On this day in 1997, two nervous teenagers met at Cardiff bus station for their first date: The Full Monty at Queen Street Odeon. Twenty years later and a long way from home - confidence has been gained, hair has been lost, but they're still very much in love.
Louise: I was just 16 in Year 11 when my life changed forever. My friend - Other Louise - had been working with Gareth at Redlands News and never stopped talking about him at school. She insisted she didn't fancy him (nobody believed her) and I was intrigued, so I hatched a plan!
Gareth: I was nearly 18 with a mouthful of cola bottles when my life changed forever. The phone rang at work, so Other Louise answered. It was Louise. We weren't busy, so I stood there eavesdropping on girly talk. For reasons still unknown, I decided to start stapling my hair.
Louise: I had been willing Gareth to answer the phone, so when Other Louise shouted "Gar, what are you doing?!" and told me about his inappropriate stapler usage, I took my chance. Taking a deep breath and summoning all my courage, I asked her to put him on the phone.
Gareth: "Why were you stapling your hair?" was the first thing she said to me. I didn't really know, and her gorgeous Barry accent distracted me further. My hesitation amused her and she showed off that laugh for the first time. Then I finally managed to say "hello".
Louise: I wasn't anywhere near as confident as he thought. I don't really know how I managed to be so forward. But Gareth was soon in full flow. Funny, knowledgable about music, working towards Journalism school. I thought he was so cool and fancied him immediately!
Gareth: That voice. That laugh. The way she didn't mock my love of Status Quo. I fancied her immediately! We spoke for hours, as if we'd known each other for years. I got no work done that afternoon. As it got near to closing time, we swapped numbers and I promised to call later.
Louise: He made me promise that I would answer the phone when he called! We spoke every day for a week and I was falling for him more and more. I was so obsessed that my Mum gave me the money for the 20 mile bus journey from Rhoose to Penarth to meet him. But I didn't tell him!
Gareth: I had been to Heathrow to meet my parents from New Zealand, then stayed up all night watching the breaking news about Michael Hutchence. I was knackered and scruffy arriving at work, but I noticed a girl in the shop in the tightest brown trousers. "Nice arse" I thought.
Louise: "He's here!" whispered Other Louise. I already had butterflies but there was a whole swarm of them by now. I daren't look around, so I kept my back to the window and tried to keep breathing. Why did I think this was a good idea?!
Gareth: I was surprised that Brown Trousers was still in the shop once I arrived behind the counter. But it gave me a chance to admire the front view too. "This is Louise" said Other Louise. My legs turned to jelly. "Oh, hello!" I said, sounding like a Welsh Frankie Howerd.
Louise: He was gorgeous. I could totally understand why Other Louise absolutely, categorically DID NOT fancy him! He looked so cool in a grey jumper and jeans, a bit of stubble and those sideburns. And so tall too. I was so overcome that I couldn't speak. So I just stared.
Gareth: She was gorgeous. The thoughts in my head: "I wish I'd had a shave." "I wish I'd worn a shirt." Above all, "I wish I could speak." Then an overwhelming urge to down a one litre carton of orange juice led me to the fridge.
Louise: He walked past me to the fridge, the smell of his CK One making me melt. He helped himself to a huge orange juice, ripped the tab off and downed it in one. That was it. I'd have done anything for him at that point, and I still would. Our Diet Coke moment.
Gareth: "I needed that!" It was certainly an ice-breaker. "So, do you want to come behind the counter?" I asked with new-found confidence. She nodded, then after staring at each other's reflections in the window for a while, we spent the afternoon talking like old friends.
Louise: Time flew by so quickly, as it so often did from then on, and it was soon time for me to catch the bus back home. Gareth walked me to the bus stop. I so wanted him to kiss me, but he did the next best thing and asked me out on a date the following Saturday. I said yes.
Gareth: I so wanted to kiss her but my brain had stopped functioning. I knew I had nothing to lose by asking her out. We lived miles apart and went to different schools. But she said yes! I went home and told my friend, "I'm going on a date next week and I'm going to have SEX!"
Louise: The week before our first date dragged. My friends wound me up something rotten, speculating about all the things that were likely to happen. By the time Saturday came around, I was a nervous wreck. But eventually it was time for me to get on that X91 bus to Cardiff.
Gareth: All thoughts of sex had left my head by the Saturday. I could barely walk to the bus stop. The P2 bus got me into Cardiff fifteen minutes early and I headed to the A1 stand at Cardiff bus station. There was something in the air that day, and it wasn't the public toilets.
Louise: I saw Gareth standing there as the bus pulled into the stand. There were the butterflies again! He hugged me as soon as I got off the bus and we were holding hands by the time we crossed the road at Big Astey's. I don't think I let go for the rest of the day.
Gareth: We walked around some shops before the cinema, but I was in a nervous haze. Next thing I remember was following the Barney footprints through the cinema to the Full Monty screen. We sat in the back row and I eventually summoned the courage to put my arm around Louise.
Louise: I remember You Sexy Thing but next thing I knew, I was staring at a still image of five naked men. He put his arm around me! That's all that mattered, I couldn't remember the rest of the film.
Gareth: We walked arm in arm out of the cinema and I thought I'd show off by inviting her to Coopers, my favourite bar (even though we were both, ahem, underage). They had a Crystal Maze machine!
Louise: The reality of dating an older boy was hitting me. I felt so grown up! When he asked me what I wanted to drink, I said the first thing that came into my head. "I'll have a Hooch please."
Gareth: I was doubly nervous now. Firstly, I was with a girl. Secondly, I had to hope that the barman didn't embarrass me by asking for ID. He didn't. Like most people, he thought I was about 30. I ordered the Hooch, then for some reason ordered a Bud for myself. I hated Bud!
Louise: I was slightly alarmed about the look of disgust on Gareth's face as he sipped his drink, but he soon explained that he was simply getting a bit pissed. So was I. When he told me that he wanted to ask me something, I concentrated really hard and waited. Then waited more.
Gareth: It took me about twenty minutes to find the words, but I eventually blurted them out. "Will you be my girlfriend?" Louise gasped, then replied, "I need to think about it."
Louise: I didn't need to think about it. I could have kicked myself. It was the first thing that came out of mouth. WHY DID I SAY THAT?! After five minutes of Gareth staring at me, I finally said "YES!" and we hugged.
Gareth: It was soon time to put Louise back on the bus. We walked arm-in-arm back to the station and I held her close to keep her warm, trying to imagine what she was thinking.
Louise: Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me, kiss me.
Gareth: Did she want me to kiss her? Should I just go for it? Should I ask permission first? What was she thinking?!
Louise: Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me, kiss me.
Gareth: As Louise's bus came around the corner, the Bud kicked in and I suddenly found some confidence. I kissed her. She kissed me back. We kissed until she was the last person to get on the bus. The perfect end to the day. I saw no reason we shouldn't be together forever.
Louise: It was the perfect kiss at the perfect time. I wanted the moment to go on longer. Our chemistry was intense. Why could the bus not have turned up late for once?! I had no doubt that this was the boy for me, and there was no reason we shouldn't be together forever.
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Saturday, November 25, 2017
An index page to help you navigate through all of our Christmas content.
Amii Grove - Christmas Photoshoot
Amy Childs - Star - Christmas Photoshoot
Arnold Schwarzenegger - Christmas Photoshoot
Catherine Bach - Christmas Photoshoot
Chantelle Houghton & Rav Wilding - OK! - Christmas Photoshoot
Gemma Atkinson - Christmas Photoshoot
Jennifer Ellison - Christmas Photoshoot
Jo Guest - Christmas Photoshoot - Loaded Magazine - January 1996
Keeley Hazell - Christmas Photoshoot
Kimberly Wyatt & Adam Garcia - OK! - Christmas Photoshoot, Interview & Got To Dance Advert
Lucy Pinder - Christmas Photoshoot
Lucy Pinder & Jordan (Katie Price) - Christmas Photoshoot
Lucy Pinder & Michelle Marsh - Christmas Photoshoot
Lucy Pinder & Michelle Marsh - Christmas Photoshoot #2
Mark Wright - Star - Christmas Photoshoot
Nell McAndrew - Christmas Photoshoot #1
Nell McAndrew - Christmas Photoshoot #2
Nell McAndrew - Christmas Photoshoot #3
Nikki Sanderson - Christmas Photoshoot
Pixie Lott - Turn It Up Louder - Photoshoot
Sam Faiers - Photoshoot Collection
Sarah Michelle Gellar - Wallpaper Collection #1
The Saturdays - Star - Christmas Photoshoot
Stacy Keibler - Christmas Photoshoot
Tulisa Contostavlos - OK! - Christmas Photoshoot
Candids & Live Performance Shots
Faith Hill - Photoshoots, Candids & Live Performance Shots Collection
Status Quo - Quid Pro Quo Tour - Cardiff International Arena - December 10th, 2010 - Live Performance Shots
Promos & Stills
The 12 Dates Of Christmas - Stills
Bad Santa - Promos & Stills Collection
Call Me Mrs Miracle - Promos & Stills
Cancel Christmas - Promos & Stills Collection
Cartoons At Christmas
Cedar Cove - Christmas 2013 - Stills
Christmas Cupid - Promos & Stills Collection
The Christmas Ornament - Promos & Stills Collection
Deck The Halls - Promos & Stills Collection
Desperate Housewives - Season Three Episode Ten - The Miracle Song - Stills Collection
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman - Promos, Stills & Production Shots Collection
Doctor Who - The Snowmen - Christmas Special 2012 - Promos & Stills Collection
Doctor Who - The Time Of The Doctor - Christmas Special 2013 - Promos
Eight Below - Promos & Stills Collection
Gilmore Girls - Christmas Stills
Glee - Season Two Episode Ten - A Very Glee Christmas - Stills Collection
Hart Of Dixie - Promos & Stills Collection
Hawaii Five-O - Promos & Stills Collection
He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special - Stills Collection
Helen Flanagan - Coronation Street - Christmas Promos
Help For The Holidays - Promos & Stills Collection
Hitched For The Holidays - Promos & Stills Collection
The Holiday - Promos Collection
Holiday In Handcuffs - Promos & Stills Collection
Home Alone - Promos & Stills Collection
It's A Wonderful Life - Stills Collection
It's Christmas, Carol! - Promos & Stills Collection
Jessie - Promo & Stills
Jingle All The Way - Promos & Stills Collection
Jo Joyner - Eastenders - 2007 Christmas Promos
Jo Joyner & Jake Wood - Eastenders - 2012 Christmas Promos
Kym Marsh - Coronation Street - Christmas Promos
Let It Snow - Promos & Stills Collection
Little House On The Prairie - Promos & Stills Collection
Matchmaker Santa - Promos & Stills Collection
Mean Girls - Promos & Stills Collection
Miracle On 34th Street (1947) - Stills Collection
The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year - Promos & Stills Collection
Myleene Klass - The Great Christmas Toy Giveaway - Promos
Naughty Or Nice - Promos & Stills Collection
Noel - Stills Collection
A Princess For Christmas - Promos & Stills Collection
A Royal Christmas - Promos & Stills
Samantha Womack - Eastenders - 2007 Christmas Promos
Samia Smith - Coronation Street - Christmas Promos
The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause - Stills Collection
Tina O'Brien - Coronation Street - Christmas Promos
Two Guys And A Girl - Promos & Stills Collection
Victorious - Christmas Promo & Stills
White Christmas - Promos & Stills Collection
Yogi Bear - Promos & Stills Collection
Aly & AJ - Greatest Time Of Year (Music Video)
Aly & AJ - Greatest Time Of Year - Screen Captures
Cascada - Last Christmas (Music Video)
Cascada - Last Christmas - Screen Captures
Christmas Comes To Willow Creek
Christmas Comes To Willow Creek - VHS Screen Captures #1
Christmas Comes To Willow Creek - VHS Screen Captures #2
Christmas Comes To Willow Creek - VHS Screen Captures #3
Christmas Comes To Willow Creek - VHS Screen Captures #4
Christmas Comes To Willow Creek - VHS Screen Captures #5
Christmas Comes To Willow Creek - VHS Screen Captures #6
Christmas Comes To Willow Creek - VHS Screen Captures #7
Christmas Comes To Willow Creek - VHS Screen Captures #8
Kylie Minogue - Santa Baby - Top Of The Pops - Christmas 2000
Kylie Minogue - Santa Baby - Top Of The Pops - Christmas 2000 - Screen Captures
Liv And Maddie
Liv And Maddie - Season One Episode Ten - Fa La La La-A-Rooney - Screen Captures
M&S Christmas 2010 Advertisement
M&S Christmas 2010 Advertisement - Screen Captures
Mariah Carey - Michael Buble's 3rd Annual Christmas Special
Mariah Carey - Michael Buble's 3rd Annual Christmas Special - Screen Captures
Mean Girls - Screen Captures #5
Mean Girls - Screen Captures #6
Noel - Screen Captures #1
Noel - Screen Captures #2
Noel - Screen Captures #3
Noel - Screen Captures #4
Noel - Screen Captures #5
Noel - Screen Captures #6
Status Quo - Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas? (Music Video)
Status Quo - Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas? - Artwork & Screen Captures
Status Quo - Band Aid - Do They Know It's Christmas? - Top Of The Pops - Christmas 1984 - Screen Captures
Status Quo - It's Christmas Time (Music Video)
Status Quo - It's Christmas Time - Screen Captures
Wild Orchid - Merry Kris-Mix (Music Video)
Wild Orchid - Merry Kris-Mix - Screen Captures
Christmas With Prawn Cufflinks
Christmas With Prawn Cufflinks 2013
Virtual Christmas With Prawn Cufflinks 2013
Christmas Baking With Prawn Cufflinks 2013
Christmas In Cardiff 2014 - Step Into Christmas
Christmas In Cardiff 2014 - The Great Cardiff Bay Santa & Elf Dash
Christmas In Cardiff 2014 - Coca-Cola Truck
Christmas In Cardiff 2014 - Doctor Who Experience - Christmas Exhibition
Penarth Christmas Lights Switch-On 2014
Crafting With Prawn Cufflinks: Traditional Christmas Wreath
London Sightseeing - October 2015
Liverpool One - Christmas Switch-On - 13th November 2015
Sparkle In The Strand - Bootle - 14th November 2015
Manchester Christmas Lights Switch-On 2017 - Albert Square - 4th November 2017
Liverpool Christmas Lights Switch-On 2017 - Liverpool One - 9th November 2017
Bootle Christmas Lights Switch-On - Sparkle In The Strand - 11th November 2017
Southport Christmas Lights Switch-On - 19th November 2017
Kirkby Christmas Lights Switch-On - 23rd November 2017
Friday, November 24, 2017
Photos from the Christmas lights switch-on in Kirkby, Liverpool on 23rd November 2017. Entertainment was provided by N-Trance and Jedward amongst others, and ended with a spectacular firework display.
Prawn Cufflinks on eBay
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