Honeymoon update

We’ve done most of the planning and organising for our honeymoon now – as much as we are going to.

We have:

  • Booked, paid for and picked up our tickets. Actually, there is no tickets. In this modern digital age, we’ve been issued an itinerary and we don’t need a ticket to travel. So much easier, since it’s one less thing to worry about forgetting to bring!
  • Booked and paid for our rental car – we are picking up a car at Heathrow when we arrive and using it for 3 weeks.
  • Booked a transit hotel in Singapore for our 6-hour stop over. This hotel is such a great idea! We can have a shower, a lie-down, grab something to eat and even work out in their gym if we want.
  • Booked our first night’s accommodation in Brighton. We are staying at the grand-looking Royal Albion Hotel on the beach front.
  • Been buying GBP while the going is good. I have a OneSmart card that gives a good rate and means that when we are in the UK we are spending in the local currency (so no conversion charges for every purchase). We’ve set aside all the money we need for the trip – now we just need to save for the luxuries.

Now all we have to do is wait for February 29th to roll around!

The wedding

So I got married the other day. March 1st to be exact. It’s the day Stephen and I met, two years ago. It was a blind date, we went to see Man on Wire. And held hands. It was lovely. He was lovely. He proposed to me on March 1st last year, on our first anniversary. I’ve been planning this wedding for a year.

On our long walk home through the sludge and water on earthquake day, Phil and I talked about the wedding. Should Stephen and I still go ahead with it? Could we still do it, logistically? I wasn’t sure, but I knew that I had to give it a try. It wasn’t any random date, it was our day.

One of the first things I said to Stephen when we finally made it home was, “I still want to try and get married next week”. He wholeheartedly agreed. So we waited for the dust to settle, then we started the call-around. Some of the event team contacted us. They were just as concerned as we were that things go to plan. It added some normalcy to my everyday in a difficult time. Eventually everyone checked in and we were good to go.

In the end, our wedding wasn’t exactly as I planned it. Small details were forgotten, but it doesn’t matter. It was an amazing day for me. It made me cry to look out into the faces of my favourite people, smiling happily for me and Stephen. And to be able to see everyone, give them a hug, that was priceless.

Mr and Mrs Frayle

The one where it sinks in

Stephen picked up our wedding rings last night. It’s finally sinking in that we are getting married in less than two weeks.

I am so so so looking forward to being married to Stephen, and to being a Frayle and to starting a new chapter of our amazing journey together.

Nothing has ever felt so right, and no-one has ever been so perfect for me.

Young Love

Wedding things

Well, it’s 2011 and I can finally say, “I’m getting married this year”.
We’ve done pretty much everything that needs to be done, and have spent the past few weeks tidying up all the loose ends:

  • Organised the rings
  • Contacted the venue, caterer, band, photographer, celebrant
  • Organised the bridal shower/stag day
  • Organised the making of the wedding dress (this one was complicated and took me a while!) and picked up the flower girl/bridesmaid dresses
  • Organised hair and makeup
  • Printed the invitations and readied them for sending
  • Booked all the honeymoon accommodation
  • Finished the wedding website.

The website has been our holiday project. We wanted to have one place people can go to get information about what we are doing. It’s been a fun and challenging task, and we finally have it in a shape that we are ready to share with you. So I give you our work-in-progress: www.applekeep.com/Castle/Turret.html

What I did on my summer vacation…

One of the things I plan on working on over the summer (along with Bronwen and Stephen) is our new website.


Setting up our website has been a mission. We purchased a domain name from GoDaddy some time ago (frompsons.com) but decided we wanted something a little…well…cooler sounding. After much back and forth, we came up with Applekeep. Why? Our website is like an extension of our home, and our home is where we keep our Apples. Also, it’s easy to remember and to spell.

Figuring out the hosting of our website was a significant hurdle. Initially, we decided we would just use Vodafone’s free (for customers) service. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried navigating their webspace…but after many attempts, we gave up.It seemed better to pay for a service that actually works.

We’ve decided to go with Apple’s MobileMe service. Appropriate, right? It provides us with webhosting, email, cloud storage, cloud syncing, and a range of other things that are useful to us as iPhone/iPad owners.

So soon our website will be up and running. It will document our lives – all our various interests and hobbies. And although it is out there in the public domain, it’s mostly just for us. Stephen and I are both interested in the process of building a webspace, and in teaching Bronwen how to do this. Pop in and see how it’s coming along if you like, but be aware that most of the site will be ‘under construction’ most of the time (for the next few months anyway).

One part of the site that I intend to get going on first is the bit dedicated to our wedding. I’m hoping to provide a one-stop-shop for people to find out the details of the day, but also for other people planning a wedding to read about our experiences.

Watch this space…

Planning, planning

The wedding plans have been coming along in leaps and bounds lately, with only three months to go until the big day. In case you were wondering, that is 100 days, or 2402 hours, or 144258 minutes. But hey, who’s counting.

We have sorted most of the big things now: venue, caterer, menu, band, celebrant, order of ceremony, guest list, photographer. Yesterday we bought the flowergirl and bridesmaids dresses for Bronwen, Grace and Megan. Next week I’ll go to a dressmaker to begin figuring out my dress.

Soon we will organise and send out the invitations. We are thinking of waiting until after Xmas to send these (even though this breaks the 3-month in advance rule).

An amazing little computer program called Evernote has been helping me along with the planning. It’s a great tool. I can save all the information we send out and receive into it, and then view it anywhere, anytime – from the web, or my home computer, or my iPad, or my iPhone.

So the to-do list, all the information from the venue, caterer etc., the dress ideas, the vows-in-progress, the budget, the guest list … everything really … is stored in Evernote. And either of us can update it from anywhere and see any changes that have been made by the other person. Brilliant!


I just finished a book by Elizabeth Gilbert (she of Eat Pray Love fame) called Committed. This autobiographical book is essentially an exploration of the idea of marriage that ends with Liz convincing herself that it’s okay for her to marry the love of her life. At the start of the book, having been married and divorced, Liz is adamant that she will never marry again. She even has a pact with her lover that they will never marry. In the end, she is married to him.

It’s a topic that’s been in my thoughts a lot lately. Why get married? I’ve been married. When my marriage ended in 1995 I decided that marriage really wasn’t for me, and that I’d never do it again. I still felt this way five years later when I met Simon. And he was fine with that. He didn’t want to marry me either. At this time in my life, I’d describe my feelings about marriage as ambivalent. I couldn’t see the point of it. I thought to myself, ‘Why get married at all when you can live with someone and have all the same rights as a married couple anyway?’

Then my life changed again. It happened in increments. Simon and I separated and I reevaluated some of my attitudes about life. I decided that I might like to get married someday, if the right man presented himself. I don’t even really know why this shift in thinking happened. Possibly as a reaction to the breakup. I was saddened at the ease with which we could extract ourselves from each other’s lives.

And then I met Stephen. Just before I met him (I’ve mentioned this before) I made a list of what I wanted in a man. One of those things was to be with someone who was open to the idea of marriage. I think it was probably on our 3rd or 4th date that Stephen said that he preferred to be married. It was one of the deal-sealers for me (along with numerous other things).

And now I find myself about to marry the man of my dreams. I try not to think about what it all means too much. Every now and again a stray thought creeps in …”why do I want to marry this (or any) person?” … “where did this desire to be married come from all of a sudden?” … “what if it doesn’t work out?”. I put them aside because I know they don’t matter. What matters is that what I’m doing feels right. Exactly right.

We have progress

The wedding plans are coming along nicely. I have a list in my head of the ’12 month’ things we want to get ticked off:

  • Venue
  • Caterer
  • Band
  • Budget
  • First-cut guest list
  • Celebrant
  • Ask our bridesmaids/groomsmen

So far we are doing well. The budget is sorted, the saving has begun, and the construction of the guest list is underway. These will bubble away for the next few months.

We went and had another look at our preferred venue yesterday, it’s just perfect for us. It has a main room, a court yard and a barn for dancing . So we will sign on the dotted line and hand over the deposit tomorrow.

And we have have secured the band, I think perhaps the thing we are both the most excited about. We are going to have a Hoolie with the Black Velvet Band. The BVB are a part of my past and my present. Back in the day (the ’90s) I enjoyed going up to the Loft Bar to listen to them and have a good dance. They were little moments of freedom in amongst my married-with-two-kids reality. Fond memories.

And then Stephen and I have been to a couple of hoolies run by the band in the last year. They are great fun – everyone joins in and has a great time and we have been able to practice our newly developing ballroom dancing skills. So ‘tick’, and ‘clapclapjumpupanddownwithexcitement’.

The biggest challenge has been the caterer. When we decided we wanted to get married at Cossars, we decided we didn’t want to go with one of their suggested caterers. There was nothing in the contract saying we had to chose one of their ‘preferred’ caterers, so we found someone that suited what we wanted. Before we sealed the deal with Kiwi Cuisine, I thought I’d better let Cossars know what we were doing, and lucky I did! I got an immediate email from the manager letting me know that we had to make a deal with one of their caterers. Disappointing, but we love the venue so we will make it work.

So now we are going through a process of vetting these other three, figuring out which one fits our requirements best. We think we’ve chosen…I’ll keep you posted!

So once we find a celebrant and invite our attendants to be involved, there is nothing much more to do until we get to the ‘6 month’ list:

  • Start thinking about dresses
  • Plan the invitations
  • Book hair/makeup
  • Plan the honeymoon

…i.e the fun stuff!!!

PS I know you don’t believe that I’ll be waiting six months to start thinking about dresses! Planning is well under way, all in my head for now.


I barely know where to start…

I spent a wonderful Saturday doing the usual Saturday-ish things: skate lesson, breakfast with my Frayles, more skating, and then home for lunch. This weekend we had a full contingent of add-ons for lunch. Antony, Grace, Wyatt, and Megan and her new man James were there, and me, Stephen and Bronwen as usual. It’s lovely to spend time all together and realise that once all the marriages shake down, I will have two new daughters and Stephen will gain a son, two daughters and a couple of grandkids to boot.

On Saturday night, Stephen had arranged a lovely picnic tea for us watching the sunset at my favourite place in the world – Halswell Quarry Reserve. It’s a place of peace and serenity for me. We almost didn’t make it in time to watch the setting sun. It’s a bit of a climb up to our favourite perch, and we scampered up there just as the hues were starting to shift.

We sat on ‘our’ bench seat and munched our sandwiches and watched the beauty before us. Feeling happy and grateful, I turned to Stephen and said “I’m so lucky to have you”. In response, he pulled a box out of the picnic bag, knelt in front of me (with the beautiful sunset behind him remember) and formally asked me to marry him. I said yes in amongst the kisses and tears.

And as the light turned and it got dark, we wandered back down and off to find a comfy beanbag to curl up into together to watch Top Chef.

Saturday was about as perfect as a day can be.

Making Plans

There is a saying … “people make plans while god looks on and laughs”. In other words, we have a destiny before us, and most of our plans don’t much resemble how things actually turn out.

Having said that, there is something very hopeful about planning. Short term plans (what’s for tea, I think I might go for a run in the morning) or long term plans (I want to have my 40th birthday somewhere fabulous, I want to be with you for the rest of our lives). They both have so much hope in them. But that thought is a distraction from the real point…

I’m getting married!

There are so many things I can say about this, so I apologise in advance if the next few (possibly year’s worth) of posts all come back round to this momentous fact.

When Stephen asked me to marry him, the second thing I thought was, “oooh, the planning!”. I relish the idea of the unfolding plans, the decisions, selections, choosing between this and that. It’s our first project together, and it’s quintessentially optimistic, forward-looking. While at one level we are planning a fun party for March next year, we are also laying the ground work for everything else that will unfold in our lives over the next 40-or-so years.

But what it really all comes down to …my point at last… is that I love to plan. I make 2-hour plans and yearly plans and 5-year plans and grand plans. And Stephen loves lists. He’s a man with a notebook and a sharp pencil. We are made for each other.