For those of you who have followed my journey as a Finalist in the Arts & Culture category of the UK Blog Awards 2016, I wanted to let you know the great news that, after all of your votes and support, Shelley Makes was Highly Commended at the #UKBA16 awards ceremony in London last week!
I must admit, the awards ceremony was so much bigger than I was expecting! Held at the Park Plaza Hotel near Westminster, just a stone’s throw from Big Ben and the London Eye, there were over 500 people in attendance, including around 360 shortlisted bloggers, and their supporters. Expecting a much smaller affair, I had decided to go solo, but was quickly adopted by some fellow bloggers – namely the lovely Janey of Slice of Slim, Film Doctor, and the inspirational Hayley from Down Side Up.
All in all, the awards were an incredibly surreal experience, not least because of the sheer scale of the event and entertainment (sponsored by Odeon Cinemas). Surreal highlights included finding my blog profile in the hefty awards programme, having a selfie with a BFG ‘giant’ on stilts, seeing my name on the big screen (x3), and hearing it read out by our host to a room packed full of people.
I’ve been hugely touched by how supportive everyone has been, from voting for me daily in the run-up to the awards, to congratulating me on Twitter for being shortlisted, and cheering me on from the other side of the room when my name was announced on awards night – I cannot thank you enough. It’s been an altogether humbling experience, and a real pleasure getting to know you all.
Overall, the whole awards process has taught me a huge lesson in self-confidence and self-belief. When I first entered the awards (and posted ‘In it to win it‘) I had no expectation whatsoever that I might be shortlisted, let alone Highly Commended, so it just shows you the value in putting yourself forward (let others be the judge, eh?). I came across this great quote from Pete Mosley after the ceremony which struck a cord. Though that’s not to say that there isn’t room for improvement!
Winners got a snazzy glass trophy (something to aspire for, I’d say!), and we all got to take home a certificate and a goody bag! As well as the Divine chocolate, my favourite items were Sugru (mouldable glue), and the Kilner ‘Dream jar’ provided by Odeon (in honour of the upcoming BFG movie).
I want to say a huge thank you to Natasha from Graphique Fantastique (who was Highly Commended in the Arts & Culture category last year) for being an incredible virtual cheerleader throughout the whole process! And also to judge Matthew for the kind words of encouragement post-event.
Finally, huge congratulations to Urban Kultur Blog for coming No. 1 in the Arts & Culture category, and to Hookedblog for being a fellow Highly Commendee. I was supremely proud to wave the flag for crafts in this hugely diverse category, and thank you all sincerely for your support in the public vote!
Onwards and upwards, I hope! P.S. Next time, I promise I will remember to take photos!!