Quite a surprising thing happened to me on Tuesday in the early afternoon. An email zipped into my inbox from the organisers of the Realex Web Awards, dropping the bombshell that I was a finalist in the awards. I have to say, I wasn’t expecting this in the slightest and thought that my days of attending award ceremonies were over and done with for this year. But nope, not just yet. The Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards, two weeks ago, was great fun. I anticipated it with excitement and, I’ll admit, slight anxiety since it was my first Blogger event and as a finalist no less. Papa Bear came along with me and we made a night of it, booking a hotel, revelling in the incredible acrobatics of the Circus and picking little miss up at 11am the next morning. This time, I wasn’t following the announcements for the Realex Web Awards and missed that I was a finalist. The Awards were thrown on me a day before the Ceremony. Yep, a day before! The event was last night, in Dublin’s Liberty Hall Theatre. Since it was all very last minute, juggling work, babysitters and life in general, I pretty much figured it was out of the question for me to attend. I had almost resigned myself to missing the night until Papa Bear encouraged me to go if I could get a date. A date? But of course, there was only one person to ask. I was absolutely delighted that my Mum was happy to be my arm candy for the night.
Blogging is Making Me Very Sociable
First the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards, then the Irish Blogger Agency launch on Sunday and last night, the Realex Web Awards. Never in my life have I had so many events to go to in such a short space of time. The little introvert in me, is neither dancing nor giddy at the prospect but I’m pushing her to get out there and be seen. Well, it looks like I am being seen.
The Realex Web Awards, is a longstanding award, in it’s ninth year, which recognises the best in “creativity and innovation across Irish websites showcasing the ultimate standard of digital excellence.” Phew, what a mouthful. Last nights winners included Ireland.ie, 98FM, Chupi, and BreakingNews.ie. And this year, little ole me was listed in amongst the Big Wigs. Websites that have been tendered, developed and expertly produced. Corporate jocks who throw their all behind their careers and are proud of the amazing websites they’ve produced. And get paid to do it!
Huh? I’m there? Seriously? I’ll admit the email I sent back to the organiser, Damien Mulley, was full of exclamation marks! This was not something I was expecting. Damien told me that I was a finalist in, what I think was the most beautiful category of the night, (I’m probably biased), Best Original Writing for a Website. It means so much to me to be recognised for my writing skill. That is, after all, the reason Over Heaven’s Hill exists. I’ve always considered myself a writer, since I was eight years old, rolling my short stories up into scrolls, tying them with multicoloured ribbons and storing them in a shoe box. I’m a writer and my dream is to be recognised as a writer.
Me: Huh!! I’m a finalist? You what? No way! are you serious! I can’t believe! When did this happen!!
Ok total shock moment here!
Thank you so much for letting me know, I’ll have to try a sort out a babysitter!!
Damien: That’s a lot of exclamation points!
A Date With My Mum
Tickets in hand, I met my Mum off the bus after a long and very unproductive day in work. Let’s just say, I was mildly distracted and the real job didn’t get my full attention. Here was my little blog spouting the word Finalist again for the second time this month. My mantra for the day was flup, how did this happen?
My blog is young, pretty in pink, and has a mix of real life, family madness and sadness moments. It’s peppered with my perpetual ‘writers head’. My Poetry, Short Stories and obscure Prose is filtered throughout with meanderings of excessive alliteration and descriptive narrative. Is that why I was a Finalist? Oh, I’d love to know the reason.
Off we wandered to Toddy’s on O’Connell Street for some dinner and an awesome Mammy Daughter chit chat. Life doesn’t necessarily give me the opportunity to have one on one time with my mum anymore. Between working full time, being a mum myself and helping the other half mow the lawn on the weekends, time is limited. We’re all busy people, and I genuinely believe my Mum, in her retirement with my Dad, is one of the busiest people I know.
We lingered over tea, as you do on the hottest day in September, before heading up to Liberty Hall. My Mum became fascinated with when Liberty Hall was built and the history of the building so out came Google (FYI construction commenced 1961, finished 1965).
We were early… super early, perhaps the first there. Mental note everyone pretty much went to the pub before hand so no need to arrive as the doors open! We parked our hineys upstairs and as it hit 7:15pm we started to watch the Big Wigs (every single one of you are Big Wigs to me – it’s a term of endearment and admiration) make their way up the stairs, head straight for the bar and mingle. Myself and Mum chatted, “watched the goes” as she would say, and I slagged her for very obviously pilfering two chocolate bars into her handbag for later. They were free, there was no stealing involved!
Rick O’Shea, You Legend
I’ve never been in Liberty Hall Theatre before and loved the theatre style seats and the loud music blasting out as everyone took their seats. Boy, was there atmosphere. It was fantastic. Everyone was on a high and ready for the madness and weirdness that would be the Realex Web Awards. Hosted by none other than the fab 2Fm Broadcaster Rick O’Shea, who spent half the evening targeting peoples heads with Chewits and Curly Wurlys (Mum was personally handed a Dime bar by Rick which she graciously brought home to my Dad).
The night was hilarious! We laughed non stop as Rick told us we were like a “lost group of geese” and needed to Whoop louder and harder. He made peeps stuff marshmallows in their mouths and try to say Fluffy Bunny which genuinely was probably the funniest thing I’ve seen in forever and I’m making the nieces and nephews (and my mum) do this at Christmas!
Dun Dun Duuuuuunnnn
The list of finalists for each category was called out, loud and proud, over the speakers with the name dancing on the big screen. This was what I was looking forward to. Seeing and hearing my name being shouted out in amongst a list of finalists. It was pretty awesome seeing my blog on the screen of the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards and that’s pretty much what I was gearing up to last night again. A special moment for someone like me who is Blogging four months but writing forever. A small sense of recognition with genuinely no expectation of winning.
Best Original Writing for a Website Finalists
Yikes, but no. For some reason the Podcast Category and the beautiful Best Original Writing for a Website Category didn’t have the list of finalists to throw up on the screen. Hmmff.
Rick said something like “What? We’ve no finalists again? Do I just call out the winner? Ok, and the Winner for Best Original Writing for a Website is Over Heaven’s Hill” – Shit – even writing that out and remembering that moment, I’m getting shivers again!
Frick! I Won
Oh my Mum’s face was awesome! The look of shock was so sweet. All I was thinking was Frick I have to go up there, don’t fricking fall. Scooting past my mum, I walked to the stage and peeps, my legs turned to jelly. I mentioned earlier that I’m a bit of a introvert. It’s not me to stand in front of a couple hundred people and speak. Words. Frick, I hadn’t a clue what to say! I blurted out something about writing a blog post – obviously! – and said “I’m probably the only person who brought their mum with them.” Cue some cute Awwwws.
I totally forgot to head out to get my photo taken and headed back to my mum and my seat. My legs were now literally shaking and I almost missed the step of the stairs coming off the stage. Gentle reminders from fellow audience members to go get my photo taken were followed by heckles from Silicon Republic to bring my mum with me! Hell Yeah!
So, here we are. Me a loose mess inside and my Mum proud as punch.
Did anyone notice my mum was wearing an awesome Christmas Jumper? She’s my type of girl. Last night had the same exhilaration and apprehensive like the night before Christmas. For me, winning this award was a huge achievement. A massive recognition. There is only me behind my blog, my website, behind my writing.
Regardless of winning or not, I was so surprised by the night. It was simple, relaxed and brilliant fun. I’m reeling from my win and trying desperately to catch up on the congratulatory tweets and facebook messages. At the beginning of the night, I was small fry amonst the big names. By the end, maybe not as small as I thought.
Congratulations to everyone who Won. Congratulations to everyone who was a Finalist. The achievement is fantastic, to be recognised and appreciated for the work you have done is immeasurable. You’re all awesome.
Thank you to Damien Mulley, everyone involved in the Realex Web Awards, the judges and of course the awesome Rick O’Shea.
And finally, thank you to my Mum! I’m so glad you were with me 🙂