I haven’t been blogging very long, I am nothing if not inconsistent with it and I had, before last week, attended a grand total of one blogger event. But somehow I had slipped through the cracks and slithered all the way on to the list of finalists for the V by Very Blog Awards 2017, leaving me with an invite to head to the capital for the annual awards ceremony. Now I hummed and hawed a little about actually attending, knowing very well that I would not be amongst the gong wielders trying to get their speeches out (or in this case photo taken) before the music ushered them off stage. And trust me, that is not a statement driven by false modesty or a search for compliments. Self-deprecation is not really my thing. Any objective eye (and even my own subjective one) could ascertain at a glance that several of the blogs in our category (lifestyle) are better than this little slice of cyberspace currently professes to be. They are maintained by people who have blogged for longer, who create content more frequently and who generally take far superior photos. That is just a fact. What is also a fact is that the best blog in this category won on the night. Louise O’Connell’s eponymous blog is fab. I also really enjoy her instastories and love how much I can learn from following bloggers of this calibre. Her style (which focuses mainly on beauty) could not be more different from mine or indeed from that of runner-up, Cupid or Cats, a blog that is all about the writing and will make you laugh out loud. Jane’s style reminds me of a very talented blogger friend of mine (the only other blogger I actually know if online stalking is discounted!) as she draws us into her world with excellent penmanship that is in equal parts comic and compassionate. One of those rare talents who can be strikingly honest and personal without ever seeming to take themselves too seriously. Have a read, it’s worth it!
And so, given the quality of the competition, I genuinely never expected to win and something would have been awry with the judging if I had. But still I rushed from work, changed into the gúna and dragged my reluctant plus one to Dublin on a school night. If not for a cute plaque, then why? Mainly because a little group of wise friends and colleagues (who are not averse to gentle bullying) made me see that fledgling bloggers like me would not get a “pat on the back” like making the longlist, or the shortlist, or on a good year the list of finalists, if nobody supported the process and indeed the final event. Someone decided I was worthy of a place at the table, so the least I could do was sit down and enjoy it. And so off I went, and here is how it all played out.
The awards were held in The Academy in Dublin, and the venue thus provided the theme – movie icons. It was a great setting in my eyes, although I was glad of my leather biker jacket! The light box with the event name outside was super cool and there was a proper red carpet with photographers on arrival. Despite being camera-shy (I firmly believe it does lie despite the old adage – and I am always prettier in my head) it was a lovely way to create a sense of occasion and celebration. The building had loads of space with proceedings spread over several floors, the staff were friendly and there was even provision for an after party. So far, so good for The Bloggies!
Food and Booze
The food on the night was provided by KC Peaches and it was a bit like a more substantial portion of finger food. There was pork belly skewers, chilli dogs, Cajun chicken sandwiches and veggie noodles. But you could only choose one thing!!! One small morsel!!! It was definitely not going to put you off your bacon and cabbage, but the problem was there was no bacon and cabbage to follow. No buttery mash to fill you up. Not even a bowl of cheese and onion Taytos to dip in to. So considering the price of entry the food offering felt just a little stingy. Now don’t get me wrong, it was very tasty….. but I was starving, and for me a little hunger can be a dangerous thing. It can in fact metamorphise into a life changing medical condition in a matter of seconds. Survival instincts eventually activated and I ended up eating a chicken and stuffing sandwich in the car on the way home, but really that was a feast unworthy of the LBD and heels. And also all the food was cold…. which was strange… because it looked like hot food but it was in fact all cold. Very, very odd!
The booze offering on the other hand was very generous. Our little blue wristbands entitled each of us to three alcoholic tipples, so three Mor Gin and Tonics it was. Yum!!!! There was also Heineken Light or Prosecco. But again in the realm of the bizarre, there was no option at all for the teetotal attendees or the evening’s designated drivers. Definitely something to reconsider for next year.
Here I was very impressed. The stage was well-lit. The MCs, Lords of Strut, were unique and engaging – it was all very camp and very 80s but lots of fun. I loved that every finalist had their blog name displayed on a huge movie screen, the programmes were high quality and the spot prizes really generous. It also moved along at pace, which I think everyone was glad of and it was all in all a very enjoyable couple of hours. In the categories I read regularly the blogs I rate most highly were generally amongst the prize winners – a positive for the quality of the judging process, which as far as I am aware is completely voluntary. For anyone interested the overall Blog of the Year 2017 is GastroGays, and this travel and foodie blog is definitely an example of all that is good in the Irish blogosphere.
The Goodie Bags
Finally, I think there is real merit in attending events just for a goodie bag. Who doesn’t love a little pressie for the road home? And it wasn’t a bad one either. The two standout gifts were an Alcatel USB (I really needed one) and a mascara from The Balm. There were some snacks (crisps and cookies) and drinks (coconut water and beer) and also some beauty bits like body lotion and perfume samples. And of course there was a voucher for V by Very.
And so that’s a wrap from the V by Very blog awards 2017 – I hope to experience the glitz and glamour again over the coming years. And the best part – I have discovered some fab new bloggers to follow, learn from and be inspired by!
Til next time, xo.