awards and acknowledgements

Over the past few weeks, I’ve received a total of three blogging awards. THREE. That’s enough excitement to last me for the rest of the year.

Now, as far as I can tell, these awards seem to come with strict instructions in terms of both nomination and acceptance. I’ll tell you right from the start: I’m going to… uh, bend these rules by posting about all three awards at once. With much gratefulness, of course, and some genuine apologies to those who might view my decision unfavourably.

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Second point to note: I’m also reducing the number of nominees for each category. Primarily because I want to focus on providing a personal, sound basis for each nomination whilst also choosing from my community of generous and talented blogging friends. This made much more sense to me than just searching for 39 (yes, THIRTY NINE!) nominees to fulfill three sets of stated award criteria.

So, I’ve got that off my chest. Hope that’s okay with everyone. Oh, and just to clarify… there are plenty more talented bloggers that I’ve connected with over the past few months who would also be very worthy of nomination on this page. I’ll leave you guys for the next round!

Now, on to the good stuff. I’ll explain each award as the post progresses, with appropriate credit as it’s due. Drum roll please….

liebsterblogaward

1. LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD

As far as I understand, the Liebster award started in 2010 as a way to express peer acknowledgement of up-and-coming blogs with less than 3,000 readers and quality content. Liebster means ‘dearest’ or ‘beloved’ in German, so this award is definitely a positive affirmation!

I received my nomination for the Liebster award from the beautiful Carla Sue at Eat Sweet. You can read her original post here. Let me tell you… I was so excited to be affirmed by Carla Sue! I’ve been following her blog for a while now and every recipe she posts is accompanied by sweet words and beautiful photography. Take a look at her fresh post for Raspberry Sorbet. It’s a perfect example of Carla Sue’s honesty, excitement and inspiration. Thanks again lovely!

Okay, on to the tasks at hand. Carla’s original post provided eleven questions for me to answer, as part of the ‘acceptance’ process. I’ve dutifully completed them as follows:

1. Favourite flavour of icecream? Okay, this is easy. Definitely Pralines n’ Cream, preferably from Gelare.
2. Relaxing holiday, or fast-paced holiday? I think I like a mix of both. Relaxation is definitely great, but too much of it leads to boredom.
3. Favourite brand of chocolate? Hard question. This definitely depends upon my mood… sometimes I just crave the sweetness of Cadbury Dairy Milk (this also has sentimental value!) whereas on other occasions I’d prefer something dark and mysterious, like Green & Blacks organic Maya Gold. Actually, now that I’m thinking… Green & Blacks is my favourite brand. I love their organic, fair trade philosophy. They also have a delicious range that caters to my every whim.
4. Wind or rain? Definitely rain. I love falling asleep to the sound of raindrops on the tin roof.
5. Favourite genre of music? Um… alternative? I love listening to the Australian radio station Triple J, which is pretty much representative of my style. Favourite bands are definitely Little Dragon, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Emma Louise (check her music out… amazing Australian artist), Snakadaktal, Laura Marling, Hot Chip, Angus & Julia Stone, Crystal Castles, Vitalic… ah, I could go on. I’m a bit obsessed with music.
6. Sleep with one pillow, or two? (or three…or four) One is definitely enough. Sometimes I sleep with no pillow, with a sheet pulled over my head. The first time my husband saw me do this, he thought I’d suffocated. I obviously need very little air.
7. Strawberries or raspberries? This is waaaay too difficult. I love any kind of berry, especially if they’re mixed together and combined with vanilla ice cream.
8. Cats or dogs? Dogs. No competition. I can appreciate the beauty of cats but darn, they’re selfish creatures (have you seen this video?). My favourite dogs are definitely Boxers, French Bulldogs and American Staffys.
9. Favourite vegetable? I like pretty much all vegetables. Some favourites include zucchini, eggplant, brussels sprouts, spinach, mushrooms and broccoli. Oh, and POTATOES… God’s gift to the carbohydrate family.
10. Day or night? During the working week, I’d definitely say night. It’s my ‘down time’, when I can relax, unwind, cook (a key relaxation activity for me. I look forward to it every day) and spend time with those I love. On weekends, I love both night and day! I love being able to stay up late, knowing that I can sleep in the next morning. Equally, I love being able to enjoy daytime activities such as walks in the park, lazy afternoons at the beach, barbecues in the sunshine at friend’s houses. We have some of the best weather in the world here in Perth, so it’s difficult not to be a ‘day person’ when you wake to sunshine and blue skies!
11. Favourite hot drink? At work, I’m a tea guzzler. As an English ex-pat, I grew up surrounded by tea and toast with marmalade, and I’ve grown to love it. On weekends, it’s definitely a latte or mocha from Antz inya Pantz Coffee Company…. they freshly roast their beans on-site to produce some of the smoothest, most delicious coffee around. Antz sell both single-origin batches of coffee beans and their own house blends. You can either enjoy a cuppa at their rather funky cafe (the walls are completely covered with sack-cloth from bags of coffee beans) or take some beans home to grind and enjoy in the comfort of your own home. If you live in Perth, try this place! (*I’ve received no compensation for this review and opinions are entirely my own).

Now, nominations! I’ve chosen FIVE very worthy bloggers for this award, each of whom I know is going to go far:

KOI Cuisine: Phil is one cool Canadian. He’s generous with his tips, advice and time, even though he’s an Electrical Engineer in another life! He’s also a strong advocate for health education and organic food from sustainable sources… something that’s very close to my heart. Yep, he’s cool. Go visit his space.

Kim’s Word of Wisdom: Now, I’m a little bit biased here as Kim is my mother, but… well, I love her beautifully honest, generous and inspiring way of writing. She’s experienced a lot in life and somehow, she’s managed to mold all she’s learnt into a series of ‘life lessons’ that I’ve been hearing since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. She and Aaron are definitely the dearest, most beloved people in my life, so it’s natural for me to nominate Kim for the Liebster. I think you’ll enjoy visiting her patch of the internet.

High Tea & Trinkets: This blog is written by an amazingly gorgeous, talented woman named Talitha Sprigg. It’s still in its early stages but her baking, fondant and sugar work speaks for itself… not to mention her honest, informative writing that provides a little snapshot into her life. Aaron & I are privileged to know Talitha and her talented husband Roderick Sprigg personally. They’re both warm, generous and honest in every way.

Eat Pray Bake: In my opinion, this blog is a thousand times better than the movie starring Julia Roberts with a similar name (uh, sorry to those who are fans!). It’s written by Helen, a talented undergraduate in nutrition who lives in Toronto, Canada. Her blog is inspiring, in the sense that you can see her passion for wholesome, nutritious food spill over into her recipes and stories. As an added plus, she’s included lots of gorgeous photographs of where she lives. That squirrel…. naaaaw!!

Sips and Spoonfuls: This blog has been written and photographed by the beautiful Sukaina, a freelance food writer and photographer based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Both her writing and photography are top notch and I’m surprised that she doesn’t yet have a wall full of awards. Maybe they’re hiding in the broom cupboard of something (she definitely deserves them!).

Rules for the Liebster Blog Award (if you choose to accept)
1. Add the award icon to your post.
2. Link in your nominator to say thank you.
3. Answer the questions the nominator has set for you, and create eleven questions for your own nominees to answer.
4. Choose eleven (*uh… I chose five) bloggers to nominate for the award, and let them know.

Super Sweet Bloggers

2. SUPER SWEET BLOGGERS AWARD

My second blog award arrived via the lovely Lynne from A Life Worth Styling (see her original post here). Lynne is an American interior designer who has used her ‘corner of the internet’ to create a beautifully honest, inspiring and varied scrapbook of recipes, stories, fashion tips, colour and interior design advice.

I can’t remember the first time that I stumbled upon Lynne’s blog, but since that day I’ve revisited regularly… particularly to read installments of her ‘green’ series (I’ve been in love with the colour green since I was a little girl) such as the Pantone-inspired Emerald City. Gorgeous! Thanks so much Lynne… it means a lot to be validated by my talented blogging peers!

Now, onto the ‘sweet questions’:

1.  Cookies or Cake?  I’m definitely a cake girl. Cookies are great as a snack, but they definitely don’t compare to a warm piece of cake à la mode, served with a warm, syrupy river of toffee, butterscotch or chocolate fudge sauce (darn it, now I want cake).
2.  Chocolate or Vanilla? Does this question relate to ice cream? Hm. If so, I’d definitely say vanilla. I’m not really a fan of chocolate ice cream, though I love chocolate in all its other forms (cake, brownies, chocolate fudge sauce, truffles, candy… the list goes on). When made with real vanilla beans, vanilla ice cream is an absolute privilege to eat. My friend Miriam makes her own from fresh, home made vanilla custard. I’m pretty sure that I could eat an entire batch at once!
3.  What is your favorite sweet treat? Argh, hard question. Rocky road? Brownies? I also love apple crumble made with dark brown sugar, coconut and oats. Give me a bowl of this with lashings of fresh vanilla ice cream and I’m a very happy girl.
4.  When do you crave sweet things the most? When I’m tired, definitely. Every day at work I hit ‘three thirty-itis’ and start searching for chocolate or a muesli bar. And coffee!
5.  If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? Uh… I have no idea. As I’m usually the resident caterer when my husband’s best friends come over, they have christened me ‘Chop’ (as in; 1. chopping ingredients to cook, 2. lamb chop, 3. ‘chop chop’ = move quickly!). I’ll just stick with that one (please don’t start using it).

Now, the following FIVE nominees are some of the most inspirational, sweet and talented baker bloggers I know. It’s a privilege to mention them in this award category:

Cityhippyfarmgirl: I love this girl. She’s a perfect demonstration of sweet, organic and sustainable living within a city space. She taught me how to make my first sourdough starter, and how to transform this little ‘yeast baby’ (my words, not hers) into the most gorgeous hot cross buns I’ve ever tasted. Visit her space. Be inspired and transform your views from ‘city’ to ‘sustainability’.

The Speckled Palate: Erin is sweetness, warmth and gorgeousness wrapped up in a smiling Southerner! I absolutely love her stories, recipes and photographs… every visit to her blog makes me feel a little bit better about life. I’m privileged to call her a blogging friend across the seas now and I hope we can meet one day, perhaps over a piece of her gorgeous pot pie. Love you Erin!

An Unrefined Vegan: Annie is a wholesome, honest and lovely soul who practices what she preaches. She adopted a vegan diet for health, weight and moral reasons and has somehow managed to turn health food into something delicious, nourishing and naturally sweet! I love this blog. I’m slowly adopting many vegan foods into my omnivorous diet and this is one of my favourite places to learn and be nourished.

Cooking Crusade: Christine. Ah, this girl makes me smile. She’s a vibrant Sydney food blogger with a beautiful blog that contains not only sweet (and simple!) recipes but also food reviews and food safety information for the general public. She’s also very generous in her responses to any questions… check out her patch of the internet and be inspired.

Cannella Vita: This blog is run by Erica, one of the sweetest, warmest teenage girls around. I’m pretty sure that she must’ve already been nominated for most awards under the sun, but hey… I’m going to give her another one! She’s an incredibly honest writer who somehow manages to keep her blog going amidst exam pressure. Not an easy feat for anyone… though, they do say that it’s easier for women to multitask! Take a peek into her cinnamon-sprinkled world of baking… you’ll love every word she’s written.

Rules for the Super Sweet Bloggers Award (if you choose to accept)

  1. Visit and thank the blogger(s) who nominated you.
  2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back.
  3. Answer the “Super Sweet” questions.
  4. Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen” (13) blogs for the award, add a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
  5. Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere.

Best-Moment-Award

3. BEST MOMENT AWARD

On to the third and last award of this series: the ‘Best Moment Award’. This nomination arrived via Moment Matters, a website that’s been created as a public space for sharing moments of happiness, joy, sadness, travel euphoria, family milestones, shattering anxieties and everything in-between.

Now, I admit that prior to my nomination, I’d never heard of this initiative. However, after visiting their site, I’m sorry that I didn’t know about it earlier! Take a look at ‘Our Moments‘, where strangers from around the world have come together to share heartfelt glimpses of their existence in an honest, unedited narrative. It’s written excerpts of life, in one of the purest forms possible. Truly inspiring.

Now, as per my introduction to this awards entry, I’ll again clarify that I’m not exactly fulfilling all of the required ‘acceptance criteria’ for this award. I’m not posting their entire article and I’m not going to deliberate for hours about writing an acceptance speech. Instead, I’m just going to say a heartfelt thank you to the people behind this award… both for noticing my writing and for introducing me to more inspirational blogging friends around the world, with whom I was co-nominated.

For a full explanation of the ‘Best Moment Award’ and full acceptance criteria (should you choose to comply!) I’d encourage you to take a look at the original awards page on Moment Matters. As an introduction to their philosophy, I’ve included their inspiration behind the award in quote form:

Awarding the people who live in the moment,
The noble who write and capture the best in life,
The bold who reminded us what really mattered –
Savoring the experience of quality time.

I think you’d agree that this is a really lovely sentiment.

Now, on to my SIX personal nominees for this award. Each has been chosen for their ability to reflect life, meaning and honesty within their words. I can genuinely say that I’m transported to a little compartment of their lives as I read their latest blog entries:

Sniff & Snort: I love this blog. Aida (FlourVonSponge) is a vibrant, warm and humorous writer who reflects upon the challenges and triumphs of life in a truly honest, candid and refreshing manner. She’s presently working towards the opening of a sustainable cafe in her home town of Chichester, England and it’s been a privilege to read about her experiences along the way. I love Flour. She’s glorious. You’ll love her too.

Profiteroles and Ponytails: Ah, ponytails. Just reading that word brings me back to the days of my youth, hair floating in the breeze as I enjoyed a carefree merry dance through the complexities of life. It’s a perfect reflection of what Barb captures in the honest and humorous content on her blog. Barb is a Toronto-based writer and photographer who has two ponytailed girls. Profiteroles and Ponytails is a documentation of her experiences whilst trying to balance work, cooking and parenting… three demanding roles, to say the least. She does it with aplomb.

Gabriela Blandy: This woman is pretty much perfection in prose. She has an ability to capture moments in a beautifully honest way, drawing you into a little bubble of her rich experience. I’d definitely encourage you to grab a cup of coffee and spend five minutes experiencing life through Gabriela’s mind. I do it regularly, and I’m pretty sure it refreshes my mind in readiness for each day ahead. Gabriela – you’re brilliant. I can’t wait for more people to discover your work.

Easy Natural Food: Debbie, the beautiful woman behind this blog, is pretty transparent in her writing. She discusses the joys, hardships and uncertainties of life with both unfading hope and a pinch of realism. It’s a privilege to read about her experiences whilst also drooling over her gorgeous and achievable recipes. Deliciousness, in blog form.

The Kitchen’s Garden: I first stumbled upon this blog some months ago whilst trawling the internet for fresh, organic recipes. I was met with the image of a cow and… well, even though I didn’t find the recipe I was looking for, I was enthralled by Cecilia‘s beautiful photography, honest recollections and heartfelt stories about life on her very own sustainable farm in Midwest America. I’d encourage you to have a read and let Cecilia’s farm inspire you. It’s definitely worked on me!

Hippy Vic: This page is owned by the beautiful Vicky, who actually hasn’t updated her ‘About’ page but… hey, that’s reflective of her carefree, bohemian personality. I love this blog… it contains heartfelt writing, beautiful photography and glimpses into the personalities of people who enrich the tapestry of her life. Take nan, for instance. You can meet her via the Gnocchi post, where she teaches Vicky and the family how to make her time-honoured gnocchi recipe in the true, wholesome Italian way. I’d encourage you to visit Vicky whilst gently encouraging her to share more of her written inspiration with us. It’s okay, I know her personally… so I’ll apologise with my Dark Chocolate, Sea Salt and Walnut Cookies if necessary.

So, that’s it.

My gratefully accepted awards up ’til now, accompanied by links to some of the most beautiful, genuine and inspirational blogs I’ve had the privilege to click upon. I hope you’ll visit some of them and enjoy their recipes, stories, wisdom and humour as much as I did. My next post will definitely be recipe-based, so thanks for being patient with me. My life has been rather time-poor recently, due to family illness, dreaded work stress and other such things.

Thanks again to the beautiful bloggers who nominated me for all of the above awards; I appreciate you greatly. I also appreciate everyone (yep, that’s you!) who reads the contemplative words, stories and recipes that I publish. A while ago, I thought that no one would ever read them… so it’s a privilege to meet you all… I now count you as friends.

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