I have to admit, I still feel like a relative newbie where it comes to blogging. I've been posting on here since March 2014, but it still feels like a miracle when people I don't know tell me they like my writing or photography. Even more miraculously, sometimes these comments lead to striking up friendships, both online and in real life. I've been hugely lucky in that the fellow bloggers I've connected with so far have been super lovely - the kind of people you instantly click with in real life. Viv of Vi Vian's Food Blog is one of them! I initially came to her blog through her food envy-inducing Instagram, and was lucky enough to meet her last night, when she very kindly invited me to join her at this year's National UK Blog Awards as she'd been shortlisted in the Food & Drink category.
We rocked up at this year's venue, the Montcalm Hotel just off Marble Arch, and upon finding each other, headed straight for the canapés. Because food bloggers bond best over nibbles, obvs. I tried a shot of cauliflower and truffle soup, mini sliders, and an impressively large bowl of creamy mushroom and artichoke risotto. In terms of drinks, I got into party mode with a lurid red vodka concoction, and the champagne flowed freely all evening.
Yeah, I clearly didn't need to be told twice...
Hopefully you'll have clocked the 'Eat Me' and the gargantuan disembodied Cheshire Cat head, and worked out that the theme was Alice In Wonderland! Fitting, as this month marks the 150th anniversary of this seminal oneiric text. (That sentence just made me nauseous. I've been in the library all day today, can you tell?)
The reception room was filled with trees bedecked with imitation wisteria and cherry blossom, which I loved. Seriously, give a blogger a tree bursting into flower and cue transports of delight - even if the tree is fake. They'd be so lovely at an indoor wedding!
Speaking of lovely, I'm so happy I had the chance to meet Viv - we chatted the possibility of a Malaysian supperclub, her experience in the food world as a chef-restaurateur, her aversion for all things cheese-related (travesty!) and I swooned over pictures of her heartbreakingly adorable baby.
Next came the ceremony! Viv didn't win, but as the hosts said, everyone who was on the list last night was really a winner in their own right. It's testament to Viv's amazing reviews that she was shortlisted as one of the best food bloggers in the country!
We toasted Viv and fellow shortlisted food blogger Kiran (of The Swindian) on making the cut after the awards with champagne. And I swallowed a Mont Blanc cube on a soup spoon (curiouser and curiouser...) in one. Then it was time to fall down the rabbit hole.
There was a GoCompare photo booth at the event but it had been shut down after the ceremony...so we decided to make our own booth. Rules? Pah!
^ Regarding my odd sprout-like parting...one of the fun consequences of my hair drying weirdly in the wind. #asianhairproblems #spiderhair #doeswhateveraspiderhaircan
A terrifyingly convincing Mad Hatter from the Tim Burton school of Alice got up close and personal with Viv and Kiran. Our cue to leave, weighed down with goody bags (my favourite element of partying since c. 1994).
Thanks for inviting me to the UK Blogging Awards, Viv! As always, I feel hugely lucky and humbled to be able to make friends through blogging. I can't wait for our next foodie meetup, hopefully featuring lots of Malaysian goodies and absolutely no cheese at all!