Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Australia's Same-Sex Marriage Vote - 5 Things You Need To Know!

It's August 22nd 2017 and as of today equal marriage is not a thing in Australia.

It's kinda shocking that the country that hosts the amazing Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is still so behind the times.

Laura is half Australian, our best friend Kate is Australian and we lived in Australia for a year so we know a fair bit about Oz culture. We know that Sydney is by the far the most progressive city in the country but that all of the main cities are not openly homophobic. We know that many Australian's have views we would deem a little out of touch but we also know that the overwhelming majority of Aussie's are amazing, open-minded individuals who see the country's stand on Same-Sex marriage as an embarrassment.

I mean if we are being honest Australia's political leaders have been a conveyor belt of idiots since we lived there in 2010. I mean they are no Trump but seriously this guy got the Prime Minister vote!
So sorry to share something so disgusting

So anyway here are the 5 key things you need to know about the vote:

  1. The postal vote requires you to enrol before August the 24th! Click here to enrol (if you're in Oz). You will need evidence of your identity with a drivers licence or Australian passport number. You must be an Australian citizen, over 18 and have lived at your address for over a month. Forms will be sent out after the 12th of September and MUST be posted back by October 27th to ensure they arrived to be counted. Results will be released on November 15th.
  2. The vote has NO binding, meaning that parliament do not have to act on the results. If anything this is a move by the current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball to save his neck as the coalition government he oversees is divided on the issue.
  3. The vote may not take place! Two challenges have been raised to the high court by the 'Australian Marriage Equality senator Janet Rice' and the 'Public Interest Advocacy Centre.' The cases will be heard on the 5th and 6th of September. The main argument is that  the government doesn't have the right to spend AU$122 million on a ballot not approved by parliament.
  4. If parliament were to vote on Equal Marriage now, the consensus is that the majority would vote to legalise same-sex marriage. The hope is that enough people will enter the postal vote that the actual feelings of the country will be represented, forcing a parliament vote. Below are screenshots from a video on news.com.au that shows where the country is on their view of Same-Sex marriage.

5. LGBT individuals are not 100% behind the postal vote. That's not as shocking as you might think. For a start this postal vote, at it's very core, is asking Australians to vote on whether certain people can get married. Imagine (if you are married) asking your social group if they approved of you getting married. The idea is awful! Secondly by allowing a public vote you are inviting the homophones and bigots to have their say. Of course they are ready with their banners and hatred to protest the marriage is '1 man and 1 women' rhetoric that is so old. Thirdly LGBT campaigners believe the vote is open to fraud and as it isn't controlled by parliament. 
I was first aware of the feelings of LGBT individuals when I read this post on Gaybymama: here but the longer the process goes on the more posts I see on the subject. This video shares further examples:

As the world watches on I hope the vote does echo the fact that the majority of the country support Same-Sex marriage. I know for a fact that our friends, straight and gay, living in Australia will be voting. Making their voice heard and hoping that Australia becomes the 9th country, on the UN's most developed country list, to announce Same-Sex marriage is legal. 

We loved our third (illegal) wedding in Australia and we hope everyone is given the chance to celebrate love in the same way. Details are here: Our third wedding

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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

What You Need To Know About Bristol Balloon Fiesta!

First of all what is Bristol Balloon Fiesta? Put simply it is Europe's largest annual gathering of hot air balloons held at Ashton Court, Bristol in August each year. Teams from the UK and abroad bring their balloons and take part in a number of activities over 4 days.

This activities include:
6pm Mass balloon lift
9pm: Night glow and fireworks

6am: Mass balloon lift
8am: Model balloon competition
6pm: Mass balloon lift off

6am: Mass balloon lift off
8am: Model balloon competition
12pm - 5.30pm arena entertainment open including stalls, rides and displays
6pm: Mass balloon lift off
9pm: Night glow and fireworks

6am: Mass balloon lift off
8am: Model balloon competition
12pm - 5.30pm arena entertainment open including stalls, rides and displays
6pm: Mass balloon lift off

And here's the thing it's all free. Well entering the arena and watching the balloons ascend or glow is. If you want food or drink or a go on a ride you have to pay.

The car parking is also chargeable. We paid £16 for advanced parking that was a 15 minute walk to the area. As there was 4 of us and a dog that didn't seem bad value. Especially as we filled the car with picnic delights and could drop the basket and leftovers back to the car once we were finished.

We went for the Sunday and arrived at 1pm. The entertainment we witnessed included a guy with a flying machine:

A wing walker doing acrobatics:

And an aerobatic aeroplane display that was a little hard to see with the bright sunshine.

We got to enjoy the entertainment laid out on a picnic mat with beautiful surrounding countryside. What better way to spend a Sunday. The fact that it's dog friendly just made it extra great.

It was only 1 hour 45 from Birmingham too.

Turns out we could have enjoyed a balloon ride if we had wanted to - some of the balloons offer the opportunity (here). Although on this occasion we were happy with our feet on the ground.

The only thing I'm sad we missed was the night glow and fireworks. I'm sure it would have been an amazing sight. Here's a pic our friends (@adventuresoftwogirlsinlove) took:

We thoroughly enjoyed the two hours or so spent watching the balloons come into the arena, get inflated and take off. Each one with a different design, different colours or different sizes. By sheer luck our picnic spot was right under where the balloons floated over and headed off to the distance.

A handy £2 guide purchased on the day gave us the info on what balloons were there as well as a schedule for the day. The only challenge was getting it from Bisbee:

Our favs included a Beefeater called Bus followed by a jail break minion to celebrate the release of Despicable Me 3:

We also loved the rainbow balloons as they looked so pretty:

And the Longleat Lion who we caught up with when we spotted him sailing over the M5.

The fiesta was first held in 1979 and is known to attract 100,000 people over the 4 days. Located just by Clifton Suspension Bridge the sheer number of people leads to the bridge being closed at peak times. (We somehow managed to cross it - paying £1, explore Clifton, and then pay £1 to get back across - great view over the Avon though).

If you are in the area and don't want to head to the arena you can always find a spot nearby and watch as the balloons sail over - it is a sight we got to enjoy as we headed back home up the M5.

So if you get the opportunity we recommend you checking out this wonderful event....it's a great idea!

Light bulb......great idea....get it :)

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

6 Reasons You Should Visit Naked Dough - The Review

Let us start by sharing the fact that we LOVE cookie dough. Ever since Laura introduced the deliciousness I have never been the same - and neither have birthdays. In fact for the past 3 years I have asked to forgo a birthday cake and instead have cookie dough.

So imagine our joy when we heard Naked Dough was open on our last trip to London.

The concept is simple:

Now your probably thinking the same thing I did when I first tried cookie dough - is it safe to eat?! Surely there is raw egg in it! The answer is YES it is absolutely safe to eat as it doesn't contain raw eggs. Woohoo!!! Onward.....

Now the cookie dough Laura normally makes is a standard chocolate chip one, for a getaway with friends last year we actually turned up with a tub of this delicious cookie dough and scoffed the lot - quickly. That's a side note but still, a happy memory.

The Naked Dough store has gone one better though - they do flavoured cookie dough! So here are the 6 reasons you should visit Naked Dough:

Like ice cream parlous you can choose a cone (£3.60), tub (£3.60) or milkshake (£4.00). You can also get a cold glass of milk for £1.80 - I mean you know cookies and milk (yum). We opted for a tub of Unicorn food. It was SO good.

Although I would have happily had a scoop of most of the flavours. 

Yum, yum, yum

The dough managed to last us the entire train ride back to Brum so was well worth the £3.60. 

So where can you find this delightful place? Well it is right by Old Street station:

(Conveniently 5 mins to my work as Google Maps like to remind me) It is open 11am - 8pm every day except Sundays. And you can take it away without it becoming a complete mess.

So there you have it - dreams do come true - you really can buy cookie dough and stuff your face with all the deliciousness without having to turn your kitchen into a mess. I fear we may become regular visitors to Naked Dough. If you are heading to London we suggest you pay a visit too.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Laura's Strawberry + Rhubarb Pie Recipe!

My Mum and Dad are staying with us for six weeks, before they set off traveling Europe again, and I've set about making as many memories and making up for as many occasions as possible while they are here.

We've been to Bistro Pierre to celebrate Sarah's birthday, we have been to the Cotswolds to see the lavender, and we have plans to go back to Bistro Pierre for a six course menu for Dad's birthday next month.

For Fathers Day, Dad was in the USA, so last weekend I made him his favourite pie as a belated gift.

Strawberry and rhubarb pie is absolutely delicious - sweet but with a hint of tang, soft and warming - I'd recommend it in strawberry season of course, but even in the winter I believe this pie would hit the spot! Best served with a pot of my Mum's homemade custard, of course.


Strawberry + Rhubarb Pie
Makes: 1 x 9 inch pie

1 nine inch pie tin
2 pints of strawberries
1 pound of rhubarb
1 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of plain flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 shortcrust pie crust (I used a premade one that rolled out, and cut the extra to make the lattice on top)
1 egg white for brushing the top of the pie
1 teaspoon of granulated sugar for garnish

1. Chop the strawberries into quarters, and the rhubarb into thin pieces, about 1cm thick. I peeled off the rhubarb skin that came off as I chopped in case it affected the texture of the end result, but if you don't want to, I don't believe it will make a difference.
2. Mix the strawberries and rhubarb with the cup of sugar and then the plain flour. Leave for 30 minutes.
3. While you are waiting, preheat the oven to 200 degrees C, and prepare the pie crust in the pie tin, and cut the remaining dough into strips (I managed 9). You do not need to prebake the pie crust.
4. Add the vanilla extract and cinnamon to the strawberry mixture, and put it into the pie crust.
5. Create the lattice on top of the pie, brush with egg white, and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
6. Bake for 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
7. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving. Eat with custard or ice cream, either way it's magnificent!


Dad loved this pie so much he has requested that I make one more before he goes travelling in September. I'm happy to oblige!

Happy baking!