Exactly 19 years ago today I spent my Saturday in a fairly typical way for a recently-dumped, overdrawn 25 year old woman. I went for some retail therapy and bought myself a new outfit, which was cheap, but which I couldn't afford all the same.
I felt a bit shitty about it when I got home, as the high quickly wore off, and I decided to save money and stay in that night.
Then my friend rang me and begged me to go out with her - she was after the bartender who worked in a bar in Nice (France) where I lived at the time.
I told her I couldn't. I was saving money. It was cold. (Even on the French Riviera it feels cold on a December evening!).
But she found the perfect argument to win me round "you can wear your new outfit, otherwise what was the point of buying it?!".
Torn between a night in by myself, watching crappy French TV and cooking for one, or a night out in a bar, with my friend, in my new clothes, I think you can guess which won!
We got to the bar relatively early and were gutted to see that there were already no seats left. Her bartender "friend" offered to try and find us somewhere to sit.
He approached two guys, sitting opposite each other at bench seats, and then informed us we could sit next to them until their friends arrived.
Grateful we could sit down, we gave them a passing smile and a quick "bonsoir!" then proceeded to dissect, in English, my friend's chances of pulling the bartender, over several drinks.
After a while my friend got up to go to the toilet and I was left by myself at the table with these two French men. This was 2001, back in the day when phones were boring and weren't pulled out every 5 seconds to entertain us. Having had a few drinks I decided to lean in and start talking to these two guys.
"I'm sorry we're speaking in English, and you might think that's rude but we're both English and it would be weird to speak to each other in French." I said to them in French, butting in to their conversation.
"That's ok," one of them replied, "we both speak English so we weren't offended".
Oh shit! I thought, had we said anything about them?!? I didn't think so, our conversation was too full of the bartender.
Several hours later, my friend had got bored of me chatting to these guys, and had gone off to stalk the barman.
As for me, I was having a blast.
I didn't want a relationship, so I was being 100% myself, which meant talking, amongst other things, about farts and how everyone does it, and I was sure even the Queen of England farts too.
I don't think they'd ever met anyone quite like me! We laughed a lot and it felt so good after my recent heart break.
(By the way their friends arrived, and never got the chance to sit down and join the two men as we were too deep in our hilarious conversation).
By the end of the evening I had discovered that they were twins, and just 6 weeks younger than me. I wasn't attracted to either of them, but I did think how nice it would be to have some new male friends.
The one sitting next to me asked me for my mobile number as he left and I gave it to him hoping to start a new friendship.
That's not quite what happened.
By the Thursday evening we had texted, emailed and seen each other twice, and just before midnight we had our first kiss.
The Monday morning of the week afterwards (9 days after we met) I told my friend (who was with me at the bar) that I had met my future husband.
"F*ck off! This is just a rebound!!"
But I knew.
3 months after we met he moved in with me.
6 months and 21 days after we met we got engaged (both aged 26).
1 year, 8 months and 2 days after we met we got married.
19 years after we met (today) we are still happily married (although there have been plenty of ups and downs over the years), are still madly in love, I still think he's the sexiest man alive and, judging by how often he says the same to me the feeling is mutual.
We have 2 daughters, 2 dogs, 2 cats and live our dream life in Mauritius, having run one business together, we have been entrepreneurs and employees, moved house 10 times together and lived in 3 different countries.
The moral of this story? Your life can change TOTALLY overnight, by one small decision. Be open, be yourself, look for the good in everyone and everything, and expect good to happen to you.
Here is a photo of us, taken 2 months after we met: