Blogging Hel, I’ve Been Shortlisted!

Yes, that’s right, I have been shortlisted for a blogging award! To be more precise the Best European Blog at the That Protein and HBC Health Blog Awards 2017.

You may be wondering why my tennis-related blog is included in the Best European Blog category, rather than say, the Best Fitness Blog category. Let me explain. These health blog awards are for UK-based bloggers, but they have one category for a blogger that lives outside the UK. I’m originally from the UK (from Hertford, to be precise), but I’ve been living in Italy for the past 16 years (wow, has it really been that long?!…)

Now that my blog has been shortlisted (along with two others in this category) I need to get as many votes as I can by 1st August 2017 from my colleagues, friends, family, neighbours, blog readers, Instagram/Twitter followers, or really just anyone I can convince to spend 1 min to fill in the form. So before you read any further, please do click on the hyperlinked image below (or click here) and vote for me!badge_shortlisted-600x600

Now if you have come across this blog before, you will know that it documents my recent journey to becoming a stylish tennis player. One of the reasons I am so pleased to have been shortlisted for a health blog award is that I am hoping this will help raise slightly the profile of this blog, and in turn encourage more people to give tennis a try. Tennis has so many physical and mental health benefits. All that running around after the ball improves aerobic and anaerobic health – as Bjorn Borg once said, a tennis match is like thousands of little sprints. The more you play, the more you will improve your mental agility and reaction times, and you will have fun in the process. In my case it has even had a positive influence on my relationship – my partner and I enjoy having a shared passion, and we often train together or team up for a mixed doubles match.

Regardless of whether I end up winning the Best European Blog category or not, I am already so pleased to have been shortlisted. Sometimes it is difficult for me to keep up with blogging with all the other activities in my life (as I discussed in a recent post), but this recognition has helped me realise it is worth making the time.

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The Aces and Double Faults of My 2016

As we move into the last week of 2016 I have been reflecting on the highs (that would be the aces) and lows (you guessed it, the double faults) of this past year. Looking back I can happily say that the highs far outweighed the lows, and I have finally found the perfect work-life balance thanks to my discovery of tennis and blogging.

Aces

My partner and I bought our first apartment and moved in at the beginning of the year. After extensive refurbishment we were able to create a clean, bright, modern space that I enjoy both living and working in. After 11 months we still haven’t bought lampshades for the light bulbs on the walls, but that is because we were distracted by all the other highlights of this year…

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Midway through 2016 I discovered the world of tennis and found a sport that gave meaning to my workouts, above and beyond simply staying in shape. When I take tennis lessons or play a match I don’t think about the effort I am making, as I am having so much fun running around chasing after a ball. And when I am doing a HIIT session and struggling to dig deep and complete 1 minute of jump squats, or mountain climbers, or push-ups, I just remind myself that it is all going to help me perform better on the tennis court.

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A month or so after starting tennis, I set up an Instagram account and started sharing videos and photos of my tennis journey (both progress and fashion), which led me to make lots of new tennis-loving friends around the world. You gave me constructive feedback on my poor technique, congratulated me on my progress and complimented me on my sense of tennis fashion. Thank you, all of you, for sharing my passion for tennis, fashion and fitness!

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I enjoyed micro-blogging on Instagram so much I decided to set up this blog which helped me rediscover my creativity, which had been lying dormant since my school days (probably because I decided to become an engineer!). I enjoy the whole process of thinking of ideas for blog posts, writing, taking photos, and getting comments and emails from readers (including one who wanted some advice on a tennis outfit to buy his wife for Christmas – btw, I hope she likes the tennis skirt I suggested!). I am immensely grateful that I also got to guest post for three amazing websites/blogs (SportStylist, Tennis Identity and Women’s Tennis Blog) and received my first blogging gifts, including my Idawen bag, a Lucky in Love outfit and some cute vibration dampeners from Romp Supply.

And for some reason I won loads of competitions this year! Ok, so I do tend to enter every competition I see on Instagram, especially if it is tennis or fitness fashion related, but I was still surprised to win a tennis tank from Freshdeuce, an Ellesse tennis dress, AlienPros overgrip, a Courtgirl team racerback and a Lucky in Love outfit for both me and a friend, all in just 6 months!

Double Faults

I really don’t want to dwell too long on the lows, and I’m pleased to say that there really weren’t that many, but the things that have got me down over the past year include being the victim of credit card fraud and having my new car vandalized (the whole inboard computer was ripped out, causing thousands of Euros of damage!).

But after the double faults you learn to appreciate the aces so much more, and I am definitely finishing this year on a high and I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings!