Sunday, 30 December 2012

All Good Things...

We've had the absolute best time in Boise over these last two weeks, and SO much to tell and show you once we are back in Blighty. We've spent so much time with my wonderful parents, and seen so many great friends. And it's snowed lots!! But unfortunately, our blissful holiday home is over - for now.

Honestly, every time I go home it gets harder to leave. I find myself really wishing that Sarah could legally move here with me - and we could enjoy the next stage of our life, in the quiet country of Idaho. Our kids could be around their grandparents, and it would be wonderful. Will be wonderful. Someday soon I hope!

But of course, you know us, we are travellers - and we are not quite finished trekking around the world yet. Our next stop is New York City!!

This has already been such a great holiday and it would be so much harder to go straight home from here - instead we are getting excited about our next adventure! (which is why I am up at 12:30am, despite having to wake up at 4:00am)

We don't have too many plans, except to spend time with a few friends, meet up with Steph and Corrine from Waking Up With Her, and see EVERYTHING! We are planning to watch the ball drop at Times Square, and hoping to see Ricky Martin in Evita. Because, its Ricky Martin.

Remember this guy?
We won't have a laptop in NYC so probably not many posts, but keep an eye on our Twitter and Instagram pages for lots of familiar New York sights!!!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas, Everyone!!!

We hope you have been having an absolutely fabulous holiday season - we've been having wonderful fun in Boise, which is why we've been less than regular on this blog!! But we can't wait to share with you all our fun adventures!

Our Christmas this year is very different from last year's day!

Tonight we will have a cold spread with Laura's family - yummy cheeses (from Whole Foods! Yum!), deli meats, and smoked salmon with french bread and mulled wine - we are getting hungry thinking about it!!

Then of course Christmas Day is tomorrow! We are having a 'no presents' Christmas this year, so we will just be exchanging small (food based in our case) things - taking Abby for a nice long walk, and having friends over for dinner! And Laura will be making her famous green bean casserole!

What are some of your Christmas traditions?

We share with you our 'getting the Christmas tree ready' video again - because its so marvelously festive!

We wish the best Christmas to all of you and your families!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Sarah's Family Christmas 2012

I LOVE history – I’m just going to put it out there! From a young age I was obsessed with learning as much as possible about the past. I would divulge Roman books and was lucky enough to live on what was an airfield in the second world war – history surrounded me. From the air raid shelter that was our ‘fort’ to the scribblings of soldiers on walls left in the area I was fascinated. It was a childhood mission to unearth the air raid shelter hidden under our bike hill (a hill that I flew off at one point and had numerous stitches- I wasn’t the girliest girl!!). Unfortunately it was flatten before my neighbour and I had dug deep enough and we never did find out the secrets we were convinced it held.

My area gave me an history interest I hold to this day – whether it was a bomb being discovered in our playing field or the fact that I was intrigued by where names came from I was always wanting to know more. When we did a geography lesson about land can give places names I stayed late to go through more. I grew up in Woodley – ‘Ley’ meaning ‘clearing’ was simple ‘clearing in a wood’! Then there was Twyford ‘ford (or low land) where you could cross two fords’! so clever.

OK so to save this becoming a history lesson I’ll get to the point – this weekend I had my family Christmas as I won’t be here for the actual day (did we mention we’ll be in Idaho :D) and part of that was to visit my Aunt and Uncle in Hawkhurst. My Dad mentioned it was a really old settlement and the date on their cottage was 1874 – HISTORY!!! My Aunt is also a history buff and we spent the afternoon looking up how the village came to be. Aside from a torrid history where smuggling was the main occupation it is a quaint village with a very farming-centric background. The name Hawkhurst being derived from ‘Hurst or Hyrst – meaning wooded land, put another way it’s woodland where hawks frequent.

I love having someone to share my interest and when I mentioned the possibility of Laura and I heading to ‘NutleyNew Jersey she was so excited. Turns out my great-great-great Uncle took a trip there, opened a town hall and they had a day of celebration in his honour! Mr Jack Nutley was a local celeb way back when – wonder if I can ask for the same honour?

Our Christmas celebration was lovely though, snug in our cottage with the fire burning we were able to have our last catch up of the year before a three course roast dinner. There is something about being in the warmth in this weather that warms the heart. I can’t wait to find out the history of the cottage – if those walls could talk!

It was a nice relaxing afternoon to counter the somewhat hectic day out in London I had enjoyed with my Mum and Sister on the Saturday. My sister had kindly booked us tickets to see Cabaret, my all time favourite film (set at the start of the second world war in Berlin). I was apprehensive, Will Young (Pop Idol winner back in 2002) was playing a lead and he had to be good. The role is pivotal to making the play funny but Will did not fail me. He was brilliant! In fact I may go as far as saying this was the best production of the film I had seen. The male nudity (very unexpected and the 2nd time I’ve seen a penis this year!!!) shocked the audience into action and there was cheers and applause throughout.

We were in the Savoy theatre, a truly beautiful theatre, and attached to the stunning Savoy hotel and it set the scene for a wonderful matinee performance. I am one truly lucky lady.


I spent Saturday night back in Reading at my parents new house and it’s funny, no matter how big the bed I stay on one side and my Mum even commented that I must have missed Laura as the spare pillow was well, squashed! Poor L I must really hug her tight at night.

It was a lovely weekend though and nice to spend the time with my parents, it’s been a while. For those of you who remember the trouble we have had since I’ve been with Laura you’ll understand why I treasure the good times. I can even report progress – Laura got a present from my Mum, was mentioned in cards and we even spoke about her in a positive way. May 2013 bring continued progress – I know what’s on my wish list!!

Friday, 14 December 2012

And, We're Off!!!

We are on the way to Heathrow currently, with (way too much) luggage in tow - and even though we have only had 1.5 hours sleep, we are SO EXCITED!!!

Idaho, here we come!!!

Love, Laura & Sarah xo

Monday, 10 December 2012

Winter Wonderland - Hyde Park, London, UK

For those of you who, like us, LOVE Christmas it’s amazing just how many excuses you can find me do Christmassy things! Living in London we are lucky enough to enjoy Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park on a regular basis.

When we worked together last year we were able to walk the 10 minutes to Hyde Park almost every lunch time to indulge in the array of food – bratwursts, Angus burgers, turkey & stuffing sandwiches and profitijes (how did I wait 25 years to taste them!!!) – it’s a lunch only fit for Christmas time!

This year as we don’t work together we have had less chance to go and wander round but we thought we would get in early with Sarah and Lauren. So after our Thanksmas celebration we headed to Harrods and then on to Winter Wonderland. With Willow with us and dressed to combat the ever-so-cold weather we braced ourselves for the hoards of people. This place is BUSY!! Poor Willow (or maybe lucky Willow) ended up being carried round to save her from the buggies and feet. This place is not for the faint-hearted or those who hate crowds.

Once inside the parameter you have plenty of attractions to see. The area is divided into sections; The Fairground, Food Markets Stalls, Christmas gifts stalls and the Ice Rink, oh and the Zippo Circus area and an Observation Wheel. You can wander for free but it costs to go on anything or into any of the attractions.    

There are over 100 festive rides and attractions and even Santa Land, where Santa hangs out in is his famous grotto!

Having had the experience of Winter Wonderland at a weekend we would say DON’T DO IT! If you can head up during the week otherwise the atmosphere is lost trying not to get trodden on or crushed – festive if you love the Christmas shopping crush – but not fun if you are there to enjoy the day.

That’s not to say you can’t enjoy it and our tour with Sarah, Lauren and Willow was enjoyable, from the talking tree welcoming us to sitting in a very Bavarian style wooden terrace full of food stands and bars, to the delicious food to the Christmas tunes blasting over the tannoy we all felt the Christmas spirit.

You can easily spend a couple of hours wandering round the 100 or so stands, time it right and there are live bands playing and all kinds of random entertainment. It’s not the cheapest place to find a Christmas gift but there is definitely plenty of choice. We got a personalised tree decoration there last year:

As Sarah still works 10 minutes walk away she definitely has the best deal, even if her pre-Idaho diet has been destroyed, well it would be rude not to indulge in the delicious food – right?!

Open from late November to early January there are plenty of weekdays to head over and with Hyde Park Corner tube station right outside (although often closed as it gets overwhelmed) and Green Park or Victoria Station just 10 minutes walk away it’s definitely well-located.

If you are in London on a weekday make sure and pop in, it's well worth a look around!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

An L&S Experiment: Love Languages

Earlier this week I was catching up on the blogs we follow, when I came across a very interesting post from Jena at Recently Roached about something I’d never heard of before – Love Languages.

Jena said in her post that it was something she was taught in her Christian sorority - that there are five different ways of showing love to your significant other, and each person values these ways differently. I had never come across it before, but I thought it was a great idea!

Sarah and I have been together (almost) 4 years now, and we think we know each other well, but I decided we were going to do an experiment. We took the five languages and ordered them according to what we thought the other valued most to least (so I did Sarah’s, and she did mine) – we recorded those findings.

Then, we each took the 30 question test (changing the word ‘husband’ to ‘girlfriend’, of course), and recorded our own results.

Comparing what our partner thought we found most important to what we actually found most important (and so on) was eye opening.

While we both got the two most valued languages to the other one correct, in the middle is where we could learn the most –
Sarah learned that while she thinks I value her ‘acts of service’ quite a bit, I’d much rather if she showed me she loved me by physically touching me or telling me. We can always do the acts of service together and turn them into quality time!

And I learned that though I would think acts of service was higher on Sarah’s list because she is always nagging me to do my part ;D in fact whats important to her is that we both do the work to get it done so we can spend more quality time together – and that I can never tell her that I love her too many times.

Finally, we both learned that we value similar things – is this how we've gotten on so well thus far, with a ‘treat others as you’d like them to treat you’ attitude? Well now we will continue to do the same, but with more awareness of what would make each other feel even better than they do now!

It’s only been four days, but the Love Languages test has already made a difference in our relationship - click HERE to try it out with your partner!

Oh and PS:

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Laura's Bad News

Hi everyone, hope you are having a better week than us!

There we were, minding our own Christmasy business, and the completely unexpected happened - Laura was made redundant.

It happened Monday morning, her entire department is getting cut, and it has nothing to do with her or her work, just unfortunately due to the economy - but we are still floored. It was a permanent job! She was really good at it and loved it! How did this happen? AND RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS??!

So now, with only 7 working days until our holiday, we're back on the job hunt. But this time, we are looking to improve our quality of life - no 8:30 - 18:00 jobs, only normal amounts of hours, and in Victoria or around, so we can still have lunch together every day.

Laura definitely isn't as upset by this job loss as she was the last, probably partially because she's been through it before earlier in the year, and this time she isn't losing working with Sarah, and finally because she knows (unfortunately) others who are in the same position as her. It just seems so unfair, what a horrible time of the year for this to happen!

Luckily, we've got a secret weapon - Sarah has been sending through jobs for Laura to apply for from 1 hour after we found out. We're applying, hopefully getting some interviews before we go home, but while we are in Idaho/NYC we are NOT thinking about this. Only good and positive thoughts from 14th December!!

So if anyone in the West/SW London area knows of any roles going in Office Management, training, HR, admin, PA, etc areas, Laura's your girl!

We'll get through this together, it won't be as bad as last time, and we'll stay positive no matter what. Hopefully.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

The one and only JASON MRAZ rocked our world!

Jason Mraz was AMAZING! If you read our last post you will know that Laura has had a long standing love affair with Jason after seeing him many a year ago back in Boise. However Sarah had never seen him live and only had his albums to go by.

Admittedly neither of us had really had the chance to listen to his new album too much but had listened through it a couple of times and from what we had heard it sounded just as good as his older songs! But we were worried if the show was all new songs we could have missed out with singing along.

However, we did not have to worry. From start to finish this show was crammed with tune after tune, song after song that got not only us, but the whole crowd on their feet singing every word! The atmosphere was incredible. It wasn't just us that thought so:

The O2 is a BIG arena and having seen the productions that Britney Spears and other artists had put on there made us a little apprehensive about how little Mr Mraz would fill the arena with just a guitar but with the help of his AMAZING band this was not a 'show' as such this was an education in how real music can still engage, inspire and entertain you. There were no half naked dancers, clever staging or pyrotechnics, there was just Jason, his band and a screen that had images or close-ups of the stage (you wouldn't have seen him from section 4 in the roof otherwise)!!

We were SO lucky to have seats 30 rows back on the floor though, so we could enjoy watching him up close and on the screen. We saw his band loving every minute, we saw Jason changing guitars and having fun! That may seen a random thing to say but as much as Britney (and after seeing her 5 times Sarah is a little knowledgeable on this) turns up and does her performance, you do feel a little like she just changes the 'city' in her speech. But with Mraz, it did not feel like that at all. From his anecdotes about his times in London before and from the way he took time to let the crowd cheer him, this was not an artist just 'doing a set'.

Strangely one of the stand out moments, that we both mentioned, was the fact that he came on stage at the exact time we were told he would - not half an hour late! And his first words were 'Thank you so much for coming' - what a gentleman! We also loved that fact that he acknowledged that his lack of 'self promotion' made him somewhat of a well-kept secret and he was glad the secret could fill the O2! That made the atmosphere all the better, everyone there was a real fan and you couldn't help noticing everyone singing (even if the guy behind us sang a little too flat & a little too loud for it to be pleasant ;D ).

We also loved his remixes - 'Lucky' with 'Fly Me To The Moon' was ingenious! He also did 'Three Little Birds' by Bob Marley - brilliant and 'Careless Whisper' by George Michael - smooth!

A lot of his old classics were featured too - 'I'm Yours', 'Plane', 'You & I Both', 'The Remedy', 'Butterfly' and 'Live High'. Although the crowd pleaser, and cleverly left to last, was his hit 'I Won't Give Up' - this had everyone's phones in the air and left everyone buzzing.

We couldn't fail to mention his percussionist either - she was SO talented, slightly insane if you go by the faces she was pulling, but so wonderful. In fact the band (all 8 of them) seemed to play every instrument available at one point of another. It made every song come to life in a completely different way.

Oh and there was a proposal too! Just before the song 'The Woman I Love' Jason gave a speech about how we should all appreciate the women we love and as it ended, the camera panned to the crowd and there was a man on one knee! Ahh love and Mr Mraz just seem to go hand in hand. Funnily he even mentioned us, his lesbians friends, in his speech :)

We're sure we aren't the only couple who relates to Jason Mraz - not only is he a talented musician, there is something more, his clever lyrics are so relatable and in the main, positive, that you can't help feeling loved up - we spent almost 90% of the concert embracing each other, kissing and saying 'I love you'.

No doubt Jason Mraz's songs will play more than a small part in any future moments of ours - after all, in the words of 'Living In the Moment':

I will not waste my days
Making up all kinds of ways
To worry about all the things
That will not happen to me

So I just let go of what I know I don't know
And I know I'll only do this by
Living in the moment
Living our life
Easy and breezy
With peace in my mind
With peace in my heart
Peace in my soul
Wherever I'm going, I'm already home
Living in the moment

I'm letting myself off the hook for things I've done
I let my past go past
And now I'm having more fun
I'm letting go of the thoughts
That do not make me strong
And I believe this way can be the same for everyone

We echo that, Mr Mraz! And if you ever do read this - THANK YOU for a night that will go down as a highlight in a year that has already been one of the best yet!