The MAD Blog Awards (2015 edition)

Courtesy: Tom Arber Photography

It’s sort of crazy to me that the MAD Blog Awards for UK parent blogs are now in their sixth year.

I remember sitting in my back garden chatting through the bare bones of an idea with Josie, way back in late 2009. The idea was that while Tots100 ranked blogs and used numbers and metrics and audience figures, the MAD Awards would just be about telling the world, “I love this blog”.

A few years down the line, the venue might be a bit (lot) more glitzy, there might be fancy stages and celebrity hosts and gifts bags and prizes, but at its heart, the awards are still about the blogs, and bloggers, that we love.

It’s a night that I hope doesn’t take itself too seriously, that invites people to come along, have a good time, be spoiled a little bit, and celebrate a slightly bonkers hobby that pulls together a community of such different voices, experiences and lifestyles.

MAD Blog Awards

During the evening, my blogging chum Becky from Baby Budgeting and A Beautiful Space gave an introduction to one of the awards that actually brought a tear to my eye. And I’m basically dead inside, so you know it was good.

What Becky said was that what we take away from blogging isn’t just money, or awards. It’s the friendships that we make along the way. That we fill our blogs with words from the heart, and build friendships with those words.

And I thought to myself, yes. THAT. That’s what I take from blogging.

I am very lucky to have a blog (and by extension, a job) that introduces to me to so many smart, interesting, funny people.

People like Becky, and Chris, and Molly and Jane and Ruth and Laura and Tom, and a dozen other people who I look at and think, wow, they’re a hundred times better people than I could hope to be, and how cool is it that I get to be friends with them?

There are bloggers who inspire me, like Hayley, who are always friendly and approachable to work with, and they’re the people I look to when I want to improve my own blogging (you know, when I get around to it) – people like Kelly, Emily, Colette, Katie, Fritha and Katie. People who are creating amazing success from their blogs while remaining lovely, decent people.


Blogging even introduced me to Dr Ranj, the filthiest, funniest kids’ TV presenter I’ve ever met, who was supposed to be at Fashion Week when he was still getting down on the dance floor at the end of the night. Also, I don’t want to cast aspersions, but it’s surely not a coincidence that auto-correct on my phone changes “Dr Ranj” to “drank” every single time.

On Friday night, I kicked myself because I suspect like many of us, I’m the sort of person who can easily spend half a day obsessing about that one Tweet, that one Facebook update, that one person who’s never going to miss an opportunity to put me or someone else down, just to boost their own sense of importance.

I’m too old for that nonsense.

I need to remember that I’m lucky to spend time with so many people who make me laugh. Who have helped me to create a business, and along the way, build a home and a life for myself and my daughter. People who make me look at parenting in new ways. Who teach me new things (hey, I learned how to make sparkly play dough from a blog, and you can’t under-estimate that as a skill).

MAD Blog Awards 2015

And perhaps even more, I need to remember that there are always more people who might do that, just waiting to take the place of the other people – the ones I really need to let go.

The ridiculously lovely Di from Superlucky was also at the awards this weekend, and I was chatting with her at the bar (as you do). We commented on how many new faces were at the awards compared to the people we’d known in the early days of our blogging journey.

It’s tempting to feel left out when that sort of thing happens. To feel left behind, or uncool, or whatever. But Di simply said, “Isn’t it brilliant? So many new faces! So many new people to make friends with!” 

I thought that was such a perfect way to look at things – and it really was great to meet some new people.

There was the lovely Emma from FACS who came along with Hayley, and ended up twerking with Dr Ranj. Amber from The Goblin Child who blew me away with her willingness to jump in and help out despite never having met us before. Al from The Dad Network who I only had the briefest of conversations with, but who was SO friendly, and made me smile by being one of the first to dance, with his impossibly glam wife.

In fact, I met so many new people this weekend that I can’t possibly list them all, but it was fabulous and I am so excited that our blogging community is continuing to grow, and my friendships are growing along with it. I wish nothing but the same for all of you.

Photos courtesy of Tom Arber Photography

57 thoughts on “The MAD Blog Awards (2015 edition)”

  1. I followed the events on Twitter and it looks like everyone had a fantastic night and that is all down to you. I was disappointed not to be with you this year but my memories of last year are still with me and Dr Ranj just has to be a permanent fixture at the MADs – did he smell as lovely as he did last year again??
    Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday for some backstage gossip xx

    1. Ah bless you, I have a very, very smart team of people who make me look good, I promise 🙂

      I don’t think the UK wine industry could survive another night of Ranj, could they?

  2. I had such a lovely time on Friday – can’t remember the last time I laughed so much and that is because of the wonderful people I have met through blogging. I have such a girl crush on Becky (don’t tell Jane) and meeting her in person made me ridiculously giddy! As Helen was staying the night with me, I even finally got to go home with an award! Such fab winners. I have recently started to branch out of my blogging chums comfort zone and meet new people and like you, have found some real gems. Thanks again for having me there, was lots of fun! Love the photo above of me and V – she was probably telling me something filthy again 😉

  3. It was a fabulous night Sally, and one we wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for your hard work. I always feel so out of place at these type of events, but you made me feel as welcome as anyone else with just a smile and an hello. So thank you for everything and keep up the good work and don’t sweat those that try to put it all down. And yes, Becky’s speech was spot on!

  4. It sounds like such a great night. A good reminder that the best bit of blogging is the people. I don’t know what I’d do without my blogger friends and it was awesome to see some of them recognised on Friday night.

  5. It felt like my right arm was missing for not having been there this year! But I kept up with everything on Twitter and – thanks to Kirsty and Clara – I watched on Periscope. That is the thing with the blogging community, you never feel left out thanks to social media! You do an amazing job year on year and I am always so impressed with how you manage to juggle everything. Becky’s speech really summed up blogging for me too. Keep up the fantastic work 🙂

  6. What a lovely post, and genuinely does sum up what most of us get from blogging, and why we carry on doing it. The friendship and support far outweighs the opportunities or accolades. Thanks for having me there on Friday night – my hideous hangover on Saturday is a testament to how much fun I had!

  7. What a lovely post Sally, I’ve not been to the MADS for a couple of years now and I do miss it each time – there is always an amazing inclusive and supportive atmosphere.

    I love what Di said to you as well, as like you I’ve been tempted to feel a bit left behind recently but I came to realise it didn’t really matter if people knew my name anymore, it was the help I’d given along the way that had made a difference. Mich x

    1. You’re quite right, Michelle, it’s easy to feel left behind – blogging sometimes feels very frantic and “try” to me these days, but I need to be more positive about it! Thanks for your kind comments, too 🙂

  8. Becky wrote a beautiful introduction that did sum up the very best bits of blogging. There’s not an event I go to where I am not awestruck or inspired by someone I meet from the blogging world. Here’s to actually being able to attend next year 🙂

  9. Oh Sally, you made me cry! . You have been such a fabulous support to me all the way through my blogging life and I feel like with your help I have got through many obstacles. Was a huge deal for me to come to London this weekend , my first time travelling on my own in 2 years. Your encouragement as ever was really appreciated and its a step towards getting my confidence back. Thankyou so much for an ace event, I met some lovely new people too and feel inspired all over again.

  10. I love how each year we’ve taken away something totally new from this fab event you put on.
    Scooter racing Dr Ranj and your daughter and getting to see THE skateboard from America was pretty cool. Also being in a room that just accept us for who we are, no hate, just support, is pretty cool.

  11. Well done for putting on such a wonderful event, sadly I’ve never got close to being invited a long but I do love the blogging community and have learnt so much from it myself.
    I don’t think we ever stop learning do we?

    1. It would be so fab to have you there one year, but you’re right, I never stop learning new stuff, and some of it from bloggers I didn’t even know two years ago!

  12. it was such a pleasure to be able to attend this year and see what all the fuss was about! I was able to spend time with blogging friends that I don’t always get chance to see and meet new ones. Thanks for all your hard work x

  13. The MADs is everything that good in blogging! I was literally watching the sat nav like a hawk driving back from London, desperately hoping I would be sat down with a glass of wine and phone in hand to follow along on Twitter! I don’t have time for envy or negativity, there is room in the blogging community for everyone. Winning one of these awards actually can change your life! I am in no doubt that I wouldn’t have the photography business I do if it wasn’t for this community. Thrilled to see so many rewarded for their hard work and inspiration and totally agree about new faces, that’s what being a supportive group is, sharing new talent, giving young voices a platform to be discovered. xxx

  14. This has actually made me cry (I know that’s nothing new… I blame the peri menopausal hormones) but Sally this is just how I saw Friday night. I LOVED meeting so many new faces that inspire me with their enthusiasm and teach us all something new. I feel blessed to be a part of such a close network of writers who all feel like true friends now and for whom I am incredibly protective. We have been through a lot together many of us and that history counts for a lot. And yes… the odd negative which we have to view as distant vibrations while we focus out attention firmly on the positive light we are writing towards.
    Thank you once again for all your support over the years, for such a fabulous, filthy, fun evening, and for being you.
    H x

  15. It was a FANTASTIC night and left me feeling reinvigorated about blogging. Well done to everyone – you put on such a great, uplifting, FUN event, it was a real treat to be a part of it all. PS Flea is possibly the coolest kid EVER.

  16. Was sad to miss it this year despite some lovely offers of being a plus one (last train home and kid’s birthday party on Saturday was a killer last year). Lovely to follow on twitter though and see so many new faces. I had a sneak preview of Becky’s speech, she is a wise lady – carrying those words with me this week. Well done!

  17. Am I the only one who is left wondering what Tom did to have his name crossed out?! 😉
    Seriously, thanks so much for putting on such an amazing event, you and Lindy are such a fab team and so modest about it but most of us can appreciate what a headache it must be behind the scenes. Who ARE these negative people (said in the voice of that one from Big Brother ages ago)?! No need for that. Jealousy is a sad thing, but on the other hand it does mean that you are great! I have been so lucky to attend these events and meet all the awesome lovely people (including Dr.Ranj, who I’m sure is miles better than Helen L) – getting to know other new bloggers is what makes life and the blogging world more interesting. Please don’t ever stop!

  18. To put on an event such as this – and all for free some people might forget – is a massive achievement and you deserve all the accolades that are coming your way, along with the rest of your team. They far outnumber any petty jealous remarks which say more about the people making them than they could about you and I am hoping those are the ones you take into your heart and away from the evening. It was a pleasure to be involved and enjoy a sea of new faces and Di and I did indeed make some new friends. The emphasis on friendship says it all. Hope you recover soon and thank you for allowing us +1s to join in the fun too 🙂

    1. You’re right. Ignoring negativity is the smart way to go – I find it very hard, but I imagine most people do. But night like Friday remind me that what counts, really, are all the people there having fun, and enjoying what the team works so hard to produce!

  19. for me it has always been about the friendship, the prosecco and the belly laughs. friday night was all of this and more. thank you for the invitation and a massive thank you for all my new friends x

  20. *blush*
    Thank you Sally. Thank you for giving me the excuse for a child free jolly to London, to get dressed up and to laugh more than I have in ages!
    Same time next year? 😉

  21. It was another fab night and huge success. I always go away gutted to learn there was someone there who I didn’t speak to – it’s far too short (in a good way)! And I loved the fact that there were lots of new faces there too; it shows that blogging is never going away, that we might sometimes wax and wane, but that it is now actually a proper THING! Albeit still very bonkers 🙂

  22. Oh Sally, I had the very best time and thank you for letting me turn up ridiculously early and immerse myself in the MAD Blog Awards spirit long before I had any right to be sat in that dressing room. The entire experience was one of the best nights out I’ve ever had and I can’t tell you how glad and grateful I am to have made the final; on a personal level I find it very hard to swallow the idea that it’s the taking part that counts, but as far as the MADs go I was just so happy to get to be there on the night (and, uh, most of the afternoon as well!) that not winning didn’t matter in the least. I made so many new friends, met some old friends and laughed so hard that I had a sore throat the next morning. In fact, if I hadn’t prebooked a taxi with friends then I would probably still be zooming around the hotel on that fab wee microscooter, refusing to accept that the party was over!

    Can’t wait for next year. I want an official ‘helper’ role if I don’t make the final (or if I do!)…

  23. It was amazing to be there as a newbie and meet so so many of the bloggers I had only tweeted before. When you read their blogs you feel like you know them but having the opportunity to do the Macarena with them, or take daft photos in a photo booth was fabulous. Such good fun, thanks so much.

  24. Oh goodness – I seem to have something in my eye. I was absolutely gutted not to be able to make it this year – I love the spirit and community of the Mads, you have created something pretty special and I am proud to have been a tiny part of it over the years. I did see Becky’s speech ahead of time and she got it spot on, blogging has brought me so many lovely, loyal, inspirational friends – and you, madam, are one of the best. (When I see you on Wednesday we’ll just do a bit of back patting shall we? Pretend we haven’t gone all soppy) x

  25. I was truly gutted not to be there and still gobsmacked to be with so many amazing women in the Outstanding category. I did watch on periscope and although it wasn’t the same, it was nice to see it all. I think the lovely Becky got it spot on. I love what blogging has opened up for me, I have met so many wonderful friends thought it, ones I know I will have for life, you are one special lady and it was such an inspiration to see you all there. I am proud t be part of the wonderful blogging community. What a great night and wish I’d been there xx

  26. That was a party and a half! Thoroughly enjoyed meeting new faces (Amber@goblinchild was particularly fine company earlier on!) and catching up with others who are well on the way to being old friends, Thanks for entertaining us. Tom’s photos are a gorgeous. Not sure how he managed to catch anyone looking sober….?

  27. ah thanks so much for the lovely words about me! That’s very kind of you, thanks as well of course for organising such a wonderful night yet again. It’s funny I felt the same about so many faces I didn’t know, but by the end of the night I had made some new friends! The blogging community is just so inspiring and supportive and just thinking about that reading your post is almost a bit overwhelming (OK I am pregnant!). I feel really honoured to be part of it!

  28. I was so lucky to be watching on periscope and heard just how filthy Dr Ranj is! He sounded like he had enjoyed the hospitality!
    It looks and sounds like a wonderful night with so many fantastic bloggers there. Maybe one day, I’ll get there!

  29. I watched on Periscope and Becky’s speech gave me a lump in my throat too because it really summed up what I want blogging to mean to me.

    What you do every year with the MADs is bring bloggers together and make us proud to do what we do and even though I didn’t make it (I was surrounded by teenagers for my daughter’s 13th), I could feel the sense of community just through watching it on Periscope.

    You did good 😉

  30. Thanks so much for the night Sally. We had a great time and it was wonderful to be able to spend it with my ‘impossibly glam wife’ Jen. 🙂 Currently working late to try and improve for next year so maybe we’ll take home the award.

    Thanks again, great to meet you too.


  31. Caro | The Twinkles Mama

    Aah it was such a good night. I felt totally thrilled and honoured to be a part of it. Thanks so much for hosting Sally – and thanks for organising the hair and makeup beforehand too – that was such a treat.
    I’m so proud to be part of this amazing blogging community xx

  32. It was an absolute joy to be there Sally! The atmosphere was such that it was easy to chat to anyone and everyone – and indeed dance with them all to Michael Jackson (ahem). The girls on my table were fantastic – and it was an absolute treat to be seated with Hayley & the inspirational Emma (FACs). As for Becky’s speech – that magical moment when you look around at all those talented parents, and know all that time spent blogging is worthwhile! YES! Oh, and thanks for my award too. Love it!

  33. Thank you so much for such a good night Sally – I loved it! It was the first blogging event I had ever been to so I am definitely one of those new faces I suppose. I was just so honoured to be up there with so many amazing bloggers, you are right, it’s the friends you make along the way and also for me, the support you find and the inspiration. The atmosphere was great, you did a great job x

  34. I loved attending the MADS before, was lucky and made it there 3 times! Shame not this year, would be nice to see you and many others. I have to agree that thanks to blogging I have also made some very close friends and cannot imagine not having them. Sometimes I wonder what would my life be like without blogging for past 7 years, just an ordinary teacher. Love my life as a blogger and all the opportunities we get!

  35. Ah Sally it looked like such a superb night, hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to attend another year, as you said breastfeeding doesn’t last forever. I loved watching on periscope and seeing my blog screenshot on the board, such a geek! Looks like everyone had a superb evening, well done to you on hosting such a fabulous night for everyone. Xxx

  36. It sounds like an amazing evening and I watched eagerly via social media. I used to run events and like you, one negative comment would take over my world for a while, even if the event was a runaway success. Blogging is amazing and I feel blessed to have met so many wonderful people, some of which are best friends

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