BUPA Blog Awards and My Blogging Journey
I was standing in the beautiful Trowunna Wildlife Park in Tasmania...
...having just fed a gorgeous group of kangaroos, given a wombat a tickle and watched baby Tasmanian Devils causing mischief and annoying their sleepy mother.
I hadn’t paid much attention to my phone since we were having such a fun time and the reception wasn’t great anyway!
We were just about to leave when I saw I’d received an email from Bupa and I opened it, scanned through and saw my name- in the section announcing the Bupa Blog Award Winners!!!
Let’s rewind a few months to the very first email I received from Bupa, letting me know that my blog had been nominated in their Blog Awards and selected as a Finalist. It was completely unexpected and I would later find out that my blog had been chosen from more than 800 entries!
Not only that, but the other Finalists were bloggers I genuinely respected and admired for their work and passion for making a difference in the world. To be a finalist among them really felt like an honour and I couldn’t wait to connect more with everyone!
As fate would have it, I’d actually booked a surprise birthday trip for my boyfriend and I to Tasmania and we would be away on the night of the Awards. Even though it was really disappointing when I realised I couldn’t be there, I also knew that the Bupa team were planning more opportunities for us all to connect.
I announced the nomination of my blog on my Facebook and Instagram, which resulted in such a beautiful response from my community of well wishes, congratulations and kind-hearted support. Can I just say that being part of a community like this is far beyond what I could have hoped for when I first started my website in 2015?! I had no idea that sharing my stories and tips for stress management and mindful living would connect me with so many amazing people from all around the world.
The weeks flew by and before I knew it, we were off to Tasmania and embarking upon an amazing adventure (by the way- Tasmania is BEAUTIFUL. If you ever get a chance to visit, I highly recommend you do!).
And a few days later, there I was at Trowunna, reading the email which felt too amazing to be real. It’s been almost two weeks since then and I still haven’t quite wrapped my mind around it!
It’s difficult to put into words what it feels like to receive such incredible recognition for my work, but I am so grateful and excited about what’s to come.
I also would like to acknowledge all the hard work my boyfriend, Dec, has put in to the website (and all my different ventures!) over the last few years. Not only does he boost my confidence when I’m feeling low and proofread my articles, newsletters, important emails and anything else I might need, but he’s given me countless hours of his time, skills and creativity. All the beautiful images throughout the website were designed by him (including the amazing infographics like the ones on this page and this page and this page). He takes the majority of my photos, taught me how to use the recording equipment and software for my podcast, shoots and edits my video blogs and heaps of other things behind the scenes. Pretty much everything I do has been a team effort in some way and has allowed me to grow everything really quickly and stay consistent week in and week out!
A few weeks ago, I wrote a newsletter to my community sharing my blogging journey so far and I thought I would include it in this article, too. I hope you enjoy reading it!
In early 2015, I created my first blog. I'd finished studying the year before and I was really excited to share some of the things I'd learned during my psychology degree, as well as my own interests and passions in the wellness world.
I loved anything to do with health, particularly mental health, physical activity, food and relationships. So, that's pretty much what my first blog was about and I called it My Balanced Living! Here is a post on Instagram the day it went live.
I maintained that blog while I worked full time for the next 8 months (during which time I also studied a blogging course), then launched my new website in October 2015 (with the amazing help of my friend, Simone Short).
It was a difficult decision to shut down my first blog, but I had trouble learning the platform and I knew I wanted to refine the content so that I was focusing more on mental health than just wellness in general.
After a few months, I wanted to rebrand and I began incorporating beach photos all through the site because I thought (at the time) that they better represented mindfulness.
Another few short months later and I was keen to rebrand again!! While I had good intentions with the beach photos, they didn't feel completely right for me. I wanted my community to feel refreshed and excited about mindfulness when they visited my site because that's how I feel about mindfulness. I think it's a fun and playful journey, which is always changing and encouraging me to grow.
My boyfriend (Dec) and I worked really closely to create a whole new look for the website. We chose the pink and blue colours, spent hours taking new photos and Dec updated all the beautiful cover images for my blog and podcast pages. It was no small task, but we learned a lot and had a great time working together.
Even though there have been many changes over the last two years, I've absolutely loved the journey.