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Days Out: Blackberry Farm. 

A few weekends ago we took ourselves off to Blackberry Farm. Surprisingly, we’ve never been despite being massive fans of farms. Based near Glynde in East Sussex, it’s actually quite a large farm; housing everything from Goats and Llamas, to Chinchillas and Ferrets. There are also several play areas and an indoor soft play.

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We thought it was a little pricey at first (£8 per adult), however when we saw what was around we thought it was well worth it. There are extras such as tractor and pony rides, however we decided to wait until T was a little older before paying to do these. The facilities are clean and tidy, and you can see the enclosures are kept to high standard.

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It was a gorgeous day, so all the animals were out and about. T headed straight for the duck pond, however quickly found a few new friend in the form of a goat who was eager to nibble T’s hand which was full of goat feed. I thought this might have frightened T, but he actually quite enjoyed it

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After visiting a few animals we stopped and had a picnic, and then ventured around the rest of the farm via a set trail. Thankfully, T wanted to be carried at this moment which was handy as the ground was a little uneven.

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In no time he fell asleep; missing the llamas and horses, so we finished our trip with a visit to the cafe and treated ourselves to a coffee cake. There is also a little gift shop on site where we also treated T to a tractor.

Considering it was a last minute find, we had a really pleasant day and will definitely visit again soon. T was too small for the soft play and larger play areas, and wasn’t really interested in the petting barn, so we already have plenty to do when we visit again.

K

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Mother of all Questions. 

Being a same sex family, we get asked a lot of questions. Some generic questions about being parents, others more tailored to us. 

When I was pregnant, people were often very forward and asked things like –

How did it work?

How did you decide who would carry?

And

Who’s the Father? 

Depending on when you asked me I could answer most of these questions calmly and sensibly, I know a lot of them were based on pure ignorance and the person asking didn’t mean any harm. 

When T arrived, the questions didn’t stop. We regularly got asked;

How did you guys conceive? (We got asked this a lot). 

Is it any different being a gay family? 

And

Who’s more “dad”? (Yeah! I know!).

We often didn’t mind – it was nice that people were curious about certain things – I’d rather educate than not, although the last one should have remained in the question bank.

It was when T hit a year (and a bit before) though that we got asked the mother of all questions.

When are you having another one?

Not, “Will you” or “Do you think”. “When”. 

I’ve got pretty good at answering this now as I know this is one of those inevitable questions, but here’s where we’re different to most other parents and why it’s probably not ok to ask this –

It was really hard to conceive T. 

Two years of countless cycles, a visit to a kinesiologist, and more strain on a relationship than I have ever imagined. I don’t think I could go through that again. 

Plus, we’re too busy watching the one we worked so hard for grow up!

And why is there the assumption that we (or other parents for that matter) want another one? What’s so wrong with one?

We missed out on enough when we were trying for T, we certainly don’t want to miss anything else whilst trying for another. Not right now anyway.

So if you’re thinking of asking this question, especially (but not necessarily) to a same sex family, have a think about what you’re asking. What have they already been through?

K

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A Step in the Right Direction.

Last week I took my mum to see the new Star Trek film. As far as a review goes, which this post isn’t, it was great. I highly recommend going to see it.

Anyway, about 10 minutes into the film the crew arrive somewhere to refuel or whatever, and the character Sulu is jumped upon by, I assume, his daughter. He then stands up and lovingly puts his arm around his partner. A man.

Sitting in the cinema, two things then happened. Firstly, my inner monologue kicked in and commented on how not only was it nice for the writers to play homage to George Takei, who played the original Sulu and is also gay, but also how nice it was for them to portray a gay person without it being a “thing”.

 

It sounds odd, especially as gay culture is so open these days, but you’d be surprised how often gay characters feature in films without it then being made a feature, a way to add adult comedy, or simply to tick a box. I’ll give you a hint. It doesn’t. A gay person is very rarely portrayed by a gay person firstly, which I find odd in itself, and is often given very stereotypical characteristics which border on insulting. I’m not going to describe what I mean but I imagine you know what I’m talking about.

Back to the film, the second thing that then happened whilst sitting in the cinema was that I listened to the audience. Were they going to moan, make some comment, or heckle. Were they going to think the same as me and comment on how nice it was seeing two husbands?

No. There was nothing. Silence.

I know I shouldn’t have been waiting for something, but I was. I’m also aware that as a gay person I shouldn’t have even given a second thought to that scene. But I did. The lack of LGBT people realistically represented in film and TV is so low that when you do see it it jumps out at you. Remember this ad?

Outside of the cinema, the scene got a mixed reaction. Some were saddened to hear that a kiss was removed from the scene during final editing – I couldn’t have cared less. It was obvious who the man was to Sulu, why make it really obvious? A kiss would have added nothing. Others were frustrated that the only reason the character Sulu was chosen to be gay in the film was because of his predecessor – I actually thought it was a nice homage, although I do agree with George Takei who commented…

“How exciting it would be instead if a new hero be created, whose story could be fleshed out from scratch rather than reinvented… This would have been more impactful”. 

But then that’s just me being picky.

Either way, I think it’s a step in the right direction for all communities, straight or gay, to see LGBT people in films without it being made funny. It’ll just become part of the mainstream like other minority groups now do. Remember that first interracial kiss between Kirk and Uhura in 1968?

Credit: Wikipedia

No, me neither, but ratings plummeted after that episode, however how many comments or stories do we see commenting on the same subject now? None. With any luck, the more LGBT people we see in films and TV (I’m looking at you, children’s television) the more “normal” (I hate myself for saying that) it will become. The silence in the cinema last week was evident that this is now a possibility.

This year has already seen a lesbian character in the new Ghostbusters film, and a gay couple is featured in the new Independence Day – all without comedy or stereotyping. They’re featured without making it a thing and without taking anything away from the film, and that’s all I want to see. Not in every film, just more often.

What are your thoughts? How many gay characters have you seen in films in the past year? Do you think it’s important?

K

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Days Out: Drusillas Park, East Sussex. 

Drusillas Park is situated near the village of Alfriston between Eastbourne and Brighton and has a lovely ‘local’ feel to it despite it being quite a large zoo. We’re huge fans of zoos in this household – we’ve always enjoyed watching animals and how they interact. So when we were invited to come visit last weekend, we couldn’t wait to visit.

We have visited Drusillas Park before and have always had a nice time, so we were really excited to find out that they’ve recently had a few new additions to the zoo. These include; marmosets, otters, Macaques, and meerkats!


It was lovely to see all the young animals in the park – they were all so so adorable. It took T some time to focus on the little ones, especially when they were camouflaged so well, but once he found them he kept pointing and squealing.


Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to stop and listen to any of the talks that were occurring throughout the day, but we were impressed that there was always something going on.

T’s favourite animals from the day were definitely the lemurs and the bats.

 


I think this was down to the fact that both enclosures were walkthrough enclosures, so it was really interactive. The bat enclosure was especially interactive with our noses!

We arrived just after 10am and spent a good 2-3 hours casually walking around the zoo – there really is plenty to see and do. Our friend’s children really enjoyed collecting stamps, using their spotters guides, and reading the tour guide.


After the zoo, we were definitely ready for some lunch. Although we bought a picnic ready to feed an army, the cafes surrounding the picnic area served a variety of food and drink. I really appreciated the amount of seating available – which you’d think by lunchtime would have been packed but we still managed to find a quiet table away from the hustle and bustle.


In addition to the babies, Drusillas have also installed a new water park for the summer, which is perfect for T who is a complete water baby. We explored this once everyone had digested their lunch.


This was by far one of T’s favourite part of the day as he could just let loose and enjoy the water on what was a really hot day. There was a huge variety of water canons and fountains, all ranging in speed, and because of the variety available you didn’t have issues with the bigger kids hogging anything.


The area itself is really spread out and considering it was the weekend (and the summer holidays) it wasn’t that busy – or at least it didn’t feel like it due to the amount of space available.

After the water park (and getting T changed!), we explored the soft play area, the adventure parks, and the Thomas train ride which travels around the majority of the park!

These features have been around for a long time (although you wouldn’t know it) as they never get tiresome. Me and S T really enjoyed climbing in the soft play arena. T was sadly a little too small for the Hello Kitty adventure park, but we’ll be sure to revisit it when he’s a little taller. Our friends children seemed to enjoy it as they went on each ride at least three times!

By 5pm we were ready to head home, although not before going to the gift shop! There’s three on site depending on where you are in Drusillas. T was treated to a little soft monkey and we treated T’s friend to a little gibbon as that was his favourite. We thought we’d make the most out of T not knowing what a gift shop is!

We had a wonderful time at Drusillas and will definitely revisit soon – we’re even contemplating memberships just so we can visit the adventure and water parks! Drusillas also have a number of special events and appearances happening.

T definitely enjoyed himself as we hadn’t even reached Alfriston before falling asleep!

K

We were provided with a family ticket to attend Drusillas, however all thoughts and opinions are our own.

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New Shoes. 

It felt like only yesterday that we were buying T’s first pair of shoes. 


We went to a popular high street shoe shop and after his fitting we were told that T has wide feet and a high instep. This boy was going to cost us a fortune. 


Thankfully, we didn’t need to go back after the recommended 4-6 weeks, T remained the same size and we were able to keep these lovely pair of shoes. 

Like with any ‘first’, his first pair of shoes were special. They saw him master the technique of walking. They took him to lots of new places. Farms, The Woods, Forts, even his second Pride

For us, it was the start of his transition into toddlerhood.


T adored his shoes and often took them wherever he went, although he also enjoyed throwing them around the car and into the dog’s water bowl. 

As expected, these little pumps will stay with us for eternity – unwashed and with the remnants of his last walk on them. They even have perfect little toe indents inside. 


And so on to the next pair. Where will they take him? Nobody knows. 


K

Days Out: Newhaven Fort

Last Thursday, we went to Newhaven Fort for the afternoon. I’ve been meaning to go for sometime as I absolutely love history; especially war time history.

Newhaven fort was built in  on the edge of a cliff in (you guessed it) Newhaven.

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I’ve only ever been to the Fort via their surrounding cliff top walks which have been a favourite of mine for sometime. It was nice to finally see inside.

At the time they were in use I imagine the rooms were extremely cramped and busy however you really do get a sense of openness when you visit the Fort.

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Although T wasn’t really interested in the smaller rooms, I really enjoyed learning about the war from a local perspective; ranging from Lewes to Seaford. T, however, was more interested in the open forecourts to run around in.

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Although a little pricey (£7 for an adult), I thought there was lots to see and do. There’s also a nice little cafe on site, although I resisted cake and stuck to our healthy picnic!

My favourite part was learning about what it was like being inside an air raid shelter during the blitz. It was even recreated somewhat later on when an old plane flew past ready for last weekends airshow at Eastbourne. We couldn’t have been in a more perfect setting!

I will definitely go again, taking S with us,  as there definitely would have been bits I would have missed as there’s really quite a bit to see.

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Days Out: Pride 2016

Last weekend we went to Brighton Pride for our umpteenth time and T’s second time. T was only 4 months old when we went last year.

Typically, T had to be woken up, even though 5:45 was his usual time throughout the week – he clearly didn’t know what was ahead of him. Once we were all washed, dressed, and rainbow’ed up to our eyeballs we were ready. We were so excited.


Arriving a little too early at Hove Lawns, we decided to go get breakfast at a local beach side cafe. During this time, it wasn’t long before we started spotting rainbows and glittery floats. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. We all started getting a little bit excited.

This year, we decided to join in the Pride parade alongside Brighton and Hove rainbow families. We’ve been part of this group for some time via Facebook, although we’ve never found the time to meet up officially (something we’re going to rectify soon). Even if you’re new, the group is always so welcoming, and has a wonderful array of families as members; from two mum families, two dad families, to co-parenting families. It was actually quite a sight to see so many rainbow families in one place. I was actually quite sad at the thought of then having to go home where we’re very much the only rainbow family within a 5 mile radius.

At 11:00 the parade officially started, samba bands and all. This was T’s cue to fall asleep and not wake until we reached Preston Park.

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The parade was fantastic, with a real buzz to it. Everywhere we looked we saw smiling faces and waving from onlookers. The younger children in the group enjoyed high-fiving people as they passed, where as the older children enjoyed dancing on the float. It was a real party.

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Arriving at Preston Park at around 12:45, some 18,000 steps later, we made our way to the family area to meet up with friends and families who we hadn’t seen since the previous year. This bit is like a massive reunion where we chat and swap stories about the past year – commenting on how our little ones are no longer so little.

Located a further back in comparison to last year, which was a shame as we like watching the being a part of the main park as well, I noticed that there was a lot more room for the children to run around this year. Plus, we also had exclusive access to the massive play park within Preston Park. This will be perfect for T in years to come.

After a little sit down and a fruit picnic, we grabbed some lunch; I had a mountain of nachos and S had a rather large Bratwurst (pardon). Although we packed T a lunch, he also helped himself to our lunches.

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Walking around the main park is my favourite part by far. The people, the music, the stalls. Everything about it reminds me why I love our community so much. Everything is so colourful, and everyone is here to have a good time. Now that the organisers charge to get into the park, it means people who do attend are there for the right reasons, and not solely to get drunk and rowdy. It meant the atmosphere was safe for T to have a little wonder, have a little dance, and get a few cuddles from passers by.

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Despite being robbed blind when it came to drinks and food prices we quickly got into the spirit of things. We enjoyed ice cream in front of the women’s tent, drank Pimms with the bears, and chatted about joining the Girl Guides. We had a wonderful time.

Pride for us is only going to get better the more T starts to understand what it’s all about. Over the next few years it’s going to be one giant carnival party for him, and thats ok. I can’t wait, however, to explain one day how far Pride has come and why it’s so important. I can’t wait for him to look forward to the Pride weekend and to meeting up with his friends.

This post really doesn’t do our day justice. It really was a fantastic day and I was sad to see it end. Although I nursed a baby wearing hangover for the majority of Saturday night and Sunday morning, it was totally worth it.

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All of the Emotion. 

It’s been a tough few weeks since T hit 15 months. His confidence grows by the day what with the numerous steps he’s taking. He even pushes off from tables and chairs, coming to me when I put my hand out. He clearly really enjoys it. With this added confidence, however, has come a lot of emotion and frustration on his part.

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I hope don’t think it’s the start of the terrible somethings, I think he’s just in a middle ground of knowing what he wants to do but without the knowledge of how to. Climbing his slide, getting his shoes on, sorting shapes into holes, getting food onto his fork, and even the dog not wanting to play are all things that can turn into tantrum central.

Before, he’d keep trying at something or walk away and come back to it later, but now he breaks down. He’s been known to fall to his knees and bounce in frustration, pick up things just to throw them, or kick/wriggle upon being picked up from somewhere he’s not meant to be. I miss when he used to put half as much emotion into exploring and laughing.

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I get it, it must be horrible wanting to do something and being told he can’t in one form of another (it’s never just “no”, I try and explain), but at 15 months I don’t really know how I can explain things to him. I try, oh do I try. But he doesn’t get it. Even trying to show him how to do something; like the shape sorter, will class as me taking it away so further moans ensue.

On top of this, we even have mini bouts of fake crying. The type where nothing, absolutely nothing, has happened but all of a sudden *moan whinge cry*. I look over and nothing. The cries are often empty and don’t have anything behind them – but they’re there.

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During a melt down I always offer a cuddle in a way to help him calm down and reset, and this usually works, but sometimes it actually makes things worse as he sometimes just wants to cry. So I let him. But it saddens me as I still want to help him without just doing whatever he wanted to do for him.

So we’re at a stalemate. He plays with something or goes to do something, can’t, and then sort of flails. I don’t think there’s been a day where he hasn’t cried or screamed in frustration at something, and all I can do sometimes is watch or wait it out until he’s finished.

I know I’m not alone and I know this is just the beginning of an emotional time, but I need some advice as to how to help him. I don’t want to stop him trying to do things, but the anger and frustration is so so hard.

K

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Costa

BLOG POST – Adding “Pride” To Your Coffee

*This is a collaborative post*

Coffee. My favourite word in addition to ‘Sale’, ‘Free’, and ‘Sleep’.

So when Costa, the nation’s favourite coffee shop, told me that they’re going to be showing support for the Brighton LGBT community this weekend by serving exclusive Rainbow Flat Whites to celebrate Brighton Pride at its London Road and Western Road stores, I was over the moon.

The History…

Costa flew world-class barista and Instagram star, Mason Salisbury 5,000 miles across the world to train five baristas in the art of making rainbow coffee in time for Brighton Pride festivities.

Costa Rainbow Latte 16.6.16 ©Richard Eaton 07778 395888

Costa Rainbow Latte
16.6.16
©Richard Eaton 07778 395888

Ella Wiseman, was one of the specially selected baristas to spend a day learning Mason’s technique before she serves the colourful drinks in Brighton this Saturday 6th August.

As an equal opportunities employer, Costa is a founding partner in GLOW (Gay Lesbian Out at Whitbread), which provides a network for the companies’ LGBT community as well as straight allies. People from across the whole Costa business – and the parent company Whitbread – from graduates, store teams to senior Directors meet regularly for informal networking sessions.

John Kerslake, Costa’s UK & Ireland Operations Director and co-founder of Costa GLOW commented:
We’re delighted to be bringing rainbow coffee to Brighton Pride this year. We hope customers will enjoy the multi-coloured drinks and admire our baristas passion and creative flair! Being an open and fair employer is extremely important to Costa: we’re proud to champion equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We hope to demonstrate our forward-thinking ethos with our Rainbow Flat Whites and will continue to show our support for Pride and the LGBT community.”

Ella Wiseman, Costa Barista Maestro added: “I love creating latte art, so I was really excited when I was given the opportunity to be trained by Mason to make these beautiful rainbow coffees. I hope customers will be as amazed as I am by the mesmerising patterns! Brighton Pride is such an incredible event and I’m thrilled that I get to be a part of it by serving our rainbow coffees.”

Costa Rainbow Latte 16.6.16 ©Richard Eaton 07778 395888

Costa Rainbow Latte
16.6.16
©Richard Eaton 07778 395888

The Costa Rainbow Flat Whites will be available from Costa London Road, BN1 4JA and Costa Western Road, BN1 2B stores in Brighton on 6th August during Brighton Pride for an RRP of £2.50.

Costa will also be serving Rainbow Coffee to celebrate Manchester Pride on 27th August.

Credit: Wikipedia

Credit: Wikipedia

Follow us on Instagram on the day to see what they look like and we thought about it.