This year my whole team was lucky enough to be one of three shortlisted for the Team of the Year and although we didn't win the actual award, we had an absolute ball there. I'm lucky enough to work with some fantastic people so getting to enjoy what's kind of felt like a party in our honour was great fun.
It was however, a very long day. I was up for work as usual at 6:30am and I finally crawled into bed about twenty hours later!
But before that was the whirlwind of getting there and actually getting ready. We were on the bus forever (actually about two and a half hours) so it was heaven when we stepped off into the hotel. We had about an hour and a half to get ready before the next coach arrived to ferry us off to the ball.
I'm a low maintenance kind of girl so I planned to chill for half an hour and then use the remaining hour to get myself ready to go as a friend was going to pop by to borrow my hair straighteners. A couple of minutes after I took this photo there are a knock of the door and the aforementioned friend was standing there looking a little lost because her room wasn't ready yet and she needed a shower.
It was cool having company while we danced around the room doing hair, make up, fixing our dresses, sorting out shoes.
The event was taking place at Hopetoun House and I can't imagine a more spectacular venue. The last award ceremony I went to was at the Glasgow Science Centre, which was great, but Hopetoun House felt like something really posh. And I knew this was going to be something a bit special when we drove through the grounds and the house suddenly came into view.
If it looked beautiful when we arrived, it looked like something else once night fell!
We were able to wander around in the State Apartments (that's through the doors at the top of those stairs) when we arrived, have drinks, nibble canapes, mingle with colleagues from other sites and check who would be seated at our tables for dinner. We had a big group photo with everyone there on those steps. I can't wait to see how that turned out.
And then it was time for dinner.
We were called across the courtyard to the wing where the photo above was taken. Dinner was served in the Adams Ballroom and the evening's James Bond theme was in full swing. All of the tables were named after James Bond films; mine was Spectre. And they were decorated accordingly, with playing cards, dice, and little Aston Martin cars.
Dinner was excellent, the company was brilliant and the award ceremony was fantastic. There are some amazing people in the company and it was lovely to give everyone their chance to shine in the spotlight.
And then we were ushered outside to take our place on front steps for a surprise. I kind of had an idea of what was coming, because I'd read up on what Hopetoun House's corporate events package consisted of. But despite having an inkling of what was to come, it was a great surprise.
And then that was followed up by a spectacular firework display.
Between the pipe band finishing and the firework display starting, the group I was standing with popped open one of the bottles of champagne our team had received for being shortlisted. We then watched the display whilst passing round the bottle. Firework displays are pretty cool at the best of times, but I can honestly say that they're made infinitely better whilst drinking champagne straight out the bottle.
Back to the Adams Ballroom and the dancing had started. I'm not a dancer, but I did allow myself to be dragged up for the last dance of the evening. The rest of the time I just sat and watched and enjoyed myself.
Oh, and we did go play in the photobooth that was set up for the occasion, I think this might be my new favourite photo of myself:
It was one o'clock yesterday morning when it finally wrapped up and we bundled into coaches for the journey back to the hotel. Of course, once I got there I needed to unwind because I was really buzzing. I showered, tidied my room and then did what any normal person would do.
I sat down to work on a pen pal letter:
It was 3am when I finally crawled into bed (and owing to forgetting to unset my alarm for work, I was woken at 6:30am).
Even now I can't quite settle on just which bit of the evening was the best. It was an amazing night and I'm already trying to be extra awesome to secure my invitation to it next year.