It has been such an exciting week winning the WeAreThirtyPlus Blogger of the Year Award and none of it would have happened without you so I just wanted to share the evening with you… and answer all of the questions that so many of you have had about what I decided to wear.
You may remember I was surprised to find that I had been shortlisted a few weeks ago because I hadn’t submitted an entry. I have a lot of respect for the team at WeAreThirtyPlus so it was a huge honour to be on the list for Blogger of the Year. WeAreThirtyPlus was founded by Hayley Hall who is better known as London Beauty Queen. She is a multi-award winning blogger and she has been on the Midlifechic list of inspiring bloggers since the day I first launched my site. One of the reasons I hold her in such high esteem is because she gives honest appraisals of beauty products and she will tell you truthfully if something has disappointed her.
Over the last year or so she has expanded her blog to cover other topics such as fashion and travel, she has built the WeAreThirtyPlus community and she has also just married her soul mate. It’s amazing that she even found time to run the WeAreThirtyPlus blog awards this year! However she is passionate about raising the profile of older bloggers. Her maxim for WeAreThirtyPlus is “we are inclusive, not exclusive. That’s important.” You can see why I warm to their approach.
The awards were held at Carousel which is a restaurant and creative hub just off Baker Street in London’s West End. Mr MC and I had set off early in the morning because I had planned to go to a press day and have a haircut before checking in to our hotel. Of course the weather had other ideas. The north of England had woken up to snow and ice which meant that all of the trains were delayed. In the end, we got into London just in time for my hair appointment and then it was a quick turnaround to get ready for the event – my nails were still drying as we left the hotel!
What to wear for a Blogger Awards Event?!
So what on earth do you wear when you’re in the running for Blogger of the Year? I was intending to wear my Finery blue velvet jumpsuit again when one of my friends said “but surely that’s going to look a bit rubbish on your Instagram feed – you’ll be repeating yourself.” I groaned because Instagram is always a long way down my list of considerations but she was right and so I had a panic on my hands. After a night of fruitless surfing I was sitting staring at the Midlifechic homepage with my head in my hands when this picture of Jenna Lyons jumped out at me from my own Pinterest feed:
And that was it, I knew what I wanted to wear – gold trousers. I just had to hunt them down. And I did – and for once they weren’t a crazy designer price. Here they are:
Gold cigarette trousers – now in the sale (true to size)!
I thought I’d wear them with the black sequinned top that I bought and featured on here a few weeks ago.
However when I tried them on, the trousers got a “yes” from Mr MC but the top was an unusual but resounding “no.” He felt it “didn’t do enough for me” which wasn’t the most helpful of responses but in the end I worked out that the colour, the cut and the neckline were his issues. So, (and this is when it’s helpful being a blogger and knowing every single store’s range) I scanned through my mental catalogue and came up with this blouse which is something I’ve had my eye on all season. There’s no denying it’s expensive but it’s timeless and I was balancing the fact that the trousers were great value and I already had a bag and boots that would work with it.
And so, here’s a rather rushed picture of the full outfit in the hotel before we left.
Incidentally we stayed at the Sherlock Holmes Hotel on Baker Street. I booked it as a ‘Top Secret’ deal on lastminute.com although I was pretty sure I knew which hotel it was. I’ve always fancied staying there and it was really good – comfortable and yet quirky rooms with Elemis toiletries. There are literary quotes all over the hotel, they’re even woven into the carpets. This one made me laugh when we arrived at our room – it felt particularly apt last week after some of the things that have been going on recently!
WeAreThirtyPlus Blogger of the Year Award
So, as I’ve already said it was a superfast turnaround and we arrived at Carousel bang on time. Isn’t this a simple but fabulous way to dress a room for a party?
We mingled for drinks. It’s always slightly surreal to meet the bloggers that you follow in real life. Here’s Vicki from HonestMum who is a real tour de force in the flesh as well as on her blog. Vicki was shortlisted for Social Media Hero and Blogger of the Year.
And here’s Catherine from NotDressedAsLamb who was up for Most Addictive blog.
Before we knew it, it was time to go through to the room that had been set aside for the awards. I was feeling in good spirits and very calm because it really hadn’t crossed my mind that I might win. People have been asking me why and so I’ve been giving it some thought. Firstly of course, I was up against stiff competition, the other shortlisted bloggers were all very strong. However I think the main reason is that I have never really won anything before, however hard I’ve tried.
Like my oldest and youngest sons, I went to a grammar school. I’m a great supporter of the grammar school system for the right person. It teaches you a lot about perseverance and striving for excellence. However because it is based on academic ability, you spend seven of your most formative years surrounded by natural brilliance. Your success is judged on your results and I used to work really hard but however much effort I put in, I could never beat the girls that were innately blessed with incredible brains. Since then, ‘highly commended’ or ‘also ran’ is where I’ve settled and there’s nothing wrong with that. You don’t have to be a winner to be a worthwhile person.
The awards began and Honest Mum received a commendation for Social Media Hero which underpinned my belief that she would be Blogger of the Year. Next it was great to see Catherine win her category for Most Addictive Blog – she’s on a real winning streak this year. The very last award was “Blogger of the Year” and when the Lady Writes was announced as highly commended, I cheered and relaxed, waiting to watch Honest Mum go up for the award. No7 had sponsored the evening and so Boots’ Global Brand Director came up to announce the winner. She asked for a drumroll and then… quite unbelievably… it was Midlifechic.
So, what did I do in one of the biggest moments of my life? I fluffed it! I hadn’t prepared a speech and so I was the very definition of ‘speechless.’ Here’s a little video clip – Mr MC was standing at the back of the room filming. You can hear his excited reaction as he caught my eye from behind the camera!
Why was I spinning around like an idiot? Because I was starting to cry and I never cry. The last time I cried was on mother’s day the year after my mum died. I was just so overwhelmed and I could feel it building up in me so I had to stop speaking and go to hide at the dark edges of the room.
… and stay there for a while…
The thing is that as a blogger, you put so much of your ‘self’ into your blog but you never really know if you’re any good. I know I have a lot of readers but then so does the Daily Mail… so stats are not necessarily a sign of excellence. As readers, you keep me going by telling me that you love what I do but of course you are part of my treasured blog family… so I still wonder. That’s why having this external validation is truly life-affirming.
If I could wind the clock back and prepare myself better, there are so many things I would love to say in a rousing speech. I would particularly like to have talked about the success that bloggers are having in changing public perceptions of women over 40 and the real impact that is starting to spread.
Can we do it again…?
So (and this is why I need your help again) I have to ask you to vote for me in the UK Blog Awards which has just opened. I didn’t intend to go for this again but once more, somebody nominated me (thank you if it was you). Interestingly they didn’t put me forward for the fashion and beauty category but instead they chose the lifestyle category. I would never have considered that but maybe it’s where Midlifechic belongs. Especially because when the judging takes place in January, I will be discussing the topics that we cover when the shops are full of tat. I’ll be looking at subjects such as menopause, project happier, midlife loneliness and a few other topics that I’m keen to introduce.
Whilst I was accepting the entry I thought I might as well try for fashion and beauty again too. There are a lot of contenders this year so I need your help to get through to the next round because it is 100% dependent on the reader vote. Last year I was told that Midlifechic had many, many more reader votes than any other blog that was entered on the evening. It took the judges by surprise so do you think we could do it again?
I know it’s a madly busy time of year for you but it really will take seconds of your time. And if by any chance I win again, I promise not to completely fluff my speech. Instead I’ll do you proud!
It’s up to you which category you choose but of course I would be grateful if you could give me a double chance by ticking Fashion and Beauty + Lifestyle.
And thank you…
So to finish, I need to say ‘thank you’ a few times. Firstly to Hayley Hall from London Beauty Queen and the rest of the Thirty Plus team for organising the awards and choosing me. To Boots No7 for sponsoring the awards – what a perfect brand fit that was for thirty plus bloggers. Thank you to my wonderful family for taking my photos and continuing to fill my life with endless material for my posts. And thank you to you for voting for me and more importantly, for continuing to read and comment on Midlifechic. Let’s keep on showing the world that women over 40 are changing… and that we are a force to be reckoned with!
Disclosure: “WeAreThirtyPlus Blogger of the Year Award – what it means to me” is not a sponsored post
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