2019: A Year in Review

As I was creating my Bullet Journal spreads at the beginning of the year I decided to incorporate a Memories and Highlights page, not only to keep track of all the positive things that I experienced, but also to serve as a gratitude list. I have diligently filled it in all year.

It turned out to be invaluable. I haven’t particularly felt like I have enjoyed this year very much and my mental health has been low at times, but being able to look at an entire page of experiences, events and things that have brought joy to my daily life has successfully served as a reminder of how much fun I’ve had and how lucky I am. Granted, there have been a few things personally and professionally that haven’t been pleasant, but these have been far outweighed by the positive.

Here are just some of the fantastic things that have happened in 2019… Continue reading

A Belated Merry Christmas

For me, Christmas dinner represents everything about the festive season perfectly. Several weeks of planning, shopping for the ingredients, a few hours of prep followed by the whole cooking with different temperatures and timing debacle… and it’s all done and finished in seemingly the blink of an eye, leaving behind an epic amount of washing up and a personal vow never to eat that much in one sitting again.

Christmas was awesome, but was over far too quickly.

Despite the minor panic in the last few days leading up to it, I somehow managed to end the day before Christmas Eve with a full fridge, wrapped presents and some clean laundry. The Bloke and I stayed at home for the third year in a row, and we decided that we would have a much more relaxed approach to the holiday, spending most of the time on the couch with the cat (who had a rather fetching new hat that he was obviously delighted with) on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and popping in to feed Paddy (my friend’s bunny that hates me). 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

Review: A Christmas Carol at The Alexandra Theatre

Birmingham’s BMOS Musical Theatre Company returns to the Alexandra Theatre stage this week with their latest production – A Christmas Carol.

In a musical adaptation of the Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol The Musical tells the story of miserly Ebeneezer Scrooge, who is visited by his long-deceased and equally mean-spirited business partner and three ghosts – Past, Present and Future – on Christmas Eve. Originally developed for the stage in 1994 and performed annually in December at the Paramount Theatre in Madison Square Garden until December 2003, the score and songs are written by legendary Disney composer, Alan Menken, with lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. 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.
Continue reading

Visiting the Coronation Street Tour

Visiting the Coronation Street Tour

Where do you take a Canadian Coronation Street fan when she visits for a few days?

The Coronation Street Set Tour at Media City in Salford.

Obviously.

It’s probably worth mentioning that I’m not a fan of the show, but Elena Peters is. However, the show has always been a huge part of northern identity, and being from the north has always been something I’m incredibly proud of, and she’s always asking me to send pictures whenever I go to Manchester. Before the set was moved to Media City it was situated at Granada Studios in the centre of Manchester and I remember doing the tour then with my family, so I was interested to see how it now looked in a new location, and I was excited to see Elena’s reaction when she saw the set for the first time.

The Coronation Street Tour is a guided tour of the outdoor working set. Tickets are only available at weekends for a limited time and need to be booked in advance. Continue reading

Theatre, Abstract Art and a Hidden Gem

I often equate a lot of the experiences and opportunities that The Bloke and I have to  being at a bus stop… you wait for ages and then three buses all turn up at the same time.

The latter half of last week was exactly that.

On Wednesday we went to see the fabulous 9 to 5 musical at the Alexandra Theatre. What I didn’t include in my review was that we also went to the after party, during which we had the opportunity to meet the cast. I managed to have a little chat with Louise Redknapp, who was lovely and utterly stunning in person (and she hasn’t aged since the 90’s), and get a quick pic with Amber Davis. It was a weird experience – I knew that the show was coming up so I made The Bloke watch the season of Love Island that she was on so he knew who she was, but she looked completely different in person. I’m awkward at the best of times, but when you’re surrounded by incredibly talented individuals that you’ve just seen perform on stage is a little intimidating!  Continue reading