Hampshire Pride (& What I Wore)

Last Saturday, I got the train to Winchester for something other than crying over my dissertation!


Me, Paige & James (Image courtesy of Sarah Penfold | Infinity Photography)


It was the second annual Hampshire Pride and this year, it was even bigger and better!


Hampshire Pride is a festival celebrating LGBTQIAP+ identities and championing equality and diversity in and around Hampshire. It is an event run by Hampshire LGBT Alliance which includes Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Fire and Rescue, Hampshire Constabulary, Solent NHS Trust and the University of Winchester.

The day kicked off on campus at the University of Winchester with speeches from Co-coordinator Sarah-Louise Collins, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Elizabeth Stuart (who is also the university’s senior diversity champion) and renowned teen vlogger and public speaker about trans issues, Hannah Phillips. All shared some really motivational and powerful words with a crowd of very excited and inspired people and there was a short film shown that was made on campus called ‘What is Love?’.

Next we all assembled outside on the steps for a lovely photograph in which you can really see how the Pride parade has grown in a year. Just look at the numbers!


Hampshire Pride 2015 (Image courtesy of the Hampshire Pride Facebook Page)


Hampshire Pride 2016 (Image courtesy of Sarah Penfold | Infinity Photography)


The march left campus and a sea of rainbow flags, hair colours and clothes walked through Winchester singing, chanting and blowing whistles. There were families and pets, partners and friends all in unison and you could sense the love and kindness in everyone’s hearts as they walked. Some of the shops had put colourful displays and Pride flags up in their windows to show their support which was really lovely!



Hampshire Pride 2016 (Image courtesy of Sarah Penfold | Infinity Photography)

Here’s what I wore, it was uhh… interesting.

(Note, I am not a fashion blogger. I’ve linked to the product or similar but most is old stuff and out of stock!)


|Lady Rainicorn hat | lilac Primark vest | crushed velvet New Look skirt | rainbow socks | leopard print Converse shoes |


We finished at the Discovery Centre in town where there was a Market with stalls from various local Hampshire groups and charities raising money and awareness of services. After a welcoming speech from Councillor Roy Perry and an entertaining excerpt from How To Love read by author Sally Edwards, everyone had a little boogie and a heartwarming moment as the Southampton Gay Men’s Chorus performed a few tracks. There was also an incredible performance by the Wessex Dance Academy and refreshments outside courtesy of mobile baristas Coffee Cruiser and The Pie Hole, Southampton.


That evening, my friends and I went to The Railway Inn for the Afterparty and we were not disappointed! I opted for something a little classier, which you can see here:


| New Look blanket cardigan sequined crop top | black pencil skirt | lace up heeled boots |


Upstairs we watched a Cabaret show compered by the glamourous and funny Spotlight Vocal Duo and we were treated to performances from catty and sparkly Portsmouth drag queen Cherry Liquor, comedian and lip synch maestro Harold and melodic rapper and singer Paul Andreas.

My absolute favourite performance came at the end of the night in the form of London drag king, Adam All. Adam is a metrosexual cheeky chap with a really impressive array of suits, beatboxing skills and some hilarious musical numbers. Oh, and some rather impressive abs. I managed to get a chat to his parents as they were sat next to us and ‘hadn’t been allowed’ to go to show before (its a bit rude) and I was pleased to see them supporting, taking pictures and cheering him on in the front row. He’s definitely a new celeb crush of mine and he was featured in BBC Newsbeat’s documentary ‘Drag Kings of the UK’ which you can watch here.

After the Cabaret finished, we went downstairs where local student DJ George Nott kept us dancing til the early hours with some camp classics and chart toppers. We had so much fun and it was such a great day to celebrate being who you are with other friendly people!


Have you been to a Pride event before?
Were you at Hampshire Pride?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.




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If you liked this post, you should check out:
Why I Never Really ‘Came Out’ – I talk about being pansexual and my experiences
Queer Bloggers Network – Jess, Zoe and I have started a community to share content and support those with LGBTQIAP+ identities in the creative industry
My Queerness Erased – A piece I wrote for Zusterschap about ‘straight passing’ and my queer identity


where will we go on holiday in 2016?

If you’ve been following me for a while then you’ll know that as a poor and lowly student I have to travel on a budget. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t go on holidays, it just means that we carefully plan and shop around to get the best deals… and that I save up rather than going out or buying clothes!


Last year Josh and I went on a group holiday to Dublin with two of our close friends, Lora and Leeann.We had a great time and packed it full of things to do on the cheap. You can read more about where we stayed and what we did on that trip here.


We also we went to Manchester for a few days for our anniversary last September and had a really great time having our own little adventures together. You can read about them here.

So we’ve been thinking about where we want to go this year already because it’s rainy and everyone’s skint at this time of year and looking at holidays and other places is quite frankly a good way to cheer yourself up, whether or not you actually end up going! While there’s no finalised plans yet, I thought I’d give a run down of my most-wanted destinations and what we’d do if we end up going there in 2016. As much as there’s some amazing global places, I’ve narrowed it down to those in Europe here because of the cost… but one day, the world!



Things to see and do in Amsterdam

Images are not my own, clockwise from top left 1| 2| 3| 4|

There’s no need for me to list the reasons that I want to visit Amsterdam. Its quirky, vibrant scenes are something not to be missed and a few of my friends have already been. This is shaping up to be our group holiday for the August bank holiday with Leeann and Lora this year and as Lee’s been before, she can show us where to go. I am going to want to squeeze a couple of my own things in there though, including the Anne Frank House, the hofjes, the Alkmaar cheese market and the Munttoren for starters.

I’m leaving the transport and accommodation to Leeann too. The little travel bug that she is, she’s picked up a few hints and tips about how to get the best deals as she proved with our Dublin stay. We have discussed using AirBnB to find somewhere to stay but the girls want to opt for a house boat like this one and I’m petrified of water!


Despite having studied French for bloody ages, I’ve only been to France properly once and that was for Hellfest. Not a lot of speaking and listening practice at a metal festival, I can tell you that!

Things to see and do in Paris

Images are not my own, clockwise from top left 1| 2| 3| 4| 5|

I want my first visit to Paris to be with Josh and not just for the romance but because he’s as big of a culture nerd as I am and I just know we’d have a great time doing all the cool things.  Top of my list are all of the usual suspects of course: the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, Notre Dame… but I have also bookmarked the Place de la Concorde, the Tuileries Garden,  Deyrolle, Musée des Arts et MetiersRue Crémieux and a few others that I’m keeping a secret…

I’d like to go in near September for our anniversary and get the eurostar from London, then perhaps stay in a quaint bed and breakfast just outside of the city. We don’t really spend much on transport once we’re there usually, I’ll be happy to walk into the centre during the day.


Things to see and do in Prague

Images are not my own, clockwise from top left 1| 2| 3| 4|

So I’m pretty crap with history but I know that Prague has a rich and vibrant story and that there’s some incredible things to see and do there. Whoever I went with would have to understand that I’d want to go to the Jewish Museum and see the Astronomical Clockbut I’d also want to pay a visit to the John Lennon Wall and walk across the Charles Bridge.

Being sneaky on SkyScanner using incognito mode (it keeps the flights cheap) I found that we can get there in two hours from a London airport for just £80 each way if we were to go around October time, but then of course we have to factor in the cost and time of travelling up to London. I think because of the language barrier we’d need a very tourist-friendly and central hotel but again I’d consider using AirBnB to ‘borrow’ our own self-catered accommodation.


I have wanted to go to Florence ever since we did our Renaissance module back in the first year. Everyone who had been there was amazed by the beautiful art and architecture and told me that I had to go when I got the chance. Again I think this would be something that Josh and I should do together on our own as it will be an enriching experience.

Things to do and see in Florence

Images are not my own, clockwise from top 1| 2| 3| 4| 5|

I’m most interested in going to the Duomo, the Piazza della Signoria and admiring views atop the Ponte Vecchio but the liberal arts loser inside me would have to go and see the greats at la Basilica di Santa Croce  and the Galleria degli Uffizi too!

Using Skyscanner again, I found that we could go for a long weekend in June flying from London for only £120 each way. This is dirt cheap for two people but… there’s a catch. The journey would involve a couple of hours stopover in Rome, both ways. Perhaps this trip would be best planned well in advance and we could combine it with a couple of nights in Rome? This one requires more research.


Things to see and do in Berlin

Images are not my own, clockwise from top left 1| 2| 3| 4|

I’ve also got a good grip on the German language but I’ve never actually been to Germany! It’s ridiculous, I know. I’d be happy to go to Berlin in a group or even just with one close friend and I’d want to take a trip to see some of  the various historic Memorials and the Brandenburg Gate, maybe have a picnic in Viktoriapark and take a wander round Alexanderplatz to name but a few things.

Much like Prague, I can fly from London to Berlin in a couple of hours. Even in July, I’m getting quotes for about £75 per person per flight. Annoyingly though, I can’t return to the same airport that I departed from. This would make getting transport back home to Bournemouth a bit more complicated.

I will add that I wouldn’t mind paying a little more for a ‘luxury’ hotel if we went to Berlin, as there’s so many beautiful ones to choose from.


Things to see and do in Berlin

Images are not my own, clockwise from top left 1| 2| 3| 4| 5| 6|

It was Rosie’s travel diary post on her blog about her stay in Copenhagen that first sparked my interest in going there. Her photos really captured some beautiful sights of the city and they did some great things on a budget so I fancy a go too!

First stop would probably be the Torvehallerne Food Market then a look at the magical Tivoli Gardens and of course, a visit to the Little Mermaid Statue. I’m also quite interested in checking out the Amalienborg Palace, The Round Tower and the ARKEN Museum of Modern Art while we’re there.

Gatwick to Copenhagen in early November was coming up at about £60 per person each way and less than a two-hour flight which is great! I would want to stay in an AirBnB apartment like Rosie did because there are so many cute ones to choose from there and we’d get our own privacy.


You can follow my Pinterest for all of my budget travel hints and tips including restaurants, hotels, museums, sightseeing and more!

Are you already planning holidays for 2016?
Have you been to any of these places? Do you have recommendations for us?

Let me know and leave me links in the comments below.

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If you liked this post, you should check out:
what to do when you’re in Manchester // what to do when you’re in Dublin – what we got up on on our holidays on a budget


adventures: What To Do When You’re in Manchester

Note: any images in this post that are not my own are credited via links.

For our three-year anniversary, we decided to plan a getaway for just the two of us. We couldn’t quite afford to go abroad so we looked at cities in the UK with plenty to do. Hearing great things about Manchester being a vibrant cultural hub, we booked a four night stay and packed it full of sights!

We stayed in the Ibis hotel in Princess Street so most of our planned activities were within walking distance of each other.

However for our day at Salford Quays, we opted for the Metrolink (tram) service from Deansgate – Castlefield. It took less than ten minutes and a return was only £3!

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Imperial War Museum North
The IWM takes you on a detailed journey through the history of war and conflict, with a particular focus on the effects that it has on individuals. Several times a day they project the ‘Big Picture Show’ exhibition – the stories told will completely immerse you. Despite the content, the museum is really family-friendly including their Horrible Histories: Blitzed Brits exhibit, full of interactive stuff to keep everyone busy! There is also a café and gift shop on site for your convenience.

mea_allen_imperial_war_museum_journalist_inspiration_manchester_salford_quays tank_imperial_war_museum_salford_quays_manchester

german_wing_nazism_imperial_war_museum_manchester_salford_quays women_against_war_feminism_artwork_mural_imperial_war_museum_manchester_salford_quays

The Lowry Galleries
The ExtraORDINARY contemporary art exhibition (Sat 25 July – Sun 18 October) was a really engaging and innovative part of our visit. The piece that Josh and I found the most interesting was ADA by Karina Smigla-Bobinski. A three metre diameter helium balloon with three hundred sticks of charcoal on its surface. Visitors push ADA to create imprints on the walls.


ADA by Karina Smigla-Bobinski at extraORDINARY in the Lowry Galleries.

I learnt a lot at the galleries about LS Lowry, not just his style and his inspirations but also about his personal life. The paintings were really interesting and there was lots to read about. My personal favourite is called ‘Going To The Match’ – I really love all of the activity in the piece!


Not my image.
Courtesy of Amazon UK.

Northern Quarter

Packed full of shops and restaurants, the Northern Quarter is definitely a go-to for any tourist in Manchester. We wandered the curious indoor labyrinth that is the alternative shopping centre Afflecks, spent hours admiring centuries of work in the serene  Manchester Art Gallery and even popped into Spoons for a cheeky lunchtime pint.


Cute little stairway portraits in Afflecks from a project for equality.

The Manchester Museum

A building inside the University of Manchester, you’ll find this museum a little out of the centre but it’s definitely worth the extra walk. Among artifacts from ancient worlds, there are skeletons and taxidermy figures of a range of weird and wonderful animals. There are also helpful staff on hand to tell you more information about each exhibit.

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The Academy

We saw American Celtic-punk band Flogging Molly at Academy 2 with support from the social-commentary folk singer Beans on Toast. There was a lot of laughter, dancing and chanting along. The venue is a decent size but you still get the sense of an intimate performance and the drinks prices, for a music venue were pretty respectable.


Food & Drink

Healthy eating was not on the agenda on this trip. Due to the jam-packed schedule we had, the only sit down meal we had was at the awesome Black Dog Ballroom. We were not disappointed though!

Nursing a pretty hefty hangover, I chose the ‘Bacon, Bacon, Bacon’ (double Cheshire beef patty, cheese, bacon, baconnaise & crispy bacon fries) with an ice-cold pint of lemonade and Josh – the brave soul – had a ‘Graceland’ (double Cheshire beef patty, cheese, bacon & chilli peanut butter) washed down with a Banana & Vanilla Smash shake (Jim Beam Honey Bourbon, banana ice cream & vanilla ice cream). To be fair, I had a sip and it was heavenly.


Glorious burgers and a dirty shake at Black Dog Ballroom NQ.


If it’s craft ales and a relaxing atmosphere you’re after, take a trip to BrewDog where the staff really know their shit about beer. If you want a late-night cocktail bar with an eclectic range of music and a really cool crowd, it’s gotta be Mojo. For our early evening drinks, we enjoyed the atmosphere at The Garrett. Great tunes and friendly people and with the added benefit of being two blocks from our hotel of course.


Enjoying craft beer and proper cider at BrewDog.


Not my image.
Courtesy of worldsbestbars.com

I would definitely go back to Manchester, perhaps next time with a group of people. There was so much to see and do without breaking the bank and people were so friendly and helpful.

Do you live in Manchester or have you also been for a short stay?

What were your favourite spots? Have I missed anything?

Leave your advice and recommendations in the comments below!


Keep up to date with my latest posts on:
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If you liked this post, you should check out:
Scissors Christchurch Ladies Night* – Nan and I were treated to a glamorous pamper evening!
She Who Dares Wins ’15 (in pictures) – a local conference filled with inspiring businesswomen
What To Do When You’re In Dublin – our trip to Ireland and what fun we had when we were there

adventures: What To Do When You’re In Dublin

Note: some of the photography in this post is courtesy of my good friend, Lora Chard.

Four of us went to Dublin for a long weekend in March, which just so happened to not only be the weekend after St Patrick’s Day but at the time of their Six Nations victory too. This meant that the city was buzzing with excitement, entertainment and friendly people, happy to chat to you.

I have always described myself as an ‘urban explorer’ – that’s what my Trip Advisor says! – in that I love going away to places that are busy hubs for transport, attractions, food and drink. I was in my element in Dublin because it had all of this and much more, we packed our days with cool things to do and see.


From Dublin Airport, we got an Aircoach to the city centre which took less than half an hour, and a single only cost €7pp. We stayed in the Sandymount Hotel near the Aviva Stadium. The hotel was clean with very nice décor and all of the staff were very friendly and helpful. The Hotel is in prime location for those who don’t want to stay bang in the centre, as it is less than five minutes’ walk away from Lansdowne Road DART station. We got return tickets from the hotel into town for only €3.80 and it is only three stops so it takes less than 10 minutes, not bad!  A taxi back from the centre if you miss the last train was between €10-12 too so if you are in a group, it’s really not a bad distance to travel and it won’t cost a lot.


Guinness Storehouse

We prebooked our tour tickets for the Storehouse online here, which meant virtually no queuing for entry and saved a little bit. However despite it saying on the website that you can bring an E-Ticket, the staff still required us to email and print the ticket at the desk so I would advise that you print yours before you go.


left: “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle…” | right: “Lovely day for a Guinness!”

The tour is completely self-led, you are given a map and an introductory talk that explains what you can find on each floor. There are many interactive parts to the tour including a beautiful waterfall-type feature, some quirky advertising exhibits (my favourite bit) and old footage describing the Guinness process from the beginning.

Your ticket price includes a complementary pint (or soft drink) in the Gravity Bar, which has astounding panoramic views of Dublin.  There is also a tasting experience on one floor but unfortunately we didn’t have time to queue for it.


Jameson’s Distillery

We also prebooked online for Jameson’s, which was good as the earliest tour we could get on with our tickets was still two hours after arriving!

Unlike the Guinness Storehouse, the Jameson’s Distillery tour is guided, which we really enjoyed because our guide was full of jokes and interesting facts, as well as being approachable with any questions about whiskey and distillation.

Your ticket price includes a whiskey-tasting session comparing American, Scotch and Jameson’s- not for the faint-hearted! – followed by a complementary Jameson’s drink in the bar. We opted for the Jameson’s, ginger ale and lime which was served with ice and tasted really nice and refreshing!

St Stephen’s Green/Iveagh Gardens

Dublin is full of beautiful parks for more family-friendly activities or even if a few of you just wanted to take a picnic and enjoy the scenery. Iveagh Gardens has many beautiful statues and water features (which were unfortunately turned off on the day we went so I didn’t get a picture!) or if you prefer a busier place, St Stephen’s Green has a lake full of birds to feed, a bandstand, and lots of beautiful flowers and features.


uh… yeah.

The National Wax Museum

We were really impressed and surprised by the amount of different things to do in what looked (from the outside) like such a small building. The Museum has lots of different and really interactive zones from loved children’s characters to heroes of mythology, great historical figures to villainous criminals… even Jedward are lurking somewhere. There is a great science zone where you can learn all about forces and motion and a recording studio where you can make your own music video! I thoroughly recommend the Chamber of Horrors – again, not for the faint hearted.


Josh learning about ‘Lifelogging’

Dublin Science Gallery

Just around the corner from Pearse Street Station, the Science Gallery was a really interesting place to visit. Their current exhibition, ‘Lifelogging’, ” asks ‘where do we go from here’ and questions whether we can record and analyse happiness, beauty and aesthetics the same way we record footsteps and heartbeats… [and] will explore novel methods for capturing data, for visualising, and for analysing the insights that new data affords us about ourselves and society.” (Science Gallery website)

A project affiliated with Trinity College, admission is free and there’s lots to explore and look at, as well as guides on hand to explain a bit more about each exhibit.


Breakfast at herbstreet. in Hanover Quay

Food & Drink

The Grafton Street area is absolutely packed with shops and restaurants, and it was here that we found the incredible Captain America’s Grill and Bar. Huge portions of great tasting food and so much to choose from! I opted for a chicken enchilada and fries -yum. Another place for great American food is the adorably-retro Eddie Rocket’s on O’Connell Street. Apparently a big chain in Ireland, Eddie Rocket’s is open all hours, giving you that 50’s diner feel and service with a great big smile (and some cute outfits). I recommend chilli cheese fries!

Fear not my friends, we didn’t just eat fast food! For a breakfast with a great view of Hanover Quay, herbstreet is the place to go. Gooey french toast with bacon, smoked salmon pancakes or simply just a Full Irish… the food is all fresh and so tasty and the staff were great too.


When it comes to places to go and things to see, you’re not short of choices in Dublin City Centre. On the first night, having had a great breakfast at Murray’s Bar and Grill earlier that day, we went to a very odd little place just opposite it, called Fibber Magee’s. This is great for an alternative crowd who fancy a more laid-back place to go drinking, and they often have live music on.  Having looked online, we had been convinced that it was a must to go to The Temple Bar during our stay. The place was packed out, with a man performing a crowd-pleasing acoustic set, however this place is not for a spendthrift traveller as drinks prices can be very high!

On the Saturday night, we had prebooked places on the Sandeman’s Pub Crawl. At £9pp, it seemed like a good way to find some great bars and we got free entry to places as well as some shockingly-good drinks deals – BOGOF €4 pints at the first bar! The guides were great at controlling the rabble and were always on hand to make sure everyone was having a good time.

Particular places I would recommend are The Mezz (for another chilled-out, alternative, live music venue), The Mercantile (for a completely bizarre experience, there’s a local sports tavern in one room, a packed out club dancefloor in another and the building is also a hotel    ), O’Neills (nothing like the chain pub with the same name here – think line dancers, folk bands, proper craic) and to polish off the night, the well-hidden secret that is Club Hell (only on Saturdays) – a friendly meeting point for those with a great music taste!


(I didn’t get many pictures in all the madness!)

I would definitely go back to Dublin for a group holiday because there was still so much more to see and do, without breaking the bank, and people were so friendly and helpful.

Do you live in Dublin or have you also been for a short stay?

What were your favourite spots? Have I missed anything?

Leave your advice and recommendations in the comments below!


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