A Very Special Birthday

Birthdays are always a bit special for us since we share the same day. Every year since Victoria and I have been together we have done something special on our birthday to celebrate. It seems like the level of birthday extravagance increases year on year, last year we went spent a weekend in Singapore, in 2015 we flew in a Helicopter over London and in 2013 we went to the top of the newly-opened Shard.

This year was a little different; it was the most extravagant thing and the best birthday present we could have ever imagined: We got married! ...and it was absolutely perfect.

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We held our reception and ceremony at the beautiful Commissioner's House in Chatham's Historic Dockyard. The venue was fantastic, we were on the banks of the River Medway and a stone's throw from home and where we first met over ten years earlier. The weather gods were with us for the day and we spent time in the gardens around the house taking photographs with all of our wonderful guests.

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Everyone thought I was crazy, but there was only one way I was getting to our wedding and that was on a boat. The Medway is a constant in my life, though growing up, sailing, spending time with grandparents and of course meeting Victoria. We arranged for Bellis of Medway Yacht Club take us on the 10 minute journey to Thunderbolt Peir just outside Commissioner's House. Thankfully the river wasn't too choppy and we all arrived safetly, although I did wear my wellies just encase!

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We held our ceremony on the first floor of Commissioner's house in a gorgeous room with floor to ceiling glass doors. All of our guests were here on time, a group of people that I've never seen together before which was really quite overwhelming! Seeing Victoria in her dress for the first time was more overwhelming, she was absolutely stunning. While we were messing around on the boat she and her bridesmaids had been busy getting ready in the room next door. Victoria's dress was absolutely goregous, looking her in the eye on that Friday is a moment that I'll never forget.

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We had the opportunity to take some fantastic photographs around the dockyard. We were able to visit No.3 slip, built in 1838 whcih is an absolutely incredible space, we were very lucky to have it all to ourselves. We also visited the Tarred Yarn Store, adjacent to the Ropery, it's a bit of a secret and famously used in a Kanye West music video. Best of all, we were able to visit the biggest collection of RNLI lifeboats which happens (totally coincidentally) to be located at the dockyard - more on that in another post.

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A special day doesn't quite give it justice, absolutely the best day of our lives. We couldn't have asked for anything more, we had each other, our friends, our family, a perfect part of the world, fresh Cornish beer and an amazing time.

Ascot Property Raceday

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Never took myself as somebody who would enjoy horse racing, not particularly sure why, just had never been something I was appealed to. Every year, Cushman & Wakefield sponsor the Ascot Property Race Day, an event targeted at bringing together real estate professionals and providing some down time for employees. I have skipped on the offer of attending every time and instead carried on working through whatever was on my plate at the time – this year some of my colleagues and I thought it might be worth a day out.

The journey to Ascot via train was a new route for me, as is much of the South West Trains network, of course, this was a decision factor! The train provided a great atmosphere with everyone on board in good spirits, impeccably dressed, picnics in tow and looking forward to a fun day out.

The Ascot racecourse has a huge stand which seems to be of recent constriction, it provides absolutely spectacular views over the well-groomed course and the surrounding areas. I incredibly impressed by the customer service at the event, with everyone being polite, friendly and attentive. From the stand, we could all of the races projected on large screens with audio commentary during the event. Also visible were flights taking off from Heathrow, some nine miles away. Interestingly, the building also served as the set for Shanghai Pudong International in James Bond’s Skyfall, putting the long and prominent escalators into the film.

There were about seven races across the day, which before starting seemed to be very few, especially when they were only going to last a few minutes. When things got going it was clear that the cadence of races was spot on, with the interval providing just enough time to visit the bar, place a bet and watch the horses get to the gates. Before each race there was a parade with the horses led around an oval for attendees to see, with the same area used afterwards for the prize giving ceremony. One race was sponsored by Cushman & Wakefield and we saw Colin Wilson, UK CEO present awards to the winning horses’ owners.

The only slight disappointment of the day was that not a single one of my bets came through, but it was certainly an enjoyable thrill with some being very close. On the journey home the train was rather delayed, having to switch to a completely different route in order to get back to Waterloo; but spirits were high and a full carriage sing-a-long provided some entertainment! Yes, most people had had a reasonable amount to drink!

A Fantastic day out, which was absolutely made by the colleagues that came along, some who are certainly considered good friends. Looking forward to next year!