Natalie Penfold (Australia) on Abi Payne (England)


What is your earlier memory of being together?

My earliest memory of being together is being at our Beccles house in All Saints Drive and it being winter I think as it was dark and it was around 4pm. I remember my mum’s handmade floral curtains and the horrendous sponge effect walls with the very 90s border around the entire lounge room. I can’t remember how old we were but Abi must’ve been quite little because she had her little bob with the basin cut fringe and I distinctly remember Abi’s round face and piggy Payne nose. Anyway she was pissing me off, I don’t know why but she was. It was definitely in the 90s because we had just invested in a Sodastream from Safeway’s and Dad was experimenting with all the flavours (pretty sure the novelty wore off pretty quickly) BUT the Sodastream was behind the kitchen door and you had to shut the door to get it to it. Mum was out doing clothes parties so Dad made me a soda stream and brought it through to me. Abi was playing with her teddy ruxpin at the time but all of sudden I thought sod you, Dad is out of the room and I poured the whole bottle of sodastream over her head.. I can’t remember much after that but that is probably one of the earliest memories I have of us ☺

What do you love and admire the most about her?

Abi’s individuality and gypsy spirit has always been something I’ve admired about her. She’s never conformed like I have. Even as a little girl, she didn’t want to be Abi she wanted to be Jasmine or Gabby, she never felt the need to be anything other than what she wanted. I think back and I remember how much of an eccentric child she was, always stepping outside the norm and not being afraid to be what she wanted, look how she wanted and give absolutely no fucks! As Abi has grown up she has been through the mill and in some way it’s definitely formed a barrier around her and given her a big fighting spirit, I find this admirable as I think she’s a survivor. We moved half way round the world, started a whole new life and I got to do it with my brother by my side as we went to the same school but Abi had to do it on her own. I also admire the fact that growing up with both Ed and I being such big characters Abi has managed to develop her own standing in life without having to rely on either of us. She’s got an phenomenal career and is as intelligent as they come and for that I don’t just admire her, I am so proud of her. I also love how Abi can see the good in anything and is always able to forgive. Sometimes to her detriment but what a redeeming feature this is, in such a scary and harsh world..

When I had my children I saw a whole new kind of love form with Abi and that was quite incredible to watch. Being so young when I had my kids I was naive but aware and at the same time completely blown away by the undertaking my sister took with becoming an Auntie. There is no other person in the world I would entrust my children to, to love them like their own, apart from my sister. I guess admiration is not the word for this but I feel blessed and so lucky.

What was the last thing that you hysterically laughed about together?

It was the last night that Abi had in Australia with her boyfriend Oli as he was flying out to Bali. We had smashed about 3 bottles of red, half a bottle of rum and hit the gin. It was a good night! We were playing rummy and since our Nana is a cards master we were destroying Oli and he didn’t like it! Anyway, it got to the point in the night where everyone gets a bit weird drunk and Abi and Oli started picking at each other and had a stupid drunken bicker and we all decided it was time for bed. Oli slammed the door which sent my sister into a spin as the kids were asleep so my sister thought it was hilarious to go in teach him a lesson and steal his duvet. (Now I’m writing this it sounds so not funny – you kind of had to be there lol) I’m in bed watching TV and she wades into my room pissed as a fart, with the duvet wrapped round her and just a little face poking out, snort laughing at herself ☺ The next day we relived the moment, laughing so hard even though she had the next day guilts!!

Abi on Natalie


What is your earliest memory of being together? 

The earliest memory, now that is a hard one. There are so many… Playing in yellow Belle dresses together, having my hair scraped back so hard with a nit comb by her because she said it wouldn’t stay in otherwise, cutting my Barbie’s hair off because she told me it would grow back! The joy of having an older sister! But the earliest memory would probably have to be when I used to sing songs from school for Mum into the video recorder and my sister would barge in, interrupt them completely with some gymnastic fantastic display and I’d throw a massive strop until Mum stopped laughing and gave me all of the attention once again and my sister sauntered off. I don’t know who was being more attention grabbing, me or her!

What do you love and admire the most about her?

There’s nothing I don’t love and admire about my sister… But if I had to pick, it would have to be her strength. I know it’s probably an obvious trait, but not when it comes to speaking about my sister. Her strength, above all else, is beautiful. I’ve never known anything like it. From being strong, in her mind, in her heart, in her presence and in her way of life, she has achieved, succeeded, grown and established herself in the most monumental way. That’s the beauty of it. Strength needn’t be harsh or aggressive and my sister has shown me this. I’m so thankful to have her.

What was the last thing that you hysterically laughed about together?

We spend hours on the phone laughing together about the good times, old times and things we haven’t even done yet. Somehow being so many miles apart has strengthened our relationship and brought us closer together. It’s funny how distance can do that. I recently spent some time with my sister in Australia, which is always amazing, and she decided to bring up to my partner the time we were flying back to Perth from England and were in transit in Singapore. We had vowed this was just between us two, but quite clearly it no longer is!  I was desperate for a wee so I of course forced her to come with me. Anyway, I was in the toilet, as was she, and as I sat down I let out a breath and an almighty trump that I couldn’t control, prevent or stop just let rip and it continued for approximately 15 seconds, potentially longer. As I leant against the stall door trying to contain my laughter I heard a few toilets beside me flush and come out so I of course rushed and appeared out of the toilet at the same time to ensure I didn’t look like I was the one at fault. Every lady washed their hands without making eye contact apart from my sister and I. We caught each other’s eyes in the mirror as I pointed to a lady beside me and mouthed ‘it was her’!! My sister in her best endeavours tried not to let out a laugh and as the last person left the bathroom in a rush, she laughed and said ‘I can’t believe that fart, did you hear that!?’ and I said ‘yeah, it was was me!’!! Honestly, we have never laughed so hard and to this day we can’t tell the story without uncontrollably laughing or failing to finish due to hysterical splutters between us!



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