Birmingham · UK

Out and About in Birmingham: January 2017

It's a new dawn, it's a new day...it's a new year! Here's what A Brummie Home and Abroad got up to in January 2017
It’s a new photo for my monthly Brum catch-ups this year. Find more from CPF Photography here.

I’ve stayed away from Dry January this year. I’m no alcoholic, but by 31st January the last three years, I’ve been hallucinating red wine, dreaming about gin and practically crawled on my hands and knees to the nearest bar. Why put myself under that pressure again? So January has mainly been spent polishing off all of the leftover Christmas chocolates, biscuits and various alcohol in Chez Fletche. I am still puzzling over why we buy advocaat every year, just so Mr Fletche can make Ma Lee one Snowball.

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Talking of Ma Lee, we started the year with a special post-Christmas treat – afternoon tea at The Edgbaston.  I thought I’d give a foodie blog a go; you can read all about our visit in A Festive Afternoon Tea for Two @ The Edgbaston!

The amuse bouche at the Edgbaston afternoon tea was pretty impressive
There’s drama afoot at the Edgbaston!

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Mr Fletche was Out and About in Birmingham with IgersBirmingham for their first instameet of the year in the lesser explored area of Deritend.  You can read all about it here in a blog by IgersBirmingham’s own Fraser McGee, and some of Mr Fletche’s images from the day are shown below.  For more of Mr Fletche’s work, check out http://www.cpf-photography.com/

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Mr Fletche thought it might be time to drag me out of my hibernation today; after all, bingewatching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix is hardly a healthy hobby. He had been playing with his new camera in Brum, so I drove up to meet him. After a bit of deliberation on where to go for lunch, and a very convoluted route along the canals, we end up at JuJus Cafe. I love this place. I love that it’s always buzzing with a great mix of people, that the food and drink is good, and that the staff – including the eponymous JuJu herself – are always so welcoming. It’s all about the brunch here, and Mr Fletche opts for the veggie hash, whilst I go for the meaty version. No eggs.

If I had to pick one fault, it would be that the hot drinks are served well in advance of the food, but this is a tiny issue. Our hash(es) were served in mini skillets, and both were fair sized portions. Brunch, plus a tea and coffee came to £23.  My favourite brunch destination.

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I took a lurgy-filled Ma Lee to the sparkly, glittery world of Strictly Come Dancing at the Barclaycard Arena…you can read my thoughts on the occasion here.  Our evening was bookended by pre- and post-Strictly drinks at the Prince of Wales on Cambridge Street, and the canalside Malt Shovel.

Strictly Come Dancing Live at Birmingham's Barclaycard Arena
“Da-da-da-da-da-da-da, Da-da-da-da-da…”

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I excitedly made my way up into Birmingham for the Chinese New Year celebrations…only to find the Arcadian a veritable ghost-town.  Turns out I was a day early.  I buy a jumper so my journey isn’t entirely wasted.  And I also stop for a coffee and a pastry at Second Cup Coffee on New Street.  Having a solo coffee isn’t something I do very often, but it’s definitely something I should do more often as I enjoy settling down with a cappucino and a book whilst the world buzzes around me.

I make good use of my Daysaver by hopping back on the No 37 later, with Mr Fletche in tow this time.  We’re off to the Mockingbird Cinema and Kitchen in Digbeth, to get all nostalgic for the 90s with the Trainspotting sequel.  In 1996, i had bought my house, was working as a payroll assistant, and dating the man we now unaffectionately know as “Twatface”.  I was listening to Boyzone, Eternal and Celine Dion.  Somehow, at this point, Britpop passed me by.  As did Trainspotting.  In 2001, I lost Twatface and gained some semblance of taste, devouring everything cool that I’d missed out on.

T2 isn’t a patch on the original, not as gritty, not as violent, but is more of a reminiscence, with frequent callbacks and flashbacks to the first film.  Yes, Ewan McGregor gets naked. Yes, Robert Carlyle has a dodgy moustache.  Yes, subtitles are required for those of us not totally attuned to the Scottish accent.  All-in-all, a good film in an intimate cinema that I’d rather give my money to than the big chains.  We finished the evening with the welcome return of Digbeth Dining Club, which is now open on Saturday’s too!  Cambodian chicken and sweet potato curry for me, and Hanoi pork burger for Mr Fletche, courtesy of Canoodle.  Oh DDC, how we’ve missed you!

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On Sunday, I went to my first Bloggers Brekkie at Foyles Bookshop in Grand Central.  As always, I was super nervous about going, but once there, surrounded by lovely books and with a croissant in one hand and cup of tea in the other I started to relax.  I spotted a friendly face in the guise of Sorcha of Writing About Books, who I’d briefly met at the BrumBloggers Gin Vault meet back in August, and then Full to the Brum’s Laura, stepping away from food and drink blogging and dabbling in book blogging.  These events are being held on the last Sunday of each month, and although there is a big focus on books and book blogging, it’s a chance for any local-based bloggers to come and network.  There are also a few freebies (I love a free badge!), 20% on-the-day discount for any purchases, and the opportunity to join the Foyles affiliate scheme.  If I ever start reviewing books (which i don’t because I binge read about five books at once and then can’t remember what I’ve read) then I’ll definitely sign up.  I got to meet some more new people, including Becky of Blogger and the Geek, Julia of De Ja Ju, Becky (another one!) of BecBec and fantasy novel author Simon Fairbanks.  This event will definitely become a regular in my calendar.

Foyles Blogger Brekkie, last Sunday of every month at Foyles Grand Central in Birmingham
The freebie table was very popular

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So that was January!  It seemed like it went on forever, yet now we’re already 1/12th of the way through 2017!  What will February bring?  So far in the diary…a meet up with some of my new bloggy friends and an evening with the Pet Shop Boys!

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