Some of you may remember I wrote a post before Christmas asking for people to vote for me in the UK Blog Awards.
It was the first time I’ve ever entered any kind of awards. I’ve only been writing this blog for about a year and a half, and there are tonnes of more established Travel Bloggers and Photographers out there. So I really didn’t think I stood a chance, but I decided, what the hell. You’ve got to be in it to win it, right?
So imagine my stunned delight when you voted, and enough of you voted to make sure I got through to the final six – and the chance to be judged by a team of professionals and maybe even win the coveted first prize!
I’ve been in Uganda for the last four months (if you missed that, you can find out what I’ve been up to on my Uganda Diaries page). But I was so excited to be a finalist I even changed my flight and came back a couple of days early. I wasn’t due to get home until the night of the 20th, but NO WAY was I missing my first every fancy awards ceremony! So I changed my ticket to the 18th, to allow me time to get home, unpack, and get my hair and nails done before the big event!
Four months in Africa has unfortunately added a little extra to my waistline, and I wasn’t sure I’d get into any of my dresses back home. So on my last weekend in Kampala I went out and bought this fabulous long dress with a gorgeous traditional Ugandan Kitenge wax print fabric skirt. Perfect for someone who’s just come back from Uganda, and ideal because with its elasticated waist it meant I could celebrate to my heart’s content without it getting too tight!
Then I hopped on the tube (attracting a few stares) and made my way to the venue, the Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square.
Arriving on my own and feeling rather self-conscious, I avoided the photographers lurking outside (which I regret now, since the selfie above is the only photo I have of me in my lovely dress!) and went inside to find a glass of wine and someone to talk to. I wasn’t alone for long though. Unsurprisingly, it turns out bloggers are a super friendly, warm, and welcoming bunch and I soon met a few lovely people to sit nervously with while we waited for the awards to be announced, including the brilliant Georgina from The Home Genie , Travel Bloggers (and eventual winners) Andrew and Emily from Along Dusty Roads, and one of my fellow photography nominees, Mark from Hooked Blog.
There were lots of categories to get through before they got to Photography, but get there we did, eventually. By this time, though, my nerves had passed. I wasn’t even thinking there was the slightest chance I would win, I’d had a couple of glasses of prosecco, I was having a lovely time with my new friends, and I was just curious to find out who the winner would be.
My new friend Mark was announced as the very worthy winner of the Highly Commended Prize, and then it was time to reveal the winner. And I was so busy taking photos with my phone that I nearly didn’t hear them say my name! Nor did I spot, till much later, that they’d made a mistake with the on-screen graphics and had announced that Passport&Pixels was the winner of the Sports and Fitness category. Which I can firmly assure you is definitely a mistake!
Nope, I’m the winner of the Photography category, and an absolutely stunned and delighted one at that. I can’t tell you how absolutely thrilled to bits I am to have won, and how hugely grateful I am to everyone who has supported and voted for me. I’m only little – I’m not a professional blogger, I have a (mostly) full-time career as a TV Producer, but winning this award really will spur me on to bigger and better things and who knows, maybe I won’t be a part-time blogger for all that much longer!
So THANK YOU so much everyone, and stay tuned for more fabulous blog posts and AWARD-WINNING photos (!) from Uganda and beyond in the near future.
(And apologies for the fact that the photos in this post aren’t quite up to the usual standard. I was having a night off, and only had my phone with me! I hope you can forgive me…)