Winners are Grinners – The Bupa Blog Awards 2017

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Way back in July I was surprised, in a really good way, to receive an email to say that my blog had been nominated in the 2017 Bupa Blog Awards. Not only was I very surprised, I was also very chuffed and very grateful to my mystery nominator/s.

While I was living it large in Waikiki in September, I was even more surprised to receive another email to say that my blog was a finalist in the 2017 Bupa Blog Awards. I was so excited I could have jived with a jelly baby.

Then last week, I hot footed it to Melbourne where I got to meet Team Bupa and my fellow finalists, who are a totally amazing bunch of bloggers, many of whom I have been following and fan girling over for years. To say I was in good company would be a massive understatement.

We spent Thursday afternoon at Bupa HQ (in a room with a view) finding out a little more about each other and also how Bupa works with bloggers and their all singing, all dancing alumni program. The awards and the program are not just a big deal, they’re the real deal. My imposter syndrome was in overdrive, I tell you!

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Later that night, everyone got glam, put on their party pants and headed to Circa, The Prince for a spectacular awards dinner. It was a perfect evening – the venue was first class, the company was top notch and the bubbles and conversation were flowing. Everyone’s a winner, baby!

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Bupa Blog Awards: Personal category – In such good company! (left to right)

Melissa (Suger Coat It), Brittany(By Brittany Noonan), Natalie (Miracle Mamaand Dan (Miss Chardy)

For me, being nominated was a small win, being a finalist was a huge win but never for a minute did I think that I’d be heading home with an award for blogging. So maybe you can imagine my surprise when I was announced the winner of the personal category. Squee!

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The award was presented in memory of Julia Watson, a brave and inspirational member of the Bupa Blog Alumnae and a huge hero of mine, who passed away earlier this year. In presenting the award, John Rizzo (Director of Bupa Brand Health and Care Strategy,) spoke about Julia so beautifully that  everyone’s eyes were leaking, especially mine. Now public speaking is not my jam, especially when I’m unprepared and emotional, and worse, both! I hyperventilated and babbled my way through an impromptu speech. Clearly, I’m never going to win any prizes for public speaking!

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My speech totally needs a do-over and I’d like to think that this blog post is it!

To receive an award that is presented in Julia’s memory is a huge (said in my best Julia Roberts’ Pretty Woman voice) honour for me. I am in awe of Julia and what she achieved both on and off line and her She’s So Inspiring interview is one of my all time favourite and most loved blog posts.

When I started blogging, I didn’t even really know what a blog was or how it worked but I did know what thyroid cancer was and how that worked and it wasn’t pretty. I decided I needed somewhere to empty my thoughts and decided the internet was as good a place as any.

At the time, the interwebs offered little solace for me and my diagnosis, and I hoped that in sharing my story, it would bring some insight, hope and humour to others in a similar position. In the years that followed, there have been numerous times that I’ve wanted to delete those early posts but I know that they make my blog what it is today and I know that six years on, those posts still bring as much comfort to people reading them as they did to me when I wrote them.

I think blogging is a bit like being a musician. Your music changes over the years and every album you produce brings shifts in direction, yet the heart of the music is always true, and always YOU. My blog has changed considerably over the years, I write less about cancer, more about travel and lifestyle, but of course, there’s still plenty of food and cake. Let’s face it, life is too short not to eat the cake! But most of all, my blog is still quintessentially me. As my mum would say, “what’s on my lung is on my tongue” and that’s still true, except what’s on my lung is on my tongue and now… On the internet!

Like a musician, a blogger, has fans that only like their old stuff, only like their new stuff or in some cases like their old stuff and their new stuff and have followed along from the very beginning.

Blogging for me is a conversation because without my community I might as well be talking to myself. I love my blog community; comments, messages, pictures of recipes – these online (and even better, offline) connections make my heart full. So this award is as much for the people who engage with me and my stories as it is for me writing them. I couldn’t do it without you!

Kudos to my mum who for a long time was the only person who read my blog and has always been my biggest fan. Receiving this award is bittersweet because no one would be prouder of this achievement than my Uncle David, who self published three books, and was always cheering me on. I hope he’s high fiving up in heaven.

I must also thank my husband, David without whose technological wizardry I might never have had a blog in the first place and whose belief in me and knowledge of all things computery always exceeds my own.

Blogging is such a solo pursuit and as such, I consider other bloggers to be my virtual colleagues. As co-workers go, bloggers are the most supportive bunch of people you’ll ever get to work with. I have to give a massive high five to those that have supported, encouraged and shared their knowledge and friendship with me over the years and have made the interwebs the best office evah!

I’m so grateful to Bupa for backing me and allowing me to be part of such an amazing program and giving me the opportunity to be able to work with so many wonderful bloggers and creative minds – just between you, me and the rest of the interwebs I’m really hoping their awesome is infectious.

Truth be told, I can’t imagine not blogging – it’s given me a purpose and everyone needs a purpose, right?!

But this award? For me, it means that other people (and not just my mum, bless her soul) really do find value in the stories, recipes, and all the other random ramblings that I share. The validation feels good – it’s like a smiley face sticker with bells and whistles. And no one loves a smiley face sticker more than me!

This is a wonderful opportunity I’ve been given by Bupa and I’m going to run with it.

I’m also going to keep following the advice of the great Muhammad Ali “don’t count the days, make the days count.”

I hope Muhammad wouldn’t mind me Sammie-ising his words of wisdom  to something like “don’t count the readers, make the readers count.” If you’re here and you’re reading, I want you to know you count to me. Thanks for being here, from the bottom of my cake loving heart xx

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Find out who won what and what went down in the official Bupa press release here and meet the other winners (left to right) Fiona, Tara, Emma and  Mel and Rachael (not pictured.)

Are you a lover of community too? Could you win a prize for public speaking? Have you got a purpose? Tell me all the things!

Linking up with Kylie for IBOT

  • LydiaCLee

    Go you! Congratulations! Well deserved. That’s fantastic.

  • I was so thrilled to see you win Sammie. And I was not surprised that you were nominated and that your blog made the finalists. You have created a wonderful blog and you’ve always empowered women by sharing their stories through your She’s So Inspiring series.

    I also love your analogy about bloggers being musicians. It’s true that our music can change over time, but it’s still us and there are readers that have stuck with use from the beginning.

    Congratulations on your win Sammie. Be so proud of what you’ve achieved here. x

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Bec! I am proud of what I’ve achieved on the blog and for that to be recognised others feels really good.

  • Congratulations Sammie! That must have been a very exciting night!

    I like your analogy about blogging and music. I’ve only been blogging for a year, but already I’ve seen some direction changes.

    • I like to think our blogs change and grow with us. If you look at all creatives – writers, musicians and even chefs, the style of their work is always changing in some way.

  • A huge congratulations to you Sammie! I know you don’t blog for the awards but it’s lovely to see you and your blog officially recognised and acknowledged like this!

    Ingrid
    http://www.fabulousandfunlife.blogspot.com.au

    • You nailed it Ingrid! I don’t blog for awards but it feels so good to see the blog being recognised by others (and when I say others, not my mum, she’s so biased!)

  • I am so thrilled for you. So well deserved! And yes, I’d have welled up along with you. I was lucky enough to meet Julia at a Kidspot awards night and chat for a few minutes and she was a lovely person as well as a gifted writer. Much like your good self!

    • Julia was the business, wasn’t she? When John presented the award and started talking about her, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house – I think she made such an impact on everyone she met (and even those she didn’t.) Thanks for your kind words, they mean a lot x

  • I am so incredibly proud and happy for you Sam. A very well deserved acknowledgment of all you contribute. xxx

  • What a beautiful analogy, Sammie. I am just so, so thrilled for you! This is so well deserved. I love reading your blog. Keep it up, lady xx

    • Thanks lovely. The feeling is mutual, I love reading your blog too. Just think, if I hadn’t blogged we’d never have got to jam together!

  • merilyn

    that is fabulous sammie!
    well done hun! you so deserve an award! … love happy dancing with jelly baby!!!
    you are such a beautiful person and you do worthwhile work in the world!
    enjoy hun!
    i’m sure your speech was just fine!
    much love m:)X

    • So much jelly baby/happy dancing! Thank you for showing up here, sprinkling your happy and your wisdom, it makes my day! xx

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    Congratulations Sammie! That’s wonderful news 😀 HIGH FIVE!!

  • Congrats girl! I totally forgot about following up on these awards. I am so glad to hear someone so deserving, won! Go you! Xxx

  • Yipeeeeee!!!!!!!!! Yay, yay, yay! Go you good thing. And LOL: ” I could have jived with a jelly baby.”

    • There used to be a kid’s programme on in the UK called “Crackerjack.” They had all these awesome phrases like “I could crush a grape,” “I could jump off a doll’s house” but of course my favourite was “jive with a jelly baby”! It never gets old, not to me anyway! Happy Anni to you and hub xx

  • Congratulations! I love your speech too – blogging does give us wonderful, supportive colleagues.

  • The speech really was awesome, a perfect follow on from the presentation of the award. Congratulations on the win! And can I just say, such a good looking category. Haha. 😉

    • I was so unprepared for a speech but on the flip side, I stayed upright in heels! I have to agree, such a good looking (and talented,) category! Looking forward to seeing more of each other over the coming year!

  • You speech was just perfect (I must send the video I took of it all to you) I’m so happy for you and also stoked that we will get to see each other more often xx

    • That is so lovely of you to say – I’m not sure I can bear to watch the video, you’re so lovely for recording it! Seeing you was one of the highlights and I’m looking forward to seeing more of you – only next time there will be cake and… Selfies! xx

  • Well deserved props to you! I’m so happy to see your blog recognised in this way and I hope you had a fabulous time at the awards. Fun fact: I have indeed won a prize for public speaking. I was a state finalist in the Rostrum Voice of Youth public speaking competition in 1995 🙂

    • Thanks love! We had a ball! And I’m not surprised about your public speaking. I don’t think there’s anything you can’t do!

  • Oh my goodness Sammie, this post made ME well up! You are a beautiful writer and your beautiful soul shines through – I don’t have to meet you in person (although that would be all kinds of wonderful) to know that about you. It’s evident. Much love and huge congratulations. 🤗

    • Sandra, you are so lovely! I think you just made my head expand a couple of inches and now I have something in my eye! Thank you for all your support and being such a force of awesome on the interwebs xx

  • Oh my. That was such a loving and lovely post to read. I am so very proud to call you my blogging friend and so grateful for your support through my cancer journey. Your blog, as you well know, in those early days, helped me a lot to integrate and understand what was going on for me in the early weeks and months. Never underestimate the power of the written word and the help it can bring to others. To know that this award was in Julia’s name is even more poignant. Thank you Sammie for all you write and do for many. Congratulations. Denyse xx

    • Thanks for your kind words, Denyse. I’m so pleased that I could be of some help and support you in those early stages, I’m so proud of you and how far you’ve come. If my words helped just one person then all this blogging caper would be worth it. Of course, the experiences I’ve enjoyed and the friendships have forged have been the most amazing bonus – imagine all the wonderful people whose paths I wouldn’t have crossed if I hadn’t blogged, yours included! I’m very grateful for your friendship xx

  • What a beautiful post! You are so deserving of this award xox

  • Always true, always you! Love it Sammie. Congrats again. Super proud of you blogging buddy! Xx

  • I’m sure your speech was entirely appropriate under the circumstances and anyway you are an amazing blogger, that’s your talent right there. Congratulations again.

  • Lorelle Catalano

    Amazing, Well Done Sammie. Well deserved. 🙂

  • Tonia Zemek

    Congratulations! Such wonderful news and such a worthy winner! Love it!

  • I always love your way with words, and this is such a super post! Congratulations once again … totally well deserved! #teamIBOT

  • You totally deserved this win, so no imposter syndrome is allowed missy! Although I can’t imagine having to make a speech in front of everyone, after having a little blub over Julia. Congratulations on your win, as an avid reader of your blog, I can say that I enjoy every one of them because you’ve got such a distinct writing style. Well done!

    • Leaky eyes and public speaking are not a winning combination! Thanks so much for your support and lovely words. Just think if I hadn’t blogged, our paths wouldn’t have crossed and we wouldn’t have seen sumo. I don’t know what we’ll do on our next meet and greet because those wedgies are going to be hard to beat!

  • Chiming in late Sammie – big congratulations and well deserved – and love seeing the excitement in your smiling face.

  • I can’t think of anyone more deserving! Congratulations, sweet friend ❤️❤️❤️

  • Sam Newman

    Just having a catch up on this weeks blog . I’m so proud of you , you really do diserve this award . You write in such an amazing way and even though I hate reading you never fail to keep me interested in the way you write . Well done xx

  • Huge congratulations! You really deserve it. I’m glad you had a great time at the awards and YES to community. That’s what it’s all about for me too! And how lovely that you got an award in honour of a friend of yours. There’s lots of wisdom in this post 🙂

    • It was such a fun night and yes, without a community, blogging would be nothing, at least to me anyway! We shall have to celebrate with tea and scones!

  • Congrats again Sammie! Well deserved 🙂 I LOVE your analogy of blogging to a musicians discography. So true and I am loving following along with how your blog (and you) has evolved over the years. Xx

    • Thanks so much, lovely! As people, we constantly grow and change, it seems only right that our blogs grow and change with us. xx

  • Congrats again Sammie!! So well deserved lovely! I love your Sammie version of the quote 🙂 Funny enough…. I really like public speaking!! Well done to your David xx