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And so, here is the story of one of the very happiest of days. I must warn you, my hubby-to-be has brought tears to the eyes of grown women re-telling our story.

For me, it was a regular Friday at work, busy finishing things for the week and looking forward to dinner out in celebration of 10 years together with my boyfriend. I’d always thought we’d get married at some point, but just not really actually thought it would ever happen. Little did I know of the events that would soon unfold….

A car arrives at work to collect someone. My boss says, pack up your things Mary, that car is for you. Of course I didn’t believe him at first but then realisation set in and off I go. Theres a note with the driver.

“Don’t Panic, Brian knows where to take you. See you soon.”

So, dinner out then? my brain is on overdrive working out what is going on… we’re off to London Brian tells me, and no we’re not picking Stu up on the way. hmmm whats going on, I’m in jeans and trainers and am in no state for anything fancy in London.

I get a text: “how you doing?” …..Well being sneaky and wanting to get my own back for the surprise I reply “busy at work, might be late home. see you soon” Very soon after though I gave in (I couldn’t spoil a perfect plan) and sent an update: “I’m in a car with Brian, whats going on?” The reply: “Enjoy the journey, see you soon”

We arrive in good time at The Raddisson Hotel off Oxford Street. More instructions to call the room and go up to 314. I’m in the lift, putting on some lip balm thinking this is crazy.

And then I get to the door and go in. There he is on one knee. Out pops the question. In floods of tears I manage to blurt out a ‘yes’

It was private, special and totally us. However, what will always stick in my mind is that he had a smart suit on, half an ironed shirt and no shoes or socks. Apparently as I had been taken up in the lift and not the stairs I had arrived at 314 slightly sooner than expected.

Stu tells me later over dinner that he left for work as normal to keep up the surprise, even taking his lunch box (which was empty) with him so I didn’t notice. After parking a little way away and walking the dog, waiting for me to leave for work, he returns home, packs a suitcase and is off to London. Amazingly he packs my favourite dress, a selection of shoes and a matching handbag (nice Radley one) and remembers make-up, hair stuff and a selection of clothes for the next day for me!

Our dinner at Gordon Ramseys at Claridges was totally amazing, not only was the food incredible (I never imagined Cauliflower soup would taste so good) the service was fantastic and made the whole evening really memorable and special. After the taste sensations of 8 courses, including Pigeon, Scallops, Veal and John Dory we were invited into the kitchen before retiring to the lounge for coffee. We met the head chef Tim (no sign of Gordon) and saw where it all happens, an amazing experience that will not be forgotten.

my-ringSo here it is:

The ring we chose together. It took a lot of looking to find the perfect one and it is true, I did get that warm fuzzy feeling as I looked down at the sparkly diamond and thought, this is the one.

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fabulous snow…

As with most of the country we’ve enjoyed a fair amount of snow this week.

Made it into work on Monday – we’re lucky here that the MK grid roads clear fairly quickly.  It was only the last turn into the car park where I discovered going straight was the only option – turning the steering wheel had none of the usual directional effect you would normally expect.   This snowman was started by some young boy who looked quite tired out after rolling the body, so when he left we finished it off with a head and leaf bikini, much to the boys surprise on his return! Magic!

Then this morning theres a fresh 5 inches both on my car and all over the garden –  which the dog enjoyed immensely. So as the office is closed today, I’m going to make the most of the opportunity to get the wellies on a enjoy a walk in the fresh air and make the most of my favourite sound – the crunch of soft snow underfoot.

Also best use the time wisely to get going on my revision for my first CIM exam next month….

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It’s freezing cold, the snow is turning icey and my car told me it was a chilly -6 this morning so I’m reminiscing over my top festive highlights to warm myself up. Memories of lazy brunches, stodgey food, a lot of puddings and comedy games have really cheered me up! Here’s my run down of Christmas activities:

  • Going to play Quasar at the work Christmas party – apprehension that it was going to be a let down was truly way off – it was brilliant fun! Even the quiet ones in the office showed their competitive edge!
  • Our friends cocktail party – some very creative concoctions were knocked up and playing ‘Lips‘ was great fun – the drunk boys rendition of Tina Turner will definitely be remembered for a long while (and viewed on facebook a lot!)
  • Seeing Stonehenge whilst driving to Wiltshire for boxing day with the Hardwicks
  • Wrapping up like ‘Michelin Man‘ to take the dog on long walks around the various lakes and woods of Milton Keynes
  • Watching loads of DVD’s and films – including my all time classic favourite – Swiss Family Robinson

But my top top highlight (and what I will never forget 2008 for) the best Christmas present ever (yes, even better when I got my first bike aged 9…) a new Yamaha Arius 140 electric piano! The boy really did good! I’ve already spent many hours trying to listen for the digital sound but it really is a clever piece of kit!arius140

The touch sensitive keys and ‘hammer action’ are uncannily realist and so I’ve spent the best part of my week off happy thuding away with headphones on…

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Last Sunday we celebrated my Dad turning sixty with a big ‘eating party’ at the Hardwick House.  My Dad is particularly good at providing a lot of selection when it comes to a big family meal or party, I’m already looking forward to and wondering what delights will be featuring on the ‘Menu for Christmas’ which should be up on the fridge in the next week or two…

Anyway, back to the party! The open house policy (1-7pm) was a good plan, until (probably down to the great food and excellent service from the Hardwick children) most people decided to stay all day, and into the night!

The atmosphere was good fun and all of my parents friends, some relatives and us enjoyed a fabulous feast of chilli, goulash, curry, shepards pie and far too many deserts to mention.

As you can imagine, it was fairly chaotic at times but that sums us up quite nicely really – here’s some pics before the party started: (in case you’re wondering it was my crazy brothers idea to blow trout faces!) and yes, we are all scarily like clones of each other!

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3…2…1…Melon goes live!

spongebobThe last few weeks at work have been pretty hectic as we’ve revamped the website with a fresh new look and feel and filled it with lots more information on our services and clients.   Whilst the studio team have been working their magic on the cool design elements and quirky monsters, I’ve been helping put together the copy and learning how to link pages and make the website more SEO savvy with the tech geeks!  All in all a massive effort from the Melons and I think a great result, but then I would be a bit biased!

So if you get a chance, check out the Melon website and have a browse through what we’ve been up to.

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I was lucky enough to be number 18 in the queue at the SweatShop in Milton Keynes last Saturday, bagging myself a pair of the Nike Air Pegasus running shoes, at the 1983 price of £27.99!  The first 25 customers getting the trainers for this price as part of the 25th Anniversary celebration, a bargain I certainly couldn’t miss out on! wmns-air-pegasus-25_m

I do try and go running every now and then, I even got a Nike+ sensor so I could track and monitor my progress, but I honestly had no idea how much difference a good pair of running trainers would make.  I was springy, light and for a few moments it felt so easy just to run, I could even feel the wind through my toes! But I’m not a natural long distance runner, I’m not the right shape to have stamina and after 20mins I’d run out of gas, but the trainers were perfect and now I’m actually looking forward to a run at the weekend!

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For his birthday this year (even though its not for another week… it got opened early) I got my other half this Jivebox which so far has been a excellent addition to the music entertainment in our kitchen. Sound is really good for such a little speaker (even over the washing machine) and putting the ipod on shuffle this morning, the fab tune (and one of my favourites) Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough on the Michael Jackson mix was a brilliant start and had me bopping around whilst making the sarnies. I think this is one of those gadgets that will definitely get used a lot!

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