Engaged – The Story

[Spoiler] He proposed! I said yes! We’re engaged!

The rest of this blog post is for the close friends, family and  romantics who love the details.

For a month or two now, Collin’s been planning quite a romantic scheme of a proposal. Flowers, and friends and champagne, going down on one knee and the perfectly planned speech.  The entire proposal was magical, except it wasn’t any thing like that at all.

Collin got home last night from the gym (yes gym, I did not misspell dota, or wow, or game – gym), tired, sore and sweaty, to find me sitting on my bed with my hoodie over my head and my face red and my hair matted in tears – pretty!  What lead up to this point was a horrible weekend of stress, anxiety, arguing and a total of about 4 hours sleep the entire weekend – one of those times in life when it feels like every direction you look there’s a problem and every problem feels unsolvable.  I promise this is the same story that ends in a magical proposal.

As Collin walked in and found me in this mess of a state, I was about to unleash my self pitying rant on him when he took one look at me and said, “just one second, I promise I’ll be right back, I just Have to go pee first.”  I hadn’t noticed at all that he was only gone for a total of about 10 seconds before he was back in my room and sat down in front of me.  So there we sat cross legged on the bed, sweaty and sore, sobbing and a mess, and both utterly exhausted. I poured out my entire soul to him in wines and sobs and he just sat listening and looking at me.  When I finally paused to take in whatever soothing, sympathetic response I expected him to give me, he reached into his pocket and pulled out the box.

ringbox

Instantly my sobs of panic and anxiety changed to sobs of complete surprise and elation – note I was still sobbing, possibly even worse.  I only wish I could remember the exact words and everything he said, wow proposal would’ve had logs ><. But I do remember him starting to say how this was the right moment because this was us, not that we’re two sad self pitying humans who never sleep and cry and gym all the time, but that we’re messy, and emotional, and care sooooo much for each other – that’s us. Well he started to say this, when the stove started beeeeeping, to be followed by my phone which suddenly decided to make every noise it knew all in a row. By this point my sobbing has turned to giggling and Collin is soldiering on in his speech.  Of what I can remember, he went on to talk about how imperfect our lives have been for the past 5 years, and how much we love each other through everything and how sorry he is, but he will not be going down on one knee because gymming sucked. Haha I’m smiling so much just recalling all this. Putting in a disclaimer that this was the part of the speech he’d been practicing, he went on to remind me about how he asked me out by saying “I have a business proposal for you” and continued, “Our business has been mutually beneficial and I want to extend the arrangement.”

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It got to the moment, and Collin started with, “Bronwyn Marion Flanigan”, and then shared the words, “Will you marry me?” with a duck crash landing on the roof with a bang. I handed him my hand to put the ring on, and my ring finger (of all fingers) had sauce on it from the food I’d been cooking.  After cleaning off the bbq, he slipped on the ring – too big. But sparkly!! SO sparkly. I sparkle now.  One of my favorite things about the entire proposal is that I’ve known for a while now that he’s had the ring, and I’ve been anticipating the moment and assumed I’d know exactly what was happening when it finally did happen.  Could NOT have been more wrong, could not have expected it less at that very messy moment when he pulled the box out of his pocket.

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Magical. Utterly and splendidly imperfect.  I said yes.

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We enjoyed the rest of the evening together at the Durbanville Cattle Baron – where we went on our first anniversary we weren’t apart (long distance sucked). Happy now 🙂

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Jesus & Bron’s Joint Birthday Party

My Christmas Themed 25th Party

Bron Bday Invite

Presents for everyone!!

 My birthday is on the 8th of December, and for the entire of my comprehensible life I’ve had a rule in my family to keep Christmas decor in the cupboard until the 9th of December, Jesus can wait his turn, He has after all had a good 2000 more birthdays than me.

Last year, however, I gave in and decided to deck the halls early and combine the festivities.

Should’ve done that years ago, what a jolly, festive, merry event!  Decor was a breeze and a blast.  Cheapest event decor ever, considering it was all already in our cupboards.  So besides the tree, string lights, baubles, stars and tinsel, I spent the extra money and effort on:

  • Cookies & chocolate milk of course374396_10151530123718066_688523060_n
  • Gingerbread house birthday cake – that lights up (well that had cheap battery operated LED christmas lights crammed inside, but still how cool right!!) Best birthday cake EVER! I’m so good at this ><Screen shot 2013-08-16 at 9.31.43 AMScreen shot 2013-08-16 at 9.31.15 AMScreen shot 2013-08-16 at 9.32.01 AM
  • Brown paper christmas stockings filled with m&m’sScreen shot 2013-08-16 at 9.38.39 AM
  • A christmas roast buffet – which looked and tasted a lot fancier than the effort that went into it.  If you’re catering a christmas dinner for 20+ people from one little oven, and it’s also your birthday (so why should you do all the work), use creative initiative and buy 3 pre roasted chickens, a tray full of roasted lamb and a tray full of roasted beef from a Spar deli.  But do bake a tray full of potatoes and a tray full of carrots and onions and have a pot of rice on the stove, both to save some money and to (appear to) totally be slaving away in the kitchen when you dish out the feast.Screen shot 2013-08-16 at 9.38.12 AM
  • Ice cream & star shaped watermelon for dessert. ❤ cookie cutters.  Also because it’s so cute and christmassy, you can get away with styrofoam cups – after party dishes? pfft what dishes.60804_10151530158628066_1808241245_n
  • Hand made christmas crackers filled with mini chocolates, christmas jokes (picked by me) and the random number for the:
  • Present game – where each person brings a present worth R20; piles them all up under the tree; and starting with person #1, s/he picks any present and opens it; then person #2 gets to either steal person #1’s gift (in which case #1 repicks from the pile) or pick a new one to open; so person #3 gets to choose between #1, #2 and the piles gifts and so on.  And so everyone got a present at my party – I didn’t mind, spirit of Christmas and all68613_10151530143983066_1694205676_n
  • And of course a christmas soundtrack – no thanks to Justin Bieber

This was one of my favorite parties so far.  I was tempted to ignore the birthday completely and it’s insinuations of a gradual decline to 30 (not that 30’s old, but just so grown up sounding ><), but I’m terribly glad I didn’t.  It’s the most fun I’ve ever had planning an event, and it was the easiest party to enjoy, for everyone.  Who’s gonna complain when there’s presents for everyone and a cake with more sweets than cake.  And if there wasn’t enough entertainment already, Collin had to oblige.

DuhNNEY LaaaaaaaaHND

Disney Land Paris

In December 2012 Collin (the boyfriend) and I spoilt ourselves with a European almost Christmas.  From the 8th till the 24th we ate snow in Sweden, frolicked at Disney land in Paris, and warmed ourselves with gluhwein in a German medieval Christmas market.  I hope we were the envy of many because it was blooming expensive and massively awesome.

As much as I look so forward to repetitively informing you on every detail of our over seas experience, I’ll leave that to dinners with our parents, and focus here on Disney Land Paris – where you have to go!!

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Collin, who is 5 in his head

My official title is Her Royal Derpiness Bron The-list-maker Stawbe, and it’s all rather suspiciously accurate.  In preparation for this trip, Google drive was my best friend, nothing went unlisted, and no list went unchecked.  As magical as a spontaneous back packer’s wandering through europe sounds, consider that whatever you haven’t planned before you board you will have to worry about once you’re there (in your precious and pricey holiday time).  Before you even pack your bags, plan plan plan:

  • Browse disneylandparis.com extensively and clue yourself up on any deals, combos, or promotions they have running.  There’s always something so dig deep.
  • Book your tickets online months in advance.  You’re likely to get a better price, and enjoy the anticipation more.  Then remember to
  • Print your tickets and keep them safe with your flight tickets
  • Book for 3 or 4 days.  When we first booked our tickets, I though we were spoiling ourselves with 2 days tickets, but once there we realized if we really wanted to experience Disney Land we’d have to be there at least 3 days.
  • Consider staying in the Disney hotels.  They’re most likely outside of your accommodation budget, but heads up, if you’re staying in the park’s hotels you get to enter the park before its officially open and we managed several rides before the gates were even open.  We also loved the hotel itself, which was setup in a cowboy theme as an entire western town. So maybe consider shifting some of your entertainment budget into this accommodation.  Also look out for the 3 nights for the price of 2 specials.
  • Download the Disney Land Paris App. This was incredibly helpful and we became entirely dependent on it.  Assign one of yourselves as the navi and keep the app at hand.  We could use it to track each other around the parks (hello parents!?) and keep an eye on queue lengths and show times. But remember before you head to Disney to
  • Arrange a French sim card. This you can do in France, but do yourself a favor and google this before hand, we had a hard time finding a service provider that would work in our phones, and didn’t need us to be living there. We did in the end though, so roaming is not essential.
  • Use this map to book accommodation in Paris.  It was very difficult to figure out where to book our stay, and we initially booked a hotel based on it’s location on Paris’ street map.  Beeeg mistake.  As tourists you’ll inevitably be using what’s called the RER (trains), and you pay for how many zones you have to travel through to get somewhere.  Thus beware, your hotel could look on google maps like it’s right near the places you want to be, but you might have to fork out extra cash getting to train intersections that cross in different zones.  All very helpful to know before hand. Don’t be daunted, just do your homework.
  • Perhaps pack an extra phone battery or booster.  The parks are open from early till late and your smart phones will suffer.  Don’t risk missing those evening pics because you’ve had your gps, camera, 3g, Disney app etc running all day.  Collin and I allocated different tasks between our phones and downloaded battery saving apps.

…and then you can enjoy.

Once we were all set, complete with Bron-lists, maps, apps and cameras, we had an absolutely ridiculously incredible time.  Everything was worth it, and every moment was as magical as Disney promised us throughout our childhood.

2We avoided queues by going on week days during Paris’ school term, and with little hassle ran straight through to Space Mountain, the Haunted Mansion, Le Petit Choo Choo (Collin insisted), and of course as many Disney princesses as we could find (because one day I will show this to my children and tell them I know Belle personally, we’re tight).

 

 

We took a few days to do every ride, and take every photo, and dedicated one day just to catching every show and parade and quantifying Collin’s duck noise (it’s a thing, he’s one of them, don’t judge, we all have our people we belong to, Collin’s just aren’t people).

You’re allowed to take food and drink into Disney Land, so we made a ritual of stopping at a store at our station in the morning and grabbing a pack of six croissants, cheese slices and a few bottles of cool drink, but we did brave the costs of a hot chocolate and a Nutella Crêpe (do it!) every morning.

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Cinderella’s Castle – where I tried to hide away and live forever.  Dragons got involved, it was all very unfair.

No matter how worn out, cold, wet, or hungry we were, every night at Disney land was worth sticking around till the last minutes for possibly the most romantic, magical, disney moment of our lives.  I have never seen that many lights, fire, lasers, fountains, fireworks and memorable disney scenes all in one moment… it was terribly dreamy, soppy and cheesy and Collin and I totally revelled in it.

Knights & Princesses

My 21st Birthday

This was my opportunity to immerse myself and everyone I loved into the fantasy world of knights, princesses, bravery, dresses, candle lit feasts and dancing.  It was also my first real opportunity to engage in my eager and creatively frustrated skills in events coordination.  Huzzah – success!

My enticing, thematic, personalized invites...it was not to be resisted

I enticed my guests to join in the festivities with thematic, personalized invitations which I printed as Jumbo photographs and to this day I happen upon them on the occasional relative or friend’s fridge. This is occurring less and less, but I’ll consider letting it slide, on account of it being 5 years ago and such.

In all honesty though, I can highly recommend taking the extra hour or two to personalize your invites. Nothing like seeing your name printed in high gloss to urge on the obligations.

What I loved most about my party, besides the fact that I was the utmost center of attention, and besides my dearest Duncan friend singing me my favorite song, and also besides my own personal Templar Knight of a Collin saying wonderful and true things about me in front of everyone else that I love and some that I also envied (righteous moments like these keep us going), what I loved most was how much everyone contributed to make it happen.

895_53711895629_8220_nFrom decor:

  • Candle sticks pre-melted over bottles
  • fairy lights
  • hessian table cloths
  • tables and chairs arranged in a horse shoe format
  • a conveniently medieval feeling venue with stone walls, a stair case, and chandeliers
  • mass amounts of tea light candles
  • a burning fire place – or in our death by summer in South African December case, a fire place decorated with tea lights on the logs of wood – a very pretty solution by a darling Kirsty friend
  • walls hung with (well designed) banners, medieval weaponry, and of course, a family crest – which should be made with love by your benevolent father (thank you Daddy ^^,)

To dessert:

  • manageable ice cream scoops with (I really can’t remember but would’ve been as good as) sticky chocolate pudding
  • precursor-ed by trays of medieval styled appetizers (which I quickly learnt can never be enough and was rescued by my heroic Mom and her friends who managed to flesh out the food in the moment of crisis)
  • in turn precursor-ed by a welcoming tot of sherry
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my troop of victims

Favors were flying in from any friend or family who could spare them, and some who couldn’t. A friend of a friend made me a dress, a troop of hard working victims helped set up and clean up, and everyone made a genuine effort to suit up to theme.  A community made event guarantees success – if success for you is enjoying yourself utterly and thoroughly.  You cannot not enjoy an evening you were involved in the making of.

And one cannot forget or excuse that one smart arsed Jenna friend who rocks up as the dead princess. ^_-

myself & Jenna as Princess Di

myself & Jenna as Princess Di