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