category was simply amazing - thanks to everybody who voted for me. We didn't win our category, however family days tried and tested were very deserving winners and it was lovely to hear that they had only just got engaged earlier in the day too. Some of the speeches were very emotional and there was almost a tear in my eye as my two mums accepted their award for best innovative blog. Other winners included the gorgeous Capture by Lucy for best photography blog, the fantastic Don't be sorry (best new blog) which is an honest account of the ups and downs of raising a child who happens to have downs syndrome, the hilarious Northern Mum who won best entertaining blog and the star of the evening The Future's Rosie who won not one but two awards for best writing and blog of the year. Everyone was on their feet as Tom collected his well deserved awards for his honest and open blog which breaks down the misconceptions of raising a child with downs syndrome. A special mention also has to go to Kids days out reviews who won best travel blog. I was lucky enough to meet them at the awards and loved the long dress and converse combo!
The evening ended all to quickly and it was after 11pm before we got to hit the dance floor. I had a tube to catch back to the hotel, so didn't have time to join in with the dancing but collected my jam-packed parentdish goody bag and headed back to my hotel full of ideas, inspiration and also glad that I am part of such a fantastic community.
Thank you so much to Sally and the team from Tots 100 for organising such a fantastic event, to Parentdish for sponsoring the even, Visit Northumberland for sponsoring me to attend and to the Royal Garden Hotel for hosting. I really had a wonderful night.