Thursday, 28 March 2013

Pride To Be… Greeting the Scene

Gay and lesbian greeting card company, Pride To Be, has officially launched aimed at filling a large gap in the market for elegant greeting cards for same-sex couples, as well as their family and friends.

 Founded by married lesbian couple, Lorraine and Sara Donnelly, Pride To Be was conceived during the planning phases of their wedding, when a shortage of choice led to the pair designing their own set of invitations and thank you cards.

 After conducting some research, it became clear that demand for stylish greeting cards for the gay market extended to relatives and friends, with little choice for parents who wished to, for example, buy their daughter and her wife a suitable Christmas card.

 Co-Founder and Director, Lorraine Donnelly, comments: “As more and more same-sex couples tie the knot, we wanted to create a range of cards which echoed that love, both within the relationship and friends and family beyond.

 “On our wedding day, we received many ‘civil partnership’ cards however, for us and many other gay couples, it is marriage. Hence the birth of Pride To Be.

 “We are thrilled to be launching Pride To Be, especially at a time when marriage equality is of great significance. Not only are we able to offer much greater choice to gay and lesbian people, but also for their friends and families who struggle to find that ‘perfect’ greeting card.”

 Based in Wigan, Pride To Be launched in March 2013 by co-founders, Lorraine and Sara Donnelly. The launch range consists of 10 stunning greeting cards including Mr & Mr and Mrs & Mrs wedding cards, Boyfriend-Boyfriend birthday cards, and Wife-Wife anniversary cards, all priced at £3.49 including postage.

 This range will continue to be developed and extended, with future planned designs to include engagements and Father’s Day.

 For further information, please visit / Twitter: @Pride_To_Be

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Summer Fashion Trends 2013

This year it is all about the colour and the detail.  If you want to be sporting the right look this summer then choose a simple european style.  Bright colours mixed with simple details and accessories such as that canvass bag you probably still have left over from a few years back.  Florals are also in, but don't over do them.  Try to stick to a smaller floral pattern, rather than the big garish florals we saw about 10 years ago.   Shorts should actually be short and nicely fitted to show off those beautiful thighs you have been hiding away all winter.

Here are a few ideas to get you thinking before you head off to the shops.  Now is a great time of year to do your shopping for the summer.  Although the weather isn't exactly making you think of shorts and t-shirts, if you dont act now all those early season gems will have long gone by the time the sun finally shows its face.

Good luck shopping and dont forget to enjoy.......

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Same Love Australia

A new local version of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s hit song ‘Same Love’ calls on Australia’s lawmakers to hurry up with marriage equality.
Produced by Cam Nacson, the track Same Love Australia is a direct message to Prime Minister Julia Gillard:
My own Prime Minister can’t even explain. 
We ask her the question, she just turns away. 
They’re too afraid to lose their voters come election day. 
Lost sight of the goal to rid the world of hate. 
But Julia, remember back in the day,
When women couldn’t vote because they were born that way. 
They were out trying to fight for rights and change. 
It’s the same people that helped you. You just shun them away. 
I might not be the same but that’s not important. 
No freedom till we’re equal. Damn right it’s important.

“As a musician I feel like we have a responsibility to stand up for what’s right,” explains Nacson of his rousing cover version.
“Music is a great tool for getting ideas out, in this case that it’s okay for men to marry men and women to marry women – when people share music it is like sharing an idea as well.
“A lot of politicians seem to think it’s not a big enough issue to worry about, so we need to show them it is something for them to worry about, something that could change their careers,” he adds.
“The question I ask our leaders is what side of history do they want to be on? These fights have been going on for a long time – women’s rights, racial rights – and marriage equality is this generation’s fight.”
Watch Same Love Australia below.

The second video is just beautiful.  The best marriage equality video I have seen yet.  It's only short so if you haven't seen it then watch it now!

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Saucy Saturdays!

Here's this weeks taste of something saucy! Enjoy your Saturday guys..........

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Swimwear 2013

It's that time of year when you really need to be thinking about your swimwear for Summer 2013.  Whilst you are unlikely to need it in the UK,  if you are heading abroad this summer then dragging out those saggy old 2009 AussieBums just isn't going to cut the mustard.

ES Collection are a Spanish company based in Barcelona and have a more european feel to their uber-gay styled swimwear and underwear than companies like AussieBum. 

Hit the beach in a pair of these babies and you are much less likely to discover the guy opposite you has the exact same pair.  Not only that but they offer swimwear with a 'wonder' effect to make the crown jewels seem a little more impressive; if you need it that is.......

Check out their online store at or pop into one of their stores across Europe.  

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Introducing Saucy Saturdays!

New feature for Saturdays.  Something saucy!  Every week a different guy for you to sink your teeth into over lunch.  If you would like your photograph featured here on a Saturday then email one photograph to or tweet me your picture to @TheLifestyleUK

Thursday, 7 March 2013

A secret drinker...

A smart back street off the triangle in Clifton, a knock at a shiny black door and wait........

You'd be forgiven for thinking that I was awaiting entry to a Masonic lodge but in fact I am talking about an increasing trend of secret bars.  No sign outside, frosted glass at the windows and a locked door policy whereby you must ring the door bell to be allowed entry.  (If you are classy enough).

Think Made in Chelsea and you wont be far off the mark.  If you're after a quirky place to sample some exquisite cocktails with a couple of friends and want something just that little more civilised; this is going to be a treat indeed.

The bar I am talking about is Hyde & Co. and it may be worth while making a reservation before attending as on busy nights they are likely to just turn you away, additionally if you look a bit of a mess they are also likely to turn you away.  So boys bring out your blazer and pop on your best shoes.

Unsure what one drinks in such a place?  If you want your tastebuds to immediately transport you to a time of Agatha Christie, flapper dresses and cigarette holders then go for a cocktail with Chartreuse  like, "The Last Word" or their own twist on this timeless classic.  It's old fashioned but trust me it's worth it's price tag.

Another secret bar to try is Hyde & Co's sister bar situated close to the Hippodrome in Bristol.  The Milk Thistle has a different atmosphere to Hyde & Co although very similar in many ways.  I think it's a matter of personal preference as to which you like more.

Every city has secret bars for you to hunt out and sample.  Here's one I found in London Post any you have visited in the comments below. Enjoy........

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Mad few days away? This is it!

Alicante is where you fly to if you want to get to Benidorm right? It sure is but if Benidorm isn't really your scene then maybe Alicante is better suited.  It's pretty much the polar opposite of Benidorm and with 335 days of sunshine a year and temperatures reaching 40 degrees centigrade in the height of the summer it is a perfect yet affordable holiday destination.

If you are thinking of a few quiet days away then think again.  I have been to Alicante many, many times over the years and I am yet to see it quiet and without a fiesta in progress!  Alicante is Spain at its best and is the holiday destination of the city dwellers of Madrid.

If you are looking for something a little different and to experience the true party spirit of Spain the truck over to Alicante for Las Hogueras de San Juan.  On the 20th June large areas of the streets are fenced off and giant statues are built in the streets; when I say giant I really do mean giant........

Following the building of the statues they have a week of firecrackers, fireworks (during the daytime) and endless parties and parades through the street.

Then at midnight on 24th June it's the 'crema'! Firefighters take to the streets in preparation for (as an English citizen) one of the most dangerous things you will ever experience.  Every giant statue across the city are set alight.  Lets just say they go up like the time you thought it would be a good idea to douse the BBQ with petrol from the lawnmower to "get it going". As pieces of burning ash rains down on the public, standing so close you begin to wonder if you may melt yourself the firefighters come into their own and those extra large hoses they are holding aren't for putting the fires out!  Prepare to get drenched.  In the UK this wouldn't be fun but in the hot summer nights of Spain in crammed streets full of young attractive Spaniards it suddenly seems like one of the best things you have ever done.

Following the 'crema' there is a week of chilled out fireworks on the city's main beach at midnight.  If you are going with a partner or someone you are hoping to be your partner then this is the romantic hotspot.  If you are going with friends then buy some beer from the supermarket and share a few drinks on the warm sand with the fireworks as your movie.

During the day Alicante can be quite full on during the fiesta and after staying out so late you may want to chill out on the beach.  For €1.60 you can catch the bus to a nearby beach called Playa de Urbanova.  It's a quiet long stretch of white sand, gay friendly and clothing optional for your all-over tan.

So, if its a slightly different few days away you are after then this may be the one for you.  Enjoy.......

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Some winter warmth

Fed up of this wet, winter weather? Tired of the mud, puddles and endless drizzle we seem to have no limit to in the United Kingdom? Well why not slip away for a few days of warmth and sunshine. I'm a great believer in lots of small, inexpensive holidays throughout the year rather than one big holiday.
Regular bursts of sunshine increases your Vitamin D intake and helps to combat osteoporosis and depression. It is a myth that sunshine is bad for us and gives us skin cancer. Sun exposure is necessary for our health and longevity. The danger from the sun is when we allow our skin to burn. Equally however wearing sunscreen can be just as dangerous to our health as it blocks the production of Vitamin D. The best approach is to have regulated time in the sun with no sunscreen and move to the shade before burning.
As the sun in the United Kingdom very rarely has the intensity to give us the required amount of vitamin D, I have a recommended holiday destination which can be done cheaply and with limited time off work.
When I mention the word 'Tenerife', try not to switch off but read on and discover what the non-tourist parts of the Island have to offer. Tenerife is a Spanish island in the Atlantic with warm winds from the Sahara desert and a flora and fauna to impress even the most esteemed botanist. Tenerife was a very popular holiday destination back in the 80's and 90's but fell out of popularity in the new millennium. Some of the resorts in fact look like no one has been there since the 90's and have an un-kemp feel. I would recommend you steer well clear of the usual resorts of Los Christianos and Playa de las Américas in the south of the island but instead venture to the north of the island. Northern Tenerife has never been a tourist hotspot and as a result has maintained an individuality the south has long since lost. The north of the Island has a much greener, lush environment and I can recommend a truly tranquil place to stay. Villa Maspalmeras is ten minutes drive from Peurto de la Cruz and is set in two thousand square metres of stunning gardens. Flying into Tenerife south airport gives you a very simple 45 minute car drive to the villa. I would recommend that you hire a car to give you the freedom of seeing some of the sights of Tenerife.
If relaxation is all you want then sitting by the clothing optional pool with it's spectacular views across to Mount Teide is all you will need. National Geographic magazine, a bottle of Evian, a pair of aviators and an all-over tan! Should you manage to rouse yourself from a state of complete tranquility offered by this place then you may like to hop in the car and take a short drive into Peurto de la Cruz to visit the Jardín de Aclimatación de La Orotava. This is a garden of acclimatisation from the 1700's where plants from across the world were brought to acclimatise them to the weather of Europe. Plants that survived, had their seed harvested and were then cultivated across Europe. This is the origin of many of the palms and tropical plants we see across Europe today. The botanical gardens are well signposted on the Island and costs just 3euro entry.


Another absolute must is Mount Teide National Park (Las Cañadas). Mount Teide is a volcano and offers some truly unique landscapes. The road through the national park is quiet at this time of the year and you can take your time to admire the views as you ascend through diverse layers of ecosystems. A good idea is to stop off for a picnic at one of the many picnic hotspots as you travel through the pine forests on your way up. Eventually you will emerge into a landscape which could easily be confused with the planet Mars.


At 2000m above sea level the weather is usually clear as you are generally above the cloud level and on very hot days its can offer a slightly cooler atmosphere. Admire the views, enjoy the restaurant at the top, take photographs, have a gentle stroll around the basalt rock formations but probably avoid the funicular to the top of the caldera. Its expensive and offers little more interest than you get from being nearly at the top by walking. If you are a bit of a geeky gay guy you may enjoy seeing the Izana Astronomical Observatory from a distance as it makes an interesting photography subject. You can visit the observatory but it offers group bookings which must be pre-booked via email.


A three night stay at Villa Maspalmeras staying in one of their apartments set in stunningg gardens, time to relax in the sun by the pool and some short but unforgettable excursions and you will go back to work with a refreshed outlook on life.  Suddenly January wont seem so depressing but don't forget as you return from one vacation its time to plan the next.......
For superb value gay accommodation with stunning surroundings: Villa Maspalmeras
Book flights early and look out for flight sales for the best deals: EasyJet
A fascinating afternoon stroll through plants, some of which are unique to Tenerife: Botanical Gardens of Acclimatisation
For some different photo opportunities use the observatory as a backdrop: Observatory

It's time for the tree.........

The Christmas tree has it's origins in early modern Germany and was brought to our pleasant Island by Price Albert during the Victorian era.  However evergreen trees were used in pre-Christian European winter rites and and also by the Ancient Egyptians, Hebrews and Chinese to symbolise eternal life.  
Today most homes and businesses have Christmas trees regardless of religion or cultural background.  The Christmas tree has become a symbol of winter and a way to indulge ourselves in the festive mood.  
With less than two weeks until the big day I thought I would help you to create the perfect Christmas tree.  A tree to instill envy from the neighbours and melt even the most scroogiest of hearts.
The idea is simple.  My inspiration has been taken from the Christmas trees that adorn the boutiques and department stores of Milan.  They really can't be beaten and the look is so easy to replicate with a couple of hours and a few inexpensive decorations. 
Choosing the right tree:
  Imgres-1You need to look for a full bodied tree with a strong triangular shape.  Your tree can be real or artificial; if you get it right the end result will be the same.  If you are going for a real tree a Norway Spruce is ideal.  If choosing a real or artificial tree look for a tree that has no spaces between branches.  A twiggy tree is never a good look.

The Lights: Imgres-2
White lights are the only way to go.  Nothing says 'tacky' like a twinkling mess of multicoloured illuminations.  White or clear lights exude a sense of style, class and purity.  The design of the tree needs to retain its simplicity so confusing the eye with lots of colours will only make it look cheap.

Imgres-1The days of stuffing tinsel all over the tree have definitely passed.  Using a simple wide ribbon and winding it around the tree from top to bottom will create a sparkly yet uncluttered decoration to the tree.  It also has a certain durability as it doesn't drop off with repeated tree knockings in the run up to the big day.

The Baubles:
Imgres-3Last but not least is the baubles.  I suggest that you stick to a tri-colour selection.  For this year I recommend gold, bronze and chocolate brown for the perfect festive combination.  Ensure none of the baubles hang down over the ribbon banding but instead only hang in between.  My final tip is don't skimp on the baubles.  You need to cram them on in a variety of different sizes but be careful not to hang too many large ones near the very top of the tree.  As an extra touch you can add a star to the top of the tree but remember to stick to the colour palette you have chosen.
Now pour yourself a glass of port into a vintage glass, crack open the turkish delight and admire your masterpiece that is your Christmas tree.
Here's one I made earlier......
Photo from 15 Dec 2012
Ribbons & Lights; Wilkinsons
Artificial trees; Argos
Baubles; Tesco Direct or John Lewis
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