Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Seeing double (or triple)

Tom and I are always on the look out for a good business opportunity, and since our engagement, an opening has come to our attention - the UK market for engagement cards. In what you might expect to be a saturated sector, there is clearly a lack of choice, and this was illustrated by the number of duplicate engagement cards that we received. In a population of 21 cards, we received duplicates of one design, and triplicates of two designs! I'm not even sure if triplicates is a word!! Our sample may be biased of course - obviously we have friends and family with consistently good taste.

And here's a photo of the rest of the cards:

If you look carefully you'll see that I'm also displaying the envelope that godson-Jake's card came in, because he coloured it so beautifully!

I also wanted to say a blog thank you to everyone who bought us lovely gifts! I'm not going to list names individually, but we were very grateful for everything that we received. Perhaps Tom would have proposed sooner if he knew we would be showered with such niceties? There is one gift that I wanted to share with you all - today we received in the post a fantastic box of goodies from a one of my university friends. Each gift was individually wrapped and labelled as either being 'For Him because...' or 'For Her because....'. Here's want was inside...
  • A Yorkie for Him.. because they are not for girls!
  • A wedding magazine for Her.. so that she can start to plan
  • A bottle of bath soak and a face mask for Her.. because it's relaxing
  • A box of champagne truffles for Him and Her.. because a bottle of real Champagne is too hard to post!
and finally.. (and this is the *most* appropriate)..
  • A packet of ear plugs for him.. because she talks about the wedding 24/7!!!
Not only do I not stop talking about the wedding, but ear plugs will actually be really useful for us during next years Formula 1 Melbourne Grand Prix. We were also really pleased to get UK chocolate past customs! You know who you are and you made our day today with such a thoughtful gift - thank you very much!

Friday, 18 June 2010

Hurricane TomKat

A bizzare weather pattern hit England in late May and early June. The unforeseen whirlwind began in London before sweeping down to the south-west and then storming East Anglia. It travelled in a 2001 VW Polo and brought gifts from a land down under. It was called Hurricane TomKat...

Our two week visit to the UK felt more like two minutes. We flew in, rushed around to see as many people as possible, and then exited as fast we had arrived. However my cheeks still ache from the smiling, and my heart felt a little heavier when we had to say goodbye. There is nothing like moving to the other side of the world to make you realise how important your friends and family are, and nothing like coming home to see them to make you feel special :-) Thank you to everyone who rushed around as much as us to fit in some time together - whether we saw you for five minutes, two hours or a whole weekend, it was wonderful.

Our two weeks went something like this .. in rough order of appearance... Lucy and baby Dora for bathtime, Elian for lunch, Sally and Pippa for Sex and the City 2, Ed and Cat for tea at Royal Festival Hall, dinner with Mum and Dad Hague, playtime with Jake, Daisy and Emma, lunch with Grandma, yummy cake with Gordon and Margaret (godmother), engagement celebration dinner with Mum, Dad, and Toby plus one, loooooong drive to Norwich. Pause for breath because this is a long one... surprise engagement dinner with the in-laws: Peter, Sue, Claire, Steve, Anna, Kev, Emma, Ann and children Millie, Rosie, Jamie, Charlie, Emily and Ellie. Then the same cast to Bahman Zoo, then the North Norfolk coast, interpersed with phone calls with the lovely Louise and the very bendy Sally (who I miss dearly), as well as a lovely lunch with Marian and Florence. Next up was the most wonderful weekend - the wedding of Thushani and Andy at Sandhurst/Deepcut, and a fantastic fun-filled 36 hours with the uni friends I miss so much - Sarah & Matt, Pippa & Rowan, Sally, Fiona (no Alex unfortunately), Telfy & Ant, Katie & Chris, Ella and Andy and of course the happy couple themselves. The next day we were treated to cuddles with baby Amelie (see previous blog post for photos) before Sarah and Matt played hostess with the mostess for us in Raynes Park. To continue.. Wagamamas with Sarah and Matt, office day for Katie featuring more people than I can include here, then engagement drinks in London with reappearances from Sally, Fiona and Elian, bubbles from Phil and Kate, and fun times with Lynne and identical sister Claire, husband Mike plus a whole heap of Tom's friends. Next was ring shopping (yay!), Pizza Express with Lucy and Dora, then down to Poole, for more visits with Mum and Dad, as well as Marion, Di (loved the cakes thanks!), Grandma again, flat coke and a few tears with Jo and ten (yes, ten) wedding venues. A bit of shopping, much packing, calls to Gully and V&A, lots of goodbyes, then the coach to Heathrow. Phew.

If anyone is planning a similarly busy holiday in the near future, please can in touch and I can send you my spreadsheet to assist with planning!

If you're still reading after all of that, well done. I'll leave the rest of the story-telling to a selection of photos from our visit. We look forward to seeing you all again next year!

(L-R) Sarah, Pippa, Fiona, Katie, Tush, Sally, Sarah, Ella

The cutest couple! Thushani and Andy

Katie and Kate


Me and my godson, Jake

Cake and ice cream on the North Norfolk coast


Tom with his nieces and nephews - anticlockwise: Tom, Emily, Millie, Ellie, Charlie, Jamie, Rosie
The usual rough and tumble between the boys

The boxing kanagroos went down brilliantly!

.. as did Amelie's Kylie Koala!

The motley crew that I'm marrying into..!

Celebratory engagement cake made by Sue

Ellie has turned into a proper girly girl since we left!

Auntie Katie teaching Dora about the important things in life - Pizza Express

London engagement drinks - Sally, Claire, Katie, Fiona, Lynne, Elian

Bubbles with Phil and Kate



Emily, who has really grown up since we last saw her

Bonding time with Uncle Tom

PS Marian and Florence - I need to retrieve the photos of our lunch together from Peter and Sue's computer - I'll send them on to you shortly!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010


A special blog entry devoted to some photos of the lovely Amelie - thanks for the cuddles whilst we were in the UK! It was great to catch up with proud parents Ella and Andy too...

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Sunday, 13 June 2010

The writing's in the sand...

For possibly the first time since starting this blog, I’ve got writers block. I can’t think of a more interesting or creative way to share with you all some news that we’re very excited about... Tom has asked me to marry him!

After an introduction by mutual friends Alex and Fiona, the audition process for the roles of future-husband to Katie and future-wife to Tom was thorough. It began in May 2006 with a few drinks in our local pub in Swiss Cottage, followed by several call backs at various locations across north-west and central London. After this followed a screen test with the respective families (where resumes were scrutinised) and the meeting of friends (where references were sought)! The roles of boyfriend and girlfriend were quickly established and after one year were upgraded to a live-in arrangement to determine the potential for full-time roles in the future. After the surprising success of sharing a flat the size of a shoebox with each other and two flatmates, the audition process went on location, to a one-bed flat around the corner. Shared finances were the next test, and within 3 years of meeting a joint mortgage had been signed for our first house purchase. Surely this is a greater commitment than marriage? Perhaps not to Tom, to whom the story was not yet complete, and so the audition process moved overseas – halfway around the world in fact, and after four years of wonderful courtship, Tom proposed on a beach in Western Australia, exactly nine thousand and forty three miles from the place where it all began.

After much family expectation and a scripting reminder from sister-Anna that the five little words he needed to say started with ‘Katie’ and ended in ‘me?’, Tom found the words with impeccable timing – just one day before our first return visit to the UK. The place was the deserted beach of Bunker Bay in Western Australia, and it was during a sunny early morning walk that Tom popped the question by writing, “Katie, will you marry me?” in the sand. After my immediate acceptance and few tears of joy, he got down on one knee and produced a ring. I had no idea that he’d smuggled a ring into our luggage, or called my Dad the night before to ask his permission.

We celebrated with a wonderful lunch at the Vasse Felix winery, not forgetting that other than getting engaged, this special day was also Tom’s 27th birthday. Once the UK had awoken we shared the news with our parents, and having had a tip off the previous day my mum was waiting by the phone – I’m not sure if even rang before she picked up!

It was wonderful sharing our news with family and friends, and Tom had deliberately proposed just before our visit to the UK so that we could celebrate with as many people as possible in person. How he knew that I’d been dreaming that he might do that, I will never know. We were totally overwhelmed with the wonderful comments that we received from everyone- and particularly from our friends, for whom an engagement occurs roughly once a month at the moment, so there is no novelty factor left! Thank you to everyone for your wonderful cards, gifts, cakes and champagne.

There are many more stories to tell from our week in Western Australia, and our two week holiday in the UK, but I’ll save those for later editions and leave you now with some photos of our happy moment...