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Amity: "I never thought in a million years we'd do as well as we did"
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Posted 29 March 2013 - 09:14 AM
Posted on behalf of Amity
I said no many times before I said yes. In fact, when we were asked to be part of The Block All Stars my response was something like 'You've got to be kidding, not in a million years.'
And that's where it would've ended, had it not been for my husband's insistence I reconsider, in a complete role reversal of our stances 10 years ago.
Then I was a 24-year-old singer looking for fame, excitement and a chance to get my music heard and when we stumbled upon the opportunity I pleaded for him to take part with me. Back then the idea of achieving notoriety on a reality TV show was thrilling. Now, it was just scary.
Having been through it once before I knew exactly what we were in for, the elation, the publicity, the rush of doing something life changing. But I also knew the downsides of having everyone know your name – and that was in a world before social media!
Socirty has changed a lot in ten years, as have I. I absolutely loved my experience on the original series The Block and look back fondly at that whirlwind time. However, while watching other couples compete in subsequent series all I could ever think was 'Thank god that's not us!'
So when we were asked to participate in All Stars I laughed and said no way. We hadn't renovated in ten years, we've been busy having children and building careers. Besides that, we weren’t that great at renovating the first time round and the standard had increased dramatically since then! I was sure we'd be hopelessly out of our depth.
On top of that, I didn't know if I wanted to put myself out there again. I was happy with my life in Adelaide; being a mum, writing my column, performing my shows and musical. The thought of turning our lives upside down again was more daunting than it was exciting.
But most importantly, I was't going to leave my kids. Neither they or I would've coped being apart for six weeks, so for that reason alone it was a definite no.
But then they told us the kids could come, they'd put them up in a house nearby, we could see them every day. So, I did was us women do - I sought advice from my best friend. She is typically more sensible and level headed than me, so I knew she’d agree it was a bad idea. However, I was rather taken aback when she firmly rebuked my suggestion of not doing it.
"Who gets opportunities like this in their lives?" she stressed. "And you’ve been given it twice! Think of it as six weeks' work to potentially earn a years income. Can you really turn that down?’
Well, of course thinking about it like that, I couldn't.
So I thought about what an adventure it would be for us as a family, what a great memory for the kids, what a challenge for us as a couple and what an amazing chance it was to make some money to put into a house or the kids education.
And then, with my heart in my throat, I took a leap of faith and said yes.
I didn't sleep much after that. I was either madly studying every design blog, website or magazine I could get my hands on, or lying awake worrying we were going to fail on a national level.
If you had told me then we were going to win the whole thing I would have laughed. If you had said we were going to make enough money for a house deposit and our kids education I would have cried.
I never thought in a million years we'd do as well as we did, but I guess you should never underestimate a multi-tasking mother. Every moment I was in that house I was working, ever conscious of the opportunity I’d been given and determined I wasn’t going to waste it.
So by the time we finished the renovation, I was so proud of what we'd achieved and the way we’d exceeded everyone’s expectations (especially our own) that it almost didn’t matter what happened on auction day.
Because the most surprising and lovely thing to come out of the experience was that amongst the dirt, rubble, sweat and tears, it brought my husband and I closer together.
You get so caught up in the day to day business of being parents that it's easy to become disconnected, to yourselves and each other. Particularly when you've been married for over 10 years. Yet, with a shared goal and some time together as a couple (well, aside from all the camera crews and tradies!) we found some of that old spark again. We laughed, we played, and for 6 weeks we were Phil and Amity, instead of Mummy and Daddy. And that was kind of nice.
So, on the night of the auction when we were announced as winners (in between my sobs) I thanked our producer for not listening to me when I said no, for persuading me to take a chance. I thanked my parents and parents-in-law for taking care of our kids and I thanked our kids for being so patient. With that, my 6 year old looked up at me with an expression of absolute pride and told me it was the 'best night of his life.' Then we danced and laughed and cried and it was absolutely joyous.
I learnt so much doing The Block All Stars, not just about renovating, but about myself. Mostly I learnt that I'm capable of so much more than I thought I was. But then I think that’s true of all of us.
Sometimes it just takes a leap of faith to find out.
Posted 29 March 2013 - 11:10 AM
Congratulations Amity (and Phil). You deserved it and enjoy the spending
Posted 29 March 2013 - 01:21 PM
Watching this season was great. I couldn't wait for 7pm to roll around. Congratulations! It is an amazing experience and equally amazing result.
I agree the leap of faith is well worth it. So much so our daughter and first born we named Faith.
Posted 29 March 2013 - 02:24 PM
"never underestimate a multi-tasking mother"
I LOVE this quote!
As a solo mum to toddler twins, I always think that the next employer I have is going to get the most "multi-taskable" mum ever.
Well done Amity & Phil - loved your house, glad you did so well !
Posted 03 April 2013 - 11:02 AM
Well done Amity. I love how you and Phil conducted yourself on the show. You removed yourself from the 'game' that it became and always kept your head high.
I kept everything crossed that you and Phil would win and thankfully you did. Hopefully the other two teams (Mark and Duncan and Dale excluded) choke when they look back at their own behaviour during the series.
Posted 03 April 2013 - 12:32 PM
Great article Amity and a big congratulations on your win guys!
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