Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Time flies when you’re having fun… August and September roundup.

 So the last entry was 6th August. That’s pretty bad – even for me! The only defence I have is that I have been phenomenally busy over the last couple of months – even for me! I’m going to do you lovely people a highlight round up of August and September (to give you an idea of what I’ve been up to).


The 24 Carrots Summer market took up a whole load of time in August! Had many a meeting to plan and discuss how we were actually going to pull it off! It was exhausting! It felt like if we weren’t talking about it directly, I was emailing people drafting press releases, begging prizes for the raffle or on the phone to someone about it. We had 10 working days to plan the event, layout, stallholders and get social media interest in it. I’m very pleased to say that the event went down REALLY WELL! We had some really cute bunting (which gave it a fete feel), a great response from our stallholders and a good result on the raffle (£160 split between the JQNF and the Church). I EVEN got to meet Johnny Bravo and get a signed photo – SO MUCH EXCITEMENT!

We had lots of Birthday things going on in August too! I’ve told you about Emma’s birthday night out at Bingo, but we had a lovely night out for Jo’s birthday at the Rose Villa too. Was lovely to catch up with some of her lovely friends that don’t come to Brum that often J.

On 9th August was the fabulous Dystopiacon! Me and Dan rocked the DJ booth with a mix of chiptune, beats and geeky breaks. I threw together a Fiona (Adventuretime) outfit with moderate success – no photo’s I’m afraid though! I’ve been particularly pants at remembering to grab snaps lately. The night was excellent fun though (and lots of people requested the set list – which is always gratifying).

iVardensphere in Sheffield was on the 10th (the night after Dystopiacon – we were shattered).  It was great to see everyone again! We might wear black and look quite serious, but the fab alternative music scene we belong to is our extended family (and it’s always good to get everyone together). Had a VERY sore head on the Sunday (I blame myself; and a copious amount of Jagermeister).

We were very blessed to have a visit from our brilliant friend Carolyn in August too! Carolyn is one of my oldest friends, so its always wonderful to catch up over a glass (or 4) of wine and shoot the breeze. We went out for a casual meal at the pub and then a few peeps popped over the ceremonial “Drink and Bitch” that we’re all so good at.

The week commencing 19th August was MENTAL! We had Infest to pack and get ready for, I had a meal with work colleagues (it was my last week at my job) and market things to get wrapped up. It was a great week and I was spoiled rotten by my colleagues (vouchers, flowers, cards and presents). By the time the market was done on the Thursday evening, I was completely wiped out. A great time to have to do ALL of the packing for a music festival, right? 0_o

Despite arriving (after having to go back to the house three times due to forgetting tickets and important things) totally wiped, we had an amazing time. We drank far too much, danced so much our feet hurt and met wonderful people. What more could you ask for than that?

The following week I had off (before starting my new job). The week pretty much consisted of meeting up with my mate Mouse and the Brum posse for drinks/coffee, shopping and lazing around. Bliss.

September started with a bang as I started my new job on Monday 2nd.  I had to get up bright and early to trek down to London to grab my laptop and meet some of the team. The head office is AMAZING! There is a Beer Tap IN THE OFFICE (I’m not joking), free food and everyone is really friendly and sweet. My first week was a blur of learning about the site, the Birmingham Community, my role and various gadgets and gizmo’s that I now need to do the job. I am now a Mac user and have an iPhone. 0_o

I had my first taste of Dome Club and Pecha Kucha on Thursday 5th. What a great pair of concepts! Dome club is held in the 360 dome within Birmingham Thinktank. It gathers people together to watch films, look at art and discuss the use of the dome moving forward. Pecha Kucha is also really fab! It’s a simple concept – a presentation done by anyone, on any subject, 20 slides, 20 seconds on each slide. The result is fast paced, funny and interesting presentations.

I did loads in September, but one of the obvious highlights was Vienna. We have a thing (me and my nearest and dearest), with so many 30th Birthday’s around the same time; the following question is posed: “Where would you like to be on your 30th?” The deal is, we then all go. It’s been fab so far as I’ve been to Vienna and Berlin and off to Amsterdam next year for a 40th! Vienna was simply beautiful. Most of the photos on this post are from the trip (as they were the most interesting photos from the two months). We drank, ate, went to a crypt and saw mummies, visited the Natural History Museum and drank (again).

Another Highlight was Edinburgh! I went for work but got to see lots of it too! Ate at some wonderful restaurant and tried many, many different kinds of coffee. It was an exhausting 3 days – but filled with learning and excitement!

The rest of September consisted of meetings with friends/contacts, sorting out wedding rings (excite!),  quizzes and partying. I would love to do a summary of everything… but there’s not enough time!

Onwards and upwards… in October now – hold on to your hats! It’s going to be an exciting last quarter of the year!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

July into August (It's August already?)

Good Afternoon!

So, I haven't quite left it a month this time, so I am getting better! What can I say, July was a month for big changes in my life... but I'm sure we'll get to that... I'm really pleased to see the blog has over 2000 views now. Thats Massive! Why on earth you are all reading my drivel, I don't know, but I'm pleased that you are!

So... We'll start from the 9th (and the beginning of my life changing month).

9th July (that was a Tuesday – if you've forgotten)
On the 9th of July I had a phone interview for a new job. I had applied for it after googling my dream job role and was surprised to see that it not only existed, but was available! After not hearing for 3 weeks (and chasing them like a hound on heat), I got an email to ask my availability for phone interview. I hadn't ever had a phone interview, so to say I was bricking it would be putting it mildly. However, with a little preparation (all done at my current work, obviously) I duly awaited the phone to ring. It went really well and I seemed to connect well with the lady I was talking too. She did warn me the process took several months to go through, but that was ok (I already have a job after all). After talking her ears off, I got off the phone with a writing assignment and a promise of another call later in the week (as we had run out of time).

After that, anything seemed a bit of an anticlimax – but I was super excited as I was going to see Mark Kermode that evening! Well... what a fabulous evening it was. Film scores being played by a large, varied orchestra and being talked through the pieces by my favourite film critic. It was a real treat to see my old friends Eric, Peggy and Emma too!

10th is blank in my calender... so in all honesty... I haven't got a clue. I CAN tell you 10th was a Wednesday, so I probably spent it with Jon, Jo and Caroline... which would have meant it was a lovely evening (as it always is). In FACT, I can remember this... as Jo had to dash off because she had a rather important guest arriving on the Thursday and had to clean her flat.

11th July - Erick's here!
So, with very little pre-warning, Erick turned up on Thursday 11th. Luckily I get flexible hours at work, so could dash off at a reasonable time to meet Mr Holmes for a cheeky Thursday Cocktail at the Rose Villa. Dan joined us when he had finished, and we had a great meal – followed by more beverages at Jo's place. They had big news for us, but it isn't my place to spread everyone else's business... needless to say, it was a happy day!

12th July – A rather large night out
The night started with part duex of my aforementioned phone interview. Despite telling me the process took months, I was actually asked to attend a face-to-face interview the following week! Excitement!
So... After that, following on from a lovely evening spent with Uni friends and new friends in London in June, we were invited to Rob's birthday on the Friday. We started with a quick stop at the CBD food fair (for a good gossip with the Bitters'n'Twisted crew), before heading to (inward groan) Lloyds bar for a couple of cheeky pints. I'm pleased to say we didn't spend too long in here before heading to the Queens Arms in the JQ and then on to Dystopia at Eddies. Me and Dan have been a bit lax with our clubbing recently (having had so much on) so it was a great opportunity to catch up with everyone and get our dance on.

13th July – Cheltenham
On Saturday, we took the open time (unfortunately our festival workshop was cancelled) to head to Cheltenham to catch up with the lovely Lee and Charlie and collect our comic shop winnings. It was a scorcher of a day, but we had the most delicious breakfast at the Curious CafĂ© (picture below) and had a good giggle whilst enjoying some hearty fare. Cheltenham is FABULOUS for Charity shops – do have a look around if you get a chance. It's a lovely town with some real hidden gems (Proud Lion – the independent comic shop is worth a gander) and stunning architecture. We were meant to go to a birthday party in the evening... but it was soooo hot and we were sooo tired... so stayed in.

On the Monday we had tickets booked to see Pacific Rim at the “Giant Screen” (Trivia time – the Giant Screen is the largest screen in an independent Cinema in the UK). We loved it! Every deafening, violent, silly moment of it. We both had stupid grins on our face that didn't leave all evening.

16th July – HS2 and BCU Birmingham Futures
On the Tuesday, we had once again manage to wangle tickets to a Birmingham Futures event. Birmingham Futures is a networking organisation, but they give a certain amount of tickets out to non-members. It's well worth a look, as the topics covered are all relevant to the regeneration of the City. This one was really interesting – but the HS2 presentation was AWFUL. I had mixed feelings about the service before the talk. I am now DEAD AGAINST it. The new UCE Building at Parkside is amazing though! The facilities are out of this world! They have a Green screen TV studio! BLINKIN GREEN SCREEN!

17th July – Wednesday
I had to behave myself on this particular edition of Wednesday. It ended up being a lovely evening with Dan, Erick, Jo and Emma – but it was really nice as I had some low alcohol (I know right, me, low alcohol?) wine and a reasonably early night.

18th July – London Calling
On Thursday I had the day booked off to head to Baker Street for my big interview. I was so nervous in the morning... I packed all my notes (with all good intention of reading them on the train), but ended up reading a book on the train and trying not to think about it. I got to 55 Baker Street right on time (after buying a boiling hot bucket of coffee that I couldn't drink), and got met at reception and escorted to the office. OMG! The office was SUPER cool! The message they are trying to convey everywhere was inspiring creativity and individuality... there was a table tennis set, decorations and each team had a “theme” to their work area. Much less stuffy than my current office! The interview went really well and the hour flew by. After leaving Baker Street, I dropped my mate Ant a text and went to meet him in Camden. We had a lovely couple of hours catching up with a couple of pints in Brewdog, before it was time to head back to the train station and back to Birmingham.

19th July – Evil Dead Double Header
On the Friday was a night me and Dan had been waiting for, for a while. As part of the “Shock and Gore” festival at the Electric Cinema, we had booked tickets to see Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2 on a posh sofa. We met with some people from work down the Old Contemptible s first, before heading to The Station for another cheeky pint. Once everyone was gathered, we all trouped down to the Electric for the main event. What can I say? I laughed, I text a waiter to bring me a pint to my SOFA SEAT and we all had a bloody good time.

20th July – Manchester
On the Saturday, we had arranged to go and see our friends Liz and Rowland at their place in Salford. After doing some morning markety chores, we jumped in the car and hot footed it up the Motorway to get to their place. Following a quick trip to Tesco (for more booze and BBQ supplies), we fired up the grill and had a wonderful afternoon (and then evening) in the warm sunshine eating lots of yummy food and drinking more than our allocated daily units. The night ended with me falling asleep mid-conversation on the sofa.

21st July – Lucky, Lust and Liquor
Sunday morning was nice and chilled. After scoffing some pastries and having a few cups of coffee, we all jumped in the car to try a legendary “Almost Famous” burger. The Bacon Bacon Fries accompanying the Bacon Bacon Burger (a triple burger with loads of chilli, cheese and additional bacon) did NOT disappoint. Well worth a trip!

22nd Quiet time!
There is nothing on the calender for todays date... I believe I went for cocktails with Clare, but other than that... just chillin.

23rd July – JQ Market Meeting
It was time, once again, for the UDMG marketing meeting. A very pleasant evening plotting the next summer market on the 22nd August. The Drop Forge has a roof terrace, who knew?

24th July – Wednesday
Was just me, Emma and a guest appearance from Emma's Mum (which was lovely). I don't always see Emma that often, so it was really nice to catch up with a good mate and just have a relaxing chat on her balcony... we both had a tad too much wine though, so was a bit tiddly!

25th July – Thursday
Emelie was back from Sweden for a bit, so we had a special edition of Gay Thursday. Everyone was about and Jon had a bit of a full house. It was lovely to catch up with Em as it always seems so long between visits. We chatted, had a few drinks and not too late a night. Doesn't sound rock'n'roll, but it was very nice :)

I GOT THE JOB! I GOT THE JOB! I can't give too many details on here, but needless to say I will be organising events, blogging, social networking and generally being cool in Birmingham for a living. Very exciting stuff! U start on the 2nd September and I CANNOT WAIT! The evening consisted of home made waffles and lots and lots of fizzy wine, which was a good way to welcome in the end to another week.

27th July – Oh I do like to be beside the seaside...
On Saturday we had our first ever trip with the JQNF Community to Weston-Super-Mare. We all met at around 8:30am and piled on to our lovely coach to zoom down the motorway. After a well needed coffee break halfway, we launched into a JQ Quiz (there was even a prize donated by a jeweller) and much fun was had before we drew up to our destination. The weather wasn't scorching but did start off ok. So we made the most of the first hour on the beach. By some miracle, the sea was in! The group spread out over the beach and swam in the sea, built sandcastles. Chatted and got to know each other. Me and Dan had a sneaky bottle of Cava before hitting the arcades. Once all of the 2p's and 10p's were spent, we took a wander into the town for fish'n'chips before hitting the Weston Beer Festival. By the time we all got back on the coach we were all tipsy and tired, but chatted about what a lovely time we had all enjoyed.

28th July – Chores and Cinema
The morning was very uninspiring as we had neglected saturday chores to attend to, but we did get to see the last in the Cornetto trilogy, “The Worlds End.” We both thoroughly enjoyed it and it was a good round up to the weekend.

29th July – The Beasts of St. Paul's Church
Monday bought around the next monthly instalment of the St Paul's Church cinema club. We were treated to “The Beasts of the Southern Wild.” We had persuaded some coach-trippers to join us, so as well as a great film, wine and popcorn; we had good company and a lovely chat at the end of the film.

30th July – Wednesday
This was a thoroughly enjoyable Wednesfield around Jo's place. There was food, tunes and camaraderie as we caught up on our weeks and plotted Emma's birthday night out on the Friday.

2nd August – BIRTHDAY BINGO!
On Friday, I went to a colleagues leaving do after work. I did my favourite trick of “going for one” and ended up “staying for three.” After some catching up with old work friends, I hoofed it down to the Gosta Green pub (our pick up point) to wait for the lady of honour and Dan. Our destination? Mecca bingo in Acocks Green. I am a self confessed bingo lover, but it was great fun to introduce new people to the fun. We even had a £200 winner in our group, which made it extra exciting!

3rd August – Japanamania!
Saturday was very exciting. After waking up early and going to the dentist (as well as other assorted chores), we met up with Jon and Tom to head to the Electric Cinema. I LOVE Studio Ghibli and much to my delight, they were showing the newest installment (From Up On Poppy Hill) for a few days. We grabbed a beer from the foyer and enjoyed a visual feast surrounded by friends. Afterwards we headed to Woktastic (the BEST Sushi in Birmingham) for some conveyor sushi and mulling on the film. A really pleasant, relaxing evening.

4th August – Monsters University
After a fortnight of film, it was only right that I also indulged my love of Pixar. I was really chuffed with Odeon, as their 10:40am showing was only £4 per adult AND we got some BOGOF vouchers for next time. We loved the film and laughed all the way through. The lovely thing about Pixar movies for me is that it's like seeing old friends. You know them, you love them and for a little while, you get to live your life with them through magical animation. The short film about Umbrella's was super cute too – so I came out of the cinema feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. Sticking with the “Worlds End” and “Fuzzy” theme, we rewatched Hot Fuzz in the evening. Genius.

6th August – 24 Carrots Market meeting
So this brings me bang up to date! We had a further meeting about the 24 carrots market at St Paul's Church. I am very pleased to announce that we have a market on the 22nd August! There will be a BBQ. Pimms, Stalls and hopefully a lot of fun. It's all being run by volunteers (with the help of Vicar Mary), so if you're about – come on down!

Hopefully that's given you a little taste of what I've been up to. Again. I am knackered... but I genuinely think if I stopped – i'd be bored! I'm really excited about my new job and especially about iVardensphere, Deejaying Friday, Infest and my new job – so it's all happening in Vickyland!

Much Love, Vix

Monday, 8 July 2013

June into July

June into July…

So, despite me thinking things would be quieter towards the middle of the year, it’s all gone off! I’ll try and summarise some highlights for you (with plenty of photographs), but there really is too much to remember!

We haven’t had more than 3 nights in over the course of June – July… so busy busy busy. Really nice though! Caught up with old friends and family and made some new ones and been to lots of exciting locations… well… I’ll go back to the beginning shall I…

3rd – 5th June (Erick’s here)

We were lucky enough to have a visit from our wonderful friend Erick on 3rd… after a brief SOS meeting with Jo in the park post-work, we hoofed it to the Ropewalk on St Paul’s Square to enjoy some moderately warm sunshine and some lovely cold pints. It was really nice, as Jo had never met Erick – but they got on really well and we all sat out and drank far more than previously anticipated.

On the Wednesday, we had booked a day off to hang out and take Erick somewhere fun. Obviously, we settled on one of the funnest places in the UK – Alton Towers! Despite getting there early and it being a Wednesday, it was surprisingly rammed. It didn’t spoil our enjoyment though and we managed to get on 13, Nemesis, Ripsaw and most of the big rides. The highlight was definitely the new ride though – Smiler. Despite advertising a 3.5 hour queue (seriously), we chanced single riders and got on within 30 mins. Totally worth it. We left after that, figuring that nothing else would be as good!

We were back at work Thursday, but it wasn’t too bad. Erick was going to see some other friends, so it wasn’t any skin off his nose and it was nice for us to have a break from work – even if it was just one day.

7th June – Judder!

We filled the Thursday night and managed to adequately prepare for Judder on Friday… Judder is a club night in Cheltenham run by our lovely friend’s Lee and Charlie. We managed to blag a last minute hotel for just over £30, so after work it was all systems go! Bags packed, fancy dress outfit prepared and a dash in the car later – we were ready for our first taste of Cheltenham goth. The theme was comic books, and the company and costumes were brilliant! We had a fabulous night chatting and dancing, and to top it off – I won best dressed female (in a borrowed Tank Girl outfit), so it really was a night to remember. I can’t wait to go back!

Saturday was Cheltenham Science festival. So slightly hungover, we made our way to the town hall to soak up some knowledge. We didn’t stay for long, but we did have a lovely mooch around and saw a mock surgery – which was really interesting.

9th – BBQ fun in the sun!

On the 9th, we had a full day planned. However, I had taken a bit of a spill on the Friday night so was limping quite drastically. I sat out the art installation (A universe of sound) and did a few chores, before meeting up with the others for sun, a few beers and some grilled veggies and meats. Ended up being a lovely afternoon filled with catch up chats and giggles.

The Monday and Tuesday were blessedly quiet and a good chance to catch up on charity stuff for work and the JQNF posse.  We also booked our flights to Vienna in September, so that’s something else to look forward too!

12th – Bollywood Dancing

On the 12th, I learned how to Bollywood dance. It was a free event put on by the CBD, and was great fun! The day had been very pleasant, but it unfortunately rained when we were due to do our workshop – which was probably a blessing in disguise as we got to do it indoors (away from the eyes of the people working in the CBD). I’m not very graceful, but I gave it my best and me and Jo danced until the sweat was going in our eyes. Not a lovely picture… but fun all the same!

On the Thursday I had a well overdue catch up with Cate at the 6/8 Kafe. It was good to hear she was doing ok, as many of my friends are having a bit of a rollercoaster of a year…

15th - Ritual Noise

For the life of me, I cannot even remember what I did on the Friday now… it’ll have probably been eventful on account of us not being in on a Friday for weeks – but I couldn’t honestly tell you… Saturday was a rush day. Got up nice and early, went to market, did some chores before shoving some stuff in a bag and dashing to Lancaster with Jon in tow. We were staying with our friends Jex and McBain who put on a monthly club night at “The Park” hotel. Once we had got there, we settled down with a couple of drinks and had a quick catch-up before heading to the venue for 8pm. A mad might ensued with seeing old friends, meeting new ones, dancing and teapots filled with cocktails before dying a tired drunken death at about 3am.

The next day was father’s day and Dan’s niece’s birthday. It was lovely to catch up with Dan’s family, and we had some tasty BBQ food and nibbles, as well as plenty of coffee and squash (to hydrate from the night before). Luckily, we woke up quite spritely – so running around after a 2 year old and a 4 year old was more fun than a difficult obstacle to overcome. They are just so darn cute – it was good to get lots of cuddles and play with their new circus tent.

Monday and Tuesday I was out and about playing catch-up with people again – having non-alcoholic cocktails and coffee (as I’d packed in booze for two weeks), before networking Wednesday…

19th – Birmingham Futures

On Wednesday, me and Jon went to a Birmingham Futures Networking event at KPMG (Snow Hill 1). We were lucky to blag our way onto the guest list, so we had a great evening of watching the sun slowly set from one of the highest buildings in Birmingham and hearing some really inspiring speeches about the progress of regeneration and tourism in the City Centre. I sing Birmingham’s praises all the time, but it’s nice to see people with real power and authority showing their love for the City. Jonathon Cheetham (Head of Retail Birmingham), hit the nail on the head with his speech. He culminated with a statement along the lines of, “We have something really special in Birmingham. The problem is, we don’t shout about it.” It’s true. We have everything here, from fashion and art events, to live music, world firsts, food festivals and more free museums than you can shake a stick at! I came away filled with love and a renewed commitment to sharing my experiences in Birmingham with as many people as would listen…

On the Thursday, I met up with Cate once again. This was a nice quiet evening and a good chance to get an update on gossip with her and Jo. Friday was exhausting. After a long week at work (lots of meetings, late finishes and early starts), I had arranged a Zumba event for Charity. Come 5’o’clock I was nervously waiting in the lobby of my building praying people would turn up and pay their £3 to strut their stuff. It was a hot day and a Friday evening, so I was pleased with the turn out of 11 people (seeing as about 10 dropped out on the day). We had a great time and made £40 for charity – which the company should match – so will be £80. Not bad for an event that cost nothing to run.

22nd – sober gigging

So Saturday 22nd. I had managed one week sober at this point and was determined to carry on…  after another day of chores and normal Saturday things, we met with Clare and some of her friends at the Island Bar. Did you know if you buy 4 alcoholic drinks you can get a none alcoholic drink free? It was a revelation to me and meant that I had 2 lovely fruity cocktails for the princely sum of nothing. After this, we headed down to the Sunflower lounge to see 3 bands for a fiver – a bargain in my book! Linerunners (from Hereford) were a well-rounded and post-punk influenced band. We drank in their original compositions and duly tapped our feet, clapped along and shouted our approval all through the set. They were followed by Batsch, a massively underrated British Electo indie outfit, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The last band were Bella Diem from Birmingham. Whilst being very tight and sounding very mature, they were a bit AOR for my tastes – so we slunk off halfway through their set to grab a much deserved good night’s sleep.

On the Sunday, me and Dan spent the day together. We hung out before heading to the cinema to see “Man of Steel.” Whilst it was not groundbreaking, we both enjoyed it far more than we thought we would and got a free drink (courtesy of a voucher emailed from the cinema), so it was a nice chilled afternoon.

I had to have a chilled one due to a 5:30 start on Monday morning to catch a train to Cardiff. Dan duly got up with me (to drive me to the train station). Bless him. The journey was a bit of shock to the system, but the training course was really good (I am now officially a BSI trained auditor) and I fell in love with Cardiff. I stayed in a Holiday Inn over the road from Cardiff Castle and next to the stadium, so was bang in the middle of town surrounded by its clean streets and pretty shop fronts. It was hard to be away from home for a couple of nights, but I did enjoy learning a new skill and meeting people from all different industries.


26th – Food Fair

On the 26th (straight off the train), I met with Dan and headed to Yelp’s food fair at Hotel La Tour. I had never been to this venue before (even though I did a lot of the permit’s to help build it) and was pleasantly surprised.

By the time we had got there, the majority of food had gone. There were still a few people milling about, and it was nice to catch up with Gilly, Rickie and a couple of other friends I hadn’t seen for a while (whilst eating some delicious macaroons). There was a load of free booze left, much to my despair (as I still wasn’t drinking), but it was still worth a visit and a look at some of the gastronomical delights that Birmingham has to offer.

The foodie theme continued on the Thursday, as we attended the #BYY Food Rave. We got there quite early, which was a pain – but did mean that the lovely coffee people gave us some free hot drinks to warm us up. Once inside, we partook of some delightful starters from Lasan, some delicious vegan food from a deli in Moseley and the biggest Chilli Dogs you have ever seen – all in all, a good first event for the Brum Yum Yum crew.

27th Storming the Castle

On the Friday (after an early night – luckily), we took Carolyn and her birthday princess (4 years old) to Warwick Castle as a special treat. After a fairly rude awakening (not the lie in we would have hoped for), we wrestled with the car seat and got safely to our destination without incident. Lacey was a treat, full of excitement and wonder when looking upon the eagles, princesses, knights and towers of this historic monument. We had a delicious picnic lunch and finished the day on a high, presenting the birthday girl with a princess hat to congratulate her on her exemplary behaviour. After cooking them both a spot of tea, we threw some stuff into a bag (once again, our trusty backpacks did us proud) before another early morning.

We caught the 8:10am train to London Euston on the Saturday morning (the penultimate no drinking day). After a pleasant journey spent reading and yawning, we caught the underground to Camden before walking to London Zoo. We were meeting Steve, Jo and co. at around 1pm – so took the opportunity to see all of the animals which are our favourites before the majority of families arrived (with lots of over excited children) and scared the animals into hiding. When the others arrived, we were shattered – but grabbed a spot of lunch before a pleasant meander around the more popular animals (mine and Dan’s favourites were the Aardvarks, Ant eaters, Bats and night time animals) in the blazing hot London sun.

Once we had seen all we could see, we headed to Soho (through the Pride masses) and grabbed a gorgeous burrito – before breaking my alcohol fast early (only 5 or 6 hours, mind) with a cold, cold pint of British lager in a swarming street. After visiting a few Central London bars, we headed back to our friends house for a nights kip in preparation for another bid day Sunday..

30th It’s a nice day for a… goth wedding…

I woke up feeling AWFUL on the Sunday. I wouldn’t have minded, but I was very sensible on the Saturday (drinking plenty of water and eating lots of food). It was a long slog to get ready… but we did it. Once I had finished offloading the contents of my stomach (which wasn’t helped by being out in the sun all day on Saturday sans headwear), I managed to make myself presentable for our trip down to Camden Town Hall to celebrate the wedding of our friends, Lysa and Alex.

It was a lovely day, filled with old friends, tears and a sense of celebration that lasted from the start of the celebration to when we sadly had to leave and catch our train. I was definitely ready for bed when I got in, but had a real life affirming “Love is all you need” sort of day.

Luckily, we had the Monday off work to recuperate. I had a charity quiz to run in the evening (another £200+ raised for the Children’s Hospital), but it went without incident and my dear work colleagues won (again). It wasn’t a late night, but after leaving the venue (Temple Street Social), further pints were enjoyed in both the Old Joint Stock and the Wellington… meaning I might have been a little merry.

3rd July – CBD launch

Wednesday was a big event for me! I had my magazine debut in the Colmore Business District Area guide! It was all a very fancy affair (at Hotel Du Vin, don’t you know) with lovely food, wine and good company… made some great contacts and got commissioned to write another piece! I ended up staying up waaay too late, but it was worth it and put a big smile on my face for the rest of the week.

4th July – Independents day
Another night… another swanky event… on Thursday we went to the celebration of Independent retailers in Birmingham. The night started with a coffee and a read of some free comics at the 6/8 Kafe, before moving on to the Great Western Arcade for free cocktails (courtesy of Bitters’n’Twisted), nibbles, interesting conversation and live jazz. Called it a night pretty early as it had been another busy week, but had a really good time with Jon, Caroline and Jo.

5th – 8th July – Carnival in the Sun!

The last few days to give you an update on… Finally went home and caught up with the parents in Milton Keynes at the weekend. It was my brothers birthday and carnival weekend – so it was the social height of Buckinghamshire’s calendar! All joking aside, it was a great chance to actually put my feet up, catch up with the family and see some of my friends..

So… I’m going to leave it there for now, but stay tuned blog fans! We’ve got a busy weekend this weekend, next weekend and pretty much until the end of August (not even counting all the stuff planned in the weeks!).

Monday, 3 June 2013

May Part Deux

So, as predicted, I’ve been lax as ever. May has been a really busy month in the Osgard Household! No time to stop and think, let alone write the blog. Thanks for being patient and bearing (Grrr) with me.

Let’s start where we left off… Eurovision! What a night that turned out to be! Me and Danface headed down to Lidl in the day to stock up with European snacks for a fun filled themed evening. Ended up buying lots of interesting sweets and savouries for the hungry hoards. After doing Market, Lidl, town and Tesco – we cleaned the flat and rearranged the furniture to fit people in. To give you an idea of size in the flat, you can comfortably fit 4 -5 people in the living room. We managed 10 (with some of our friends having to sit on the floor). When people started to arrive at 7:30, we realised there wasn’t enough worktop space! To top off the brioche, Finnish crackers and assorted cheeses, snacks and other cakes; we were bought Borsche (I have NO idea if that’s spelt right), a Russian cake, a Dutch apple cake, a Jameson’s cheese cake, French truffles and lots of other bits and pieces… the tables were GROANING with foods!

Everyone chose a country to support, so we had Jon turn up as a Russian monk, Jo came covered in packs of Malteasers, I painted a Norwegian flat on my face and dressed in red and blue and everyone else had little touches to give away their favoured country. Before the contest, I ended up putting some cold hard cash (£2.20) bets on – walked away with a whopping £1.20 profit. Get in! Our Sweepstake was a success as well, with Jon walking away with £9 on Azerbijan. We had a brilliant time – shouting at the TV and singing along… The real mark was the hangovers everyone had on Sunday.

On the Sunday, Me and Dan attempted to do some tidying up – before heading to BMAG. We had been meaning to go for ages to catch their “Metropolis” exhibition, but hadn’t really had a chance. We got there for 1pm and started to wander around… before realising it was 4:15 (the museum closed at 5pm) – so had to make our way out. The place is a total maze – but totally brilliant! If you haven’t been recently, put aside a few hours and pop down.

On the Tuesday, I had a very exciting evening. I got invited to undertake a safety visit on the Birmingham Queensway tunnels at night. Rather than giving you a complete run down on here (and repeating myself), the blog I wrote for that is shortly due to appear on here Keep an eye on it! It was a lot of fun, but very tiring as I went to work for 7:30am, home for 12:00pm, picked up and 9:15pm and back home for after 1am! Didn’t take any pictures of me in my sexy PPE (Bright Yellow is NOT my colour), so I’ll leave that to your imaginations. Needless to say, it’s not pretty.

On Wednesday – I was shattered (as you can imagine). We still had Gay Wednesday, but I wasn’t very with it… However, it did spark a good conversation with my friend Jo about how we haven’t been out together (on our own), in years – the summary of which will appear later.

On Thursday, me, Dan and Emma had a fantastic evening. As one of my birthday presents, Emma had booked us tickets to go and see “Dr Frankenstein’s Travelling Freakshow” at the Old joint Stock. We got there for about 7:15 and grabbed a pint and a quick catchup before heading upstairs to the eerily decked out waiting area for the screen. The corridor was all laden with torn and stained circus flags and a weird black and white video was showing on a loop with creepy circus music playing in the background. When the doors opened to the theatre, we quickly found seats opposite the stage. The stage was quite plan, just raised with boxes and decorated with a mini big top (like a utility tent), again with the strange circus music playing over the top… I’m not going to give too much away about the show on here (in case you ever get to see it), but I would encourage you all to catch it if you can! Details of the tour are here!frankensteinfreakshow/cjvj and the only review I will give was that it was hilarious, edgy, unsettling and gripping all of the way through. A real treat!

The Friday in work was a half day (thank goodness), as it was balls. But… Friday was a nice day, as it was Nate’s birthday! A fun half day of surprise birthday goodness was hatched. We started off by all heading to Sarehole Mill in Birmingham to have a Tolkein inspired afternoon. A really lovely museum built around a working watermill (which the lovely gent switched on for us so we could see it in action). Despite the cold, miserable weather in Birmingham – the bright and breezy atmosphere being around our friends made it a lovely trip. Once we had finished, we dashed back, put our Glad rags on and headed back out to Las Iguanas. A really nice meal was had by all before heading to Highlight Comedy Club in town for a mix of stand-up comedians. The first couple of comedians were quite frankly, naff – but were made up for by the individual and quartet in the second part of the show. We had quite enough drinks to ensure that we were receptive for a good laugh – and the last act were so good, we were howling in the aisles!

On the Saturday, we managed to drag ourselves out of bed early as we had gotten our hands on some tickets for the Pinhole Camera workshop in the CBD. We had a great time building our own pinhole cameras and learning a little bit about how to use them before running around the area like mad things, just trying to get a good shot! I have attached my best photo of the day (the negative and the positive version), which I ended up being quite pleased with. If you’re interested and around Birmingham, these will be on display (along with the other less good pictures) in the 6/8 Kafe for a month! In the evening, we had a chilled one (which we needed) watching “Dragon Wasps!” and the beginning of the “Toxic Avenger” before heading to bed. Turns out running around town all day in the sun is pretty tiring.

On Sunday, we made the most of the sun! We took Jo and Caroline over to the MAC to visit their monthly food fair, before heading to “Animalmania” at Blakesley Hall. Just £1 to see Skunks, Meerkats, Desert Rats, Tarantula’s, Bearded Dragons, Turtles and Snakes. We had a nice walk around the gardens too – which was fabulous in the warm weather. As we finished earlier than we thought, we had time to walk around Moseley Bog too – which was beautiful. All of the walkways have been raised on logs, so it’s like walking around a forest with wild flowers and ducklings. By the time we made it home and had made a start on dinner, the last thing we felt like doing was going back out – but back out we went! Back to Squeeky’s and Gitzy’s for another chilled evening to watch the new series of Arrested Development.

Bank Holiday Monday was (luckily) Lazy. Desperately so. I don’t think I got out of bed before 2pm – but trust me – I needed the rest! We did manage to fit in the weekly shop and the chores though –  as well as a trip to the lovely St Paul’s church for film club – so it could have definitely been lazier. Another great night was had with Vicar Mary! No film club in June, but if you fancy joining us in July – the line-up can be found here -

Wednesday was lovely. I’m not having an easy time at work at the moment, but all of my friends are being amazing! On Wednesday it all went a bit girlie – with Tira, Caroline and Jo all coming over my place. We had plenty of wine, ale and peanut butter chocolate fudge (as well as the usual line up of bitching and chats), so that was a good hair down affair.

Thursday started off with a bit of a sore head (Blame the red wine), but I had a brilliant evening at a charity fashion show for Barnado’s. The brief the students were given was to buy materials from a charity shop for under a set amount (about £5 I think) and then create a catwalk piece and some smaller items to sell. I bought some lovely pieces off the lady pictured with the blue neckpiece (below).I was tucked up in bed by a reasonable hour and manage to sleep beautifully.

Going back to events of earlier… it was mine and Jo’s girlie date day Friday! After a brief drink down the Rose Villa in the Sun with Clare (she wasn’t feeling very well), I met some other work friends at the Jekyll and Hyde. Jo turned up promptly for 6:30 for a last cocktail in the sun before we were seated for food. Had some gorgeous Sea Bass with Samphire followed by Ginger cake and a gin flight. After our meal, we went to see Jon and ended up hanging out till 1:30am!

Saturday was another chore day with added Goth fun BBQ! After our wander round town to pick up foods and clothes, we headed to Bournville to our friend Nate’s house for a chilled evening with lots of grilled meats and some laughs. Didn’t head back too late – so got a decents nights sleep with a large added lay in to boot! Just did some chores before watching some more Arrested Development (just two more episodes to go!) with Squeek and Gitz in the evening.

So… we’re in June already! Lots of exciting things planned for this month including a trip to Judder (Cheltenham), Ritual Noise (Lancaster), Dan’s Parents (Houghton), a food based rave, a wedding, London Zoo and Warwick Castle! It should provide some interesting photos (and hopefully good reading!). Must dash – got a job application to do before Erick gets here from Italy tomorrow. TTFN!