Category: Life and Living

Fast and Furious 7 at the new Everyman cinema in Birmingham

I don’t go to the cinema very often. It’s expensive, uncomfortable, and not a great experience for me. I get annoyed by people eating, talking, or laughing at the wrong moments. I don’t deal well with having to be quiet myself, or the fact that I can’t ask what’s going on or press pause if I need to go to the loo  I’m not much of a film person – I never think I have time to sit and dedicate wholly to watching a movie. I’m also very judgemental in terms of what I will and won’t watch. And as a result I’m sure I miss out on some awesome stuff. In fact when I do sit and watch a film, even something that I’m very against, I generally tend to really enjoy it. Yet the same pattern repeats itself.

Go figure.

The Fast and Furious franchise is a perfect case in point. My husband loves them. I turned my nose up – fast cars and girls, why would I be interested? Under duress I watched one, just to shut him up. And I was hooked! The energy, the soundtrack, the characters. Of course Paul Walker was very easy on the eye, but that wasn’t the only thing. I got immediately drawn into the story, and immediately wanted to watch all of them. I even love Tokyo Drift (number 3).

When Paul Walker died there was obviously a massive outpouring of shock and grief, as well as a question over the future of F&F7, which was already being filmed. When it was confirmed that the film would be completed and released, we said we would definitely go to the cinema to see it.

Handily, the release date coincided with the opening of a new cinema in Birmingham – Everyman. There are only a handful of them in the UK at the moment, but I believe there are plans to open many more. The cinema is in the Mailbox, which is currently undergoing a multi million pound redevelopment, and sits in a plot previously occupied by an indian restaurant (and maybe something else more recently?)

So, what was the verdict? A big thumbs up to both the cinema and the film. The cinema is very nicely done. Just 3 screens, a traditional bar, fresh flowers, lots of wood and old cinema posters.

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About as far from a multiplex as it’s possible to be (and all the better for it). We were in screen 3, down some stairs past this little fella!

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There’s another bar at the bottom where you can order food and drinks to be delivered to your seats. And the seats – well, they’re the star of the show. Big comfy sofas for two people, in purples and reds, with snuggly velour cushions. Wooden footrests and drinks rests give a real quality feel. And, when the film started, the sound was amazing and the darkness was very dark. Perfect film watching conditions.

The film was fab. Lots of special effects, a huge budget as you’d expect for a Hollywood blockbuster, all of the favourite characters and a great appearance by Jason Statham. Knowing that Paul Walker had passed away prior to the end of filming, and that the film makers used Paul’s brothers as stand ins on scenes that were yet to be completed, there was a worry that continuity might suffer as a result, but it was flawless. And the ending (no spoilers) was perfect. Just right. And yes I cried.

Paul Walker

I read this article yesterday, which gives a small insight into how the film was completed without Paul. It must have been tough for the rest of the cast.

Knowing Me Knowing You

No, I haven’t gone all Alan Partridge and I’m not referring to the Abba song. I’m talking about interviews. I had my first job interview for 8 years today. I got to thinking about the whole process, and how we’re so keen to impress, but how it’s actually a two way street.

Hire me

A job interview is as much about the candidate finding out if the job role is right for them as it is about the interviewer finding the right person for the job. You may have seen a job description, or have a knowledge of the company, but a lot of it is about the feeling you get – from the people and the place. Is it a nice working environment? Can you envision yourself there? Are the interviewers your kind of people, can you see that your personalities will work together? A job is so much more than whether or not you’re capable of doing what’s required of you.

I’m very keen not to rush into anything even though I obviously need a job! Redundancy is a massive shock but also a massive opportunity (for me) to do something different. Not just to settle or panic, but to make a measured move that is going to give me job satisfaction. Redundancy pay gives me some financial freedom so that I don’t have to get another job immediately, although of course it would be nice if I could find employment and then bank that cash (or spend it on shoes).

So, how did my interview go? I’m not a very good judge of these things, so its hard to tell. But I answered all the questions competently, felt confident in what I was talking about and also allowed my personality to show through as well. And that’s enough for me.

Twit of the Day award…

…goes to me. Technically Twit of Yesterday award actually, for facing my redundancy head on, saying goodbyes to colleagues and friends, being incredibly nonchalant and exiting the building…only to get home and realise I’d left my purse at work.

D’oh.

Luckily I had someone’s number to ask them to find it (fallen under my “ex desk”) and take it to reception so I didn’t have to go back in to the office proper.

Leave and come back

But doing a journey I thought I wouldn’t have to do EVER again within an hour of leaving was pretty dumbass

Officially unemployed

Today, after 3 weeks of “consultation”, I’ve been officially made redundant. I feel relieved, resentful, angry, frustrated, elated, exhausted, mentally weak, mentally strong, excited, scared, hopeful. So many mixed emotions. Even though I’ve known it was coming since the end of last month, it’s still an odd sensation. Not that I was hoping the company would change their mind – indeed I’d have been disappointed if they had – but even when you’re content with a turn of events, its still an upheaval.

The sun is shining and I can see the rudiments of spring on my balcony. It feels like a sign.

Hyancinths ready to flower / a cute pansy face popping out from the undergrowth

2 year old snap dragon which keeps fighting back / spring berries

New shoots on my strawberry plants / pretty blossom tree

<<end of Spring watch!!>>

Persistent petals and seeing the sea

A couple of weeks ago I bought some pre-potted bulbs. I never think to plant bulbs; partly as I only have balcony pots to put them in but mainly because I always forget until it’s too late. With the job of potting some up already done by the shop, along with the fact they were starting to sprout, I invested in some red tulips, hoping for a sunny day to get them outside.

I carefully transferred them home in a carrier bag…and promptly forgot about them.

So, now that I have remembered them, they’re ready to be thrown away, right? No water or sunlight for more than 2 weeks, stifled in a plastic bag in a corner. They’re bound to have withered and given up.

Wrong! Look at my beautiful tulips!

Curved tulips 2

Not only have they miraculously continued to grow, but they have done so in the most peculiar way; obviously growing towards the air and trickle of light that was available. Searching out the life force to not only survive, but flourish. That’s pretty bloomin’ special.

Curved tulips

I’ve now popped them on my kitchen window sill, flooded them with water, and hopefully they’ll straighten out and grow upwards towards the sunlight; after which I’ll transfer them to my balcony.

I still have some snapdragons from a couple of years ago that refuse to throw in the towel; I thought I’d cleared them all out at the end of the summer but they sprouted back up in November and came into bloom.

Here’s a couple of pictures from the North Welsh coast from my weekend trip.

 

It all looks rather gloomy, but I quite like the power of a wild and windy seaside in cloudy weather. Not as much as I like a clear blue sky and white sandy beach, but the chances of that in Wales in March are slim to none.

And how quaint is this cottage?

Hafan y Mor chalet

Its one of the holiday park rentals; looks like something from a fairytale.

Travelling light? Not if I can help it!

I like stuff. And I like choice. I also like to be happy with my appearance, because not being happy with the way I look can affect my enjoyment of an experience. Sad but true.

So, when I go anywhere, I take as much stuff with me as is feasibly possible. So that I have choice when I get there. None of this capsule wardrobe/one colour palette/3 outfits for 3 days nonsense.

Luggage

Case in point was this weekend. Travel Thursday / travel back Sunday. Leaving only 2 full days to dress for, and 3 nights out. Here’s a summary of what I took:

  • 2 vest tops for layering
  • 4 jumpers
  • A hoodie
  • 2 70s style blouses (hate that word, but not sure how else to descibe them?!)
  • A t-shirt
  • 2 pairs of leather look leggings
  • 1 pair of standard leggings
  • 2 pairs of skinny jeans
  • 1 pair of coated skinnies
  • Pair of white skinnies (in March? What was I thinking????!!!!)
  • High waisted black denim shorts (to wear with tights, I’m not completely barking)
  • Leather look sleeveless top
  • Sleeveless oversized band tee
  • Sleeveless chiffon top
  • A dress
  • Long sleeve chiffon shirt
  • 70s style fluffy knit waistcoat
  • Pair of tartan trousers
  • 4 pairs of boots (1 for daytime/3 for evening)
  • 4 coats (leopard fur/leather bomber/heavy jersey military/lightweight leather biker)

Plus the t-shirt/boyfriend jeans/hi-tops I travelled up in on Thursday.

Ridiculous, no? That’s the trouble/bonus of travelling by car – no weight or space restrictions, so you can cram EVERYTHING in!

Overpack

A good point I think?

A mini break and lots of music

Today I’m off to North Wales for a 3 day mini break at a music festival called Hard Rock Hell. Which sounds very brutal and hardcore, but will actually be a lot of fun.

The organisers take over Hafan y Mor holiday park for the duration and there are lots of live bands playing in three different arenas. Because it’s out of season some of the holiday park facilities won’t be open, but there’s an on site shop, pub, etc. Accommodation is in a caravan, which I always turned my nose up at until a couple of years ago but now actually love due to the cosy home-from-homeness of it all. There are 5 of us sharing, which will be a new experience, so we’ll see how that turns out!

Hafan y Mor

I have very eclectic music tastes and like a whole lot of stuff (some of it cheesy and embarrassing, but I don’t care!) I didn’t go to my first live gig until I was about 24 so was quite a late starter, but since meeting my husband I’m really into live music and love being at gigs with friends. He’s introduced to me a lot of smaller bands I would never have heard of otherwise, and things like Hard Rock Hell which I would never have dreamed of going to.

Hopefully we’ll get out and about for a wander and some sea air as well.

Twit of the Day award…

…goes to the person in charge of ordering supplies at my local Asda supermarket ; for running out of both standard size carrier bags AND bags for life, meaning the only options for packing up my shopping were the teeny tiny ones the size of a postage stamp (ok, slight exaggeration, but they’re so small that I needed 7 of them for one hand basket full of shopping).

Think of the environment! And my poor sore hands!*

Bags

*Disclaimer – those are not my legs!

Old England and an orange face!

Today I had a meeting in Stratford upon Avon – the birthplace of William Shakespeare; steeped in culture and history. Half way there, I noticed that my face was an unfortunate shade of orange! I had used new bronzing pearls this morning and evidently they were too effective. Rather than a warm glow I had a look of an oompah loompah (with a pale neck); not ideal job candidate material. Cue frantically rubbing my face with a tissue while navigating country roads.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time for a wander round Stratford. I did, however, make an unexpected stop in Wootton Wawen.

My only prior knowledge of this place was going through it on a train, and laughing because I thought the pronunciation sounded a bit Jonathan Woss-esque (I’ve since found out it’s pronounced Warn, which isn’t nearly as much fun). But today I drove through, and was thrilled by it’s prettiness, even on a grey day.

The Bulls Head pub was built in the 17th century – those are original beams and real thatched roofs.

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St Peter’s church is one of the oldest structures in England’s Midlands. Its tower dates back to the 900s, if not earlier.

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The building in the distance is Wootton Hall, and the grounds are home to a residential caravan site, aimed at “mature residents”. I couldn’t see any of the homes from the road, but what a picturesque place to live.

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There’s also this weir waterfall, I think it’s connected to the lakes in Wootton Hall. I do love the sound of coarsing water; so powerful and nature-ish.

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 Oh,and I saw my first crocus of the year! And this sweet sign outside the village shop.

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Wootton Wawen is probably only about 30 minutes drive from home, but couldn’t be more different. I’m going to head back in summer when the trees are in bloom, and maybe have a cheeky vino and some lunch in that wonderful pub.