When it comes to making important life changes, Kate Cameron doesn't do things by halves.
Just last year, the Woman's Day advertising guru burst on to our TV screens as a contender for the heart of Jordan Mauger in the second season of The Bachelor New Zealand.
Eighteen months later, Kate is no longer looking for that special someone. Instead, she's head over heels in love with her partner Brandon Hiini and besotted with their three-month-old baby girl Lucy Rose.
As the new addition to her family gurgles in her arms, Kate can't help but laugh at the speed with which her life fell into place the moment she was eliminated from the reality show, after making its top five.
"Less than a week later, I went to a bar in Auckland and Brandon was standing there," smiles Kate. "We struck up a conversation because he recognised me as 'Kate from The Bachelor'.
"I remember saying to him, 'You look familiar', and after a while, I twigged. A few months earlier, I'd seen his picture on Tinder and thought he looked nice, but I hadn't swiped right because I was going on The Bachelor the next day.
It was almost like fate was going to bring us together somehow, but I just had to go through the ordeal of the show to get there!"
Kate, 30, met up with medical sales exec Brandon, 35, the following week and before long, they were getting serious - although, admits Kate, "it was bizarre in the beginning".
The lag between filming and the series finally appearing on TV meant the rest of the country was watching her vie for Jordan's attention, while off screen, she was already falling deeply in love with Brandon.
Within a few months, the duo moved in together and agreed that someday they'd like to have a couple of kids - but that was the furthest thing from Kate's mind one Friday evening in January this year when she left work feeling unusually exhausted.
"Brandon was up the road having a few Friday night drinks with his mates and I thought, 'My pants are getting tighter and I've felt funny all day.' It suddenly dawned on me that I hadn't had my period for a few weeks, so I raced up to the pharmacy."
Soon after, Kate was staring at five positive test strips. She called Brandon to come home and 15 minutes later, the pair were sitting on the couch "in shock but happy".
It wasn't long before Kate's craving for gherkins kicked in - "I can't even look at them any more, I ate so many" - and at their 12-week scan, they were so keen to find out the gender of their baby that they implored the ultrasound technician for clues.
"We probed to the point where she felt obligated to say something, so she told us it was 70% likely that we were having a boy. I secretly bought some blue baby clothes and at the 20-week scan, we said, 'How's our little boy going?' The technician said, 'You're having a girl.' We were like, 'No, it's a boy!' She had to say, 'Look, I've been doing this for 20 years - it's a girl!'"
After a 24-hour labour, little Lucy Rose Hiini was born at Auckland's North Shore Hospital at 12.33pm on August 4. "We were both crying because she was so amazing," recalls Kate.
"I couldn't believe we'd made this little ball of perfection."
Describing Brandon as "the love of my life", she says, "Our dynamic and our respect for each other just went up to another level."
Two months later, the couple left Lucy with a family member while they took a stroll on the beach. By the water, Brandon reached down to find the ring he'd secretly tied to the collar of their nine-year-old terrier Alfie and proposed on bended knee.
"I can't even remember what he said, but I do recall him saying I was a great mum, which was nice," laughs Kate.
The couple have yet to start planning their wedding. "I've been sneaking the odd look at dresses on Pinterest," confesses Kate.
"But Lucy's this age for such a short time, we don't want to be distracted. We'll start planning next year."
And while Kate says her experience on The Bachelor left her cold - "by the end, I felt like I wasn't even in it" - she's not necessarily done with reality TV.
"Brandon and I love renovating. If we can get through a baby and an engagement in a year, we could be good competition on The Block NZ!"
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