I WON AT THE BLOG AWARDS! And, um, this outfit happened

So I wasn’t expecting that! (Obviously, or I never would have promised you a photograph.) But I won the award for Best Newcomer at the Blog Awards last night. And I’m so delighted I don’t even mind jeopardising everything I hold dear now, by showing you just how seriously I took the 1980s fancy dress theme.

It was marginally funny earlier when I realised that at least 50% of the people in the room had possibly never even heard of Dynasty, Dallas, or anything else involving Grade A shoulder pad abuse.

Which meant that they thought I dressed like this normally. Although you’d think hair big enough to invade a small country and the texture of candyfloss might suggest otherwise. And that’s even before you even register the horror of a pastel pink power suit. Thank God for the dazzling compère, Bunny, who was channelling much the same thing and shouting Joan Collins before I even got to the stage.

I swear this outfit happened on purpose

I swear this outfit happened on purpose

And here I am later, with an award, a massive smile on my face and a lovely spouse to inject a bit of levity into the photograph.

2 for the price of 1

No flashes were harmed in the making of this picture

Thank you to Lorna Sixsmith and Amanda Webb who put enormous energy and expertise into organising the 2014 awards and put on a bloody fabulous show for everyone last night to boot.

And a humongous thank you to everyone here for their messages, votes, laughs, comments, shares, tweets, e-mails, visits, and interaction in general. My first steps into blogging have turned into an utter joyride (not in the 1980s Dubin meaning of the word obviously) and more fun than popping bubble wrap in a champagne-filled Jacuzzi.

And just one word of warning. I think I saw Tark and Mara at another table last night. They may have their own take on the awards… oh dear.


  75 comments for “I WON AT THE BLOG AWARDS! And, um, this outfit happened

  1. October 5, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Many millions of congratulations to you! Fabulous win! And there may be something wrong with me, but I thought that outfit was gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 5, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      Shhh…. don’t let them know; or they’ll all be wearing it by Tuesday… (and thank you very much)


  2. October 5, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Have a few more Brownie Points… You made me laugh on a day when I was seriously in need of it. Great outfit, I must check my dressing up box.


    • October 5, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      I’m glad of that, Hilary. And whatever you find in your dressing up box, it can’t be as bad as what I found in my wardrobe


  3. October 5, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Whoop de doo! Many congratulations, Tara! A true winner! Fab costume, by the way – those pearls truly are something else! Sooo delighted for you, but certainly not surprised. You deserve every moment of it. 🙂


  4. October 5, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Excellent! Love the big hair and shoulder pads…


    • October 5, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      I did too. Until I had to get an industrial power washer at my head this morning


  5. Sally
    October 5, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    Congratulations on the award. Really, really well deserved. (I think you should be awarded another one for “the look”.)


    • October 5, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      Ah, yes. That’s actually a sore point, Sally, because I didn’t win best dressed, or best hair. Gutted. Next time, I’m going to put my hair up with a scaffold


  6. October 5, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Congrats and love the hair! And the suit was even that awful salmon pink!


    • October 5, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      Thank you! I am not saying anything about the fact that the jacket did not have to be bought especially for the fancy dress. I am not going to talk about that

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ciara Hayes
    October 5, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Congratulations again T! Well deserved and that eyeshadow is only mesmerisi………


    • October 5, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Scared the living daylights out of myself with the blue eyeshadow, Ciara. Every time I caught sight of my hair and face in a mirror, a little part of me ran away


  8. armenpogharian
    October 5, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Congratulations on your award! I may have discovered your blog a little later than others – no one said I was the quickest off the block – but I’ve really enjoyed your posts.


    • October 5, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      Nobody’s late to this party, Armen! I’m only new to it myself and you are heartily welcome. Although last one to leave has to wash the floors 😀


  9. October 5, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Well done. Very well deserved.


    • October 5, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      Thanks to people like you for your ongoing support and online visitations. Particularly because they won’t let anyone else into this cage but my handlers.


  10. October 5, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Woooooooooooooooooot!!!!! Well done you! 😀

    Just so you know you’re not the only one… I had a serious shoulder pad addiction back then and I swear I had a blouse like yours – except it was electric blue… blushes furiously. As for Mara – I bet she was jealous of your Chanel-esque style 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 5, 2014 at 4:29 pm

      I’ll see your electric blue blouse and raise you the fact that the shirt I wore last night was A CURRENT RESIDENT OF MY WARDROBE. I tell you, awards aside, when it comes to dressing badly, I’m all over it.

      You’re right about Mara. There is some vitriol and fermented abuse coming my way shortly.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Eimhear
    October 5, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Huge congrats from all in HK. Be careful, Dallas might call looking for their shoulder pads 🙂 Love the outfit x


    • October 5, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      Don’t worry Eimhear. I’ve been to Dallas, and there was nobody there. So my arsenal of shoulder pads is safe.


  12. Ali Isaac
    October 5, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Wonderful Tara! Congratulations! Looks like a great fun night! Loved the outfit by the way…


    • October 5, 2014 at 4:22 pm

      Thanks Ali! And I did promise you big hair…


      • Ali Isaac
        October 6, 2014 at 1:30 am

        You certainly did! And it definitely was!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. October 5, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Congratulations again and lovely to meet you last night.


    • October 5, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      You too! Delighted to put a face to an avatar. Not to mention the tiny bundle of squidgy gorgeousness you brought with you 🙂


  14. blimprider
    October 5, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    Here, and after that buildup I was expecting to see a refugee from a freak show. I guess you evaluate things by comparing them to your own background. As a teen/young adult in the ’60s, believe me, you look completely normal! If I was going to recreate that look from my own youth, I’d have to find some paisley bell-bottoms, a polyester shirt with foot-long collars, a Nehru jacket, square-toed Beatle boots… There ain’t a thrift store in the free world where I could pull that off!

    CONGRATULATIONS! It looks like you had a well-deserved great time. I’ve always liked big hair, by the way, and you did great; Farrah would be green!


    • October 5, 2014 at 5:49 pm

      Thank you so much! And I can assure you, up close it was freak show material. My eye shadow alone made medium-sized children cry.


  15. October 5, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Not at all surprised… by the award OR the outfit! Both are smashing (though I would’ve gone more rock & roll myself, you managed the padded pink power suit with aplomb… and how often does one get to use THAT word?). Congratulations, Tara. Well deserved!


    • October 5, 2014 at 6:43 pm

      Thank you, Lorraine… I’m not sure whether I did the pink or the pink did me, but the end hilarity is all that matters. And you couldn’t surgically remove the grin from my face!


  16. October 5, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Congratulations Tara on winning last night! It was a great night! I’ll e-mail on some photos to you.


    • October 5, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      Our blog Mayo Club 51 was nominated in the same category.


      • October 5, 2014 at 6:49 pm

        Thank you, Michael, that’s much appreciated! And thank you for the photos. It was indeed a great night – I didn’t see that coming with such great finalists.


  17. October 5, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Congrats Tara,
    That Triffid on your right shoulder looks in serious mating mode. Hey, some offspring – ever seen a tree with padded shoulders and juicy lips. I’m going herbivore.
    Wine okay, enough?
    Well done,


  18. October 6, 2014 at 12:55 am

    Well done on the award Tara. Well deserved.

    Looking classey too. I remember you wearing that very same outfit to the Christmas disco in 1989.

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 6, 2014 at 10:32 am

      Ah, Dermot, I thought everyone had forgotten! Dammit. Joan Collins would never have worn the same thing twice. Never mind – maybe you were the only one to notice…


  19. October 6, 2014 at 2:51 am

    Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. October 6, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Congratulations! Well deserved. 🙂


    • October 6, 2014 at 10:33 am

      Thank you Darryl. I hope you mean the award was deserved, not the outfit. Nobody deserves that outfit 😉


  21. October 6, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Congratulations! I know you must be sick of thanking every single one of them, but congrats anyway 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  22. johanna buchanan
    October 6, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Congratulations Tara Sparling. Very well deserved. Tark and Mara will be bloody furious so they will. They’re the one who are supposed to go to all the top social events after all. And yet here’s this upstart Tara Sparling swanning in out of nowhere to pick up her fancy gong in her fancy pink outfit? It won’t go unnoticed. There Will Be A Backlash.

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 6, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      Thank you Johanna! Tark and Mara appear to be LIVID. I gathered this when I passed by as they were strangling a waiter. I have appointed bodyguards to my laptop and have sealed my abode with cake. Mara would never cross that threshold.


  23. Diana Feltner
    October 6, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Oh my, Tara! Congratulations on your award! You absolutely deserve it! Don’t feel too bad about the shoulder pads, I sported them myself back in the day…though I looked more like a football player in drag.

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 6, 2014 at 10:51 pm

      Thank you, Diana! That’s some mental image, although I reckon the blue eyeshadow was my worst crime…


  24. October 7, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Congratulations!!! I was thinking of you. It was possibly even the power of my thoughts that lifted your hair, because spray couldn’t have done that on its own. Best newcomer! Brilliant. Now all you’ve got to do is get that novel whanged in, and your screenplay done, and that’ll be you done and dusted for the weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 7, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      You’re right, Elaine. It was mousse, gel, spray, and Canhamvibes. You can’t get Canhamvibes in Boots though. I tried.

      Liked by 1 person

      • October 7, 2014 at 3:53 pm

        That’s cause I’m not wearing any! Kaboom! Sorry. I’m so pleased for you, though. How is the book going?

        Liked by 1 person

        • October 7, 2014 at 3:58 pm

          As for the book – not too bad, but it’s that awful political case of a lot done, a lot more to do, know what I mean? A lot of hard decisions have been made – I’ve been killing darlings all over the shop – and a few new characters managed to give birth to themselves with relatively little screaming – which is all good, but I have hundreds of hours of slog to go yet before, well, just before. You know yourself.

          How is Sybil doing?


          • October 7, 2014 at 4:01 pm

            It’s not Sybil I’m worried about. Its the daughter. She’s rather more complicated. I’m not sure about her being a prison officer. But, at the moment, I’ve got paying work, so she’ll have to take a back seat until next week.


            • October 7, 2014 at 4:11 pm

              Yep, those bits’ll trip you up all right. Maybe your original gut was right. Who knows? Maybe the tourniquet of paying work will provoke your inner creative rebel and it’ll all come to you one morning as you’re contemplating changing your insurance provider…


              • October 7, 2014 at 5:56 pm

                that’s exactly what happened with my latest post! Work really got to me this afternoon….


                • October 7, 2014 at 7:16 pm

                  I have only just read it. It is splendiferous. I am sharing it EVERYWHERE 😀


  25. October 7, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Many congrats. Well deserved. Don’t forget to keep those standards up to retain, er, the Best Newcomer award again next year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 7, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Thanks! I’m going for world domination next year, Mel – I’ll be aiming for the Martial Arts, Beekeeping and Smartphone MusicMaker categories.

      Hang on.That might be a different competition… leave it with me…

      Liked by 1 person

  26. October 7, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    Congratulations, well deserved ! Mu husband was in the 50% who didn’t realise it was a costume…oops. In his defense, he didn’t have a TV in the 80’s (lame excuse I know)

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 7, 2014 at 10:32 pm

      [Gulp] So he thought I was in my Sunday best? Did he feel sorry for me? I bet he did! Can I take it that you told him since then??

      Well done on making the finals! I can’t remember how I found you, but I had read your blog before and enjoyed it very much. I find it difficult as a WordPresser when people are on BlogSpot etc to find an easy way of telling them that. I’ll have to ramp it up on Google+ or something 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  27. October 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Congrats on the award, Tara! AND lovin’ the big hair – I totally think you rocked the teased hair look hehe 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 10, 2014 at 6:45 pm

      Not so much teased, as tortured, Christy… but we all have our trials 😉


  28. October 11, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Damn, now I have to pop bubble wrap in a champagne filled jacuzzi to see just how good it is. Why can’t I just accept someone’s word? Congratulations !!
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 11, 2014 at 6:32 pm

      You should never accept someone’s word, David. Not where bubble wrap is concerned. And thank you 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  29. October 21, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    That’s some serious teasing going on there. All you need are some slouchy socks and you’d fit right in “The Breakfast Club”


    • October 21, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      It would be funnier if it hadn’t been my go-to “going out” hairstyle when I was 15. I know I was only 15, but really. You’d think someone would have had a word with me about it.


      • October 21, 2014 at 4:20 pm

        There wasn’t anyone to tell you. We were all brainwashed.


        • October 21, 2014 at 4:38 pm

          I’m still convinced somebody out there knew. The reclusive inventor of the bloody hair straightener, for starters.


          • October 21, 2014 at 4:40 pm

            Only the children knew. The little kids who were not worried about fashion. They knew how ridiculous we all looked. We did not believe them.


            • October 21, 2014 at 4:42 pm

              Out of the mouths of babes, eh? Well, on their heads be the birds’ nests which made my puberty 117% harder. That’ll learn ’em.

              Liked by 1 person

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