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:
Thursday:
6pm Mass balloon lift
9pm: Night glow and fireworks

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

Saturday:
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

Sunday:
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.

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Strawberry + Rhubarb Pie
Makes: 1 x 9 inch pie

Ingredients:
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

Recipe:
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!




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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!



Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Brighton Pride 2017 The Highlights!

Brighton Pride was awesome.

As the busy work week starts to make the weekend seem like a while ago we wanted to share our weekend highlights and explain why we love Brighton Pride so much!

1) Being hosted by the Florida Keys and Key West at the Pride 2017 Festival at Preston Park. We met the KBC PR team at the VIP entrance, received our wristbands and were whisked inside for an unforgettable experience. On arrival we passed by Moroccan style tents filled with comfy chairs to sit and relax in and at the end of the area was a food stand servicing delicious Mediterranean style food. The easy access to Preston Park's main area was an added benefit, rather than pushing through the crowds we could stroll in and out as we pleased. We were over the moon.


It wasn't until we were fed and watered (much needed after a stroll up from the Parade) that we even noticed the Grandstand seating that we were able to watch the acts perform from.


Having the opportunity to find out about the Florida Keys and Key West was also great. I for one didn't know that the area has 10 state parks, including a Coral Reef! Here's some other interesting facts we found out about the subtropical islands:

  • It's super LGBT+ friendly and over a quarter of the residents identify as gay or lesbian
  • The island chains motto is 'One Human Family' recognition that everyone is created equal
  • The average temperature is 25.5 degrees C
  • There is pretty much no bad time to visit although April was the suggested 'best time'
  • The New Years Eve celebration include a drag queen being lowered in a bright red shoe
  • If you are road tripping to the area you will cross 42 bridges
  • The area has stunning sunrises and sunsets
  • It's only 90 miles from Cuba
  • It's famous for snorkelling, fishing, weddings, arts and culture, food and drink 
  • The area do something called Voluntourism; you can dedicate part of your holiday to volunteering with reef restoration, beach clear ups, helping local wildlife etc
  • If you are looking for a beautiful holiday destination, with pretty much guaranteed sunshine and plenty to do then this place should be on your to-do list!


It's fair to say that the Florida Keys team made us feel very welcome, hopefully one day we'll be able to check out the place ourselves - it's certainly on the to do list!


2) The Vibe. I know that sounds cliche but from the moment you arrive in Brighton and see the rainbow flags flying we relax. The entire city, from the smallest of cafes to the biggest of stores embraces Pride. The atmosphere is one of celebration and unity, expect random hugs, people talking to you like you've been friends forever, to be pulled in on random photos and to embrace and accept every type of person. The mixing pot is as real as it can get in Brighton but especially on Pride weekend.

3) The Parade. Like every good Pride the parade is worth watching. The music, the vibrancy, the costumes, we love it all. From the moment the first float appears to the last person walking off we are filled with a sense of Pride. The importance of seeing people just like us will never get boring. The standout of this parade was the services - Ambulance, Police and Fire. With their vehicles in rainbow colours and the teams dancing behind we felt incredible grateful for their service but also their presence - equality in all jobs is so important!


4) Being so close to the beach. Pride can be intense. The crowds are massive, the areas in and around the city centre can be packed and if it's hot - as it was - moving around can be tiring. We took the Pride bus down to the beach to have a bit of respite. You can't say that about many Prides! Once we hit the beach and saw the sea everything calmed down. With the warm sun setting it was a moment to reflect and relax together. We then met up with friends and listened to music while eating fish and chips and watching the occasional naked person attempt a sobering dip in the sea!


5) The Preston Park Experience, as we had managed to secure VIP tickets for our friends Charlotte and Hannah to join us the day was a great girly hang out. We also had Bella from Diva magazine join us as we toured everything the park had to offer. As well as seeing Years and Years and Louisa Johnson perform we visited stands to check out what they were doing for Pride. WKD were there making cocktails, National Trust were there, Barefoot wine were giving out wine and very cool sunglasses, Diva were giving away free mags and there were a whole host of weird and wonderful things to see including a 'feel wood feel good' stand where you got to touch a tree! Then there was the dance tents - Diva World, Men & Bears and the Urban tent, oh and our fav the Cabaret tent.



Exploring the park was great, getting back to the VIP tent was greater - especially when pushing through all the port-a-loo queues! (Thanks again to KBC PR!)

Sad that it's all over for another year but bring on Manchester Pride at the end of August!


Monday, 7 August 2017

Post-Pride SOS: The Essentials - Brighton Pride Blog Takeover!

Wow - Brighton Pride was something else! Our legs ache, we've left glitter on everything we've touched for days now, we're a bit rosy, and we are left with such amazing memories of the things we saw and the people we met! But that post is for another day.

Thank goodness we've got Nathalie back to help us recover from Pride!

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The Pride merriment can lead to pretty bad hangovers and a few sunburnt shoulders here and there, and yes I do speak from personal experience, unfortunately!



If you are feeling a little worse for wear today, don’t despair as my years as a Brighton Pride veteran mean I have learnt one or two tricks for reducing those unwanted Pride after-effects.



Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than going back to work post-Pride feeling like those excitable, positive vibes have been washed away off Brighton beach, along with a few other discarded rainbow flags and random colourful remnants left over from the parade!



Here’s my top tips for making the Pride recovery that little bit more manageable;







Hangover cures


First up, because it’s hard to ignore a pounding headache, are hangover remedies. Sadly, there is no scientific cure yet, so I can’t give you an instant solution, but I can share my preferred treatment. It’s pretty simple really, to bring my temperature down, reduce the shakes and relieve the fuzzy head I take a painkiller with a cold sugary, full fat drink – chocolate milkshake is my favourite, or orange Fanta, with loads of ice. Sports drinks and coconut water are also packed with electrolytes, so another good option.



If your hangover is so bad you cannot stomach a flavoured drink, you obviously didn’t follow my Glow For Pride tips! Joking aside, it is still very important to rehydrate even if it seems highly unappealing as you lose four times the amount of liquid when drinking alcohol. Try slowly sipping something relatively flavourless, like soda water or herbal tea, as this will be easier on your palette and digestive system. My top tip in this instance is not to gulp it down as this can result in worsening the queasiness.





Credit: Mink Mingle on Unsplash



Removing ALL the glitter



If you haven’t been covered in glitter during Pride day then you really haven’t lived.  Glitter is like war paint to the LGBT community and their friends, elaborately applied to stand out in the crowd. Shake it in your hair, stick it to your face and sparkle like a unicorn.



What we don’t consider when applying this magical make-up is its removal come Monday morning - and I don’t know of many workplaces where glitter counts as an approved code of dress, unless you are a drag queen, in which case carry on sparkling.



Face wipes are a definite no-no! Paired with particles of glitter the effect is likened to sandpaper and can be quite aggressive on your skin, so avoid at all costs. Cosmopolitan has some genius hacks for removing glitter.





Credit: Sebastián LP on Unsplash



Eat properly



Yes, fast food is the go-to option when hungover, but is it actually going to make us feel normal again? The answer here is no. Greasy foods do not ‘soak up’ alcohol, but rather they prevent alcohol absorption, so are actually a better option to eat before you start drinking.



The day after Pride celebrations you should re-stock the body with nutrients and minerals – and you won’t find the ones you need in a Big Mac.



Eggs are a good saviour as they contain taurine which helps liver functionality to mop up toxins. You’ll also need to restore potassium so blend bananas with some yoghurt for an easy-drink smoothie.

 Credit: Gabriel Silverio on Unsplash



Prolong that Pride feeling



Lastly, try to prolong the happy memories you made at Pride. Rainbow food is all the rage right now and I like to have some fun rainbow-themed goodies in the house to keep me smiling. I’ve already stocked up on some colourful hand iced biscuits (check out the unicorns!) which I’ll be enjoying with a cup of tea when I need a little post Pride pick me up. You won’t be short of rainbow sticks of rock in Brighton, either!  



I also recommend going through your photographs from the day, picking your favourite one and setting this as your main mobile phone background, social media profile and laptop screensaver. This way, you will regularly be reminded what fun was had at Brighton Pride 2017.

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Thank you Nat for taking over the blog for Brighton Pride! We hope you loved Pride as much as we did this year. We'll follow your tips, but no greasy food? The excuse to eat badly is the only silver lining of a hangover, surely? :)

Check out Nat's blog at www.helpimgettingmarried.com and follow her on Twitter


Friday, 4 August 2017

What You Need To Know About Brighton Pride!

Happy Friday!

It's almost time for Brighton Pride, bring on the rainbows, bring on the sea air, bring on the glitter but whatever happens lets hope nothing brings on the rain! So far the weather forecast is looking okay so we are hopeful.

You may have seen our Glow For Pride Essentials post by the lovely Nathalie from http://www.helpimgettingmarried.com/

Or maybe you are heading to Brighton Pride and wanted to find out how to win a trip to the amazing and beautiful Florida Keys (details here).


Or maybe you just dropped by to check out all the import details for Brighton Pride?

Whatever the reason - hi! Thanks for stopping by.


Without further ado here's what you need to know:

  • Brighton Pride celebrations are running from the 4th - 6th of August 2017
  • The theme is Summer Of Love
  • It's the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK so it's set to be a bigger than usual celebration - there will be a one minutes silence to remember victims of all hate crime around the world 
  • Events include: 
    • Pride Festival (tickets available here) this is the Preston Park event on the 5th
    • Village Party (tickets available here)
    • Pride Pleasure Gardens and Official Pride Parties (tickets and guides available here)
    • Dog show (sadly we won't have Bisbee with us)
    • THE PARADE (starting at 11am - more details below)
    • If you wnat advice on what tickets to buy check out this helpful guide

  • It will hopefully be sunny so bring suncream
  • You can not bring alcohol into the Pride Festival
  • You cannot bring dogs into Preston Park 
  • The train strike planned for the weekend has been called off so getting to Brighton has just got a lot easier! Click here for the full travel guide but in summary only the brave will drive as parking is limited and if you can use public transport

Pride Festival is a day long celebration and where the music acts including Pets Shop Boys, Years and Years and Louisa Johnson will be playing. At Preston Park there will be stands and areas celebrating everything and anything. From Florida Keys to DIVA to Smirnoff to AMEX the Preston Park will be jam packed. Tents include Diva's girl world, Bears & Men's Dance Tent, Family Diversity, Trans and a Community Village. You can pretty much pick a party to suit your taste.
Access the map online at: http://www.brighton-pride.org/pride-festival-map-2017/


Pride Pleasure Gardens is a music set up nearer the seafront at Victoria Gardens. There will be a cabaret tent, live music performances, line dancing, saucy wonders (whatever that may be) and much more. The area will be set up all weekend.


Even if you aren't heading to the events it's worth visiting Brighton Pride for the parade alone. That's what we have done 4 times before. Put simply:
The annual Pride Community Parade is the biggest and most exciting visual event in Brighton & Hove’s calendar bringing the whole community out on to the city’s streets as over 200,000 people participate and watch the spellbinding spectacular of our hugely successful “Carnival Of Diversity”.
The parade starts at 11am on Hove Lawns and travels through the city. The full route is here.


Our previous Brighton themed blog post include:
Our summary of what Brighton has to offer: 'We Love Brighton'
Brighton Pride in 2015 was brilliant and Bisbee got to experience it, the highlights are here
Our trip to Brighton Pride was also amazing, details here

If we haven't convinced you to join us, or at least book it in for next year here's the feedback from a Pride survey: 'Brighton Pride is voted as the BEST Pride celebration in the UK'

Follow our social media accounts for our updates on the day!

Happy Pride