A Visit to Van Gogh Alive at the Birmingham Hippodrome

Van Gogh Alive at the Birmingham Hippodrome Starry Night

This is no ordinary art exhibition…

What has become abundantly clear amidst the chaos and confusion of the last seven months is just how essential the arts are, with many turning to art and culture within their own homes as a form of mental stimulation, creativity and self-care.

While I certainly count my blessings, some of the things I have missed the most during lockdown and COVID-19 restrictions have been the theatre and museums. Seeing a show or an exhibition – usually several times a month – provided an often much-needed opportunity to switch off from the stresses of the day, relax and immerse myself in an amazing performance or stunning piece of artwork by talented performers and creatives.

I’m a huge Van Gogh fan, being lucky enough to visit the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, see The Starry Night at the MOMA in New York and Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London and consequently I was ecstatic when I saw that the world-renowned Van Gogh Alive Experience was being premiered at the Birmingham Hippodrome. Continue reading

Visiting Bubbleology Birmingham

Bubbleology Birmingham

I’m a big fan of bubble tea, so I was delighted when I got the opportunity to visit the Bubbleology store in the Bullring, Birmingham and try out my favourite flavours.

Bubbleology is a leading bubble tea brand in the UK, beginning in Soho in 2011 with multiple stores now across Europe and the USA, serving a variety of fruit and milk teas, create-your-own brews and skinny drinks. All their bubble teas use freshly brewed organic tea, are 100% vegetarian, handmade to order and many bubble tea options are available in light versions. A favourite in Asia since the 1980’s, Bubble tea originated in Taiwan and gained its name from the floating bubbles that are created by the vigorous shaking to blend a tea base with milk, fruit and fruit juices. Signature bubbles of tapioca pearls (also known as ‘boba’) of a flavour of your choice are added, sitting at the bottom and popping when they are chewed on. Served hot or cold, they are placed in large transparent cups with a wide straw that allow the tapioca bubbles to be consumed at the same time as the liquid.

One of my favourite things about Bubble Tea is that I can pick and choose my flavours and pearls depending on how I am feeling that day. My favourite flavours centre around cold fruit infusions including mango, passionfruit and apple, but I have always been intrigued by the beautiful ‘Utopian’ Bubble Teas that are mixed with cream and come in beautiful ranbow colours. Here are just a few examples of the types of teas that can be ordered – images were taken from the Bubbleology website.

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Thoughts of Birmingham

I was horrified to wake up this morning to the news of multiple stabbings in Birmingham last night. There is still very little information, but after a news conference it was announced that sadly one person have died and six more people have been injured, two of them critically. It appears to be an attack by a single person who selected his victims at random, with no information to suggest that it was in any way a terrorist attack, gang related or a hate crime – something that has been speculated because some of these attacks took place in the Gay Quarter of the city.

Unfortunately, this has become an excuse for many to promote racist agendas and narratives and use it as an opportunity to start making disparaging remarks about the people and the city itself. Continue reading

Sunflowers, Sunday and September

I love Sunday mornings, particularly when the sun is out after several weeks of torrential rain. It’s hard to believe that September is only a few days away – it seems barely ten years ago that we were starting August…

Sundays are often my most reflective, and looking back it has been a long rollercoaster of a month.

Over July I posted every single day for a Gratitude Challenge… and then promptly burnt myself out. It was fairly inevitable at the time – my work schedule was crazy, lots of places were still under lockdown and I barely left the house, and while I never mind my own company (preferring more of an introverted lifestyle), I think staying indoors was beginning to get to me.  Continue reading

The New Normal

Is anybody else getting sick of the phrase ‘The New Normal,’ or is it just me?

Unfortunately, it’s the perfect term to describe how we’re living at the moment. It doesn’t necessarily provide lots of inspiration for the journal-esque blogging content that I usually create, unless you’re interested in the rather sad-looking cheese sandwich I often make myself for lunch?
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Seven Weeks in Lockdown

It’s been just nearly seven weeks since lockdown began, and I’m getting used to a slightly different way of living. Granted, compared to many people my daily life hasn’t changed that much – I’ve worked from home for the last 4 1/2 years and so I’m used to my own company and being self-motivated enough to stay productive – but I have to regularly remind myself that I can’t just hop out to the local shops for things I need, visit a friend or organise a date night somewhere fun in the city.

However, if these are the only things I have to worry about then I count The Bloke and I incredibly fortunate. Our families and friends are healthy, our jobs are consistent, we have food in the cupboards and the bills are paid, and we have taken to expressing daily gratitude for this to each other in conversations should one of us feel a little low. Continue reading

Gratitude in Challenging Times


Three weeks ago I went to Manchester. I took my mum out for an early Mother’s Day lunch, booked a hotel room to myself, shopped, walked around in the glorious sunshine, admired the local street-art and caught up with some of my oldest girlie friends, where I got so squiffy that my hangover took several days to subside.

And then, the apocalypse seemingly happened.

It is always easy to sympathise, but equally as easy to be nonchalant when awful things are happening in a different part of the world. Despite the rapidly growing numbers of people affected and the increasing panic as Coronavirus cases arrived in the UK, it didn’t really hit home until the last ten days when the process of shutting everything down in Birmingham began. Continue reading

Review: What’s In a Name? at the Alexandra Theatre

“Look what happens when the trendy lefties move in!”

Adapted and translated by Jeremy Sams from Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de La Patellière’s hugely successful ‘Le Prénom,’ ‘What’s In a Name?’ made its UK debut in Birmingham in 2017 and has now embarked on a UK tour. Continue reading

Review: Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story at the Alexandra Theatre

Miguel Angel, AJ Jenks, Sasha Latoya, Cartier Fraser in Buddy

Last night The Bloke and I were invited to the Press Night of Buddy at the Alexandra Theatre.

Telling the story of the Texas-born rock and roll legend Buddy Holly from his meteoric rise to fame before his tragic death at the age of 22, Buddy has become known as ‘The World’s Most Successful Rock & Roll Musical,’ celebrating it’s 30th anniversary year with a 2019 – 2020 tour. Seen by over 22 million music fans since it opened in London’s West End in 1989, the show has has enjoyed extraordinary success, having played a record- breaking 4450 performances over 556 weeks on tour in the UK and Ireland, as well as 5822 performances over 728 weeks in London’s West End, winning numerous awards along the way. Continue reading

Review: Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Peter Pan Goes Wrong

This is not a pantomine…

Last night The Bloke and I were invited to watch the hilarious Peter Pan Goes Wrong at the Alexandra Theatre.

Co-written by the wonderfully funny Mischief Theatre company members Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields, Peter Pan Goes Wrong is described as ‘a highly physical comedy packed with finely-tuned farce and Buster Keaton inspired slapstick, delivered with split-second timing and ambitious daring.’ It has definitely been on my ‘to watch’ list. Continue reading