Stepping onto the marina I was a little nervous because I was all by myself. My hands were shaking, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was excited because this evening was all about celebration. Where was I and what was I celebrating? Let us back track a little bit…
Earlier in the year I received an email stating I’d been nominated for a blogging award I’d never heard of (yes, I’m going to be honest), the Kidspot Voices of 2014. Granted I’d only been blogging for a month or two when the nomination email came to my inbox so at that point I couldn’t really even work out how to use my WordPress properly let alone keep up to date with the all the Australian wide blogging stuff. Now I know how big the competition really is and when I think back to what my blog was like when it was nominated I cringe. I didn’t have a “contact me” page, not all of the pictures were the same size and I was working on a very basic theme. But the judges must have seen something in my writing that they liked, so I jetted off to Sydney in April for a blogging Masterclass featuring some of the countries best and brightest bloggers as well as a few up and coming stars. It was at that event it was announced I’d made the Top 40 in the Beauty and Lifestyle category. Wow.
Flash forward a few months and the Top 5 for the category were announced and although I didn’t make it to that point, that is when the sponsor challenges started rolling in. Both Ford Australia and Garnier were sponsors of the competition, and within the larger competition bloggers were chosen to experience new products by the brands and complete a number of posts featuring the products provided. This is where it got very exciting. Gold sponsor Ford provided me with a brand spanking new EcoSport for over six weeks of adventure time. And the fuel card, don’t forget the fuel card! I have no idea what I did to deserve such an awesome opportunity and having the new car was like having a new toy. I became a little bit obsessed and really didn’t want to give it back. Oh well, at least I know what sort of car I’d like in the future. I took the car everywhere, but its three main adventures involved exploring Perth on an urban day trip, spending time with my lovely family and not being embarrassed to drive them around town and taking a couple of days off work with E to road trip down to Denmark. I also learnt how nice (and easy) it is to keep a car clean! While I’m a little upset I won’t get the EcoSport back (honesty is the best policy) and I’m very envious of the winner, I knew I wouldn’t be able to compete with those gorgeous curly haired angel children and I’m so happy with who won the prize. Congratulations to Aleney of BoyEatsWorld – you 100% deserve this prize and I honestly hope it can help your little family.
Now I’ve never claimed to be a Beauty Blogger, but when I accepted the invitation to partake in the two Garnier sponsor challenges I learnt a lot about myself, my skin and my hair that I never knew. I also fell in love with Garnier Cleansing Micellar Water, Goodbye Damage Split End Serum, the new BB Cream and even wrote a poem about colouring my hair with Olia hair dye. I forced myself to get creative with the Garnier challenges and to try something new. It was definitely a lot of fun to step out of my comfort zone and try something very different to what I would normally write but it was definitely worth it. Who knew beauty products would help me self reflect on my writing style and tone. Thanks Garnier!
And now we’re in back in Melbourne, back on the marina, wind whipping the gorgeous royal blue gown my sister gave me for the occasion. My nerves had not yet subsided, in fact they were getting worse the closer I got to the location of Skatt, a lovely open plan glass venue on the end of Docklands pier. I actually physically stopped myself and took a few deep breaths before I continued, and tried to focus on the stunning water view and blue cloudless sky as opposed to the butterflies flapping around in my belly. I don’t suffer from anxiety, but I do get a little bit uncomfortable in large crowds, especially when it involves new people. And some of the people I was going to meet that evening were brilliant writers and storytellers who I follow religiously so I was a little bit worried I’d do or say something silly, hahaha. When I finally pulled myself together and forced myself to get my ass into the venue, I was greeted by the fabulous Kidspot team and Pip Lincolne. I love Pip, anyone who’s been published in Frankie Magazine is a star in my eyes. Plus she’s a fellow quirky girl, so I was too keen to have a chat with her and I was immediately put at ease. Thanks Pip! The venue was looking absolutely beautiful, decorated by the wonderful Kerryn of Theme From JAK (more about Kerryn later) and there was enough champagne floating by to fill a swimming pool.
My nerves disappeared as soon as I met a few gorgeous faces and was able to talk one of my favourite topics with like minded others. I loved that all the different “types” of bloggers were mingling – none of that cliquey mentality going on. I met some talented and creative food bloggers who shared tips on collaborating with like minded bloggers, sticking to your brand and just being you and going out there and trying new combinations until you find the perfect bite (Bake Play Smile, The $120 Food Challenge and The Hungry Babushka I’m looking at you three), inspiring personal and parenting bloggers with very much to give to the world (yes you BoyMeetsWorld and Carly Findlay) and gorgeous beauty and style bloggers from my own competition category, the lovely Sonia of Sonia Styling who is as bright and bubbly in person as she is on her blog and Souri and her lovely husband of Fabulous Femme who were such an inspiring and talented couple.
We were also given mini toy cameras at the beginning of the evening (as an icebreaker) with the name of a fellow attendee attached and our mission was to find that person and snap a selfie with our new friend. This is where Kerryn comes into it. It just so happened she pulled my name from the bowl and we happened to be hanging out on the same table when we both initially arrived. It was also pretty exciting to discover her boyfriend is originally from my pretty city of Perth (and she visits the west coast every now and then) and we share the same taste in music! The perfect match. Plus, her fantastic creative idea for our selfie together scored us both a brand new Olympus OM-D E-M10 camera. Um, still speechless!!! I owe you a million Kerryn (and I’ll see you in Perth soon)!
The night progressed with a little too much champagne and partying on at a really fabulous pub on the Docklands, so I’ll keep it classy and say a big congratulations to the winners of the competition (check them out here), I’m too proud of you all! Big thank you to Cassandra at Kidspot too, you’re a real gem and I am so grateful for all your help and wisdom this year (and it was SO good to meet you in the flesh)! Bloggers, keep an eye out for next years competition, if it is anything like this year we are all in for a treat. What a ride!
What has been a highlight of your year?