Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Review: Buckt - A Great New Way To Explore Birmingham!

When we were told about Buckt it's fair to say we were a little intrigued. A monthly subscription box that gives you 5 local activities to try? And how do you even pronounce the name of the company? (It's like 'Bucket', not like 'Booked', as Laura initially thought!) The concept was all new to us.

All I can say is, we are so glad we tried it.

Buckt is currently the UK's only ticket and activity subscription box and we highly recommend it if you are based in Birmingham, for these three simple reasons:
  1. It takes away the stress/ time/ effort of having to come up with date night/day activities
  2. It's a great way to discover new things to do / more about the city you live in or around
  3. It's really cost effective
Each box has a different selection of activities so you never know what you are going to get, although the website gives you insight into the type of activities available. Possible activities include:
  • Brewery Tours
  • Butterfly Farm visit
  • Tribute band night 
  • Go-Karting
  • Laser Tag
  • Museum guided tours
  • Cocktail Masterclass
  • Drifting (car) Passenger Experience
  • And loads more.......
Our duo box (for 2) included:
  • A meditation class - where we discovered Birmingham has Peace Gardens!
  • Rage Room - did you see our videos on Instagram Stories? We loved it.
  • Guitar lessons - Laura made the most of these to learn a song she wanted to serenade me with (aww)
  • A night at the Bingo - which included two extra passes to take two friends
  • A film at the Mockingbird Cinema
A summary of each activity we got to do is below to give you an idea of what to expect.

A single box is £12.50 - that's it! A dual box is £25. That's right, as a couple, your entire month's dates could cost you less than a dinner. Plus, if you use our code SARAHPLUSLAURA you get 50% off your first box. Oh and you can get them as gifts if you want to make someone's Christmas. It's on our wish list :)

So here's the process:

And if you are ordering it as a gift:
Or check it out here
And here's our experiences review:
Meditation Class: We were expecting a yoga style class what we got was a Kadampa monk talking us through a process to create space in our minds and learn to relax. By reading from a book, the monk explained how those with a more grateful heart are happier and how we should focus on things we can be grateful for. It was a strange experience and not one we would rush back for but it was nice to take some time out from our hectic lives. For us, the highlight was discovering a whole new part of Birmingham, we had never even heard that there were peace gardens here! We will definitely be back to wander around those. As for the meditation, if you are someone who stresses easily or needs to relax we would suggest a visit to the centre. The people there are lovely. We also found some parking in town that's free after 6pm #winning!

Rage Room: A room where you can smash up a selection of things. From throwing glasses against the wall to smashing up keyboards with bats, this is a great way to work out frustrations or just work out! You can listen to your own playlist - so we went for 90's pop rock, think Green Day / Rage Against The Machine / Blink 182 etc - and it was great. You are walked through how to 'smash' things and then left to it. We loved it! You may have seen our Instagram story at the time, one of us was better at smashing things up than the other (who, it turns out, is a weakling) but it was so much fun that didn't matter.

Guitar Lessons: These are actually music lessons so you can pick an instrument of choice but we went for guitar as Laura actually owns one. The teacher was calm, endearing and set the lesson pace for us. As Laura reads music and played viola we moved quickly through the activities. Great for pushing yourself out of your comfort zone or trying something completely new.

BJ Bingo: This has got to be the bargain in the box. 4 passes to play Bingo with dinner and a drink. We ended up having 10+ games of Bingo and it was a whole evening's worth of entertainment. We were a little overwhelmed walking in with numbers being shouted out quickly but we met some lovely ladies who showed us what to do and by the end we were loving it and saying we will definitely be back. 

Mockingbird Cinema: located in Digbeth, in the Custard Factory, this place is more than a cinema - it's dining experience too. Just like an old fashioned cinema you are welcomed to a kiosk and depending on how early you either directed to the restaurant or the cinema. There is only one screen so you can't get lost but it does mean you are limited to showtimes/days so it takes a bit of advance planning. Unless of course you are wandering around Digbeth and fancy catching a film! It is a much more intimate experience than a normal cinema and perfect if you want a more chilled night out.

I can say with certainty that we wouldn't have done any of these activities without Buckt. In fact, we wouldn't have even known about at least two of the activities!

Another benefit is if you want to take an extra person along to an activity you can 'Bring A Friend' with a one off pass ordered via the website. 

Oh, and if you think it might be tight fitting all activities in within a month, good news you actually get 6 weeks for most of the activities. You just book dates once your Buckt box turns up. Or if you like a plan, depending on where your activities are, you can always do two or three activities in one day. 

If you want to know more, check out the Buckt website here.

We would highly recommend checking it out.....the only downside is it is currently only in Birmingham!

*Disclaimer: We were not paid by Buckt to trial the subscription, however we were provided a box to try at no cost to us. The feedback is our own, based on our personal experiences.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Laura's Disney Themed 30th!

Okay so just a heads up the next few posts will be photo heavy review posts because we have had a busy few weeks and I want to document the events before they become a distant memory.

  • First - this post - a look back on Laura's 30th birthday celebrations.
  • Second - Annabelle's Naming Day, a non-religious celebration of Annabelle to officially welcome her into the world.
  • Third - 4 years of Bisbee. We can't quite believe it but our furry daughter is a whole 4 years old!

So on the 6th of October 2018 Laura finally turned 30. We always say finally as Laura has always seemed the older of us, more mature, more sorted, more capable. Most of our friends are in their 30's and if anyone knows our 'how we met' story they may remember that Laura said she was the same age as me. So yes finally Laura turned 30!

My tribute to her was shared on the day here.

With more than a little help from friends and family the party prep had all happened the week before. A marquee had been put up in my parents garden, a trip to Costco had filled the fridge and freezer and costumes were prepared. Our lounge had become an arts and craft zone with Hobbycraft making a small fortune from us. I had the idea to turn my parents dining room into a fairy tale castle complete with stain glass window, chain-link castle door, bunting and fire torches hanging from the wall. It would be where Laura's birthday cake would sit and where people would come for the food.

The marquee was decorated with banners, balloons, more torches and fairy lights - so many fairy lights and Laura's very own Disney Castle. Okay this was a 6ft cut out version but it was Laura's castle.

If it hadn't been for the collective effort of friends from across the world it would never have happened. Kate had flown in from Australia on Wednesday and threw herself into the prep, Mike (Kate's brother) arrived on Friday from his European travels, Alison arrived from Norway on the Saturday and we met Wally who arrived from Brighton at my parents. The whole gang went to work and the result was better than my vision....and better than I could have achieved.

My parents had kept the team well fed with fish and chips and after the house was decorated it was on to everyone getting themselves getting ready.

Everyone who came dressed up. Laura's parents had flown in from the USA and with Laura as Elsa her Mum had chosen to be Elsa's Mum in Frozen. Her Dad was the beast.

My parents stayed true to their British roots and opted for Mary Poppins and Bert.

Laura's brother and my Sister and boyfriend went for a Toy Story theme as Buzz, Jessie and Woody. Cute as they are Annabelle's Aunt and Uncles.

The effort put in on costumes was amazing, all the Princesses were there - Belle, Alice, Ariel, Cinderella (in a furry form) Sleeping Beauty, Snow White....and Elsa.

There were a few villains including Ursula and Creulla. Sebastian ad Dory found their way from the sea, as did Captain Jack Sparrow.

A few 'true' Disney characters - Mickey, Minnie, Daisy Duck, Pinocchio, Popeye! And so many more. The effort everyone put in made Laura's night. Plus the photo opps were endless and anyone who knows Laura knows she loves a good photo opp.

The cake that sat in the castle room was made by Laura's good friends Allie and Anita. It was surrounded by delicious cupcakes in different flavours.

The other star was a delicious taco dip made by Kate, it was so good people queued to get some, and a few just pulled up chairs to eat what they could.

The night also included pass the parcel and a pub quiz - mainly Laura and Disney themed so there was something for everyone.

What my parents neighbours must have thought as the party ended and everyone streamed out to taxis is yet to be heard.

We can't thank those who attended enough. It was a dream come true for Laura and it was a magical evening that we will remember forever!

Thursday, 11 October 2018

National Coming Out Day!

If you are part of the LGBT community, or know someone who is you may have heard the term 'Coming Out', it's a cover all term used when someone shares their story about the first time they told someone they were gay / homosexual / lesbian.

We shared a post back in 2012 that shared both our Coming Out stories, you can find it here.

For anyone who has followed us since the start you will know that my (Sarah) coming out story was not a happy one. If anything my story is a great example of 'it get's better', here's a post I shared at the time about how far things have come.

We even shared how we came out at work way back before it was 'okay' to be gay. Laura's story is here.

So why is there an official coming out day? Well that's simple, it is to mark coming out as a positive celebration. The date was selected as it is the annual march on Washington for Lesbian and Gay rights.

Founded because 'Most people think they don't know anyone gay or lesbian, and in fact everybody does. It is imperative that we come out and let people know who we are and disabuse them of their fears and stereotypes.
– Robert Eichberg, in 1993

It was started in 1988 so this year marks 30 years (another great thing that joined the world 30 years ago....ahem Laura).

What makes for interesting reading is that 20% of millennials identify as LGBTQ+ so sharing stories of support from others coming out gives that community reassurance and insight into coming out. It also mean having online points of reference is essential.

Over the years of writing this blog we have seen acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community increase and as we have traveled through our personal journey we have experienced different situations where we have had to 'come out' but overall we have received love, kindness and plenty of questions from interested people. We hope others have had a similar experiences.

Happy National Coming Day!

Saturday, 6 October 2018

To My Darling Wife You're 30!

You are turning 30 today!

I don't expect you to see this until things have calmed down. We have your 30th birthday party today, a Disney themed Princess party where friends and family will be descending on us dressed as characters. Then we have Annabelle's naming day, another wonderful opportunity to celebrate her and finally, of course Bisbee turning 4! It's a whole weekend jam-packed with celebrating.

But before all the craziness starts I wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY and THANK YOU!

Happy Birthday because you are finally 30! Finally because I am pretty sure you have wanted to be this age since I met. You have always been wiser than your years and wanted to 'grow up'. YOu are finally here though and my what a lot you have crammed into to those 30 years.

I mean my what a lot you have crammed into our 10 years together. Two engagements, a wedding, a house, a dog and a baby. Not to say the 17 countries we have seen together and countless mini breaks around the UK. The road trips, family visits and endless guests we have hosted from around the world. The Thanksmases, Christmases, Thanksgivings, birthdays, Halloweens, Valentines' Days and every other dressing up occasion you have organised. And all things photographed and documented. It makes looking back on our life together so far a very happy trip down memory lane. It makes looking forwards even more exciting!

And thank you because you make all of the above possible. Your organisation skills, planning, prep and your 'infamous' diary keep us on track and allow us to book in so many amazing things....and not miss a moment.

From sunrise to sunset every single day there is no one in this world I would rather spend every second with.

We may have met when you were only 20 but I am so glad that has given us 10 amazing years together before you turned 30 and for that I am grateful.

You really, truly are everything to me. If becoming Mum's has taught me anything it is that there is nothing in this world worth doing unless it is with you.

My biggest supporter, greatest cheerleader and best friend in the world I want to take this opportunity to say THANK YOU (again)!

Thank you for being your wonderful, amazing, inspiring self every single day. You make me and everyone around you happier, better (more organised people). You have given me confidence, showed me what a positive attitude can do and showed everyone how important enjoying - and capturing - every moment is so important. You handle difficult situations with calm, poise that means I know we can get through everything.

You are truly my hero. Every. Single. Day!

Happy Birthday my wonderful wife! May we have many, many, many more wonderful birthdays to celebrate together. You will forever be my Queen.....or Princess if you prefer :)

All my love, now and always!