Thank you so much for all the nominations and support from my lovely readers, friends and fellow bloggers. I was really blown away to be runner up in the Family Traveller Best Family Travel Blogger awards this week. It’s taken me a little while to recover from the excitement of a day out in London, an awards ceremony, three glasses of fizz and accidentally boarding the wrong train home to Nottingham*, but today, Friday I have recovered sufficiently to tell the tale!
*In my defence, they always put the Derby and Nottingham trains on the same platform, it was an accident waiting to happen, especially when your confidence is slightly buoyed by being runner up in a lovely award ceremony, and by fizz. What can I say? I’m actually a very organised and reliable travel blogger and you shouldn’t be put off collaborating with me. The staff at Derby station were very sweet and although they had no train to put me on when I emerged confused on a ghostly platform, they did point me in the direction of a reasonably priced cab who reassured me I am not the first or the last person to be fooled by East Midlands trains, while Mr A sent me repeated texts demanding the cab number and to know I was ok – bless him. I got home at 2am and got up to do the school run at 7am. Back to the awards…
The ceremony took place at The White Company’s flagship store, on Symons Street, London complete with fizz and canapés. I tried not to get distracted by scented candles and a heart shaped Shepherd’s pie dish (NEED!) While distracting Katie’s baby** in the nursery section I also fell in love with a feather mobile. The room quickly filled with representatives from all across the family travel industry and we heard some fascinating stats about family travel, despite Brexit, it is still growing faster as an industry than travel in general and multi- generational getaways are particularly popular (did you hear that Dad?).
There were 25 categories across the travel industry, and Best Family Travel Blogger was a new award this year. Amazingly the travel inspiration site I co-edit Space In Your Case was also a finalist, along with two of my co-editors blogs Mummy Daddy Me and Actually Mummy. Our fourth Space In Your Case member Alison Perry of Not Another Mummy Blog join us to represent Space In Your Case so it was the perfect excuse for a catch up in London before hand. It was lovely to see Mums Do Travel and All Baby Advice, fellow finalists Mini Travellers and My Travel Monkey were very much missed.
Blogging has opened lots of fascinating doors for me and I’ve been lucky to win lots of awards for different things, from video to charity work during my seven years of blogging – but family travel really has become my passion. (Apart from a couple of moments in August when I had kids off school, a trip fell through, I suddenly had lots of lovely work offers coming in and I thought my head was going to explode. Luckily a digital detox in a remote Welsh cottage soon fixed that). It was incredibly exciting to have my passion for travel blogging acknowledged by a rather awesome expert panel of judges, and to be runner up for Best Family Travel Blog.
The judges are super exciting actually, especially as I spent much of my summer back and fro-ing to London to do a Travel Writing course with Susan Grossman, with the aim of widening my writing beyond my blog: Jane Anderson, broadcaster and writer Mariella Frostrup, BBC’s travel documentary maker Simon Reeve; travel editor of The Times Jane Knight, and travel & lifestyle director of Elle, Sue Ward Davies. It feels like a huge honour to have parentshaped picked out by these writing and travel experts.
Katie from Mummy Daddy Me won Best Family Travel Blogger, which does not surprise me, Katie’s stunning photography, video and honest documenting of the everyday moments of family life is utterly captivating. **Her baby boy was so well behaved all day, she’d almost convinced me third babies are a walk in the park, apart from the lack of sleep bit.
It was good to chat with Dr Ranj of CBeebies fame, who has presented me with an award before, for Outstanding Contribution at the MAD Blog Awards, along with Team Honk who I have worked with for the last 3 years to stimulate blogger awareness raising and fundraising for Comic Relief. Dr Ranj also writes a health column in Family Traveller, the one about Zika virus was really reassuring.
Here are all the winners and runners up, it was especially lovely to see some companies and destinations we have worked with – click on the links to see the posts – including Trunki, Northumberland, the YHA, the RSPB, National Trust, and Amsterdam. It was lovely to meet representatives from some of the lovely brands listed, travel people really are the friendliest and I was sad to have to leave to go back to Nottingham.
Best Family Cruise Line
Winner: Disney Cruise Line, Runner up: Celebrity Cruises
Best Family Ferry Operator
Winner: DFDS, Runner up: P&O Ferries
Best Family Airline
Winner: Norwegian, Runner up: Virgin Atlantic
Best Family Travel Accessory
Winner: Bundlebean, Runner up: Trunki/Jurni
Best Kids Fashion for Holidays
Winner: AlexandAlexa, Runner up: H&M
Best Family Festival
Winner: Isle of Wight Festival, Runner up: The Big Little Tent Festival
Best Family Theme Park
Winner: Efteling, Runner up: Diggerland
Best Conservation Charity for Families
Winner: National Trust, Runner up: RSPB Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Best Family Travel Blogger
Winner: Mummy Daddy Me, Runner up: Parentshaped
Best UK Accommodation (independent)
Winner: Cary Arms, Runner up: Sands Resort Hotel & Spa
Best UK Accommodation (group)
Winner: YHA, Runner up: Coastal Retreats
Best Overseas Accommodation for Families
Winner: Domes of Elounda, Runner up: Lux* Resorts & Hotels
Best Self-catering Accommodation for Families
Winner: HomeAway, Runner up: Sawday’s Canopy & Stars
Best Kids Club
Winner: Explorer Kids Club, PER AQUUM Niyama Maldives, Runner up: Sani Resort kids clubs
Best Adventure Holiday for Families
Winner: The Family Adventure Company, Runner up: Sunsail
Best Eco/Sustainable Holidays for Families
Winner: Forest Holidays, Runner up: Wilderness Safaris
Best Multi-Generational Family Holiday
Winner: Oliver’s Travels, Runner up: Center Parcs
Best Family Ski Operator
Winner: Esprit, Runner up: Ski Famille
Best All-Inclusive for Families
Winner: Ikos Resorts, Runner up: Crystal Cove by Elegant Hotels
Best Luxury Tour Operator for Families
Winner: Scott Dunn, Runner up: Sovereign Luxury Holidays
Best UK Day Out for Families
Winner: ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Runner up: Seaton Jurassic
Best UK Region for Families
Winner: Northumberland, Runner up: Isles of Scilly
Best UK City Break for Families
Winner: London, Runner up: Bristol
Best European City Break for Families
Winner: Barcelona, Runner up: Amsterdam
Best Overseas Destination for Families
Winner: California, Runner up: St Lucia
Thanks once again for all those who voted and who have supported parentshaped here, on facebook, instagram or twitter, especially big thanks to Emily from A Mummy Too for nominating me, championing this space and telling me to go for it!
To find out more about working with parentshaped go here.