Though there were some unfortunate and difficult moments thrown into the mix, Septemeber was one amazing of a month. Not only was I fortunate to have been nominated once for an award, but I was also unbelievably lucky to have been shortlisted for ‘Best Health & Fitness Influencer’ for The Northern Blog Awards 2018.
Having only attended my first blog awards ceremony two weeks previous for the HBAs 2018, you can imagine that I was still full of nerves about going to an event on my own and not really knowing anyone there very well, if at all. For so many people, the idea of doing something like this alone is not even something that would even be considered. However, whenever I go somewhere or do something independently, I take away so many incredible lessons and memories from it. Despite knowing all of that, the fear of being unwelcome is still there every time. The way I combat it this negativity is by taking that risk with my feelings; with the unknown.
Being apart of a community is something we all hope for. It is a fundamental human need to be connected with others, to feel wanted, loved, respected, and celebrated for who we are. Over the years I have seriously struggled to find that sense of community in the blogging world away from being online. Living Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, makes networking a much bigger challenge in person due to the distance away from the blog/influencer hubs that are set up in large cities. So this means that if I want this blog to thrive, then I am going to have to put myself into situations that aren’t comfortable, that are going to test me, and that are ultimately putting my emotions on the line.
So just as I always do, despite my worries, I got on the train to Manchester and went to the NBAs.
I can honestly say that it was the most enjoyable event I have ever been to. From the moment I stepped into the venue which was the glorious The Midland Hotel, my worries slowly began to slip away. Greeted with warm smiles, I instantly began to feel as though this was going to be a good evening and that it was worth plucking up the courage to go it alone.
Holly Wood, one of the wonder women behind ‘WeBlogNorth’ and the mastermind behind organising and event planning for the entire ceremony, was mingling away to everyone she came across. Having met her at the pre-launch party a few months before, I already knew how amazing it is to be in her company. She is one of the most remarkably supportive people I know and is inspiring through her dedication to her work all the while being a wonderful new mother to her little boy. I just had to go up to her after my category winner was announced (congrats to Em Sheldon!). I shared my gratitude for what Holly has done with WeBlogNorth and how she has given me a reason to keep pursuing my passion.
I may not have taken home a trophy, but I have taken away much more than I ever thought I would. New friendships were made, confidence was built, and I found a place in a community that already feels a little like home.
For a long as I have been blogging, there have been many periods when I have really contemplated what all of this was actually for. But then I remember my ‘WHY’, the reasons I started to grow this blog in the first place. It is to make a positive difference for others, to shine a light on mental health and wellbeing, and to celebrate authenticity no matter who, what, or where you are.
We Blog North has empowered me to carry on.
The event itself was spectacular! It was such a special occasion to be able to dress up in my ball gown dress, be treated to a three-course meal and drinks, then the opportunity to dance the night away to end the evening on a high. Every guest received a goodie bag loaded with a range of products from so many amazing sponsors who are supporting the creativity and talent that is in the north.
From start to finish, I was wearing a smile that showed the room how happy I was to be a part of it all.
A huge congratulations to every single shortlister and to those who won in their categories, you are all incredibly talented and doing amazing things. Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me and for the judges to have selected me to be shortlisted; it is such an honour that I will always be grateful for.