I had the pleasure of meeting Annie quite a few years ago through Weddings Whitsundays.Com, where we at times work on the same weddings. My children have also had Annie as one of their teachers in the past. Annie is one of those vivacious women who really does light up the room when she walks in. So how does Annie remain so charismatic and exude such positivity.
As a mother and also step mother, when the kids were young, how did you juggle having 1 child at times and 3 at others??
It was fortunate that two of the step children were already independent. While Robert’s former wife is a darling, the challenge for me, was in trying to find the emotional balance between creating an exciting, romantic new life as a couple and not just becoming an accessory to the habits and practises of the first family. It was a big learning curve, requiring compromises all round.
When Benjamin was born, all I wanted was to share him with my mother. Sadly we had lost her to breast cancer only months before he was born. I know she would have loved him so much, both of them missing out on that special relationship. When my sister and I share the achievements of our young men, one of us will always say,
Wouldn’t mum have loved that?
How many years have you been married?
Robert and I married at the Indooroopilly Golf Club 27 years ago. It was a beautiful, relaxed cocktail party with a string quartet and lots of champagne. We left relatively early as we were flying to Bali early the next day. Upon our return we were presented with a massive bill because we’d forgotten to set the bar tab. It was all worth it because so many friends had driven up from Airlie Beach and you know how thirsty you can get on that long drive.
What do you think is the key to a healthy relationship?
Also, I get exclusive use of the walk-in wardrobe and Robert uses the wardrobe in the guest room!
We try for balance in all things. Robert is a beautiful human being who goes about his life in a dignified, calm way. I’m more demanding and like to express my passions. We are both comfortable in the more traditional roles of husband and wife and this aligns with our strengths; I love to cook and organise the family and the running of our home, while Robert lifts all the heavy things, loves the ride-on mower and is fabulous at fixing everything around the house.
One of our favourite things to do is share Date Breakfast every Sunday. We have a couple of favourite venues and love to sit and read the paper, contemplate the published Horoscopes for the whole family, seek out the deal of the week in the travel section, dream big and review the week that was and anticipate the coming week.
What is your number one guilty pleasure or indulgence?
A pedicure. Yes, I am quite capable of doing it myself, but the total pleasure of immersing your feet in warm water, the mechanical back rub, the tending to the toes and the foot massage. It’s heaven and so good for the soul. Yes, pun intended.
Is there something about you that not many would know?
I keep a Gratitude Journal and aim to write at least five times a week. It makes me reflect, give thanks and focus on the positive.
Also, please don’t tell Robert or Benjamin; sometimes I love my Dyson Stick Vacuum the best.
What is your favourite book or movie?
I love movies. All genres, except Science Fiction: in particular epic sagas that align with historical events. Movies that you can watch more than once, and notice something new each time: Out of Africa, Casablanca, The Joy Luck Club, The Last Samuri, to name a few. I cry whether the ending is happy or sad!
What do you love doing?
My favourite time is spending Christmas and Easter at Montes Reef Resort. We can be there in 45 minutes, unpacked and sitting outside gazing at Cape Gloucester within the hour. This is the only time I read for leisure. Thinking about the pile of books for this year: probably a Jodie Picoult, definitely Michelle Obama’s new book.
I find I don’t have the time to devote to reading. Instead I listen to podcasts and just love The Conversation Hour on ABC, with Richard Fidler. Our local library has a huge selection of audio books which are perfect company in the car. I’m currently listening to The Tattooist of Auschwitz and sometimes it’s really hard to turn off the ignition and get out of the car.
How did you get into Wedding Celebrancy?
It was a goose bump moment when we attended our first civil ceremony for friends, here in Airlie Beach. It was held at their home. It was very personal, a lot of fun and very emotional. I just knew this is what I wanted to do.
At that time there was a cap on the number of celebrants there could be in any area. I had to wait until 2007, when quotas were abolished and a course was introduced.
What is your most favourite part of the job?
Firstly, hearing the couple’s love story. Every bride and groom has a unique story to tell and I always try to include this as part of their ceremony. It can be very romantic for a couple to relive their journey and shared experiences and express their reasons for wanting to be married.
Secondly, as a marriage celebrant I love saying those magic words:
You may now kiss the bride (or groom or partner).
You are also a teacher?
Yes I work two days a week at St Catherine’s Catholic College, in the High School as a member of the Inclusive Education team. My role is to support students with particular social or educational needs within the classroom. I particularly enjoy working in the literacy area.
Who do you admire?
I am particularly fond of Prince Harry and respect not only his dedication to veterans and the Invictus Games but his courage and honesty in sharing his mental health issues.
I also admire and love unconditionally, our son Benjamin. He is a beautiful man, in every sense of the word. He is resilient, kind and has a solid work ethic. After he completed his Bachelor of Environmental Science, he travelled extensively and decided he wanted to return to university to complete another two degrees: Business and Psychology. He has held two jobs while achieving Distinctions and High Distinctions in both subjects and has just been awarded a scholarship to attend Linz University in Austria for 6 months in 2019.
I guess I’d better start saving for that European trip.
What would be your advice to Mums, who are struggling with their children’s learning?
Be a tiger.
Don’t be a sheep or a lamb.
You are the only one who can advocate for your child. Sometimes you will need to listen because there are always two sides to a story, and sometimes you need to be your child’s voice. Communicate directly with the school and ask for help. Our local schools are staffed with excellent teachers. Your child’s school will find the right person to help you.
Try to do everything you can to help your child learn to read, spell and know their times tables off by heart before they start High School.
What is favourite quote?
One that was a favourite of my mother’s and that I would find myself quoting to my son:
It’s funny how the harder I work, the luckier I get.
Another favourite is that fabulous quote from Slumdog Millionaire:
Everything will be alright in the end.
And if it’s not alright, then it’s not the end.