Following the whirlwind House Rules finale, 2018 champions Toad and Mandy have had time to unwind and reflect on what they're planning to do with the huge $355,000 prize money - plan their wedding!
How are you guys feeling right now? You must be on cloud nine!
Mandy: 'We’re still in shock, we don’t really know what happened last night! [Laughs] No, it’s been great, we had a great night celebrating with our friends and family last night. We’ve had so many lovely messages and well wishes, so I think everyone is pretty happy with the outcome. It’s also such a relief to be able to talk about it!'
Are you surprised by the outcome? How far did you think you would go?
Mandy: 'Very surprised! We went into the first week and didn’t think we could finish it. Then we got our scores back and we did well, then for the second house we did well again. After the interior round, we didn’t really care because we had our house done and that’s what we came into the competition for. But then, we just kept going and going and that made us more confident!'
What was going through your mind when you were waiting to hear that final score?
Toad: 'Just 7,7,7!' [Laughs]
Mandy: 'Toad was feeling more confident, but I didn’t think it was going to be us, because that’s just how I roll. So, I prepared myself for failure and was preparing to hear Dave and Mel’s names called out. I was getting ready to congratulate them! It was only after I realised everyone was looking at us and clapping and cheering that I realised it was us! I was in total shock.'
Dave and Mel are pretty fiercely competitive, what were they like to compete against in the final?
Toad: 'They were very competitive and approached things a little different to us, but they earned their place in the grand final and deserved to be there. I do think they bent the rules a little and could be a bit sneaky. We showed that you don’t have to bend the rules to win.'
Do you still talk to any of the other contestants after the show?
Toad: 'We still talk to most people. We got along with everyone, but we don’t know if everyone else got along with everyone. We’re going to invite a lot of them to our wedding, but we might need to get security to keep them apart.' [laughs]
How do you plan to spend the money?
Toad: 'A wedding was always on the cards for us, but now that the pressure is off us with the money, we can do it sooner!'
Mandy: 'I’d always planned to set up my own (beauty) salon, but I had to wait for the kids to grow up a bit and then it was put on hold when we went on the show. Now, winning the show means that I can start off a bit bigger and hire someone to help me straight away!'
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from the show?
Toad: 'Stay true to yourself and true to each other. And treat people how you want to be treated. We were always kind to everyone, whether it was the people we worked with or the other contestants. And I think Australia saw that.'
Has this brought you guys closer together?
Mandy: 'Definitely. Spending months and months working together and in each other’s pockets, we learned a lot about each other.'
Toad: 'Now I can’t get her off me! [laughs]'
What has been the hardest part of the experience, and the highlight?
Toad: 'The hardest part was the end of the interior round, when we’d done all this hard work but hadn’t seen the results yet. The highlight was definitely walking into our new home, as well as seeing the look on other people’s when they walked into theirs.'
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