Woman's all made up over fiance's 'dream' present
A romantic Northern Ireland man has transformed the spare room into a dedicated make-up station for his fiancee in a Christmas surprise to remember.
James Grindy hatched a secret plan to turn the plain white room in the couple's house into a stunning make-up haven for 21-year-old Hannah Moore.
For four weeks, BT worker James, also 21, took on the major DIY job in every spare moment, painting and wallpapering and creating a huge make-up table complete with 5ft mirror and white beauty lights.
"It was honestly a dream come true," said Hannah, who also works at BT in Belfast. "I thought I'd done well with my gift for him, but James completely won at Christmas."
The couple, who live in Ballynahinch, Co Down, met on Tinder in July 2018, and fell head over heels.
"I moved in with James more or less straight away," said Hannah. "He's just so amazing, and we instantly felt a connection. In May last year we got our place together and we've been so happy here since. His surprise for me was unbelievable. I had no clue."
James told Hannah he was working on something in the room a month before Christmas.
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"It might sound silly, but I was honestly so excited about the present I was getting for him that I tried not to think about what he was doing for me," said Hannah. "He took me to Krakow for my birthday, and he's always so thoughtful. But I didn't think he'd have gone to such amazing lengths for me. I don't know when he got the time to do it all, because I never heard a thing."
In fact, animal-mad Hannah thought he might have bought her a pet for Christmas.
"We have three dogs - Toby, Jeff and Skye - as well as a horse, Annie, and a gekko, Bearded Dragon and a snake," said Hannah.
James and Hannah stayed at her father's house nearby on Christmas Eve.
"On Christmas morning James told me we needed to go back to the house because he'd forgotten his boots, and he asked me to go into the room to get them for him," she said. "When I got in I was absolutely stunned. It was magical."
Not only had James, who is originally from Antrim, given the room a sensational makeover, but he'd kitted it out with top-end goodies. As well as a professional standard hairdryer and straighteners, acrylic and gel nail sets, make-up palettes and brushes, MAC make-up and storage for shoes and cosmetics, he treated Hannah to an Amazon Echo linked to a camera downstairs so she can watch the dogs sleep at night, and a Nuraphone headset. "It was amazing," said Hannah. "We're both really into art - I draw dogs and horses on commission and he does tattoos - and he's been so encouraging in pursuing make-up more. We watch some amazing make-up gurus together online and love it, so it's absolutely perfect."
James also placed an orchid in the make-up studio - the same flower he took along on the couple's first date to the Dundonald Ice Bowl and Ballywalter beach.
"As soon as I saw it I remembered what it meant," she said. "It was so sweet."
Originally the couple, who got engaged in September, set a £200 limit for Christmas gifts.
"We realised then we'd both gone over the limit, so it raised again to £1,000," said Hannah.
"Then just before Christmas we confessed we'd probably both gone over that. It's a lot of money, we know that. But we don't drink and we don't party, and we just want to spend our money on spoiling each other.
"I got James a custom made gaming computer, and I was so excited that I'd done really well with that.
"He loved it, but in the end he definitely won Christmas.
"I'm so lucky to have him, he's amazing."