The Long awaited day had finally arrived, and as I did my final touches to my attire and makeup, I felt my heart in my hands. It was a hot day and I thought to myself, of all the days why today but nonetheless, I didn’t let it bother me because “today was my day”. As I cruised towards London with my husband, the anticipation grew and I felt my heart with explode with excitement. I still had not digested the fact that I had been a finalist in the UK Blog Awards in such a short time. I will be honest, when I looked at my fellow finalist in the “Food and Drink” category, I felt my heart sink down into my stomach because they were all so amazing. Even so, as overwhelmed as I was with mixed emotions, I had already felt like a winner.
As we came upto the venue site, the Marriot hotel seemed all welcoming. As I walked in, I saw the huge sign glistening back at me “UKBA Awards 18”. It felt awe-striking. Truth be told, me along with everyone else, I am sure felt like a celebrity, walking down the red carpet to the ceremony hall. Before the ceremony began, everyone was gathered in their flashy, glamourous looks, heads held high among their fellow competitors, family and friends, sipping down drinks and pumping to the music. Truth be told, it wasn’t just the music or the Dj playing it dancing to the aura of excitement in the room, it was our guts and hearts as well.
Though there was champagne being served, I made my way towards the little bar in the corner where they were serving water and juices, reason being, I was the only Muslim Blogger there and in a hijab on top of that. It felt amazing. I felt such a sense of achievement paving my way somewhere where perhaps, not a lot of hijabi girls would consider they belong. I was surrounded by amazing people from all walks of life, Science, Education, Tech, Marketing, Media, Fashion, Fitness etc. and I was one of them. I had somehow swam through a sea of 8,000 bloggers and made it to the top 8 in my category. It felt accomplishing. I felt I had broken a stereotype, where people think, hijabi’s are women who are supressed, under-valued and live against their will; which ofcourse isn’t true and then, I had made a statement for others like me out there, who are struggling to find a platform to express their skills and potential. It’s true, if you are willing to commit and set your mind to what you and where you want to be, you can accomplish anything. That moment, I felt the value of the Blog Awards, they have truly inspired me by choosing me as a finalist, they had given me the platform where I can learn and be motivated to explore myself. So, for anyone who is reading this, never underestimate the value and passion of the UK Blog Awards.
Ofcourse, coming back to the event, the canapes served were extremely succulent. The only that I could eat were, the smoked salmon and the courgette humus, which I tell you were an absolute delight on my palate. It was a hosting that was truly well planned out in terms of food, light, hearty and appetizing indeed.
Although, the event was brilliantly organized with everything absolutely perfect, I felt a little lost at first. The reason being, like everyone else, it was my first time at the event and I was struggling to find my category bloggers which I had looked so much forward to mingle and jingle with at the event. I was on my phone opening up the blogs and trying to do facial recognition because we were all strangers to one another, trust me when I say this, I felt like a Spy CCTV😉. After quite a while, I found the lovely blogger from “FoodsteamAhead” and she was just as thrilled me approaching her as me finally spotting her in the crowd. It was an honour meeting her, the faces behind blogger friends. If I were to make a suggestion to the Event organiser for the next event, I would strongly suggest that they make category signs in the hall room, where individuals from the same category can gather with their similar niche’ fellow bloggers. This will help each category to meet and greet without feeling left out or lost in the crowd.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t take any pictures from the event of myself because, let’s face it, everything had to happen a day before, my Son broke my phone camera and in the excitement of attending the event, I left my DSLR charging on the kitchen counter. I felt guted. I will be honest, my husband had a phone but any picture he took was just not what I wanted to post, trust me, it’s a girl’s thing. We like certain angles and curves to be photographed at with high quality ISO and HDR camera setting. Nonetheless, pictures aside, as we walked in the ceremony hall, the neon lighting and the cooled room felt instant heaven. It was like walking into the movie Avatar, feeling connected to the Passion of the UKBA. It was all so glamourous. The music was loud and lively just as our expectations and anticipation was sitting and waiting, hoping to hear our name. As, we sat down as winners on our seats, we all waited for our categories to be announced. My Category was “Food and Drink” and the moment it was being announced, I felt fading into a deaf zone, where the only thing I could visualize was the stage, I wanted to close my eyes but I couldn’t out of curiosity, I wanted to run away, thinking to myself, if I didn’t win, the next time I stood up from my seat, I will be a failure. Then, it finally was revealed and to my surprise, I felt a sense of motivation and encouragement in me, for the one who won the Category. I had not won. All the fears and doubts and expectations of feeling like a failure vanished, I felt a sense of inspiration instead. The girl who won, is an absolute brilliant blogger and I felt ecstatic for her win. I realized, every finalist sitting in that room that day was a winner. The hard work, efforts, motivation, skills and courage it takes to put yourself out into the world, where cynicism and criticism prevails more than acknowledgement and encouragement is truly amazing. So, until next year, I am going to embrace the love and support UKBA 18 has showered me with and will come back next year bigger and better.
It has been an honour to have been a part of this and it has been nothing less of a blessing. They have taught me how to explore, pursue and embrace potential and skills within myself and how to extract motivation from within self when I am on the verge of quitting with self-doubt, there is a brighter horizon just on the next side of the door.
Thank you for choosing me as a finalist UKBA 18.