7 Years a Wife

Some husbands are showy romantics, showering their wives with flowers, gifts and public expressions of their love.

My husband isn’t one of them, but after seven years of marriage, I’ve come to recognise his expressions of love in the little things.

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Like checking it’s okay before saying “yes” to any kind of sporting.

Like offering a shoulder rub when he sees I’m sore.

Like asking me every morning how I slept.

Like taking the boys outside to play so I can have five minutes of peace to serve up dinner, or wipe down the table.

Like not being offended when I re-load the dishwasher.

Like saying “yes” to us getting a kitten, even though he doesn’t like cats.

And like the simple touch on my hips when he gets home from work every day, which always distracts me from whatever the boys were arguing about before he walked in the door.

Seven marvellous, adventure-filled years
x x x x x x x

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Review: My-books Photo Book

Towards the end of last year, I got sent a voucher for a free My-books classic photo book. The voucher had an expiry date three months into the future. I thought to myself, “Yep, I can make something pretty awesome in that time…”, and then promptly forgot about it until about three weeks before the expiry date.

The great thing about My-books and their easy-to-use free software is that I was able to create something pretty awesome in the space of 24 hours. I’m so pleased with what I was able to make in that time, that I’m keen to see what else I can create at a more leisurely pace.

My-books photo book  Creating a Photo Book with My-books:
* the software is easy, free and fast to download, plus I like that you don’t have to be connected to create your project
* it’s simple to upload photos (in bulk) and I like that they get categorised as “unused/used” once they’ve been added to the page, making it easier to select the images you want
* playing around with layouts, themes, text and graphics was easy – there were loads of each to choose from
* there were many options to choose from when it came to style, size and orientation

My-books photo bookDetails of my photo book:
* style: classic square – simple and a good shape/size for a coffee table flick book
* pages: 20 – as specified by the conditions of the voucher
* layout: one photo per page – I like the simplicity of this layout
* cover: hardcover – as specified by the conditions of the voucher
* theme: elegant – I love the pages where the image is duplicated for the background
* text: none – I prefer the pictures to speak for themselves; I played around with inserting various texts but decided the simplicity of none was what I was after

My-books photo bookOrdering from My-books:
* the checkout process was simple, although I twice clicked on the wrong button and had to start again
* I like that I was prompted to save my project, and that there are a couple of reminders to check again that you’re 100% happy with your work
* uploading the project from the software to the My-books website didn’t take long at all

The finished Photo Book:
* the printing is flawless – no grainy images or colour differences
* the paper quality is great – a really nice weight and gloss
* the cover and binding is superb; the edging is lovely and the way the book was packaged meant no damaged corners

I have printed photo books through other sites before, and have been disappointed with the end results. However, I am thrilled with the photo book I received from My-books, and will definitely be using them again for my next photo project.

Other things I like about My-books:
* they are NZ owned and operated
* they offer a range of other products, such as photo cards, calendars and canvases
* their team are super-friendly and they often have special deals and competitions

While My-books provided me with a photo book in exchange for this review, all opinions expressed here are honest, and my own.

A Spring Wedding

At the end of October, Tall’s little sister married her lovely fiancé in a wonderful ceremony at The Farm. The day we arrived was wet and windy, and Tall’s mother was a little bit stressed…but the wedding day dawned sunny and bright, and the weather held out for a beautiful day. Our biggest was a very proud, and very handsome, page boy, and our littlest looked pretty suave in his shirt and tie.

Waverley Wedding Waverley Wedding Pickle & Pops Waverley Wedding Pickle & Tiny Waverley Wedding Tall, Tiny & Pickle Tiny & Pickle Pickle Waverley Wedding Tiny page boy Tiny page boy Waverley Wedding

FIVE

Today is our fifth wedding anniversary.

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So much has happened in those five years. We’ve travelled to 15 different countries, moved back to New Zealand from England, bought two houses, and welcomed two awesome little boys into our family. We’ve eaten at a Michelin-Star restaurant, learned how to hang wallpaper, and spent the past 1826 days loving each other as best we can.

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And every one of those 1826 days, I’ve pinched myself because I still can’t quite believe how lucky I am xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

(Photos by Sinead Jenkins Photography)

What I Wore to a Wedding

Tall and I went to the beautiful wedding of two lovely friends on Saturday. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and we were childless for ten whole hours.

 Despite not having the boys with us, I ended wearing a dress I could easily nurse Pickle in if I was called to come home; it was a 40 minute drive to get home, and I didn’t want to waste any time if I had to see to a distraught little man refusing to go to bed without his mama.

Pickle wasn’t happy about it, but ended up falling asleep in his grandad’s arms, and was fast asleep by the time we arrived home.

I did try on two other dresses – I didn’t want to wear black – but I was too self-conscious about my chest, so went for the dress I felt most comfortable in.

Tall and ShortJewelleryWedding ClutchBow HeelsOutfit details
Dress: House of Harlow
Cardigan: Glassons
Shoes: Dorothy Perkins
Necklace: a gift when I was a bridesmaid seven or eight years ago
Earrings: Etsy, my wedding pearls
Bracelets: Esteem Jewellery (my fake-but-so-sparkly bling) and Oroton, a gift from my sister for my 30th birthday
Rings: wedding band and engagement ring, and a gift from my nana for my 21st birthday – bought 10 years after the fact!
Clutch: Aldo

Tall’s suit is from River Island

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For the first time in aaaaaages, linking up with Kelly for

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A Love Story: today

(Start with A Love Story: in the beginning, A Love Story: the dating game and A Love Story: tomorrow)

As I slowly opened one eye and peered around me, my stomach started to tingle. I fumbled for my mobile phone. 6.23am. I sat up with a jolt, a grin spreading across my face. I’m getting married today!

I said a silent good morning to my husband-to-be, and briefly wondered how he’d slept, knowing that the answer was likely to be similar to my own: brokenly.

When I heard my niece and nephew in the kitchen above, I stretched langourously, rolled out of bed and tried to wipe the smile from my face as I went up the stairs.

In the kitchen I was greeted by a chorus of “Good mornings!” and as we all sat down for breakfast, those little butterflies started flexing and fluttering their wings in my stomach, energised by the sunny glow radiating from my heart.

Wedding1Two hours before the ceremony was to start, my mother, still in her dressing gown, was sitting at the sewing machine, finishing my dress. Armed with a needle and thread, my sister, my best friend and I took turns hand-sewing little tucks in the outer layer of the skirt. The photographer commented that she’d never seen a bride looking so calm and serene with an unfinished dress just two hours before getting married.

I laughed and said, with extreme confidence, “It’ll get finished. I’m getting married today.” I felt calm. I would have walked down that aisle in a paper bag if I’d had to; nothing was stopping me from getting married.

Finally in my dress, veil securely fastened, I grinned at my dad, and clambered into the waiting car. My stomach was in knots, but I chatted away with our driver about his car, about the weather, our travels, everything but the wedding.

Wedding2As I heard the opening bars of The Lark Ascending, I suddenly felt nervous for the first time. But I was impatient, too: impatient to walk across that grass to where he was waiting for me, impatient to say “I do”, impatient to be married.

I watched as my girls crossed the grass, and instead of waiting for my favourite part of the music to begin, I suddenly urged my dad on. “I want to go now!” I whispered to him urgently. He patted my hand and held me back a moment longer, and then we were walking past the trees, across the grass, past friends and family, to where Tall stood, smiling nervously as I approached.

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It drizzled at some point, but I didn’t really notice. My heels got stuck in the grass, but I knew my dress would hide it. I didn’t wait for Tall to repeat the vows before jumping in with my response.

There were probably a thousand other things that weren’t quite right, but I didn’t care. We were married.

And it was a perfect, perfect day.

Angela&Guy462~~~~~~~~~
Happy fourth anniversary to my wonderful husband.
Thank you for that perfect day, for all the days since, and all the days to come

xxxx

(Photos by Sinead Jenkins Photography, 2009)

A Love Story: tomorrow

(Read A Love Story: in the beginning and A Love Story: the dating game first!)

Tall’s mum came towards me holding a long velvet box. She asked if we could have little chat, and I nervously agreed, wondering if she was about to tell me that I couldn’t marry her son. Then she handed me the box, watched while I opened it, and told me the story behind the gold watch chain inside. Tall had been left a gold pocket watch by his great-great-grandfather, as they shared the same birth date, and the chain was to pass from his mum to his wife. I’d heard the story before, but to have my future mother-in-law passing the chain on to me that night was very special indeed. To know that Tall knew in those early days of us dating that I would be the recipient of that chain…well…that always gave me the chills.

When Tall and I said goodbye, I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. I clung to him, wishing time would stop for just a moment, just for us, right here, right now.

He gently pulled himself away and stared down at me with a bemused look on his face. “Why are you crying?” He asked. “We’re getting married tomorrow!”

“I know!” I sobbed. “It’s just…I don’t want you to go…and I’m tired and I’m sure there’s something I’ve forgotten to do…”

Tall pulled me back towards him, smoothed my hair with his hand and firmly whispered, “Everything is done. I’ve got to go, but I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”

I sniffed in response, and escaped down the stairs to dry my tears while my fiancé – nearly husband – left for dinner with his family.

In the spare room of my parents’ house, my brother’s old room, the room we’d been staying in since arriving back in Dunedin two weeks ago, I sat in silence, hiccuping away the tears and sniffing into a tissue. I thought of everything we’d managed to get done in the short time we’d been home, and the sudden realisation hit that it had all come down to this one day – no longer months or weeks away, but tomorrow.

I looked at the pile of socks, boxer shorts and tees strewn on the floor on his side of the bed. I smiled.

Tomorrow.

(Read part four here)

Tomorrow, that mess of laundry would be my future, my forever.

Wardrobe Wednesday: the ‘W’ edition

Last week we went to a wedding in Waitotara, west(ish) of Whanganui. It was warm and windy, wonderful and well-worth the whirlwind weekend.

Aaah, my fourth form English teacher would be proud of all that alliteration.

The night before the little ones and I left (Tall came up the following day; flying with two was easier than expected, especially when air stewards and passengers alike were all so lovely and helpful), I spent a while trying on a load of dresses. One was a little tight in the chest area, so it got hung straight back up. Another fit well, but needs to be shortened. Another is my go-to dress, a dress I can easily nurse in – but this time, I would be sans bébé (which didn’t go so well, but hey, we all survived, despite Pickle’s stubborn refusal to take a bottle for five hours!), so it was gladly put away.

I settled on my very favourite LBD from Monsoon; another dress that conjures up strong memories.

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Please excuse my TERRIBLE posture! #needtogetbackintoyoga

It is the dress I wore when, at 11 weeks pregnant with Tiny and still suffering from severe morning sickness, we ate at Le Gavroche, Michel Roux Jr’s Michelin Two Star restaurant in London. We had an eight-course tasting menu, and it was d-i-v-i-n-e.

I love it. It has a v-shaped back and a wide neckline which gives me a bit of much-needed shoulder width. You possibly can’t tell from the photo, but it is slightly layered, and has a lovely, subtle movement to it.

My shoes were an easy choice: I was determined not to wear black, and so chose the strappy green ones that I knew I could walk in for a little while without feeling like a teetering baby giraffe. They were a good choice – the day was HOT – but I took them off as soon as we were seated for (thankfully-not-a-buffet) dinner…I am NOT a heels wearer!

Outfit details:
dress: Monsoon (London); shoes: Overland Footwear; earrings: Rockbourne Jewellery; circle bracelet: Oroton (a gift from my sister for my 30th); sparkly bracelet: Esteem Jewellery; flower hairtie: no idea…have had it for years!

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Linking up with Miriam for

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Tales of Travel: New Zealand – Home to get Married!

After our five-day pre-wedding-moon in New York, we were excited to be flying home to New Zealand; it had been almost two years since we left, and we were both ready to see our friends and family.

First stop was Auckland, to attend the wedding of Tall’s best man. We had a fun time in our country’s biggest city, and the wedding was great; it certainly put us both in a wedding state of mind! We giggled at how small and quiet Auckland seemed after London and New York (and countless other cities in between); I told Tall that I felt like I wanted to pat the city on its head and tell it there was plenty of time for it to grow up and become a Big City.

After a few days in Auckland, Tall headed to The Farm, and I headed home to Dunedin to begin the massive task of finalising things for our wedding in less than two weeks.

Needless to say, my time in Dunedin before the wedding wasn’t exactly a holiday! I spent most of my time visiting with the service providers I’d contacted via email when in the UK, confirming and re-confirming flowers, hair, make-up, photography, menus, equipment hire etc etc. I also spent a lot of time trying on various parts of my wedding dress as my mother stumbled through creating it without a pattern.

Tall arrived one week prior to the wedding, and in true Tall-syle, strolled in to a suit place and got the boys’ outfits sorted in one day. He came with me to choose his buttonholes and finalise our sit-down menu, and even spent a couple of hours tying ribbons around napkins.

Our ceremony venue – Chingford Stables (photo courtesy of Sinead Jenkins)

Our wedding was awesome, and everything we hoped it would be. Sure, there were a couple of minor hiccups, but no one knew (or cared), and we had an absolute blast with family and friends. Apparently it drizzled during our outdoor ceremony, but I didn’t even notice, and apparently we had far more than our “allowed” bottles of wine on the reception tables, but no one batted an eyelid.

(photo courtesy of Sinead Jenkins)

A few days later, we flew back up to The Farm, with my parents, as Tall’s mum had organised a “second wedding” barbecue for the family and friends who hadn’t been able to make it down south (or hadn’t been included in the guest list!). We enjoyed another party with more family and friends (most of whom I didn’t know!), and it was wonderful to feel like our wedding went on for a whole week. It was also nice to relax, finally, and just enjoy being home (albeit briefly), and enjoy being married.

Our “second wedding”

And then, our brief visit back home was over, and we once more packed our belongings into a couple of backpacks and headed off on honeymoon.