Wednesday, 24 May 2017

The Worst Thing About Being in a Lesbian Couple!

Wait! Maybe it's the worst thing about living in a long haired lesbian couple, rather than all lesbian couples - but it's the amount of hair, everywhere!

I have spent many years analysing this and my conclusion is based on many factors. It can be debated of course, but in my personal opinion the worst thing about being in a lesbian couple is the amount of hair.
So much hair!
If you are a woman, or have ever lived with a woman, you will know just how much hair gets everywhere. In a shower not only does it clog up the shower plug it sticks to the walls, your body, it follows you out of the shower and lands on every part of the floor- it just doesn't quit.

Then once your out of the shower more will fall out when you brush your hair, when you dry your hair in fact the only way for a brief respite is if you tie it up. Although when you take it down that will of course encourage more hair to flee from your head.

Not only does this happen at home frequently it happens anywhere and everywhere!

Am I the only one whose head decides it time to malt in hotter climes?! I mean my hair will happily leave me to remain on pillows, bedding, sinks, floors  and even more so on holiday- it's almost as if it can't wait.

In my office it's all over my desk and chair, oh and my clothes. it's like it's job is to slowly but surely malt and find a resting place.

The thing is when living with another woman the hair thing is doubled! I mean at any given point our carpet has a top layer of hair no matter how often I clean it. Walking up stairs you can spot hairs, laying on the couch you can spot hairs, hell even eating you can spot hairs.

Now don't get me wrong this is a whinge and I know that, I mean if it was REALLY that bad we could shave our heads but the thing is neither of us really see that look for ourselves. And we are GRATEFUL to have full heads of hair..... don't get me wrong! We just wish it would stay on our heads instead of everything around us.

To try and cope we have invested in devices - tangle teasers, soft brushes, better conditioner all to try and combat the attack of the hair. Sadly though nothing works. Is there anyone with any other suggestions?!

There is a benefit though, the exercise when cleaning. I mean you can hoover hair, well I mean you can try but even the powerful vacuum we invested in eventually decided 'nah leave the hair'. It means before vacuuming I  have to get on my hands and knees and rub the carpet - small circles seem best - to get the the hair up. Thank god the dog doesn't shed!

It takes ages - I occasionally get blisters on my fingers but it does feel like a great arm work out. Just not one I necessarily want.

As Laura's hair reaches new lengths she now ties it up to stop me suffocating on it at night but that only helps slightly. And I still need to de-hair her before she leaves for work as once the hair is released in the morning it starts to flee.....again.

Geez I've even seen our hair on Bisbee.

So there you have it, or should that be 'hair' you have it ;) the worst thing about being in a (long-haired) lesbian couple is the amount of HAIR!

The rest of it is amazing! I mean there's all these reasons for a start:

So on balance I think we'll cope - we might need to invest in a new vacuum! 

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

#westandtogether Manchester

Out of respect to those who lost their lives in the atrocity that took place in Manchester last night (22.05.17) I have postponed the post I planned to put up to share what may be vital information when it comes to uniting loved ones separated last night.

I appreciate this has already been shared a ton on social media but you never know who is looking when so please share what you can, when you can.

These are the missing people: - check the article and share it!

Watching the news unfold the one thing that is clear is that among the awful details being shared the narrative that is being spread is one of unity and strength. Terrorists, whether acting alone or in a group, do not define a religion and I am relieved to see that people are making that message clear. This is not a time to look for people to blame. Yes we have to be vigilant but terrorists are and always be an extremist minority.

Hug those that you love a little closer today, be a little kinder to a stranger. If this awful atrocity teaches us anything it is that our lives can be taken at any point. Live the life you have with love and kindness. You never know who needs it. 

Our thoughts are with Manchester and the families impacted. 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Love Languages (update)

Almost 5 years ago Laura and I completed a free online test to identify our love languages. If you haven't taken the test you can do it for here:

Our original post can be found here.

Knowing your and your partners love languages helps you understand how your behaviour is perceived by your partner. For example unless your partner see acts of service as a form of love then you spending hours tidying the house or cooking a meal won't mean you are showing love in the way they need it.

Our love languages back in 2012 were:
Interestingly we did the test at the weekend when a couple of friends were trying it and our results have changed. Turns out 3 years of marriage and a lifestyle overhaul has had an impact.

So here's my uneducated read on the changes. As I have got busier at work the support I have needed has increased and therefore Laura helping out with tasks / act of service is really appreciated by me. So the Acts of Service 'love language' is high on my list.

My top three are joint in a very accurate summary of my life right now, I am either busy and need support or not at work and wanting to make the most of every moment in close proximity to Laura.

For Laura quality time relates to 'switching off', spending time together. Time together while we are driving somewhere doesn't count for Laura as she doesn't have my attention - it's not quality time. It's just time.

However Laura is super capable and prefers to do things properly herself so me trying to 'help' is not a source of love for Laura (probably more frustration) but a hug to show my support will go a long way.

The experiment was as eyeopening now, 5 years later, as it was in 2012. Once again we got insight into how we could improve our relationship. We both clearly feel more secure in our relationship so the words of affirmation are less important. That is a big positive and something we have actively worked on.

If anything the love languages lesson is also an important lesson for life - I grew up treating others as I wanted to be treated, more and more I am finding that statement needs far more context. What is acceptable to me is often not as acceptable to other people. Therefore treating other how they would like to be treated is what I am working towards. it's hard. I like logic and people to think things through before calling me at work. I am trying to adapt to the fact that others like to use the call to talk things through. It can take a few deep breaths but I'm getting there.

The impact our communication style has is amazing, both positive and negative and it is worth taking 5 minutes to consider your communication style the next time you are about to interact with someone. See if it makes a difference.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

A Plea From A Wedding Guest!

As summer approaches and the 'Save The Dates' and wedding invites arrive it's a time for excitement. Who doesn't love the opportunity to share in a couple's joy as they share the amazing experience of getting married?!

We love a wedding!

This morning on checking my emails I received one from a PR agency asking if we wanted to share research carried out by a company called One4All, the Post Office gift card. Normally I scroll and delete through these types of studies but something caught my eye on this one. THE COSTS!

These figures are crazy! I mean times that by 3 or 4 weddings and the phrase 'prepared' to spend suddenly becomes 'fear they will have to spend'. 

Weddings got me like
The other factor they don't include is time off. The trend of having a wedding on a week day to save money is not something i'm a fan of. I don't wish to offend (and apologies if I do) but on top of the money being spent to attend, having to take a day or two annual leave is a bit of a kicker.  

I understand the reasons and cost savings for the people getting married but having 50 + people all having to take a day off means it will more likely cost their guest way more that being able to attend a weekend wedding. 

There are ways to lessen the blow when you're making people take time off. I am in the 31% that welcome a wedding abroad. If I am going to take a day or two annual leave then I want an experience. I don't want to pay for two nights hotel stay awkwardly far from home, find a dog-sitter and add a £100+ petrol bill to the costs to sit in a church or bland reception venue. It may just be me but I'd rather invest that money in spending time with the happy couple on a weekend away and not just pay out to become part of a crowd. 

In the past when a friend was getting married in San Fran we turned it into a California Road Trip with the wedding as part of it. Last year when a close friend got married in Idaho we stopped off at Toronto. Even way back in 2011 when our friend got married in Thailand we made a 10 day trip of it and added in island tours and a day in Egypt on the way out.

Wedding over looking Alcatraz
And when we got married we made it a trip to remember for everyone, not just us, by adding in a bachelorette party in Vegas before taking everyone to Idaho.

Just to clear I know we asked a lot of our wedding guests that traveled with us and on a side note we did keep it on a Saturday to make it easier for the locals attending.

Once in Idaho we had sourced group rates for the accommodation and offered a to-do list for those who wanted to explore. We paid for guests to spend two nights at the venue with us and on the day of the wedding we also organised mini buses for people to visit a gold-mining town. This was also because as our wedding wasn't till 5pm and we needed to get the house ready. We wanted to offer entertainment and something different. Something memorable. The same went for the reception, our menu was food from our travels around the world, we had a band, free bar and a DJ. We wanted everyone to have a  great time.  I like to think we gave people an experience they will never forget for the money they spent and time they took off. 

And we danced all night

That's not to say I recommend everyone getting married abroad, I am aware that there will always be restrictions but my request for anyone who can't is that they do something special on the day. If I am taking the day off I want to go to a beautiful venue, or somewhere a bit different, I want to ride on a double decker bus or play games in a castle court yard. I want something to make the day memorable.

One of my cousins got married on Loch Lomond, I happily took time off to stand on the banks with a beautiful view as it's not something I see every day. Another cousin got married in a conference centre with no outdoor space and I spent the whole day gutted that I was there- the sun shining outside gave me total FOMO.

With all that said I appreciate wedding days aren't about the guests but if the people you are invited are loved ones, close friends and your nearest and dearest then maybe give them a thought. If you were spending £800 + and taking a day off what would make it special for you?!

On that note, I hope you enjoy all the weddings you are attending and can make it an experience you'll never forget, for all the right reasons.

Ah and the One4All giftcard, - the people who did the research offer gift cards in case you are interested for a present idea. Itis a gift card that can be spent at 50,000 outlets and you can load with anywhere between £10 to £400. It can then be spent in outlets including:
Full list click here

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Review: Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo, CA

Have you ever been somewhere that you thought only existed in dreams or in other peoples worlds?
Santorini was a moment for us, we were in the pictures we had seen and it as a dream come true. But before Santorini there was Madonna Inn (

A recent Buzzfeed video reminded me of our visit.

Madonna Inn was like nothing we had ever seen or will be likely to see again. This hotel is like every kids fantasy except it's for adults and it's not fantasy. With 110 rooms and each room individually decorated with a different theme this place is special. Add on the bright pink tennis and basketball courts and the amazing pool complete with jacuzzi area's, oh and horse trails and this place is out of this world.

Check it out here:

We spent the night at the Madonna Inn on our California Road Trip after driving Highway 1.

Our room of choice was the pink glitter room - that's right a room covered in pink glitter wallpaper, with pink door frames, pink bedding, pink robes, a very pink bathroom and pink accessories. It was delightful. The room itself was called the 'Merry' room and was part of the Merry Go Round set.

After checking in and getting over the excitement our first stop was the pool, we had it to ourselves and it was the perfect way to wind down from our Highway 1 drive.

Our romantic swim was briefly interrupted by a couple with a boom box but we took that as our cue to head for dinner. Everything at the Madonna Inn is opulent. The rooms, the doorways, the public areas, the restaurant, even the goblets they serve dessert in. You can't fail to feel special here. It's like a fairy tale.

After dinner we danced, the in house band was playing a mix of swing and slow dances and the other hotel guests were already getting down. We ballroom danced (kinda) and then sat and people watched. With the grand chandeliers and dance floor we were transported back in time. 

There are actually four different restaurants at the hotel each offering something different but don't leave without checking out the bakery! The cakes are famous and delicious - although we had to share a slice.

Madonna Inn has been open for over 50 years and is described as a resort-like retreat. With an onsite spa as well as the facilities mentioned before you can see why it would be easy to escape here for longer than a night. You can eve hike, bike (yes the bikes are pink) or do onsite wine tasting! We were sad to leave.
Add in the amazing service and this place will provide you with memories however short your visit. 

You can check out all the rooms here or see a few in the Buzzfeed video shared on our Facebook page. Here's some to get you started:

And in case you are wondering this place has nothing to do with 'Madonna', it is named after Mr Alex Madonna the guy who built and designed the hotel. A brief history can be found here but the bits I found most interesting were that it sits on over 1,000 acres and the surrounding rocks were used in the construction. It started as a much smaller hotel and the rooms have been added over time but the original suites were actually destroyed in a fire in 1966.  

Alex Madonna was quoted as saying "Anybody can build one room and a thousand like it. It's more economical. Most places try to give you as little as possible. I try to give people a decent place to stay where they receive more than they are entitled to for what they're paying. I want people to come in with a smile and leave with a smile. It's fun'

In case you needed any more reasons to visit San Luis Obispo was also voted as the happiest town in the USA. Buzzfeed checked it out here! The article also looks at tips to keep you happy so it's worth read. 

So if you are ever planning to do Highway 1 and fancy spending an unforgettable night in an amazing place check out Madonna Inn. Even if you just stop by for dinner, a game of tennis or to admire the stunning location.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Review: The other sides of Liverpool, UK

While a visit to Liverpool City is well worth it there are other sides to Liverpool.

For our guide to the city centre check out our post here.

One of other sides I am referring to is the other side of the Mersey. Technically called Wallasey this area sits directly opposite the main water front part of Liverpool, if it wasn't for the river you'd be able to walk between the two in minutes.

The reason for bringing up Wallasey is because it's where we stayed and we would recommend getting the train, car, ferry over from the city to take a look.

When the Mersey tides sinks and flows out to sea what is left behind is a river bank beach - it was a new one on us too. Unlike beaches at seasides this beach never fully dries out as it only exposed for a small part of the day. It's fine to walk on though, as long as you watch out for the sink holes! The way the tides worked when we were there meant the beach appeared at about 7pm. As novices we didn't realise this was the case until we invited friends over for a beach walk in the afternoon only to find the beach was still a river!

Even when the river is at high tide the New Brighton promenade is worth a stroll. As our Airbnb host put it 'you could stroll your legs off' as the promenade is endless. At one end you are overlooking the city skyscape, at the other you looking out over the Irish Sea.

Our Airbnb had the promenade at the end of the road so we could stroll down and see the city as the lights came on and the sunset. It was a great view. 

As the river beach was dog friendly it also made it easy to wear out the puppy who was content running up and down and occasionally face planting the sand or scaling rocks.

The black pearl driftwood sculpture is also worth checking out:
Can you spot the dog?
Made from driftwood and debris washed ashore this is actually the third reiteration. The first was torched by youths, the second floated out to sea and so here stands the third and most successful version. Climb aboard and enjoy the view!

Continue up the promenade and you will find plenty of historic references to the great port this area once supported. At the very end you will see a slightly run down Fort Perch Rock that was built in case of French invasion and is now a tourist attraction. Across the road are the usual arcades, fun fair and sweet shops synonymous with a seaside.

We would recommend a stop in the Driftwood Cafe, it's dog friendly, does delicious cream teas - as well as other things - and is super friendly. Although worth booking ahead!

If you prefer pub style food then the Pilot Boat, named as it is where they launch pilot boats from, or The Magazine (Mags) where they used to keep gunpowder, are both good options. We opted for the Pilot Boat to spend our Sunday evening in their dog friendly snug. We competed in their pub quiz and played Pirate Bingo. We also got a round of sandwiches courtesy of the landlady - I only wish we lived closer so this could be our every Sunday evening.

Pirate Bingo - first one to turn over all the cards wins!
If the beach is not your thing then the other side to Liverpool is the green leafy suburbs on the same side as the city where you can go on a Beatles tour - self guided or paid for. As I have Laura ours was self guided and free. The National Trust has purchased John Lennon and Paul McCartney's childhood homes so we included them on our list to see (paid for tours can go in).

Strawberry Fields gate, involves stopping and pulling in on a fairly busy road. It was originally an orphanage that John Lennon attended garden parties at. It is now an overgrown field but the gate remains.

Penny Lane, this road has a number of road signs you can stop by, some have more graffiti than others. Our stop was by the Dovedale Towers where Freddie Mercury may have lived or stayed (guidebooks can't decide). Either way the building is impressive and worth checking out if you have time.

Had time allowed we also planned to check out Speke Hall that is also in the area but alas not this time. It'll have to be a reason we go back :)
pic courtesy of
Have you got any other tips for visiting Liverpool and its surrounding area?

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Review: Liverpool City, UK

Liverpool, a North West City best known for Liverpool FC and The Beatles was our destination for the early May Bank Holiday weekend.

Located on the banks of the Mersey River with views over the Irish sea this city doesn't appear on many peoples to do lists unless they are die-hard Beatles fans or visting for a football match but our trip has given us plenty to rave about and we highly recommend a weekend visit or day trip. It's even a UNESCO world heritage site like the Great Wall of China!

There are many books dedicated to the 'must see' things to see and do in Liverpool and tripadvisor has it's own top rated ideas but looking at the top recommendations failed to inspire us - cathedrals, maritime buildings and a football stadium are rarely on our must-see list. It wasn't until we got to Liverpool that we started putting together our must see list from some local books and tour guides that the city came alive. That and our wonderful Airbnb hosts advice.

Firstly we stayed at New Brighton, a seaside resort that forms part of Wallasey and sitting on the direct opposite bank to the city on the Mersey. As we were taking Bisbee we didn't want to be too central and the offer of a dog friendly beach while having easy access to the centre made it a winning combination.

To get to the centre from New Brighton you can travel by train (6 - 10 minutes depending on what station you get on at and £2.70 single), car via the Queensway or Kingsway tunnel (£1.70 each way) or by Mersey Ferry (£5.50 one way or £10 return). We used all forms of transport. Each had it's own merit.

Our to do list was as follows:
Mersey Ferry - worth doing for the views and the audio tour. If you can, get the Dazzle Ferry because it looks like this:

You can get it from Liverpool and do the full 50 minute tour or get off or on at any of it's stops.

Check out the Beatles statue there to welcome you to Liverpool by the Ferry Landing.

The Albert Docks: Liverpool's existence started as a maritime hub and major commercial port and these docks were at the very heart. This area is now a rejuvenated shopping and dining area with the odd attraction thrown in. Like the 1940's Piermasters house that allows you to see how it would have looked during the war. Keep your eyes peeled for the jelly bean homage to The Beatles too.

From the docks you can stroll the 20 mins towards Nelson street and the smallest China Town with the oldest European Chinese community with the largest arch of its kind outside of China. 

A short walk up Upper Duke street brings you to the Oratory, a sculpture gallery, and more impressively The Liverpool Cathedral. The largest Anglican Church in the world with the highest Gothic arches and biggest bells. While cathedrals are not really our thing this cathedral brought back feelings of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. The scale, the beauty, the attention to detail - it was breathtaking. To think this was designed by a 22 year old is impressive - the same guy also designed the red telephone box and you can see an original in the the cathedral. It doesn't take you long to stroll around the church and it is well worth doing - especially the Lady Chapel.

(first pic courtesy of Liverpool Tourism)

From this high point in the city - you can get higher by heading up the tower for a fee or you can stand and enjoy the view back to the city and across the Mersey. On a clear day make sure you do.

After a quick lunch stop at the Old Blind School where everything we had was delicious, we headed past St Luke's bombed out church. It is currently closed for renovations but is still worth seeing. As the light shines through the empty building it is eerie and beautiful. Renovations are to strengthen the structure, the church itself will be left empty to show the impact of war.

From St Lukes to a new age style Metropolitan Cathedral. Like something out of a space movie this Cathedral looks impressive for its design but inside we were less than impressed. It was a mix between a theatre venue and museum/gallery. The size was impressive, the atmosphere void. Other than the friezes depicting the death of Christ and the odd sculpture this could have been venue for anything. Worth seeing to say you've done it but if you are there for a day don't bother.

As we were to the East of the centre we headed back towards the centre via Bold Street. Keep your eyes peeled for some interesting art work and the city's oldest bookshop - News from Nowhere. There are also plenty of cafes and restaurants to pick up a snack on this road. In this area you can also find Almost Famous if you want to indulge in ridiculously good burgers.

Once you hit the centre of Liverpool you'll know. While the outskirts are relatively quiet the centre is buzzing. Wherever you look you'll see buildings with history. The beautiful town hall, the Hard Days night hotel, Stanley Street gay area. There are also sculptures that seem to appear at random. Make a stop in Stanley Street to see the Eleanor Rigby statue behind The Beatles store.

Sculptures of Lambanana's are also dotted across the city. The SuperLambanana is on Tithebarn street but you can see other versions by the docks and in any gift shop. A combination of a lamb and a banana they are a nod to common cargo that appeared in the docks way back when.

Mathew Street should be on everyone's must do. By day it's full of people taking pictures outside The Cavern Club and admiring all The Beatles references. At night it is a central point for bars - think Irish bars, cheap drinks, loud music and lots of people.

If you are staying to party enjoy!

Our city tour ended by the waterfront with the Three Graces. Pier Head is home to the famous Liver Building with Liverpool's famous Liver Birds (they have never met so they will be the only Liver birds, oh and the Liver bird is a mythical creature. The story being that King John had an eagle on his crest but someone lost the visual way back when so the crest was redrawn with what looked more like a cormorant, over time the bird has taken a merged form). Rumour has it the one looking out over the port is the female checking sailors arrived home safely, the other looking over the city is male and is checking the pubs are open! There is also a myth that is one was to fall then so would the city of Liverpool.
Two of the three Graces (Port of Liverpool building on the left and Liver building on the right)
The other two graces are the Port of Liverpool building and the Cunard building that has Greek and Italian influenced design. Historically both buildings played a major part in the running of the port.

We headed home before it got too late, plus the 12 miles of walking was taking it's toll.

Things to note though:
  • Liverpool is super walk-able
  • If you don't fancy the walk there are hop on tour buses
  • There is a lot to see and do and most of it is free
  • Plan your route as there is a circular route that allows you to see the highlights without doubling back on yourself.
  • Look up - seriously the architecture, some of the roofs, the paintings - there are plenty of reasons
  • The new museum is worth checking out, we only skipped it as we had the dog
  • Don't rush, stop in a pub and enjoy a drink - Liverpudlians are super friendly
  • There is something for everyone - even if you have never heard of The Beatles
  • There are quite a few green spaces / gardens so in summer enjoy the chance to rest your legs

Next post coming soon - the other sides of Liverpool!