Saturday, 11 January 2014

Oh, How Far We've Come!

Almost one year ago to the day I came home and told my parents I was engaged! Can you believe that- ONE YEAR AGO! I say that, not in a surprised way for effect, but for many reasons:
  1. Laura and I are now LIVING with my parents during the week – TOGETHER!
  2. It's less than 6 months till we get married
  3. So much have changed in a year like the small fact that WE OWN A HOUSE! I have a new job!
OK, I’ll quit with the shouting, but seriously, how much has changed – has anything not changed?! Well, maybe Laura’s job, but that’s about it.

I’m not a big one for reflective posts, on-wards and upwards is much more my thing, but if this blog has taught me anything, it’s that we really do have so much to be thankful for and sometimes that gets lost in the hectic day to day-ness of the life we are currently leading. Stuck in traffic at 6am or getting soaked walking back from a 10 hour day rarely leads to conversations about how grateful we are, but deep down we both know that this time last year everything was so different.

If you haven’t read the post we did about my parents reaction to our engagement, do, not because I wrote it but because re-reading it brings back so many emotions for me and in some ways it was the start of my 'It gets better' story. It's here. Ironic, as the reaction was not a positive one, but it was the lowest point we'd hit - and as they say, the only way is up.

The moment I saw Laura in my parent's house after almost 5 years!
Within six months of that post, it was my 30th birthday - and after months of tears, arguments, not talking and every other emotion going, Laura was invited to my family birthday party. Not by me, not by my sister or any other supportive family member but by my parents. Since then we have never look backed. Laura has featured in all family occasions- including Christmas, we share a bed in my parent’s house 5 nights a week and they helped us buy our first house TOGETHER! I still can’t explain how much the change has meant to me. All I know is it puts an end to the feelings of being torn, pulled between keeping Laura happy and protected and staying close to my family – looking back, it was exhausting.

Together we re WINNERS!
Then there’s the house situation. This time last year we were blogging from our much loved one-bed flat in Fulham overlooking the Thames. We loved that tiny space, it was all we needed and it was an amazing location. What we didn’t need was the monthly payments of £1,500 to live there. We had sat down and done the finances and that level of outgoing meant we could afford the wedding but no real savings. That would have been fine, except in the 2.5 years we had lived there, we'd spent over £45,000 on rent and had nothing to show for it. That was a hard thing to accept.

It wasn’t until we sat down with my parents in August to talk about how shocked we were at how much we were spending on rent that they asked about our long term plans. When we said we saw ourselves heading north so we could afford property they seemed to think it was a good idea. Over the years I’ve learnt that sharing these ideas with my parents is both a good and bad thing. Good because they will go to any length to help figure out a plan, bad because that will start immediately – without you being prepared. No lie, we had a meeting with a mortgage advisor quicker than we could have updated our spreadsheets.

When we took my Mum to Birmingham to show her the area we had identified it was a mixed experience, the house we had really liked was terrible on the inside and badly located for a youth club, we were gutted. The upside was that by chance the estate agent showed us other properties and we fell in love with the one we now own. However it was our parents (and my sister) who made buying the house possible. It’s crazy that it wasn’t even on our 2013 plans!

Same goes for my change of job. Although that occurred at the end of 2013, it wasn’t even on the radar. I even sat with my manager and reaffirmed my commitment in January 2013 saying that I would be mad to look for a new job before the wedding but when things changed in the company and I was offered an amazing opportunity I took it. Now I work in a company that does all this cool elearning and I have a whole 6 months to get settled before the wedding!

And finally when I think how far we’ve coming with wedding planning it is wonderful. I have a real sense of peace about our wedding. Having a wedding planner was the best thing we could have done. I thought it would make us feel distanced from the process, but in fact she has the opposite effect - she lets us enjoy it without the stress. Rather than spending every spare moment searching for deals or doing the budget or trying to find that ‘ideal’ decorations it’s all done for us, we just have to come to her with our ideas, inspiration, and make choices. More than that though, Brandi’s ideas have often taken thoughts we've had to the next level.

The trip we had to Boise in the summer was one of the best holidays I’ve ever had. I loved seeing Boise it all it’s summertime glory, floating the river, chilling in the pool, visiting the markets and the art stores and getting to see our venue without the 3 foot of snow – it was perfect. Not only that, the wedding planning we did was so exciting. Tasting the food, picking materials, walking the venue layout, tasting cakes…..honestly it was a dream come true. Not to put rose colour specs on, there were definitely moments of realisation that we can't afford everything we want, but when you have a limited budget it was to be expected.   

But right now I proudly reel off our ‘completed list’ to everyone and anyone who’ll listen: 
  • venue – booked
  • dresses – bought 
  • menu – tasted and chosen
  • flowers – selected
  • guests – invited
  • flights – booked
  • bachelorette –planned
  • colour scheme – decided
  • bridesmaid dresses – delivered! 
The list will grow again the closer we get, but I know with Brandi leading the way and Laura’s ideas and organisation (and my strong ideas of what I do and don't like), no challenge is too great. Every time someone confirms they’ve booked their flight we do a little dance, we know it is such an expense for each and every person but it is better than any gift and we can’t wait to celebrate with them.

So reflection over – I am writing this as I return from my induction in Bournemouth and my train is nearly at Reading! I haven’t sat and thought about the past year until this point but in summary ‘it does get better’. We would never have dreamed that 2013 could have led to so much and we would have never put together a to-do list that included a house or new job, let alone ‘unite my family’ but dreams can come true! I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings with it – hopefully it’ll include a fantastic wedding and a Christmas puppy! J


  1. A beautiful post! Well done! Love youz! xxx

  2. How wonderful...I'm so happy for you two. You have been through so much and you rose above it all... maybe 2014 will bring me my dreams too ... I see they come true ♡♥♡

    1. Thank you Launna! We hope 2014 brings your dreams and plenty of happiness along the way! xo


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