Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday 6 August – Back to the big smoke

Current location: Nailsworth
11.11am, Hanging out at Claire's house. Late in the afternoon I had to leave and go back to London but before then we went for a lovely walk, and had a delish lunch at Ruskin Mill. Louis is starting to eat now as well, so he was grabbing at our lunches and was up for trying everything!
I was really sad to leave but, luckily, thanks to a hilarious car journey, I was running late for my train so I didn't really have time to get sad or be emotional. But if I did have time, I would have told me amazing sister how proud of her I am, and how happy it has made me to see how happy she is in the wonderful life she has made herself!

When I got back to London, I met my lovely friend Thom, who I've been friends with since college and have sporadically but consistently (can you be both?!) stayed in touch with over the years. He's a super man, and was particularly super today when he offered to drive all my luggage back to my sister's house.

I was going to the National Theatre to watch a show called Great Britain with Kate, so after a coffee with Thom, I went off into the sunshine to meet her. We had a yummy Mexican dinner at Wahaca, then went to see the play – which was so, so good. It's (loosely) based on the News of the World and the phone-hacking scandal, and it was so, so good. The first half was really funny, and we didn't stop laughing, but it got pretty dark and serious in the second half, and we both left feeling very moved and a bit shell-shocked. I'm loving being in London and making the most of this awesome city!

Tuesday 5 August – Nailsworth chillin'

Current location: Nailsworth
11.11am, Deciding what to do with our day. There were four kids and five adults, so we went to 'Paint-a-Pot', where I made a badge for Pippa. The kids speedily made other things, leaving Mum sitting there happily painting herself a tile, while we all wandered around town, dodging the rain.
After lunch in a gorgeous little cafe where I went with Claire and Matt before I moved to Australia, Mum, Dad, Pip and her kids decided to make the trip back to Cornwall. Sadly, Bea had picked up a bug, which she then passed on to Dad, so the journey home wasn't very fun for any of them!
Claire, Matt and I had a delicious dinner cooked by Matt, played Bananagrams into the early hours, and basically had an awesome time.

Monday 4 August – Happy christening, lovely Louis

Current location: A road in the countryside
11.11am, Driving between Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. Today is my beautiful nephew Louis' christening, and I am going to be his godmother! I'm so excited, especially as my godson is so gorgeous!
I have to admit, when I got up this morning after last night's post-wedding shenanigans, I was less excited. And more hungover. We all met downstairs for a lovely breakfast, but I could just about manage a cup of peppermint tea, and a piece of fruit! We all sat, laughed, reminisced, teased, joked and rejoiced the wedding, then said some sad goodbyes and I headed off, kindly driven by Sarah's brother.

As I arrived in Nailsworth, where Claire and Matt (and Louis) live, I was still feeling a little worse for wear, but lunch and lots of nieces and nephews soon sorted that out! My grandma, some aunties and uncles, all my sisters, brothers-in-law and parents joined my nieces and nephews, so it was an awesome family turnout!
The church christening service was absolutely lovely; we sung hymns, vowed to renounce the devil and looked adoringly at lovely Louis. He really is lovely.

After the service, we all went back to Claire's house and, as it was super sunny, hung out in the garden having tea and cake. Slowly, people started to leave, so those of us who were left went out for a drink, then Mum, Dad, Claire, Matt, Pip and I had a takeaway and not too late a night. Got to love a big Higgo get-together.

Sunday 3 August – The most amaaaaazing wedding

Current location: Oxfordshire
11.11am, In Potts' room, putting our dresses on. Today, Sar (aka Potts) is getting married!!!
EEEeeeeeeeekkkk so excited!!! As well as me, my beautiful friend Catdog (one of my BFFs) is a bridesmaid, and it's awesome to be sharing this experience with her.

This morning, we ordered Potts to call us as soon as she woke up, and so we went down to her room at about 7am. She was grinning, relaxed and looking forward to the day, and it was contagious. Soon we were all smiling, laughing and joking as we got our hair done and had coffee and a yummy porridge brekkie. An emergency pop to the shops for a couple of last-minute bits had me chuckling as I saw the brother of the bride also out on an emergency mission to buy a shirt as all his buttons had come off! I didn't ask...

The sun was out in full force, with no signs of cloud or showers. I'd seen the groom and the best men already, and they looked absolutely handsome and all very chilled and lovely. It was going to be a good day!

Potts looked absolutely stunning as she got her hair and make-up done, and as she got into her dress, it should all been a bit overwhelming but instead was just awesome. Today rocks!
On the journey to Friars Court, where the wedding and reception were, we started to get a bit more serious, and then when Catdog and I were waiting inside with Potts and her dad, it seemed to strike her: she was actually getting married, after all the waiting and all the planning! We were spying on everyone arriving and, I've got to say, our friends don't half scrub up well!

As we walked around the grounds to where everyone, including Will and the three best men, were waiting, we started to glimpse everyone through the trees. Then it was time for the ceremony. No detail had been forgotten, and it was a beautiful family affair, with readings from the parents and Sar's brother. Sar and Will couldn't stop grinning, it was fab!

The next hour or so put the skills of Cat, Andy, Ben and Mark (the three best men) and me to the test, as we organised people for photos, moved everyone to the front of the house for confetti-throwing, moved everyone to the back of the house for afternoon tea, made sure everyone had a drink and was having a good time, got them to pose in silly costumes, got them playing games, plus managed to squeeze in some chats with our friends and the families.

Quite early on, Catdog and I got big-headed and decided we were going to nail the bridesmaid role, but the best men were absolutely the best men. They helped us with everything, kept everyone laughing, kept thinking of sweet little touches, did all the heavy-lifting, cracked the jokes and charmed the pants off everyone. We managed to grab a drink and were having the best time, plus the sun was still shining!

After a couple of hours, we all moved into the barn for speeches, dinner and what would be one of the best nights of dancing and jolly times of my life. The speeches were ridiculous; Richard, Sar's dad, started and had everyone in tears in minutes. It was beautiful and heartfelt and so meaningful... Luckily, Will can also evidently deliver a beautiful speech and, again, had everyone in tears, but with a bit more laughing and a few 'aaahhhh's from people as he spoke so beautifully about Sarah. These two have had to overcome more than most people ever have to, in the past couple of years, and I am so proud of them and for them. They deserve each other, in the best possible way.

I think the best men were pretty nervous that they had to follow his awesome speech but they didn't need to be. They absolutely pulled it out the bag, with a touching, funny, silly speech, which would totally have been awesome on its own... But then they followed it up with a video they'd made with all the Watford football players wishing Sarah and Will well. To say Will is a Watford supporter is a massive understatement, so you can imagine his surprise, shock and all-round flabbergastedness (flabbergastion?! flabbergastination?). Bloody aced it, best men.

Dinner was a delish pork roast with all the home-cooked trimmings, and lots of wine, and by this point, the bridesmaids and best men had 'fulfilled' all our duties, so it was time to let our hair down. Not literally, as there was far too much hairspray in it.

Quite early on in the day, when we realised how much we all loved each other, and how much fun it was being a bridesmaid/best man with other like-minded, ace people, we renamed ourselves 'Dream Team'. Modest, yes. Anyway, the Dream Team continued to stay by each other's sides for a lot of the night, unable to do anything on our own, and drank, danced, posed for photos and basically had the best fun ever. We relented and let Sar and Will into our gang too, but did kick them out at one point when we wanted a photo just of us. Soz, newly married couple!

We also danced our little socks gold high heels off, and had the best time with all our uni friends. They are the most beautiful group of girls, who have now known and loved each other for 10 years. This was the first of our group to get married, and so was the first wedding we'd all been to together. And oh, how we made the most of it. We pretty much refused to get off the dancefloor, throwing shapes and having a ball.

At about 11.30pm, the bridal party went back to the hotel but, reluctant to end the party, decided to stay up and play drinking games. How wise. Sar and Will kindly donated a bottle of bubbly to the cause, so at about midnight, we were all stood around in our fancy dresses, swigging fancy champagne out of the bottle, in the courtyard. Stay classy, Dream Team.

A few hours, or more, after we retired to our room (and with only one noise complaint phone call), we all bid a happy, drunken goodnight, with a promise to meet in the morning for breakfast, and be BFFs from here on in. It seems an easy promise to keep, with such top people.

I could not have been more excited for this wedding, considering I would get to see my closest friends and watch someone I love marrying someone she loves. In theory, it should never have matched up the ridiculous ideal I had imagined but, in reality, it far surpassed it. Totally, completely worth the two-day, thousands-of-dollars, 17,000km journey from Down Under. Love you Sarah and Will, and, bloody hell, you throw a good party! (And yes, Dream Team, love you too.)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Saturday 2 August – Waiting in Witney

Current location: Witney, Oxfordshire
11.11pm, Watching The Inbetweeners with Catdog. Today, after a lovely morning with Claire, Matt and Louis, they drove me to Witney. There I met Sarah Potts and her family, who are all here because Sar's getting married tomorrow!!!
We had a quick drink in the hotel we're all staying in, and I met the best men and a few other people I hadn't met before, and then we headed over to Friars Court, the wedding/reception venue in nearby Clanfield.

Cat (the other bridesmaid, and one of my best friends) arrived too, and so the two of us went through some of the bits that would be happening the next day, with Sar and her dad Richard, and what we would be responsible for. Both of us have been bridesmaids four times before, so we were pretty excited and not really nervous. Plus, the venue was absolutely beautiful, and we were sooooooo looking forward to seeing Sar marry Will, who is one of the most awesome humans (second only to Sar of course), so we couldn't have been happier. I love bridesmaiding with another good friend; it's so special to share such an awesome day with them. I couldn't wait!

In the evening, once everything was sorted and relaxed, we had a big dinner with all the bridal party and families. It was so nice to have a good chat with everyone, and get to know the best men a bit more before tomorrow. What lovely boys! There are three best men (Will's a popular guy!), one of whom is Andy, who came out to visit us in Sydney in January, so it was ace to see him again.
Once we'd eaten, had a drink, and been through the plans for tomorrow, Cat and I went upstairs, tried to sleep, but we were too excited, so we watched The Inbetweeners instead. It really set the tone!

Friday 1 August – Nailsworth chillin'

Current location: Nailsworth, Gloucestershire
11.11pm, Playing Bananagrams. What a ridiculously awesome game. We were all tired out and ready for bed, but it's such a good game, we just couldn't stop having 'one more go'.
We'd had a slow start to the day, and I looked after Louis, while Claire and Matt got a few bits sorted to throw away. After going to the tip to get rid of it all, we went to the Hog's Head, a new-ish pub near where they live, where the food was awesome!
We were all a bit tired and wanted a chilled night, so we got a takeaway, watched Corrie and played Bananagrams. Lovely!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Thursday 31 July – See you soon, Cornwall!

Current location: Penzance
11.11am, Packing up. Tonight, Claire, Matt, Louis and I are going back up their house in Gloucestershire, so today's my last day in Cornwall for who knows how long. I had a chilled morning in the house with Mum and Dad, and then we went to Prussia Cove for a swim. It's a beautiful, remote little cove (with rocks rather than sand), so we went for a chilly swim there, then went back to Penzance to spend the rest of the day at Donnington. Not sure if I've ever mentioned this, but I love Cornwall! This has been such an incredible trip, one that has given me memories to last forever. It wasn't just the getting to spend time with my family and best friends, but us all being together in such a beautiful place, with gorgeous sunshine and so many laughs... It's just been truly magic!