A-Z of Romance: F is for Forever

Yup. Forever and eternity. Until death us do part.

Of course you don’t have to get married to stay together, but let’s face it, there is nothing more romantic than publicly declaring your eternal love for each other. So whether you get married, elope, have a hand fasting, or simply throw an extravagant party – swapping vows of eternal love is possibly the ultimate romantic sentiment.


Hand Fasting or Hand Tying is a ceremony to celebrate your love, but is not legally binding in the same sense that a marriage is.

If you choose not to get married, you can still use rings to symbolise your promise to each other. Eternity rings are traditionally given on the birth of your first child, but they could equally be given during a promise ceremony. I also know couples who are not married in the traditional sense, but have changed their names by deed poll.

Don’t forget to throw a party afterwards – everyone likes a party! You don’t have to go all out with the expensive hotel, top quality food, and table favours. A BBQ in the back garden can be just as romantic, as can a buffet in your local pub. However you declare and celebrate your love should reflect on your personality.

Personally, neither my husband or I are particularly religious. However, we are very traditional and wanted to get married. We decided to have a civil service at Sherborne Castle in Dorset for our closest family and friends, followed by a larger party (and by larger, I mean louder with alcohol) at the Manor Hotel in Yeovil. It suited us, and our budget. We did a lot of it on the cheap, including using IKEA and eBay to find things like tealights and table favours, making most of the decorations ourselves with the help of our family.

My husband then bought me an eternity ring on the birth of our daughter. Unfortunately he wouldn’t buy me a second when I had our son – apparently one eternity is more than enough for him!

Romance doesn’t have to be hearts, flowers and a big white meringue-style dress though. Romance could be eloping to some exotic island, or your favourite village in Wales. You could decide to make your solemn promise, just you and your other half on a mountain in Scotland. However you do it, there truly is nothing more romantic than declaring your love. Forever.

What does it take to open a bookshop?

I have been self-employed for nearly 5 years as a freelance writer. Unfortunately it doesn’t bring in enough to support a family, and while my husband does work full-time, he would like to pursue a career as a self-employed photographer. Our son is due to start school in September, and so the subject of me going back to work has cropped up a number of times. But, I don’t like the idea of going to work for someone else so have been looking at other options. One of these options includes opening my own bookshop.

Now this is where all my Indie friends decide they hate me. You know that person who only buys books from Amazon, WH Smiths, Waterstones or eBay, charity shops and carboot sales? Yeah… That’s me… Sorry!! However, I do know that Indie bookshops in my area are few and far between, and most of those that are around only sell second-hand, antique, or Christian related books. So getting my brand new contemporary romance in there, well… It ain’t happening. There are a few nearby, but you’re talking 5 miles and a drive to find them. (I know 5 miles doesn’t sound all that far, but when you live in the back end of beyond…) All of this is why I ask the question: “What does it take to open a bookshop in the UK?”

I know the basics of self-employment and running your own business thanks to a college course in business management, and having spent the past 5 years filling in self-employment forms, sorting out tax, and dealing with HMRC. But what about the cost of running a bookshop? That’s where I come unstuck. I have no funds that I am able to risk, which is a big part of starting a new business. Risk. Will it work? Won’t it? And that’s where the next list of questions come from.

I am hopeless at sales. I couldn’t sell toffee to children. There is a reason I only lasted a few days in a sales office before being moved to customer services. I am crap. When it comes to retail sales, I’m fine, but selling myself to the public, or a business idea to a bank manager… Nah. Thankfully I have a husband who is good at sales so I suppose I could use him… I digress.

Time. Do I have time? Yes and no. I’m a busy Mum, with children who do afterschool clubs, and I volunteer for the local Rainbows group as part of the Girl Guiding Association. But during the day I’m free. Almost. Plus, if I was in a bookshop with access to a laptop then at least I can write during the quiet periods. That’s the theory anyway.

Looks like I already know the basics of what is required. So I guess the true question is: “Where do I find the funds from?!”