Well, here we are, wishing another year goodbye and saying hello to a brand new year! And not only a new year, a new decade too – welcome to the ’20s! So there’s a lot to look back on but I’ll keep it brief (for once!)
It was a relatively quiet international travel year in 2019. With my mother in law being moved into a hospice in February, we focused mainly on UK staycations. That way we were always reasonably close to home should we have needed to return quickly. Between January and June, we managed to squeeze in trips to Liverpool, London, Northumberland, the Peak District and the Lake District. And Milton Keynes, for Escape Room, Jenga and lots of drinking. And Teignmouth for Ma Lee’s 65th birthday weekend.
In June we took our first flight of the year, for a week in the beautiful Jungfrau region of Switzerland. The scenery was stunning, the mountain air refreshing, and the prices eye-wateringly high. Particularly the speeding fines. Of which there were many. There’s lots of Switzerland content here; one of my favourite posts is this one all about visiting the top of Europe at Jungfraujoch.
Mr Fletche and I had the opportunity to spend a night in Manchester thanks to a collaboration with National Express (#AD). We ate and drank our way around the Northern Quarter. And I posed (badly) in front of colourful walls.
September saw us travelling from the Cotswolds for a wedding straight to Greece. We kept our fingers crossed that the forecasted storms wouldn’t affect our travel plans that Friday 13th. Suffice to say, they did, and we found ourselves with an unexpected day to explore Athens. We finally made it to Naxos, albeit a day late, and it was a destination to cross off my travel wishlist.
In October, we made another trip up to the Lake District to bag a few more wainwrights, and then headed to Germany in late December to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary at the Christmas markets of Aachen and Cologne. We squeezed in a second trip down to London for our second West End show of 2019.
At the moment we haven’t made too many travel plans for 2020. There’s a house move on the cards, hopefully in January. Plus planning for a certain big trip in April is taking up all my travel planning time at the moment – more on that soon!
Mr Fletche and I have now spent an entire calendar year as city dwellers and JQ residents. And one of the best things about this lifestyle is being surrounded by great places to eat, drink, indulge in culture and partake in a little competitive fun. All within walking distance. Here in the Jewellery Quarter, our favourites are 1000 Trades, The Wolf, Saint Kitchen and Rose Villa Tavern. 1000 Trades was the winner of the Observer Food Monthly Awards Best Place to Drink no less.
There haven’t been many foodie blogs on A Brummie Home and Abroad this year but I have written about gin-tasting at Loki Wine, BBQ Street Food at Apocalypse Cow in Digbeth, beer-tasting at Head of Steam, and an awesome Sunday Lunch at Hotel Du Vin. Other notable dishes this year have included gyros at All Greek Street Food, all-you-can-eat meat at Fazenda, baos at Tiger Bites Pig, eggy crumpets at Waylands Yard and charcuterie boards from Arch 13. We’ve also enjoyed sampling the beers at Rock and Roll Brewhouse (new location coming soon), Burning Soul Brewery and Dig Brew Co. We even made it out to Stirchley earlier in the year to visit Cork and Cage and Attic Brew Co – I feel another visit coming on soon! And of course, we took advantage of our Independent Birmingham membership whenever possible.
Flight Club opened in Brum this year, and Mr Fletche and I have returned on a number of occasions. We’ve also played table-tennis at Dropshot, bowled at Lane 7 and curled at The Floodgate. My favourite place to dance and listen to live music is The Night Owl; the best nights there this year were the British Beat Bank Holiday and the Tarantino-themed Halloween night.
And of course, theatre has been a big part of my blog in 2019. We went down to London to see Hamilton and Come From Away. Kinky Boots at the Hippodrome was our xmas present from Ma and Pa Lee. And I continued working with the Alexandra Theatre, reviewing shows including Abigail’s Party, Hair, Amelie, Girl on the Train, Mousetrap and the King & I. I feel so lucky that this little blog allows me the opportunity to indulge in my passion for the theatre!
As we entered the ’10s, I was 32 years old. Married for just over a year, living in a terraced house in Tyseley. Facebook reminds me that I spent the festive season 2009 playing Rock Band and Singstar. I was working at Lombard Vehicle Management. I had a black Renault Megane. I had travelled to Spain, Greece, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic and the Maldives. I smoked. JD & Coke was my drink of choice. I didn’t have a degree. We had two cats, Samson & Delilah. And a rubber plant called Terry. I’d never climbed a mountain. And I certainly didn’t have a blog. A Brummie Home and Abroad wasn’t born.
And suddenly, it’s 2020. I’m 42 years old and the greys are coming through thick and fast. As are the random hairs on my chin. Mr Fletche and I have been married eleven years. It’s not always been perfect, but we’re perfect for each other. We live in a city apartment. We’ve had an offer accepted on a house in Coleshill. We’ve spent the festive season eating too much cheese and chocolate, and playing daft board games. I work as an L&D coordinator for a construction company. It pays the bills. It’s not my dream job. I have a silver Vauxhall Corsa called Victor Charlie. I’ve had to sit through a speed awareness course.
In the ’10s I’ve travelled to the USA (twice), Canada, Kenya, Costa Rica, Mexico, The Netherlands (twice), Italy (twice), Belgium (twice), France, Poland, Hungary, Malta, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria (twice), Denmark, Sweden (briefly), Croatia, Greece and Germany (twice). And possibly more I can’t think of right now. I haven’t smoked for 7 and a half years. I still drink but my alcohol of choice is now gin or red wine. I have a 2:1 BSc Honours Degree in Psychology. In the last ten years we have said goodbye to my mother-in-law, two cats and Terry the Rubber Plant. That’s in descending order of grief of course. We now only keep fake plants. I’ve climbed Snowdon one and a half times. I hike willingly and own a rucksack. And I’m a blogger. A Brummie Home and Abroad will turn 5 years old in August 2020.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look back over 2019 with me, and a little insight into the person behind the blog! I also hope I’ve encouraged you to try something different in 2020, be it somewhere new to eat and drink, a new place to put on that travel wishlist or a new show to book tickets to see. Let me know your 2020 plans in the comments!