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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

London Calling: Omaze Winner Shares Her Story

This meet-up was months in the making, and when it finally happened.. Christina Boyd's face says it all!

Omaze has released the video and photos from her trip to London to share a toast with Henry on The London Eye.

The money raised in the contest went to The Royal Marines Charity, and today they had this message for you:

The Royal Marines Charity would like to give a huge thank you to everyone who entered to win, your support is appreciated and helped to incredibly raise more than £133,000 for the Charity, making a huge difference to the #RMfamily

So how was it like to spend time with Henry in London?.. Christina shared her experience with us, and we have a feeling you're going to love it! -- Read on.

My Facebook post on May 15, 2017: Henry Cavill kissed my cheeks twice. The Euro way.

If I hadn’t been in a post-Henry-Cavill-glow, it should have said: Henry Cavill kissed me twice, a couple of hugs, a handshake, I kissed his cheek—so, yeah, I know what that scruff feels like—and we both drank out of each other’s champagne glass by mistake.

How does that even happen, you might ask? Well, way back in the autumn of 2016, I started seeing on his social media and all his fan sites his invitation to be his guest on The London Eye to support the Royal Marines Charity through Omaze.com. Having entered that spring to win his helicopter ride to support Durrell Wildlife, I knew I would enter this too, because 1) Henry Cavill and me in a confined space, 2) as a former military wife, I always support the troops, and 3) I had never been to England. I made a $50 donation, shared it out to all my social media, and even made a meme with Henry on the London Eye with stick-figure-me next to him…gotta put that out into the universe after all. Mid-January, I received an unassuming email from Omaze asking if I would be available for a Skype or Facetime interview the next day as I was one of ten possible winners for the Henry Cavill/Champagne Toast experience. I think my response was something like, “Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.” Send. But as I re-read the email—and hoping it wasn’t a hoax like someone telling me I had won two-million dollars but I had to first send $100 to an account in Africa—I remembered, I am pretty much technically inept and did not know how to Facetime. Mentioning this to an author I edit for, she said she would Facetime me to “practice”—seriously, I was afraid I would disconnect these people and lose my chance (insert eye roll). So,there I was in the parking lot of a grocery store, having my first Facetime experience, and lo! I did not disconnect anyone. I then posted it on my Facebook: This is for reelz. Omaze contacted me to interview as one of ten towin Henry Cavill/London Eye experience. Obviously,my Facebook blew up with well wishes and speculation. The next day at 4, Omaze called and they asked me all the anticipated interview questions: why I am a fan, would I say I am his biggest fan, what is my favorite Cavill film, who would I take if I won, what would I ask him, what would I tell him about me? Then they said they would call me back. When they did, they asked, “If you won, what would you do?” Flip out. “Well, you won!” Cue the fangirl squeals and mindless gibberish. Then they said, “Don’t put it on your social until we announce it. Meanwhile we will send you paperwork. And can you send us a photo of you?” Oy. For the next five days, I had to do the dodge, dance around, and sidestep about “Did you win?” “When will they announce?” And if you know me, I put everything on Facebook and it was KILLINGGGGGG me not to say, “I won, I won, I won!” (I know, #FirstWorldProblem.) Meanwhile, I filled out paperwork and took photos of me holding a sign that said,“You & me, London…& my husband.”

When Omaze announced me as winner, the congratulations started flowing in…and just when I was regaining some kind of calm after the initial Omaze announcement, a friend sent me a note: Go look at social media. Henry Cavill just posted to you. What?! #FanGirlDown. Sure enough, there it was. The most adorable photo of Kal, his American Akita, wearing a bowtie and a message on both Instagram and Facebook: Sorry for being late on this one, Christina, I was shopping for a tuxedo for Kal…Turns out he already had one. Now that I’m here, I wanted to say Congratulations!! I’m looking forward to meeting you and your hubby in London soon. Once that hit, I started getting a lot of private messages from people asking for the date (which I did not have), would I hand deliver a letter to Henry for them, would I smell him and tell them what he smelled like, but the most fun were the comments on social media asking me to give him a kiss from them. That last one made me laugh. I could only imagine the scene: and this is a kiss from Alyssia in Pennsylvania, and one from Jill in North Carolina, and the ladies in Brasil, and from Australia, and my sisters, and my authors… I was certain I would get a restraining order slapped on me. And Margie from Margie’s Must Reads told me to “pinch his butt and don’t worry, I have bail money for you.” I know all of this was only in fun and their way of sharing in my excitement.

As the weeks ticked by with no date set, I went on with life as usual. After all, I had a book to edit and publish May 21. Sometime in early spring, Jordyn, my Omaze contact, emailed that we had tentative dates for London. After a couple of schedule adjustments that I assumed were due to his filming in Canada for Nomis and then later in Paris for Mission Impossible 6 and his race at Durrell, everyone’s planners were on the same page. May 13 would be our travel day, arrive on Sunday, and meet the man himself on Monday. I was told NOT to share this information for safety purposes. Fair enough. By this time, my standard reply to anyone who asked about the experience date was: He’s a busy man; I’m a patient woman. Have passport on hand. Will travel at his pleasure. Thus, I had become a smooth fibber of fibs…but to protect Henry Cavill and not create a security issue, it was of little consequence.

My own Mr. B decided that if we were going to travel ten hours to London, we might as well extend the trip—and explore England. I wanted to see many Jane Austen sights (being an editor for Jane Austen-inspired romance novels) and my husband wanted to see Stonehenge and castles. Mind we had not been on a trip sans kids since B.C.(before children!) seventeen years ago. We were taking every opportunity to enjoy ourselves. We landed in the UK, were greeted at baggage by the driver sent by Omaze (holding a sign with my name on it, haha), and off we went to the Park Plaza County Hall in London, steps away from the London Eye. After a quick check-in and unexpected upgrade, we headed out to explore. We walked across Westminster Bridge and along the Thames to the Tower of London, seeing as I am a fan of Henry’s series The Tudors—and it is a castle for Mr. B. Unfortunately, by the time we made it to our destination, it was about to close. Instead, we had drinks on the waterfront, walked across Tower Bridge, and then had fish and chips and “mushy peas” (it’s a thing) at the restaurant attached to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. We meandered a little longer before giving ourselves up for bed and fell into the welcome arms of Morpheus, readying ourselves for the big day ahead.

The next thing I heard was Mr. B saying to me, “Hey, it’s time to get up. It’s after 11:30.” I laughed and said, “That’s not funny. Are you going for a run?” He was planning to run a circuit through Hyde Park. “No time. You have an hour and a half until we meet him.” What?! I had planned a leisurely breakfast, long shower, check the weather to decide on linen shirt dress or polka dot jumpsuit. Note: I am not a high maintenance woman. I am a 49-year old mom from the Pacific Northwest who wears comfortable shoes with yoga pants every day. But for goodness sake, I was meeting Henry Cavill! I was going to put some effort into hair and makeup. I bound out of bed and made myself presentable. Opted to not have coffee as I was jittery enough from oversleeping and selected the jumpsuit since the weather looked like rain. In the lobby, we met the professional photographer, Ian, who asked if we minded if he took a couple of photos as we walked over to The Eye. And we were off.

We met up with Jordyn and she took us to a nearby building to wait for the call when Henry had arrived. Chatting and laughing about how I was either going to babble without a filter or suffer from cats-got-my-tongue-itis, the call finally came and Jordyn said the magic words, “Let’s go.” Honest to god, standing there, my feet had FALLEN ASLEEP in my 4-inch Michael Kors heels. But nothing was stopping me so I tottered outside to the queue. A few moments later, I recognized Charlie Cavill walking towards me, and then…like sunlight breaking through the clouds…THERE HE WAS. Henry Cavill. Walking towards me. In my mind, it’s all in slow motion. Like Baywatch-running-slow motion. And all the buzzing of the crowd fell away. He put his hand out to me but I said, “I think I need a hug instead,” and I looked at my husband and murmured, “I’m sorry” and went in for a hug. Oh yeah, those muscles are real. Then we were directed to a different line and while we were waiting to get in the capsule, we all introduced ourselves: me, Henry, Charlie, Ben, Mr. B… I’m sure there were others but my sincere apologies, the rest of his people along were a blur. We talked about his Durrell Race the day before and interesting races we’ve done in the past. They were particularly interested in Ski to Sea, in which we have raced in five times: 8-person, 7-leg 100-mile relay that starts at the top of Mt. Baker and ends at Bellingham Bay (climb up the mountain & ski down; cross country ski; run; road bike; canoe; mountain bike; kayak). I would not be surprised if Team Cavill were to enter one of these years. I remember standing there nattering on to him about my kids’ sports, and even showing him a photo of my 16-year old son who to me looks like he could be a young Cavill brother—and then it hit me… Henry Cavill, the real Henry Cavill, was standing eighteen inches away…well, then I started shaking like I was cold. I was not cold. How could I be while standing next to his smoking hotness, right? I said something like, “I can’t believe I am shaking like this. I really hope it will stop.”He kinda nodded in understanding and somehow, SOMEHOW, I pulled it together. Meanwhile, we learned that there was a temporary delay to get on The Eye: “Our apologies for the inconvenience.” Ha! Lucky girl indeed. No, no. I don’t mind. Delay longer.

When our capsule came around, we entered The Eye. So, just like my meme that I had created with my stick figure penciled next to him in his tuxedo…the ride began. Actually, first, there were pictures and then the champagne toast, and two kisses from Henry.

Image: Omaze

Yes, that happened. AND I PRAY that Ian got pictures because that feels like I imagined it! But I can’t remember if he did the toast and then kissed me—or kissed me and then did the toast. Totally irrelevant. But he kissed my cheek and then as an awkward American, I leaned back and he said, “No, like Europeans.” And he kissed my other cheek. Thank god for European customs! When I imagined this meeting, I thought I might toast him by quoting back to him that French proverb he says as Charles Brandon in the final epi of The Tudors: “Praise the God of all, drink the wine, let the world be the world.” S’okay. Remember…cat…tongue. He kinda threw me off with that kissing bit.

We talked about how fans wanted to know what he smells like (Dunhill in the black box), that stupid click bait article about him being a “toxic bachelor” and how he would like to get married and have kids while he’s a young man, how great Tom Cruise is to work with, how cool the stunt work on Mission Impossible 6 is, how Margie raised bail money should I pinch his butt and end up in jail (No, I did not but we did chuckle about it), how I hoped he would do a romcom or historical project next, and how difficult it can be for a girl he asks out on a date because of the social media implications attached (when I told Brandi of Brandi’s Book Blog that, she immediately sent me a Katniss Everdeen meme: “I volunteer!”), and I kidded he should do The Bachelor—but I don’t think he thought that was as amusing as I did. We talked about the modern and historical mix of architecture in London. About how I liked his Southern accent in Sand Castle and how I interned at CNN during the first Gulf War—and how I was terrible making my audition tapes because my mind would go blank while looking into a big camera lens—and he said he finds interviews that he has to look into the camera but can hear the voice to the side also distracting.

Next, I gave him my gifts. He handed me his champagne glass to hold while he opened the box. My daughter had made Kal a black and white paracord leash with a Superman emblem pendant—which I joked that if he and Kal were ever in an emergency and in need of 100 yards of paracord… As an artist (I also make about 1000 ceramic salmon platters per year for the Made in Washington stores) I had cut and fused a glass plate for him with the Justice League emblem but substituted his initials instead. He seemed genuinely surprised we made these gifts for him and he even said, “This is going in my house.” Really? Ben said, “That’s an authentic reaction.” Believe me, I was glowing inside. Then he pulled out my book “The Darcy Monologues” and I explained that it was an anthology of fifteen authors’ short stories, all told from Darcy’s POV, that the authors think he would make a fine Mr. Darcy and a few were even inspired by him when writing. He teased, “Are you sure you want me to read it then?” I mean have you seen the cover? It’s kinda hot and so who knows what kind of bodice ripper book he thought it was. Of course, I laughed and said, “Well, you can give it to your mom if you don’t read this kind of thing,” but he said, “Oh no, I’ll read it.” So, yeah. That makes me happy to imagine Henry reading our short stories in between takes on the Mission Impossible 6 set. Crossing fingers he likes it.

Up until that point, I think I was very good and didn’t press him too hard as a fangirl. I remembered all the fans who had reached out to me and how I had these sticker bookplates in my bag and asked him if he would sign a few for my authors and some fans? Sure! I handed him a handful—which turned out to be over thirty—AND HE SIGNED THEM ALL! I shamelessly, brazenly, jokingly-not-jokingly suggested to him he would be more than welcome to narrate my book and we could give all the proceeds to a charity of his choice. He smiled and all I could think was “Geez, Christina, aren’t you a pushy broad.” But I am a firm believer that if you don’t ask, shame on you. Anyway…so that dream is out in the universe now. All the while, I am sipping champagne. And then I realized it was his glass and handed it back to him, and he LAUGHED and drank out of it! Before we got off The Eye, Ian wanted a couple more photographs and we obliged. Then one without the champagne. We handed our glasses to my husband. Posed for pictures. And yup! When we got our glasses back, they were mixed up again.

As we left the capsule, I thanked him again for making this dream possible—for meeting us and for the experience to London. I remembered I wanted a picture of me kissing his cheek to share out that “I took one for the team—giving Henry Cavill the kiss you all asked I give” and would he mind? Of course not. I handed my iPhone to my husband to take the photo, and I kissed his cheek. Yes, people, I know what that scruff feels like on my lips! (Let’s pause a moment to think about that…sigh.) I asked Mr. B, “Did you get it?” Yes, yes. We thanked Henry again for all he does for this charity, gave him a parting hug, and he was gone. I looked at my phone. And…my husband did not get the shot. HE DID NOT GET THE PHOTO of me kissing Henry Cavill. My husband of twenty-four years failed me. Instead there are two photos of Henry and me smiling next to each other…and the third is of him with a cute smirk after I had kissed his cheek.

Oh, Mr. B… My husband was such a gallant letting me have my little moment but he knows zilch about photos! He claims he was trying for a burst of photos. Husbands! But I still love him. Le sigh…

So that, my friends, is a faithful narrative of my entire Omaze experience with Henry Cavill. He is as extraordinary as I imagined. And more. There is nothing photo-shopped about him—inside or out. Like I mumbled to him as we were parting: I hope he finds a girl that is worthy of him because she will be blessed to have the affections of such a man. Lucky girl, indeed. He and his friends reminded us of our friends here in real life—genuinely nice, normal people, who you might meet out for a beer…or build a Ski to Sea team with. (wink-wink)

P.S. The rest of our Omaze-ing stay included sightseeing around London, meeting some of my DreamTeam anthology authors, a pilgrimage to visit Jane Austen’s house in Chawton, to Bath, Stonehenge, and like Lizzy Bennet, to Derbyshire to see the great houses and castles… It was a magical experience. One I’ll never forget. Thank you, Henry Cavill. Thank you, Omaze. And thank you especially to the Royal Marines, who stand on the front lines, and their loved ones who wait for their safe return.

—Christina Boyd @xtnaboyd

Thanks again Christina for sharing your story with Henry's fans and congratulations!

We also have a little treat for you guys. Our translator Rebecca donated her Omaze entry prizes for us to give away. So we have two limited edition Royal Marines Charity shirts, a patch and a beanie.

If you want a shot at them (we'll be giving them away individually), email us at henrycavillnews@gmail.com with the subject line: Omaze entry prize contest. We'll draw four random winners on June 30. Good luck!

UPDATE 6/30: Congratulations to Jeff Scroger (beanie), Jill Wagner (shirt), Emmanuelle SMIT (shirt) and Monica Bell (patch). We'll be contacting you to send you the prizes. Thanks to everyone else for entering!


  1. Glad Christina had such a great time :) thanks for sharing with all of us!!!

  2. I hope you don't mind that it was such a long post but really, 3000 words was hardly enough to explain my affection for Henry Cavill and the OMAZEing experienc. Thank you for sharing in my excitement! Here's the kisses I gave Henry from all of you. As requested. Thank heavens, Ian, the photographer snapped this! https://media.giphy.com/media/M8mUHPVTh17oI/giphy.gif

    1. Not at all! I could have even read more paragraphs! LOL It is such a Joy to hear about your experience. I truly believe, without knowing you, but getting to know you through some of your posts over the last few months, that there was no better choice made for this prize. You are a very interesting lady! Thank you for taking the time to treat us to your experience.

    2. Christina, I'm so glad you won. Your post is wonderful. Definitely not too long. And you represented us fangirl fantastically. What a great experience.

    3. Oh Christina,I enjoyed every single bit of it.I'm getting goosebumps,thank you so very much for being generous enough to share this with us.P.S It wasn't lengthy
      at all. ❤️

    4. Christina, thank you so much for your report on meeting Henry. It was a real treat reading your account and I almost felt that I was there to witness it. What a lovely memory you'll have for all time! I'm so happy for you.

    5. wow luvd ur story! infact im going to read it many times again sigh! ur really lucky! hope i meet him too someday!

  3. Amazing story! It was a long journey but que finally had this unique experience with Henry. And as all the fans know by now Henry is really an amazing human being inside and outside! God bless him! And a huge Thanks to Christina for sharing her story

  4. A big thank you to Rebecca for being so generous and offering her Omaze prizes to the HCN fans. I got my entry in. Good luck all!

    1. Good luck JoyDC4Life
      Rebecca xxx

  5. I loved reading this, it sounds like it was such an amazing experience! And I loved all the Austen phrases thrown in. ;)

  6. Thanks for sharing with us. He's very special, and you're so lucky. Just think about it... There aren't many fans who've got to kiss him/got a kiss (in your case two) from him! He's so gracious. I sometimes wonder if it's okay with fans asking stuff that shoudn't be their business. Good you didn't pinch him! God bless him! Congratulations!! D.

  7. Henry....😘 Congrats Christina,I can feel your excitement while reading through your experience. A memory and kiss of a lifetime. 😃😄

  8. Hmmm 3000 words it's way to short.... I must confess got a bit emotional and giggl. ....as I'm reading it's like a movie in my head....fang Irlam to fang Irlam. ..this was the most amazing thing that could happen to any fan....but To meet the man himself. ..and get to "smell"our own English Rose....omg how o-amazing was that???I'm so exited just to have seen hesome hands signing my little book plate...And the money that was rased omg....I'm so so glad to be part of it....as you know I've been watching Mr.Cavill since he's lovely debut on "THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO "...enough said....All I'm saying is that you couldn't be more deserving ....you done us all proud....much love from London...Frankie

  9. A lovely account of a dream trip for a very awesome lady and Mr B! You're absolutely right Christina, Henry would make a fine Darcy and IF he ever did the narrative for The Darcy Monologues, it would sell like hot cakes, can you imagine THAT voice in your ears? Well 'tis a very good idea ;) The amount raised was spectacular too, very glad I donated, it was a stellar effort all round! Kudos to everyone and congrats and Thanks Christina for sharing your experience with us xx

  10. Thanks Christina, for takimg the time to let us know!And congratulations :) you deserve it.
    I loved every single word in your story, you're an awesome writter! Have you been able to assimilate it yet? I don't know if I could lol
    He is so gracious and normal...He has such a good soul, and this is probably what I love most about him.

  11. Amazed by the Amazing. This was a beautiful read from a brave and mighty heart of recollection. I Thank You Christina for your thoughtfulness to us and Your willingness to kiss n tell :) You're a joy and if I could I would choose you 10xs over XoXo

  12. It's a shame you don't have a donate button! I'd
    most certainly donate to this excellent blog!
    I guess for now i'll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to brand new updates and will share this site with my Facebook group.
    Talk soon!


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