Wow what a few months it has been for Nourishing Amy. It seems incredible that a few months ago this blog was simply a sparkle in my imagination and a beating in my heart. That’s how strongly and passionately I feel about my food, health and wellness blog. It has been a dream of mine for quite some time and I thoroughly enjoy the hard work that it entails. Writing up posts, typing out recipes and uploading countless photos. It is certainly a work in progress and a huge learning curve. It seems every day I learn something new about blogging or photography or similar. But that is what I love about it! I, like most other bloggers out there, suffer with the ailment of perfectionism. It truly can be condition to suffer from, as you can dedicate an unbelievable stretch of time to one post and it’s still not good enough. But who does it have to be good enough for? Rightly so, I want my readers to be inspired, or entertained or motivated by what I have to say and show in a post, but one thing I took away from the recent Health Blogger Awards 2018 is the importance of remaining authentic and true to yourself. I am the only Nourishing Amy out there, so this is my little world that I love sharing with you. There are many other messages, tips and tricks I took away from the awards, and I look forward to writing up more about these very soon.
It was perfect for a room full of bloggers and keen photographers. Set in east London, the Leyton based work space This Time Next Year was a beautiful, modern and even ‘hipster’ location to hold the HBC event. With 3 floors to explore, even the stairs had something to say. From “the thoughtful step” to interesting light shades along the way, and the “Hi!” that welcomes you in, this office space offers “Space to think. Space to grow. Space to be brilliant.” It is full of natural light, oxygenating green plants and even an office dog (who sadly couldn’t attend the event) with the coolest looking chairs.
I always look forward to the brands that sponsor and feature at the HBC events as they offer such a wide range of products. This means that there is always someone to chat to, or a collaboration opportunity waiting around the corner, and most importantly, there is always a delicious snack to sample. Perkier Foods are well-known for the generosity of samples at all shows they attend, and this event did not disappoint. Offering goodie bags to all ceremony attendees, they also had every flavour of their quinoa bars to try. My favourites have to be the peanut and also the cacao and cashew bar and am happy to have come home with their new porridge pots to try. They are such a friendly team and their huge glasses and funky boards certainly encouraged us to “get your perky on!”. As you may know, I am a huge nutter. I love all kinds of nuts, so I was very excited to see California Walnuts offering tasty treats. They claim their walnuts to be naturally sweeter and without the often ‘bitter’ taste of other varieties and I would have to agree. I took away a lovely little tin full of their rosemary walnut trail mix and sampled a delicious walnut and coconut energy ball. Ninja Kitchen provided all the green smoothies we could ask for, as well as the gooiest chocolate and orange energy balls which provided a much-needed pick me up on the train home. On the refreshment side of the event were the fabulous Skinny Malinkys which offer super juices packed with low sugar fruits and vegetables. I love the Carrot Kick blend of carrot, apple, ginger and lime and am also a sucker for a green juice, like their Di-Juice-Tiv Aid which is a mix of cucumber, apple, fennel, pear, spinach and lime. For the beer-lovers among the crowd, there was an endless supply of alcohol-free beer from Erdinger – which I am told is great. Meanwhile, Percol kept the caffeine flowing, although both drinks they offered contained dairy. Similarly, Upbeat only had their whey-based shakes and waters at the event.
But, wait… this is perhaps the single wellness event to feed their guests pizza! Yes, The White Rabbit Co. bought along their own pizza oven to fuel the guests pre-ceremony. They bought with them their entire range (which does include a non-vegan pizza) to offer a dining experience open and available to everyone as they are entirely gluten-free. They were too cheesy for my liking – I don’t like cheese! – but the sundried tomatoes and the spinach on the green pizza were great. For dessert we had ice cream – no ordinary ice cream, mind… but MiiRO! I love all their coconut based flavoured chocolate covered ice cream sticks and was very happy to treat myself. Other brands I have to mention are Gozen Girls, the online book club for women, created by the leopard-print clad, gorgeously curly-haired Donna which I can’t wait to look into, and Link Nutrition: Food Based vitamin and mineral supplements.
There was such a wonderful range of talks throughout the afternoon but because of the timetable, I cannot comment on them all. The first talk was “Zero Waste, Sustainability and Innovation In food” – could this topic be any more relevant? With Sara from @shisodelicious talking all things Bento and being sustainable by making good food from scratch for yourself, Alex from @eatsafeapp introducing us to her app about defining what we CAN eat at restaurants rather than what we CAN’T eat due to intolerance, and Emelie from @oddboxldn informing us that 30% of fruits and vegetables are declined as they are not “perfect”. Wonky vegetables is a trend on the rise, though, with many supermarkets offering less than “perfect” produce at value prices. I’m so happy to hear this as I often find the wonkier the veg, the more intrigued I am. Alex commented that she’d been sent a tiny avocado as a result, this is one wonky item I am very keen to try.
“Is Video Taking Over The Internet?” was the round table discussion I was a part of as hosted by Ophelia from @glowcation and Sarah @sarahmalcs. As a video novice, I only dabble with the occasional IG story, so it was really interesting to hear that next year 80% of all content with be video-based. I came away inspired to get videoing a bit more and will look into a few apps to help me upload music, edit content and fully embrace IGTV.
Being at a wellness event, it only seemed fitting that the last talk was “Wellness 2.0. Clean Beauty, Crystals and Mindfulness”. What an inspiring panel of ladies we had discussing this topic: Donna @gozengirls launched her own online and subscription book club for women; Jeanine @jeaninegasser is a motivational health and wellness promoter; Anna is half of @optiat skincare; and Ailish @theglowgetterofficial not only focuses on clean beauty but also what we do, what we eat, how we move and how we think as impacting factors on our health. I’ve heard lots about OPTIAT and was so happy to hear they use leftover coffee granules as the base for their products: One Person’s Trash Is Another’s Treasure.
Surrounded by boundless talent, originality and creativity, this truly was an event where everyone was, and remains, a winner. We are all winners for simply being US and having our own blogs or messages to spread. I won’t list every winner from the night but ones that I would like to mention are Sophie from Oat So Delicious who brought home the shiny glass trophy for Best Allergy and Free-From Blog, Sarah from The Growing Butterfly in the Best Chronic Illness and Illness Recovery blog and Romy from RomyLondonUK won the best Vegan Blogger. I’m also so proud to have been featured on the Amie’s Best Blog award winner, The Fitness Forster (check out my blogger spotlight here) and to have been shortlisted alongside fellow Amy of The Bath Blogger who won Best New and Noteworthy Blog.
I’ll open up to you here, and admit that I never thought I would win and was so proud of myself for being shortlisted. So, it was (unsurprisingly) unnerving that my stomach dropped, my palms began to sweat and my legs shake as the drumroll began for this category. I did have a split-second in which my heart plummeted that the name read out was not my own. But, I think this is understandable, right? I never expected to win, but the validation that I had not won did hit me harder than I was prepared for. I smiled though and am genuinely so happy that Amy won and am proud to say we have become great friends since being shortlisted alongside one another. I felt a very small grey cloud begin to creep in and the black hole of comparison begin to open up throughout the rest of the evening. I began to question why my blog wasn’t good enough. I’m talking this through honestly as I type because it is human nature to be disappointed by not winning, but I whole-heartedly am proud of my blog and am excited for its’ future. I woke up refreshed and spoke truthfully about my upset feelings. After acknowledging the disappointment, I grew through it and was excited to start working on more content to improve Nourishing Amy, not for any validation, but for my enjoyment.
If you know me at all, you’ll know that I am a sucker for a goodie bag, although over the last few months I have tried to reign in my excitement and only take away items, products and leaflets that will be of use or benefit to me. For too long, I have hoarded hundreds of protein bars that I’ll never eat. Although, it’s time to hold my hands up and say that I did take home 6 Nine Bars but, on the premise, that I share them with my friends. They are fairly high in sugar, but these 100% plant protein-based snack bars are full of mixed seeds and come in delicious flavours: Salted Caramel; Cocoa Raspberry, Cocoa Orange and Berry & Chia – the latter two being covered in chocolate. My favourite would have to be the Cocoa Raspberry. Perkier quinoa bars also had our snack bar cravings covered in the “Ugly” blue tote bag. A can of Ugly sugar-free lemon and lime flavoured sparkling water provided great refreshment and there was an Upbeat whey-based flavoured water (why put whey in water, I do not understand!). The bag had plenty of other snacks: California Walnuts snack pack, Hippeas organic chickpea puffs, Urban Fruit triple toasted coconut chips, Brave roasted pea snacks, and Clearspring ginger nori sheets. I am interested to try the Percol coffee bags and perhaps will even take them with me to-go-style in my Ninja stainless steel travel mug #zerowaste! With winter coming, Vitl vitamin D vegan softgels couldn’t have arrived at a better time as I am keen to learn more about supplements. My research will be aided my Link Nutrition’s ‘energy + CoQ10’ and ‘magnesium’ capsules. Plus, I cannot wait to try out Optiat’s pick me up coffee scrub which is a blend of leftover coffee grounds and lemongrass essential oils while reading my copy of Optimum Nutrition Magazine. Thank you to all the brands involved for their generosity!
Finally, the biggest thank you to Fab and Samantha and everyone else involved behind the scenes for putting on an inspiring, thought-provoking and FUN afternoon of wellness. Until next time…