It's been a big year for Sophie Dillman's beloved character, Ziggy, on Home and Away.
The young mechanic's love life endured some wonderful highs and serious lows. Her husband Brody's (Jackson Heywood) scandalous affair with Simone (Emily Eskell) led to heartbreak for Ziggy and a tough journey learning to trust again.
But eventually she did, with Dean (Patrick O'Connor). While their romance has also had its moments, it's been a whirlwind, on and off-screen. Sophie and Patrick recently confirmed that they're dating in real life too.
The pair met well before sharing the screen in Home And Away, having both studied acting together in Queensland, but they fell in love during the filming of scenes for Ziggy's outback car rally in the South Australian country town of Parachilna earlier this year.
"It's great working with him – it's always fun," Sophie, 27, tells TV WEEK. "I can never guess what I'm going to get from him [while filming], which is the best."
Sophie says that as Dean, Patrick has made a great acting partner.
"We can be really straight up," she explains. "We've got a great dialogue, so we can say what we need from each other and it will happen."
Both stars are heading home to Queensland to see their families for the holidays, and there's one thing Brisbane-born Sophie can't wait for: ham!
"Ham is the key component to our Christmas – and the glaze is very important," she says.
So important, that her family has a special tradition when it comes to perfecting the recipe.
"We have a pre-Christmas ham to check the glaze before we have our Christmas ham," Sophie reveals.
Two Christmas hams may sound a little excessive, but Sophie counters with a laugh, "Does anyone complain about excess ham?"
Sophie is spending Christmas in Noosa in Queensland and says there will be "lots of family time, board games and champagne".
Raised in Brisbane since he was eight, Patrick made the move to Sydney after landing the role of Riverboy Dean in Home And Away in 2018.
But it wasn't until this year that the 27-year-old really came to settle and love his new home.
"It was a bit different this year – work wasn't as full-on," Patrick tells TV WEEK. "I've had more time to go to the beach and head out of Sydney at weekends."
WATCH: Relive the moment Ash meets River Boy Dean on Home and Away. Story continues below...
Time away from the hustle and bustle has given Patrick a new appreciation for the city.
"It's given me a chance to see a bit more of New South Wales," he explains. "Now, I really do like the city – before, it was just kind a place I work in."
Still, Patrick plans on heading back to the Sunshine State for the holidays.
"I'm going to Noosa to see my family," he says. "I'll use the time to unwind, hang out for a couple of weeks, eat a lot of food and go to the beach."
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