Date Night in the City

Part of my Happiness List for July is Date Night – spending time with The Bloke for no other reason than just because. An opportunity presented itself recently to go out into Birmingham and do just that.

Those of you who have followed the blog for a long time will be aware of my obsession with the musical RENT. It has been something that has been a big part of our relationship – he has ‘No Day But Today’ engraved on the inside of his wedding ring, we walked back up the aisle to ‘I’ll Cover You’ after we got married, he even went along with it when I wanted to go and find Antony Rapp when we went to watch it in London in 2016 (read about the whole adventure here). While it’s our favourite show it’s rare that we get the chance to see it, so when an ad appeared on Facebook that there was a performance at the Blue Orange Theatre in the Jewellery Quarter that evening we booked tickets and decided to turn it into a pseudo-spontaneous date night. 

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When the Universe Steps In…

… or, Queen + Adam Lambert, doing too much and getting covid.

At the beginning of May I proclaimed that my goal for the next few months would be to take it easy.

The intentions were good, but I ended up doing the exact opposite. 

That is, until the universe stepped in. 

May and June were filled with lots of positive things and brilliant opportunities. 

Work-wise, it was crazy busy, in a good way. I often find that freelancing is comparable to buses (ie. you wait for one for ages and then three all arrive at once) and this is what happened as soon as I decided to take a bit of a step back – it went nuts. I LOVE what I do it, but it isn’t the work itself that takes the time, it’s the calls, meetings, planning and set up that really sucks the minutes from the day. Admittedly, there was a period of a few weeks where I was worried that I had taken on more than I could handle. I eventually figured out the best way to move forward, got into a routine and it has been much better since, but I’ll be more cautious in the future not to take on that amount all in one go again!

On a Saturday morning a few weeks ago, I was downstairs in the living room watching TV, and I heard The Bloke thundering down the stairs. He rushed into the room, almost yelling:

“Want to go and see Queen and Adam Lambert?” 

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Taking It Easy

After spending over a week down south, I returned home for a few days and then travelled up north to Manchester.

The main purpose of the trip was to catch up with a group of friends that I have known for nearly 25 years. It has been two years since I last saw them – they were the last social event I had before the pandemic hit the UK in March 2020, so I was looking forward to it. 

I was staying with my mum for the weekend and we had a bunch of things planned around it. I was feeling quite smug when I left the house initially due to being somewhat organised for once, only to discover when I arrived that I had forgotten a whole bunch of stuff including socks, make-up and a phone charger. Who forgets to pack socks??? 

Socks quickly acquired, we went for a meal at our favourite Chinese restaurant on the Friday night. We’ve been going there for decades – I remember having my 18th birthday celebration there, I turned 40 last year and I couldn’t count how many meals our family has had there in between. I was delighted to see that one of the staff members, George, who greeted us during our earliest visits, was still there. There is one particular dish – a sharing platter for two – that both mum and I are obsessed with, so instead of ordering a starter and selection of mains we decided to treat ourselves and had one each without mains. It was fabulous – I couldn’t help but laugh with sheer excitement as they were brought out – but I was so full by the end I thought someone would have to roll me to the car afterwards.

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It’s Oh So Quiet

Yesterday was a little strange. Not that it was bad in any way, but it took me a while to settle in. 

I’m currently dog-sitting at my friend’s house. It isn’t the first time I have done this, so I was already familiar with the area and the dog’s routine and we immediately got back into it. Admittedly, I was feeling a bit tired as her barking had woken me up at 1am when the neighbours returned home, and then again at 2am when she vomited on the floor. (While I miss having the cats, I don’t miss waking up to the sound of retching in the early hours of the morning). We walked, had breakfast, I did some work while she snoozed, we walked again etc. It was a fairly relaxed and peaceful day with glorious weather…

Image credit: Nathan Cowley, Pexels

I suddenly realised yesterday evening just how quiet it was. 

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My Nine Year Blogging Anniversary and a Working Staycation

Yesterday was my nine year blogging anniversary. I received a notification at 6.30am as I was sitting in a very cold train station. 

The reason why I was travelling yesterday is because of a friend who I met through the blog 2015. In fact, she was one of the first blog friends who became a social media client. Since then we’ve been to events, a writers retreat and on holiday to Dubrovnik together, and yesterday I travelled down to her house to look after her dog while she and her family are on holiday. 

One of the views on my walk this morning… not a bad way to start the day!

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Playing Catch-Up… Again

I started February with the best of intentions. I had just completed a No Spend Challenge over January and was feeling a massive sense of achievement, so set myself a whole series of goals over February. One of them was to blog at least twice a week… and now it’s March and to say I failed spectacularly would be an understatement. 

However, despite the storms and constant rain, February was fast-paced and pretty exciting at times with lots of both short and long-term unexpected opportunities. 

Ever heard the analogy about waiting for a bus for ages and then three all arrive at once? 

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An Impromptu Date Night

Ever waited for a bus for ages and then three all arrive at the same time? Perhaps that’s the wrong opening sentence to follow my title 😂 I’m married – I’m talking about theatre.

That’s what the last few months has felt like. After a horrendously long period of restrictions and seemingly very little to do, the last few months have been full of fun and interesting things that have made me stop at times and wonder if the last year-and-a-half actually happened. 

As you can probably tell from my recent posts there has been theatre. Lots and lots of theatre. It’s been bloody marvellous – going from seeing nothing in over 450 days to then watching eight shows in about two months has uplifted the soul. I’m so pleased for them – the theatres, performers and everyone in between – the entertainments industry was one of the hardest hit and took the longest to return, and I’m delighted that it is all up and running again. Long may it continue!

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Intentions

I wake up each morning full of enthusiasm and intentions and tell myself that I’m going to write a blog post today. I get up, turn on my laptop… and then it’s 6.30pm and I find myself finishing work for the day and feeling mentally spent. It isn’t that I don’t want to blog – even after eight years I still get an enormous buzz from pressing the ‘publish’ button, but it has become less of a priority as other things have taken over. I’d like to change that, especially after receiving so many nice messages from bloggy friends who were wondering where I’ve been.

As I haven’t posted for several months, there’s a lot to talk about. 

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Lockdown Life and Moving Forward

Earlier this week we acknowledged the year anniversary of the covid-19 lockdown. It has been quite an emotional week – while the last year was a lengthy period of reflection and practising gratitude, the realisation of the enormity of the situation affected me more than I expected.

I’ve already spoken about this in previous posts, but lockdown started slightly earlier for me than most. The Bloke and I regularly reviewed theatre shows for the press nights at the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham, and we were in the bar area eagerly waiting to see Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and talking to our friend who works there. Suddenly the theatre manager appeared, called everyone together and announced that the show had been cancelled in response to the government announcement that had been made that day, and that was it. I remember seeing the worried and emotional expressions on the faces of the staff and public and felt awful for them. Continue reading

A Lockdown Birthday and Terry the Christmas Tree

With less than a week to go until Christmas, The Bloke and I have taken to adulting to get everything prepared in advance. I was determined (especially after a such a crazy year), Christmas would be a period in which we could actually relax, do something positive for others and then take some time for ourselves without worrying about last-minute things, and we’ve managed most of it (although the found myself on a mad dash to the postbox yesterday to send off a whole bunch of Christmas cards. 

The last quarter of the year is always the busiest. Between October and December there are five birthdays within our family including mine and The Bloke’s and we had our third wedding anniversary at the end of October. Normally we would take a trip somewhere to celebrate at least one of these (last year we went to London for the weekend with my sister and her boyfriend to see the Tutankhamun exhibition at the Saatchi and the year before we fed giraffes at West Midlands Safari Park and went to the Harry Potter Studios Tour) but most of the last few months have been spent trying to stay safe and well at home. Instead I have created almost mini staycations and celebrations indoors, finding interesting things to watch and trying to support local businesses by ordering from them rather than going through the giants that now monopolise the online shopping world (except Lego of course, because The Bloke loves it).  Continue reading