Sunday, 26 October 2014

Are You OFFICIALLY A Grown Up?

Growing up - no-one ever told me that growing up was mainly about taking on responsibility. Sure, I have learnt a few skills as I've gotten older that enable me to be a more competent and capable adult but I don't necessarily feel any more grown up. However, when I look at the invisible 'adult' check list that I am sure I was told about, I have ticked almost all of them so I can't deny it, I'm a grown up. The list included:

  • Get a job
  • Get a car
  • Go on holiday without my parents
  • Cook a dinner from scratch for someone
  • Fall in love
  • Get married
  • Get a house / flat
  • Get a dog
  • Have kids 

When I look at the life L&I lead, we seem to swing widely from youthful care-free kids to boring, responsible adults within hours. Our fridge will either resemble every kids' dream - chocolate, treats, cake, cheese, left over takeaway and plenty of Diet Coke- or a try-hard dieter's fridge with fruit, low fat yogurt, salad and nothing fun. Our fridge is great indicator of where we are on our weight management plans :)

Then there are our weekends. Take last weekend - I don't think we got dressed. We watched back to back movies including Disney, ordered takeaway, got up late, stayed up late and relaxed together without a care - it was perfect. If this was all we had to do to be a grown up then I'd happily be one. But then there are weekends when it is all about cleaning, bill paying, managing our time and our diaries to fit in seeing each other as well as friends. Those weekends are the times that I am not so keen on being a grown up, it's hard work and I'd rather someone else took care of it all!

I've had it easy though, I was given time, space and support to grow up at my own pace. I got a job as soon as I could at 16, moved out for the first time to go to Uni at 18, bought my first car at 20 and my first flat at 23 while living back at home. I took my time and my family supported that. However when you look at my lovely wife, she moved out at 18 and has never been back - not only did she move out, she moved COUNTRIES! While her family have always supported her and caught her when she faltered, growing up was much more a rush job for Laura. Maybe it's why it doesn't feel like there are 5 years between us.

We met when we were both in the same point in our lives but at two seemly very different ages. It seems so strange to think about what I was doing at the age Laura was when I first met her. At 19 I was still at Uni, it was all about going out and rushing to hand in Uni work, not about turning up at work at 9am and paying rent and bills, like Laura - that stuff seemed to happen haphazardly in my Uni house. But when we met we were both new to London, new to our job and finding ourselves and our feet in a chaotic, crazy city. It was both exciting and terrifying, exhilarating and exhausting. We were each others' support and best friend. We felt neither grown up nor carefree.

So when I saw a Metro article on the tube saying 'No kidding, adulthood begins at 24' it got me thinking about how life can turn out so differently based on a few decisions. Laura has always told me that in Idaho it's not uncommon to be married with a kid by the time you're 24 due to a high population of religious people and their 'get a ring by spring' mentality putting marriage high on the priority list. Here in London though, the thought of 'giving it all up' to move to the country and settling down is not something people are rushing to. In fact, most of my 30 year old friends are only now thinking of marriage, settling down etc - no-one owns a house, and the thought of living out of London is beyond comprehension.

Here is the Metro's official list that will help you to tell if you are a grown up (or not):

   It's like grown up bingo  - how many can you tick off?

Thursday, 23 October 2014

FCKH8 The Feminism Argument

Well, it's a topic that has certainly been in the news recently, even more since Emma Watson did such an amazing job launching the 'He for She' Campaign. If you missed it, the whole thing can be seen here:

This post isn't to revisit the speech as thankfully the media did a great job of covering it at the time. What I wanted to do was bring your attention to this video that's been doing the rounds on Facebook:

Be WARNED it's not to be watched with the volume turned up (language)!

Have you seen it? What do you think?

It has been a great source of conversation in my office today, while seeing little girls swearing is shocking and super uncomfortable it is the content that they are talking about that is even worse. And of course MumsNet had to get involved.....
Reading the comments posted below this comment included:
'It was bullshit. It actually made me angry that these girls have been used as a marketing plot in an adult way - kinda child abuse'
'I just watched the video and it left me quite uneasy. I really don't want kids of this age to be talking about sexual assault and rape. '
'An absolutely DISGUSTING piece of work. I didn’t think anything much could shock me. But this piece of shit does. Not sharing.'
 I have no idea what they were promoting because when I heard the little girl swearing I stopped watching because it just wasn't nice to hear. 

To me these comments are exactly the reason we need to keep the feminism cause alive, i'm not saying swearing kids is the best way, but isn't the point that things have remained the way they are because it's not nice to hear and it is uneasy. With or without the swearing every fact in this video is true! How awful is that?! This is about promotion of an issue that will impact on every single woman and girl and if a bit of swearing promotes it then so be it. Selling t-shirts is a by-product. The point is create awareness, if no-one bought a t-shirt the issue would have still been raised.

And the kids talking about rape and sexual assault probably did go a bit far especially as these kids are clearly very young but it is a point that needs to be raised. Unfortunately girls and boys not much older than this do need to know about this subjects if things are to change. Again, it's not nice to hear but it's true.

We will buy one of the t-shirts because we support the message and the cause. While we don't deny it is clever marketing - one point that Mumsnet missed is that the t-shirts themselves are the marketing - FOR THE MESSAGE oh and in the words of FCKH8:                       ' is a for-profit T-shirt company with an activist heart and a passionate social change mission: arming thousands of people with pro-LGBT equality, anti-racism and anti-sexism T-shirts that act as “mini-billboards” for change. has given over $250,000 to the equality cause through directly funded projects and donations to LGBT charities.'

We actually did a post on FCKH8 back at the start of 2012 (HERE) when the focus was more about Gay rights and equality. It is amazing in the time since the post that so many States in America now allow and support Equal Marriage, imagine if such change is made in equality for women in such a short time.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Is It Ever Appropriate To Hate Love?

The world is a funny place. It was less than a week ago that we put up a post full of joy, love and excitement that Idaho had finally joined the states that allowed marriage equality!

The outpouring from people we know in the states has been amazing and continuous. It was highlighted when we put up our wedding photos for our friends and family to see at the weekend - they will be up here shortly we promise!- and so many commented about the fact that such a ceremony would be legal now. Amazing.

Then I woke up this morning to a something that I just wanted to have a quick rant about!

To put this in context, I appreciate the world and many people's attitudes have changed dramatically in the last few years in regards to gay people. Laura and I are lucky we got together at a time of great change and have been lucky enough to only ever have had positive experiences when in public. That said is probably what made this more shocking.

We posted a photo our wedding photographers Sara and Dylan had taken of our florist and his fiance standing under our aisle decoration. Our florist is well known in Boise and one of the vendors, Wedding Chicks, that they work with shared the picture with their congratulations.

It is an adorable photo! However we were stunned to see some 3000+ likes and so many comments. You can read the entire response by heading to the Wedding Chicks Facebook page here: it's about halfway down the page.

There were many positive messages of love, but some seriously ridiculous ones - here are some of the comments that made me want to rant:

I don't think it is the bigoted, narrow mindedness that gets me, it's the use of the bible and religion to insult and attack love. I know we have never written about religion and this may be a strange time to bring it up but I am dumbfounded that a site about weddings, about love, about happiness can attract such negativity for no reason. Hate is never justified!

The ever articulate Will and Nick have answered at some points and the thread is full of support and love from all kinds of people, it is well worth a read. While this started of with us innocently sharing a wedding photo it has taken a turn we wanted to share. We appreciate this probably happens to many posts but to think that so many people want to share insults is something I will never be happy to see.

We aren't sure what Wedding Chicks make to it all, I know a lot of our friends have started following their site so they may not have even noticed the few that stopped. So I'll leave the last word to my wonderful wife:

 p.s. have you noticed how those who are so ready to post negativity never learnt to spell?!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Marriage Equality in Idaho!

2014 has been the year of celebrating our wedding. We have always said it was 'our year' - and after getting legally wed on the first day we could in England, and pulling off the most amazing destination wedding/bachelorette/mini-moon ever, we didn't think it could get much better.

But yesterday, we were proved wrong, and something happened that I couldn't have guessed would in a million years. LGBT couples began legally getting married in my home state of Idaho.

It seems so surreal that one of the most conservative states in the USA was not even NEAR to last in bringing equality. That's not to say some didn't fight it - the most ironically named anti-equality governor ever, 'Butch' Otter, spent millions in taxpayer money to stall, and postpone it. But of course, the right side of history prevailed, and yesterday at 10am, hundreds of loving couples got legally married in Idaho.

Plenty of supporters came out to cheer the couples, and local businesses donated cakes, flowers, confetti, bagels, all sorts to celebrate the big day.

This means so much to me, as an Idahoan who always thought she couldn't live in her beloved home state with her wife. We've still got a way to go (we can marry, but can still be fired for being gay!) but I'm just so happy that if we wanted to, we could move home, and get the same rights as my straight married friends.

Who would have guessed, when we were signing our marriage license in Mayfair in March, that only six months later (SIX MONTHS!) we could be married by the state of Idaho.

So much marriage equality progress has been made in a few short weeks, October 2014 will always be a month of celebration.

Anyway, enough about me! Here are a few touching photos of the 16th October for your viewing pleasure - all from

Great article by my friend Kelcie who is a journalist at the Idaho Press Tribune - she got to be there to witness this lovely couple who have been together for 40 years, and are getting married in their own back yard!

Also, watch this moving news story from local TV station KTVB where you see the first two couples marry, and the incredible support behind them.

May love always continue to prevail.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Mini Break Cambridge!

Cambridge is a beautiful city. One full of history, stories and magnificent buildings, of well-manicured parks and gardens, cyclists, cobbled streets and quaint shops. It is in some parts straight out of a Harry Potter book, or should I say Harry Potter could be based on here. It is what I think of when I think about a perfect city. In fact I would go as far to say that it rivals York for being one of the best UK cities for a mini-break.

Here’s why:
Cambridge has a great mix of old and new.
The city itself is formed of 17 colleges, Kings being the most famous and Trinity being the largest and wealthiest. In fact rumour has it you can walk from Cambridge to London without ever leaving Trinity land. And the fact they own part of Manhattan that benefits from shipping taxes makes them not only one of the world’s largest land owners it also means they have income from 100’s of years to come. 

The new is because with the sheer amount of students moving into and out of the city every year the area is constantly incorporating and adjusting to meet their needs. New pieces of artwork including this clock opened by Steven Hawking in dedication to Charles Darwin.

There is plenty to see and do!
The centre and main part of Cambridge is easy to walk around and you can cover most of it by foot in a day. Every street is charming in its own way, whether it’s a college building from the 1600’s to shops huddled together offering everything from fudge made in front of your eyes to handmade robes or traditional sweets to college essentials. You could easily explore this city and never get bored.

Of course if you prefer structure to your discovering you can’t help but bump into walking tours. You can take tours of the whole city or just of the colleges – themselves big enough to keep you occupied for hours. You’ll hear stories of student pranks and of famous college graduates strolling the very streets you’ll walk on. You can see where the city was bombed, flooded and attacked in different centuries, it is a city with everything.

Oh and we can’t forget the punting. It is on every Cambridge ‘to do list’ and we are so glad we followed the advice. Having booked online we managed to save a bit of money but we were told you could barter, if you are any good at it, for a better price. We opted for Scudamores after the advice of our host as she advised us it went the whole length of the river not just part. 

Our punter was ‘typically Cambridge’, well spoken, witty and full of dislike for Oxford – both the place and the people! It was clear the old rivalry was still alive and well. He was full of interesting facts about the area and the colleges and as a University Graduate he was able to give us insight into what it was really like to live in Cambridge! Turns out as a young student you spend quite a bit of time being thrown in the river and that cycling is the only method of transport! Oh it is also a very safe city with very friendly people. All points we could agree with.

You won’t go hungry in Cambridge!
As we mentioned Cambridge is a busy mix of people and because of it there is no shortage of places to eat. While Market Square makes it easy to access stands selling meats, cheeses, fresh sandwiches and cakes the surrounding streets are full of independent and chain restaurants. We choose independent for a delicious Italian ahead of seeing Jason Mraz and had amazing crepes in another independent café on Sunday. It wasn't the cheapest but it they were good sized portions so we couldn't complain.

Then there are the cream teas. Okay so these aren't ‘Cambridge’ as such but as a traditional city they certainly had plenty of nice cafes offering cream teas. We were told about a café situated in Grandchester about 20 mins from Cambridge that was located in an orchard once frequented by Rupert Brooke (a poet), Russell and Wittgenstein (philosophers), Forster and Virginia Woolf (novelists), Keynes (an economist), and Augustus John (an artist). Check out their website here! You purchase your cream teas and then find a table, watching out for apples ready to drop of course! Then once you have finished indulging and feeling very sophisticated you can take a stroll to the river nearby and admire the views.

There are plenty of places to stay and it’s pretty reasonable!
I've lived in the UK pretty much my whole life and I did not know Cambridge was so close to London. It is less than an hour away if you don’t hit traffic. We decided to stay over though because the accommodation was so reasonable as well as it allowing us to see more of the area. After searching Air B&B and finding a windmill we could stay in – A WINDMILL!!!! – we were told it wasn't available so a second search on brought up The White House. Where better to stay with my very important American?!

The White House was located nearer St Neots, another lovely market town, than Cambridge but was drive-able in 20 minutes. From the moment we arrived we were swept up in hugs and conversation with our hosts, they were two of the nicest people you could ask to stay with. There B&B consisted of two buildings joined together by a house where they live. The way it was set up gave us a kitchen area that was available for all guests and a lounge should we had wanted to chill out. But our bedroom was equipped with an en-suite and TV so what more could you need?! We also got a key to access the main door should we be getting back late. It was a home away from home. That wasn’t the best part though. The best part was the advice our hosts gave us. From where to park for free to the best way to get to the city, to what company to use for punting and where to eat this couple were on point every tome and probably saved us a fortune!

We would definitely recommend a day or weekend visit, especially as it is so close to London and yet so different. It is also so British in all the right ways. For more info check out here:

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Laura Is 26! (and her ticker still ticks!)

I love birthdays, and I especially love Laura's birthday. I don't need an excuse to spoil my lady but it's nice to have a day (or a few days usually) dedicated to my wonderful wife.

This year was especially special as it was our first as wife and wife, and because everyone really seemed to make an effort. My family threw a surprise dinner for her, her work made a delicious sticky toffee pudding cake, her parents had already bought her an amazing laptop (indispensable in the months leading up to the wedding!!) but managed to be extra prepared and leave cards when they visited a few weeks ago, and Facebook messages from her awesome little bro, my sister and our Scottish family as well as all her wonderful friends made my lady beam from ear to ear! Even sat at the airport waiting for a delayed flight......but more on that later!

Thank you to everyone who left her a message on our social media sites, you may have seen we were cycling our way around Amsterdam on the actual day so that's why this is a slightly belated post!

What a year 25 has been for the lovely Laura though - we tied the knot, legally and then not-so legally in front of our amazing friends and family who had traveled from so many places to be there, we will treasure the memories, the photos and videos from the day forever! If that wasn't quite momentous enough, it was also the year we bought a house! I can't quite believe we are almost ready to celebrate our one year of owning it, it has flown by and has been such a great journey making the house our home. Now all that's left to do is officially move in :)

It's almost as if we are all grown up and while 26 still seems young, well, you will always be young to me, it is the age I know that will bring the stability and contentedness that we have lacked this year. I fully expect it to also bring so many more wonderful experiences in new places and in exploring our new home city. If Amsterdam proved anything it is that exploring with you is such a joy. We really should do it more! In fact, let's definitely do it more.

So to my wonderful wife, you are and always will be an inspiration to me - that cheeky smile and positive outlook are enough to make the coldest, darkest, slowest drives to work better and your hugs are enough to make me feel at home and loved after the hardest days.

To see you stay true to yourself and regain some of that admirable confidence has been a pleasure and I am so proud of everything you have achieved. To bonuses at work to helping run events - although you are still not forgiven for not knowing who Alan Shearer is or for letting your company almost drown Davina! This year you have met challenges face on and handled them in such an impressive way - you have hiked, biked, organised and managed more people that I could even count including our entire wedding party! I am in no doubt that left to me there is no way 18 of our friends and family would have made it to, through and out of Vegas intact! That, my girl, was ALL you!

As you start your 26th year, I just wanted to say that I love you more than anything, I am so excited to see where this year takes us and whatever it brings I can't wait to face it together as wives!

Bring on your 26th year, I can't wait to see what happens next :)

Love you with all my heart

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Something We've Been Meaning To Tell You!

Hopefully you enjoyed our update and launch back in the blogging world! But we feel like there is something missing that we need to tell you about. The wedding pictures and video! 

To clarify it is not that we aren't dying to make our pictures public, trust us we are! After all the well wishes and messages of congratulations we want nothing more than to share memories of that amazing day with those of you who have followed us on our journey. However our wonderful wedding planner Brandi submitted out wedding plans to Martha Stewart long before we got married and we are now waiting to hear back about whether or not we are being featured. That means until we hear back that we can’t publicise our photos anywhere! Including personal Facebook sites!

In hindsight had we known quite how long the process would be I think we would have reconsidered but we have come this far and the end is hopefully in sight. Plus as Laura has been working away quite a bit so we haven’t had much time to sit down, reflect and enjoy them so by the time we find out it might be perfect timing as we will have decided on the ones we want to share.

In short we have our wedding pictures, we love them and we hope to be able to share them shortly!

So back to the weekend! As things have turned out this weekend was both perfect and imperfect all at the same time. Imperfect because we haven’t had a weekend chilling in our home, alone, for a while – a combination of Laura being away and wonderful guests- so it would have been a great weekend to chill and do nothing. 

Perfect because despite it being an opportunity to nothing we had inadvertently booked in a busy weekend. We blame this solely on a wonderful musician called Jason Mraz. 
When we found out Jason was playing the UK with his ‘YES’ tour we had to be there. When we saw the list of venues we were slightly disappointed, his only London gig was on a Friday night at the Royal Albert Hall, a beautiful but massive venue. Our concern was that we would end up sat really far away and as we would have to come from work it would all be a bit of a rush, not quite the experience we wanted. 

In a stroke of luck I looked at the next venue and it was Cambridge. We had never been to a gig/concert anywhere but London so I’m not sure what made me look but I after spotting Cambridge I had an idea. I’d never been to Cambridge, Laura had never been to Cambridge – how about we visit Cambridge together for the first time together and see Jason Mraz!

We were lucky because the tickets were significantly cheaper than those for the Royal Albert Hall, the seats we were able to get were so much better than those at the Royal Albert Hall and it was a Saturday night so no rushing from work #winning!

It also meant that with the money we had saved that we could afford a bed and breakfast to stay over and make a weekend trip to Cambridge and not have to drive back to Birmingham afterwards.
We’ll update you on Cambridge next week but we’ve missed writing and keeping this little ole blog of ours up to date so I thought I would utilise this train ride to update you a bit more :)