1. Giles and Michelle Paley-Phillips have kept a rather lovely record of their relationship so far.
2. In October 2000 the pair took a picture together in a photoboth a month after they had started dating. Afterwards they decided to repeat the process every year.
(From left to right: 2000 to 2002.)
Picture 1 - Giles was 23 and Michelle 18. The former told Rex news agency: “This photo was taken when we’d only been seeing each other about a month and I remember feeling really nervous; I already felt she was ‘the one’, though I didn’t dare admit it to either of us.”
Picture 2 - “We were now very much in love. We really knew each other inside out, and had found deep similarities between us that had created a real bond, my mum died from leukaemia when I was six and my dad two weeks before I turned 21. Michelle’s dad died when she was 14. So we understood the pain of losing a parent at a young age and that helped us understand each other. We both felt more content and loved than ever before.”
Picture 3 - “By now we were married. I loved having a picture with my ‘wife’. We had had a small ceremony with a big after party, in Lewes, we both remember clearly that at the end of the day, our jaws were aching from smiling so much, it felt very special and exciting. We felt as if we’d been together for many years and knew it was right.”
3. 2003 to 2005.
Picture 4 - Giles said: “I played the guitar in a band around this time, doing lots of gigs, as well as working part-time in a toy shop and Michelle was doing an HND course at college in interior design. We both felt very supportive of each other’s ambitions, it felt like we could do anything.”
Picture 5 - “This shot came at a big moment for me; I was playing a gig in London for a big showcase event and we’d gone up together as Michelle had come to watch me. The gig went well but what I remember most is Michelle telling me how proud she was of me because I was trying to do something I loved.”
Picture 6 - At this point Giles’ band had unfortunately split up. He added: “We didn’t argue with each other but it was a difficult time as it had been such a big part of both our lives and the first time we had to deal with an external event that impacted our lives, but somehow it helped to solidify the strong bond we had.”
4. 2006 to 2008.
Picture 7 - Giles reveals: “The most momentous photobooth moment for me, knowing that it was our last one with just the two of us. Michelle was three months pregnant and we knew life would never be the same again.”
Picture 8 - “This photo was taken one our first night out alone together since the birth of Elijah. I remember literally running into the photo booth for this when I spotted it outside a supermarket.”
Picture 9 - “18-month-old Elijah makes his debut in the booth!” Giles says at this point he had been made redundant from the toy shop but with Michelle’s encouragement had signed up for an Open University course. Around this time the pair also discovered they were having a second child.
5. 2009 to 2011.
Picture 10 - “Now with the arrival of Sonny our family feels complete,” Giles said. “I had also just passed another major milestone in my life, as my first children’s book was about to be published. The Fearsome Beastie, which was inspired by our children’s love of monsters. So I am now a man, an author, and a father. My world had changed, but of course Michelle was always there with me, my constant.”
Picture 11 - “We both look tired out, which we were. Having two sons under four has its challenges, as they were both extremely lively and adventurous. Michelle, like many mums, was trying to work out what to do when the children started school, I was determined to support her, this was her time now, after so many years looking after me and the children, and I was trying to encourage her to do whatever she wanted.”
Picture 12 - They [the children] were in that brilliant stage of developing their own opinions; I’ll never forget that period, when every morning they would sit at the breakfast table discussing their toilet habits, dinosaurs and asking where babies come from. Michelle was now working at a bookshop and studying design with the Open University.”
6. 2012 to 2013.
Picture 13 - “I’ve finally allowed my grey hair to come through having experimented with lots of different colours in the years before.” At this stage Giles has also had several more children’s books published, with one winning an award. He also had another job, working with a local charity.
Picture 14 - “All the things Michelle and I used to wish for and dream about are here. I finally feel like we’re all where we were meant to be and Michelle is still by my side. Though of course I knew when she agreed to that first photobooth snap. And I think when she agreed to pose, she was agreeing to start a future with me.”
Last year Michelle had a job with a design company and one of Giles’ books was being made into an animation with Brian Blessed and Alison Steadman. The couple also bought a new car and are moving out of their flat into a new house.