This time last week my husband and I were feeling the benefits of a few craft beers at the annual Irish blog awards in the Westgrove Hotel, Co. Kildare. We were extremely lucky that my husband’s family generously treated us to tickets for the awards, a night at the Killashee House Hotel, and.. AND!!! my amazing sister in-law and her husband offered to mind the kids! All our stars must have been aligned (or something like that), because for us, this was the equivalent of winning the euro millions as we really don’t get out enough.
And they weren’t at all deterred when they realised they had to mind our new poopy puppy as well as the twins. They had it all figured out and arrived armed with gifts of sweeties, games and new clothes for kids. So when we left, the kids were both beaming and their favourite aunt was rightly promoted to superstar status. (Yes, we love you. Do come back and babysit again!) It was such a rare treat; going off together, guilt-free, to a nice hotel and a lie-in, knowing that the kids would have a ball and that they weren’t the least bit worried about us leaving.
Arriving at the awards to meet the other parenting bloggers was incredibly exciting. As many of us hadn’t met before and we’d only seen each other’s profile pictures on Facebook, I figured we’d be guessing who was who and perhaps approach the wrong people, but within a second I recognised a handful of women – all members of the Irish parenting bloggers group. They were all being lined up for a photo by the official photographer, so I gate-crashed and said ‘I’m Olivia… from.. Put the kettle On?’ and thank goodness they knew who I was. I wasn’t expecting them to recognise me and feared they’d say they’d never heard of me. And that was that, for the rest of the evening we were like a giggling gaggle of school girls. It was so nice to see a group of mummies having the chance to let their hair down. At one point the song ‘girls just wanna have fun’ by Cindi Lauper was played, and by this stage the girls were really going for it on the dance floor. The words of the song rang true for me – even a big bunch of mummies still want and know how to have fun.
The awards were presented by an outrageous drag queen from Belfast who kept us laughing with her (his?) crazy humour and a splattering of insults directed specifically at bloggers. I believe he hosted the awards last year and that was a great success as well, so I think he (she??) is the best man (woman?) for the job and I hope they will host the awards next year too.
We all sat together at two tables of ten, and unfortunately a few who arrived later had to sit at a third table, and I regret not having the chance to say hello to them properly. When the award was announced for best Irish Parenting Blog, we were all on tenterhooks – the winner was Mama.ie! I loved the look on Lisa’s face when she won as she wasn’t expecting it at all, even though she’s been writing about parenting for a long time and her blog is incredible. Lisa set up the Irish parenting bloggers group over two years ago and paved the way to include a new parenting category at the awards, as last year this category didn’t exist. Other winners within our group were Beating Myself Into a Dress for best blog post, and Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers won best health and well-being blog. So little me didn’t win, but I was still counting my blessings for making it to the finalist list (by the skin of my teeth). It was brilliant to be there with the Irish Parenting bloggers group, to meet new faces and share in the celebrations (we went mad).
Since last week, our get-together has generated some very interesting conversations about online relationships. It did feel strange to meet a group of women whom I’d only chatted to via our blogs and group forum. I expected them to behave differently from their blog personas, but they were so similar to the personalities I’ve come to know over the past few months, so now I realise persona is the wrong word. Meeting them in person has just joined the dots and given me a more complete picture. Now that we’ve all met in person, their blogs seem to make more sense and I think I have a better sense of the very real person behind the blog. Some of the others have described it as the final pieces of the jigsaw or meeting a penfriend. We all wondered if meeting people online was considered normal and acceptable, and whether online friendships are genuine and I think they are, as meeting these ladies in person has confirmed that for me. 🙂
Photo credits: Laura Kenny @ Dairy free Kids, Sinead Fox @ Bumbles of Rice, Sadhbh @ Where wishes come from and Lisa @ Mama.ie
Categories: Blogging, Uncategorized
Glad you had a great night out/escape Olive! You looked gorg!xo
Thanks doll. It was such a great night out. Hoped to stay longer but sleeping beauty was with me! xx
It’s great to finally put face to the names! Glad you had a great night!
It was lovely. Can’t wait to meet them all again! 🙂
I’m still not over the shock! I can only imagine what my face was like considering how shaken I was by the time I got to the stage.
It was a great night though and lovely to meet everyone.
Ah, you truly deserved the award Lisa. You’re so knowledgeable and giving of your time to all the other bloggers and newbies like me who haven’t a clue. Well done again! 🙂
Lovely to meet you
It was so great to meet you too Sinead! Won’t forget you insisting we all got up on the stage for photos – so funny! I loved how your family were all behind you for best blog post and your dad compared it to the elections in the 80’s! That was so cute. 😉
Sounds like an amazing night! I’m so glad you were able to attend and get a few hours away from the little ones to have some adult fun 🙂
Thanks April. In a way in reminded me of those care-free days before we had kids. I highly recommended it if you ever get the chance! 🙂
Lovely to meet you Olivia. 🙂
You too Laura! Hope you don’t mind the picture of us all! 😉
Jealous! I would LOVE an opportunity like this. The hubs and I are actually getting away for the first time in two weeks and I can’t wait!!! But to be able to meet up and meet other bloggers, that’s just awesome. So glad you had a blast! You deserve it!
Thanks Dawn. It was such a great night. I didn’t stay until the very end – next year I will, as I’ve seen photos of all the antics! It’s great that we could all meet. That’s one of the benefits of living in a small country I suppose.
Really hope you make it into O Magazine! You should check out ‘sunny spells and scattered showers’ – Fiona has done a huge amount of work to promote mental health awareness. I think you’d enjoy her blog and it looks similar in a way to what you are doing right now.
Enjoy your trip away! 🙂
Looks like a great night. Like a reunion of people who’ve never met 🙂
Love the dress too.
I have only met one blogger in person and it was an interesting experience. I don’t have any blogging friends on Facebook. Look at me trying to keep all my groups of friends to myself 🙂
It was lovely to meet people who share an interest and don’t think you’re at all weird for having a blog. It definitely creates a stronger connection.
I have had that dress for so many years. I chose to wear it because t was the most comfortable 🙂
Next year I’m going to nominate you and then you’ll have to come meet us all! 🙂
I’m still out here and I loved reading this account of yours. Blog on!
Yeah TT!! Great to hear from you! How are you keeping? Hope you’re managing to balance all of your interests. Obviously your family haven’t thrown your PC away yet! Lol 🙂
Lovely to meet you too Olivia, even if you did confuse me by cutting your hair 😉
Ha ha! The night wasn’t long enough. You were so good to drive all that way and drive home again. Looking forward to another meet-up. 😉
Oh WOW! That sounds like such an amazing time. I wish there were something like that, here! Or maybe if I blogged more regularly I could get invited 😉 I love seeing these pictures, and imagining all the mom bloggers getting together in real life for beers. What fun. Hope you’ve been having a good fall. I’ve missed being on here and will have a lot of work to do catching up with your posts!
It was lovely and great to meet people who ‘get’ what blogging is about. So glad you are back – I’ve missed you and a few other blogging buddies! Don’t worry about trying to catch up. That would take forever! I have a little bit if catching up to do myself though 😉
sounds absolutely wonderful – must must must sort a night away with the hubby soon. Hopefully one day our paths will cross too.
It’s hard to make time for nights out isn’t it? By the time I arrive at the cinema or restaurant or wherever, I’m wrecked from all the preparations – like getting the house straightened out before the babysitter arrives, getting dressed up etc. Costs a bomb too. Much more tempting to sit at home in pjs with a glass of wine!
Would love if our paths crossed so I could listen to you jibber jabber! 🙂