Banksy in Birmingham

A new Banksy artwork has appeared in Birmingham, highlighting the plight of rough sleepers in the city in a video that was posted on his Instagram page this afternoon with the message:

God bless Birmingham.

In the 20 minutes we filmed Ryan on this bench passers-by gave him a hot drink, two chocolate bars and a lighter – without him asking for anything.

Being an enormous Banksy (and street art) fan, I immediately jumped in a taxi (after spending twenty minutes trying to figure out the location) and we headed off to the Jewellery Quarter. We were lucky – some news crews had just started to appear but as it was before the point where the school and working day had finished we were able to see it without any issues. The driver got out and came with me to take some photos too!

Banksy in Birmingham

Banksy in Birmingham

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Old Posts and Lots of Waffle

For those of you who suddenly get the urge to try and tidy up your blog I would quickly advise you to put down the laptop and place it as far away from yourself as you possibly can, especially if you haven’t got very much time.

This week I have been adopting a slightly different strategy in my working methods. After a long period of time of doing the bare minimum of anything connected with my blog, I have finally kicked myself into gear in preparation for exciting things in the New Year than I have been planning for what seems like forever. Consequently, I have been on it – making sure that I start as early as I can first thing in a morning and pushing myself to keep going until I have done above and beyond what was on the basic list and tracker for the day. Continue reading

Christmas Silliness at the German Market

The German Christmas Market arrived back in Birmingham a few weeks ago. Over the years it has become a source of debate among the locals (of which, after nearly 20 years of living in the city I now consider myself to be a part of). Like Marmite it is both loved and loathed in equal measure, with the call for the now duplicated stalls to be replaced by some of the many incredible independents that the city has.

I’ve never been one to stand around in the crowd to drink Gluwein, but I do try and visit at least once a year. I like the atmosphere, the lights and – of course – a rather massive German sausage followed by chocolate and banana crepe and some of those yummy mallow chocolate-covered things. And poffertjies. And large slabs of garlic bread that creates breath so potent that it could kill a vampire at one hundred metres. Continue reading

Review: How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at the Alexandra Theatre

You’re a mean one, Mr Grinch!

Last night The Bloke and I were invited to the press review of How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical at The Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham.

The musical adaptation of the popular Dr Seuss book, How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical tells the story of the miserable Grinch who lives on the top of Mount Crumpit with his downtrodden dog, Max. With a heart ‘two sizes too small,’ he sets out to ruin Christmas for the town of Whoville, home of the cheery and warm-hearted Whos. Narrated primarily in verse by Steve Fortune’s ‘Old Max’ throughout, Birmingham audiences were also treated to a one-off special guest appearance from George Hancorn who opened the performance. Continue reading

A Weekend in London Part 2

Tutankhamun Exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery (3)

It was my birthday last week and my sister, her boyfriend and The Bloke took me to London for the weekend to celebrate. On the first day The Bloke and I explored Westminster Abbey and the Great Hall at the Natural History Museum, followed by a Wagamama.

The focus of the trip was the Tutankhamun Exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery – 150 artefacts from the tomb of Egypt’s most famous King are on display there until May as part of the final World Tour – which could potentially be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see them. Our tickets were booked for 10.00am, and so we joined the queue in the rain a few minutes before.

I’ve always been interested in Egyptian ancient history and culture, so this collection of items was a real privilege to be able to see in person, 100 years after their discovery by Howard Carter. Continue reading

A Birthday Weekend in London: Part 1

It’s my birthday soon and my sister, her boyfriend and The Bloke took me to London for the weekend to celebrate. 

The focus of the trip was initially the Tutankhamun Exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery – 150 artefacts from the tomb of Egypt’s most famous King are on display there until May as part of the final World Tour – which could potentially be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see them. We ended up planning a long weekend around it, arriving on Friday and leaving on Sunday, with the plan to find other interesting things to do while we were there. 

We were booked into a Premier Inn Hub hotel near Westminster Abbey, which is something that we haven’t tried before. We’ve always been fans of Premier Inn hotels, but after an unpleasant stay in the Tower Hill branch earlier in the year (mouldy bathroom, no TV signal etc) and the ever-increasing prices that are now becoming out of our budget we opted for the much cheaper option of the Hub.  Continue reading

The Bloke and the New LEGO Store, Birmingham

The LEGO Store Bullring and Grand Central (7)

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small amount of money if you make a purchase from any of the Amazon links included

Those of you who have followed the blog for a while will know of The Bloke’s penchant for a good bit of LEGO, so you can imagine his delight when we discovered that a new LEGO store was coming to the Bullring & Grand Central in Birmingham city centre. Imagine his further excitement when we were invited to the preview event of the store on the evening before they opened their doors to the general public. Continue reading

The Snow Queen at The Old Rep, Birmingham

The Snow Queen at The Old Rep, Birmingham

Looking for a fairytale that the whole family can enjoy this Christmas?

This new adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s magical adventure follows inseparable friends Kai and Gerda. When Gerda awakes on her sister Karen’s 13th birthday, she discovers that Karen has become mean and cold-spirited – a spell that The Snow Queen puts on all children when they reach the age of thirteen to ensure that everyone is as hateful as she is. After the heartless Snow Queen steals Kai to help rebuild her broken treasure, can Gerda rescue him in time before she plunges the world into an eternal winter? With the help of an unlikely band of companions, Gerda travels to the Kingdom of Ice to confront the Snow Queen and rescue her friend.
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A Few Days in Bolton

Bolton Albert Halls

I’ve been up north over the last few days with the family as mum had an operation – nothing major thank goodness, but she needed someone to stay post-recovery in case of an emergency and to walk the dog. Thankfully, everything has gone well and while she is going to have to take it easy and be monitored over the next few weeks, her immediate post-op results were good and she didn’t experience the problems that we expected as she has a history of bad reactions to anaesthetic.

While I was there I had the opportunity to see my niece – who I labelled The Squidge when she was born due to her immense squidginess. The Squidge is no longer a squidge – at almost three years old she has turned into a beautiful little girl with bright blonde hair and piercing blue eyes who already knows her own mind, loves Pepper Pig and was happily showing us her dance steps that she has learned at the class that she goes to and the sign language that she has been taught at nursery. I remember being amazed when The Squidge could sit upright and feed herself, and now that she is a walking, talking little human who can count and who says please and thank you and puts her hand over her mouth when she coughs it was all I could do not to proclaim her a genius and suggest a membership to Mensa. Continue reading

Review: The Mousetrap at the Alexandra Theatre

© JOHAN PERSSON

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

The scene is set when a group of people gathered in a country guesthouse cut off by the snow discover, to their horror, that there is a murderer in their midst. Who can it be? One by one the suspicious characters reveal their sordid pasts until at the last, nerve-shredding moment the identity and the motive are finally revealed… 

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is the longest continuously-running play in history and has broken a whole slew of records, having been performed in London since 1952.  Continue reading