MAD Blog Awards 2014

It's hard to describe the feeling when you suddenly see your phone light up with a stream of Twitter notifications. It's like Christmas morning for a blogger! Because you know it must mean something good.

And in blog land, being a Finalist in the MAD Blog Awards is like being nominated for an Oscar. Over 200,000 nominations were submitted this year. That's the same number of glasses of milk a single cow will produce in its lifetime, as many pieces as it took to make this Lego creation and as many grey wolves as there are on the planet.

Ok so it may have been trickier than I thought to find 200,000 facts but you get my point! And the fact that you can only vote once means that more people than my supportive family and friends read this blog!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

It is an honour to be listed alongside the calibre of bloggers in the photography category. Katie has the ability to capture a thousand moments in a single shot of her daughters eyes and promotes appreciating the ordinary moments with her Sunday link up, Annie has been on a photographic journey of discovery this year in amongst her other incredible travels for charity as well as offering support with her Better Photos Project, Charly has a beautiful eye for composition and capturing the detail and I regularly join in her What's the Story link up and Helen has got food blogging down to a fine art with her nostalgic story telling and creative imagery.

And then there's me. And I feel like we all bring something different to the MADs this year.

My blogging ethos has always been to share the extraordinary in the ordinary. I choose to see life in a positive and creative way and I thought it might be nice to give you a glimpse into my day.

We can all chose what we focus on and I focus on the things that make me happy, because I am a much nicer person to be around. This is what I try to see.

Focus on Happy

I try not to see that the boys have turned the chair around and nag too much that they are too close to the TV screen, I try to see that their tiny legs, snuggled together, don't reach the ground yet. I try not to see that we are running late (as usual) to preschool, instead I take an extra 5 seconds to appreciate the magnolia that lives on the corner of our lane.

Focus on happy

I could focus on my knotty, drip dried hair that has never looked as nice as the first day it was styled, but it's nicer to focus on the 10 seconds of bliss in Ollie's face letting him climb over onto my lap and pretend to drive the car. Yes, you could see a fishing equipment section of a large home store, but I see party supplies!

Focus on happy

Food shopping is a necessary evil. But instead, as I close the boot, I choose to admire my new flip flops (ignoring the toes that need repainting) and take a minute to think how lucky we are to have such a sunny and warm Spring day in March. And for me blogging = mess. Almost every post ends up covering the house in clutter (Clutter by Lucy would be more appropriate) but then I snap a little pocket of detail which makes me smile.

Focus on happy

My eye just scoots over the mountain of recycling stuffed in the centre of the sink and heads straight for the notes left on the fridge by a friend. I know at some point I need to sit down and file away all the paper work on the coffee table and move the collection of coats that adorn the metal stairs instead of the coat rack, but it's much more fun to take photos of flowers.

choose happiness

Of course I am never ready to dash off on the school run and always leave an explosion of props and papers behind me but who cares when you get this at 3.10pm. And yes there seems to be never enough time in the day to finish all the work on my to do list, but when work is this pretty it spurs me on!

Focus on happy

What does it matter if instead of making gourmet recipes we cheat and buy ready made mash when we are shattered. There will be time one day to sit down and pour through all the inspiration that sits neatly on the kitchen shelves. And who doesn't have a pile of washing at the bottom of the stairs next to a helium canister?! But what does it matter as long as the school uniform is clean when you creep upstairs and peek at matching boys in matching beds.

Because I prefer to focus on the little things that make me happy. And those are the bits I love to share through photography. The extraordinary ordinary.

Photos let you capture a moment and record it forever. It's not about what camera you use, whether you are an expert on Photoshop or whether you know the technical details like a pro, it's about pointing a lens and capturing what you see. And then telling that story. It's not necessarily about a "perfect" picture, it's what's perfect to you.

Being a MADs Finalist and award winner is an incredible achievement and I believe it gives you the opportunity to inspire others, help and advise your fellow bloggers and readers and, above all, encourage as many people as possible to share your passion for photography.

These are the best days of our lives and I want to be a very old lady one day, surrounded by crinkly photo albums, pouring over memory after memory, that I recorded. On a phone, on a tablet, on a disposable camera at a wedding, on an instant Polaroid and on the best investment I've ever made.

I didn't think anything could top how I felt last year. It has made me challenge myself technically, led to work opportunities I'd never have dreamed of and inspired me to (hopefully) write more engaging and quality content for you to read. 

It is a pleasure taking photographs for this blog. Setting up mini photo shoots, leaving a trail of glitter confetti out to the back porch to grab the last snippet of natural light and is the perfect justification for filling my home with props!

Social media is so visual, sites like Pinterest have led to a new waves of photography talent being more easily shared with a worldwide audience and even Twitter have just announced a new photo policy!

Blog photography is about capturing the essence of your blog in imagery. Mine is like a tidal wave of me! I have tried being a ripple and it just doesn't work. So there it is, probably the longest post anyone has written as a Finalist. I am very grateful if you read all the way to this!

Here I am, loud and proud! If you think that I deserve to win this year's Best Photography award you can vote here. And if you'd rather vote for someone else then I wouldn't blame you!

Good luck everyone and here's to a group selfie on awards night!

PS. don't forget you can keep up with a daily dose of happy by following me on Instagram :)