Monday, 28 September 2015

The Perfect Gay Proposal - Statistically speaking!

A few weeks ago we received an email from MyVoucherCodes who surveyed 1000's of Gays and Lesbians to discover what you should and shouldn't do to pull of the perfect gay proposal!

Turns out that true to the stats we got engaged on holiday, our engagements were private affairs and like most girls we went for a something fancy for a ring - well we do wear it everyday!
Our proposals were low key and didn't break the bank but we didn't make it a total surprise - unlike most - we had discussed a time-frame - although we were both taken by surprise on the day(s).
I did ask Laura's parents permission but didn't involve social media although I did get Alison (an old school friend of L's) and her parents involved and it worked out perfectly!
And as for getting down on one knee - well we felt it had to be done :)
Check out our proposals here: Sarah and Laura get engaged!

Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Blitz Party - London

We are throwing it back. WAY back to the 1940's - for this post, as we wanted to share our experience taking a step back in time to the Blitz Party, London.

London has hosted The Blitz Party quarterly for a while now and we were determined that we would go at least once while living in London. Unfortunately, we could never quite time it right. Luckily it turned out that on a trip back to London to visit our friends Alison and Dave we were able to coordinate the visit!

After a few hours' research into outfits from the 1940's and scouring the Blitz Party Facebook page for ideas we decided to see what we had in our wardrobe that could work. Turns out Laura and I have been rocking the 1940's look at work for a while as we both had dresses that seemed to fit the bill.

Next was the hair. Looking at pictures we wanted to go with Victory Rolls. We knew that if we got really stuck we could get our hair done at the venue for free but had read that the lines could be quite long so we thought we would give it a go. The first step was to find a YouTube video that showed us what to do and thankfully this one was pretty spot on:

Alison's boyfriend Dave played DJ setting the scene with 1940's music and the three of us set up a make shift salon. I can say with certainty that getting the Victory Rolls right was hot and time consuming work, it took more bobby pins than I have ever seen and the amount of hair spray made us a fire hazard but it was really good fun. We felt like we belonged in an era where it took all day to get ready and hair styles were an art form - and we loved it. We had enough time that it wasn't stressful and that made all the difference. Drinking, dancing and hair-styling...not a bad Saturday night!

Our makeup was done by my wonderful wife. Red lips were a must from the time and defined eyes were essential. They were also fans of defining cheekbones and rosy cheeks - we did our best with our limited makeup range. Knowing that the venue was going to be hot we hair-sprayed our makeup to give it the best chance of staying on. We were so glad there were no open flames :)

Alison finished our look with red nails and we all wore heels - the look was complete!

From the reaction across our social media accounts, it turns out we kind of rocked the 1940's look!

We left for the venue at 10pm and made our way from Camden to Shoreditch in our Uber cab. It was all very London and felt sophisticated!

The venue was obvious from the sandbags piled up by the door and after a quick ticket check (£25) we were in. It looked just like an underground bunker, the up-lighting gave it atmosphere and the band were in full swing. There was a cake stand selling 'war time' cakes and the walls were plastered with memorabilia and props typical of the time. The bar itself had ration books as menus and depending on the drink, it came in tin cups or champagne glasses. Unfortunately the cocktail prices were not 'of the time'! We were definitely in London!

Throughout the venue there were professional dancers giving swing dance lessons or showing us how it was done surrounded by circles of viewers. The music was probably my personal highlight, I didn't know I enjoyed 1940's music SO much. In fact, I have even added some my Spotify list! We danced and danced and only took a break when we got super hot and we could feel the pain from our shoes (we don't wear heels often!). We then stood by the bar watching over the dance floor and soaking it the truly unique experience.

We even got caught in two air raids which were more fun than I am sure they would have been at the time. The spotlights shown, the sirens blared, the music stopped and everyone would look super confused until a confetti canon signalled the end and the party continued. We may not have lived through WWII but we have survived an air raid of sorts!

The event closes at 2am but at 1.30am we decided to get our Uber and head home. It is fair to say all four of us were buzzing. I don't remember a night out where we had such fun. The class, the elegance, the men and women in uniform - in fact, all the outfits, the live music that added to the atmosphere and the setting - it was all amazing!

If you time your trip to London and the Blitz Party is on we would definitely recommend it - just make sure you take comfy shoes!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Great Northern Road Trip: Part 1

Hello there, how are you?

As I am about to start my 2nd hour on my train home to Birmingham I thought what better time to remember the awesome road trip I took with my wonderful family a few short weeks ago. You may remember the Manchester Pride post I did and that was where it all began.

The second part of the road trip looked like this:

The first leg was 277 miles and took us from Manchester to Falkirk and as well as us entering Scotland this leg included the beautiful Kelpies! The Kelpies are 30 metre high horses that stand over the Forth and Clyde canal. The horses are a tribute to the horse powered heritage in Scotland and were finished in 2013. We were lucky enough to catch them at sunset but as soon as we had got our pictures and turned to walk the 5 minutes back to the car the heavens opened and it really POURED! We immediately followed everyone else to shelter under a nearby bridge and wait out the downpour! It didn't stop us being in awe of the sculpture but it was a good reminder that we were in Scotland :)

The plan was to have dinner in Falkirk but after a quick drive through the town there didn't seem to be much on offer so we thought it would be better to get on the road to Aberdeen. It was almost 8pm and Aberdeen was over 2 hours away. The 125 miles seemed much longer due to the excessive use of speed cameras - nothing ruins a great drive more than the impending threat of a fine, but the scenery was beautiful and the road was almost straight which I appreciated as it got dark.

I love Aberdeen and for some reason the sun almost always shines when I visit. Aberdeen is an East coast city, the 3rd biggest in Scotland and I think it has one of the prettiest city centres in Scotland. The streets are lined with flowers that stand out against the granite stone used to build so many houses. Our destination was just north of Aberdeen in a village near Udny. My Aunt owns a gorgeous gate house surrounded by miles and miles of rolling hills. Whenever I arrive there I feel like I take a deep breath and fill my lungs with fresh air. It is so peaceful and serene that even having just a day there can rejuvenate you. That and the supply of fresh fruit and veg from my Aunts veggie patch and eggs from her chickens.

Aberdeen also has an the benefit of a beach with miles of golden sand. As the weather was glorious sunshine we made the most of it by taking Bisbee down for her first UK beach trip and she LOVED it! As did we - sunbathing in Scotland - who'd have thought! Especially after the Falkirk down pour.

We left Aberdeen just after lunch with the plan to drive to the Isle of the Skye but a quick review of the map (that's right MAP....due to a lack of signal in the highlands we had to use a paper map!!!!) we spotted a town called Lossiemouth sitting at the top of mainland Scotland and thought why not check it out.

Elgin's Cathedral
It was a great decision we drove up through Elgin, a former cathedral city, and arrived at a cute town nestled against a small hill with another beautiful sandy beach. The beach was reached via a small footbridge suspending over the port and while Laura bounded across Bisbee and I were definitely more hesitant.

Our walk was rewarded with an almost empty beach, perfect for stretching our legs and making our mark....well trying to - Bisbee had her own idea!
Someone though the sand tasted SO good!

After de-sanding or trying to we were back in the car for the last leg of the the day, 154 miles to the Isle of Skye. I don't think either of us were prepared for how stunning this journey would be and this leg was a definite highlight. Just under 50 miles into the drive we came across Loch Ness and for the next 26 miles we had the Loch on one side. We swerved into so many lay-bys to grab the perfect shot, it was all so amazing.  Having visited the Loch in search of Nessie as a child I only remembered is as a big lake. As an adult seeing it I was so surprised to see how beautiful it was. With the mountains and hills around us and rock face VERY close to the road the drive was like one in a computer game. For most of the time I had my eyes firmly focused on the road but every so often I would turn a corner and see the sunset reflected in the water - it was perfect!

At the bottom of Loch Ness is a village called Fort Augustus. It has a river running through it's centre giving it a stepped look. We decided it would be a good dinner stop so picked up fish and chips and found spot over looking the Loch. We even convinced our ever so fussy puppy to enjoy her dinner by putting it in a takeaway box. The road trip was well and truly off to a great start.
Not a bad view for dinner!
Leaving Fort Augustus we drove to the Isle of Skye and the 100 miles to our cottage.....i'll update you on that some time soon!

Monday, 14 September 2015

Did I Do The Right Thing?

I just did something terrifying.

Okay it's probably not terrifying compared to some things - okay a lot of things - but to me, it is terrifying all the same.

There are 3 things that scare me most:
1) Spiders
2) Heights
3) Social situations

1) Obviously  - I admire those who don't fear the 8 legged beasts, but ever since a Brownie trip to the countryside where I was told that people eat 7 spiders in their life time, I have never been able to be in the same room as them. You should see the scene when one makes a brave appearance in our house. L screams, I run away and Bisbee tries to eat it. We then nominate a hitter and a watcher - both roles are terrifying and carry risk - I would just rather they didn't exist!

2) Heights - I have no real reason for this, I don't think. I do, however, know that the fear was at its worst climbing St Paul's Cathedral 10 years ago - I looked down through the metal grated steps and saw death - MY death. I saw the stairs collapse and me plummet to the darkness below. Turns out that last bit didn't happen, but I thought it would, so I froze. With hundreds of tourists behind me. I couldn't walk another step - my body wouldn't let me - and no amount of moral support could convince me I wasn't about to die. So there and then, some random American guy picked me up and carried me the 20 steps to the top where I grabbed the wall in relief and hugged it for a good 15 minutes. Ever since then, grated steps or walkways are my nemesis. The grated walkout to the bungee swing in New Zealand was WAY worse than throwing ourselves off the platform at the end and swinging through the air. In the video you can even hear Laura telling off the guys who were bouncing the bridge for scaring me.

3) This one is just terrifying. Social situations - to clarify, this speaks most to social situations that require my involvement outside of the professional world. At work I am fine - I am Sarah from Unicorn Training - it's an act. I'm good at my job and can act confident, but outside of work I hate it. I can't think of anything to say, I get sweaty and nervous, and shut down - I often end up in the corner of a party playing with the dog!

So here's the terrifying thing I just did:
I SIGNED UP TO PLAY NETBALL! I start on Wednesay.
It's a social sport organisation that you sign up to for 8 weeks, individuals can go along and be put in a team to play against other teams made up of individuals or other teams that joined as teams. It means I have to:
1) Go alone - turns out Netball isn't big in the USA and therefore L has never played
2) Be social - or at least talk to the other girls I am put on a team with
3) Play sport - a sport I haven't played since school. Actually I tried to play once at Uni with one of my classmates - we went to try out for the Uni team only to find the team was pre-selected and they only wanted to 'check out' the new girls to judge - not fun!
4) Put myself out of my comfort zone, both mentally and physically.

I want to do it because I think it will be good for me. Health wise I need to do something to get rid off the weight I've put on post wedding and mentally it'll be good to talk to people as I work at home a lot and Bisbee doesn't talk back. And I'm sure there will be social benefits as L and I haven't really joined anything local to home.

So why am I terrified?! Well I've never had much confidence - I suffer from RBF (Resting Bitch Face) so I know I have to try to smile, if I don't I look like I hate everyone. I also don't trust many people so putting myself out there brings back the times I've been hurt or let down before. I went through a time of 'looking for the best in people' (especially when we started this blog and met people through it) but we've been badly burned by girls we invested in so I'm wary of trusting anyone new. It's hard to know how much to put into a friendship and new friendships are hardest of all.

Then there is the judging - what if I am terrible at netball, what if I wear the wrong clothes, what if I'm not fit enough, what if I'm the only one without a team, what if no-one talks to me - see it's TERRIFYING!

I know the logical response to all of the above is it'll be fine. I have read the website 40% of players sign up as individuals, it's for all fitness levels,  most people haven't played since school and part of me is excited - I think, but right now I'm terrified. Have you ever put yourself in a similar situation? I'll be okay - right?

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Manchester Pride 2015 - We LOVED it!

I think Manchester Pride might be my favourite Pride of this year.

That's a big starting statement I understand but I have to say based on key elements listed below Manchester scored top marks on all:

  • Parade length (not too long or too short)
  • Atmosphere - happy, upbeat, friendly, party-like
  • Accessibility - easy to get to, park and find a viewing point
  • Giveaways - freebies (bracelets, flags, Nando's vouchers - you know anything really)
  • Celeb spotting 

Add to this that we had Bisbee and her puppy bf Otis and his owners Sam & Sara with us and it led to a great day.

We arrived in Manchester at 11.30 and found a car parking space easily - a huge relief! We then strolled in the direction of the parade and somehow ended up coming across the area where all the floats were setting up. What was even better was that in the centre of all the chaos was a pub serving sausage and bacon baps, a perfect place for us to sit, relax and get our breakfast before the parade started.
With my love and Bisbee with

Other than queuing for the loo with bees, fairies, cupcakes and a whole lot of other dressed up people the morning was fairly subdued. As it approached 12.30 we left our hideout and heading for the parade route and managed to get a perfect viewing position. Close enough to the start that all the participants were excited but far enough in that we had space to move and the puppies had space to roam.

As the parade got into full flow Otis was spooked by the loud drums and the girls had to take him home - sad times although thankfully plenty of hugs had him back on form later in the day. Bisbee on the other hand courted the attention and as with Brighton Pride had to out in front.

The music never stopped, which we loved, and the parade was a good mix of local charities and corporate brands. We appreciated the sweets from Tesco, the rainbow bracelets from Wickes and a lot of other brands, the free 1/2 a chicken vouchers from Nando's (still love Nando's) and the tail from O2 came in handy when entertaining Bisbee.

The parade itself was almost an hour and a half long but for us the highlights were:

1) Sharon Needles appearing on the RuPaul float - Laura is a HUGE fan
2) Sir Ian McKellan jumping out his car to meet people
3) Any float with bubbles as Bisbee loved chasing them
4) The Coronation Street float with Shayne Ward (combining two loves of my Mum in one photo
     opp), Kym Marsh and other cast members.
5) The free sunglasses that were given out - Pride seems to save us buying any sunglasses!

Once the parade had passed we were able to get back to the car park and head off on our road trip without too much hassle although we had to figure out how to get out of the one way system they were enforcing. But not before this happened:

We have both said that we would love to the whole Manchester Pride weekend at some point, certainly the friendliness of the people made us sad to leave. We will be back - hopefully next year!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Our First Year Anniversary Part 2 - Pride London and Lots of Yummy Food!

Nothing like writing about our anniversary two months after the fact, right?

I previously posted about our amazing time at The Book of Mormon, and about how we were in that Youtube video celebrating marriage equality across the USA, both from that weekend. Well, onto Saturday!

We woke up early and went to breakfast with our friend Dave, who we stayed with that weekend in London. Nothing like a proper fry up to set you up for an awesome day!

Then we headed off to watch the Pride London parade at Trafalgar Square, like we do every year.
In our gay lady outfits of course!

The weather was stunning and we enjoyed getting a nice bit of colour while waiting for the parade, though I ended up with a sunglasses tan - never the best look.

The parade was fantastic as usual, very colourful and so much fun. But, this year there were so many miners associations, perhaps after the movie 'Pride' from last year, that the Parade went on for AGES - after two hours, we gave up and started wandering around.

We got to quickly meet a few friends before heading to get changed for our big anniversary dinner at Bob Bob Ricard. That will be such a photo-heavy post that I will leave it for another time!

Sneaky preview
Sunday morning we met with our friends Sara and Sam who were in town for a concert, and we had a lovely brunch in Soho, which we followed up with cupcakes from the Hummingbird Bakery. YUM. And they gave us a beautiful present, a book of a question per day for a year of marriage, and some pretty tea towels (covering paper and cotton wedding traditions!!). So unexpected, they are just the sweetest ever.

We then headed out of town to go to a sunny pub lunch celebration with Sarah's family, who also gave us some stunning wedding presents, engraved to commemorate the occasion! The food was delicious, and we got to pick up our Bisbee girl too.

Anniversary goodies!
What a fantastic anniversary celebration! The first year went quickly and easily, and I couldn't be happier to be married to my one true love.