When you’ve lived on a diet of cold chicken nuggets for the best part of 7 years, smoked salmon was always going to pose a problem. In hindsight I can’t say for certain if it was the salmon or the fact I’d gone a bit jazz hands on the Sauvignon Blanc. Either way…let’s summarise by saying that the Boots Maternity & Infant Awards in the sumptuous surrounds of the Royal Marine Hotel is not the place to keep missing your mouth as you try to eat.
Thankfully I don’t think anyone noticed. That’s the beauty of dining with a group of 9 other bloggers – everyone’s too busy taking pictures for Instagram to notice that you have the table etiquette of an otter.
We were an unlikely bunch. 10 bloggers gathered from all corners of this island, and flung together by the support of our followers, who cast enough votes to separate us out from the multitude of other entries.
I won’t lie. I half expected them all to be twats. There were published authors and TV regulars among the group. And yet they were all bloody lovely. And brilliant craic.
If the salmon gorging hadn’t already given me away as being about as posh as a dented tin of baked beans, then my lunging at Brian Dowling definitely did.
I’ve been a fan of Brian Dowling since his Big Brother days – his dry wit and unassuming warmth are an electric combination. To cut a short story even shorter, I saw him and threw myself at him, gushing something about how brilliant I thought he was. He was very lovely and very hilarious in real life – one of those ones that don’t deflate your admiration when you meet them in person.
I did a lot of self-pinching last Friday. How I ended up in a group of 10 finalists in the Best Parenting Blog category I’ll never really understand. All I could think about was those who’d taken the time to vote. I felt, and still feel, incredibly grateful for the support I’ve had along the way from my blog’s social media followers.
When I sat scribbling those first few cathartic paragraphs at the kitchen table I didn’t think for a moment it would ever anount to anything. Absentmindedly shovelling fistfuls of popcorn into my mouth as I wrote, I certainly didn’t think I’d be sat as a finalist in a bloody big deal awards ceremony trying to eat smoked salmon a year and a half later.
I definitely didn’t think I’d be walking away with Silver at those awards.
This one is for every single person who took the time to vote for me. The simple act of each one of you tapping that button has rebuilt me. I’ve been a bit damaged for a long time. Anxious, unsure, ashamed and lacking even the tiniest shred of confidence – you have all moved mountains in me. A group of people, collectively saying they believed in me and wanted to hear what I had to say has swelled my heart and smoothed over some long-standing scars.
It was never about the smoked salmon or meeting Brian Dowling or the free-flowing Sauv. It was about a tiny feeling, fleeting at first but steadily growing its roots….that I’m good enough.
I can’t put into words how grateful I am to those who read my blog, like and share my posts and leave the best comments that have carried me through difficult days.
You guys didn’t just send me to a posh awards do.
You fixed me.
This one’s for you.