Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Coming out to myself - Sarah's story

How did I know I was gay? It’s a strange question, but an Anon recently left us the comment below and it got us pondering......

We have shared our love story before in our Love Story post and we recently did a video interview with Jason Dottley about our Love Story heret: http://sprezzaturaourway.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/its-all-queens-marrying-queens-over-here.html but we've never gone into who we were before we got together so here goes.......

I've never made it a secret that before Laura I was dating men, and for some people that raises real questions about how I could suddenly ‘become gay’ - or perhaps that it makes me bisexual. Or my favourite one – how do I know I won’t go back to guys?

I will try to put the answer to these questions in this post but this is as much of a journey in writing as it will be for anyone reading.

Growing up I was a tomboy, I played football and basketball with boys.  My choice of clothes was trackies and trainers and I never thought much of it. As I got to secondary school age (11) I saw that girls my age were getting interested in boys and dressing to impress. I was still more interested in beating them on the sports field and it attracted the wrong type of attention. I was called a lesbian and told I would never get a boyfriend acting this way.

The bullying got to me - it was never physical but it was always hurtful and when my sister starting using it as an insult I decided to stop playing sports and become more girly. I never questioned whether I was lesbian, I just questioned why I wasn't girly. Why didn't make up come naturally? Why did girls like dresses, when I didn't, and why didn't my hair naturally look good?! 

By the time I was 14 I had joined a new group of girls at school - they were popular, the boys liked them and they were girly. I joined their group because they offered protection from the bullies – I had bonded with one of the girls, Helen, in geography and I will forever be grateful for her friendship.

The group helped me become girlier. They invited me to parties where boys were and I gradually realised I shouldn't be competing with boys I should be competing for boys. The lesbian comments stopped and I did what everyone else did – I got interested in boys.

At 16 the girls and I went to Newquay and stayed at an 18 – 30 caravan site. Every night they dressed me up and every night I got hit on. I loved the attention. I loved being pretty and I loved feeling like everyone else. I was straight and into boys.

When I got back I met my first boyfriend - he was great. But we never got further than being friends. Situations prevented us from ever being ‘alone’ and by 3 months, things hadn't changed so I thought it best to break up. This ended up being the case with all my boyfriends - things were never right - they were always too nice, too helpful, too needy, just not right.

At first I thought it was them. So I would deliberately wait until girls said they fancied a guy before I hit on them or accepted their flirting, I wanted to date the hottest guys, based on what others thought. 

I ended up sleeping with a guy who I never saw again because I thought sex may have been the barrier that was stopping the relationships from feeling 'right' – it wasn't. I liked the guys I dated, I found them attractive but I never found them interesting. Weird because when I was friends with my first boyfriend I found him a lot more interesting! Maybe it's because the pressure was off.

By 18, I was at Uni and out on my own. The pressure was off to be dating guys and I found myself befriending a Christian girl I shared student accommodation with. She started inviting me to church on the offer of a free meal and if you read my ‘moving out on my own' post you’ll know why a free meal was a great offer. I loved church. I didn't believe the bible preaching but I liked the debates and the people - oh and the food, but what I really liked was the girl.

Looking back I have always had ‘that friend’ that I was a little bit too close with. At primary school it was girl called Katie – my Mum said I was obsessed! Growing up it was a neighbour (who is also an out lesbian now) and at Uni it was the church girl.

I loved that fact that she had direction, she challenged me to think for myself, and she always looked out for me. She even let me sleep in to her room when I was locked out. Then one very cold evening I returned soaking to a locked room. That evening she held me so close to warm me up I found myself being really confused. I had never been hugged like that and I wasn't sure why I liked it so much.

The next week I found a boyfriend and put any ‘gay’ thoughts out my head. I liked her but I couldn't ‘like’ her – I was straight.

Over the 3 years we were at Uni together we ended up living together. We were best friends but the church was always her priority, that’s why it REALLY confused me when she kissed me. I had wanted to try it but I was scared what it might mean so I always closed off those feelings. The kiss is still the single most confusing moment of my life. I lost a best friend, I thought I was gay for a moment and yet I was straight.

The kiss didn't ruin the friendship, the feelings did. She never explained what went through her head, she just didn't acknowledge it. I felt jealous whenever she dated someone and I wanted her to stop me dating but she never did. I tried to forget about it and we continued as friends until she found a boyfriend and had no time for me. She married him within 6 months and I haven't seen or heard from her since.

The hurt, the heartbreak, was evident for ages. We had spent 3 years together and I had grown apart from my school friends so losing her was huge.  I threw myself into work and made some great friends. Friends who were all very straight and I started dating again. Online this time, so I could get to know them before committing.

Still there was something missing-even hooking up with a non-god guy didn't work out. Then when I moved to London I met Dan. Dan is infamous. Dan and I were together when I met Laura. He worked with us but had quite the reputation (not in that way). Every morning he brought me a warm croissant. He’d get me lunch when it rained and he would check on me every hour to make sure I was OK. HE DID MY HEAD IN! He was just TOO nice.

The nicer Dan was the more annoyed I got, and this American girl who started the same day as me heard about it all when she joined me and another girl we worked with at lunch- that girl was Laura. Soon I was having lunch with just L who was also having boy issues.

We bonded over boy issues – how ironic.

On New Years Eve – 3 months later, I broke it off with Dan. Laura and I then had a drunken heart to heart where I told her about the church girl at Uni and how she had broken my heart so I was confused as to what to do. I believe I even said that I could never date a girl as it was way too much work.

By March, that had all changed. In three short months Laura and I had arranged it so we had worked every event together, we’d have movie nights and Paris Hilton New Best Friend nights – we were inseparable. Then there was the hugging – the intense hugging that started off as friends but then started to mean so much more. 

Then came the ‘I love you’s at the bus stop on the way home, like all good friends do right? Then the texting as soon as she left, the desperate wait for the reply, the running to work so I could start my day talking to her, the longer lunches because we couldn't stop talking and the constant skyping just to stay in contact throughout the day. Then there was the realisation that it may not be one-sided.

It took one drunken night at a friend’s party to take things further, but by that time I had no doubt I loved Laura completely. I had no idea what that night meant, whether we were ever speak of it again or if we even wanted anything more.

I was straight but I liked this girl – I liked Laura as more than a friend.

Except it didn't end and by March the 16th we were official and dating no-one else. But we protested that we were two straight girls who just happened to fall in love!

That was my explanation when I came out to my Mum almost a year later- if a man had all the same traits as Laura, I would be with him. Thinking about it, I can see why she still held out hope for me marrying a man. I was coming out, but still saying I was straight.

By the time we returned from a year in Oz it seemed weird saying we were straight but together- people kept saying ‘oh so you’re bi’. I was never bi! The way I can articulate this is at no point have I been attracted to a guy since being attracted to Laura. My feelings aren't for both sexes at the same time. I like vanilla ice-cream and strawberry ice-cream but i'd never eat the at the same time!

Since being with Laura I have noticed a very evident shift from being interested in men to being interested in girls. Its started off just being interested in Laura as a person more than the fact she was a girl but over the last few years I've started to identify as gay. The thought of being with a man in my head now just seems wrong.

On the rare occasions we have said ‘if we broke up would you go back to dating a man or woman’ the answer recently has become ‘a woman’.

The more lesbian friends we have, the more the feelings I have are validated – they feel the similar to how we do. The intensity, the overwhelming all-in-ness that I never had with any guy, they have it with their girlfriends/wives. They could happily spend every minute together, living in each others pockets and the sharing everything. My straight friends find it odd, my gay friends get it.

Maybe I was always gay, I just never let myself think about it or tried it out. Maybe sexuality is fluid and can change over time or maybe I just met someone who is so perfect I went gay for her. I can’t answer that. If anything I think this post proves it has been a journey for me.

But how do I know I will stay gay? – and I better as I am marrying Laura- well, that’s simple - I am marrying my best friend, the most amazing person I know, the one person I have found who challenges, engages and teaches me all at the same time. The person who has made me want to be a better person, try new things and experience the world. I could not be more attracted to her physically or mentally and I would not want to plan my life with anyone else. She is the one person I can spend 24 hours with and still want more. She is literally my everything and the fact that she is a girl, and that makes me gay well so be it.

Laura is busy buying Bridesmaid dresses right now so she has promised to share story later in the week!

Monday, 29 July 2013

Our Wedding: 11 Months (Yesterday) ♥

Oops! We missed our 11 month mark because we were off visiting friends in Kent!

We can't believe it has already been one month since we wrote the 'A Year to Go' post. It's absolutely flown.

This month, we've been pretty preoccupied to be honest - between Sarah's 30th and Lauren & Sarah's wedding (post coming soon), we haven't done a ton of wedding planning!

We sent out our Save the Dates, as you know, here's a little preview below!

One thing we learned this month that we were surprised at was that people will receive your Save the Date and not say anything to you. We found it a bit odd, we always are so excited for the weddings we attend that we contact the bride/groom, but some people didn't say anything, or forgot until we mentioned it - I suppose if you don't know if you can come yet the temptation may be to not say anything. Obviously we know there was no harm meant, but it just felt a tad awkward asking our guests in the UK and Oz (they were sent from the USA) if they got it, in case (as some of our stuff has) got lost in the mail, so thought we'd mention! We never really thought about it before but next time you receive an invitation to a wedding, just let the couple know you got it, even if you don't know if you can come! It will just show them that you appreciate the time and effort they put into the save the dates, and are excited to be invited! 

But on the positive side, which we can't forget of course, lots of people did contact us, thank us, put up pics of them, say how much they loved them... our bridesmaid Julia definitely has some new fans, and it made our wedding seem so much more real! We've also received our first few official RSVPs! So exciting!

In other news, thanks again to Julia, we found our bridesmaid dresses! We were having a difficult time with them as the ones we had decided on became sold out, and the designer didn't know when she could get in the same colour fabric again. After a bit of searching around, we'd come across a dress we were pretty happy with, but not over the moon - then Jules suggested this site, and we are ordering the dresses as soon as we get all the measurements in from our girls!

We've chosen a wedding band, all booked, and have been told we need to start looking at wedding dresses. We are both excited and really dreading this bit of the process. It's one of the few things we really just don't want to do! It seems so daunting, and with two dresses, it can go so wrong - if they look too similar, are slightly off colour, too different... but we know a few couples who have really gotten it right, so we're sure itt'll be fine, its just a tad daunting. We've devoted August to starting this - so prepare for extreme excitement or lots of tears over the next few weeks haha!

We've focused a lot this past week on the lead up to the big day -what we will do with our guests in Vegas, as well as Boise the few days before. We are SO excited to get more RSVPs in and start properly planning this time - a bit worried we'll both want all new outfits for the whole week, but hey, we only do this once, right?

It's been fun as we've met up with a few people over this month and have actually ended up planning a USA trip for them around the wedding. We're like travel guides!

So, this next month we will be working on the dresses, continuing to get fit for our engagement photoshoot, also buy some new clothes for that, and our caterer quotes should be coming in soon. We're also working on favours, gifts, etc!

Oh and really awesome side note, one of the nights of our bachelorette party we want to do Superhero costumes, and it turns out Laura's office had a ton of superhero costumes they are getting rid of this week - so guess who has inherited Wonder Woman, Superman, Spiderman, and Wolverine costumes? :)

It's all go over here!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Throwback Thursday: Childhood Memories of our Parents

Throwback Thursday! Today's topic is a memory of one or both of your parents from your childhood.

Can I just say how impressed I am that we haven't yet missed one of these? Bonnie you do a pretty bad-ass linkup!! :)

When we were little and lived in California, my parents used to take us for long drives in our motorhome. They were the bane of my little brother's and my existence, because not only would we have to sit in the car for HOURS, we'd usually end up at a garden we'd then have to walk around. Can you imagine? How dare my parents do something grown up with kids! :) Of course, now, I'd quite enjoy that as a day out. But back then, we used to complain SO much - this time in particular, we whined, cried, tried to talk my parents out of it, and nothing worked. They wouldn't even tell us where we were going - probably a stupid garden somewhere. My parents were having none of it, so we got in the motorhome and sulked. For hours. Eventually we both fell asleep, and I remember waking up and seeing a castle in the distance. 'That looks like Disneyland' I said in my groggy state. My parents turned around smiling, nonchalantly said 'that's funny' and kept driving. I watched as that castle got closer and closer... 'It IS Disneyland!' I woke my brother up, and we were both SO excited. This is definitely one of my favourite memories growing up. How awesome are my parents to surprise drive us all the way to Disneyland?? SO much better than a garden.

Keeping on the trend of holidays, I have one really vivid memory of a time when I was around 10. My family always holidayed with my Aunt, Uncle and cousins and as we never had much money we always went to Butlins, a holiday camp here in the UK. We loved it!

Besides the fun we had at Butlins, the one memory that stands out is how we got into Butlins. It turns out that my family had only paid for the adults in our party - so we pulled up about a mile down the road and the 4 kids, including me, had to hide in the foot wells in our people carrier be covered by bedding and wait there as we drove up to and through the entrance gates. That's right, we were sneaked into Butlins!

I remember thinking that we would never get away with it, then I remember thinking it would be terrible if we got caught, then my cousin started needing the toilet and my Dad drove as fast as he could to get to check-in. Thankfully we made it! And there started a great holiday - a holiday that was technically free :)

It was the only time I remember my parents doing anything 'naughty' at all, and looking back it was pretty ballsy. They justified it by the fact that they really didn't want us to miss out on a holiday and I'm glad they did it!

Monday, 22 July 2013

Royal Baby Predictions

All anyone was talking about today is that Kate Middleton is in labour – the royal baby (raby for short?) is imminent, almost definitely will be born today.

The press have been camped outside of St. Mary’s in Paddington since Laura’s meeting last Thursday, by now we’ve all seen the Lion King newborn baby photo going around online, so there’s only one thing left to do – put in our predictions for the little one who will immediately be richer than anyone we know, as soon as it enters the world.

You’d think we’d be awesome at this prediction thing seeing as we live in London, so know KM and Wills personally (Sarah was bought a drink by Prince W once, so in our opinion, we’re practically family) – but so far we’ve been pretty awful. Case in point, we were so sure it would be born on Sarah’s birthday, 13th July, that we tried to put a proper bet on it (though was told the odds were too high it would be, so wasn’t allowed to (phew, saved two quid)). Yet over a week later, it’s still not here yet!

But either way, here we go:

Laura’s predictions:
Gender: Girl (because a boy is just too predictable)
Length: 21 inches
Weight: 9 lbs 6 ounces
Name: Sarah – because all the good people are named Sarah, and because the disaster of Sarah Ferguson is far enough out of people’s minds, I think the name deserves a comeback

Sarah’s predictions:
Gender: Girl
Length: 22 inches
Weight: 8 lbs 3 ounces
Name: Alexandria

Put your predictions in the comments, and we’ll see who is closest! (Though the real winner is that adorable little rich baby!)

UPDATE: We think we just heard the 41 gun salute - hope we aren't too late!

UPDATE 2.0: It may have been thunder, nvm

Sunday, 21 July 2013

What's happening Hot Stuff: Turning 30!

Turning 30 was AMAZING! Well me turning 30 was made amazing by some very special people in my life and before life gets busy again I wanted to take time to record just what happened to turn it into what may be the best birthday I ever have!

If you saw our previous post (surprise party) you will know that a certain amazing fiancee of mine was in cahoots with my Mum to organise a surprise party for me on my actual birthday but that was at the end of what had been the best week ever! The surprise party was absolutely mind blowing! It was the first time in so long that I had all the most important people in my life in one place!

But back to the best week ever! In our 4.5 years together we have had some pretty amazing weeks but last week was one of, if not the best! It started with a trip to the Lake District which I will do another post about! But every single day of my birthday week I received an envelope that had a cute note complete with a love voucher- that I can use any time up to my next birthday, a clue to the evening activity and a small gift- beautiful earrings x 2, lip gloss, face mask and a gift card for a clothes store! The receptionist at work had no idea what was going on when I appeared like a kid a Christmas ready to open the envelope every day.

The evenings were wonderful - the week started with a spa night at home- my L gives one 'ell of a massage! We had takeaway and relaxed, little did I know that would be our only night at home that week!

On Tuesday we headed back to one of our recent restaurant discoveries - Southern Joe's (previously Navahoe Joe's). What better than mac and cheese with mash potatoes and pulled pork for dinner?! They do seriously good food! I would have been happy if that was the end of my birthday surprises but it was just the beginning!

Wednesday night was movie night - we finished off left over takeaway and headed to our local cinema to see Despicable Me 2 and LOVED IT! We loved the first film so when I saw my list of film choices there was no question what I wanted to see. Dressed in sweat pants we had a very comfortable evening. We laughed, we cried and we were thoroughly entertained :)

By Thursday I was convinced the best of the week had been and gone - oh how wrong I was. The evening started with us going in search of cupcakes in Covent Garden before I discovered my wonderful L had arranged a dinner in Carnaby street at the new Whyte and Brown restaurant (they only served, you guessed it - White and Brown food :) ) and not only that she had organised for friends Karen and Dave and my sister to be there! It was so much fun, the company was great, the food was delicious and I was well and truly surprised!

It didn't end there either! Come Friday we were sat in the most amazing Dim Sum restaurant - Shanghai Blues - Friday night was Jazz night so we ate while being serenaded, it was so romantic, so sophisticated and the food was so so good! At the start of the night L had also given me a beautiful ring that said 'love' on it and as we left the restaurant we were definitely very much in love!

I don't think I have ever been so spoiled in one week! 30 presents in total! Every surprise was something I loved, spending so much time together was amazing and I was so well fed! Even at work I received a selection of my favourite treats and DC!

As Saturday morning arrived, my actual birthday, I bounced out of bed ready to start the day. I wanted to have as much time together with L before I left to head to my parents (little did I know eh?!) but I also wanted to open a set of presents that had been patiently sat in the corner since the previous week. The presents were from Lauren and Sarah and they had already proved themselves to be amazing gift givers last year and with the wrapping on these presents I could not wait a moment longer.

The presents were beyond anything I could have asked for. The generosity was overwhelming - I was crying (in a good way) just reading the card!

These girls prove they really are the best best friends we could ask for time and time again- the gifts were so thoughtful (especially as they had organised it in the middle of wedding preparations ready to give me before they left for honeymoon). They had picked things that they loved about me and each gift was related to something on the list. It included the BIGGEST box of the sweets from my childhood, a photo frame that said 'the family we choose for ourselves', a magnet to make me smile, a book about the year I was born and my favourite thing - not quite Willow, their adorable dog- but a donation to Battersea cats and dogs home - how frigging AMAZING! Thank you doesn't seem quite enough!

Laura made my birthday the best yet, I am so grateful that for everyday with her! The gifts and thought that went into everything made it such a wonderful birthday! Together with my family inviting Laura to my surprise party and my sister for starting the process of bringing everyone together and my extended family for making the journey I was feeling incredibly loved as I officially started my 4th decade. My life, in fact our life, has NEVER been about how much we have had but this birthday was overflowing with love and I am so grateful!

I even got birthday cards/wishes from Laura's parents, grandparents, family in Australia, so many of my wonderful friends, my lovely extended family and our fellow bloggers. It's a shame birthdays come but once a year!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Throwback Thursday: All By Ourselves

This has been a very busy blogging week!

Today is Throwback Thursday, and today's topic is when we moved away from home.
Moving away from home was hard for me. It's strange, I never thought of myself as a home body but I like/liked my parents and by the time I hit 16 they were more like friends. I went to football matches with my Dad and shopped with my Mum and never really considered the impact that moving away would have. 

The first time I moved away was to University. I had deliberately picked a University that was far enough away from home without being too far. In the UK distances aren't quite what they are in the USA so 2 hours seemed sufficient. I headed to Bournemouth. All my friends were heading off to their various locations around the UK so going away to Uni felt like the thing to do - it was all everyone talked about the last summer I had in Reading. It also helped that I felt I wanted to see somewhere other than Reading. 

The beautiful Bournemouth coast
I was last to leave - my University started slightly later than most as the town is inundated with tourists over the summer. I drove down in a car with my parents squashed between bags and bedding and generally quite excited. 

That was short lived. 

I arrived at the hotel where I had been allocated as the halls of residence were overbooked. It was not what I had remembered when I came down to visit months earlier. Instead of the welcoming owners and the games room there were signs saying 'not to be used' and before we could officially 'move in' they wanted a deposit - there and then, on the doorstep. I knew as we couldn't afford for me to have my own room I would be sharing and I had convinced myself it would mean an instant friend but I did not anticipate what would turn out to be the WORST living conditions I could imagine. 

As I opened my room door Lucy (my room mate) had already made herself at home. I tried to tell myself that as we had both brought a 'Me to You' bear it must mean we are a little similar. We were NOT. As my Mum busied herself unpacking we realised there was only one plug socket for the room. ONE! So my Dad was sent out to buy an extension lead. It didn't help that the plug was under a sink so every time someone washed their hands we had a power outage! 

Not the exact one!
We had to share the bathroom, which was in OUR room, with no less than NINE people! That's right, at ANY time if our door wasn't locked, someone could come in to use the bathroom or shower. It was horrible, even though it was a room it was never a private space. We had no TV, no computer and mold - a lot of mold. Oh and no way of cooking for ourselves, as it was catered: idea that I thought was amazing at first. When we when to the hotel months earlier they promised options and flexible dinner times. In reality there was one choice - often something floating in grease- and if you missed the time, you missed dinner! 

I am not joking that the chicken takeaway at the bottom of the road knew my name and would often give us extra as he felt sorry for us! Tragic, right! 

It didn't end there either. On top of all of the above Lucy and I DID NOT get on. If I wasn't in by 10pm I would be locked out of the room. After people started seeing me in the hall they bought me an air bed for a Christmas present so I could sleep elsewhere. Three months later I got put in another room permanently. 
Getting our geek on :)

It made getting used to Uni a breeze - I was glad to get to lectures, I spent hours in the library and I forced myself to make friends (not an easy task for me). Thankfully, I sat next to a lovely girl called Krystal on my first day. We were both confused at the mention of 'Accountancy' on our course outline, but it gave us a common starting point and we remained friends throughout. It was also a relief to find out she had a flat on campus - one of the lucky ones. Oh yeah, I should mention, my hotel was located on the sea front - an hour walk away from Uni! 

These people got me through Uni!
I really struggled missing home though - I missed my own space, and this was before mobiles were a huge part of everyone's life so I missed keeping in touch (This was even pre-facebook - imagine!). I even asked for my old job back at Reading's M&S so I had an excuse to escape at the weekends. Most Uni social stuff happened in the week so come Friday night I would jump on a train. I was happy to work just to know I was having a good night's sleep in a non-damp bed and dinner of my choice. It also meant I could see my parents who tried many a time to persuade me to leave and start again the next year when I would get a flat on campus. 

So there you have it, moving out - the first time, was probably the worst experience I could have had. The silver lining was the friends I made though. As they say in the hardest of times come the greatest of friendships. I was never alone (even if I had wanted to be). There were always others who missed dinner or were sprinting for the bus to get to lectures. There was always someone wanting to escape their roommate or watch a film. I spent more nights in random rooms than I ever wanted to but those people slowly became friends. I hung out with people who in other situation I would have struggled to find things in common with and through it all I found great people to form an escape plan with - we eventually moved out together.

It's a shame that two of the people in my escape group turned out to be psycho but that's a whole other story...

Technically my first move away from home was to Western Washington University. I went straight to Uni from high school despite my parents suggesting I do the British/Australian thing - take a year off to travel. In the USA, going to college is just the 'done' thing straight from school, so I went, despite having no real direction or idea what I wanted to do. I had always done advanced placement classes and come top of my class - I even got a scholarship for school which cut my tuition in half!

Unfortunately, none of this meant I would do well at school, and before I had completed a year, I packed up all my stuff and drove home. It was nothing to do with Western, it was a beautiful school and I loved my classes, I just didn't feel like I was really doing anything, and I had no direction. 

Totes unattractive photo of me, but you get the idea
When I got home, I started seeing a Life Coach to help me figure out where I'm going, and to get over some particularly bad boy troubles which had definitely contributed to my leaving school. It was through Sandra that I decided to move to England! So I got a full time job, and worked for six months to get some money to support myself in London.

It's funny, I always struggle to talk about me leaving school, because everyone around me has always had degrees, and I feel like people will look down on me a bit. I was once called 'wasted potential' by a well-meaning friend, and that has really stuck with me, because I know I'm very smart and could have done 'great things' at school if it had been for me. But not getting a degree is not something I've ever regretted - I know it wasn't for me, and instead of sitting around wasting my parents' money, I got on with my life and learned in moving to England that experience is sometimes more important than a piece of paper, that I can climb the corporate ladder without a degree, and most importantly, that no matter what I do in life, work will not be what makes me happy - it will be what I do to fund the things that truly make me happy - like Sarah, family, traveling, and love. Anyway, rant over, this has pretty much nothing to do with this post.

So at the grand old age of 19, I moved to London by myself. Well, my Dad came over with me for a week, to make sure I didn't get abducted off the plane, but he set me up in 'Globies', a traveller's hostel that used to be a mental hospital, and left me on my own - I lived there while I got on my feet.

I lived at Globies for two months - for the first, I did what any 19 year old on her own for the first time would do when she lived in a place with a built in bar - I made a lot of (all Australian pretty much) friends, did a lot of jagerbombs, and saw London. I soon realised I was running out of money, and after asking my parents to get me out of a tight financial situation a few times, I looked for a job. Working while living in a place with a bar is SO difficult - not to mention in a room with other people, who didn't speak any English oftentimes, who were travelling and partying. I woke up more than once to the sound of someone puking, and once someone fell out of their top bunk (with two bunks below them!) onto the floor in a drunken stupor!

This is basically what living at Globies was like in one photo
Finally, I got myself out of there, and lived in my first flat with two awesome posh boys. I thought I'd made it, having my own room, despite the fact that I was pretty much living in Harry Potter's cupboard under the stairs - it was big enough for a single bed, and about a foot of room around it. Sarah and my Mum were both horrified when they saw the tiny place, but I didn't know I could afford any more, and I enjoyed living with the boys, so I was there for eight months.

Being posh, drinking wine - oh right and I was very, VERY brunette
I came over here on my own at 19, and am proud that I made it - with only one panicked home-sickness caused trip to Idaho, I've now been here 5.5 years, and love it - definitely glad I made the jump across the pond, it was the best decision I ever made!

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

It's All Queens Marrying Queens Over Here!!!

Today, the Her Majesty the Queen of England Elizabeth II signed into law that same-sex marriages are now legal in England and Wales. After the positive vote Monday, we were told it could possibly be signed in by the end of the week, but at 14:06 today - it was done.

If you follow us on, well, anything and everything, you'll know what an amazing month this has been. We've seen our best friends get married, my lady has entered another decade, DOMA and Prop 8 were repealed in the US, and now - we sit next to our colleagues here in London where we've made our home, or next to people on buses... and we are equal to all of them for the first time ever.

In honour of the decision, the NO H8 campaign put up OUR photo, to congratulate England and Wales - imagine our surprise when it came up on our feed!! Yay, now its not only above our bed, but all over the internet!

Check out our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts!
So cool!!

In other amazing awesome news, we were interviewed to tell our love story by Jason Dottley this last week - check out the full interview here:

Click HERE

And the lovely preview about our proposal here:

Click HERE
We were his first lesbian couple, and we are so happy to be a part of the project! Check out his other interviews here: www.jasonslovestoryproject.com 

Speaking of proposal, our proposal video just hit 15,000 views!! Can hardly believe it!

This time next year we will be legally MARRIED for almost a month!!

Pretty much the best time to be engaged ever to the love of my life!!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Sarah's BIG Birthday Surprise - Happy 30th Birthday My Love!

Until the day before her big day, I had every intention of writing the obligatory 'Happy birthday Sarah, you're the love of my life' post, but as I snuck around the house getting ready to go out on Saturday, I had the thought that perhaps sharing with you all Sarah's last birthday surprise (out of 30 from me!) would best demonstrate to you all just how much not only I love her, but how much her family does too.

Who's the hottie in the hat?
About a month ago, I received a call from Sarah's Mum. I can't express the terror that strikes your heart when you casually look at your phone to find it's your mother in law, who you've only recently been making progress in your relationship with. WHAT HAVE I DONE?? Luckily, in fact I hadn't done anything wrong, and Margaret instead wanted to invite me to Sarah's surprise birthday party. Phew! :)

This was a BIG DEAL because up until that point, not only was I banned from stepping foot in the Nutley household, but I hadn't properly spoken to Sarah's Dad since February 2010. Over 3 years ago!

So I bought a train ticket, charged my camera, and spoke with Margaret at least once a week about the plans. Sarah would go home in the morning, to spend the day with her parents and sister - then Margaret would send them out to the shops, at which point Sarah's Aunt and Uncle would arrive, as would I, and we'd all frantically put up party stuff before they returned.

So when Saturday morning arrived, I did my usual routine when Sarah goes home - I pulled her in for final 'cuddle time', I tried to convince her not to go, telling her I'll miss her too much, I texted her once she left to ask if she was coming back yet - apparently I'm an awesome actress because she didn't suspect a thing!

As soon as the car was out of sight, I jumped into action - showering, getting ready, pulling together the stuff we needed for the Color Run the next day, making cookie dough (a birthday tradition I'm especially fond of) - and headed to the train station, texting Margaret to tell her the plan was in motion!

Not being very experienced in train-age, I looked online and it told me to take the train from Waterloo station to get out to Sarah's parents. It was only when I arrived from Clapham Junction that I saw the train I was going on was going through Clapham Junction - so I came into town for nothing!! With no-one to complain to, I just got on the train and enjoyed the journey to Reading.

Fiona's boyfriend Ben picked me up to race me back to Margaret and Andy's. He's really sweet and we had lots of fun talking about how Sarah had absolutely no idea, and that Fiona had written in her card 'I hope your day is full of surprises' which confused Sarah, and I told him how I hope she cried when she saw me, as I know she is really happy and touched when she cries! Side note, he then gave us an engagement card, just from him - how adorable is that? I didn't even get one from my brother, but Sarah's sister's boyfriend thought to! What a keeper!

Anyway, once we arrived at the house, it was all hands on deck - I was blowing up balloons and hanging banners and setting up the camera - all in about 10 minutes as Sarah was arriving home shortly! Sarah's Dad said hi and said it was nice to see me, which I thought was a win!

Sarah arrived home to see all the balloons and banners, which she was so pleased with - then saw her Aunt and Uncle had made it to surprise her, which was really exciting, and then... I popped out of the kitchen, and Sarah couldn't believe it! Ben photographed the moment she saw me - I think its pretty perfect:

Happiness, disbelief... and a baguette
Then of course she ran to Margaret to hug her and thank her SO much for allowing me to be there, and then... she cried (score!). Then Margaret cried, Fiona cried, and I cried. It was an absolutely amazing moment, I don't think I'll ever forget.

Once the tears were dried, we headed out to the garden to enjoy the sunshine and chat. Sarah's cousin and her boyfriend showed up, and we all had a fabulous time -  I spoke to everyone, and it honestly felt like we'd all known each other for ages. This is the thing about Sarah's family - I've always really liked them, it's just a shame it's taken so long for things to improve. But better late than never, right?

Sarah's parents ordered this mass of delicious Chinese takeaway, which we all ate outside, and the Chinese actually delivered her a cake and card - way to go above and beyond!

Highlights of the evening were Sarah and her Mum, Aunt, and Sister showing off their 'Oops Upside Your Head' skills, the whole family dancing around to the 'Dad Dancing' CD while I and the other partners awkwardly stood around looking at each other, trying trifle for the first time, and seeing Sarah look just so incredibly happy.

There was a point where we weren't sure if Sarah's parents would want to still be in her life while I was - so I think this party is testament to just how much we all absolutely adore her. Thanks so Margaret for convincing Andy to have me be the surprise at her 30th birthday party, to Andy for allowing that to happen and having a good time anyway, to Auntie Karen who defended us to her parents even in the hardest of times, to my sis-in-law Fiona for being the catalyst that started Margaret coming around to us (I am 90% sure this wouldn't have happened now without you) - and to Sarah, who is just so wonderful we all overcame quite a lot to make her happy.

We still have a ways to go, I know this to be true, but I'm very happy with where we are at the moment.

We won! Here's our balls!
The whole Nutley and extended family watched the sunset while playing garden games, and we drove home eating our cookie dough with spoons and talking about how this had been the best birthday ever.

Happy 30th, my love.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Dulux Color Run: The Happiest 5K on the Planet!

Yesterday I turned 30 and I had the most amazing day - I will come back to that in another post though as there is so much that I am still getting over! Lets just say it was the best start to the year ahead.

Today, however, we had no time to recover as we had to be up and ready to get to the Color Run at Wembley - the first in the UK! We had seen lots of photos as there is one in Laura's hometown, and was SO excited for it to get here.

We had organised to meet our friends Karen and Kirsty at my sister's house so we could park our cars and make our way to Wembley Stadium by public transport. Thankfully it was only a 10 minute walk to the bus stop and our timing meant we arrived just as they were opening up the area.

Wembley Stadium dominates the skyline as you approach it and works well as a setting for the run. It also has plenty of space surrounding it which meant the Color Run had set up check in tents, first aid tent, shop tent and plenty of portaloos! It was so well organised, we were really impressed.

Dulux had sponsored the event and had their guys guiding and directing people with megaphones bouncing on mini trampolines. They also organised for a 'paint' themed warm up to get everyone ready for the race.

We had been told in the pre-event info that we could be in the 'start chute' for up to 40 minutes and to make sure and bring water. It was good advice! In 30 degree heat the 40 minutes was HOT! We had finished our water by the time we got to the start line!

When we had discussed doing the 5k the distance seemed daunting - we don't run, we don't jog - in fact we don't really do much (intentional) physical exercise - let alone physical exercise in 30 degree heat! It's amazing what providing entertainment can do to help 5k fly past. At every 1k color stations had been set up.

First was PINK....




Then as you finish the 5k you are welcomed by everyone throwing packets of color and you can't quite believe it's over.

We did manage to jog a fair amount of the course but it all honesty it was hard to do, not because of the distance, or the heat but because 80% of the people doing the run were walking/skipping/dancing. As soon as we started jogging we'd be dodging people and in the end we enjoying talking and photographing in our walking sections.

The color stations were awesome. We had tried to explain to people before the event what 'having color thrown at you' meant and I don't think it's anything you can truly understand until you are standing in a cloud of colourful dust. As you arrive at the station there are Dulux people either side with boxes of colour powder and they literally throw it at you, over you, on you - everywhere! We learnt not to inhale too quickly or deeply - it doesn't taste too good and Laura ended up sounding like a man from all the dust in her throat!

At the end of the run/jog/walk you are greeted by a party and we were quick to join in. They were playing party tunes and we can agree it was certainly the 'Happiest 5k' we've ever seen. The fun runs I have seen don't have people jumping and dancing around at the end.

Before and after!
We stayed for an hour then headed home. After being out for 6 hours we were feeling the heat but we would definitely do it again, we had a great day! Thanks, Color Run for coming to the UK!