webEleanor&Valentin

Perhaps the key to Eleanor and Valentin Ozich’s individual successes is a marriage and partnership that encourages ambition, creativity and thriving. Valentin is founder of menswear brand I Love Ugly, Eleanor is founder of Petite Kitchen blog and business and author of two cookbooks. Having just celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary and with two children now in the mix (and a third on the way), neither show any sign of changing…

Eleanor: Valentin and I first met at a campsite in Hahei beach, almost nine years ago. We connected over our love for indie music and I was entranced by his incredible blue eyes and intriguing sense of humour.

For my 19th birthday, Valentin took me for a drive to Bethells Beach. We had a picnic of cheese, crackers, olives and champagne in the sand dunes. He popped the question unexpectedly, and I said yes!

The wedding was held at our aunties’ beautiful property in Titirangi. There was a big storm, and the power cut out for the entire gathering. It made things all the more beautiful! The dining room was lit by candlelight which helped to create a relaxed ambience to the late afternoon reception, and we enjoyed a tremendous feast made with love by our family. Although we did have quite a few guests, it felt super intimate as it was a collection of close friends and family (Valentin has a big Croatian family!).

I grew up living above my parents restaurant, so the wedding setting was created using the white floral table clothes from the restaurant as well as the serveware etc. It gave the wedding a real sentimental feel and brought back plenty of fond childhood memories.The flower arrangements were made by my aunties, using plenty of flowers and foliage from the Titirangi property.

We had our wedding photos taken down at Titirangi Beach, amongst the showers of rain!

The best thing about being married is you get to date somebody every day of the week! Just because you’re married, it doesn’t mean the dating stops. Valentin and I love to be spontaneous and are always trying out new spots to eat, new bushwalks to explore. It’s during these special moments that our love for each other grows even deeper, as well as reminiscing on fun past times.

Over the years we have truly learnt to listen to each other, and instinctively know when we need to give each other a little extra love or space. Love is a journey, something that requires effort and persistence. I love Valentin’s ability to always make me laugh, even when I am extremely frustrated or angry with him!

Valentin: We didn’t know what to expect from being married! We like to take things one step at a time, as looking into something too much causes you to have unrealistic expectations. We feel it makes things more spontaneous and keeps our relationship fun and unpredictable by living in the moment.

Our personalities suited our style of wedding and marriage, very low key and relaxed. We picked a date, and only a few months later we were married. Since we were young and had little money, we couldn’t do it exactly how we wanted. We often talk about renewing our vows and doing it again in the near future.

I love it how Eleanor complements me and strengthens me in everything I lack. I live such a high intensity life, she teaches me to be calm and grounded. It’s also a bonus that she’s an amazing cook.

For us, we strive to do something that makes us uncomfortable almost every month. We know this will enable us to grow as people, and a couple. We have had quite a few big circumstances that have shaped our marriage in many ways. Buying our first home, having two children, buying a puppy, opening cafes and stores in other countries. All of these things have helped shape our marriage. Three words that sum up our marriage… Live. Grow. Repeat.

Interview: Hannah Tunnicliffe