Part Three: Awards Night – Everyone’s a Winner
The ETO Awards are always a spectacle to attend and behold, and the ETO Awards 2014 dinner, presentation and dancing was no different. In fact, it was even bigger, crazier, happier and hotter than last year. You can read the full list of winners on the ETO Magazine website here.
No matter whether you’re nominated for a coveted ETO award or simply attending and soaking up the much needed annual celebration of our wonderful industry, everyone agrees that it’s an exciting and fun night. I’d headed back from day one of the show at 4pm, earlier than the closing time, to get ready and try to relax a little before the night got into full swing. I took my time getting ready, soaking up every moment of this special night away from the desk and anticipating so much fun and excitement. Unlike last year I didn’t do the pre-show drinks to calm my nerves, I ended up suffering for that! Learning my lesson I was a good girl this year and didn’t touch a drop of alcohol until we sat down for the meal, even passing up the champagne reception in favour of orange juice.
My outfit had been sorted weeks before and the man was wearing his very smart and sexy suit with waistcoat and cravat. I’ll be honest, I think we looked very sexy. I wore Lipsy heels and my new Monsoon ‘Daryl’ dress (which has been featured in Vogue magazine – just slip that in quietly).
We started with some refreshments in the Crowne Plaza bar and as time went by it slowly filled up with freshly pressed and glitteringly dressed industry friends ready for the night ahead. The shuttle buses started taking people from the bar over to the Concourse Suite where the reception and dinner was happening at about 7.30pm, and Sable and I were on about the third bus over. Entering what closely resembled an airport terminal building, the wide open spaces were perfectly sized for the attendees to drink and chat in comfort.
Pictures were taken by the photographer and then it was into the main area to find our table. We were on table 12, thank you to the fabulous Nexus Range…
..and also on our table were Paul from ID Web, Chris from Eropartner and a couple of gents from EAN Magazine. Vic, James and Julian, my Cara Sutra Collection Ltd co-directors were already at the next table, joining the wonderful Lovehoney team – Neal, Jim, Merlin and more.
Looking around trying to fathom where everyone was, I quickly realised it was impossible. Such a large room this year and what a contrast to the tightly packed space from last year! This was much better. Enough space for what turned out to be over 270 guests, as well as of course the stage for the presentations and a dance floor for the after party.
To the left of our table was the ETO Magazine table, with waves to Dale, Lee, Jacinta and the fantastically talented and enormously friendly Emily Dubberley. Behind, a table full of superb erotic writers who I am proud to be able to call good friends of mine. Velvet Books were joined by KD Grace and her husband Raymond, Kay Jaybee, Victoria Blisse and the genius behind Eroticon USA and UK (read my Eroticon 2014 report), Ruby Kiddell (aka Erotic Notebook) in a breathtaking latex dress. I (and quite a few others, as I recall) was glancing at her stunning latex clad figure rather enviously all evening!
During the delicious meal that was served professionally throughout the hall it was great to get to know people much better, and between courses pretty much everyone was naughty and swapped seats and tables in a networking and chatter catch-up frenzy. It was lovely to finally meet Robin Sweet and Aly Fixter in person, as well as the lady from Segzi. Wine and water were imbibed from the tables, quickly replenished (although no sign of Messianic miracles occurring). I had a little giggle to myself that it happened to be my favourite white wine on the tables, Sancerre. How perfect? The set dinner was great for me, not so great for Sable who doesn’t like seafood, is allergic to mushrooms and doesn’t like lemon – but there we go. We’ll check beforehand next year.
The ETO Awards 2014 presentation finally came around at about 10 or 10.30pm, with Dale Bradford and Lee Schofield once again turning on the ‘Morecambe and Wise’ style wit and charm. In opposing colour suits they took to the stage and Dale lightened the mood immediately by referring to the nearby Dolly Parton concert. They weren’t going to be the biggest pair of tits on stage tonight!
From then on everything became a blur of nominees, winners, applause til my hands were raw and various acceptance speeches and then, photographs in front of a background consisting of ETO and Fleshlight logos (Fleshlight being the official sponsors of the evening).
I did shed a few tears (I’m soppy) when Nigel finally won the award he’d set his heart on from the start – Best Consumable – for Give Lube. Astonished and hugely flattered to be mentioned in his speech, I determined to find him before the night was out and give him a well deserved hug for all his hard work.
Lovehoney swept up two awards, one straight after another, amusingly! Neal and the team didn’t even really get a chance to sit back down before the well known name was called out once more from the stage.
Electrastim was another winner of the evening who I was so pleased to see rewarded for all their hard work. Hella Rude’s input obviously paying off, there! Read my Electrastim reviews here.
I was once again nominated for the award I won last year, Best Erotic Journalist, and within this category my name sat beside such great talents as Emily Dubberley and Mia More from Cliterati and the brilliantly sexy and talented Girl on the Net (seriously, stop writing sex so well, you’re showing me up). I’d convinced myself that I was ‘passing the baton’ this year, so to speak, so felt fairly relaxed as this particular award came around. I was breathless as KD Grace had just won Best Erotic Author and I’d jumped up to give her a hug – SO happy she won! It was a tough call between the Brit Babes this year with KD, Kay Jaybee and Lucy Felthouse all nominated.
Well, long story short, I won Best Erotic Journalist 2014 – but I thought I was hearing things when Dale called my name. I stumbled up to the stage, grabbing Sable as I went, shaking my head at Dale as I passed the stage in sheer disbelief. I then proceeded to make an idiot of myself on stage, not having anything prepared and reeling in shock. It’s been another exciting and insanely busy year, and I get my head down and work every day to make Cara Sutra (as a brand and going forwards with the product side of the business) as fun, educational and sexuality encompassing as possible. I don’t really have the words (ironically) to express how happy I am to have won this coveted award the second year running.
I will work just as hard – if not more – this year, I promise.
Thank you to everyone who voted for me, SO much. You won’t know what it means to me, it’s just amazing. Thank you.
Photos were taken, then it was back to our seats to not really hear the next two awards as I fought back tears, determined not to ‘cry like a big silly’ like last year. The Editor’s Award came last and who should win but the Wand Wizard himself, Will from Doxy Massager! What a perfect end to the ceremony.
The night ended with much dancing, drinking, singing with the live band and being persuaded to open my winner’s champagne and share it with anyone within grabbing distance. It was so hot in the Concourse Suite after the presentation, dancing and drinking that my makeup had slid off about 2 hours previously. While berating myself for not wearing something more appropriate (a bikini made from ice, perhaps?) we moved slowly from the main suite into the bar area, then out into the terminal-esque space. A shuttle back to the Crowne Plaza bar seemed the best bet – we could put drinks on the room tab and get comfy closer to our final destination of the evening, bed.
After being scared I’d make a fool of myself as well as starting Monday morning with a hangover, I only had 4 alcoholic drinks the whole night. So if I spoke to you and seemed tipsy, it was just the excitement talking, honest!
Unlike some others at the bar who saw the sun rise on Monday, I made it to bed at about 1.30am. I didn’t sleep for quite some time, however, my head absolutely ringing with excitement and shock. I had another day of the expo to get through yet though, so I worked hard to get some rest before the morning.
14th July 2014
Additional photos from ETO Magazine, July 2014 edition