Month: July 2015

Birmingham bashing – yeah, whatevs

Birmingham bashing is such a cliché. It’s not even funny. Small minded, regurgitated bullshit, usually from people who’ve never been here (or certainly not for many years).

Want a fresh look at the City? This is a great article – a real visual treat.

50 Reasons to Stay Away from Birmingham

Birmingham skyline at night

Birmingham is buzzing right now. There’s a whole heap of redevelopment in the city; from the refurb of the high end Mailbox shopping centre, to the new train station, John Lewis department store and shopping/food area, to The Cube (love it or hate it, it’s certainly iconic). We have theatres, great restaurants, museums, cathedrals, concert venues, street markets, food and more. We have a world famous cricket ground. We have premiership football clubs. We have miles of canals. We have the oldest working cinema in the UK.

Here are just some of the great things I’ve done in Birmingham so far this year.

Had dinner at Cucina Rustica

Visited the rag market

Watched Fast and Furious 7 at the new Everyman cinema

Saw Richie Ramone at the Oobleck

Watched my food being cooked in front of me at Shogun Teppanyaki

Been to an outdoor festival headlined by world famous hip hop act Public Enemy

Eaten at Digbeth Dining Club multiple times (here, here and here)

Plus, there’s still more to come!

I’ll be heading in to town for the Big Hoot, which is running until September – 5ft individually decorated owls dotted around the City

We have Moseley Folk Festival in September, featuring The Monkees

Oktoberfest is taking place in Digbeth

The Frankfurt Christmas Market will be back as usual – the biggest one outside of Germany

I’m happy to live in Birmingham and thrilled by all the opportunities it affords me as a resident. Long live Brum!

RIP Cecil the Lion

There are no words to describe the level of disgust I feel for the man responsible for killing iconic Cecil the Lion. Bad enough that he spent $55,000 for the “privilege” (seriously, how can you get $55,000 worth of enjoyment from something like that? Buy a sports car or something). But his defence is so weak and pathetic that it makes my blood boil. He’s blaming his guides, because he didn’t know Cecil was a protected well known animal.

What difference does it make whether he was “famous” or not? This is a beautiful creature, living in the wild, roaming with his offspring. He’s not there for sport, or fun. He’s there as part of the circle of life, for us to appreciate and enjoy, and to continue a legacy that future generations can appreciate and enjoy. By killing Cecil this hunter has wiped out a future generation of these majestic animals, as his cubs won’t survive without him.

Cecil the Lion

What kind of coward goes out killing with a bow and arrow? You fancy your chances against a lion – go in there like a man and wrestle it to death. No, thought not. Much better to stand at a distance where you can’t be seen or attacked. Where the animal is defenceless against your sick, greedy, capitalist need for entertainment.

To behead and skin the dead animal is further sickening. Not content with such a barbaric act the hunter wanted to display the spoils of his “hard work” and take a trophy home. Sick, sick, sick.

I read a post by someone from the killer’s home town of Minnesota on Facebook, which said his dental practice was shut as the news broke, the website had been taken down and social media accounts removed. Patients were de-registering in droves. Good. I hope this spells the end of what must have been a very prolific livelihood for the squirming piece of crap. Maybe it will encourage others to think before they get involved in such mindless slaughter.

I bet he’ll wish he still had that $55,000 to live off now.

New jewellery

Yep, I’ve been collecting some more luscious stuff to adorn myself with (when I say collecting I mean buying, obvs, I’m not just taking it from places in a random magpie like fashion). All silver as usual, with some turquoise thrown in (still one of my current favourite things)

Ebay – as always I have so much love for ebay.

I ordered this bracelet without realising it’s actually a perfect match to the boho necklace I also bought a few weeks back. From a completely different seller too, much coincidence!

Silver coin boho bracelet

Silver coin boho bracelet

Silver and turquoise stretch bracelet

Turquoise and silver bracelet

Slave chain bracelet

Turquoise hand bracelet (2)

Hamsa slave chain bracelet

Hamsa bracelet (2)

Eye of Ra necklace

Eye of Ra silver necklace


Then, from the Boohoo sale, which is pretty damn good!

How cool is this wood and metal square bangle? Reduced to just £2 in the sale, much cheapness.

Boohoo wooden bangle

Turquoise and silver double ring, also Boohoo (£4 – now down to £2)

Boohoo double turquoise and silver ring

I’m classing this as jewellery for the head (I know that’s not really a thing, but it kind of should be); chain headband with side droppers, for want of a better description (£3, Boohoo)

Boohoo headchain

I’m such a costume jewellery lover; it’s such a cheap way to really bring an outfit alive (cringy fashion speak!!)

What I saved from the rubble

I read an article on the BBC news website speaking to people who survived the earthquake in Nepal.

You can read it here.

Reading this article made me feel a weird mix of emotions – both about the people in the article and myself.

I felt sad, humbled, in awe, selfish, greedy and very very Western as I read it. To think of the pain and suffering these people have gone through – losing their homes, memories and livelihood to a natural disaster. That, through it all, the lady who saved her water jug cares about doing things “right” for others. The lady who has a bag of rice for her family to live on. The lady who saved her prayer beads – still believing in a god when her home has been destroyed.

It’s hard to imagine a situation where your worldly belongings are taken from you by a natural disaster. Memories that you have collected throughout your life. Things that remind you of your childhood, or your family. To these people the smallest of things can mean the world to them. Living, as many of them do, without many possessions probably focusses the mind more around what’s important.

Why does this article make me feel bad things about myself? Because, whenever I’ve been asked in the past what I would save if my home was burning down, my first thoughts go to something materialistic, like a favourite coat or pair of shoes (well, husband first, but as he has much more about him than I do I’m assuming he’d be able to save himself). Even things like physical photographs hold no emotional connection anymore as everything is online and therefore accessible and replaceable. That the homeowner and student have to save physical pieces of paperwork to prove things to the authorities is incomprehensible to most of us, as we would pick up the telephone or go on the web to get duplicates.

I’m not going to make any grand gestures around the fact that I will buy less and care less about having a wardrobe full of clothes, because they would be empty words. But it’s sobering and important to read stories like this; to remind ourselves on days such as yesterday when I was moaning about the trivial side of life that so many are living with so little – and that their suffering continues long after the news coverage has stopped.

A Monday Moan

I am sans cheer today – it’s Monday (urgh), I’m tired (my all too common bad Sunday night sleep, urgh), the weather is rubbish (summer, really? URGH) and it’s still ages until hometime (MAJOR URGH).

The weekend, although fun, has flown by waaaay too quickly and I can’t believe I’m already back in work.

Monday

So if you’re after positivity this isn’t the place for you!

While I’m feeling fed up and miserable and moany, I’ll get a few things off my chest that have annoyed me over the past week or so.

  • People on the motorway slip road doing 40mph – you’re joining a 70mph road, get up to speed! (I could actually write a whole series of driving relating annoyances, I’m a bit of a road rager)
  • Too much mayo on pre-packed sandwiches. As if everyone likes mayo. Urgh.
  • Voice recognition on customer service telephone numbers. I just want to be silent and press keys, ok?
  • Self service checkouts not registering my purchase correctly. I HAVE NOT removed anything from the bagging area.
  • Rain. I know it’s necessary for growth and life and all that fancy schizz. But it’s crap.

Sorry about that! I can’t even say it’s made me feel better…so I should probably add myself to that list; annoying twit that I am.

BLAH!

Not just for boys!

Have you ever bemoaned the lack of interesting t-shirts for women? Or looked at the men’s section and thought “I’d wear that”?

Well, why don’t you? Most men’s t-shirts come in XS now (in fact I spotted XXS on the New Look website) and with the sales currently on it’s a great time to check some out (they also tend to be cheaper than women’s, with both NL and H&M regularly featuring £7.99 men’s t-shirts on their site, and that’s a pre-sale price too).

And with free returns on most websites, there’s nothing to lose.

You can always modify them to suit if needed; I have chopped arms out of men’s tees, rolled up sleeves, cut the hem off for a raw edge if it’s too long. It’s a great way to get something individual. I love a cool tee with leather look trousers or turned up skinny jeans and cool heels. It’s dressed down dressed up-ness, and really easy to do.

Here are my current picks (some of which may be are on their way to me, just to check out, obvs.) None of them are more than £12.99.

New Look (the “wasted head space” and “Tyrannosaurus Wreck” ones are way geekier than I would usually go for, but they appeal to me for some reason!)

New Look stripe t-shirt New Look dinosaur t-shirt New Look record t-shirt New Look head space t-shirt New Look magic eye t-shirt New Look Cali t-shirt  New Look Los Angeles t-shirt New Look Cali t-shirt

H&M – a nautical theme which would look good worn rockabilly with turned up jeans and a bright red bandana in an updo.

G&M anchor t-shirt H&M octopus t-shirt

And this one which is classed as a long t-shirt, which I’m not sure boys should be wearing? But maybe that’s just my age! H&M cross t-shirt

ASOS

ASOS skull t-shirt ASOS South Cali t-shirt

ASOS San Francisco t-shirt

So much cooler than most women’s t-shirts which say stupid glittery things like “I’m really a unicorn” (apologies to anyone reading who really is a unicorn, and just wants to be acknowledged as such).

The phone phenomenon

Last week I read this article in Stylist magazine. And it really resonated with me, as I’m sure it does for a lot of people.

I’m hugely guilty of mindlessly flicking through my phone most nights, not with any real purpose, but just because it’s there. I’ll play a couple of rounds of Candy Crush (don’t judge me!), look up TV characters on Wikipedia while we’re watching a show, or scroll through Twitter activity. I keep promising myself that I will take my focus away from this mindless behaviour and do something more constructive, like read a book, but it rarely happens.

Even if we’re watching a film, I can never fully immerse myself and concentrate if my phone is on the sofa next to me. I get twitchy. I should probably just banish it to another room.

I’m not glued to my phone, but I do use it as a crutch – if we’re in a pub and I’m sitting on my own while someone’s at the bar, for example. And that’s just normal behaviour now I think.

One place I do totally switch off is on holiday, yet only when I’m abroad, weirdly. It used to be because the cost of using internet was so prohibitively expensive, but now it’s because of that feeling of getting away, being totally separate from everyday life, and not knowing what inane crap is going on in the real world. I relish it. I actually get quite cross with people who are very socially active during holidays. Get out there and live it people! Upload your photos when you get home. We’ll all survive if we don’t see your hotdog legs/roman ruins/swimming with dolphins pictures within a minute of it happening. The news that Mount Fuji is to get a WiFi signal because people are disgruntled that they can’t immediately upload selfies when they reach the summit is ridiculous. You’ve just conquered a mountain. Breathe in the air, check out the view. Don’t start pouting and posing and making sure you look your best for your audience at home.

Admittedly, for some reason on breaks in the UK, I do dip in and out of social media and emails. I have no explanation. Maybe it’s because they’re usually just a couple of days (I don’t know why that would make a difference). Maybe it’s because, geographically, you don’t feel as far away and therefore not as removed and switched off. Maybe I’m just a hypocrite.

However, whilst in Wales this weekend the signal was so intermittent that I hardly bothered. And it was liberating. Knowing that I couldn’t use my phone was so much easier than making a decision not to use it. Although on the odd occasion the signal did reappear I felt compelled to check in, just in case (of what, I’m not sure!)

Anyway, I’m going to try and make a change. Ditch the phone and be more productive. Now let me just go and check my texts…