2018 has been a mixed year. There’s been a few personal and professional changes, some of which were not as positive as I would have liked and I’ve allowed myself to wallow in a funk on more than a few occasions, at one point even contemplating giving up blogging altogether. However, when I looked through my Bullet Journal and the photographs on my phone in preparation for this post, I was reminded that this year has actually been full of more incredible experiences than almost of any other.
Last week The Bloke and I put on our glad rags and went to Edgbaston Stadium for the Birmingham Awards event. I had been shortlisted for Blogger of the Year, which came as a complete surprise, and I found myself surrounded by businesses, organisations and individuals who work hard to contribute to and promote the city. It had been an interesting afternoon getting ready – by the time we left the house I had managed to put my toe through my tights and was wearing stomach-holding undergarments that were so tight that I wondered if I could get through the evening without breathing too much.Continue reading →
Last week I was invited to a Digital Photography Masterclass with Viking, given by professional photographer Elouisa Georgiou.
I love taking photos – amassing thousands of images over the years in various folders on my computer and blog – but usually find it easier to use my phone for the ease of taking a quick picture without having to go through the hassle of carrying a heavy camera around and the option of immediately editing and sharing across my social media. However, this masterclass was a great opportunity to develop some of my skills using a DSLR – something that I rarely use – and I asked The Bloke to give me a crash course on the basics beforehand.
The event took place at Dirty Martini in Birmingham, and I was joined by other bloggers in a Christmas-themed setting as Elouisa introduced us to her work and some of the techniques she uses to create different effects on her images.
The Christmas set-up
Elouisa gives her introduction
Elouisa explains the challenge and gives some ideas
Whenever I go to London I always research interesting ideas on Pinterest for places to visit and experience as I find that tips from locals are always much more useful than some of the bigger travel guides. During every search there is always one thing that appears repeatedly: Peggy Porschen Cakes ‘Parlour’, an Instagram haven with a pastel pink frontage, adorned with gorgeous floral displays that change throughout the year.
Opened in 2010 by award winning cake designer, author and Creative Director Peggy Porschen and her husband, the bakery is situated in Belgravia, and I discovered that it was in the vicinity of the station I was travelling from on Monday, so I decided to take a little detour and treat myself to a cupcake (for breakfast – why not!). Continue reading →
At the weekend I experienced a street art tour of Shoreditch with Tiffany, the creator of A Girl and Her Passport in London.
She was back in the UK for a little while, and it was the perfect opportunity to catch up as it’s been over a year since she was last here. I still find it amazing that I get these sorts of opportunities – we connected via the blogging community a few years ago – and she is someone I would never have met otherwise as at the time she lived in Qatar and is from Texas.
Yesterday we went to the Harry Potter Tour at the Warner Bros. Studio in London (technically, it is known as the Warner Bros Studio Tour, but everyone seems to just refer to it as the Harry Potter Tour instead). It was part of The Bloke’s ongoing 50th birthday celebration, and while I’ve never been a fan of the films (although an avid reader of the books), it was something that I knew he had been looking forward to for quite a while. In all honesty, I was prepared for it to be something that I just ‘did’ that I could add to my list, purely for the sake of saying that I had visited and experienced it.
I take it all back – it was fabulous. The sets, the costumes, the atmosphere – it was amazing just to see everything on show, to the point where half-way through I was resisting the urge to steal a cloak and wand from one of the children wandering around (seriously, shouldn’t they have been in school?) and run around yelling EXPELLIARMUS at everyone in my way.Continue reading →
Last year The Bloke didn’t really have much of a birthday celebration – we were getting married a few days afterwards and still dealing with flowers and centrepieces and general wedding nonsense, so this year I made a promise to myself that I would make a huge effort.
Today he turned 50. The big Five-0. He’s not a fan of birthdays and let’s just say that he is far from pleased about reaching this particular milestone, so I did what I usually do… I completely ignored his bah humbug birthday attitude and have spent several weeks planning an epic ‘The-Bloke-is-50-and-not-happy-about-it’ celebration with the help of my sister-in-law.Continue reading →
Last week I was invited to sample the new ‘Gin & Tea’ afternoon tea at Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse Bar and Grill at the top of the iconic ‘The Cube’ in Birmingham. I’ve visited the restaurant before (the chocolate mousse is amazing), and while I wouldn’t describe myself as a huge gin enthusiast, I was intruiged to see how it had been infused into the individual elements of the food.
One of the best features of the restaurant are the fabulous 360-degree views of the city from the 25th floor, so I was delighted when we were shown to a table with crisp, white linen and a window seat. We were the first to arrive for the start of service, and so it was a particularly quiet and relaxed atmosphere.
The view from the top of The Cube
The Gin and Tea menu
Marco Pierre White at The Cube
We were offered a Pink Gin cocktail (we both chose lemonade instead of tonic) made with Beefeater gin. The unexpected surprise was how much I actually enjoyed this – the gin wasn’t too strong and I liked the large glasses. Who knows? Perhaps I might now be a gin person? Continue reading →
SERVE opened its doors in August in the underground space at 55a Temple Row, converting it into a ping pong bar and restaurant for a unique experience (the first of it’s kind outside of London), and I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch night.
The concept of SERVE is to offer a hip, nightclub culture with an entertaining activity and is one of the latest alternative venues to arrive in Birmingham. It’s a rather fun idea – certainly not something I had heard of before – and I was keen to find out more about it. Continue reading →
Note: all of the images featured in this post are my own and are set as galleries – click on the images to see the full size.
The Bloke and I have just been to NYC for a week. We have visited once before on our honeymoon in November last year, but as we were there for just over four days we wanted to go back and attempt to see as much as possible that we had missed last time. We chose to go at the beginning of September – arriving on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend – with the hope that the city would be slightly quieter and the following week was back to school.
We wanted to experience both the tourist and non-tourist places, so I spent several weeks before reading blogs and watching vlogs about everything to see and do, mapping out our activities according to each day. This wasn’t set in stone and would allow us to change each daily plan around according to the weather.Continue reading →