On Friday April 29, our blog won the Best Food & Drink blog in the 2016 UK Blog Awards (UKBA). We were also Highly Commended in the travel category.

UKBA16 Award Ceremony Winners

Photo credit including header image: UKBA

 

Centre stage and the dance floor

We held our collective breath as the beautiful Kate Russell, technology journalist, 2015 UK Blog Awards winner and hostess of the night’s proceedings, handed off the microphone to the award presenters for the night.

UKBA16 Award Ceremony Kate Russell

“The winning individual blog in the 2016 UK Blog Awards Food and Drink category is…”

UKBA16 Award Ceremony Food and Drink Finalists

With such strong competition from an amazing group of bloggers in what was already a highly competitive category, we were simply pleased to reach the finals and were fully prepared to applaud someone else for the win. We were excited for TikiChris and The Swindian who were both Highly Commended.

Hey! Dip Your Toes In!

Photo credit: UKBA

Both our jaws dropped in shock. Wide eyed, we exchanged incredulous looks as if questioning what we just heard. To rapturous applause, and in near trance-like state, we stood up and made our way onstage to receive the award. This was the closest either of us had ever been to knowing how it felt to walk on air; an incredible feeling that set the tone for the rest of the night.

UKBA16 Award Ceremony

However, the night wasn’t over for us yet. We had also been shortlisted as finalists in the Travel category. Would lightning strike twice that night? It certainly was possible given that we were sitting in what felt like the ‘Winner’s Corner’ with UKBA award winners, photographer Fiona of Feather & Film and innovative lifestyle blogger Cassie of Cassie Fairy.

The contending finalists were announced. A small murmur went through the crowd as HDYTI again came up on screen. We nearly leaped out of our seats when we were announced alongside Faraway Lucy as one of the category’s two Highly Commended blogs, another recognition which we were very happy to receive.

UKBA16 Award Ceremony Travel finalists

A wise man once said to..

Aim for the sun and if you miss, you might just fall among the stars Click To Tweet

As Chris Stevens of Backpackerbanter.com made his way onstage to receive the winner’s award for Best Travel Blog, we felt we were in the company of stars.

With a rousing speech, Kate Russell brought proceedings to a close and the main hall emptied quickly as everyone headed out to enjoy the party. We stood back for a minute, letting the moment sink in before eventually heading out to join other winners and attendees on the dance floor at London’s Park Plaza Westminster…and tear up the dance floor we did! Shout out to all the amazing dancers who TURNED UP on the night! You know who you are!

 

Thanks to the UKBA community

We launched our blog in February 2015 with hopes that we would achieve industry recognition at some point in the distant future. We never expected that in just over one year, we would be close to clinching not one but two industry awards in two very competitive categories. We took a chance to put our ideas out there and to be rewarded for the effort humbles us.

UKBA16 Winner of Best Food and Drink Award

We, and all the bloggers who entered this competition, are grateful to Gemma Newton, founder and Managing Director of the UK Blog Awards and her dynamic team for their vision to create the UKBA, a community which provides UK bloggers with collaboration and recognition opportunities. We’re excited about the new UK Blog Relations platform and the potential opportunities it could bring.

Photo credit: Cassie Fairy 

We commend ALL the judges in all the categories for their professionalism, commitment and objectivity throughout the process. Selecting the best blogs from over 2,000 entries powered by over 79,000 votes is no small feat.

We particularly like to use this opportunity to appreciate the judges of the UKBA Food/Drink and Travel categories for their consideration and feedback: Restaurant supremo, Iqbal Wahhab of London’s Roast Restaurant and India Dowley, Editor of Square Meal and global PR consultants Chris Heywood of NYC & Company and Amanda Hills, CEO of Hills Balfour.

UKBA16 Award Ceremony Travel Commendation

To all the finalists, especially those in our categories, we applaud you. Clearly someone thought we were doing something right and this should motivate us. UKBA has opened up some great relationships for us. We’ve met some incredible people during this process. We hope to continue to leverage those relationships and actively seek opportunities to collaborate with you.

 

What happens next?

We hope to use this recognition as a foundation to keep building strong networks, partnerships and relationships within our communities of interest. One of HDYTI’s core principles is to create value for others. We strongly believe that in doing so, we create value for ourselves.

UKBA16 Award Ceremony

We will keep learning, growing and innovating. To our readers, followers and content consumers, we promise to keep you as our focus. Your votes got us to the finals and you are the reason we do what we do; the proverbial wind beneath our wings. We commit to preserving that tone of voice that keeps you coming back.

Recently we visited Porthmeor Beach, St. Ives in Cornwall and watched the surfers braving the changing conditions to ride the waves. Typical British weather meant that every now and then, the RNLI beach lifeguards would give the sign to warn surfers of incoming storms. However those surfers refused to take “No” for an answer and were ready to ride the next wave once given the all-clear to go back in. Sometimes life can be like surfing. We may paddle around for a while, and face disappointments but when THE big wave comes, we had better be ready to ride it. We have our wave…and ride it we shall.

UKBA16 Winner Motivation

Co-Founders & Curators at HDYTI

Eulanda & Omo Osagiede are London-based freelance writers and award-winning social influencers who run the popular travel, food, and lifestyle blog HDYTI (Hey! Dip your toes in).