Monday, 29 April 2013



Jeans - Topshop, T-shirt - Debenhams (Henry Holland), Shirt - Republic (my brother's!), Jacket - Republic, Shoes - Fred Perry
This is what I wore on my birthday and as you can see, it's very casual. Usually I get clothes for my birthday, but as I'm saving and got money mostly, I didn't have any new garments to utilise. I'm actually finding that I'm happy with my clothes at the moment and I'm enjoying finding ways to mix and match things. Usually I'm one of those people who opens their overflowing wardrobe and still thinks they have nothing to wear, so this new frame of mind is really great :)  

My cat's (Gemma) new thing is to play in the tree whilst I take photographs, she's so adorable.

Layering is perfect for this odd weather we're having at the moment in the UK - plus I just really love the look of it! :)

Hope you're having a great start to the week,

Sunday, 28 April 2013

17th Birthday

Basically a post about the food I ate on my birthday...

I turned 17 on Thursday and thought it'd be nice to tell you what I did... which wasn't very much... and ALL of the photos are of food!

On Wednesday afternoon my grandparents came round for afternoon tea (how British). My mom is a great cook and makes amazing cakes, biscuits and everything in between. She really should open her own tea room! The b'day tea menu included salmon finger sandwiches, scones, orange cake, lemon cake and of course, tea!

I had school on my birthday (as usual) and had to stay behind for a drama rehearsal. This is the second birthday in a row that I've had an extra long school day because of drama! Oh well, at least it's a fun subject :)

In the evening my parents and I went to an incredible Victorian pub which still retains its original features. Being a Victorian/Edwardian history nerd, I thought this was super cool! The food was fab too. I went for a fairly plain burger, but it was extremely tasty. Sometimes simple is best! 

The burger looked so good that I forgot to take a photo before devouring a large chunk, hence the photo!

On Friday, my mom being the cooking wonder woman she is, baked me a chocolate birthday cake. I had a piece when it was still warm, and it was delicious. 

I received mainly money as I'm saving for an iPhone (which I should be getting this week - yay!). Hope you enjoyed this highly food based account of my birthday!


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Feline Friends

Crazy Cat Lady?!

I'm a cat person. I just adore their upright tails and squeaky chirrups and wispy whiskers. I'm aware that I probably do sound like a crazy cat lady, but I can't deny that I am slightly obsessed with my kitty cats. 

Gemma (1 year old) is such a happy kitty who's full of life. She leaps down the garden like a spring lamb and is the perfect balance of playful and affectionate.  

This photo is typical of Tabitha (6 years old). She is a slightly more idle cat who is most at home curled up by a radiator on a hot summers day... I forgive her though as she had a rough start in life and became a mother at the tender age of 9 months! (By the way, she's not hinting that she would like to come outside in this photo, she's trying to get my attention so I will give her a snack!) 

My garden is cat central, both of my next-door-neighbours have two cats as well - you can't go outside without a friendly feline coming to say hi :)

The neighbour's cat, Tigger

It's amazing how much you grow to love pets. It sounds clich├ęd, but Gemma and Tabitha really are members of the family. When I see cats enjoying their simple lives and living in the moment, it reminds me that we should do the same!  

Thanks for reading, 

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Local History - Birmingham

Back-to-backs and the Jewellery Quarter

I've always been interested in local history, especially Victorian and Edwardian. Living in Birmingham is fairly frustrating as the authorities decided to demolish countless characterful buildings.

For example, the old library which was torn down in 1974. It hadn't even been up for 100 years!

Inner city Birmingham was dominated by thousands of back-to-back houses, built in the 1700 and 1800's. These courts (as they were called), were built for working class people, mainly in industrial cities (e.g. Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool etc) and were badly lit and ventilated and of poor quality and sanitation. Thousands and thousands of people in Victorian and Edwardian Birmingham lived in these houses, but now there's only one proper court remaining.

Courts in Princip Street, 1960. Photo by Phyllis Nicklin

The last court is now owned by the National Trust and you can have a guided tour around the houses. 
Despite understanding that the houses were usually unpleasant to live in and were labelled as slums, I find it incredibly sad and baffling that they're practically all gone. It feels as if an entire way of living has been wiped from memory.

I recently read Kathleen Dayus' (born in 1903) amazing book, The Girl From Hockley , an incredible account of growing up in a Birmingham back-to-back. It made me realise that not only had the era passed, but so has a unique lifestyle, community vibe, and atmosphere which was once shared by vast amounts of Brummies. Reading an historical tale about your own town and from real memory is so much more enthralling - I could barely put the book down!

Back-to-backs were occupied up until the 1960's/70's, before they were bulldozed in slum clearances. Although so many old buildings were tragically torn down, a handful still remain (not enough though!). Last week, my parents and I explored Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter (Where Kathleen Dayus grew up) to attempt to get an impression of what the city would have been like for Dayus and her contemporaries. 

The Jewellery Quarter is a fairly well preserved section of inner city Brum which has a great deal more old and alluring buildings than most Birmingham areas. The district is still home to several jewellers workshops and has a rather authentic vibe.

 Old buildings on Camden Drive, where Dayus and her family lived in a back-to-back

I like the idea of Kathleen, or Kate as she was known, trotting down this cobbled alleyway off Camden Drive as a child

Cobbles - So much nicer than boring tarmac!

A modern view down Camden Drive

A photo of Camden Drive by Keith Berry, 1979

The George and Dragon where Dayus' father enjoyed a pint or two. I wish it was still in use, but at least it's standing!

  We found what looks like a refurbished courts of back-to-backs! Ironically, I bet these wouldn't be cheap today!
The front of the refurbished court - look at that old advert, I do love a good stationary shop!

What I believe to be another somewhat refurbished court. I had to sneak down several alleyways to get these snaps! You can really see what people meant when they described it as it like living down the bottom of a well.

An old building lost in the middle of new structures. 

Old factories, a reminder of Brum's industrial heritage

Possibly the remainder of a court?!

The Jeweller's Arms where Kathleen had the occasional drink

A factory chimney in the distance - they would have once dominated the skyline

I don't mean to romanticise what many have described as living in squalor, but I wish I could go back to old Brum for a day and have a good nosey around - it fascinates me!

I hope you enjoyed this different sort of post. Local history really floats my boat, what floats yours?