It’s Been a While…

Back in July I acknowledged how much my working life had taken over and decided that I needed to break out of the little work / sleep / work / sleep bubble I had created for myself. Thankfully, I have been able to do just that, but this hasn’t freed up much time or improved my ability to sit down and actually write about it. In a desperate attempt to catch up, here’s three months of life experiences in a single post, just in case I don’t get the chance to write another one for a while. 

I have still been able to do my regular reviews at the theatre which I look forward to. It’s a great way to spend the evening – a lovely team, great building, and when you get a show that absolutely blows the roof off, it leaves you with a buzz that can last for days. 

One of those shows has been Bat Out of Hell. Within the first five minutes when I saw it in January I knew that I was watching something special, despite that fact that I had absolutely no idea what was going on for some of it. Just like my RENT obsession that developed some years ago, I have fallen equally in love and decided that I absolutely had to see it again. So, I booked The Bloke and I tickets to see it at The Winter Gardens in Blackpool and a hotel room for the night.

It’s been a few years since we last visited, so we set off super early to avoid any potential M6 traffic hell, and found ourselves stood on the pier on a dull, but very warn day at 8.00am. For the rest of the day we were shameless tourists – we went to the top of the tower (during which The Bloke mustered up enough courage to actually walk on the glass), won prizes on the horse racing game and played on the 2p machines in the arcades, ate junk food and bought snacks from a shop where the guy behind the counter was actually wearing a bullet proof vest. And then we saw the show, it was amazing, and I was so overwhelmed that I cried on the way back to the hotel. It was just fabulous, even with the drunken men who decided to sing so loudly that two rows physically moved to get away from them. 

It’s actually been a fantastic few months. Birmingham hosted the Commonwealth Games which was an enormous success. The highlight for many of the locals was the Bull that appeared during the opening ceremony, to the point where there is a campaign to keep it in the city permanently. I also went and saw the return of Kong – another Commonwealth celebration – and it was wonderful to see the city being so bright and colourful. Everyone in the city got involved – the atmosphere was fantastic, the energy was buzzing and the different events were so popular that getting tickets was quite difficult. The closing ceremony was ended by a surprise performance by Ozzy Osborne and Tony Iommi, at which everyone (including The Bloke) went crazy. Definitely a time to be a proud honorary Brummie.

I’ve also had a few trips to London for client work, during which I also took a bit of time to be a tourist. I met up with my blogger friend Helen and we went to Sketch for breakfast to celebrate her gaining an author agent (during which we took an obligatory pic in their rather unusual toilets), then we had a wander round Carnaby Street on a blisteringly hot day. At the time where Queen Elizabeth II passed away I was also in London, so I went and paid my respects at Buckingham Palace and then had some time before I went to meet a social media client to do some filming in Hampstead. I decided to see Hampstead Pergola – something I have wanted to see for years – and it was beautiful despite the rain. (I also saw Ricky Gervais while I was walking there and was less that obvious in getting my phone out to take a picture). I also visited Postman’s Park – a rather touching memorial to those to Londoners who had lost their lives while trying to save others.

On the hottest day of the year The Bloke and I went to Warwick Castle – a friend of ours works there in one of the shows and was very kindly able to get us tickets to both the castle and dungeon. It was a thoroughly enjoyable, but rather sweaty day. I was a bit concerned when going into the dungeon – my automatic reaction to people jumping out at me is to punch, so I admittedly kept my eyes closed for a lot of it. There was one guy who managed to jump at me during which I screamed OH MY GOD NO at one point… luckily he was behind a wall with bars. 

Last month The Bloke was asked to review Rambert’s Peaky Blinders for Brum Hour, and he loved it so much that he got us tickets. Contemporary dance isn’t really my thing and I had never watched an episode of Peaky Blinders, but it was fabulous. So fabulous, in fact, that we ended up watching the entire six seasons of the TV show in just two weeks. Thomas Shelby. Yes. I’ve always generally preferred preppy over bad boy, but yes. 

Recently I also got to stay at my sister’s house for the first time in three years. It may have been a while, but her pug still has no sense of personal space. We got a takeaway, talked nonsense and fell asleep on her enormous couch while the dog sulked about the lack of food that had been shared with him.

There have also been some great afternoons, evenings and night’s out. A drunken karaoke night at Reflex, watching a sold out Joe Lycett show that I had bought tickets for several months before, brunch at Marco Pierre White and lunch at Damascena in the Jewellery Quarter… I have tried to take a break every so often and just go off somewhere for a bit of ‘me time’ and often, food is involved. It helps me to feel a bit more refreshed and I get back excited to start work again.

Last month was The Bloke’s birthday. His wish for the day was to sit back and relax, so as a surprise I booked a hotel room in the centre of Birmingham. It always felt a bit silly staying in a hotel just 20 minutes from where I live, but when I booked one for me and Mum post-covid lockdown it was amazing to just have a change of scenery and get away, even if it was just for one night. My sister-in-law knew about it in advance and paid for breakfast and lots of snacks, and it was probably one of my favourite experiences of the year so far. We did absolutely nothing… and it was everything I had hoped it would be for him.

November and December doesn’t show signs of slowing down. There are lots of things to look forward to – client events, theatre reviews, restaurant and bar events, my birthday (for my present I have requested to do absolutely nothing all day and have food brought to me), a trip to Warner Bros Studio to see the Harry Potter tour again (but this time in a winter setting), seeing my mum and sister, catch ups with friends that I haven’t seen in a long time… and Christmas. I’m actually really excited about it this year – I’ve got so many plans.

What about you guys? Are you excited about Christmas? Have you got any plans for the next few months? Let me know in the comments below!

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