Active Citizens Guide To Birmingham Part One

As you know dear reader I recently went on a trip to Sri Lanka with the British council active citizens programme. I wrote a few posts about my journey. As my company is one of the few Active Citizens training providers we get the pleasure of also hosting some international visitors.  I am Birmingham's biggest fan so getting the chance to show some people around my beautiful city is awesome even better when it is part of my job.

We welcomed a lovely crew from Poland, London, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Manchester. I love learning all about new cultures so I was super excited to learn more about this team and their global organisations.

First stop was an introduction to Birmingham Museum and Art gallery. Birmingham is so full of art and culture and since YTV are currently working on some projects with BMAG they were more than happy to give our guests a guided tour. If you have never been to BMAG you really need to go it is seeped with history and beautiful relics.  Even I still learn new things every time I go. There is a beautiful huge angel as you walk through the door and on this trip I learnt it is actually a sculpture of the devil. I quickly found I loved this artists work when we came across another one of his pieces which was his take on war. I cant help but feel as though the terminator films were heavily influence by this work. Most of all though the group loved the museum for the history of Birmingham that you can find. The museum is free and sometimes even has workshops on and a great tea room so be sure to check it out.

We had some time to kill before dinner and who can come to Birmingham without checking out our new biggest feature. The library of course. You can find my previous post on the library here. We showed them the views of Birmingham but was sad to find the secret bookshelf was now gone. Bring it back please Birmingham Library!

Birmingham canals are beautiful especially at night time and there are so many restaurants and bars down by the waterside. With canals being a big part of Birmingham history we took them for a walk around the canals and on to dinner at canal side Handmade burger company. The burgers were yummy the staff were super helpful and friendly and our server was especially hot too! Dinner time was a great time for the group to bind and chat about their experiences over the day and I got to learn more about the programmes they are running in their own countries. We capped off the evening by walking them home through the mailbox with its beautiful lights twinkling off the canal waters.

What's In My Ears?

The other day I came across a you tube channel that I am now a little addicted to. Modern songs covered with a vintage twist. I stumbled upon this when a friend shared one of the tracks on Facebook. I am a huge fan of blues/jazz so when I saw that it was a jazz style post modern cover of the full on classic 'sweet child of mine' I couldn't click on it fast enough.

I could listen to these covers all day long. The ladies and gents in these videos are so talented. This sad clown won my heart. I already love the original to this but he just takes it to a new level for me.

These vixens and well groomed gents are so much more glamorous than most of the stars we see these days. Give me victory rolls and red lippy over sparkly booty shaking any day. These songs feel like a warm walk into the past.

Big voices, sultry outfits and bags of energy please tell me where I can see these shows live! I want to dance with this tambourine man.

Try and tell me you do not love these covers! What is in your ears this month?

Exploring An Abandoned Ice Factory In Berlin

I can't believe it has almost been a year since I went to Berlin now. I still dearly feel as though "I Left My Heart In Berlin" and long to go back. While I was over there I went exploring an old abandoned Ice factory. It is really easy to get to as it is literally just around the corner from the Berlin wall and people will be happy to point the way. Although the building is semi occupied by squatters they are really friendly and just ask you do not go into the bottom floor where they live or disturb the community who live in tepees outside the building. Otherwise they are more than happy to allow guests to respectfully explore and marvel over the beautiful graffiti inside. It is also down by the river

I am a big fan of urban exploring and the decay of buildings that were once a pillar of the community. I feel as though the squatters bring a sense of that community back to the building. You don't have to climb any fences or sneak away from any security guards to get in but it was slippy and snowy when we went so just be careful if when you visit Berlin there is bad weather. Don't go alone and best to go in the day so you can really appreciate the art work. 

Some of the old machinery from the factory still remains

This was a long drop down so again be careful and go in the day

You can get right up onto the roof and see across the river

Tepee community 

Rainbow Recommendations- Pink/ Red


This is another awesome blogger challenge. This time from Emma A Touch Of Sparkle and Mary at Call me Ginge. These lovely ladies paired together to help bloggers get more colour into their lives. Rainbow Recommendations is a beauty themed challenge which encourages bloggers to talk about a beauty product of the nominated colour.

This month the colour is... *drumroll* PINK/ RED

So my favourite pinky red  beauty product of the moment has to go to the magic lipstick from Barry M.

When I first heard about it I was amazed that it changed from green to pink. We tried it on a  few people and everyone came up slightly different but mostly the result is a pinkish red. Ignore my sleepy face but this is how it comes out for me. It does go darker as it develops though and be warned it does take a bit to get off.

Have you tried it? What did you think?

Other Ladies in the Rainbow Recommendations are:-

  • Nic - www.memoirsofachronicchick.co.uk
  • Mary - www.callmeginge.weebly.com
  • Emma- http://emmaatouchofsparkle.weebly.com/

I Got Nominated For The Liebster Award

I got nominated by the lovely Lisa of Fox And Hound. She is new to the blogging world so show her some love and welcome her on board. Which is exactly what the liebster awards is all about. Showing support to other bloggers letting them know that you appreciate their posts and encouraging bloggers to get to know each other. From Lisa's post I learnt that the award originates from Germany and means dearest/sweetheart *blush*

So first up the RULES
  • You must link back to the blogger who nominated you
  • You have to state 11 facts about yourself
  • You have to answer the 11 questions given to you
  • You must create 11 nominees (must have less than 200 followers) and give them a set of 11 new questions (no including the person who nominated you)
  • You have to tell the nominees they have been nominated by you
Let the fun begin

  1. My birthday is March 22nd .... yes that's soon :)
  2. I am an Aries and pretty fiery so it is true
  3. I Love to travel and my job helps me do this
  4. I drowned in a canal when I was 5 and was resuscitated by a hippy
  5. I once had to use life saving first aid twice in my life
  6. I have a huge love of horror, gore and especially Troma
  7. I looked after the school hamster in school because I was a geek...his name was cinnamon and he was a bit bitey
  8. When I first got Mr Theo Noir I thought he was a girl so he was originally a miss and then he kind of tuned out to be a boy.....this also happened with my old cat lily who quickly became illy 
  9. I won horse races when I was younger
  10. I was lucky enough to spend a large part of my childhood on a farm in Wales
  11. I hate Marmite
Lisa's Questions

What are you doing right now?
Watching the Six Nations with one eye and writing this with the other. The joys of multi tasking. I do love my rugby and Wales won yesterday yay.

What is your beauty must have?
In case you haven't guessed by my pictures I am a bit of a eyeliner addict. Every since I was about 15 I haven't felt fully dressed unless I am rocking some eyeliner! Has to be waterproof because I always seem to be standing at the bus stop in the rain and only Alice Cooper can rock that smudged eyeliner look and get away with it.

What would be your dream holiday?
Dream holiday is a hard one to pick for me as lately I have been blessed with being able to go places I would never have dreamt of before.. I love America so I think a dream holiday for me would be with a bunch of my friends travelling across all of America learning about all the different places and eating lots of yummy food. That way I could hit up Vegas, New York and drop in on my homegirl in Portland.

What is your biggest fashion mistake?
I can hang my head in shame and say there have been many but I am glad I went trough them as at the time they were an expression of how I felt. Probably the most boring was when I lived in jeans and band tshirts.The baggy look did nothing for my chunky frame and made me too much of a boy.

Who would win in a fight Gandolf or Dumbledore?
I am going to say it and once it is out there it is never coming back. I can't stand Harry Potter it just is not for me. There you so its said and done don't judge me!  Lord of the rings however now that is some powerful stuff. So for me this is no competition Gandolf is the master of wizards and would kick Dumbledore's ass any day.

What is the scariest thing you have ever done?
When I was 19 I worked in a petrol station. The woman I was working with was attacked. She had her face bitten and was stabbed multiple times. Somehow I went into auto mode and stopped the attack (it was her boyfriend) reasoned with him, called the police, calmed customers and gave her first aid until the ambulance came. He handed himself into the police and the ambulance man said that the first aid I managed to do may have saved her life. When everything was over it suddenly hot me how scary a moment it was. This powered me on to believe in myself and want to work with women who are suffering domestic violence.

What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Just relax and keep being you. Things will get awesome so hold in there. Stay creative, dream big and just be yourself. Don't worry if someone doesn't like you it is not the end of the world and you will grow to love everything you hate about yourself.

What would be the first thing you would grab in a fire?
Since my lovely cat Mr Theo Noir lives with my parents as I live in a flat he would have been the first. I guess my phone so I could call people. My book of memories from my Berlin trip with my Salma and would alert the neighbours so everyone gets out safe.

What is your go to shop for fashion finds?
I am a huge fan of a bargain and I love when I can get something cute to wear. So I would have to say I am a sucker for independent shops, eBay, vintage shops and of course eBay. Recently I have bought some lovely items from other bloggers.

What is the weirdest thing you have ever seen?
Having worked in the community for over 10 years I have seen many a weird thing that is for sure and nothing seems to phase me now. My family are a bit crazy in a good way and it has made me very open minded. Maybe the oddest thing I saw was when I went to a house party in Cornwall and they had put bin bags all over the walls. As creative as it was made me wonder how messy their house parties get.

What was the last thing you bought?
The last thing I bought was some nail varnish and Hello Kitty ears I found in a bargain bin at boots. I told you I am a sucker for a bargain and I have a bit of a kitty ear addiction. Just too cute to pass up on.

I nominate.... 
Some lovely ladies who I love to read on a regular basis

Luica Morris of U Can't Wear That
Emma from A Touch Of Sparkle
Debz from Not So Secret Diary Of A Wannabe Princess
Vicky from The Curved Opinion
Leah from 30 Something Curvy Me
Nancy from Sugar, Darling?
Betty from Big Fat Betty
Katt from Curvy Cupcake
Mookie from Mookie's Life
Nikki from Natty Nikki
Sarah from Sarah Smiles

My questions to you lovely lot are....

If you could have a dinner party with 5 famous people alive or dead who would they be and why?
What is your Fav film? As in the film you can watch over and over and never get bored
Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
If you had a time machine what year would you go to and why?
What is the item of clothing that makes you feel invincible? Picture please
If you could have a super power what would it be?
What was your most embarrassing wardrobe malfunction?
What is the worst thing you have ever eaten?
Where is the best place in the world you have ever visited?
What is your best charity shop find?
What has been your most challenging moment in your life so far?

One of my films ......Zip

So as I am slowly getting back into writing and film making I have been sharing a few of  my old films to try and spark me into getting going again. I already shared 8 bit ninjas music video. Today I wanted to share one of the films I am most proud of.

It is no secret that I am a feminist and a strong believer in fighting for rights and equality for all. If you missed that then you have been reading my blog all wrong or not at all. I wanted to make a piece of work that reflected all the angst I was feeling at the time. I wanted it to be more visually pleasing and wont deny I am heavily inspired by the works of David Lynch. I had this piece in an art show in Wolverhampton and had mixed reactions to it. I would love to hear yours too. I want to leave this open to your interpretation so let me know how it made you feel.

A to Z Of Inspirational Women.......B is for....

You may remember back in November I started A-Z of women I have found inspirational for many different reasons. If you missed out on the A's check out the post here. Lets celebrate some more amazing women and move onto B.

Billie holiday for me is the queen of blues/Jazz. She pulls at my emotions every time I hear her sing. Her singing style had a huge impact on the musical scene of her time (mostly the 1930's-50s). If anyone had anything to sing about it was Billie a young drop out who was raped and became a prostitute Jazz was her outlet. She sang songs of protest and heartache and was one of the first most glamourous women I seen in my life when I saw her on a record cover in my Mama's collection growing up. Billie has pulled me through bad times and good. She paved the way for women jazz singers and despite her life of tragedy still influences men and women all over the world. Have a listen to her powerful protest song.

Glamour is what this next lady is all about. Not afraid to step out of the box of her time and scream naughty sex appeal, paving the way for so many women to come. Yes you have it Miss Bettie Page. *swoon* It is no secret I am a fan of vintage glamour this woman oozes pure sexiness. Those big eyes, trademark bangs and beautiful black hair have had women lusting after her fierce pin up style.

From one sex siren to another I have a major girl crush on Beth Ditto. Bringing body positivity massively into the spot light as she shocked and amazed audiences with her love for her big beautiful curves. Stripping off at gigs, posing nude for fashion magazines and wowing the world with her amazing vocals. Beth is an icon all girls should look up. For those who do not know she is the lead singer of the Gossip. Any woman who grew up loving the X ray spex wins major brownie points with me.

Ok so these next two are technically cheating because they are bands but they deserve to be in here. If you read my post. 'I Will Always Be A Rebel Grrrl' then you will already know my love for Bikini Kill and Babes in Toyland. These women encouraged me to speak my mind and be proud of who I am, not to mention looking killer in baby doll dresses. I remember squealing over meeting Kat after a gig but as the lead singers will defo get a mention later in the A-Z this ones for the bands. So enjoy a few more tracks

Bridgette Bardot is more of a right now icon rather than her past as a fashion model and actress. Don't get me wrong her work for her time was so liberated and she was putting herself out into controversy and challenging the system like crazy. She is like a fine wine and got better with age because now she uses the fame she does have to protest for animal rights and is a keen animal activist. I am a huge fan of the work the sea shepherds do and Bridgette has been supporting them. Still as beautiful as ever inside and out.

Back in my UK Feminista post I gushed about a reporter from the Guardian Bim Adewunmi. I found her to be a very strong confident woman who wanted to share and empower other women to want to read more and write more. Education is so important for women and encouraging me to write a little bit more actually made me want to write this blog more so it would be criminal not to include her. Check out her blog here.

Last but not least for me has to be another teenage idol I had who looked killer, didn't take any shit and taught me to be who I am and own. The distillers front woman Brody Dalle who has teenage me and my friend like putty in her hands and she treated us well. Amazing music and so excited to hear that she will be making a return this year. I will so be at that tour already super excited! So seems only natural to end this with my favourite distillers song which Ama if you are reading this ones for you!

Who are your B's?