Thursday, 23 February 2017

SUP Yoga - Sydney, Australia

In part 1 of our travels we had a jammed pack few days, check it out here! However Friday was a day to try something completely new - Stand Up Paddle-board (SUP) Yoga.

As you may know we started Yoga back in January and so far we are really enjoying it. Our thoughts on the experience are here.

I had avoided looking into what was involved with SUP Yoga for fear of chickening out and that proved to be the right move. We pulled up to Manly Cove and joined a group of people on the beach. Once there were 10 of us an instructor joined and the full scale of what we had signed up to was revealed.

Step 1: Paddle-board around the cove



Step 2: Throw your oar into a kayak stationed on the other side of the cove

Step 3: Paddle on your knees to the designated area and secure both ends of your board to the parallel ropes set up in the water

Or use a Laura :)
Step 4: Yoga

Step 5: Undo paddle-board, collect oar, paddle back

Seemed simple. That was until you factored in that neither of us had paddle boarded. This was all happening in the sea, complete with waves. Oh and you know fear of falling in and not being able to get back on. Not to mention deadly Australian wildlife that is never far away. 

Thankfully I seemed to figure out the paddle boarding part and while it may not have been graceful my style got me from the beach to the yoga area. Laura’s attempt was a little less successful. In fact Laura became a pro and getting back on but a high centre of gravity and erm boobs seemed to make staying up a little harder. The benefit was some great photos though – thanks wifey!

The yoga itself was enjoyable. Not quite as hard as an actual yoga class but that may have been because the moment I really felt the stretch seemed to coincide with the moment I felt the water. The warm water made the falling in almost refreshing but the getting back on the board was hard work and certainly put me off taking too many dives.

I pulled out more poses that I ever thought I would and really enjoyed that the class was paced in a way that allowed you to try as hard as you liked. This also meant that while the pro’s were balancing in impossible poses Laura and I were doing our own SUP Yoga photo shoot.


The group itself was a real mix. Some had paddle boarded. Some had yoga’d but non-one had done Stand Up Paddle-board Yoga so everyone faced their own challenge.

We can’t recommend it enough though and were sad we couldn’t fit a second session in.

At the end while packing away our boards and paddles we found out that our instructor was from Idaho – what are the chances! Like Laura she had left Idaho some 10 years earlier and while Laura had reached the less sunny climes of the UK the instructor had made her way to Oz.

If you fancy trying SUP Yoga while in Sydney check out the website here: http://www.flowmocean.com.au/ 


Namaste


Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Travel guide: Sydney, Australia!

Australia. The land down under. Oz.

We loved living in Sydney and our last visit did a great job of reminding us of why we miss it. In fact if Oz was a quick flight away I’m sure we’d visit it annually. Alas as it is almost 22 hours of flying from the UK it takes a fair bit of planning and annual leave to make a trip worth it. We did a 3 hour stop in Doha, Qatar so our flight split was London Heathrow to Doha = 8 hours then Doha to Sydney 14 hours. Qatar Airways are brilliant btw - great seats, entertainment and lovely food. 

We crammed our 2 weeks with friends, family and memories to last a life time. As with our Road Trip around California we thought we would do a high light list instead of realms of posts on each day but if you want more information or are planning a trip Sydney side let us know.

Part 1
Day 1: we arrive at 7pm and as we had kept ourselves awake for the last 8 hours of flights we were already feeling tired. A light dinner, catch up with our bestie Kate and we were ready for bed.



Day 2: A chance to relive the Sydney days. Stop 1 was the view over the city from Manly side. As we lived in Manly we fell in love with our view across the harbour. From Sydney Harbour National Park point you can admire the view while capturing all the Sydney landmarks.


From the city view to the beach we couldn’t let our first day pass with a trip to the beach. Unfortunately the wind was against us and sunbathing turned into more of a sandstorm survival but the sea was lovely and warm and it was good to feel the sand between our toes (less so in our eyes, ears).

Manly Beach
Day 3: With the wind still causing chaos Kate had decided that a hike would be a good way to get out and enjoy the sun without getting attacked by the sand. The destination was Barrenjoey Lighthouse. It features in the opening sequence of Home and Away and the view at the top of the grade 3 hike is stunning. With beautiful beaches spanning out below and almost Jurassic Park like jungle sounding you it is out of this world. Even with the wind we could feel the heat but the exhilaration at reaching the top meant it was the perfect way to spend an afternoon.


Our reward was an evening of indulgence at Chica Bonita Manly. Put simply this place does delicious food. The food is Mexican influenced and the place is queued out regularly. It is a whole in the hole and menu is simple so it is easy to make a choice. The flavours were strong but not overwhelming and everything was so fresh - including the cocktails. 


Day 4: Our Sydney city day. You can’t go to Sydney and not spend a day wandering the city itself. The mix of buildings, the history, the shops, the landmarks, Sydney has it all. We arrived on the Manly Ferry, our favourite way, and landed in view of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Our first stop, however, was lunch in China Town. A straight march up hill and through the main city area meant we arrived starving for Yum Cha. Otherwise known as Dim Sum this Chinese special allows you to sample all sorts and is delivered to your table for you to review. Think Yo Sushi but authentic and much more delicious.

With full bellies our next activity was the Chinese Garden’s. While most people would be content wandering around, admiring the beautiful environment we weren’t. Well WE were but as Kate and Mel had ever been we felt it necessary to pay the AU$10 per person and walk around in full Chines dress. We posed for other visitors photos and even got offered tips from a lady who thought we were paid to work there (we refused of course).


As evening fell we made it our final mission to visit all 12 zodiac signs made from lanterns and decorating the harbour side in honour of Chinese New Year. Laura made us pose with the signs associated with our birth year and all went well until we reached the last lantern and a thunderstorm made its entrance. In less than 3 minutes we were all completely soaked. We took the fast ferry back which takes 15 minutes instead of 25 and were glad to make it home swiftly. That was until we met our new house guest, a Huntsman spider as big as my hand. Kate as a true Aussie dealt with it like a pro. Laura and I ran…….and screamed…..and hid.



Day 5: Friday and our last day in Sydney. Kate had planned a morning of SUP Yoga for us. Read all about in our next post here.



Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Happy Valentine's Day - Love really is all around!

Sometimes in life we look at each other and can't believe we got so lucky. Our lives since getting together have not always been been easy, in fact anyone who has followed our story will know that start was a little rocky but that said over the past few years we have taken some pretty big steps together and seen our lives improve dramatically.

Getting married was one of those significant steps and with it the official bringing together and uniting of our lives. We have always shared friends we met together but the wedding brought our old friends closer and into 'our world'.

One of those friends is a wonderful lady called Kate. Her and Laura have actually been friends from childhood and we were lucky enough to live with her briefly when we moved to Oz in 2010. Getting to know Kate back then was great but it was after we left that our joint friendship flourished. She became a natural choice for both of us as head bridesmaid and it led to a part of our Idaho wedding speech that leaves me with a tear even now. 'Laura was always my sister and while she was meant to marry my brother to make it official I am not sad that didn't happen, in fact this way I get an extra sister' (I may be paraphrasing).

Our time in Australia was split between staying with Kate in Sydney and with Laura's family on the Central Coast. There will be posts to follow that highlight our goings on but as it is Valentine's Day I wanted to share something so filled with love, so kind and so thoughtful that it should bring a smile whether you celebrate today or not.

On our return from the Central Coast Kate and her friend Mel had organised a Hawaiian themed party at her parents house. It would involve Kate's parents, Laura's parent (who were also out in Oz) and a few nearest and dearest. We had bought Hawaiian shirts especially and thought the day would be spent in the pool and with a true Aussie BBQ. The day did include that, and it was much needed as the temperature was well in the 30's. However what we didn't expect was that Kate was throwing us a wedding.



We will get the footage edited ASAP but here's the scene....it's hot. Like really hot as polyester Hawaiian shirts don't breathe, and we have diet cokes in hand providing refreshment. We plan to jump in the pool imminently when Kate disappears, On her return Laura and I are asked to stand. Mel places veils on us and we are told we are getting married.....

Here's the ceremony in full:

'Today we are here to celebrate the return of some of our favourite people. Now seeing as we live so far apart and we don't all get to see each anywhere near as much as we would like, we thought we would throw a party to able to celebrate all the events we have missed over the last few years. So, here's to all the birthdays, Christmases, new year’s, Easters, Thanks giving’s,  Thanksmases, Australia days, fourth of July's, St Georges days, Halloweens, labour days, Queens birthdays, anniversaries and the reason for us all being together last. A certain wedding in the mountains. 

Now I told you both that Mel and I had been planning the ‘Welcome to summer tropical Hawaiian theme party’ for pretty much the last decade but it's taken a super special occasion to make it happen. I also told you that we had tweaked the idea just a tad because you were coming.
Ladies and gentlemen, we give you the welcome to summer tropical Hawaiian wedding theme party!
Seeing as you got married in England and had your wedding in the states, we figured, why should Australia miss out on the love?!

So....    Clear throat. 

Take it away Father Bob (Kate's Dad).

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today in the presence of this flamingo to witness the super legal and binding wedding ceremony of our beloved Laura and Sarah. Part 3!

OFFICIANT: You fell in love by chance, but you're here today because you're making a choice. You both are choosing each other. You've chosen to be with someone who enhances you, who makes you think, makes you smile, and makes every day brighter.

You're about to make promises to each other that you intend to keep. You're going to vow to take care of each other, to stand up for one another, and find happiness in the other. You're teaming up and saying to the other, "Every experience and photo I am going to have, I want you to be a part of."

 (Vows)

Will you, Laura, keep Sarah as your favourite person — to laugh with her, go on adventures with her, support her through life's tough moments (like having to eat Kate's horrible pumpkin seed bread), be proud of her, grow old with her, and find new reasons to love her every day?

LAURA: I will.

Will you, Sarah, keep Laura as your favourite person — to laugh with her, go on adventures with her, support her through life's tough moments (like SUP yoga), be proud of her, grow old with her, and find new reasons to love her every day?

SARAH: I will.

OFFICIANT: Will you, Laura and Sarah, be each other's partners from this day forward? Will you bring out the best in one another, share your happiest moments together, and love each other absolutely — for the rest of this lifetime and for whatever may come next?

LAURA AND SARAH: We will.

(Ring Pop exchange)

OFFICIANT: Rings have been chosen for you to wear rings as a reminder of these promises. People often say wedding bands are a perfect circle, with no beginning and no end. But these rings did have a beginning. They're adjustable so have a gap at the back to start with. Like you two, they're also as solid as a rock. Although it's more rock candy than an actual rock but hey, you've already got rocks on those fingers and these ones are way bigger. They will also have an end as they are sweets so will probably be eaten by the end of the day. What you should take from these rings is that it is important to be solid in your love for each other, to be sweet to each other, to be flexible for one another and to always bring a smile to each other’s faces.

Final words.

Laura and Sarah, we have watched you grow together over these last two years and can't imagine either of you without the other now. May your love always be celebrated by those around you. The first wedding was legal, the second was enchanting, but hey, the third times a charm. And now by the power vested in me by Kate telling me I was going to be officiating, I now pronounce you wife and wife. You may kiss your bride.'



And just like that, in between the tears we were married in Australia, our home for 2010. We can't thank Kate enough, for the wedding, for the amazing words, for the thoughtfulness and for the love and kindness she is always so ready to give. This wedding, along with our other two, will be remember always. We really are lucky ladies.

We then jumped in the pool - not something that happens on most wedding days i'm guessing but much needed on ours. 

Valentine's Day should be a reminder that love is not something that only occurs between a couple, love really is all around us. Whether you celebrate Galentines with your girlies, Gayentines or any other form of Valentine's remember love is inclusive, if you give love you are never alone. Just remember to tell those that you do love - actions may speak louder than words but it's always nice to hear. 

So with that 'Happy Valentine's Day - we love you'. 


Thursday, 26 January 2017

Why Lesbian Loving Is The Best!

Howdy, hello and g'day! How are we? Can you believe January is almost over, how did that happen?!

Anyways I stole the title of this post from an article I read in the Metro today but I thought I would write my own version as theirs was disappointing to say the least.

It is an almost undisputed fact (not alternative fact) that Lesbian Loving is the best, if you haven't tried it I can't recommend it highly enough but then I did get lucky!

Way back when our blog used to be far more focused on all things gay and while we haven't intentionally changed the topics we write about we are lucky enough to live in a world where gay issues are a lesser part of our everyday life. We go about our married life, with our family and friends without encountering issues and we hope it will continue. At the start though the blog opened our eyes to a 'gay' world we hadn't been aware of.

In September 2012 we wrote a post on discovering the 'Real L Word' and how it opened our eyes to the gay community and how you can be gay and just a regular person (whatever that means). The post is here: http://sarahpluslaura.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/how-real-is-real-l-word.html

The post also brings up the book 'Sexual Fluidity' which addresses how your sexuality can shift over time. From our lives this is true in the fact that we dated men but found ultimate happiness with a woman and that brings me back to the article in the Metro.

So here's the key points that were raised that I am not so sure about:
  • A lot of the time dating women is more about friendship and community
  • Girls tend to look after one another
  • Sometimes it seems like a very small world
  • There is no such thing as a bad date
Maybe it's because I never dated - I just found Laura at work, but from speaking to friends you are only limited if you fish from one pond so to speak. With the world of online dating as it is, with social media and a ton of events, if you are willing to try new things the opportunities are far greater. We know couples who have moved cities and even continents to be with 'the one' that they met in a less traditional way.

I would like to think that girls or lesbian girls look out for one another but that is a HUGE generalisation and women are naturally bitchy, being gay doesn't change that.

As for bad dates we have shared friends experiences of a fair few bad dates. From lack of chemistry to the person not being who they said they were to the girl being dull as ditchwater the situation did not end in a friendship as the article suggested. Regardless of a gay or straight date if it's a bad date it's a bad date.

Here's the points I do agree with:
  • There is a directness to communication and lack of games
  • There is one thing all lesbians have in common, the need to share 'their story'
  • Girls like sharing food
  • You can share clothes
  • There is so much to talk about

But here is what I would add in addition:
  • Dating your best friend is the best thing ever - you can confide in them over everything and they really care about your problems / challenges
  • The intensity of the relationship - linked to the above the best way I can describe this is that feeling you have when you have had a great day with a friend but you don't want it to end. You have talked non stop, laughed, spent time doing things you thoroughly enjoy and when it comes to an end you feel bereft that it is over. It's that feeling except you don't part ways you just continue that feeling into the next day and the next and the next if you are lucky
  • You can share friends so there is no awkward it's a 'girls night' or 'i'm out with my friends', of course it's perfectly normal to have separate social lives but why spend time apart when sharing the experience is more fun
  • The sex - nuff said
  • And linked to that no surprise pregnancies or spending out on contraception - that's a saving
  • The community - the fact that you have women around you who get you. In fact it's easy to find friends because you are starting from a common ground. Some of our best friends are ladies we have met online (Twitter / Instagram) and got along with because of shared interests (not just Lesbianism :)) 
  • There are even Lesbian Tribes - just having a tribe sounds cool
  • Pride - not lesbian exclusive but who doesn't lover a rainbow coloured party
  • Shared skills - so I'm not great with hair or make up but I don't need to be as Laura is so I have my own stylist. On the other hand Laura dislikes gardening and i'm a pro. Laura cooks while I wash up. We both clean. You get the idea - in a lesbian relationship there are no roles it's just teamwork and partnership
  • We are willing to work on our relationship and be open about our challenges - linked to the non stop talking and intense friendship is the fact that all that talking means we can talk about our feelings and accept we aren't perfect. A while back we even did a Love Languages test to find out how we could understand each other better: the post is here complete with a test if you want to try. Something our straight friends have struggled to get their other halves to do
  • Watching films - I mean if a chick flick comes out there is no question we are watching it
Ah damn it my battery is dying so I will leave it there for now but you get the idea - Lesbian Loving is the best. I couldn't be happier with Laura or more grateful for the gay ladies that we have been fortunate to meet and call friends - to think if we weren't lady loving ladies we may never have met.



If I have missed anything obvious drop me a comment!