Surprise Project Swap • The #summertimesurpriseproject

I felt like I had a bit of a wake up call after Christmas, that I followed and am followed by all these lovely people and yet I'm not sure I've nailed it in bringing them all together. I try and share different content and photos across my social media channels and hope that people find my blog post links and meet here in the middle of it all. But I wanted something that would tie us all together. 

I find in the world of blogging, that when you find someone you love reading, it leads to another and then another. I scroll through the accounts I love and see who they follow (Not in a stalker way like that sounds of course!) and find likeminded souls like me who inspire my photography, writing and the way I want to blog. Positively. 

I know it's all too rosy around here, quite often literally, with floral photos shoe horned into almost every post. But I hope these posts make people smile, a 5 minute read on a break from loading the washing machine, scraping leftovers off plates and other glamorous things that go on in our house like sorting the recycling on a Friday night. 

So you can imagine my sheer delight when I, rather nervously, launched the idea of my own swap project, and the sign ups started to ping into my inbox. It's a scary thing, starting something that relies on other people to join in, for a moment you dread no one will take part, no one will get the sentiment and that it will be a three way swap between my mum and my sister, oh and my sister in law in the US for a international flavour! But no, I was completely overjoyed at the hundreds that took part, sending pretty parcels all over the world! From the UK to the US, from Holland to Australia and to the UAE. Just incredible. 

I totally stand by my little tag line. About making the ordinary extraordinary. I read the same quote when it pops up in my Facebook or Pinterest feed about concentrating on the ordinary and letting the extraordinary take care of itself. But in my mind, I like to seek out those extra special moments in the blur that is ordinary life. Like taking an extra second at bedtime, when Ollie does his night time ritual. Tight squeeze, we have to say "Aah too tight!" and then he has to kiss you on the lips quickly. A blink and you've missed it, sometimes with puppy, the manky old soft dog he's has since he was born, who last night took the liberty of licking my glasses, Ollie proudly reported. Taking an extra minute as I close their door to appreciate that intimate ritual, he only shares with those he adore the most. 

And something so ordinary as sending a letter in the post does extraordinary things. I watched as the #springtimesurpriseproject gallery on Instagram grew and grew. The kindness of strangers. New friendships, new connections, a celebration of something so very ordinary. Posting something nice to someone just because. No birthday, no Christmas, just a celebration of springtime!

Just look. And this isn't all of them, I will add more later!

And my Twitter favourite button went into overdrive, saving post after post shared on the internet from bloggers who had taken part. I had specifically not asked anyone to blog the surprise project. I didn't want anyone feeling obliged to talk about it, to feel they had. I hoped people would want to, share their partner details, spread a little love for this concept of joining in a new community. Take a peek.

Check out these fab blogs The Mama Story, The Twinkle Diaries, Nomad Seeks Home, Life, Ninja Killer Cat, Baking Betsy, Me You and Magoo, This is Wiss, Real Housewife of Suffolk, Sit Still Monkeys, Floral and Feather, Celebrate Creation, This Little Space of Mine, Dark TeaCardNest, Clarina's Contemplations, Ling Yeung B, My Mummies Pennies, My Life My Love, We Made This Home, Scraps of Us.

If I have missed anyone I will update the post and add some more photos too. 

I loved that Facebook friends from the real world (That sounds completely insane because over the last year the lines between my virtual life and real life have completely intertwined.) took part, that when I opened the next swap project up, my brother and sister were amongst the first to tap in their details. That even the handful of people who are still waiting for their parcels (I am a big believer in giving people the benefit of the doubt, and hope they will still honour their part of the project, if not, there will be a parcel from me next week.) have signed up again, because just like me they love the idea of something nice for no other reason than it feels good to be part of something nice.

Friendly, kind, creative people. My kind of people.

I would love you to join in the #summertimesurpriseproject. The idea is that you swap a £5 parcel with a stranger. You can choose whether your partner lives in the UK or abroad and you get the chance to tell your partner a little about yourself, so they give you some clues. Come and join in here!

Thank you so much for embracing this idea, for being the most supportive readers. I am feeling totally in love with blogging for all the right reasons. Because it makes me happy! Ooh and this happened too... I am over the blooming moon to be in the finals!

So you have just 24 hours or so to sign up for the next surprise project. The sign up form will close at midnight on Sunday 24th May 2015, GMT. You can find it here

Something else is closing this week too. Nominations for the MAD Blog Awards ends on the 27th May. If you think my blog has a place in the MADs this year you can vote here. Thanks so much! Happy Bank Holiday from the UK!