Thursday, 28 June 2012

7 Questions!! #6

7 Question Thursday, yay!

Here's our funny photo - taken on Sarah's brand spankin' new Samsung Galaxy SIII (aka The Mighty White) - tonight at The Roadhouse in Covent Garden!

Italy had just scored, and lost us 60 GBP. Sadface.
1. If you could be any princess- which would you be and why?

L: I would be Princess Fiona from Shrek, hands down. She is feisty, difficult, and has a bit of a weight problem (ogre) but is beautiful and loveable anyway? I like to think that's me on the dot! And there is no waiting around in castles or comas to deal with!

S: Belle - because she set herself apart from the rest of the princesses by being smart (haha), reading and dreaming of a better life. I love a good book! And also, she was Laura's favourite growing up - it's perfect!

This is Sarah in a nutshell!

2. Do you have any odd habits? (do things in order, words that you say too often, etc)

L: I am quite particular about lots of random things. I choose today to tell you about my Facebook habits. I have an order that cannot be broken! When I sign in, I look at any messages I have first. Then, I go through my entire newsfeed until I get to where I last saw it, THEN I check my notifications, and I have to open them each in a new tab so I don't lose my place on my main screen. In notifications, I go bottom up, but comments first, then photos. And if Sarah goes 'OMG have you seen...' before I'm finished with my routine, I get annoyed! It's silly, but so satisfying. Also I say 'Okeedoke' a LOT and each time, I think I sound reaaaally American, but still can't stop!

S: I'm a rhymer. I'm good with the rhymes. It can be a gift, don't get me wrong, but some people may have said it is a tad annoying. I rhyme when I'm happy, rhyme when I'm sad, I rhyme when I'm doing dishes and I rhyme when I'm just plain mad. I just rhyme all the time!

3. What's your "go to" outfit?

L: Without fail it's my black dress with white spots (fun fact, I currently have 3 dresses that fit this description), black leggings, flats and cardigan. I wear it when I want to be guaranteed comfortable but still work appropriate and pretty. Also, Sarah has the same dress! But we've yet to wear it on the same day haha.

S: Leggings and my royal blue dress - I can put a blazer on it for work, cardigan for a day out, it is versatile and I can support Reading FC at the same time! With my grey ankle boots - love them!

4. Do you have any siblings? What are their genders, ages, order of age, names, etc?

L: I have one awesome little brother, Jason, who is 21 now. He's without fail the coolest person I've ever met.
Me and Jas in our ugly Christmas sweaters around the last time I saw him (Christmas 2010) - geez I can't wait to go home!
S: I have one younger sister, Fiona, who is... 25? I think 25. She is older than Laura were very different when we were younger and didn't really get along, but we are now closer than we ever have been.

5. What's your favorite precious stone?

L: Don't they say diamonds are something... yes, my best friend! I think this is only because I really want an engagement ring *hint, hint*

S: Amethyst - I love purple, it is my favourite colour. It is the stone Laura put on my bracelet for our 3 year anniversary!

6. If you had a check in your hand for 1 million dollars, what would you do with it?

Joint answer for this one! We would give $100,000 each to our old work colleagues Mark and Danish to spreadbet in the stock market for us (Mark is now living in Spain and considering a holiday home in Thailand on his trading money!), buy a property in central London and rent it out, then once we started making money we would immediately quit our jobs and spend 24 hours together again. People said this working apart business might be good for us, it is not! We hate it! We might buy an ice cream truck and do that in the summer, and spend our winters skiing and drinking hot chocolate together. And invest in a pension, and kids/wedding fund. Bam, we have thought about that way too much.

7. What do you love most about yourself- physically (eyes, smile, hair, etc. I don't know a good way to word that question...)

L: My boobs! I'm just really glad they are... the way they are. And also my smile/teeth! And my nose haha, its squishy and small. This is an awkward answer.

S: My butt! I am lacking a bit in the boob department, but it turns out that people really do like big butts! Or at least larger than average white girl butts. Laura loves it, anyway! And my eyes, because they are so big and my eyelashes are naturally long!
What are your answers to the above?

Love always,
Laura & Sarah xo

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Well Hey There, Good Lookin'!

We just wanted to say Hola! to our favourite regulars and new visitors alike!!

Hola, amigos!!
You all probably know us already, but if you don't, or you want to know us better, check out our About Us page to get to know us (and our love story) better!

At the weekend we went to West End Live at Trafalgar Square in London - it was so much fun! We got to see the big musicals perform some of their numbers!!

Our fav was Jersey Boys - we loved the music, the performance, and really want to see it!!

Then we got to make crowns, and became royals!
Hey, meet beautiful Princess Sarah!!
And Princess Laura! Watch out KatieM!

We'd make great royals!! Though Sarah looks like a creeper in the back haha
Such a random day.

Laura's favourite musical is Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, and Sarah's is Hairspray (yes, we love a bit of cheese - but isn't that what is so great about musicals??) - what is your all-time favourite musical?

We hope you'll stay awhile, we'd love to get to know you better!!

Love always,
(Princesses) Laura & Sarah xo

Saturday, 23 June 2012

What a week!!!

What a week....from start to finish this has been quite a week and we thought we'd share it...
So Monday saw us find out that Warrior Dash in the UK was cancelled, all our 'hard' work and preparation, running up and down the escalators in the tube was sadly in vain. Who knew we would be so disappointed to not get to do the exercise and wade through mud! We also heard that the lovely ladies over at 2bridesto2mummies had experienced their wedding band dropping out after finding out that they were two girls! Can you believe that 'gay' money isn't 'good' money to some people?!?!? Idiots!!! Lunch picked the day up though as we tried out our 'meeting at Green Park for a picnic lunch' and managed to get a whole 45 minutes together - you can't say we are easily defeated when it comes to being together :)

Tuesday brought better news, in fact AWESOME news - Whitney of Wegan finally got confirmation that her visa was approved and she'll be making her way to the UK on Monday!!! Perfect time to settle in before London Pride and a certain other July event :) The day didn't end so well, however, something was deciding to make a hell of a lot of noise outside waking us up at midnight and we didn't get to sleep until 3!!!

After all of 4 hours sleep we were faced with a somewhat humid journey into work that saw Sarah fall alseep on the tube and miss her stop - #fail!!! News that she'd won a £25 premium bond cheque had the desired effect of waking her up though. After preserving energy by pretty much not doing anything for the entire day, and meeting for lunch in Green Park we were ready for an evening of entertainment. First came the Chipotle search (the first outside of America), secondly was finding 'designer' telephone boxes around London for the Jubilee. We then headed to Spaghetti House for the best carbonara in town, and the reason for all the entertainment.....hanging out waiting for Shrek and the Lion King to finish so we could meet Jemma & Sarah - the closest to a showbiz couple we can claim to know - it was worth the wait but we were kicked out so the pub could close halfway through our catch up! Damn having to get up for work it always leaves us feeling like we haven't had enough time!

Thursday was a struggle, the highlight was meeting at Leicester Square for Maccy D's lunch together but the time passed so quickly debating various questions posed to us in email and then completing 7 questions. By the time we got home we were falling asleep cooking dinner.

Friday ended up arriving quickly and started with a downer - a missing bus shaped downer...for anyone whose seen our 'day in the life video' you will know that the first part of any day starts with a bus except today TFL decided that a bus strike would be a nice surprise for us - IT WASN'T! It was raining, the station is a 20 minute walk - oh, and it took us 20 minutes to find the exact strike details while standing at the bus stop! Not impressed!! On the plus side it is Friday night, we have enjoyed a Chinese takeaway, watching Germany beat Greece in Euro 2012 (this is good news as Sarah has Germany as her sweepstake team) and knowing that we will have two whole days together! Yay!!!

Happy weekend, everyone!!

Love always,
Sarah & Laura xo

Thursday, 21 June 2012

7 Question Thursday!! #5

FINALLY, 7 Questions is back!!

We are sure you have missed them as much as we have!

Here's our funny photo:

Enjoying the great British summer!!

1. What do you do when you're sick? (Do you act like a baby? Tough it out? Have any weird cravings? Cry?)

L: I am a really awkward sick person, because I forget to help myself get better. I will go on sniffling or feeling awful for days, and Sarah has to practically force feed me pills - and heaven forbid if she tries to make me go to the doctors! I'd much rather barely survive for weeks on end until it goes away. Thank goodness I've got logical Sarah around or I'd never recover!

S: I grew up as a hypochondriac so I like to make sure I catch any illness early but if I fail in my bid to prevent getting sick then I tend to crave sympathy and being looked after. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, I've been told. L's nursing skills have improved since we've been together but that might not necessarily be by choice :)

2. What do you do to find motivation when you feel you've lost it?

L: I'm so easily distracted, you'd think I'd have the answer to this on hand... the only thing I can say is if I am thinking about something more fun than what I'm doing, I won't be able to get back to doing what I'm supposed to be doing until I've done it/written it down/spoken to someone about it. I'll be filling out spreadsheets and all of a sudden have to write a list of all the places I want to visit before I have a baby - then I go back to doing work with much more vigor than I did before!

S: Hmm this is hard, I am generally quite motivated and I hate running out of time so I like to get stuff done and out of the way. Since being with L I can honestly say I've never been more motivated - with her planning ability there is always something to save towards and there is no bigger motivation than wanting to make L happy.

3. Do you wish time away or do you savor every moment?

L: I am a BIG wisher away - though I need to clarify, I love my moments, that's why our blog is called Sprezzatura, after all - it's the everyday moments in life which count! But I'm a planner. Want to know all the major things (holidays, wedding, baby, etc) that will happen to us over the next 4 years? This girl has it planned, down to holiday allowance at jobs. Maybe it's a little odd, but I plan in order to make sure I don't have to miss any moments. I will never look back and say 'oh I wish I had done that when I was younger, but time got away from me' because I plan things and then execute them! That's one of the reasons that Sarah is absolutely perfect for me - she keeps me in the moment, and wants to experience everything we can, together!

S: I'm definitely a 'savour every moment' - L tells everyone that her biggest pet peeve is me bouncing out of bed early on Saturdays but I get so excited to have 2 full days with her that I want to maximise every moment. Imagine me on holiday :) The biggest challenge for me living in London is that there is ALWAYS so much going on that we can never do everything, though L's planning means we do a lot. But dragging me away from things is never easy.

4. If you could be any mythological creature, what would you be, and why?

L: I'd be a mermaid, but only if I was one who liked other mer-maiden A merbian. Because there is nothing remotely attractive about mer-men. Otherwise, I'd like to be the Wheedle on the Needle in Seattle. Does he count?

S: I have literally no clue....any suggestions?

5. What is your current biggest weakness and are you working on fixing it?

L: My biggest weakness...besides cookie dough haha... is my lack of follow through when it comes to really wanting to lose weight/get fit. I say I want to, I start to do more exercise and diet... and next thing you know I'm finding every reason under the sun not to. I'm trying... but honestly, at the moment I'm just enjoying my life and trying to take things in moderation.

SPanicking over things that are out of my control - credit card bills, unexpected water bills, not having savings, geez I'm panicking just thinking about them. With most things in life I am capable of compartmentalising things and not letting something that's worrying me overshadow something else but I like to have that control. When I don't then PANIC!!! The good news is L loves making spreadsheets that track & predict our spending so it's getting less stressful.

6. How do you greet someone when meeting them for the first time?

L: OMG I'm so awkward when it comes to this in non-work situations. I'm naturally outwardly friendlier than most people here in London (small town Idaho meets big city stiff-upper-lip kingdom), but from living here for 4 years now and finding out that not everyone likes to be hugged right off the bat, I do this awkward thing where I have to acknowledge that I want to hug them - 'Oh hi, I'm Laura' then I lean forward to start a hug, I see the look on their face like WTF is she doing? So I have to say 'Oh yeah, I'm gonna hug you' or something, as if acknowledging it makes it less awkward, but we both know it doesn't. Then after it's over, internally I kick myself for being so uncomfortable, but I know that I can't just NOT hug people - you need to break the touch barrier to become friends!! Apparently I'm a complicated person.

S: This really depends on the situation - inside work a good, firm handshake is my choice but as for friends, or friends of friends I am AWKWARD. I really don't like meeting new people- I build up a situation and then when I meet someone I clam up and do this half wave while L's hugging up a storm :) However if someone else opens up for a hug then I gratefully accept it and will hug them back - maybe i've been Americanised.

Hahaha we are an awkward couple!

7. How do you grocery shop? (Do you write up a list? Go in with no idea what you're looking for? Have meal plans? Bring your own shopping bags?)

L: Prepare to be amazed, friends, because this is a well-oiled machine. We go food shopping every Friday night (because we are PAR-TAY people!) - we bring a list, and in each section we split to each get things to bring back to the cart - its clearly the most efficient way to do things. We have some staples we get every week and don't write down, but we only occasionally deviate from our list (much less than we used to, because though Sarah hates resisting a good deal, she has learned to handle it better haha). Then, when it comes to checkout, I'm the money, and I'm not allowed to put the groceries on the conveyor belt, because Sarah has an order she puts things in (frozens together, fridge, veggies/fruits, carbs, etc) and I always accidentally screw it up. I also can't put the bags into the car, because the heavy things need to go in a certain place so they won't squash the lighters things... it's an impressive sight to behold and pretty damn adorable, even though I secretly think that it'd be much easier to just go with the flow. Does anyone else sort their groceries before bagging them or worry about things moving around in the car?? 

S: What can I add - L has explained this situation in full - and yes EVERYONE is concerned about how their groceries are bagged - who wants fruit in with toiletries or frozen in with bread! 

Love always,
Laura & Sarah xo

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

What We Love Wednesdays!! All Time Fav Movies

This year we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Dirty Dancing - WHAT A FILM - and as it's film night in the UK (Orange phone network gives us 2 4 1 on film tickets) so we thought we'd challenge ourselves to narrow down our list of favourite all time films to a manageable 10. Originally the plan was to have a joint list but, well, that didn't happen purely because we'd still be debating it!!! Enjoy our somewhat biased opinions and let us know if you agree, disagree or think we've missed any classics!

Sarah's Super-Duper Standout, HAVE TO WATCH, FILMS:
1. In Her Shoes - Growing up with my sister wasn't the easiest - she was prettier, cuter, far more social and like-able; I was a bespectacled, socially-awkward, greasy haired sport geek and this film plays out a story that I could very imagine happening in my family. Thankfully we still have our parents, unfortunately we don't have a Nan in a retirement home in Florida but my sister NEVER fails to land on her feet. As she's grown older we've gotten on better but there were times when our worlds were just so vastly different you wouldn't have seen the family link. Like the time that she came to visit me at Uni - I went out to lectures and returned to a house party! I knew NO-ONE there and it was still only 1 of 2 house parties ever held in a house I lived in!

2. Crazy, Beautiful - I love this film for many reasons; there's the whole messed up rich girl falls in love with hard working Mexican who travels miles to get to the same school as her thing, and while that forms the main storyline, there is SO much more to this film. The first time I saw it I became OBSESSED with Jay Hernadez - I mean posters, pic in my purse kinda obsessed, the second time I really enjoyed it for the story, the third time I was leaving school and the 'finding my way in the world' theme was really poignant and on my latest watch it was the 'forbidden love' bit that got me! So yeah there are plenty of reasons why this film makes it into my top 10!

3. Hairspray - Spot the conflict with me saying this later - but I LOVE this film, it is my feel-good movie and NEVER fails to cheer me up. Both the original version with Rikki Lake (remember her!!!) and the version with John Travolta & Amanda Bynes are part of my film collection. Even just the soundtrack makes me smile. I saw it on stage with Michael Ball (love him!) and was dancing in the aisles - the music just proves irresistible to me. (This may feed in to Laura's dislike of it!)

4. She's The Man - Funny film, the first time, apparently, I actually voted against watching it but one of my school friends persuaded me otherwise - I'm grateful she did! Laura and I actually both picked the film out on DVD night in Oz as one of our favourites and ever since then it has remained a joint fav. From Amanda Bynes' impression of a 'dude' to the line 'There comes a time when a man has to move on, Yvonne' this film makes me laugh out loud!

5. Bring It On - OK I promise I don't have a thing for Kirsten Dunst but that girl does pick films that appeal to my DVD choices. If you haven't seen this film you have to! Spirit fingers anyone?!?! OMG just thinking about this film makes me want to watch it - yes it's about Cheerleading, yes it has questionable acting and I'm not sure there is much of a story line as such but you have to watch a film that has a scene with a cheer that goes 'Brrrr it's cold in here, there must be some Toros in the atmosphere' - hahahahahaha

6. Dirty Dancing - It's an olden but a gooden. I must have seen this film more than 10 times and it never gets old. I think it captures that time when you're ready to be independent you just need to find the best way to do that. I'm not sure Butlin's Holiday Camp ever provided the opportunity that Baby got but it's nice to imagine that if you were her you'd have that last dance!

7. Easy A - I think this one also features on Laura's list, but how could it not! Emma Stone is my current favourite actress - witty, kooky and making great film choices. She holds the Easy A film and makes it what it is. We watched it a few weeks ago and the whole way through I was saying 'I forget how good this film is'. Amanda Bynes features (wow I had no idea Amanda would be my common theme) and again there are some really good plot links - the Christians praying for everyone to be saved while 'committing' sins themselves, the kids getting bullied seeking help to become cool but my favourite bit - when she's talking to her parents! I wished I related to my parents like she does!

8. Enchanted - The 'real' life fairytale. I love Amy Adams and I love her in this film. In some ways this film is slightly true to life - the guys I dated way back when were always from cheesy fairytales and in the end I fell for something real, not something that looks/sounds good but has no substance! James Marsden (also in Hairspray) is an awesome Price Charming but Patrick Dempsey wins us over with his great 'Dad' role. OK my Prince is actually a Princess but other than that I clean with rats & pigeons :) I kid, I kid!

9. The Holiday - Essentially a Christmas movie but this film is all about the cast for me, and the setting. Filmed not far from where I grew up (the England bit not the Los Angeles bit!) this film captures how I see the UK in an idyllic winter - the cottage, the snow, the friendly, welcoming countryside pub and I love it. Contrasting with the hot, bigger than life American story line this film has it all. From showing that there is really no benefit in losing life to work and nothing better than family and friends there are lessons in it that make me think every time. While I love America and the 'bigger is better' mentality I will also always be an English Country girl at heart.

10. Knocked Up- this has become a 'go-to' film for me because you can't fail to like it. This was the film where Seth Rogan came to my attention and Katherine Heigl became less annoying! It's got sooooooo many funny moments that are just close enough to real life to make you go 'OMG that could happen!' It has enough cringe, feel-good and humour to make it the perfect choice who ever your film buddy is. Oh and it has Paul Rudd and all most all the films he's made i've enjoyed!

Laura's All-Time Amazing Fantastic Could-Watch-A-Million-Times Movies

1. Rocky Horror Picture Show - You may not know this about me, but I am a GIANT RHPS fan. I have owned the film in VHS and DVD, gone to see performances of it live, and watched the film in a theatre in costume with props every year that I can, around Halloween. I know all of the words to the songs, quite a bit of the actual dialogue, and think Tim Curry is damn sexy in drag. In fact, going to see RHPS is one of the things that makes October my favourite month (besides, you know, my birthday!) - aren't convinced with my RHPS top-fangirl status? Check out last October's trip to see the show HERE!

Us at RHPS 2011, and to the right, I had this pic in my bedroom growing up, next to a framed poster of RHPS!
2. Hair - Don't get confused, this is NOT Hairspray. *shudder* Hairspray is annoying, and Hair is an awesome 1970's hippie musical about free love, peace, drugs, and... well, hair. I've always been a flowerchild at heart, and Hair has been one of my favourite movies for going on 10 years now. Only out-aged by RHPS (and Ferris Bueller)! It's so amazing. The music! The dancing! The love! The peace! The beautiful women with long flowing hair! The hot black guy! What more could I have asked for?

3. The Boat That Rocked - When I was little, my mum drove me everywhere listening to Oldies 104.3 on the radio. So until I was 12ish, I pretty much only knew '50s, '60s and 70's music. I think this is awesome. I love TBTR because it is about pirate radio in the 1960s, during the British Invasion of pop music. It's an incredible mixture of some of the best music you'll ever hear, humour, awesome acting, history - oh man I love it. Watch it. Better yet, come over and we can watch it together!

4. She's The Man - Pretty sure I had a giant Amanda Bynes crush when I was younger. She is so great in this remake of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night where she dresses up like a boy to play soccer on the boy's team. Sarah noticed awhile ago that she looked an awful lot like Justin Beeber all dressed up like that, so I entered her into that site Apparently they didn't think it was as awesome as we did, because they didn't show it. Boo.

Seriously, which one is which?
5. Easy A - If you follow us on Instagram (@Sprezzatura_LnS), you'll have seen that yesterday we got to see Emma Stone! In real life!! I know, we cried a little as well. She is one of the cutest and most relate-able women in movies at the moment - and she is absolutely hilarious, and this awesome movie draws from the book we all had to read in school - The Scarlet Letter. At least, us Americans did. Also, it has Amanda Bynes in it again!

6. Ferris Bueller's Day Off - Have I ever told you guys about my friend Erin and I? Well, we started a religion when we were 13. Oh, you had no idea I was part of the second coming? I think the Siam Dynasty deserves a blog post in itself, but the bit that is relevant is that it is a polytheistic religion. And one of the three Gods is Cameron from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Was he the God of friendship? I don't really remember. Erin? Anyway, he is a big part of what makes this movie so damn amazing. That and Matthew Broderick singing 'Danke Schoen'. Classic '80s movie.

7. Down With Love - This is an adorable little movie set in the 1960s about a woman making her way in a man's world. Women's equality, courtesy of Renee Zellweger. It has Ewan McGregor in it, who is just so adorable (God of love in the Siam Dynasty, coincidentally for his role/singing in Moulin Rouge) and he sings *swoon*.

8. Grease - Who doesn't love this movie?? I watched it every Wednesday for a year in fourth grade at a weekly sleepover. And every week, I argued with my friend over who got to be Sandy. And I won most times, because my Mum is Australian and I am blonde. Owned. But later that year I went as a Pink Lady to a different friend's birthday party and because I wore cropped pants instead of the regular '50s poodle skirt, her Grandad said 'who's the boy?' at me. Scarring haha, even all these years later! So many Grease related memories. Again, I know almost all the words to the whole movie, including all the sha-la-las and ramma-lamma-ding-dongs.

9. The Darjeeling Limited - I also tend to love Owen Wilson movies. By far my favourite Wilson brother, I hate that he has tried to commit suicide like three times, and wish I could just make him better. Because he is so great - he's like Matthew McConaughey in a goofy and fun way, but with likability. I love him in The Royal Tenenbaums, this movie, and most recently Midnight In Paris. This list is just a bunch of me rambling, isn't it? Anyway, this movie is about three brothers trying to find themselves and each other on a train across India. It has Natalie Portman in it too, and is just beautiful in every way - it's touching, funny, interesting, with great music (again) and really made me want to take a train across India. Luckily for my terribly sensitive stomach, Sarah doesn't really want to go to India. But maybe one day, I will get to live this movie!

10. Music & Lyrics - I went to put this movie in my top 10, and got made fun of. By the girl who is putting Hairspray in hers. Yes I know I have an unnatural hate for that movie, especially considering I haven't seen it. But anyway. I love this movie so much. I love Drew Barrymore, in everything she is in pretty much (I always think she reminds me of me), and I think Hugh Grant is very endearing. There, I said it, despite being told by one of my friends who runs in his circles here in London that it is more impressive these days to say that you didn't sleep with Hugh than that you did. I still think he's great. And you know what? I adore the awesomely cheesy soundtrack that comes from Hugh playing an 80s pop star. So don't hate on Music & Lyrics!

What have I learned about myself in writing this list? My favourite movies all either are focused on music/musicals/have a great soundtrack, or have historical/literary ties. Also that I enjoy rambling. But you knew that already, didn't you? :)

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Speaking as the Strong Silent Type

When Sarah put up her post earlier this week about her parents (read it HERE), we didn't expect such an out pour of love and support - we honestly can't thank you all enough for your advice, shared stories and experiences, comments, tweets, posts, texts, and messages. You've made us feel like we aren't alone, and given us a lot to think about. We will definitely handle this differently than we would have if we hadn't had your input - and that is what is so wonderful and valuable about sharing our story on this blog like we have.

I wrote this at 3am the night after Sarah came home upset at what had gone down - and even though I know a lot of you have already given us amazing advice, I'd still like to put up my point of view. It's a lot about me, and is a lot more angry than Sarah's was (just a warning haha), but it's stuff I feel you need to know to understand where I'm coming from, and at this point I don't have the heart to change it!

When I was 14/15, an overly emotional, shy teenager with all sorts of high school drama, my Dad's advice to me was simply 'Don't worry about it - none of these people will matter in 3 years time.'

At the time, of course I thought that was the worst advice ever. What did he know, these high school people will always remember me for this one slip up I made, my 8th grade perm, or my bad outfit choices. He obviously doesn't understand me, or how big a deal this all is.

As much as I hate to admit it, my super logical Dad was right - I left high school, and all of a sudden, none of it mattered anymore. I still have some great friends from those days, who stuck by me through all my somewhat questionable decisions, and the judgements that resulted from them (namingly dating a compulsive liar and closeted gay, who came out of the closet right after we broke up, but that's another story) - and I can't thank those friends enough. But those who said mean things to me, or behind my back? I hardly even remember who they are! And since I realised just how true my Dad's words were, I haven't looked back.

When I left university to move to London (without a degree, queue the shock/horror) I was told by a friend that I was 'wasted potential'. I'm sure a few people felt like that, but I powered on through, and can easily say that moving here was the best decision I've ever made (besides snatching up Sarah of course!).

I now live my life more or less by that phrase, and because of this very 'black and white' attitude, I've been told I have high expectations when it comes to the people in my life. And I readily admit that I do. But I don't see why I should waste my time worrying about people who don't care about me, have common decency, and want me to be happy. If they don't, then I don't waste my precious time (that I could be spending with Sarah or my wonderful family or my lovely friends who DO care and appreciate me). Generally, my rules are simple. 1. Be reliable. If you say you will be somewhere, or do something, be there/do it. Or at least let me know if you can't so I can make other arrangements. And 2. Don't knowingly hurt me or the ones I love. Is it really so difficult to do those two things?

Maybe it's high expectations, or maybe just because I can't stand to see the woman I love in pain, that I just don't deal well with being a partner to homophobic and hurtful parents-in-law. It makes my blood boil. If you've seen our Twitter lately, you may have noticed that we've been making strides with Sarah's Mum. Or so we thought. Imagine my surprise then when Sarah came home this evening close to tears because her parents have more-or-less reverted to what they were saying when she first came out to them.

They dread being invited to weddings and functions because if we were invited as a couple, they wouldn't come. Sarah's Dad wants a family function for Father's Day, and has invited Sarah's cousins' partners, but won't invite his daughter's partner. I've been around over twice as long as one of the boyfriends! Even though her Mum's been making an effort, they will never be happy for us, and Sarah's still ruined their lives and broken their hearts.

We have been together for almost 3.5 years and they have known about us for well over 2. There comes a point where it is THEM who are breaking Sarah's heart, and THEY are disappointing HER - NOT the other way around. We didn't expect everything to be magically better, but after we've both made a massive effort to accommodate them, for god's sake, I've gone out of my way to hug the woman, it's a kick in the teeth for her to recite the same lines she did in mid-2010.

Growing up, you are in a bit of a bubble, you think your parents are the best thing ever and always know whats best - it must be so hard to realise that all the promises they made you when you were born have exceptions. Unconditional love? Wanting your child to be happy?

The worst bit of all is her Mum's 'excuse' for not letting her tell anyone in her family. The be all and end all, the giant awful thing that she is afraid of happening if everyone finds out her daughter is with a woman? She can't take getting 'judged by the family'. This made me think of my high school days instantly. This is apparently news to her, but everyone judges everyone else. It's as simple as that. All the time. When she's judging one of the fam up in Scotland for having an affair, who they chose as bridesmaid at their wedding (or didn't choose), or having a baby out of wedlock, they are already judging her, for not visiting enough, for something put on Facebook, for anything. Though the family will still be there in 3 years time, the gossip won't matter - they'll be moved onto a new drama or scandal. And if they are already gossiping, what does it really matter?

The worst bit is that I have no real say in any of this. If it were black and white me, I would have kicked them all out ages ago - told all my extended family/friends about my relationship, and if they didn't accept me, then they weren't that great in the first place. Of course I'd give them a grace period to get used to the idea, but is it really worth spending all our time worrying about what some people we only interact with over Facebook think about our relationship? I may think that one of my friends 'married down', but it wouldn't change how I feel about them, or what I said to them when I saw them.

And hopefully when my scared-of-judgement parents saw how insignificant this all was, they'd come around and stop being so damn dramatic. But if not, you know what? After 3 years I would stop trying. Stop worrying about it. The best way to get them to come around is to just live our lives the best we can, enjoy ourselves, and sooner or later they'll no doubt realise that wishing their daughter was in an abusive relationship with a rich man instead of a woman who loves her and treats her well, is just insane. And if they don't ever come around? Her life won't be worse off. When she is old and grey, she won't wish she had spent more time trying to please or convince her prejudiced parents. She'll wish she hadn't worried what everyone else thought, and spent more time with the people who do love her and want her to be happy. On the same vein, when they are old and grey they will probably wish they enjoyed their daughter and her wife while they had the chance - before they moved away and wised up.

But what can I do? I can't make the 'screw it, lets just tell everyone, no more secrets, and the ones that matter will stick by us' decision for Sarah. I can't try to speak to her parents about it (if only because with three years of pent up anger and protectiveness, I'm bound to either be really aggressive or cry, and either way make things worse). I can't force them to see all the hurt they are creating and all the things they are missing out on. I mean, Sarah speaks to my parents more frequently than she speaks to hers, and is much more excited about it - can you blame her?

All I can do is comfort Sarah, be proud of the progress she is making in standing up to them, and secretly dream of the day she gives them the ultimatum - accept us or be cut out. I am going to have to get used to being the strong silent type.

Love always, Laura xo

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

What We Love Wednesday!! The Big Easy Experience

Some time ago we did a What We Love Wednesday on Man vs Food because the show is AWESOME in our humble opinion. Ever since watching the show and getting more than a little excited for the food, we have been keeping our eyes peeled and mouths ready to find 'London's best eats'. And low and behold, on our 5km walk home from work, we came across The Big Easy!

This is what the website says:

Big Easy transports you to a simpler time. From the décor to the nightly live music, it's the perfect place to kick back, eat a great home-style meal, and relax.

This is what we say:

If you are ever near to Chelsea looking for simply the best American-style food you will EVER eat with the best atmosphere of any restaurant in the capital GO HERE!

We actually went to the Big Easy on a Wednesday, and it just happened to be 'ALL YOU CAN EAT FAJITAS' as well as 2 for 1 on cocktails before 7! So what can we say? We had an AMAZING night.

From the moment we walked in, we were greeted by friendly staff including a bartender who became our drink adviser. Faced with a wall of different flavoured frozen margaritas, it was a hard decision to make to pick just one...the solution = try a shot of our top 3. It was a hard choice but the consensus was that strawberry margaritas were the best! (Second fav was mango!) Then after much debate, some quick maths and our drink adviser's guidance we worked out with the 3 of us it was a good deal to get (2 for 1) jugs of the cocktail - UHOH.

Neither of us are big drinkers, so after 2 glasses each we were 'well lubricated' - we can only apologise for the video footage below!

Once we were seated we ordered our first skillets of fajita filling - chicken, beef and shrimp! It turned up really quickly, with bowls of salad, warm tortillas and more guacamole and sour cream than we needed - the table was jammed!! The shrimp was DIVINE, the chicken tender and the beef cooked perfectly (we should mention that veggie options were available :)) it was so tasty that we can't remember anywhere that even comes close!

As we ate, the restaurant seemed to go from fairly busy to full and the atmosphere was unlike any other restaurant we've been to in London. It was like we'd joined the 'cool kids' or found America in London - lively, jovial, vibrant and fun we ended up staying for over 3 hours!

As if the food, the atmosphere and the company wasn't enough, we even had live music! It turned into more of a private karaoke session that we are blaming the margaritas for! It didn't help that we got a free margaritas each with our meals - we were well and truly merry!

After a brief karaoke interlude we decided to order two more skillets between the three of us, well, it WAS all you can eat after all - but it's fair to say that it defeated us. When the food is sooooo good, it's hard to know when to stop - we couldn't leave after just one skillet!

We would recommend going here ANY day of the week. The size of the menu is ridiculous! Lobster, crab, chophouse burger, wings, the big pig gig, ribs, steak, veggie fajitas OK you get the idea - there is PLENTY of choice!

We'll be heading back, that's for sure - we just need to find willing participants to join us (and who hopefully haven't seen the video :) )

Take it easy..... at the Big Easy!!

Love always,
Laura & Sarah xo

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A Story Worth Telling

It has long been a debate of ours as to whether our blog is the right place to record my, Sarah's, parents' reaction to our relationship - after all, once published on the internet it's public and not easy to take back. However, after the latest developments, we've come to the conclusion that this blog was created to share our lives and everything that happens in them and this has certainly been a big part of it.

In an earlier post (HERE) we detailed how my parents struggled to deal with me coming out - the phrase that sticks most in my mind was that 'I broke their hearts and in choosing to love Laura I am being selfish and bringing shame and disgust on the family'.

I was lucky enough to grow up with parents who have always loved one another. They met on holiday in Benidorm, my Dad from Hastings (England) out with his 'boys' and my Mum from Kilmarnock (Scotland) over with her 'girls' - they met on the 2nd to last night and spent a loved up day together before catching flights home. It took my Dad only 3 days to realise he couldn't be without my Mum and he drove (on a small motorbike) from Hastings to Kilmarnock to ask her out. He stayed for 4 days in a b&b (my Scottish family didn't take to kindly to an Englishman coming to take one of theirs) and they made the decision that they wanted to make it work. Three months later and my Mum and all her belongings were in a small car heading to Hastings - they moved in with my Great Nan and the rest is history. They made it work despite my Mum's parents' prejudice against the 'bloody English' and despite everyone's negative comments about holiday romances.

By the time I arrived, they had set up home near Reading and I was the first to join what had become a tight-knit family foursome of my parents and my Dad's sister and her husband. By the time I was 5, I was head of a band of 4 kids. We holidayed as a eightsome, we had sleepovers and parties and a great childhood full of amazing memories.

So with this background, I never thought that my parents would react in the way they did when I said I had found someone I loved. I knew my parents didn't know anyone gay and they had always made comments about flamboyant gay men, but I thought that was more because they were different to the people they knew. My Dad is a man's man and was a policeman so he had a very set idea of what he expected in my future husband.

I had moved to Australia for a year to give life with Laura a chance - in London I was never too far from home and Australia would give us space to just be us. I spoke to my parents on a weekly basis and sent emails with what I was doing but they never seemed hugely interested; I presumed it was because they felt I had 'abandoned' them or something. One of my Mum's older sisters (and the only Scottish Aunt I have anything to do with) organised to come to Bali for her 60th with the plan being that my Mum would come too and we'd all meet up there. For some time I had planned to tell my Mum about Laura, but I wanted to do it face to face so I set my mind on Bali. My coming out 'speech' was very much in line with Laura's Obama letter.

As I arrived at the hotel in Bali I met up with my Mum and Aunt and we had a great time catching up before heading to bed - I was sharing a room with my Mum and what happened next was not at all how I planned it. My Mum commented on how well I looked and that Australia must be suiting me (well, who wouldn't it suit!) and for some unknown reason I used this as my 'in'. I launched into 'I have met someone and we are so happy. I have had an amazing couple of months spending the weekends discovering Sydney and working part time. It's so nice having the time getting to know them and I am so excited for the future.' Mum asked 'What's his name?'....'Laura'..... Mum burst into tears- 'I was so scared you were going to tell me that, I can't believe you want to ruin our family. You must not tell ANYONE this - it will kill your Dad and NO-ONE can know, if ANYONE finds out I will die'.

The night continued with my Mum crying herself to sleep and the holiday continued with smiles on our faces for my Aunt and a continued bombardment of 'How can you be doing this?', 'You're so selfish.' and 'How can you want to break our hearts like this?'. The holiday ended with me getting a taxi to the airport on my own as my Mum couldn't bear to say goodbye and a comment ringing in my ears 'Don't come back from Australia until it's over'.

For the next four months I got a constant barrage of letters, emails - so many emails, and phone calls telling me to change my mind and that I have ruined their lives and the devastation is causing my Mum to get sick and that there would be no future as part of their family with Laura. It was backed up with Laura has changed me and I can't be 'their' Sarah if I loved a woman.

Throughout all of this Laura was nothing short of amazing: supported by her family I found the strength to hold my head up and persevere. My plan was to head home at Christmas, despite my Mum's request not to, to show that I hadn't changed. This lead to the WORST Christmas - Laura and I had gone to Boise, Idaho for a ski-break and to see her family and I left a couple of days before the holiday to head home. On arrival at Heathrow after a year away there was no hug except from my sister. The journey home was quiet. It wasn't until Christmas day that the comments started again. Again my ultimatum was lose Laura or lose them. The only way I stopped all four of us ending up in separate rooms was by agreeing that no-one outside our family would know.

That was Christmas 2010, and nothing has changed.

Anyone who has become our Facebook friend through the blog will know there is no reference to Laura and I as a couple of our FB profiles - a fact that breaks my heart as I am proud to tell the world about us - but there are plenty of family members and friends that I would need to delete to be able to declare this without World War III breaking out.

It is a question I am constantly asking myself - 'Why not just do it, just be out and proud' but I truly fear my family turning their backs on me. I grew up shopping with my Mum, watching football with my Dad and a Saturday night watching TV with them was a good night. I don't hate my parents, I certainly don't want to break their hearts. I want them to be proud - it's all I have ever wanted. So how do I take the leap knowing I can never turn back?!

My 'It Gets Better' slogan should read 'I Get Stronger' or 'It Hurts Less' because things aren't getting better. I am friends with a girl who had a negative reaction when she came out and she had the courage to give her parents the ultimatum - accept my girlfriend and me or lose me - and her parents didn't want to lose her. I have also had support from fellow bloggers - for some it has gotten better, and that gives me hope. I know that if I gave my parents an ultimatum they would lose me - that doesn't scare me but I fear the pressure it'll put on Laura.

The reason this post is being written today is, those Twitter followers amongst you will know that I went home yesterday. I was feeling good - my Mum had made small steps in the last three months - we had upgraded from calling L 'the American' to actually using her name and we even had a brief meeting at my sister's - I thought it was the hope I had longed for. However, this trip put it all back in perspective. To quote:
'Laura will never be welcome in this house'
'Laura's presence in your life breaks our hearts'
'The pain you are causing us is so selfish'
'The thought of girls kissing makes me want to throw-up'
'We fear the future because if you two are invited to an event we won't be there'

It culminated in a discussion about plans for Fathers Day. I said I was more than happy to come home but he had the plan to go to Windsor Races later in June. They then said they would invite my Aunt and Uncle, my cousins and cousins' partners (one cousin has been with his partner 5 years, the other only 6 months) and my sister and I.....'and Laura?' I posed. The response was 'You and Laura together will never be invited to our family events'. My response 'Well then I won't come'. And so we left it.

I will never understand how my cousin's boyfriend of 6 months, who I have never met even though he lives less than half a mile from us, is invited over us. Nor will I understand why I have been separated slowly but surely from my family - I used to speak to my Aunt frequently but as I can't mention Laura, for fear of my Mum getting ill, it limits conversation.

I have wasted far too many tears trying to gain their acceptance, I have proved time and time again that Laura adds to my life in so many ways and makes me happier than I have ever been but it counts for nothing! With the love and acceptance of L's parents, it makes the differences all too obvious but what do I do - walk away knowing my parents won't be at my wedding or in my kids' lives?! Or keep trying, hoping that some day things really will get better?!

***Update*** See Laura's point of view HERE!!

Until next time,
Sarah xo

Monday, 4 June 2012

Pomp, Pageantry & Pissing It Down!!! We celebrated the Diamond Jubilee 2012!!

We have waited for what feels like a REALLY long time for today; to be fair it may have only been a couple of months, but the UK has gradually become red, white and blue and anyone who knows us knows we LOVE a reason to dress up and celebrate! So today we celebrated the Diamond Jubilee in red, white and blue (oh and pink!)

Arriving at today had been somewhat of a roller coaster journey. You may have seen that our flat is on the river, so we thought we would have front row seats to see the Jubilee flotilla without leaving our flat - but NOPE, the procession was set to start just 2 bridges further up! Gutted!

We came to terms with that and decided that we should then head to Battersea Park to celebrate. We set about getting a group together, but once we had our group we found out that tickets were SOLD OUT! Gutted again!

So, left with no definite plans and no flotilla coming past our flat we were had to contemplate heading to join the masses at Tower Bridge and hope that we could get there early enough to get a space. After all, it was the largest flotilla on the river for centuries and only the second Diamond Jubilee EVER, so it's not like we'll get another Jubilee in our life times!

Funny how life is sometimes though. If you read our post 'The end of world as we know it', you'll know we had the worst week recently, finding out that we couldn't work together anymore, but after a weekend of sadness we faced the disappointment head on and went on to have the BEST FREAKING DAY EVER! As part of that day, we won tickets to the Jubilee Party at Battersea Park and today's plans were suddenly made!!!

We also read that the mustering was taking place on our part of the river and the day looked set!

We actually ended up meeting one of Laura's friends from the USA by Tower Bridge and seeing the Avenue of Sails set up and ready last night, but when we woke at 10am to find the river outside our window bustling with boats it was time to get EXCITED! The sea cadets were busy setting up and the barges were turning round, the crowd was gathering on the path below and we couldn't resist standing outside in our dressing gowns to take in the growing excitement. In doing so we got told by one of the boat watchers on the path below that 'we weren't getting the full experience unless we were getting wet' hahaha! After the boats practicing their musical numbers had passed by, we thought we should get ready to go out. Sarah was so excited she cried - yes, really - exclaiming 'I have NO idea how I got soooooooo lucky!' Someone was very excited haha!

When we were 'union-jacked' and as waterproofed as we could be, we headed out to join the crowds. Our usually quiet part of the Thames was BUSY - so many people had put up bunting and almost everyone was carrying a flag. It really was red, white and blue everywhere you looked. As we crossed Wandsworth Bridge, Sarah's excitement was at its peak - we were hanging over the bridge literally talking to the rowers!

The walk to Battersea Park disappeared quickly as the crowds grew and we were waved in with our wristbands - picked up from the River Pageant's office earlier in the week (Sarah had to recite her poem and pose for a photo in the office before getting them!) and we made our way straight to the river, through muddy paths and trees - gotta love Battersea Park!!!

The crowds were already 5 or 6 deep along the bank, but Laura spotted a gap and by the time the boats arrived we were 2 people back and had a great view (avoiding the flags) - it was AMAZING!!! According to the news, 1.25million people watched the flotilla! As the bells chimed on the belfry at the start and the first few boats approached the crowd went mad - but when the Glorianna boat was spotted, the volume went up a notch and excitement grew - it even had Steve Redgrave (the UK's most successful rowing Olympian with 5 gold medals!!!) and Matthew Pinscent (another Olympic medal winner) rowing! That was the boat that had appeared in ALL the papers and it was all so real, we were watching the JUBILEE FLOTILLA - how many people can say 'I was there!' - we can!!!

After 15 minutes, the whispers started that the Queen was in view and the crowd had flags at the ready....Laura had her camera and Sarah had her video camera and we were set! The river isn't that wide and as the Spirit of Chartwell appeared, complete with it's 10,000 blooms, it was obvious where the Queen was! There are certain moments in life where you can say you are proud to be British, and today was one of them. Royalist or not, there are few occasions where you stand with people focused purely on supporting your country and with all the flags waving and the cheers as the Royal family sailed past, you couldn't feel anything but patriotic!

From start to finish, the different types of boats, the music blasting out and the pomp and pageantry entertained us. Even the rain couldn't clear the crowds, umbrellas at the ready we stayed until the end and saw all 1100 boats pass, a whole 75 minutes from start to finish. Once it had ended we headed back into the park for a bizarre and funny set of experiences.

First stop was a reggae rave in front of an old double decker bus - umbrellas bobbing up and down and music blaring, NO-ONE was ready to head home. From there we came across the world's tallest cake judging - who knows who won, but the guy compering was hilarious and everyone left with cake! There were vans serving tea & biscuits, we got HobNobs and met plenty of people who had gone ALL out on outfits! Next stop was the Vintage village and we snaked in and out of the tents, saw girls getting 50's makeup and hairstyles, knitted goods, soooooooo many cakes, clothes through the eras and arts & crafts to take part in!

Eating our share of the giant cake!
Passing Carters Steam Fair, we decided to give the rides a miss as we were SOAKED and headed to the Classic Car Boot sale via Cath Kitson's touring van, as we approached, camera at the ready, the rain decided to step it up and with it washed away our last bit of British perseverance - it was home time!

One devoted fan left... that or she doesn't have a TV at home.
If we hadn't won the tickets I'm sure it would have been a good day, but thanks to some 'cheesy' poetry, a bit of luck and Twitter (thanks again @riverpageant) our day was definitely one to remember for all the right reasons! We wouldn't have minded staying dry though! :)

Braving the weather!
The long walk home was a happy one - we came, we saw and we can say WE WERE THERE! We even got to see the boats head home at the end of the night - blowing their horns as they passed. We hope the Queen had a great day too!!!

Please watch our video on our experience at the River Pageant!

What did you do to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee??

Love always,
Sarah & Laura xo