Well I did it. I flew to Melbourne and went to the 2018 Bupa Blog Awards … as a finalist! Me! After 6 years of chipping away at this blogging caper, I will humbly and gratefully take this lovely bit of recognition for all the hours of time and love I’ve put into my blog.
So let’s go back to the beginning. On 18 July 2018 I received an email advising that my blog had been nominated for the 2018 Bupa Blog Awards. Yay! A huge heartfelt thank you to whoever nominated me! It could’ve been just one person, or perhaps more than one. I probably will never know. I have been very fortunate to have been nominated for three years running now!
But wait there is more! On 13 September 2018 I received another email from Bupa that I reread many times in case it was a mistake. This is how it started off – “Hi there, We’re excited to let you know that Write of the Middle has been selected as a finalist for the Personal category in this year’s Bupa Blog Awards. Congratulations!” It wasn’t a mistake. It was real. I was a 2018 Bupa Blog Awards Finalist! Naturally I was very, very excited but I had to keep it quiet for a while until Bupa had announced the finalists. Once they’d done that I could shout it from the rooftops and share across my social media.
Excitement, Anxiety, and the Inner Critic
Of course I was very excited but this was going to require me to step a little (a lot!) outside my comfort zone and therefore anxiety kicked in big time! Along with the anxiety came that little voice inside our heads that most of us are familiar with – the inner critic – and it was saying some pretty horrid stuff to me!
I was determined though to face down anxiety and that inner critic and rock up at the 2018 Bupa Blog Awards with a ‘This is Me‘ attitude, and I did!
Here’s how it all panned out …
I arrived in Melbourne around lunchtime on Wednesday 24 October. The 2018 Bupa Blog Awards were to be held on the evening of Thursday 25 October at Quat Quatta at Ripponlea which is quite close to St Kilda and why I chose to stay at Rydges Hotel in St Kilda. As hubby and I are visiting Melbourne in late November and will be spending a couple of nights in Melbourne city before hiring a car to do the Great Ocean Road (it’s been on my bucket list for ages) there was no need for me to stay in the city this time, even though I haven’t been to Melbourne since 2012!
I’ll do a separate blog post to cover my St Kilda stay, outside of my attendance at the Bupa Blog Awards night.
The night of the event
Alone in my hotel room I nervously showered, dressed, did my hair and makeup and then paced and paced and checked and rechecked (my dress, my hair, my face, you name it). I took a mirror selfie of me cos that’s what bloggers do, right? Problem is I totally suck at mirror selfies. I posted it as a headless mirror selfie on Instagram/FB but shhhh the truth is that I did get my head in the shot but my facial expression is ridiculous. So focussed was I on holding the phone in the right spot and getting all of me into the shot that I forgot about getting my face right! So off with my head it was! I then took a head shot of my face to make up for it which is something I’m more familiar with – the typical selfie from above (most flattering angle). I’ll post the head shot first below so it sits atop the failed mirror selfie of the rest of me.
By the way – I’m wearing a Mandy Black Leaves Wrap Dress from Little Party Dress. It looked better than this photo depicts. I just do not know how to take a flattering mirror selfie or even a decent one. This is why I am not a fashion blogger!! I carried a lovely black (shhh it was actually a dark navy but don’t tell anyone) clutch that I borrowed from my sister because my black beaded clutch was losing beads and I’m afraid its glory days are over! I also took a black fringed wrap as insurance against the Melbourne cold.
On the way to the event
The plan was to catch an Uber to the event. I have the Uber App on my phone and until this night had only used it once. This would be its second usage. Pre-dinner drinks started at 6pm. I decided to request an Uber at 5:45pm. Google told me it was a 9 minute drive to Quat Quatta from where I was and if you also allowed time for the Uber to get to me, this should work out ok. I didn’t want to be early and standing there alone. So I ordered the Uber and made my way downstairs to wait out the front of the hotel.
Standing out the front of the hotel I noticed another lady all dressed up with her phone in hand, most likely watching to see where her Uber was at. After initiating conversation, I soon discovered that YES she too was a blogger and finalist (in my Category too I might add) on her way to the Bupa Blog Awards. She was Katrina from Sista With Style and what a lovely lady she is too! We were going to cancel one Uber and go together but to cancel an Uber incurs a $10 cancellation fee so we went in our separate Ubers and decided to catch the same one home.
Arrival at the event
I emerged from my Uber to the most beautiful building that is Quat Quatta. This Victorian mansion was built during the opulance of the gold rush era and is a meticulously seamless blend of classic & contemporary with beautiful surrounding gardens. Here’s a couple of photo’s to give you a taste of the beautiful venue – sourced from www.quatquatta.com.au.
I said hello because of course I know them, but of course they wouldn’t know who the heck I was! I recall having a wee conversation about the royal visit with Beth because like me she loves the royals and she and Stacey from Veggie Mama (who also was at the event) had been following Harry and Meghan around Sydney and Melbourne. See their adventures on their Instagram accounts and also by searching #thronerangers
My conversation with Chantelle was briefer – I think I mumbled something about her being Chantelle from Fat Mum Slim and made a proper dork of myself. Oh well!
You know, it’s exciting to meet such well known and popular bloggers, but I kept in mind that they’re just people like you and me right?
At the event
As we entered the venue, lovely people offered trays of refreshments and I zoomed in on a nice tall glass of bubbly. Just what I needed!
I walked in and saw many faces I did not know. I did however see Kirsten from Kirsten and Co. who I do know so I headed that way to say hello to her. I actually hadn’t seen her in like a squillion years. Ok maybe 3 years! Kirsten is a Brisbane blogger who lives not all that far from where I do and I’ve met her at some Brisbane blogging do’s in the past. Whilst talking to Kirsten I met Lucy from Play, Bake, Smile and what a genuinely lovely person she is! It turned out that Lucy was seated at the same table as me but on the other side (big round table). We still managed to have a few little conversations and I must say it was so lovely to meet her and get to know her a little.
It was lovely to catch up again with Katrina from Sista with Style. Also fabulous to see Amy Darcy from Eat, Pray, Workout who I’ve met previously at the 2015 ProBlogger Conference.
Other bloggers I met included Lauren from The Thud – I gave her (and Kirsten) a big hug for Denyse (a tweeted request) and had a lovely conversation with her. I had seen Lauren in person before at the 2015 Problogger Conference but didn’t get the opportunity then to meet or have a conversation with her. I also met Annie from Mummalove and Olivia from House of White (she was at my table).
We wandered around the tables checking out place cards to find where we were seated. Once found, it was lovely to dump clutches and wraps and be less encumbered! My table included myself, two lovely Bupa staff, one lovely MindShare staff member, Lucy from Play, Bake, Smile, Olivia from House of White and another girl who sat right beside me with dark hair and I can’t remember her name or blog. Isn’t that terrible?!
The food was incredible – a pork belly entree, a salmon or steak porterhouse main (I chose salmon), and a yummy dessert the name of which escapes me!
And the winners are …
In between courses we saw video messages from previous award winners, winners were announced, and awards were given. Here is a list of the winners.
Families Angie from The Little Mumma
Pet Calley from Life of Pikelet
Lifestyle Jemma from A Stylish Moment
Wellbeing Rebecca from Nourish Naturally
Personal Annie from Mummalove
People’s Choice Calley from Life of Pikelet
Overall Winner Rebecca from Nourish Naturally
A big huge congratulations to all the winners! You are all amazing and so deserving!
Why I am also a winner
Well hello – I am a 2018 Bupa Blog Award Finalist! That alone is a win! On top of that I am now welcomed into the Bupa Alumni and join Bupa’s exclusive Influencer Program, with free webinars, workshops and insights from those who have successfully navigated the influencer space. I’ll receive opportunities to work with Bupa on campaigns throughout the year (2019). As Bupa is all about health and care and I am too, I am thrilled! I also welcome the opportunity to meet so many more bloggers within the blogging community and to be inspired by them and learn from and with them.
On another note, I faced some fears and conquered them!
Breaking out of your comfort zone is the pathway to growth!
Going home from the event
During the night it was discovered that Lucy from Play, Bake, Smile was also staying at the same hotel as Katrina (Sista with Style) and myself, so the three of us caught an Uber home together which was awesome.
When I got back to my hotel room, the first thing I did was get those shoes off! I am not used to an evening in heels anymore! Then I collapsed on the bed, stared at the ceiling, and thought ‘what just happened’?! I had such a wonderful night. I met some amazing people. I actually bloody did it! My anxiety had me so scared but I did it! Yay me!
And to wrap up
Unfortunately, I neglected to take photographs through the night, or even get myself in any! I like to live in the moment and soak it all in. In doing so, I was absorbed in talking and having conversations and completely forgot to take some photos (apart from the one and only I took at the event at the top of this post). If you’d like to see photographs from the night – just go on social media (Instagram would be best) and search this hashtag: #bupablogawards
Thank you to everyone who voted for me in the People’s Choice Award and thank you to everyone who sent me words of encouragement, support and love. I felt it all and appreciated it more than you’ll ever know!
Finally, a very heartfelt thank you to Bupa. I’m not sure why you chose me as a finalist but I’m very glad you did. It means so much to me after 6 years of blogging away feeling mostly invisible but loving what I do regardless. After what has been a difficult year personally for me, this has given me a much-needed boost and ends 2018 on a positive and uplifting note and I’m very thankful. It also has provided me with some belief now that what I do here is of some value and that feels really nice. I’m so excited for the new experiences and learning’s ahead for me during 2019.