After months of waiting, The UK Blog Awards finally happened last Friday. Striding up to the uber-posh Marriott Hotel in Mayfair, I couldn’t quite believe I was a finalist.

It’s a weird story how I got here…

I never intended my blog to be read by anyone apart from my clients. To be honest, I started the whole thing as a hobby to give me an outlet to write. Before I became a personal trainer, I was a journalist, copywriter, frustrated children’s author… Somehow writing is an itch that I keep scratching. I entered the Blog Awards on a whim thinking it might create a few opportunities, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect to make the finals.

Andrew (my bf) and I happily accepted a glass of complimentary vino on arrival at The Marriott. I needed something to steady my nerves. See, I kind of knew I wouldn’t win; the competition was stiff and my blog is relatively new, but there was still a flicker of hope.

The atmosphere during the ceremony was buzzing, buoyed along by a hysterical Irish compere and more complimentary wine. The speeches by keynote speaker and head judge Gina Akers were inspiring. When my category was announced, I held my breath and tapped my phone for pics.

I didn’t win.

Yes, I was disappointed at the time, but oh my god I’ve learned so much about blogging. I’ve now got a to-do list as long as my arm and I’m determined to make my blog bigger and better.

A re-design is top of the agenda. Let’s be honest, it’s all a bit 2008, isn’t it? When it comes to blogging, looks count, and I’m currently on the hunt for the prettiest WordPress themes.

Next, I HAVE to join Instagram. I’ve known this for months and yet I keep putting it off. I started blogging because I’m a shy writer, not a self-publicist. I’m still getting used to putting myself out there every day and agonise over everything I post on Facebook and Twitter. Perhaps it’s fear of judgement or those awful tumbleweed moments when no one ‘likes’ your posts but, if I’m serious about growing my audience, I have to get this done.

As a former journalist, I thought blogging would be a doddle. I’ve got the experience, I’m a good writer, everyone will be clamouring to read my posts, right? Wrong. As a blogger, you have to be a marketing guru, photography expert, SEO wizard and all-round tech geek. I am absolutely none of those things. Luckily my bf works in IT – lol.

I’ve already got so much from blogging. It’s boosted my confidence, taught me new skills and I’m starting to get approaches from health and fitness companies for collaborations, which is really exciting. Ok, so I didn’t win the Blog Awards this year, but I’ll be bringing my A-game to next year’s event.

Swing Out Sisters will be back!