I’ve won the Gold award for Best Blog: Entertainment at the Milton Keynes Digital Awards 2016. I’m so delighted. This website is only just over a year old; it’s not a business; and I do it all late in the evenings whilst my children are in bed. I’ve had close to 4 million hits since I set up the blog, with a high of 47,000 unique visitors during the school holiday peak in July and so to win an award is just fabulous. It was set up whilst I was on maternity leave – and had a bit more time in the evenings – but I continue to do it whilst working a 32 hour week in a normal job. I say all of this because I think it’s important to highlight your own achievements if you want to get recognised for them. Which brings me on to the awards themselves… I hope you’ll either find this useful because you’re thinking about entering next year… or you’re just nosey and want to find out what the ceremony was like.

Milton Keynes Digital Awards

There are lots of award ceremonies now in all sorts of industries and some require you to ask people to vote for you. I’m not against that completely as they do have their merits, but it does become all about numbers so the most popular and influential person wins. These awards were decided by judges which gave everyone a fair chance. I had to fill in an online form with supportive information about my blog which was straightforward and then wait for a few weeks. I was pleased to find out I had made the final in the blog:entertainment category, as well as social media and tourism – despite not running my own business – wahoo! Then comes the sticking point – you have to pay to attend the ceremony. Having been fortunate enough to have made the final of the Mad Blog Awards and had the most fabulous evening for free, I have to admit I was a little disappointed. The cost was £72 each, although if you booked a table of 10 you got 10% off. I was keen for my hubs to go so for the both of us it was around £130 as we booked as part of a table and got a discount. Whilst most of the people who attend the evening do so for their businesses, as a blogger it’s quite hard to justify spending so much money on something that for me is simply a hobby. The digital awards are only in their second year, I hope that in future years they more attract more sponsorship so perhaps gold winners get their tickets paid for, or the cost of ticket prices can be reduced to encourage more people to enter.

We were greeted with a glass of bubbly on arrival at the Jury’s Inn in Milton Keynes and enjoyed chatting to Warren who writes a fab blog about Japanese culture called Kakkoii Club and Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages who learns, teaches and vlogs about languages for her job. Bizarrely the dress code was ‘office/casual’ – what on earth does that mean for a woman?! Shift dress and trainers? I can only assume a man with no party planning experience came up with that one. After colluding with several other guests before the event we went with little black dresses which was far more appropriate for an awards ceremony. I suggest ‘dress to impress’ or ‘black tie’ would be better. 

Milton Keynes Digital Awards

I was more nervous than I thought I would be when it came to the blog category. I was up against some fab websites and if you haven’t come across them already then do take a look. The lovely Lou writes about local beauty, food and kids stuff at Milton Keynes Girl; food and lifestyle reviews are beautifully presented on Two Men About Town; Sophie’s Suitcase is a super stylish travel blog; I’ve already mentioned Kakkoii Club; look at It’s a wonderful life by Jasmine Storm for theatre and music reviews; and restaurant reviews at Foodoholism. When my name was called I was over the moon and after getting over some initial butterflies proceeded to talk for three minutes about my blog and how much I wanted to thank everyone for reading it and supporting me. If you want to see the announcement then watch the video below. What was just as much fun was then finding out both of the finalists on my table won gold awards as well.

I think it’s absolutely brilliant to have an awards ceremony that recognises the best websites locally. The fact that there is a gold, silver and bronze award in each of 15 categories gives lots of opportunities for people to be recognised.  I’m proud to say I won and I’m so pleased to have met some really talented people and been part of an industry awards in an industry I don’t work in. If you’re reading this and thinking you could enter next year then absolutely you should do it. Unless you have the confidence to put yourself forward then you could miss out on a great opportunity to get recognition for all of the hard work that you put in either in your job, or as a blogger. I do hope in years to come though that the organisers of the awards create more of an ‘experience’ for attendees for the price that you have to pay – or look at how the cost could come down to make it more appealing to go. You can read more about the awards and see details about all the finalists on the Milton Keynes Digital Awards website.

Milton Keynes Digital Awards

I'm Laura, mum of two boys - aged six and four. I started this website at the end of Sept 2015 whilst on maternity leave. I now work four days a week and do this blog late at night once the little boys are sleeping. It's won several awards over the last four years and I continue to run it for free and mostly focus on free, cheap, and good value days out. Do drop me an email laura@miltonkeyneskids.com if you want to contact me. Don't forget to follow all of our latest adventures on facebook, instagram and twitter and have a look at all of the videos of the places we visit on the Milton Keynes Kids YouTube Channel - subscribe to it for notifications every time I add a new place. And remember... you may been reading this post months after we visited, do check with the destination you're visiting for up to date opening times and prices. If you find this blog useful then please do comment on my posts and leave me a Facebook review - it makes doing this all the more worthwhile.

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