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The MAD Blog Awards
My adventure  as a Golden Ticket Winner at The MADS 2013

Excitement, nerves, hysterical laughter, more nerves and empowerment were all feelings I was dealing with as I stepped onto the train to London on Friday 20th September 2013.  I was travelling by myself which for someone who has a disability can be very daunting.  Was I going to fall over, would I be able to get on and off the train.  Would people just think I was drunk (which I wasn't).  I have travelled to St Pancras Station previously so I was familiar with the layout etc.  I knew I was going to have to get a taxi to the hotel because I was unable to manage tube journeys with a case and I definitely needed to keep my energy for the evening.  Taxi journey was great.  The driver was chatty and was telling me bits and pieces.  He even showed me how to get to the Hotel where the awards were being held which was a relief. 

Arriving at the Kensington Close Hotel I was helped with my bags by a very smart door man.  I was feeling important already.  I found our room which luckily was close to the lifts so I didn't have far to walk.  The room itself was compact but serviceable.  The bathroom was even more compact.  They boast having a bath in there but that meant little room for much else.   The toilet was peculiarly sandwiched in a little alcove which basically meant it was bit awkward using the loo.

After a hot drink I was able to have a little rest which helped rejuvenate me for the evenings entertainment. 

Knock, Knock --- The reason why I was nervous was at the door.   My roomie.  I needn't have worried.  Sarah from A field Somewhere  is a lovely person.   She too had won a Golden Ticket.  Her friend Maddie from Gammon and Chips was a finalist for an award.  Sarah and I had a chat and then realised we really needed to get ready.  Sarah made her appearance (like something from stars in their eyes) in an amazingly striking  peacock coloured floor length dress and to use a word batted around by the MAD awards copyright @Tom Arber Photographyinternet -- she looked awesome.  (v. jealous (in a nice way))  I was even more in awe that she was just able to tousle her hair and it looked perfect.  I think Sarah will be remembered for her sensational eyelashes.

I, of course, needed a bit more work but slapped on the make up, straightened the hair and slipped (can you slip!) into the support tights and dress.  I do however have to point out - Do you know how hard it is to get into Support Tights/Spanks when you have false nails on?  Dressed in a long purple dress and silver pumps Bingo we are ready.

There were some other mums staying at the same hotel so we agreed to meet Fi from Childcareisfun.  She appeared with her funky hair and doc martins with fluffy socks.  On our walk to the Kensington Garden Hotel we had a great chat, Fi was a finalist in the Outstanding Contribution Category which is pretty incredible and something to be immensely proud of. She looked fabulous and is a beautiful person too. Copyright @Tom Arber Photography Dr Ranj & Fi Star-Stone

royal garden hotelThe main observation I think by Sarah was that this reminded her of The Witches.  I had to agree.  Lots of women in a hotel, chattering and mingling.  It definitely could have been mistaken for this..  But who was Angelica Houston's character??

Waiting to go into the award ceremony we got chatting to other people, it was apparent you introduce yourself and then your blog/site name which was fine but worrying as I knew there wasn't much chance of me remembering people's names AND their blog/site name too. 

Drinks being carried around on silver trays, music playing and even the chance to send a postcard home.  I was so pleased to bump into a lady from Startrite shoes - and she remembered me too from my part in mumshalfhour webtv show.  It turned out the Fi had also been in this series which was such a coincidence.  I also had the pleasure to meet Victoria Welton from vevivos whom I have met on facebook through being a markettiers4dc Parenting Broadcast Blogger Network member. 

There was a prodigious array of stunning dresses worn by these ladies.  I learnt that some of the finalists even managed to bag their dresses from the sponsor of their category.  That's a real beauty isn't it.  I was talking to the ladies from John Lewis who co-ordinated their ladies and it sounded spectacular.  Some finalists were also able to have their hair and makeup done for them too.  A well deserved pampering in my opinion.

Time for our meal.  I wasn't at the same table as Sarah but I needn't have worried.  I was sat between Fi from Childcareisfun and Vanessa from Seven Year Hitch plus the ladies from John Lewis and some other fabulous ladies.  Our meal was delicious.  For some unknown reason I only have a picture of the pudding... What a surprise. 

Host for the evening was Cbeebies Dr Ranj from Get Well Soon.  It really didn't matter who did it as long as they could cope with a room full of predominately women.  Oh and women that didn't get out much.  I am pleased to say.  He coped. And he coped very well.  He threw in some naughty words and no-one can forget the time he said breast instead of best.  He dealt with autocue issues impeccably and kept the evening flowing perfectly.

The awards were emotional and every finalist deserved to be there.  Their hard work honoured in this way was a real mark of respect.   I also loved that this must have been the only place socially that it was perfectly acceptable to have your mobile phone out and be using it throughout the evening.  Certainly inspiring.   To find out all of the finalists and winners head on over to the MAD Awards site.

After the awards were given out we were introduced to Mr Mozzarella from Just-Eat WOW, an incredible character with awesome stamina as he joked and entertained then danced for ages with people.  Brilliantly hilarious.   We were also given foil takeaway containers with some drinks coupons plus a voucher to use when we got home.  What woman can resist a free drink and a free takeaway.  Brill.

How competitive can a room of women become over a surf board.  Actually considerably so.  A surf board attached to a bouncy castle type base meant shoeless women were attempting to stay on there the longest.  44 seconds was the longest time shared between two courageous and masterful women.

Dr Ranj even had a go even being persuaded to remove his socks -- which strangely a lady took a sniff of but was actually hilarious to see the look on his face. 

So the room boogied and nattered the night away, slowly but surely people went to rest their weary heads.

We collected our goody bags which contained some really great bits. (I had the pleasure of nobbling the chocolate on the train journey home.)

In the early hours we made our way back to our hotel which for some reason took ages.  Meeting some rather strange people on the way it has to be said but that's London for you isn't it.

Sleep arrived very quickly and although it wasn't for very long we woke ready for breakfast and our journeys home.

Looking back I realised I felt at home with these people.  We all shared the same passion.  We all understand how friendships become so strong on the internet and I loved the family values that shone through every person in that room.

The MAD Awards are something to be proud of and I was honoured to be able to take a seat in the room.



Read Dr Ranj's  interview from last year when Get Well Soon first arrived on our screens - Read it here




By Yolanda Barker

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