One of the toughest challenges for contestants on The Block is being separated from family and friends. Most of the contestants say the three months of planning, building and painting (and then more painting) they can handle – but that missing loved ones takes a real toll.
It's why there are plenty of tears when the families of the 2021 Blockheads pay a visit this week.
"I hadn't even seen my kids – I just heard one of them laughing around a corner – and I burst into tears," Perth contestant Georgia, 37, says of the emotional moment she and husband Ronnie are reunited with Leo, nine, and seven-year-old Charlotte.
"Ronnie's son Giordano had come to work with us, but I hadn't seen Leo and Charlotte for 11 weeks and that's a long time. I was an emotional wreck!"
But for NSW contestants Kirsty and Jesse, those tears of joy soon turn to tears of laughter when 10 members of their family – including Kirsty's feisty mum Janine – descend on their almost completed home and show us exactly where the country couple get their character from.
"Mum automatically started trying to take over everything," Kirsty, 33, tells TV WEEK. "She was telling our landscaper where he should be planting trees and what she thought the design of the front yard should be.
"She even followed me around while I was painting, telling me which bits I was missing and what I needed to do again!"
Kirsty says nobody was safe.
"Mum saw our team and said, 'Oh, my God – these are the most beautiful men I've seen in my life!' and she was straight on it, flirting with our builder Paulie every time she saw him.
"Then she was arguing with Keith [The Block's veteran foreman] because I'd told her we had a few run-ins earlier in the season. She said he needed to be nicer to her daughter."
And then there were the cheaters. After hearing about the scandal that forced a change in the production schedule and piled extra work on every team, Janine was outraged.
"She was on the hunt for the cheaters, trying to find out who was behind the photo of the production schedule… it was hilarious."
The heartwarming visit was, as every contestant agreed, the perfect reminder of why they had all put themselves through so much to succeed.
"Family is so important," Kirsty says. "And that's why we all came on The Block – to better things for our family."