This post is inspired by our lovely friend Laura who did a post about things that made her happy at the moment. This is a list of things that make us happy, but its more things that are constants in our lives as of the past few years, and things that always make rubbish times seem great again :)
This one obviously has to go first! We have been together nine years in September, since we were 19 (S) and 18 (L) and been through crazy teenage emotions, university, jobs, moving cities, buying a house...we don't know anyone our age that has been together as long as we have, and I'm proud of us for that.
In L I have my very best friend, the girl that has been my 'ideal' since I was little, and my absolute soul mate. Nine years seems like a very short amount of time, because it seems strange to think there was a time when she wasn't in my life. I have infinite amounts of respect for her - she works harder than anyone else I know, in a job that she academically, practically, and emotionally excels at, and at the same time whilst being one of the most sweet, thoughtful people I know. She is not just an incredible fiancee, but is always planning something or helping out her family or friends and that makes me really proud to know that I will one day start a family with her - this woman will be supermum as well as superwife.
She is beautiful, funny, intelligent, unique, and in short the most amazing person I have ever met. I feel like together we can cope with anything, and have the best time ever whilst doing so - good job I'm marrying her in a few weeks!
We bought our house three years ago this month and it's definitely something that makes me very happy. We loved our rented flat but theres something about owning your own home that makes it feel much more 'yours' - we take more pride in it, and since we moved in, shopping for our house overtook shopping for clothes! I have always been interested in home decorating, and used to have scrapbooks of how I'd decorate my future house as a teenager.
We worked hard for our house, and having a three bedroom house all ready for when we have a family is lovely. We have lots of space, and although some of the decor (fuchsia pink bathroom anyone?) isn't to everyones taste, it's 'us' and we love it. The neighbourhood was new to us but we were really happy we found somewhere that felt like ours - it's quiet, and cars aren't allowed down our street - we instead have a long tree lined pathway with fields behind it. The thing I love about that is we really notice the seasons - bright pink cherry blossom trees in spring, the blue skies contrasting with all the greenery and watching awesome sunsets after a BBQ in summer, the blackberry bushes and stunning bright flame coloured leaves in autumn, and the glistening snow in winter.
Its impossible not to be happy when you have a dog! We have both always been dog people. I had a Jack Russell named Toby aged 11, and L had a King Charles Spaniel named Jasper when she was 11. After Toby my family had a beautiful rescue dog, a lab cross Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Poppy who is one of the sweetest dogs ever, she lives with my parents and has a partner in crime recently with Pit bull cross Buster, who is also one of the sweetest, soppiest dogs you will ever meet! Me and L debated for a long while over whether to get a dog, both remembering the absolute heartbreak of losing one. However, the years they fill your life with love, fun, and companionship outweighs that, and two years ago, we added Willow to our home! She is cheeky, fun loving, and loves cuddles more than anything! Her favourite things in the world are a small log in L's mums garden, and frozen peas - she spins in circles if you open the middle freezer drawer where the peas are kept - well, she wouldn't be part of our family if she didn't have a few quirks!
She is a tiny, tiny girl (people think she is 2 months old, not two years!) and so adorable. We trained her a lot, so she is very well behaved, and as provided us with great practise for when we have human babies!
We love Birmingham - our home town is definitely something that make us happy! It holds many childhood, teenage and adult memories for both of us, and we love that it has everything a big city has to offer, without the constant business of London - it also is the countries 2nd capital city, has more canals than Venice, invented heavy metal music, an amazing food scene, and is home to the UK's oldest working cinema.
Birmingham also has pretty outdoor spaces including the Botanical Gardens, more parks than any other city in Europe, Edgbaston Reservoir, and parts of Hall Green even inspired Lord Of The Rings. It is also a few minutes away from all our friends and family.
I won't lie, planning a wedding, in our case, has put great big spotlights on who we can rely on and who we can't! But we overall have amazing families who are so supportive of us, and have taught us lots about life and relationships, whether they meant to or not! Our families are quite similar in a lot of ways - we both get on better with our mums side of the family, both have younger brothers, and both have mums who are twins, and we have fitted really well into each others families.
We are definitely quality over quantity people when it comes to friends. We don't have large amounts of free time, and people that we give time to that could be spent just the two of us have to be pretty special! Saying that, I think its really important in a relationship to have friends that you share, but also friends that you see individually too. People who have their own mind, style, personality etc are my kind of people, and I like the fact that L and I can occasionally both go out separately, even if we are always excited to get home to each other. L's best friend is a colleague who she started her job with on the same day, and now lives a couple of streets away from us. She's always been a good friend to L, and I'm sure this will continue for many years. My best friends are a mutual friend of a colleague I've known for about three years (he is more like my brother than my actual brother, and we often end up wearing very similar outfits without meaning to!) and an ex colleague who I can chat for hours with and is someone I have a lot of respect for. All our friends are very much people who we know will always be there for us, and that's a lovely feeling.
Wow, does food make us happy! We love cooking from scratch (people are always baffled that we don't own a microwave!), going to lots of different restaurants, having a takeaway, trying new things, baking cakes and going to local food events. We've both been vegetarian since we were young children so love creative food with lots of flavours, especially Indian, Mexican and Italian - food usually features in most of our plans in some way!
We love going on escapes! It's not something we've really been able to do a lot since saving for the house and wedding but over the years we've gone to Edinburgh for Hogmanay, Paris for my 21st, Amsterdam and Barcelona for holidays, many trips to Malta where L's parents have an apartment, lots of trips to London especially now we have friends Laura and Sarah there, and trips to Wales and Brighton. Even if (especially if?) theres no real reason, we love packing up the car and escaping from work and other stresses together, and exploring a new place. We are going on honeymoon to Mexico, Reykjavik in November, a trip to a few places in America next year, and can't wait to explore more places on our list together.