Tag: B13

An “alternative” snow picture

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you can’t fail to notice that most of the UK has had some snow. You’ll have noticed this because it’s a fairly unusual occurrence in most parts of the country, so we all get a bit giddy and excitable, schools are closed, people take the day off work and we post ALL the snow pictures over social media.

Excuse me for jumping on the bandwagon, but this one is a little different.

A few years ago the Church of Scientology bought a building in Moseley, where I live, and they’ve just recently finished the grand refurbishment, spending millions of pounds in the process. The good sane majority of people in Moseley don’t welcome the presence of Scientology, mainly down to their cult ways (yes I did say cult!) and their propensity for wangling money out of vulnerable people.

So, it was with much mirth that I and the majority of Moseleyites came across this picture on a local Facebook forum.

Cock off, Scientology!

Church of Scientology Birmingham snow pic

Hope everyone is safe in the snow, and has been building more PC snow figures!

Thanks, as always, for reading. x

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Moseley Park and Pool

A couple of miles outside of Birmingham, right in the middle of Moseley is a beautiful hidden park. I say hidden, because you wouldn’t know it existed unless you knew, if that makes sense. The main entrance can be found down an alley way that runs between two shops, and the only other two entrance gates are hidden away from view on two parallel roads.

At 11 acres, with a huge pool, it’s been in existence as a public space for over 100 years (previously being part of the gardens of Moseley Hall) and is now part of a charitable trust, meaning it can never be sold off or developed (phew!)

It costs £45 a year to be a member of the park, or free day keys are available for a returnable deposit of £10. By charging for membership the Trust is able to raise valuable funds, and it also means the park is looked after and respected by those using it.

In recent years they’ve started hosting festivals there too – a Jazz, Funk & Soul In July (read here about last time I went) and a Folk in September (read about that one here). Chaka Khan is playing this year, that’s pretty cool!)

Last Monday the husband and I took an unscheduled day off work to sort some estate agent stuff, and went for a lovely Spring wander round.

It was a lovely sunny and still day, and the reflections in the pool were magnificent.

See the houses over yonder in the pics above? If you’re very lucky very rich and you live in one of those, you have a gate to the park right at the bottom of your garden! Although the key costs you £10 extra per year than us mere mortals who have to use the tradesman’s entrance.

Watching ducks floating so serenely is very…serene, isn’t it?

Look at the colour on that mallard’s head. So shiny – I wonder what conditioner he uses?

Moseley Park 9

Although the trees are all still very bare, we spotted some burgeoning blossoms and spring flowers.


The air felt full of promise that spring is truly upon us. The continuing good weather last week and this has proved it! It feels so nice to know that winter is on it’s way out and there are light nights and (hopefully) sunny days ahead.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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My week

Because I’m nosy and like knowing what’s going on in people’s lives, I thought I’d share my latest and greatest.

My week

  • My car passed it’s MOT. Hurrah! It was the first one, with it being just 3 years old, so I didn’t expect anything bad to happen, but you just never know with cars. I need some new tyres, but it’s not urgent.
  •  We’re decorating our spare bedroom. It’s been a cross between a dressing room/music room/junk room for the past couple of years, but we’re converting it back to a bedroom ready for my Mother in Law to come and stay at Christmas. I’m excited by this. My Mother in Law is ace.
  •  My toenail came off after the argument with the door. I thought I’d be totally weirded out but in the end I removed it myself. I just kept trimming and trimming as it wasn’t attached to the skin underneath anymore and I was worried about catching it on something and ripping it clean off. It didn’t hurt, and then I was left with just millimetres of stubby nail so I got rid of the lot. The underneath is very very odd. I thought it would be soft squishy skin, but it feels almost like a toenail, but thinner. Hard to explain. I’m going to paint it (the strange thick skin stuff) and wait for a new one to grow. Apparently it can take up to 18 months??
  •  I’m within sniffing distance of finishing my Christmas shopping. I pretty much know everything I need to buy. After all my moaning a couple of weeks ago it turned out to be not as stressful as I thought. No need for the drama!
  •  We missed the Christmas light switch on where we live last weekend but had a little festive wander round after eating at the Dark Horse this week (read my review here) and finished off with a cheeky cocktail (and a photo in front of the Christmas tree!)

Moseley Christmas

Cocktails at La Plancha

Me in front of Moseley Christmas tree

Life is steady; nothing to freak out about, which is pretty good 2 weeks before Christmas.

I’m going to see Dynamo tonight! How exciting? I bought tickets for the husband as a birthday present, which means I get to go too (sneaky, eh?)

What’s going on in your life?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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Food review – Dark Horse, Moseley

I’ve been going to the Dark Horse in one form or another for over 10 years. It was where the husband and I had our first official date (when it was The Cross) and I’ve had many a boozy Sunday lunch with friends, mid week burgers and £1 sambucas over the years.

Late last year, or early this, The Cross was bought by the owner of the Prince of Wales (also in Moseley – read my review here) and everyone got super excited because Keith (the owner of both establishments) has great flair for being a publican. The Prince is testament to his vision.

The Cross underwent a quick makeover to become a pop up restaurant called Mo-Dough for a couple of months (the name being a play on Moseley and pizza base), before turning into it’s current incarnation of the Dark Horse.

The focus of the Dark Horse is very much on cooking well. No sub standard pub food here. They’ve invested heavily in a wood fired pizza oven and a meat smoker to make sure things are done properly. Ingredients are all fresh and locally sourced. The place has a quirky, cosy homely feel with mismatched sofas, exposed brickwork walls and decorations such as a saxophone and a road lamp on the walls, and the outside is lit with hundreds of fairy lights sparkling and inviting you in.

The Dark Horse, Moseley

Drinks wise there is a focus on craft beers and an increasing wine collection alongside draught and bottled lagers, traditional wines and spirits.

We went out for food and drinks this week and there was no question of where we were headed. Parked in the front window with the twinkly lights and a view of our beloved Moseley, we set about choosing from the menu.

Dark Horse Christmas tree

Drinks at the Dark Horse Moseley

It was a no brainer for me as soon as I saw the low & slow smoked beef brisket. Served with chipotle sauce, pickles and skin on chips, it’s the most tender and tasty brisket I’ve ever had.

Dark Horse brisket

Dark Horse skin on chips

It’s was so squishy that if cows were actually made that way, they wouldn’t be able to stand up. The sauce was sweet and smoky and the pickles sharp and crunchy. The portion size was huge, with loads of chips, and piles of meat. Super impressed.

Husband went (as he so often does) for a burger – the Big Kahuna. With pineapple and candied bacon, it wouldn’t be to my taste but he was very excited and proclaimed that excitement to be justified.

Dark Horse Kahuna burger

A big well stacked burger with plenty of toppings, all of which could be tasted individually. The pattie was, he said, juicy and succulent.

With small plates such as mac & cheese topped with pulled pork (hello!), and God’s own fries (skin on chips smothered in chilli, pulled pork, burnt ends, jalapenos, sour cream, guacamole and cheese sauce) there’s a smorgasbord (I love that word!) of flavours to experience, as well as Sunday lunch and desserts like warm chocolate brownie and baked cheesecake.

The Dark Horse knows meat, and knows what to do with it.

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Chillidogdogs – oh yeah!

If you read yesterday’s post about one of my local pubs, you’ll have seen me mention Chillidogdogs.

In keeping with the nation’s current obsession with streetfood, Chillidogdogs deliver a pared down menu done really really well. They serve from their little premises in the beer garden at the Prince from Thursday through to Sunday and boy is their food good!

These pictures come from 2 different visits (not that I care whether you think I’m greedy, just saying that I have tested for consistency and been delighted both times).

Chillidogdogs food selection

Nachos to start – I’m going to put this out there and say these are some of the nicest nachos I’ve ever had. The balance is right – enough topping to last right until the last delicious crunchy triangle. The chilli is sweet and meaty, not hot or spicy, just really really tasty.Chillidogdogs nachos 2

Chillidogdogs nachos

The hotdogs are hot-damn! Sausage spilling over the end of the roll, there’s just enough bite to the skin followed by the juicy meaty filling – these are quality ingredients! Lashings of afore-mentioned chilli and mustard with just enough kick. My mouth is actually watering as I type.

Chillidogdogs hotdog

The husband is something of a burger aficionado and has a lot of experience in eating them. He has declared this to be right up there with the best burgers he’s ever tasted. Smothered in juicy pulled pork, oozing with cheese, there were yummy noises aplenty (he was so impressed he had the same both times).

Chillidogdogs burger

Chilli fries kind of speak for themselves really. If they could speak they’d say “eat me”. They’re so good. The kind of thing you wish you weren’t sharing. I’d happily lie down in them like a big cheesy chilli potato pillow and eat my way out. Too good.

Chillidogdogs fries

So, there you have it. As you can tell I’m rather indifferent to the whole shebang and could take it or leave it. By which I mean order and eat all of it. All of the food. All of the chilli topped products, until I slumped into a meaty chilli cheesy carb coma. That sounds good.

If you’re in or around Birmingham and haven’t visited the Prince of Wales and Chillidogdogs, have a word with yourself!

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When is a pub not just a pub…?

…When it’s the Prince of Wales in Moseley!

Prince of Wales Moseley

When it has a moose head on the wall in the bar

Prince of Wales moosehead

When the bar is as traditional as this, and serves an ever changing selection of craft beers, ales, wines and spirits

Prince of Wales bar

When it has a cosy snug which has real log fires in winter

Prince of Wales snug

When it has traditional Victorian details like this tiled mirror and walls

Prince of Wales mirror

Prince of Wales tiles

Prince of Wales details

When it has a massive beer garden that’s half covered and heated so you can use it all year

Prince of Wales garden

Prince of Wales garden 2

Prince of Wales outside

When it has a purpose built cigar hut – La Choza – selling Cuban cigars

Prince of Wales cigar hut

When it has a tiki cocktail bar serving traditional cocktails and house specials

Prince of Wales motiki bar 3

Prince of Wales garden 3

Prince of Wales motiki bar 2

When it has a “Shed du Vin” selling bottles of wine and snacks

Prince of Wales Shed du Vin

When it has it’s very own street food vendor onsite – Chillidogdogs (more on that in my next post).

Prince of Wales Chillidogdogs

When it’s the most creative, cool and unusual pub you’ve ever been to!

The Prince of Wales dates back to 1861. The current landlord and landlady have been there since 2007, and transformed it from an old man’s boozer into the unique, charming, fun place it is today.They have recently been named UK Licensees of the Year, beating 50,000 others across the country.

There’s a plot of land next to the pub which has been earmarked for development into apartments. If that happens there’s a good chance the new residents would complain about noise and the Prince would get closed down.

That would be a travesty. It was ‘ere first.

I never understand people who move in near to a place they know will generate noise and then complain. It’s already happened to a couple of places in Birmingham City Centre.

Let’s hope common sense prevails.

All hail The Prince!

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Restaurant review – Sabai Sabai, Moseley

On Monday evening, keen to stretch out the weekend that little bit further, I suggested an impromptu date night. We had pre-dinner drinks and then went for a meal at Sabai Sabai.

Sabai Sabai

One of the things I love about where we live is the range of restaurants and bars; different cuisines and flavours. We haven’t been to SabaI Sabai for ages, probably about 4 years, and I’m really not sure why?

The restaurant is fairly small, probably seats around 40 people, and it’s long and narrow with opulent decoration in purple and gold.

Sabai Sabai Moseley

Sabai Sabai purple and gold

We chose a window seat to watch the world go by and ordered some drinks and prawn crackers (which were so spicy and tasty, with sweet chilli dipping sauce) while we perused the menu.

Sabai Sabai window seat

Deciding on food turned out to be something of a problem. There’s a lot of stuff on the menu and it all sounds really good. As usual I got “the fear” in case I didn’t choose wisely!

I decided to go for something I’ve been wanting to try for a while but haven’t been brave enough – softshell crab. Part of the reason I haven’t tried it is because the husband keeps weirding me out about it! But it sounded delish; covered in breadcrumbs and fried, served with thai salad and sweet chilli sauce.

Husband had the mixed platter which is a selection of different items – great for when you just can’t decide. It included golden bags, chicken satay, prawns tempura, sweet corn cakes and fish cakes.

Sabai Sabai soft shell crab

Golden bags (Toong Tong) always makes me giggle childishly!

Sabai Sabai golden bags

The crab was really good. Quite heavy on breadcrumbs meant that the first couple of bites didn’t yield much meat, but once past the claws there was loads!.

Sabai Sabai soft shell crab 2

Delicate and tasty, perfectly paired with the chilli dipping sauce it was very filling – perhaps slightly too big for a starter (it hurts me to say that!)

For main course I had Ped Makam Jarn Ron, which was duck breast cooked with palm sugar and tamarind to create a really sticky gooey sauce, served on a sizzling platter of onions and topped with dried shallots.

Sabai Sabai duck platter 2

I also had a side order of egg fried rice (to be honest we could have shared,one portion is quite large!)

Sabai Sabai duck platter

Husband had Prawn Geng Massaman which was sweet with coconut milk and peanut sauce, full of big juicy prawns and chunks of potato.

Sabai Sabai Geng Massaman

The bill came to £75, but having worked it out £25 of that was drinks! (two glasses of wine for me, a beer and a double spirit and mixer for husband). So the food itself is very reasonable, with most mains being around the £10 mark.

As I said, I have no idea why we haven’t been for so long, but we won’t make the same mistake again! (if only because I want soft shell crab!)

 

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Moseley Folk Festival

Once again this weekend our beloved village was home to a 3 day festival; bringing bands, bars and brightness to the park.

You may recall I blogged about the previous one – Jazz, Funk and Soul, back in July.

This time it was the turn of the Folk Festival which, over the years, has become less about just folk. Gaz Coombes of SuperGrass played and Sunday night was headlined by The Monkees!

I honestly can’t comment on the music, as it was just a backdrop to a wonderful couple of days in magical surroundings. We were blessed with gorgeous weather on Sunday and it totally made it; chilling out on picnic blankets with friends drinking lots of pink wine and soaking up the late summer sun.

Here it is in pictures – we didn’t head down until early evening on Saturday.

 

Moseley Folk Festival 2

Moseley folk festival bar

Beer barrels

Festival merch

Remember I said on my Hat-urday post that I barely wear my 70s floppy hat? I put that right!

70s floppy hat

Lots of face painting and people looking pretty (I did ask these people if I could share their photographs!)

Face painting menu

Face painted Dad and Daughter

Face painted man

Sunday was nice enough for me to bust out another hat I haven’t worn yet – the straw cowboy one.

Straw cowboy hat selfie

The entrance to the park is so green and secluded; you’d never know it was just off the main road.

Entrace to Moseley Park

Entry to Moseley Park

I drank a lot of wine.

Rose wine

Accosted a Morris Dancer for photographs (and swapped hats with him!)

Morris dancer 2

Morris dancer

Morris dancer and me

Had to have a little lie down on the blanket (I blame the wine)

Mirror shades selfie

Look at the weather – just gorgeous!

Moseley Park trees

Got my face painted.

Me facepaint

What a fabulous time we had!

Moseley Folk Festival

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Cocktails and Curry

You’d think, as Brits, we’d have known better than to make bank holiday plans that involved being outdoors – or at least have a contingency plan – but we, er, didn’t. Which is why we spent a good chunk of a very wet bank holiday Monday lounging on the sofa watching Criminal Minds.

Bank holiday

Not wanting the day to be an entire washout, not least because it’s the last bank holiday of the year, we spent at least an hour trying to decide on a cuisine and therefore a restaurant that we could eat out at in the evening. Otherwise I may well have stayed in my PJs all day and night.

We decided on Indian food – one of our favourite cuisines. We more often eat indian food at home via delivery rather than in a restaurant, but fancied the sense of occasion that eating out brings (and a reason to get dressed!)

And with there being a cocktail bar just 3 doors away from the restaurant, which had reduced priced cocktails all day, it seemed daft not to combine the two!

La Plancha in Moseley is a true gem of a bar.

La Plancha restaurant

La Plancha

Small and cosy with an extensive cocktail menu and great tapas. Like really great. So great that we almost changed our curry plans. It’s one of the only bars in Moseley that doesn’t attract the pub crawl crowd at weekends.

First I had a Myzo and husband had an Old Fashioned.

Myzo and old fashioned

Myzo is one of my most favourite cocktails, and my first choice whenever we’re in La Plancha. It’s both sweet and sour and spicy – vanilla vodka, lemon juice and elderflower cordial, shaken with chopped up chilli and then strained, garnished with a full chilli. It has a real kick to it. I can recommend, from personal experience, not eating the chilli – even if you’re dared to by your husband (very mature behaviour).

Myzo

You may end up in the bathroom with your head under the cold tap for 10 minutes, followed by the staff having to give you milk to cool your mouth.

An Old Fashioned is whisky based (bleugh) and very strong. That’s all I know!

Second drink was a Pornstar Martini for me and a Long Island Iced Tea for husband.

Pornstar martini and long island iced tea

Despite it’s trashy name, a Pornstar Martini is a really nice drink – a mix of passionfruit and vanilla vodka, with passion fruit puree and a shot of prosecco on the side (OK, that bit’s not so classy!) For some reason the barman kept topping up my prosecco shots, which was jolly nice of him! If he’d have topped up the cocktail continuously I’d definitely have stayed all night (and probably not been in work today!)

Pornstar Martini passionfruit

The Long Island Iced Tea has one of the highest booze content out there, with tequila, vodka, gin and rum. A firm favourite with both of us!

Imlees restaurant is definitely our favourite Indian restaurant in Moseley.

Imlees restaurant

It’s been refurbished fairly recently (about 18 months ago) and the interior is lovely, with lots of cream leather, wood and glass chandeliers.

Imlees interior

Imlees interior 2

The food is exceptionally good, with some great unusual menu choices. Plus it’s bring your own booze, which is always useful when there’s too much month at the end of the money.

I had chilli chicken to start – it was sweet and spicy and gooey and tasty and perfectly cooked, with a nice fresh salad garnish for a bit of crunch.

Chilli chicken

Husband had onion bhajis, which I always think are a bit of a waste of a starter selection when there are so many other good options, but I have to say these were fantastic – light and fluffy and very tasty. And, because he couldn’t decide, he also had some paneer (cheese) samosas, which you can see peeking out on the plate as well.

Onion bhajis

After the starters we were served a small lemon sorbet – a lovely refreshing palette cleanser.

No pictures of mains but they were bloomin’ lovely. I had peppery chicken which I’ve never seen on an Indian menu before; it was thick and saucy with chunks of green pepper and chicken flavoured with black pepper. Really really tasty and one I’ll definitely have again.

Husband had king prawn madras which had lots of huge juicy prawns and a bright red sauce.

The side orders were also different to the usual offerings – a naan bread with both keema and garlic (delish) and fried rice with chicken (also delish).

I wore an F&F floral teadress that I bought in last year’s sale, and my new ASOS 70s leather studded platform clogs which are currently in the sale at just £20. So much love for these!

Floral dress ASOS clogs

ASOS clogs

ASOS clogs and floral dress

I love unexpected nights out that come from nowhere and become a resounding success! And I love living somewhere that affords me so many options right on my doorstep.

And I love food. Obvs.

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Moseley Jazz Funk and Soul Festival

Moseley, just outside Birmingham, has a private park. To use the park you need to buy a key. It’s only around £45 a year, so is pretty good value.

You wouldn’t know the park existed if you were just walking through Moseley. The main entrance is down a little alleyway. There are also 2 other gated entrances, on other roads.

The great thing about it for me, apart from the fact that it’s hidden and you have to pay, is that it’s wild. No carefully manicured flowerbeds. No children’s playground. Just expanses of green, a massive pool, wildlife and trees that are hundreds of years old. It’s a proper little oasis.

Moseley Park 2 Moseley Park

Twice a year Moseley holds 3 day festivals in the park. Jazz, funk and soul in July, and folk in September. This weekend just gone was the turn of funk soul and jazz.

We had no intention of going as musically it’s not really our thing, until we heard that the original Friday night headliners had pulled out, and Public Enemy had been booked in their place. Public Enemy! American Hip Hop Royalty, playing right in my hood! Well that was one not to be missed.

So glad we went along. The park was set up beautifully; with bars, food stalls, face painting, stalls selling hats, glasses, guitars, dreamcatchers, vintage clothes and more.

Moseley Jazz Funk and Soul festival

Moseley Jazz Funk and Soul festival

The trees were strung with fairy lights and people came armed with deckchairs and rugs to sit in the chilled out surroundings and soak up the gorgeously sunny day and amazing atmosphere.

Moseley Jazz Funk and Soul festival

I bought some new sunglasses.

Catseye sunglasses

And also a dreamcatcher.

Dreamcather stall

How good is this mural of Public Enemy? My shorts are from F&F; they’d only arrived that morning.

Public Enemy mural

The only disappointment of the day was the food. With so many great street food vendors in and around Birmingham I had high expectations. But choice was limited to about 6 or 7 stalls, and the quality wasn’t that good. I had some lukewarm noodles and a greasy burger which I left half of. At £13 for two things I didn’t really enjoy, the concensus was “could do better”.

I threw myself into the spirit with some glitter facepaint and crystal bindis.

Face painting at Moseley Soul Funk and Jazz Festival

We watched beatboxing and breakdancing.

Beatboxing

As dusk started to fall the atmosphere turned into a big full on party as Public Enemy came on stage and absolutely stormed it.

Moseley Jazz Funk and Soul festival

Moseley Jazz Funk and Soul festival

By Saturday morning I regretted only having bought a day ticket, as I could hear goings on from my balcony. Even with a lot of the music not being my thing, I’d have been happy to just chill in the park and let the fabulous atmosphere wash over me.

Yesterday finished with Gregory Porter. What a booking for a little surburban festie! I’m told he was fabulous.

Yet another reason why I love living in Moseley!

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