The highlight of the Plus Size Calendar, the British Plus Size Awards takes place every November in a glittering red carpet affair in London. Now, I have wanted to attend for the last two years but for various reasons have been unable to.
This year I was determined to get there and started a “penny pot” scheme where you put a penny in a pot on day one, 2 pence on day two, 3 pence on day three and so on. By the end of the summer I had over £400 saved up. More than enough for the awards, train, hotel and associated costs. Ans so I started to plan.
I was even more amazed and fortunate to be one of the six finalists in the Best Plus Size Blog category of the Awards. Now being nominated is a wonderful and special thing. Being up against 5 of your favourite plus size friends is even better.
Whilst I would have loved to win the award I genuinely loved all of the other five bloggers so much that I really didn’t mind who won! It is not very often you can say that. But I genuinely meant it.
Anyway the awards started several weeks before for me. I needed to find a perfect dress to wear and this was made possible by the amazing Florentya Dawn in Stockport. I went up to visit them and try on a few outfits and found the dress of my dreams. Now all I needed was the matching accessories.
I found the perfect shoes, believe it or not, on everything5pounds.com. I needed a higher heel than usual as the dress was quite long. All I needed to finish it was a perfect handbag.
Now I had booked myself a luxurious hotel – I had really pushed the boat out at this time and was staying at the London City Suites, which was a stunningly beautiful hotel. I booked in on the Friday and unpacked ready for the events of Saturday.
Taking a tube over to Tottenham Court Road, I had a bite to eat and then popped into Primark to get a couple of accessories I needed for Saturday.
It was in this shop that I got a message from a friend. “Awards have been cancelled, did you know?”
I thought she was winding me up. It was not likely that a well established event and organiser would cancel with just 24 hours ago. So I did what any good blogger did. I went onto Social Media.
There it was, in Black, White and Gold. Plain to see on Instagram.
Of course everyone else’s social media started blowing up, people asking what was going on, what had happened, if everything was alright. Calls and texts were made. All to no avail.
I rang the hubby from the middle of Oxford Street. He said “Hello, you all ok?” And I burst into tears. In the middle of the street. I explained to him that it had all been cancelled and no-one seemed to know what was going on.
I literally was in bits. As I said, I had literally saved pennies every day for this opportunity and it was all off.
I went back to my Hotel. I sat and watched Twitter, Instagram and Facebook literally blown up with notifications. Everyone was asking for answers, and it was only going to get worse.
One by one, every social media page associated with the organiser and her several business, plus personal pages were deleted or deactivated. This only lead to more questions. People starting saying that she had run off with the money.
One of the sponsors contacted the venue to see if there had been some kind of catastrophe, only to be told that the organisers had cancelled the venue at 4 o’clock that afternoon. But people had been still buying tickets at 2 o’clock that day! How could that be right?
As the evening went on every one of the social media sights associated with the organiser and her companies disappeared. One after the other. People got more angry as each one vanished, including personal pages and sights. That surely wasn’t a good sign.
I sat in my hotel room all night. I knew that my dream of walking down a red carpet was over. But it didn’t mean the weekend had to be ruined too….
I had already organised appointments for my hair and makeup to be done and I intended on keeping them, after all I needed some heavy duty cheering up.
Saturday evening I was in my room. I knew my hair and make-up looked amazing and I was genuinely gutted that I wouldn’t get to see the full ensemble.
I thought about it for a hour, and as I was in a wonderfully luxurious hotel I thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask if they could help.
I rang the concierge and explained what would happen. I asked if they would be willing to take a couple of photographs of me, just so I had a memento of what should have been.
I went downstairs and everyone stopped and looked. The concierge immediately got a staff member who proceeded to take dozens of photographs of me.
When I had first arrived at the hotel I had a couple of conversations with a wonderful lady called Alice who worked on one of the desks downstairs. She saw me in my gown and was so upset that the event had been cancelled. She was so lovely to me, and it made me want to cry!
I went back up to my room, to get out of the dress of my dreams. No sooner was I in the room, when the telephone rang. It was Alice. She felt so terrible about what had happened that she wanted to send somewine up to my room.
Five minutes later and the doorbell went. There was a lovely lady there with a bottle of Chianti and a box of luxury truffles. It really was a lovely thing to do.
The night, I am glad to say wasn’t a total waste. The lovely ladies over at Curvy Kate, who had also been up for an award contacted Club Indulge and the amazing Miranda, and sent out an open invite to anyone who had a BPSA ticket to come and join them for bubbles, dancing and a good time.
The lovely Lottie L’amour came to my hotel for pre-drinks and we caught an Uber to Club Indulge. It was amazing to see so many plus size beauties, and I can honestly say it was just the kind of night I needed. I drank, danced, chatted, met new friends and old and had a thoroughly wonderful time.
I honestly didn’t think it would be my cup of tea at aged 42, but I was in my element. I had a really amazing time, and Miranda and the Curvy Kate ladies did themselves proud!
Did it make up for the loss of the Award Ceremony?
Yes, on one hand it did. We all had an amazing time out, and the hangover the following day attested to it. It also showed you don’t need a red carpet, or a luxury night out to have a fabulous time. I can’t remember the last time I had a night out like it and it certainly cured a lot of my “Blues”
However, the Awards night was going to be the icing on what had been an amazing year. Whilst I never expected to win, now I will never know. It would be easier knowing that I lost, than to never have the answers that everyone had been hoping to hear.
The real downside to this has not just affected me, but many people. It wasn’t just the cost of the ticket to the Awards, although at £99 was a large enough loss, it was all the other associated costs; for me this involved train tickets, hotels, beauty appointments, outfits and accessories. Looking at my spending, and not including food/drinks/treats and travel in London, my outlay was actually £658. This for me, is a massive amount of money. Money I could ill afford to throw away.
I wasn’t the worst affected. One lady had flown all the way over from Australia, and others from Europe. The sponsors, many who were small businesses have been affected greatly. There is even talk of some of them having to shut up shop due to the losses they incurred.
This is where I go from sadness to anger.
This Award Ceremony was to be the highlight of the Plus Size Community year. It was to bring people together to celebrate, promote, network and meet up with friends old and new. It was to give appreciation for all the Plus Size community has achieved and caused. And it was all taken away at the last minute.
This is what makes me angry. People’s dreams and hopes were shattered and that is what is unacceptable. We deserved a night of Celebration, instead we were given a night with no explanation, excuses or communication.
A post has come to light in the last few hours as I was writing this. An official statement will be released this Friday, a whole week after the cancellation. For most this is not acceptable and no matter what the explanation, it will never be enough.
We deserved better. We still do.