Friday, 31 May 2013

The Language Trials & Tribulations of Being a Trans-Atlantic Couple! Part 2!

Tumblr has recently brought this piece of artwork to our attention and it reminded me of a post we did a while ago on our language differences! The post is here: Language Challenges!

But these pictures cover a few we missed.....

Now we definitely don't use all of these, but a good deal of them are an ongoing battle in our house as to who wins! We tend to decide to both use certain American or British terms, instead of us each using our own. For instance, Laura won on 'candy' instead of 'sweets', and Sarah won with 'cinema' instead of 'movie theatre'.





Laura also raised a point on Twitter today about how us Brits love to add a few extra letters into our place names just to cause confusion - High Wycombe is pronounced 'Wickham' instead of 'Why-comb-ee' which is how it looks, and L's example today:
I wonder if we'll ever get to a point where our language differences aren't a source of entertainment :)


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Date Night Review: Viva Forever and Planet Hollywood


Friday night brought with it our June date night (a little early!) and even though it was pouring with rain it has to be the cheesiest date night we've had!

We have a busy summer coming up, so budgets are tight and with this in mind we had been watching out for any 'cheap' deals that meant we could still make the most of good ole' London town without breaking the bank. I'm not sure if it was computer cookies were stalking my interests or some clever marketing but somehow Lastminute.com seemed to offer the perfect solution: discount dinner + West End show for £24 per person! It turns out they do the deal frequently for a variety of shows: Dinner and show options!

We went for dinner at Planet Hollywood, you get 2 courses as part of the deal, but the list of restaurants meant we could have chosen Italian, South Western, Thai or a Burger Bar. Our reservation was made when we booked through the website so it really was as simple as turning up at the time stated - 6.30 in our case.

On arrival at the restaurant we were greeted by a mass of tourists huddling under umbrellas peering in the window, we managed to make it through the front door and the greeter was quick to take our names and show us to our table. We had never been to Planet Hollywood in London before but I was expecting it to be like the one in DisneyLand Paris, crammed with life-sized models of famous film icons and covered in pictures of iconic scenes. Unfortunately the London version lacked any real 'wow' and unless you were on the top floor the most entertaining visuals were the tv screens blasting more cheese than was on the burgers! Perfect for me, not so perfect for Laura.

The speed of service was impressive - I went for the veggie burger and Laura went for the regular burger. Our 'theatre menu' was limited in choice between burgers and a pasta dish but to be fair, looking through the actual menu they are choices we would have probably made. In fact, looking at the prices our meal would have come to £30+ without the deal, and all we had to be pay for on the day was drinks! The deal was already worthwhile.

Dessert was 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream covered in strawberry sauce which although tasty was not particularly substantial - thankfully the main course had been. Seeing a break in the rain, we made a dash back towards Piccadilly Circus and the theatre to pick up our tickets. Again the process was simple, we found the box office and our tickets were waiting. We were in the stands and impressed at how easy this was turning out to be. We had only booked the deal 3 days before!


With 45 minutes to spare we thought we would pick up some interval sweets so headed to Trocadero, en route we passed Graeme Norton and were gutted that the rain meant he was in too much of a hurry to stop and take photos! We consoled ourselves at the pick and mix before heading back to the theatre.

The reason for picking Viva Forever was simple, the musical itself is closing in June, and what kind of a Spice Girls fan would I be if I missed the Spice Girls musical in my hometown?! I had read the not-so-kind reviews, I had played the albums over and over again and I had reminisced with Laura over the reunion show I went to a few years ago and it had helped us get in the mood but the time we took our seats we were buzzing.

I tried to put the reviews out of mind but with the opening song being a cringey version of Wannabe I was worried. Laura hadn't loved 'We Will Rock You' as they had done a terrible job of using Queen songs to convey a story and I was beginning to think this could go the same way. The crazy dancing, the overacting and bright colours were creating an overwhelming scene that took away from the song - I was hoping it got would get better - and quickly!

Thankfully it did. There were some odd song choices - album tracks you normally skip by to get to the 'hits' but they served a purpose and created a more cohesive story. Based on a talent show where the lead character has to drop her friends to make it, the show brings in the characters we all know - Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne and others. Our favourite was the assistant who had to #hashtag everything! It does make you think - what did we do before #hashtag :)

Source
As the play reached the interval it was improving - the hits had everyone singing along. The overacting by the younger cast members and the person who played Sharon did get a little irritating but we were impressed the made one of the girlier girls a lesbian (yay for representation and no-stereotyping!). It's like we've become gay-hunters and whenever a show/programme includes a gay character, we give it our seal of approval. It's not even intentional - it just happens that way.

The second half flew by and other than a scene bringing Laura's innocent understanding of Spice Girls songs to an end (what else could 'be a little bit wiser baby,  put it on' in 2 become 1 mean?!) we laughed and sung through most of it. By the end everyone was on their feet and we certainly left with a feel-good feeling.


It was certainly no high brow story but at the end of the day, no-one loved the Spice Girls for their high-brow entertainment - well we certainly didn't!


We've got the Lastminute.com linked saved for next time because we can honestly say it was the most well organised evening we've had in a while! And all for £24 per person - not bad at all!!

Monday, 27 May 2013

I'll Tell You What I Want, What I Really Really Want... My Innocence Back!

On our date night Friday we went to see Viva Forever, the Spice Girls Musical. We'll do another post on the actual date night but this post is more specifically about the Spice Girls and the generation gap it showed between us.

To explain this further - when the Spice Girls released Wannabe in 1996, Sarah, was 13 - prime target audience - and Laura was 8 years old! It meant that as we heard the Spice Girl hits, our interpretations about what the songs were about somewhat differed. Or, rather, Laura misunderstood a few of them in a way that made Sarah do the following on a night bus.

Cry-laughing so hard that the woman next to her asked if she was alright!!
Our conflicting understandings may have never been raised had a scene in Viva Forever not featured a bedroom scene where 2 become 1 was sung. So as S chuckled at the 'be a little bit wiser baby, put it on, put it on' line, Laura was left looking shocked. So below we have shared our explanations of a few of Spice Girls lyrics and what we each thought they were about!

Wannabe: 'I wanna huh, I wanna huh,  I wanna huh,  I wanna huh, I wanna really really really wanna zig-a-zig-ah'

Sarah: It's about being an independent, assertive woman who knows what she wants in a relationship and sex (I wanna huh, I wanna huh I wanna zig-a-zig-ah, with zig-a-zig-a meaning orgasm) and requires her friends to like her boyfriend. 

Laura: It's about a woman who thinks she knows what she wants but then when asked, she can't think of exactly what it is ('I want a...huh? I want a...huh? I want a...huh?'), so uses a distraction method so the man will have to figure it out instead ('I really really really really really want a....zig-a-zig-a?') - imagine my poor scarred mind when Sarah told me that zig-a-zig-a means orgasm!!!!!!!

2 Become 1: 'Be a little bit wiser, baby, put it on, put it on..'


Sarah: It's all about sex - safe sex - and the lyrics 'put it on' refers to the condom. I think the song even goes as far as 'wanna make love to ya'. 

Laura: I knew this song was about sex, but how disturbing that it is THAT graphic!! I thought 'Be a little bit wiser, baby' was saying maybe they should stop and think about this life-changing decision they were about to make, and 'put it on, put it on' were the brakes - perhaps because they were waiting until they were responsible adults. I don't know whether I'm more impressed that they managed a safe-sex ad in their song (these lyrics brought to you by Durex Play ;D ) or horrified that at 8-10 years old I was singing about a penis.

Say You'll Be There: 'I've given you everything, all that joy can bring, yes I swear, and all that I want from you is a promise you will be there'


Laura: This one I'm not so sure Sarah is right on - she's said the above lyrics about 'giving [him] everything' are once again referring to sex. What ho-y Spice Girls. But surely 'all that joy can bring' can also refer to, I don't know, a loving relationship, access to her bank account details, a tasteful tattoo of his face on her body? I think this song is just the plea of a well-meaning stalker. 

Lets just say Sarah may have just sexualised the Spice Girls for Laura - ooops! That's one scarred 8 year old!!

Are there any songs you've realised were super raunchy now that you're all grown up?


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Dear Conservative Party

I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would ever write a post about UK politics. But yet, here it is, in all its glory. In general I think British politics is a bit boring, to be honest - but I've been paying close attention due to the gay marriage debate ensuing lately, and something has really frustrated me.

So this is kind of an open letter, kind of a blog post, and super duper advice, to the Conservative party.

Dear Conservative party.

Pull your damn self together. You've known for a long time now that David Cameron wanted to introduce gay marriage to the UK - its not a recent surprise. So why the last minute party implosion? You're apparently worried about losing the ethnic minority vote, with their 'traditional values' - this is silly in itself, because in one breath you are criticising immigrants being in this country, but you're worried about their opinions? I'm not saying its right, just hypocritical. A good percentage of those minorities don't, or can't, even vote! So why are they more important than the quite large British gay community?

Not to mention, if you were going to lose the homophobic vote, you did it waaay back when Cameron announced he supported same-sex couples getting married. So instead of now fighting within your party, you should get behind him, and be part of bringing Britain into the future. Whether you agree with lgbt marriage or not, you must know that it will happen at some point - countries all over the world and US states are moving towards equality, so you might as well be on the right side of history

.
At the moment, you are losing everyone's vote - homophobes wouldn't vote for you because of the same-sex marriage law introduction, and, more importantly, the many, many people who would be more likely to vote for a party who support gay marriage (88% of 25-39 year olds, apparently) also wouldn't vote for you at the moment, because we couldn't trust that the whole party is on the right side!

Internal party arguing just divides your audience in half, which won't be good for any election results.

So please, get it together, get behind good ole' Davie C, and help bring the UK into the future.

Thanks.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Social Media – the new way

Recently, I have taken a step back to consider just how social media has changed my life and the scary fact is, it has had a huge impact. From the way I communicate, to what I communicate on, and to whom I communicate – everything has changed so much!

It wasn’t all that long ago that I was at university and the distance between my friends from school and I seemed huge. We grew apart and I have very few school friends left today. You could say part of that reason is because I was rubbish at staying in contact – true – but I think the distance meant we grew apart in other ways. We had less ways to stay in touch so we didn't. I made friends with people I saw regularly.

That’s not to say we lived in the dark ages, but our main way of staying in touch was email or text. Facebook was just coming into play and MSN messenger was useful – if people were online at the same time - but very few people had laptops and phones with internet access were not yet in the market.

I look at who my closest friends are now, and they are all friends I have gained as an adult. It’s true that part of that reason is because they are people I have the most in common with, but part of that comes down to social media. I am friends with people who I communicate with on common ground and do so regularly.

Even looking back at the start of Laura and my relationship – a whole 50 months a go, or just over 4 years, and things have moved quickly in that time frame. After getting together, L took off to Oz for a month, and our main form of contact was Facebook chat. We would spend hours messaging to and fro and we felt connected though she was on the other side of the world. If she emailed, it would come through to my phone so the distance seemed less.

At work we would Skype – which we once got into huge trouble for after a manager printed off an entire pack of paper worth of our conversations she had screenprinted! Seriously though, who has the time to do that!!! But it was our way of being in touch throughout the day. We now do it on our IM app (although neither of us have anywhere near as much time). Wherever we are, we’re in touch.

Then I look at Facebook – can you remember a time without Facebook, or ‘my past book’ as I sometimes think of it? It’s where all my friends from the past exist. I rarely see most of my Facebook friends, but it’s nice to see the updates and to know how people are getting on, see photos of what they look like now. It’s also my online photo album, so serves a definite purpose.

For me though, Twitter was the game changer. Laura and I share an account because individually we aren't that interesting, and realistically would not tweet much, but I love it as a form of being kept up to date. We are connected to those who we share interests with, have things in common with and who make us smile. We also get the latest news stories from around the world, and from Laura's home state. We find out about awesome London events through it, and even enforced a rule that if someone annoys/bothers us for more than 3 days, we unfollow - it’s a rule that means we enjoy it even more.

My current phone home screen
with all it's social media icons
Alongside all the other media we currently partake in, we also love Instagram – it is perfect for Laura, who has quadrupled my photo count on Facebook since meeting her! She loves photos, taking photos, preserving memories and now she can love looking at photos. Same goes for Pinterest (she her blog post for why she loves it)!

But alongside the daily social media that keeps us up to date on the important, not-so important and trivial things, we have our beloved blog. We've mentioned it a few times, but we really did start this to share what we were doing with L’s ever so far away family - but what it has become, what it has changed and what it has impacted are huge and were completely unexpected.

1) New friends have come from our blog. We have become each other's support systems, confidants, holiday buddies and more. We WhatsApp, Facebook, email and share our plans, helping each other along the way. Without social media we would have never met!

2) Then there are our other friends – virtual who we have never met in person. These can be anywhere in the world and if trips and travel allow we will try to meet them. We love that we have different things in common with different friends, for instance:
  • Similar interest blogs - these are people similar to us, not always gay, but who we get along well with as a couple
  • Travel buddies - Those who have traveled or do travel just as much, if not more, than us - swapping stories is great
  • Future life friends - Couples with the marriage and the babies, who we look forward to following suit
  • Wedding watchers - I have lost count of the number of wedding blogs we follow – those planning to get married, those who have just gotten married, those who advise on getting married – you get the idea!
  • A different perspective - probably our broadest category, but in this are blogs we find make us smile, give us something to think about or just gives us insight into a world different than ours
3) Our social circle has widened. I never thought that we would have friends that I've never met but I do – it really is about volume of contact. I feel like the virtual element provides a starting point, and common interests, that could take months to get to in the real world. If we do end up meeting bloggers or tweeters, we usually like them as much as we do online, and there is no time wasted trying to find things to talk about. In fact we are in contact with them more than older friends.

For Laura, who doesn't have old school friends here, its a way to meet people she doesn't work with, and who have similar interests to us. It's harder than you'd think to make friends these days who you didn't go to school or work with without using the internet!

4) We've found out more about the LGBTQ community that we would have if we weren't involved in blogging. Whether it's through actively seeking information or being told about information the blog has been an access portal.

5) Then there is the less important, but very nice to have benefit. We have occasionally been asked to write for other blogs – the feeling that gives is a real sense of pride. We share great news, our engagement springs to mind – we were so grateful for all the well wishes. Competition wins and freebies– thanks’ Nandos, Heinz and Superbreak!
Some of the lovely comments we received on our engagement post.

That’s the biggest impact social media has had – the way we communicate with the outside world.

Can you imagine waiting to get at your home desktop computer to check your email?

Can you imagine finding out news 3 days after it’s happened?

With easier communication comes easier interaction, and it really does make the world a smaller place. Laura’s Mum can work out where we are, what we are doing and how best to get hold of us at any time of day. From Idaho. Crazy! Watching the final of Survivor the other day the presenter reflected ‘can you imagine watching TV and only being able to share your opinion with those sat next you instead of the entire world?!’ Well, no, Jeff Probst, we can't!

We no longer just watch, listen, text, talk or call we interact, we multitask, we share and it’s with a world far bigger than I could have ever imagined. And I love it!!!


Saturday, 18 May 2013

Date Night review: The Lounge Cinema Fine Food & Film


Well Laura surpassed herself this date night!!! This planner of mine had the great idea of booking us into a showing of The Great Gatsby at The Lounge cinema in Bayswater, London.  This cinema is unlike any cinema I have ever been to - at this cinema they serve you dinner while you watch the film in the most amazingly opulent surroundings!

If you have read any of date night posts in the past you may know the idea behind the surprise date night is that one of us has to come up with a date idea and give very little idea about what is involved expect the date and what to wear! We take it in turns and this month it was over to Laura.

This night was one I had just under a weeks notice about so I tried to put it out of my mind until the day it was happening. From 3pm on-wards I was ready with questions; where was it? How long would it take to get to? Why am I dressed up? Will I have been before?

Laura gave little away!

After work we met at Hyde Park corner and got a bus together towards Bayswater. At this point Laura mentioned that we may want to get a snack as we wouldn't be eating till gone 9pm. This sent my mind into overdrive and by the end of the bus ride Laura had submitted and I had found out we were seeing The Great Gatsby and eating in the dark. Although I knew this information I was still a little confused.

As we arrived in Bayswater we entered the Whiteleys shopping centre and headed straight upstairs to the Odeon, it's here that I got my first sight of; The Lounge.

As the film didn't start till 9pm we had almost 2 hours to entertain ourselves and it just so happened that the Whiteleys centre were holding a Great Gatsby themed party downstairs and we were invited! We were given a cocktail on arrival, party food to fill us up and dancers, singers and a brilliant piano player to entertain us. We also got to dress up and get our photos taken. It was great fun!

After we had got into the 1920's spirit it was time to make our way into The Lounge. It was beautiful. The bar area is like a high scale venue, it has huge sofas and seats and waitress services. We ordered cocktails and relaxed until we were called to enter the theatre.


As we took our seats we checked out the menus, reclined our seats, raised the foot rests and enjoyed snuggling up on the Love Seats Laura had pre-booked. We were on our own little island ready to watch The Great Gatsby in 3D in with waiter/ress service. We buzzed and ordered the food just as the film started.
Wait just 1 sec.......getting this seat just right is important :)
Laura ordered steak sliders with a side of onion rings and I went for the Mexican not dog, vegetarian sausage, guacamole, grated cheese, jalapenos chilli, sweet corns, tomatillo salsa and chips! The food was DELICIOUS!!! The whole menu was designed by a professional chef and you could tell! It was not the cheapest date but it was worth it.

The film itself was perfect viewing for the surroundings. Like Moulin Rouge this film has elements of glamour, opulence and majesty that seemed all the more real in 3D. Admittedly neither of us had read the book but the film itself seemed to fly through the story line. Leonardo Di Caprio stole the show as the lead but it was the party scenes that made it worth seeing at the cinema.

The rest of the film lacked 'bite' or real impact (in my personal opinion). Narrated by Toby Maguire as Carraway he never really convinced us that he was the party boy or the innocent - he just seemed nice. The same could be said for Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan - she never really convinced us she was ready to run away with Gatsby.

If anything the film was like a grown up Romeo and Juliet without such tragedy. It took us on a journey where we unsure who to support, in fact Isla Fisher as Myrtle probably made the best case as the trapped 'other woman'. I would choose this type of film over thrillers or action movies as the insight into 'how the other half lived' was probably the best part of the film for me. Who doesn't love the fantasy right?!

I can officially say I was sad when the film ended, not just how it ended, but the fact that we had to leave behind our luxury surroundings. It was the best film viewing experience I have ever had.

I am definitely grateful to my wonderful Laura for the experience! She really is the best planner!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Happiness, by Laura xx

One of our favourite bloggers, Miki from Becoming What I Always Was, did a post this week on what makes her happy, or is making her happy at the moment - we thought that is a GREAT idea! It's always good, in the busy days, weeks and months, to be able to take a moment out to remember the things that really make the world go 'round!

So I thought I'd do one, as I'm having quite a difficult week at work, and could use a reminder of how lucky I am!

1. Sarah. Of course. It makes me happy to know that I could spend (and have, in certain periods of our relationship) every moment with her, 24 hours a day, and we never get sick of each other, or run out of things to say. She's my very best friend, and the only one that can make me smile on days like today.

2. When Sarah picks me up from work. Because not only is it an amazing gesture that means I won't have to fight for a seat next to smelly elbow-y people just to sit in traffic for 45 minutes, but I get to sit in traffic in the comfortable car, and see HER 45 minutes before I would have otherwise! (Sensing a theme here?) Also, I get a funny sense of pride when I introduce S to someone from my office - I like people to see how lucky I got in scoring her!!

3. Myfitnesspal. It's been my constant companion over the last few months, and though there are days where I lose my way and eat, I don't know, a whole bar of Cadbury's chocolate in one sitting (no, not the small one-person bars...) it's always reassuring to calculate everything, to know that I'm working towards my goal. I like it even on the odd day where it has to guilt trip me for not eating enough calories.

4. Planning. Right now I'm simultaneously planning Sarah's 30th, Pride London, a trip home, Christmas (yes, already!) and our wedding - all while working and living a normal, busy life. Just because I like to always have something 'fun' to think about - it helps us be able to do great things, and helps me get through the hard weeks! Of course, I enjoy life while its happening, and aren't constantly focused on the future, but I always have an eye there. Just in case!

5. The internet. I can't tell you how much I love speaking with friends, old and new, and the major way I do that is through social media. I know every once in awhile I get really fed up of this blogging/twitter/FB/insta business, but for the most part, I love it. Even emails - I adore waking up and having an email from a good friend who is really far away!

6. My family. Speaking to my parents on Skype is always one of the very best parts of my week. I get a good hour with them each Sunday, and its probably more actual quality speaking time than we would have if I lived in Boise! I like hearing what they are up to, telling them everything that happened to me in the week, seeing Abby the dog make an appearance, and generally being reminded of how damn cool my parents are.

7. Lunch. You didn't think I'd get through this list without mentioning food, did you? Every day for lunch I have greek salad with chicken breast. It's literally just 4 ingredients - tomatoes, cucumber, feta and chicken. And together, it is absolutely magic. Probably my favourite healthy meal ever. Which is why I have it every day haha.

8. Nail polish, when I've just done it I feel so girly and happy, and like my giant hands are actually quite pretty! Unfortunately I haven't mastered the art of the long-lasting manicure yet, so I don't get this joy very often. But I have it now!! Type, pretty fingers, type!!

9. Pinterest. Yes, its kind of social media, but I don't really use it to interact with people - I just love the potential in Pinterest. I can make every bit of me better through it! I've already used it to improve my hairstyle repertoire, my fashion sense, cooking skills (recipe heaven!!), wedding, and when we have a home, you'd better believe I'll be pinning the heck out of it!

10. Ummmmmm.... OH! My strawberry plant is making me a very happy little farmer lately. When we got the pot and I put it together, and watered, and watered, and watered, and nothing happened for weeks, I was pretty sure I'd accidentally killed seeds and could never again be trusted to grow things. But then they came, one by one - I currently have 9 green spurts!!! I win at gardening!!

Phew, I actually feel a lot better - you should definitely try this!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Birmingham, UK - City Guide!

Birmingham, Brum, B'ham - whatever you call the home of the 2nd largest population outside of London, we have fallen in LOVE with it! That may have a LOT to do with our Brum tour guides showing us all the best parts, but there is no denying it's always a city that we can't wait to get back to. So in honour of the city once known as Bromwicham, and the 72nd largest city of the world, we bring you our view of Birmingham.
Source
Growing up I, Sarah, was convinced Birmingham was skanky, rough, past its best, industrial, run down and a place to drive past, not stop at. That opinion seemed to be shared by everyone I knew so I had never thought to visit as an adult. In fact, before 2012, my last visit to the area had been to see a Wolves vs Reading football match, it didn't show the midlands in a great light - in fact I left scared after the Wolves fans had chanted that as 'soft southern b*****ds we deserved a kicking'! I think I actually made my Dad run to the car.

Home to 3 football clubs; Wolves, Birmingham City and Aston Villa! You're never far from a ground.
However, in 2012 my view was changed by a trip to Lauren and Sarah's. It was Laura's first visit to the city and I had no idea what to expect. The plan was to visit Cadbury's World and then head into the city centre for dinner- it was to be our first of many visits to The Mailbox in Birmingham city centre.


The Mailbox (http://www.mailboxlife.com/) is a converted former Royal Mail Sorting office. It now incorporates shopping, restaurants, leisure facilities, office space and flats and it is high class! It even has a Nando's - and you know how we feel about Nando's!


It is also just down the canal from The Cube, a building that dominates the skyline and is home to an amazing spa, Hotel Indigo, and numerous bars and restaurants. The view from the top allows you to see out over all of Birmingham and beyond into the surrounding countryside. Everything in http://www.thecube.co.uk/ appears brand new and it is impressive.


The Cube Spa has everything you could need - Steam Room, Sauna, Mud treatments, a flotation room, hanging pods (soooooo relaxing), a pool / jacuzzi full gym, nail bar and loads more. It also has a restaurant just above that hosts afternoon tea - it really is a self contained retreat in the middle of Birmingham.

Not far from The Cube or The Mailbox is the part of Birmingham that is probably most well known - The Bullring. With over 160 shops including the most amazing Forever 21 (the first one in Europe) and other Selfridges it is an easy place to spend the day. The location has always been the historic market centre and the new Bullring attracts over 38 million people a year! With over a million per week in December!

In the other part of Birmingham, the less regenerated part, there are also plenty of other things to see and do. You may remember we celebrated Laura's 24th birthday at the ice-skating and bowling centre: http://sprezzaturaourway.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/lauras-fantastic-wonderful-24th-birthday.html!

One of the things we appreciate most about downtown Birmingham is how new and pretty everything is - it's a city centre that has really been thought out and planned properly. And it is quick and cheap to get out to the suburbs, making it a great place to settle down :)

Oh and Birmingham is also home to the NEC where the LG arena is, where I just happen to have seen THE BIG REUNION!!!

Being situated in the middle of the country also gives Birmingham the advantage of being central to just about everything! It's about 2 hours from London, it's the same from Manchester and Newcastle and Cardiff and the motorways all seem to have a junction for Birmingham. Then on the outskirts of the city you have Shakespeare's birth place, the beautiful Stratford-upon-Avon, the lovely Leamington Spa and the recently discovered city of Lichfield - small and very pretty in Spring!

There you have it, Birmingham- home of the Brummies, city of a thousand trades, workshop of the world and the city with more canals than Venice! If you have time when you're in the UK or if you ever drive past, make sure you drop in - it's a city on the up.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

An Angry Little London Commuter



Today, I officially became a commute hater. Of course, in the last 4-5 years, I’ve had a very love-hate relationship with public transport, as do most people who use it every day, but I thought I’d solved the problem. I gave up my tube travelcard in favour of a bus pass – less commuters, less stress, less packed tight spaces, I thought. It’ll be much better! And it is, sometimes, quite relaxing to head to work on the bus. 



But not today.

I sit in the back corner of the bus, because I’m often the first one on, it has enough knee space for my tall person legs, and people rarely sit next to me.

Unfortunately, I’d not been there more than two stops when the worst kid ever sat right next to me. Despite having another seat where he could have sat next to his mother. Seriously this kid was an ass. He was probably about 5, and spent the entire 30 minute bus ride bucking, smacking me, pushing me with his head, and shrieking. By this point, the rest of the bus had people in it, so it wasn’t easy to move, and the principle of the thing – this child had plenty of room, why was he trying to use me as a boxing bag?

The mum was mortified of course at her 5 year old beating me up, but she did very little to stop it. I even asked him to stop – a grown up stranger asking me to stop something would have scared me into submission when I was little, but not this little monster – just kept on! Not even sure he heard me!

Finally, when he got up to leave, I thought I was free to enjoy the short rest of my commute, to de-stress myself, but alas, this was not to be the case. A woman sat down right next to me (again, there was a space in the middle, PEOPLE, USE THE MIDDLE SEAT!!) and started doing her makeup, elbowing me repeatedly in the process. Granted, I am very much a ‘save sleep by doing makeup on the bus’ advocate, but I sit in the back corner, so I don’t bother people with it. Just because we are both doing the same thing, doesn’t mean I want you in my personal space!

Of course, there was traffic, and it was raining, and I ended up being like 15 minutes late for work.
  
But it didn’t end there, oh no!! As I got off the bus, I started sprinting for the office, but was stopped by another commuter. When I took out my headphones, I realised he was hitting on me. At 9:10 on a Wednesday, he thought the way to get a date would be to stop an OBVIOUSLY LATE girl, making her think she’s dropped something, to chat her up. Not to mention I am at least half his age.

GOD, PEOPLE today!!!

I hope tomorrow will be better. It’d better be, because I’ve got at least one more year of this silly commuting business. I look forward to the day I can drive to work again. I used to LOVE driving around in my little car, way too fast if I was late, with my music blaring… oh well, I guess for now I’m stuck being an angry commuter!


(Rant over)


Sunday, 5 May 2013

Cinco de Mayo in Birmingham!!

Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone!

Here at Sprezzatura, we like to celebrate as many holidays as humanly possible - which is why we are so happy our lovely friends Lauren & Sarah feel the same way we do! We've been up at theirs all weekend for their hen party (our first ever! More on that later in the week!) so we thought it'd be the perfect chance to get a little extra celebrating in. (Oh, and they love Mexican food, so it was perfect!)

I love these faces so much
Lauren cooked us some AMAZING fajitas, which we gobbled down before getting a photo unfortunately, and she used Quorn, which was actually awesome, we barely noticed it was veggie!

Then, we turned up the mariachi band music, danced around the kitchen, and made some home-fried churros with sugar and proper Spanish chocolate to dip it in!!


Awesome curly churros
It was DELICIOUS, and such a sugar rush, just in time for us to make our way home.


Just thought we'd share a few adorable little videos featuring Willow, L&S's gorgeous dog (and our first niece) celebrating Cinco de Mayo!!

video


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