Walking in the Winter Wonderland

Wonderlandentrance

‘Tis the season to have Bollinger as Winter Wonderland returned to Hyde Park for some festive fun and a merry old drunk Christmas. I took a stroll down to the village and I must say, they have really outdone themselves with the glistening lights, unlimited sweet stalls and floor to ceiling Christmas trees that could turn any Scrooge into a happy, hyper child.

Santa Sweet Factory

First stop in the Christmas labyrinth was Santa’s Sweet Factory. A store packed with all your childhood sweeties that could raise any parent’s sugar level through the roof!

Sweets

I was tempted to re-enact Bruce Bogtrotter with the chocolate cake but as I’m on a diet and trying to reclaim my gym body, I was a well-behaved lad and let my friend scoff on my behalf!

Fudge.png

Oh fudge! I might have told a porky and sampled one of every flavour (slaps wrist) but it was definitely worth every penny.

Wheel

My friend is shit scared of rides so unfortunately we didn’t get to check out the breath-taking views atop the ferris wheel or hop on the ‘rattlesnake’ roller coaster. I highly advise you to board the wheel even if you’re petrified of heights. This is a great way of beating that phobia while enjoying the best scenic views London has to offer.

Mr Fogg's

It was that time of the evening for some alcohol consumption to warm the old cockles. We paid a visit to Mr Fogg’s – A decadent and sophisticated grotto that hosts a fantastic festive vibe.

Me and my bitch

It was a Friday night so we were ready to dive into the deep end and try some of Fogg’s exclusive cocktails. I stepped out of my Vodka comfort zone and tasted the ‘Phileas Only Negroni’, which combines Tanqueray Gin, Campari, Regal Rogue Rose and Vermouth. The bartender served it in a small plastic cup (classy) and I was wondering where the rest of it had gone. It wasn’t until I took my first sip I found my eyes watering with the taste and aroma of Tanqueray Gin. I definitely started to feel a tingle in my fingers and toes after that sweet and sour beverage.

Mr Fogg's cocktail menu

They have a good variety of cocktails and mocktails for all guys that are driving or having a quiet one as well as beers and ciders for all you butch daddies and laddies.

Waffles2

After leaving the grotto feeling slightly tipsy, we toddled off to the waffle stool to line our stomachs. Me and my babe ended up sharing a large chocolate-coated waffle (far left) and a pack of churro sticks smothered in chocolate sauce. We had a major sugar overload but it was well worth it. There were churro stands left, right and centre so you can only feel obliged to get stuck in and sample some of those gorgeous sugary treats!

Me and my penguin

We finished up the evening by playing some of the good-old fashioned fairground games. The ‘Darts Challenge’ involved throwing darts through metal hoops to win some amaze-ball prizes. Every year, I aim to win a penguin because I think they are the most amazing animals on the planet, and to my surprise, I only gone and won another one! I’m still trying to think of a name for him and would love anyone to leave a comment with any suggestions for this cute, little critter.

Xmas tree

Overall, it was a fabulous and memorable evening that made me realise Christmas is actually here again. Whether you have been naughty or nice this year, I advise all you guys to put this on your list of festive fun events to attend in London. With mulled wine and food stalls in every corner and tents playing great tunes, this is the perfect place to kick-start your Christmas antics!

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The 12 Gay Gifts of Christmas

Dick cushion

Ho, ho, ho homos! It’s that time of the year again to start gathering presents for your family, friends and the boyfriend. During the lead up to Christmas day, you’ll have gotten through a tin of Celebrations (by yourself), three litres of vodka and notice the belt line feeling slightly tighter than normal.

You are also likely to have zero funds in the bank after another expensive Christmas. Well guys you need not worry about pressie buying this year because the 12 gay gifts of Christmas are here to help cut costs while having yourself a merry, old gay crimbo!

1) “I saw Your Dad on Grindr” Mug

Grindr mug

I Saw Your Dad on Grindr Mug (£4.99) Prowler, Soho

If you’re too scared to verbally tell your friend about his closet-case father then here is a less subtle way of doing it. The “I saw your dad on Grindr mug” will match nicely with his Grindr profile while letting that big cat out of the bag!

2) I Shit Rainbows Coaster

Shit rainbows coaster

I Shit Rainbows Coaster (£2.25) Prowler, Soho

Who said rainbows were made from skittles? The ‘I shit rainbows’ drink coaster is a colourful purchase that goes hand-in-hand with the Grindr mug. Why not buy them as a secret santa combo?

3) Queen of the Kitchen Apron

Queen of the kitchen apron.png

Queen of the Kitchen Apron (£18.00) Joy, London

Crown your mum or boyfriend the queen of the kitchen with this stylish apron. Make sure they’re wearing it while they prepare and serve up the Xmas trimmings!

4) Spit & Swallow Photo Frame

Spit and swallow frame

Spit & Swallow Photo Frame (£30) Prowler, Soho

Do you have that friend that’s naughty but nice? Or know someone that’s recently moved to their new bachelor pad? This flamboyant photo frame will add that extra decadence and sophisticated ‘slutty’ style to their digs.

5) Big Love: Sexy Bears in Gay Art

Big love bear book

Big Love: Sexy Bears in Gay Art (12.99) Soho’s Original Book Store, London

Whether your mate is a bear or into their hairy masculine types, this book does exactly what it says on the cover. This is a great and ‘horny’ collection of sexy bears in gay art; created by some of the world’s best illustrators. Your friend will never have to visit XXL again!

6) Beards: An Unshaved History – by Kevin Clarke

Beards book.png

Beards: An Unshaved History (£15.00) Soho’s Original Book Store, London

The Beards book goes back into the past to show all the crazy and eccentric beards ever grown by man. A very rough and rugged purchase!

7) Gay Redhead Calendar 2016

redheadcalendar

Who said blondes have more fun? This redhead 2016 calendar will leave you drooling all the way till Christmas 2017. This muscle Mary is one of 12 flaming beauties that will help raise those testosterone levels all through next year!

8) Gingerbread Christmas Jumper

Gingerbread jumper.png

Gingerbread Christmas Jumper (£30) Topman

It used to be a bit embarrassing wearing a knitted sweater made by granny, but those times have changed. Cute and camp Christmas jumpers are all the rage and can be picked up at reasonable prices.

9) The Periodic Table of Cocktails

Periodic table cocktail book

The Periodic Table of Cocktails (£9.99) Joy, London

Gays love their drinks shaken not stirred! This is the ultimate cocktail bible for all those dinner parties that end up getting messy! From your classic mojitos to your tootie-fruity porn star martinis, you will be able to whip up a range of delicious cocktails that’ll get you and your friends into the festive spirit (and incredibly pissed!).

10) Lights, Camera Selfie iPhone 6 Case

Lights, camera selfie iPhone 6 case

Lights, Camera Selfie iPhone 6 Case (£12.00) Joy, London

First… let me take a selfie! This iPhone 6 case in black is stylish, affordable and the perfect gift for that friend who has one too many selfies scattered over Facebook and Instagram.

11) Rainbow Pillar Candles

Pillar candles

Rainbow Pillar Candles (£1 each) Tiger, London

Candles are a great novelty gift that brightens up the darkest of homes. Tiger’s pillar candles come in every colour of the gay rainbow and for only £1 each, why not buy the entire set?

12) And The Winner Is…!

Emmy award

And The Winner Is Trophy (£3) Tiger, London

It’s sad to say this but some of us get to the end of our lives without winning a single certificate or award (sad face). Whether you nominate your mate/bf as the funniest, drunkest or most promiscuous person on the planet, the winner’s trophy will make that person feel extra special during the festive season.

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Rose Garden’s Journey to Drag!

Rose Garden

Rose Garden is a ‘fierce’ and successful drag artist, with a career spanning over 18 years. From performing at Pride festivals in the UK to exclusive performances in Australia, she has gone on to have a great and exciting career as a drag artist. I was lucky enough to get an exclusive interview in her dressing room to find out how it all began.

So Rose, tell us, how did your drag journey begin?

Well I blame the church! Growing up as young boy in Northern Ireland they needed some of us to play the female characters at the end of the show and my hand went up every time.

It was a slow journey because I came to London and I’d never seen a drag queen before moving to London. It was a case of standing in the audience, looking at these people on stage and thinking I want to do that. In Northern Ireland, I trained as a dancer and an actor, which are things you wouldn’t normally do there. Back then, people in Northern Ireland were more interested in fighting each other.

How did your parents and friends react when you said you wanted to become a drag artist?

My family thought it was fine. They said, “It was only a matter of time before it was going to happen so you might as well do it”. My mum says she has better legs than me when I’m in drag and she’s 76! But since telling my family and friends it’s been terrific!

How long have you been doing drag professionally?

I’ve been doing it since 1997. I went to Portugal and got an audition for a drag queen and started the next day. It was literally like that. It was amazing! So I’ve been blessed and not looked back since 1997. I still was hairdressing and had hairdressing salons, but I didn’t do drag full-time until 1999… I know!

How did you get yourself established as a drag artist?

Well I have to thank a guy called Steve Holroyd at The Stag in Victoria, which is no longer there. He phoned me the night I got back from Portugal saying, “Can you come in and help sort out our sound? We’ll give you 60 quid, food and a free drink”. I said ok, I’ll do that and I came in and did it.

Week after week they just kept asking me back and it got busier and busier. I then started to do guest spots with other drag queens including Sandra! Sandra saw me working on a Monday night and said, “You’re working next week!”. Honesty brilliant!

Do you feel like you’re competing with other drag queens for venues in and around London?

Not now. In the beginning you sort of think oh I’ve got to be funny, I’ve got to be vile, I’ve got to be slimmer, I’ve got to be this. I have an attitude that goes with the character of Rose Garden and she’s not ever to be tackled with because the bouncers will be pulling me off that person. Not the other way around.

So what places have you performed in?

I have had the good fortune to perform all over the world. I worked in Australia and absolutely love it there. I’ve worked in Washington, San Francisco, Paris, Spain, Portugal and I’ve also worked in Bali…very strange! It’s given me such an opportunity to travel. I’ve also worked in Helsinki one of the weirdest places on earth but it’s beautiful. It’s given me an absolute lust for life to go out and meet people.

Why the name Rose Garden? Where did it come from?

(Big cackle) I remember years ago I was at the Cactus Club in North London. It was a country and western night on the 14th February.

I was standing with a bunch of friends one night and someone said a country and western name. “Tammy why not?” No can’t do that, “Patsy Reclined?” No can’t do that. As I walked off to the toilet, my friend said, “I never promised you a… Rose Garden!” So we started to say Rose Garden and that was it. Rose Garden was born and unleashed on Valentines Day.

Who are your drag idols?

My biggest idols would be Lilly Savage, Stanley Baxter, Sandra Hush and Dave Lynn who I have the pleasure of working with. I used to stand and watch these acts with my jaw down to the ground. They are gorgeous, glamorous and fierce!

What makes your act stand out from all the other drag queens?

I’m absolutely vicious. I take no prisoners. The whole thing about Rose Garden is she’s based on Rose from Keeping up Appearances and Dorian from Birds of a feather. She’s a bit older than she thinks she is. The costumes are a little bit too tight and she thinks she’s being glamorous but it just doesn’t work. With me, there’s a whole attitude, I come out and take no prisoners. Things have changed over the years but I’m still here, loving it, having a laugh but I’m a vicious old tart!

Do you still see yourself being a drag queen in the next 10 -15 years?

Absolutely! I love this job and decided to do this job. It’s not like it found me or I fell into it. I would love working every night of the week if I could. In 10 years time I will still be working up and down this country hopefully. I have to say, Maisie Trollette is in her 80’s! And is still working. If I can be like Maisie by being so nasty, so bitchy, and so glamorous and still be bloody working I can’t wait!

And Rose to round this interview up, how would you sum up your drag queen journey from the beginning to now?

Fantastic, absolutely fantastic! I love every minute of it! Even when I’m grumpy or in a bad mood, I just love it. I love the whole getting ready process, performing with friends and I love performing with enemies. It’s just such a good job to have. It’s not easy, as I said you’ve got to have balls, you’ve got to have stamina and you’ve got to be patient as well.

Me and Rose Garden

Me and Rose Garden

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#Flashbackfriday

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I left university and the fact I’m officially an adult! My #Flashbackfriday post this week is my first ever video project at university.

Please excuse the hair and fashion attire; I honesty don’t know what I was thinking back then! The report is a one minute video blog finding out how well the police are looking after the gay community in Soho.

Please leave comments below 🙂

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Soho: The Hidden Layer

Soho: The Hidden Layer

Behind Soho’s main streets lie secret hangouts, quirky drinking dens and fetish night clubs. I followed three eccentric artists to get their back stories and a taste of what Soho life is really like.

The first interview is with Kandi Kane Baxter – Cabaret artist and film producer, followed by professional club and fetish photographer Derek Ridgers . My last interview concludes with Scarlet West (better known as Scarlet Westend) a Soho DJ and lead singer of the band ‘Scarlet Realm’.

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Gay Sunday BBQ!

Summer is officially here! We had spent the whole of Saturday weeding, mowing the lawn and getting our garden out of its horrid, jungle state!

To celebrate, me and my housemates decided to have a cheeky little BBQ to make the most of this glorious, sunny weekend. It was a day of tranquility, listening to music, drinking koppaberg and blaring out the Summer tunes.

Can’t wait for all our upcoming house and garden parties!

Me in the sun

Dan pout

Meat galore!

Meat galore!

My housemate/bff Billy

My housemate/bff Billy

Gay love <3

Gay love ❤

James with his pinot

James with his Pinot Grigio

Koppaberg mixed berry

Koppaberg mixed berry

Happy Dan!

Happy Dan!

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Finding love on Grindr

Grindr is still one of the most used social networking apps for dates and meets but can you actually find love on this app?

One thing that never changes are those questions that every gay man has initiated or been asked: Got a pic? Meet now? What are you looking for on here? Or in some cases, couple here looking for third.

What has happened to normal civilised conversations? It’s like squeezing blood out of a stone with some of the guys on here. Can’t we at least just go for a drink to get to know each other a little better before we act out a scene from Fifty Shades of Gay?!

Sexy snapbacks

I tend to be the person that always initiates the conversation but sometimes it’s like waiting for paint to dry before getting some sort of response from someone you like the look of. However a majority of the hot ones or snapback studs as I like to call them; will either not respond or will be very blunt giving you a one word answer… or two.

No response

They might be interested in you for a slight moment because they are stuck in a rut with hangover horn and need to release some of that male testosterone.

Conversation with Donny

Daddies

Another issue is when you set the age restrictions or clearly state in your headline, ‘no over 40’s or no face pic = no reply’ and to your surprise, you have Carlos, 42 ‘looking for younger’. The best way I deal with the daddy gays is pressing the big red X in the bottom of my screen. Sorry daddy but I’m not coming out to play!

Conversation with Carlos

Leather and lycra

The next group that are clearly not dating material are the bondage types! I had a very surreal experience with a guy popping up to me in a dog mask with loads of half naked leather lycra guys in the background. He was definitely barking up the wrong tree and so I blocked him post haste!

Dog mask

Torso and landscape guys

The last culprits to stay away from are the torso and landscape dudes. These are the sort that can’t be bothered to show their faces or are so back in the closet they’re in Narnia. This discreet bunch are not looking to commit and will never be boyfriend or marriage material. So if any pop up to you…. delete, delete, delete!

Torso

Sorry if I am ranting on a bit but what I’m trying to get at is that there are gays that are using Grindr and similar apps for dating and relationships; and not just for a quick session of jiggery pokery! I do put my hands up to meeting up with a few guys back in the day, but there does come a time in a gay mans life when he wants to settle down with his Mr Right.

All these apps like Grindr, Tindr, Scruff and Hornet just seem to be havens for sex hungry gays and commitment phobes. We need a new app where men can meet other men who want to date and are seeking longer-term relationships. Until that time comes, we will just have to filter out all the Mr Torsos, Landscapes and Daddies until we find our knight in shining armor.

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