Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Sunshine & A Cloudy Day!

I have not done much on the creative front for a while so I have decided to show you what I have done instead. Actually, that isn't true as I actually got round to patchworking a bedroom wall. I was so pleased with it that I am doing another one as well - blog to follow about that.

The weekend before last was Heritage Weekend in the UK which means that many buildings that are not usually open to the public are accessible and also the entrance fee is waivered in others.

We decided to make the most of this and headed into Birmingham to our first destination which was Singers Hill Synagogue. This is a beautiful building which has been there since the 1800's and was designed by the same man that designed Birmingham Town Hall. We went on a little tour and I was amazed that our guide was friends with someone from my hometown in South Africa. It started with me recognising his accent and I asked if he was South African and he said he was from Zimbabwe but his parents were South African and we went on to discuss where his parents were from etc and it turns out that he knows my little town well. Small world hey?

Anyway, the shul was beautiful and we were told all about its history and the history of the Jews in Birmingham.

After leaving the shul we made our way to Edgbaston to Winterbourne House. This is an Arts & Crafts House and was once the home of the man who started town planning.

Although having lived in Birmingham for some time now this was one place I had never been to. The house inside is stunning but we only had access to the ground floor which was a bit disappointing as had we had to pay it would have been poor value for money. The garden however was stunning and HUGE and luckily it was a gloriously sunny day.

As you will see from the pictures Miss J and Miss G put in an appearance as does a book that I left for someone to find. I Bookcross a lot of books so if you find one somewhere take it and read it, if you don't like it just leave it somewhere else for someone else. I sat and watched loads of people just look at it and walk by. I have only ever found one book this way and I was beyond excited but that's just me - a bookworm. I left alot around Dorset/Somerset when I was on holiday back in July/August and it's always lovely when someone logs it in with Bookcrossing and leaves a comment.

So that was the sunny bit ... Moving on to last Wednesday and the cloudy bit. It wasn't so much cloudy but more like torrential rain threatens to stop play.

We had booked tickets several months ago to go and see the England vs South Africa T20 at Edgbaston Cricket Club and I was super excited to see South Africa play. It was due to start at 6:30pm and it was lashing it down at 5pm when we got there and I was convinced play wouldn't go ahead but at 8:15pm it finally did but instead over 20 overs it was 11 and South Africa got thrashed. In spite of that and the bitter cold and not forgetting the foul language from the men behind us who were drunk and them nearly bursting my eardrums shouting for one of the England players cap a good time was had by all apart from Mr Handmade who has vowed he will never be going again so not to ask him ...

The next blog post will feature the patchwork wall and hopefully, fingers crossed the mini chest of drawers which is awaiting the makeover ...

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your week and have a fab weekend xx

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Art for Art Sake ...

The summer holidays are drawing to a close and Miss G and Miss J are starting to get cabin fever as it seems our two week holiday was years ago. So we decided to get the bus and pop into town. Town for us is Birmingham and about twenty minutes or so by bus. We start by doing the obligatory shopping which consisted of Miss J's constant search for shoes that are nice to look at but also suitable for her 25 minute walk to school (she is starting 6th Form on Tuesday). After searching without success we head to Paperchase so Miss G can ogle at the lusciousness of it all and decided what to buy. Whilst she was narrowing it down to about a hundred items I went to look at the cards with Miss J which resulted in us laughing loud and hysterically to Miss G's disgust. Eventually she decided on a pen and a postcard and with that we set off for a spot of lunch.

We passed the Iron Man on the way and he has been there since 1993 which makes him the same age as my son.

We also went past this willow and plant canoeist which is one of 23 I believe dotted around town to mark the Olympics. I've only spotted around four of them so I am not sure where the rest are hiding!

Food is not always a straightforward affair in the Handmade Lifestyle House. We are a family of five and we have two vegetarians (Miss J and Miss G) a vegan (me) a husband who never eats meat at home but will at any given opportunity when he is out and about and a son who was vegetarian for eight years and then after a year away at university now eats meat.

So we decided to try Veged Out which is a vegan/vegetarian cafe in Fletchers Walk near Birmingham Library. I had a gorgeous potato and spinach curry and the Misses had pizza. I followed that with THE best carrot cake ever - all cakes are vegan - which had no icing luckily as I really don't like that and the Misses had a chocolate cupcake.

We trotted along to the Ikon gallery next as Miss J was keen to go as she is about to embark on A level Art and had been previously with friends.

An enjoyable half hour or so was spent looking at some amazing pieces of art and then naturally we had to browse in the shop where both girls bought a few postcards of some of the exhibits and a badge. 

The top of a building near the Ikon. I just love the little tower.

After this we decided to stroll back down to the bus stop and get the bus home. We went past the new library which is due to open next year. I'm still not quite sure what I think of it and will reserve judgement until it is complete I think ... 

Over the road from this on Broad Street - home to a lot of Birmingham's nightlife - is the statue of Matthew Boulton and friends. 

Matthew Boulton was a manufacturer and partner of James Watt and together they installed hundreds of Boulton & Watt steam engines which made possible the mechanisation of many factories and mills. 

I do wish they hadn't been painted gold though. I preferred the original stone.

I just love the view along the canal and we decided that next time we would go on a canal boat as well.

Miss G absolutely loved this car and cello! Not quite sure of the connection though ...

I can't leave out a few pictures of the Council House and the Town Hall as they are my favourite buildings in Birmingham.

Finally before getting on the bus we were treated to some live music from Bolshy who were AMAZING!!!