Winner! Best Food and Drink Blog North Award for Aroundtheworldin80bakes

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I still cannot believe it. I was stunned when I found out that Foodie Sarah had nominated me for the Blog North Awards for the best food and drink blog. (Thank you very much Sarah!).  I was ecstatic to discover that I had been shortlisted from 400 other nominated northern blogs down to 5. So I almost hit the floor when I heard my name announced as the winner of the Best Food and Drink Blog at the awards ceremony in Manchester last week!

I had toyed with the idea of going to the awards but thought that I would never in a million years actually win as the other shortlisted blogs are really fantastic.
I really recommend having a read of the wonderful food and drink blogs
Northern Food
Squidbeak
Offally Good
Little Red Courguette

And also the other categories too!

I came to the conclusion that I would go along for the sheer delight and experience of being shortlisted and to visit my friends Josh and Mark too. BEST DECISION EVER.

I merrily jumped in the car straight from work and flew down the motorway, through torrential rain and lightening, in the merry bliss of enjoying an amazing experience, with the car packed full of international baked goods to share with the boys. It wasn’t until I hit the one way system in Manchester that my tummy did a little flip. (I should also note that this is the furthest I’ve ever driven by myself before, ever! )

We were treated to some wonderful readings from other shortlisted bloggers, my favourite being Victory Garden a Hudderfield postie with a very entertaining blog of his observations of northern folk encountered en route. It wasn’t until the second interval that I started to feel a bit nervous….

The brilliant Culture Vulturess , who I’ve been following on twitter for quite some time, announced the winner of the Food and Drink Blog award and I did a little squeak and staggered down the staircase and up on to the stage, to babble my thanks and amazement at winning. I’m not entirely sure what came out of my mouth at this point but I know I thanked everyone, A LOT. And then my legs realised that I was on stage, speaking in public and momentarily refused to work to get me back down the stairs and off the stage. Once I regained the use of my limbs, I trotted off in a happy haze clutching my winners envelope, with a £50 cheque, a year’s web hosting and a winners badge to adorn my blog.

Me, on stage babbling a few words

Wow! Can you tell how OVER THE MOON I am??! It still feels like a dream and I’m still (almost a week later) smiling very widely. Who would have thought a year ago that I would be half way around the world in 80 bakes  and the winner of a Blog North Award?? I could never have dreamed this would happen.

I cannot thank you all enough. Thank you for reading, thank you for voting, thank you encouraging me! Thank you for sampling my sometimes bizarre and experimental cakes!

Thank you for a memorable and inspiring evening. I thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed and intimate event and had the opportunity to listen and chat to some very talented people! I am such a lucky girl.

I came away even more excited to continue blogging and baking and to complete my challenge. Bring on the next 39 bakes!

Just in case you want to know more about the awards you can find more details on the blognorth website here.

Also just in case you would like to see there’s a little article on my blog award on Sky Tyne & Wear website and Chris Evans gave me a little mention this morning on his BBC Radio 2 breakfast show (36 minutes in – thanks Mam!)

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Blog North Awards 2012 Aroundtheworldin80bakes has been shortlisted!

I am so so thrilled! This week I got a surprise email to tell me that Aroundtheworldin80bakes has been Shortlisted for the Blog North Awards 2012 in the BEST FOOD AND DRINK BLOG category! 

The Blog Awards are celebrating ‘The best online writing in the North’.

How amazing is that!! I never in a million years thought that I would be nominated for an award, never mind shortlisted from over 400 blogs in the North. There is even a cash prize for the winner!

(Now that would come in very handy for more international baking and for my  wedding cake in particular which I began at this weekend. It truely is the biggest cake I have ever attempted! The first tier is already bigger than my head!)

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If you would like to vote for me (please) in the Blog North Awards you can do so on the Blog North website www.blognorthawards.com/vote 

Voting closes on 4th October with the winners announced at the award ceremony on 17th October! There are 4 other fabulous foodie blogs in the category too which are a very very good read. Also on my most recommended Northern blogs list is www.newcastleeats.co.uk and foodiesarah.wordpress.com.

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Thank you so much for reading and your support. It is very much appreciated! I will keep you posted on the results. I shall be keeping everything crossed until then!

An Experimental Month

I seem to have been experimenting a lot this month with various non aroundtheworldin80bakes cakes and playing around with my blog a little too. I was inspired by Sarah Hartley to create a map of my bakes so far, which has really helped me to see which countries I am still yet to visit on my culinary challenge

I was over the moon when I got a notificiation to say that my blog had been linked to on another wordpress blog. Clicking the notification I went through to find that the wonderful Foodie Sarah, (Sarah Hartley) a journalist from the Guardian and the Notice community noticeboard website had wrote a piece about me and my challenge!! You can find her wonderful foodie blog here foodiesarah.wordpress.com

Sarah is also on twitter (@FoodieSarah) and is in the process of mapping out the foodie bloggers in the North of England, of which I am one. I recommend hopping over to her blog and checking out her map of bloggers. I read quite a few of these foodie blogs and it’s great to see how much is happening up here!

I baked a shed load of cakes this month for my Mam’s birthday, my friend’s house warming and my nephew’s christening. (Some photos of which are still to follow as the teddy bear sugar christeningcookies are still to be iced!) Most of the things I’ve been baking are new adaptations/improvisations of previous aroundtheworldin80bakes cakes. The Anzacs were particularly challenging as I ran out of coconut so I replaced this with ground almonds! I also ran out of plain flour so I used self raising instead. I feel a new recipe has been born. 🙂

Other baking experiments this week – Coconut Macaroons

Other baking experiments this week – Two Tone Chocolate and Almond Madeleines

Mountains of improvised Almond Anzacs

In amongst all this baking I’ve been doing a bit more running too in preparation for The Great North Run that I’m running for Oxfam in September. Only 3 months left to go I’ve even started running home after work, just to fit in a few more miles, with my new running haversack (which I broke after 2 runs!).

Early morning (6am!) running down by the Quayside taking in the Olympic Torch parade

all the lads and lasses wit all their smiling faces gannin along the Scotswood Road to see the Blaydon Races! (Pre torrential rain and river like running conditions)

The Blaydon Race was epic. It was the 15oth anniversary and the heavens opened to welcome us. It was like an endurance test running through a stream as the roads were flooded. I have never been so soaked in my life! But then again it made me run quicker (5o mins 40 secs to be exact) to finish which meant I was that little bit closer to getting home, and in a hot bath!

A good old bottle of brun ale – dedicated running!

Before today’s Alnwick 10k Trailrun – who knew what a trailrun entailed until today’s encounter with mud, uneven terrain and LOTS of hills!

And then my first ever ‘Trail Run’ which I hadn’t even realised what I had signed up for. This was one hell of an experience but it was so beautiful up in Northumberland, with the rolling hills and sunshine! Let’s hope my trainers dry out soon… and then for more international baking!

My new (first pair not purchased from the boys children’s dept) proper running trainers!

All of this running and baking means I’ve made very good use of my new favourite purchase…  a stove top Hello Kitty Espresso pot.

Hello Kitty Espresso pot

Thanks very much for reading! I’m off to check on my homemade (invented from the ingredients in the cupboard) rice pudding!