Three weeks.

Ever have one of those years when you keep meaning to do stuff and be productive but nothing ever seems to happen?

2012 was one of those years, especially for me. Which isn’t to say I was lazy with my time, I was just unable to be productive nearly as much as I needed to be, which now leaves us with uh, three weeks to the wedding, and our/my first blog post in months.


I did mean to be more proactive than this, I really did, I meant to post funny things and pictures and actual updates and advice on things to see and do while visiting here. And then after a rather hard blow dealt to us in the form of government bureaucracy, the inside of my head just stopped being a nice place to be. My creativity took a nose dive, along with any sense of control I had over everything wedding related, and a rather sizeable portion of my life. Nothing was working out the way it was meant to, and through no fault of our own. Goodness knows I cried enough times onto my mother’s shoulder asking what we’d done wrong, only to be told time and time again, shit happens.

I might be paraphrasing that last part, I think my mother might have said something more consoling than that. I don’t remember. All I remember is the bleakness in my head, and the complete inability to do anything other than the bare minimum required to plan a wedding that may or may not take place when or where we’d originally intended because the UK government are useless.

Basically, in a nutshell of futility, UK immigration decided in 2012 to change their regulations on who and who cannot sponsor their partner/intended spouse for residency into the UK. Where previously there was no issue for us, suddenly we hit a road block in the form of red tape and paperwork which took our carefully laid out plans and obliterated them.

Suns have died with less carnage than the rage and grief that went through my core the day I sat in the lawyers office being told our case would be dismissed over a technicality of where in the world our financial funds came from. Suns died, worlds were reborn in the aftermath, bacteria grew self aware and amoeba crawled it’s way out of shallow waters to grow arms and legs and climb trees to become tribes, fell from those branches and learned the taste of meat which let them derive that E=Mc2 in the time it took for me to come back down from the internal screaming high that shattered through my skull to the resounding mantra of not fair, not fair, not fair, not fair, not fair. And then I smiled at the sorry looking lawyer, thanked him for his time, and cried the whole way home.

And no amount of tea helped. So that’s when you know it’s serious.

And then I tried to get my shit together and stop being so bloody useless because there are a million other things in this world worse than what happened to us. There are people who still aren’t even allowed to marry the people they love because they are the same gender, or trans gender. There are people who are separated from the ones they love by more than just distance. Forever.

Our issue, while a rather big blip in the scheme of our lives, is a rather insignificant blip in the grander scheme of things. I remind myself of this every time I start to feel the rage build, or worse, the tears. I remind myself every day of all the things we have to be thankful for.

But I’m still pretty pissed at my government.

I could continue to wail against the injustice of it, and rant about the futility of the new law and how it doesn’t help anyone. I could scream about it until I’m blue in the face and the stars fall out of the sky. But I won’t.

Because it’s futile.

And I’m tired.

I’m tired of being angry.

My wedding is not meant to make me angry. Of all things it is not meant to make me angry.

So instead I have resolved to become a towering pillar of Zen.

Terrible, unstoppable, vengeful, Zen.


Which is also how it has now got to three weeks before the wedding, and I’m out and about Glasgow with my mother running around shops like a human tornado, leaving chaos, devastation and sequins in my wake.

And achieved a surprising amount in that time span.

Because no matter what else, no matter what fucking else is going to get thrown at us while we try to fix our lives, we’re getting married in three weeks.

And I am going to dance like a lunatic.


In the mean time however, I am going to post the backlog of stuff that has been piling up on here. I am going to be productive, I am going to get things done. I will be useful, I promise.

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Long Distance Love.

I always love when I meet someone new for the first time and invariably, somehow, the subject of Mr Newly and I will come up— normally when they see my ring and comment on how unusual it is and ask the usual polite questions such as ‘when are we getting married’ and ‘how long have we been together’ arise.

And while I’m happily chatting away the other person will often stop whatever they were doing, turn to stare at me and ask how long have we been doing this? And the refuse to believe such a thing can happen.

If you ask me I will tell you it’s been six years since we started this whole adventure. If you ask him he’ll probably tell you it’s been about four, but don’t listen to him, his memory isn’t what it used to be (which is precisely why he needs me). Technically speaking however we’ve spent about…two years maybe…together. That’s if you add up all the snatched weeks and months where we’ve managed to be in the same continent as the other. Two years if we round the numbers up, out of six. And my mother thought we were rushing into things, hah.

I will be the first to admit it’s a really bizarre situation we’re in. We’re both by nature logical people, and sometimes I will stop in the middle of what I am doing and wonder at the whole thing. I’ve known people who broke up after six weeks because their significant other moved an hour away for work. I’ve had friends that moaned that they only ever got to see their partner four days out of the week. And while I’ve been outwardly sympathetic towards their self perceived plights, I confess, I don’t really get their issue. Don’t get me wrong I’m not heartless. I’ve stood in airports breaking my heart because the idea of not seeing John again for six months or even a year has been a painful prospect filled with loneliness. But in the end we’ve just gotten on with it.

I’d say we had no choice but we did, we had a choice between walking away from a difficult situation and never speaking again, or we had the choice to stay together. And for me at least, the prospect of enduring the separation, was the easier choice than the idea of never seeing him again. Even in the early days when my brain was still telling me this was quite possibly the dumbest thing I’d ever done, normally when I was about to board a fourteen hour flight —and let it be known right here and now I have an absolute TERROR of flying—I still didn’t want to entertain the notion of a future that didn’t have him in it.

I’m not a terribly big believer in the idea of one true love, but I do believe in soul mates (plural) and kindred souls, and I feel personally that the fact that we are still together after all this time confirms some of this belief. It can’t all be biology and hormones, there’s no evolutionary advantage to our situation after all, if the human species had started out the way we had in terms of finding a mate then I dare say we wouldn’t have lasted very long as a species.

So on Friday when the first year student I was talking to informed me she’d broken up with her boyfriend because he’d moved to the other side of Glasgow and the distance was too far and she was devastated, part of my brain short circuited.

If you confess that you love someone, and you really truly mean it, distance has no meaning. None. Zilch, nadda. It might make things slightly more complicated than before, but if you love that person, the decision is yours, you can choose to go on loving them, or you can choose to let go. And while it’s always sad to let go of love, it was your choice. Don’t blame time, or distance or socks lying on the floor. Hold your hands up and say you made a choice, because that is exactly what you have done. Sometimes the other person will make that decision for you, and that’s when it perhaps hurts the most, but don’t tell me it’s impossible to go on loving someone because they moved an hour away, as though love is something finite that can run out the farther you stretch it. Love in all its forms is infinite, so long as you make the choice to keep on giving it.

I didn’t say that to her of course, it’s not exactly a sermon you deliver when the basis of your interaction is you serving them coffee, but it’s the same thoughts that run through my head whenever someone comments on how difficult our situation is, and how they don’t know how we’ve managed it.

Maybe it’s because we’re both stubborn and independent people. Maybe that combined with a good sense of practicality and trust is what has gotten us through these last six years. But ultimately it was a choice. And it’s a choice we continue to make every day, and will hopefully continue to make for many more years.

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When you’re planning a wedding, there’s a lot of Things involved. Like dresses, cake, music, flowers— making sure you haven’t sat your mum’s Aunt May next to your dad’s Aunt Mary because of that thing that was said twenty years before you were born and they still haven’t managed to resolve the issue and a polite conversation between them is liable to set the table linen on fire.

I told you we should have gone with the other seating plan but noooooo

I’m kidding. I don’t have a great Aunt May or a great Aunt Mary, though I’ll be surprised if something doesn’t combust spontaneously. And a little bit disappointed if it doesn’t. (Dear Friends of both the Bride and Groom, that is not an open invitation to play with matches, it is not spontaneous if you do it.)

But regardless of imaginative great aunts and updating the wedding insurance to cover fire, there are a lot of THINGS that you need to plan for that wouldn’t normally feature into a normal conversation. Like ever. And I’m getting tired of THINGS. WHY ARE THERE SO MANY THINGS?!

I had a conversation with a florist wherein she quoted me £200 for a bridal bouquet. And then when I had the same conversation but using a different name because I’m a sneaky bride to be, I was quoted £40, for the exact same flowers, arrangement and decorations. Except this was just for an “occasion” and not a wedding, and therefore not subject to some law of the wedding universe that dictates that if you’re not bankrupting you, your partner and your respective families, you’re somehow not doing it properly.

And for my next trick…uh…no one move, the rabbit got out…

Which is not to say that I begrudge spending money on nice things, just that the shovel and seeds from the garden store were cheaper and I’m sure my father will forgive me eventually for digging up the front lawn.

But maybe I was doing it wrong, I thought. Maybe I was letting myself be scared off by people spotting a bride with no clue as to what she was doing and thinking they could take every last shiny penny I had in exchange for the ideal of a perfect wedding day. Which was why my mother went to the library and kindly borrowed some books for me about how to plan for a wedding, and I dutifully read them.

And then dismissed them entirely because quite frankly I found them insulting to Common Sense and Human Decency. If anything they were worse than the woman in the florist shop.

“Five things brides often forget to pack for their honeymoon: Toothbrush, underwear, money, cell phone, keys.”

Really? Who the hell forgets their phone? Keys fine, toothbrush fine, maybe even money and your underwear but your phone? Pschaw, I think you underestimate this bride. It’ll be sewn into a pocket in my knickers. If I remember them. Which judging from the helpfully provided statistics telling me that 9 out of 10 brides do get these things wrong I’ll probably be wearing them on my head.

And probably just as happy looking.

“Remember, it’s YOUR special day,” —And let me just stop THAT particular sentiment right there.

“It’s YOUR special day” or it’s “MY special day” are the words I keep hearing, over and over again like a sacred mantra being uttered as a ward against consequences for actions. It’s MY special day, so I get to pitch a fit because I wanted my veil to be sewn by blind nuns in the moonlight, and these nuns were only very near sighted and it was OVERCAST.

I can’t watch wedding programmes any more, they make me want to hurt people. Every time I witness a tantrum of some sort involving table settings, and the difference between cerise and cherry-red and dresses that cost more than most people have to live on in a year, I want to shake them until they realise they have so much to be thankful for. Like someone who loves them, friends, family and a means to pay for a ridiculous wedding when there’s people out there who have nothing but still manage to survive because materialism isn’t everything.

Because being stressed and upset is totally a good excuse for being rude and obnoxious—have fun!

It’s the same when I walk into a wedding shop just to have a look at things, and when the woman behind the counter finds out I don’t yet have a colour plan or a wedding dress she will inevitably lapse into a seizure, cogs, springs and gears jettisoning from her ears as she repeats the same twisted phrase like a wind up parrot toy about to reach terminal vapidity.


Even my family are starting to do it, as they worry and fret that I only have NINE MONTHS left to find a dress. Because, y’know, nine months is practically next week. I mean who cares that the important things like the registrar and the venue are booked and paid for, it’s your SHOES Fiona, something’s got to be done about your SHOES. And your hair, and your make up, and a band, and training swans to firewalk or something else just as unnecessary and ridiculous as everything else feels right now because good-googily-moogily if one more person uses the word PERFECT to describe anything materialistic I’m going to turn up in a pair of rhinestone Doc Marten boots and a hazmat suit because it’s my special day and I’ll do what I want.

Which if you ask me would look rather apocalyptic dandy.
Which come to think of it is probably why no one asks me anything any more.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m weird and I just don’t get it and never will.

Maybe I’m just not a Cinderella and more of Leia. Maybe it’s because I never really seriously thought about wedding things until John proposed. And maybe it’s because my overriding thought about the whole concept at the time was, and still is, we’re getting married.

And that’s perfect.

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Shiny things.

I know this isn’t a real update, but I just wanted to post this because it’s KIND of an update. It’s the prelude to the actual update I am planning for over the long weekend which I have been praying for for months, I’m so tired.

I got Optimal Sparkle Pink Shine resized the other night, to a quarter of her original size. She is now the size of a five pence piece. For you American folk, that’s the size of a dime.

And while I always knew I had small hands—Holy Mother of Sparkly Pink Batman, my hands really are tiny!



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An update and congratulations.

To say that it’s been a busy last few weeks would be an understatement so grave you’d need to be an undertaker to comprehend it. Or a Shakespearean clown from Hamlet. Literary jokes aside, it’s been BUSY around here to the point where I think I’ve forgotten what sleep is. It’s that thing you do when you’re dead right? Right.

That is not to say it hasn’t been an enjoyable last few weeks. Since the last time we posted I’m pretty certain I’ve found our band, a dress designer and a whole host of other things which apparently go in to making a wedding. I also went to see the place where we’re 99.9999% going to be getting married in, on the day where they were preparing for a wedding. And while  I may or may not have squealed a bit out loud, the inside of my head however was a white noise of excitement.

And then this week, I paid (part of) the registrar fee, securing our date and booking. Which I really did squeal over when I opened up the letter and read the confirmation that yes, Mr Newly and I are registered to get married in May of next year. After what will be nearly six years of never having a timeline, we’re getting married next year.


Which of course you will all be cordially invited to in due course. But we can’t really do that until we settle on a theme for our invitations. I had to pause the other day when Mr Newly told me his family were asking if we’d decided on a colour scheme, and I turned my head away from the screen and eyed the contents of my desk, trying to find a common colour they could all be classed under for a theme before deciding resolutely on one thing.

“Awesome” might not be a colour, but it’s definitely our theme.

Anyway, there wasn’t much else to this blog other than to tell you that things are moving along nicely 🙂 We are still composing our guides on “what to do in Scotland”, specifically Glasgow which is where the wedding is being held, but the task has proved to be rather more monumental than either of us previously expected, and we want to give you as much accurate information as possible, as well as lots of fun things to look at as well, which is why I’ve started to document various little things in the form of picture essays which I will also be posting here. So stay tuned folks, we’ll hopefully be back to posting on a regular basis. Just as soon my head stops spinning.

Oh yes, one more thing. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate my good friend Susan, and her new husband Stephen on their marriage, 12th of April 2012. Thank you, so much for inviting me to your special day, the whole event was beautiful, the bride especially so.  And I especially liked your Star Wars music in the church, but then, you knew I would 😉  Both John and I wish you a lifetime of love and happiness together. From one Geeky couple to another, May the Force be with you, and the stars shine brightly on the end of your road ♥

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What the Heck is there to do in Scotland?!: Glasgow Part 01

Seen as how for many of you our wedding is a good excuse to finally take that one vacation you always wanted to take to the UK, we thought it would be nice for us to use this outlet to supply you with all with tourist information and some of our favorite things to do in Scotland.

So what is the biggest tourist draw to Glasgow? Well there’s lots of things, from good food, good bars, museums and lots of other culture, but the city is also known for being one of the most vibrant retail experiences in Europe. That’s right–  Shopping!

There’s lots of unique and interesting places to do your shopping, in the city centre, but  the place where everyone ends up is always Buchanan Street.

Black and White pictures add an air of sophistication to this post. Also, you need to look UP to see the street signs on the side of buildings so if you ever get lost look up!

Buchanan street is a pedestrianized city road that is lined with shops, starting in the north with the concert hall and the Buchanan Galleries Shopping Centre, which Fiona tells me is currently being refurbished to be twice it’s original size.  You can walk all the way down to the other shopping centre, St Enoch Square and in between there is Princess Square.

Full Length of Buchanan Street

Buchanan Street's Location in the city

There is easy access to the area with the Queen Street Station and the Buchanan Bus Stop to the north and the underground Subway in between.


This is a great place to go exploring and buy stuff and see some of the cultural attractions that seem to randomly appear in the street, ranging from your average teenage guitar player to Irish drumming bands having a dance off and even Native American performers as well.

And apparently the Doctor likes to appear every now and then and do some shopping as well.

~vrom vrom vrom vrom~

If you know me, you will know I love to stuff my face with food so I would like to point out our two favorite restaurants on Buchanan Street.

Kimble’s is a wonderful little chocolate shop on the second floor of St Enoch Shopping Centre.  Did I mention they also have a cafe? no, well they do, and their lunches are amazing.  I could not find their menu online (come on guys it’s 2012 already) but they serve a selection or sandwiches, toasties, paninis, soups, salads and lots of other things too.  A great variety for a nice Lunch.

Kimble's Cafe on St Enoch Square

They also  have Luxury Hot Chocolate that they makes themselves, and you can buy the kits from their counter. Ranging in flavors from Regular, Caramel, Strawberry…. well the list goes on for awhile.  Seriously check these guys out, they have a great shop.

Our other favorite restaurant is Dino’s.  It is a nice little Italian restaurant on the north side of Buchanan Street, in fact there are a lot of great Italian restaurants all over Glasgow but anyways,  I love it cause well I am a sucker for good Italian food, and Miss Blogger likes it cause everytime I run off to the bathroom the waiter comes over and flirts with her.

Eating at Dino's will blur your face off

We will be adding a LOT more tourist information over the time building up to the wedding so stay tuned for even more information on what to do and where to do it in Scotland.

Oh and here are some website references so you guys can look these places up for yourself, and never underestimate the power of google maps.

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Engagement ring.

A couple of friends on Facebook have asked for some close ups of my ring, so here she is— Optimal Sparkle Pink Shine! (Yes, my ring has a name that sounds like a crossover between Transformers and My Little Pony, because friendship is magic and that’s how autobots roll.*)

She's a 14k white gold band, with an oval pink (natural, though since I got her the store have moved on to lab-created pink sapphires as they are "shinier") sapphire at the centre, flanked by two round cut diamonds on either side of the (heart shaped) setting, with a further three diamonds set in the channel. There's also two small diamonds on the inside that separate the inscription. And I don't think I've worn anything so sparkly in all my life.

Part of the inscription, and the two inner stones. You can also get a good look at the heart setting which I love. The band is nowhere near as shiny as that now thanks to general wear and the soft nature of white gold, though I'll hopefully get her redipped when I get her resized and bring back some of the shine, or better yet, dipped in a platinum alloy coating which lasts 18 months, as opposed to rhodium which is 6-12 months and doesn't scratch.

The inscription reads, "past", "present", and "future" complimenting the setting of the ring which is typically favoured for eternity ring styles.

I really love the hue of the natural sapphire stone at the centre. I'm a bit of a girly girl when it comes to things that are pink and red, so a pink engagement ring was perfect.

And there she was today all shiny on my finger. Currently held in place with the help of a plastic wrap from Claire's Accessories as the ring is two sizes too big since I got it, and metal inserts from the jeweller don't keep her on. So there's a good tip ladies, for both UK and US, Claire's Accessories £3 and they don't scratch your ring like the metal ones do!

 And that’s Optimal Sparkle Pink Shine folks!

*Yes I’m sober.**
**Yes that may be what is wrong with me.

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The one ring to rule them all…wait what?

So because people have been asking, and my retelling doesn’t really do it justice, here’s the pictures I took of Mr Newly’s marriage proposal which happened five hours before I had to leave the US and head back home to Scotland. I was ready to be miserable for the whole morning and instead woke up to find this inside my netbook, so here we have it, wedding proposal complete with narrative—play along!

Huh…well he’s done weirder things lesse… oh I know mirror!

aha! Right behind the Nyquil.

When I saw the words “letter horde” I turned to regard the horror that is the ever growing mountain of his unopened mail that takes up an entire corner of our apartment. But then I read the rest of it and was much relieved to find that he was referring to my Elf Hunter on Lord of the Rings, and not the household objects I implement as weapons to fight the Monsters that live under the mail. So, to the keyboard!

Which is filthy! I’m sorry! And also devoid of a clue, but lets see what is underneath…

“Oven doesn’t rhyme with any of that!”


“Ooooh! I see

At which point I booted him out of the kitchen where he’d taken up refuge making breakfast, having found that I’d discovered the first clue and promptly getting out of my way.



*Three layers of books removed from the top shelf and pages flipped through later*

: O !!

: D

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Meet the Newly Bloggers

Hello everyone, welcome to our blog!  Where we are going to be documenting the build up to our wedding, all the excitement, fun, trials, arguments, battles with immigrations, fist fights, expensive plane rides (walking into Mordor)… . .  .  all the Joy this wedding is going to bring us!

For those of us who do know us, glad you could join us, for those of you who don’t know us, hi and allow us to introduce ourselves.

Mr Newly, also known as “Boything”, “The American” and sometimes by “John” as well, was born and currently lives in St Paul Minnesota in the US of A where by day he masquerades as a construction worker in the Electrical Union. But by night takes his true form as the Detective, possessing an intolerable wit and sharp personality— an all-round classy fellow who any girl would be lucky to have. He’s also modest. If you couldn’t tell.

Saving the best for second, we have Miss Blogger, often known in the blogsphere as “Joy” and various other notorious aliases, and “Fiona” to her friends and family

thought preferably “Fi” for short. Miss Blogger was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland where she works hard providing caffeine fixes for students at the city university in order to pay the bills, and in every other waking moment aspires to become the next big thing in literature, hordes pretty red shoes and obsesses over polka dots and all things vintage.  When you first meet her you will be struck down by her beauty, (flatterer), then when you’ve recovered, dumb struck by her charm and elegance, (*eyebrow raise*) and finally for a third time when you take a look, find the most intelligent and humorous woman you’re ever liable to meet.  (… :D )

Together they form the A-Team… . .  .  sorry wrong internal narrative—together they form the Newly Bloggers! the geekiest, craziest, and cutest couple ever. Okay maybe not quite, but we do come close.

Attack of the Double Duck Face! O_<

And we’d like to invite you on the next exciting stage of our lives as we continue what we started some years ago, transforming our transatlantic relationship, into a same continent marriage.

We’re excited.  We hope you are too ❤

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