As many of you know, after making it to the final 10 of Venus Women Awards Business Mother Of The Year, I went to record a video about my journey and The Light Direction project. This was a traumatic experience for me as I hate being in the spotlight. I forced myself to do it because I care so much about this special project in memory of my son in heaven. 10 finalist videos were up to the public vote and THANKS TO YOUR AMAZING SUPPORT, I made it to the final 3 and was invited to attend the Gala Dinner Awards Ceremony 17th May.
When my son died and several miscarriages followed, I really hit rock bottom and couldn’t face ‘people’ at all, barely venturing out of the house. It’s certainly not as extreme as that now but I still have massive anxiety being in crowded places. The thought of going to a busy event where the best I could hope for was to win and then have to stand on a stage with lots of people looking at me and cameras pointing in my direction made me rather nervous to say the least. I barely slept the night before and spent the day doing silly things like looking in the fridge for the iron and going outside to put the kettle on. *seriously* LOL
The things I WAS excited about, was wearing the gorgeous accessories that some amazing people had made for me especially for the event. My beautiful Tri-Love brooch by Sarah Marks Tiny Gems as featured in the book and on the cover of ebook 1.
It really meant the world to me to wear the bespoke ‘characters’ birthstones bracelet and necklace made by Viv Smith Poppy Sparkles as featured in the story and on the cover of ebook 2 and also the adorable sweetheart jewellery by Rachel Lucie which plays such an important part in the story and is featured on the front cover of the first printed novel.
Beautiful Ellen Scadding of Ellen’s Hair and Beauty who is also featured in the book as a local Dorset small business I recommend made my hair look pretty for the event. Then in my hair was the most incredible tactile sparkling accent, a beautiful rose with gold wiring curls and swavorski crystals in the ‘characters’ birthstone colours. I treasure this exquisite piece made by Diana Evans at Rose Garden Accessories and featured in the story.
I got ready listening to The Light Direction theme music by Richard Ziler and tracks by some wonderfully talented singers featured in the story : Chris Dallman, Jasmine Knight, Dazzy Sir Mic, Zoe Bestel and Jay Loftus.
When we arrived at the event I was quite excited and the nervousness had faded a little.
I love the outfit that you all helped me to choose when I blogged about it here on TLD site. As you can see I couldn’t choose a handbag so I went with two! (the excuse being my phone didn’t fit in the heart shaped one but I had to take it because it’s written into the story) LOL. The gorgeous bags are from Sarah at Totes To Amaze a wonderful Dorset based small business I support and feature.
There was a red carpet at the entrance to Langtry Manor Hotel Lodge which I managed to completely avoid, walking around the outside close to the wall. Haha, celebrity / spotlight / stage / red carpet / camera’s flashing : it’s SO NOT my thing!
The photographer for Heart FM managed to catch me like a frightened rabbit in the headlights though. Thanks for that… LOL!
I do love the fact Jay and I were wearing matching outfits branded to The Light Direction though.
Inside the lodge there was lots of networking going on. Amongst others I spoke to Jenny from Clever Cow Cakes who won Best Home Based Business (Congrats Jenny). She put a huge smile on my face by telling me she had recently read The Light Direction ebook and loved it, really getting into the story and unable to put it down. Thanks so much for your feedback Jenny and remember to submit a review and win some gorgeous gifts!
I also spoke to Rob Douthwaite (an award sponsor) from Granite Transformations about a fantastic local showroom space available for little events, networking groups and so on.
There was lots of networking and posing for photographs going on both inside and outside the lodge.
I was then traumatised (LOL) by Kimberley Garrod the lovely photographer for the event, as I first needed to stand with Tracey and Frances the Special Woman award sponsors from Job Shop UK and fellow finalists Paula Giles and Helen Reed, then… again with Nicky from the Daily Echo along with fellow finalists Hayley Jones and Kate Johnson.
With the networking continuing I was happy to find a quiet corner with my gorgeous hubby Jay. Knowing how anxious I was during the day he had taken care of everything and even polished my shoes for me! Not many hubby’s do that! LOL.
Jay is such a huge support to me and really is my biggest champion, proud of the way I have overcome immense challenges and channelled positive energy into the innovative ways in which I help others without seeking personal gain.
We were a bit distracted though as we very rarely both go out leaving the kids and my elderly grandparents had made an 11 hour journey by coach to come down for a few days specifically to babysit for the evening. Cali (age 8 ) had fractured his foot/ankle the weekend before so was still in pain with it and Xan (age 6) hadn’t been feeling too well. My mind kept focussing on hoping they were okay.
Then it was time to filter in to the marquee. Pretty in pink being the theme. The sashes over chairs and table decorations looked lovely.
I loved the little sparkles and finishing touches on the tables.
The little table embellishments matched my bag form Totes To Amaze perfectly.
Fellow finalists were also at my table loved the sparkly lights in the centre piece.
As everyone took to their seats and one end of the marquee was sealed I did feel extremely uncomfortable and claustrophobic. As pretty as it all looked it was very cramped, elbow to elbow and squashed back to back with no room to maneuver between the seated tables. In typical ‘mum aware of hazards’ mode I was concerned about the programs and laminated papers leaning dangerously close to the open flames of tea lights on the tables too.
Tara Howard of Langrty Manor Business Women Awards opened the awards ceremony to rapturous applause.
Several awards were presented before the main course. I cheered happily for the other finalists but couldn’t help be a little concerned for poor Jay who already has back trouble, as the small plastic chairs with the pretty pink and black covers were far from comfortable and the floor being so uneven didn’t really help. Of course you put up with these things because you want to support the excited winners being announced.
loved the feathery finishing touch to the programme. It was lovely to be recognised in the finalists of two awards for Special Woman….
and Business Mother of The Year.
Then there was a break for dinner.
I was too anxious in such a crowded space to enjoy anything to eat.
It all looked very pretty lit up as it went dark outside. After the meal I went to make a call home to see how the kids were doing. My grandmother sounded flustered and I was told Xandaar had been sick several times and had a high temperature. I could hear him crying and he wanted me. As I returned to the marquee I found the awards had started again and the tent was sealed. I couldn’t even get in straight away and missed hearing Tracey and Frances mention me as a finalist for Special Woman. As the award went to Paula Giles Party Plan Guru (Congrats Paula) who I did some design work for a little while ago, I attempted to squeeze my way between seated guests and through to our table as Paula accepted her award… that was mission impossible in itself and I hurt my ankle slipping on the terribly uneven floor.
For the duration of the next few awards being announced I was completely distracted thinking about Xandaar and trying to speak to Jay about him in hushed voices.
At the break for desert I just wanted to get out of the marquee and phone home to see how he was as quickly as possible. It wasn’t good news. He was crying his eyes out over the phone and calling for mummy between retching still sick. All he wanted was mummy and my grandmother wasn’t coping so well despite my other two boys being so good and trying to help (bless them). It was an easy decision… I wasn’t expecting to win the other award and even if I did, there was no choice to be made… my living son needed me… I was going home. We rushed around looking for Tara but it was so busy I just couldn’t see her and I wasn’t about to fight my way back into the marquee.
In fifteen minutes I went from a ‘posh frocks evening awards ceremony’ to mopping up after and comforting my son (I quickly got changed but still had the pretty hair LOL). Poor Xan was really ill… I stayed up to look after him as he was violently ill all night long.
After another night of practically no sleep I spent all day Friday (as planned for over a month) making sure my big boy Matt had the best 13th Birthday we could give him (considering his little brother still needed looking after too). I even kept my promise of staying away from twitter facebook and emails!
Saturday I found some messages from Tara Howard saying I had won the Dorset Business Mother of The Year 2012 award sponsored by The Daily Echo. WOW! I had no idea! Awesome!
I guess the next image (copyright Kimberley Garrod Photography) is the moment Nicky from the Daily Echo must have announced me as the winner.
I went to collect the award Saturday afternoon and took Xan with me as he had appeared in the video I did for this and I was with him when I would have been announced as the winner. He was still not eating and was very tired.
Tara presented me with the award at Langtry Manor. #Squeeee
Regarding the title of this blog: AWARD WINNER @Ces_Creatively doesn’t want the @womenawards @bournemouthecho trophy…
“I don’t want the trophy… to just sit on a shelf. In itself it is just a symbol and quite honestly I’d rather have the shells or bits of driftwood my boys collect for me at Poole harbour. I DO APPRECIATE you all voting for me to win this award and I DO WANT the credibilty and potential PR boosting opportunity to maximise promoting so many amazing small businesses and talented creatives through The Light Direction project. The award says Business Mother of The Year 2012 and in a way I am playing a mothering role to these small businesses in my book. I believe in and encourage the people I feature… I champion them with sincerity and I lift them up doing whatever I can to support them. This award is for The Light Direction Team not just for me.”
I went to do my own photoshoot LOL of the ‘award’ down at Poole Harbour and Sandbanks, the locations featured in the book and on the covers. Being there instead of on a stage is soooooo much more me!
I have contacted the Daily Echo / Bournemouth Echo by phone and email and sent multiple press releases over the past year about my inspiring personal journey overcoming adversity, my passion to promote Dorset and my tireless efforts to champion small businesses in The Light Direction novel series based here in Dorset and printed locally at Dorset Digital Print. None of my attempts to gain any coverage with them have been met with positive response and the only promotion for TLD I have had in the local paper has been paid for advertising.
I don’t have a huge marketing budget but I devote a lot of time, effort and as much money as I can afford into using my novel series to help raise brand awareness and inspire sales for those I feature. I am excited to find out, now that I have won THE DAILY ECHO sponsored Business Mother of The Year Award 2012 (with MASSIVE THANKS TO YOU ALL as this award was won by a public vote!) if the media company will help me reach a wider audience with The Light Direction an innovative project in memory of my son that champions local tourism and small businesses as well as some amazingly talented people I am honoured to have written into my book. Team TLD this award is for YOU and I love you all. Ces xxx