Fashion Fest

bhamfashion

Looka here people, Beloved Endeavour is hitting the streets! Birmingham Fashion Festival is a free event taking place on June 22-25 in various locations around the city. Lots of new brands and designers will be there taking part in catwalk shows and allsorts. I will be there waving the plus size banner on June 22 and 23rd only (Thurs and Fri) at the event in Victoria Square, with a shoppable stand. It would be great to see you there- let’s make it a date!

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#WeWantPlates

I’m not someone to document every little thing I eat but I couldn’t help but take photos at a meal I was served at The Botanist in Birmingham.

bot6Yes. That is a shovel. An actual garden shovel. Proving that there is such a thing as taking a theme too far. The soup served in a flowerpot shaped mug was fine but an actual garden tool?

It was my first trip to The Botanist and I’d been looking forward to visiting it since I discovered it a few weeks ago and was struck by the eyecatching wrought iron gates at the front and the inviting terrace.

Image from thebotanist.uk.com

Image from thebotanist.uk.com

I was instantly smitten with the olde worlde feel of the place and on my visit yesterday I liked it even more. The food wasn’t as fancy as I expected and prices were reasonable though the OTT presentation of some of it made me feel that they were trying a little bit too hard. My starter in the shovel- garlic mushrooms- was lovely though the stupid thing kept rocking as I was trying to eat. My main was a selection of four items from a choice of 21, served with freshly baked bread on a wooden slab which was a lot less problematic than the dratted shovel.

Would I go back? Definitely. It was a relaxing and charming experience, the staff were very accommodating and friendly without being too saccharine and I loved the interior. However next time I visit, #WeWantPlates.

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A stitch in time

By far the coolest thing I’ve seen all week….

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You can’t really tell from the photo as you can’t see all the cables that would be at the bottom of the pic, but the sewing machine is powered by the stationary bike. The person on the bike pedals away like a maniac while the artist stitches their portrait as they cycle, interviewing them and incorporating tidbits of their concise life stories into each piece.  Its a fascinating process to witness and the skill and precision of the artist is mesmerising.

The artist is Harriet Riddell and the event is Craftspace. Now in its third year the event has grown from a one day event into a 5 day crafting minifest incorporating hand and machine embroidered textiles, jewellery making with cardboard and live music. It’s held in St Phillip’s Cathedral Square (more commonly known as Pigeon Park) and it really made me feel proud to be a Brummie.

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Wall of hand embroidered messages

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Hand embroidering messages for the wall

Making cardboard jewellery for a nearby tree. Wish I had seen the make over results!

Making cardboard jewellery for a nearby tree. Wish I had seen the make over results!

I was so impressed. My beloved Birmingham used to get a lot of stick for being generally a bit rubbish, but my city has really pulled its socks up and is making its mark. It’s great for big brand shopping but it’s the independents that really make me beam.  The vintage elegance of  Agnes & Norman shoes, the eclectic homewares of Handmade Boutique,  and the delicious eats at Yorks Bakery Cafe are among my favourite places to visit in the city centre. Not to mention our brand spanking library (which looks like a gigantic wedding cake) which is fast becoming my number one spot to relax. Oh yes, its a good time to be in Brum.

PS- I did consider having my own portrait stitched but I started to think….. Can I cycle non stop for 15-20 mins? Will I look like a sweaty heap? Will the bike collapse underneath me? OMG everyone’s looking. I’ll just watch….


Naturally Spectacular

How fitting is it that on a day that brought us this de- wigged picture of the creator of the original wall of sound-

Image from The Telegraph

Image from The Telegraph

– I discover creators of a brand new wall of sound who are all a lot easier on the eyes….

I must have been asleep for the past 10 years because I’ve NEVER heard of Naturally 7. EVER.

I was at work around 4.30 this afternoon wrapping things up when I got a call from my mate H asking if I wanted to go to a concert this evening. My first thought was “damn, I wanted to re- pot my lettuces” (more on that tomorrow) but so as not to admit to being the the fogey that I am undeniably turning into, I said “Sure”. So come 5pm I dashed home, got changed and off we went.

I had no idea who we were going to see and H only had a vague idea of what we were going to hear. Apparently she saw a poster today and thought it sounded interesting ( read: she saw a pic of seven fit men and had to be where they are). H said something about a cappella but I didn’t know what else to expect. A cappella my eye, it was pure vocal gymnastics and was nothing short of spectacular- and even that is an understatement.

The “wall of sound”  they create is done by each member recording and looping sounds as they make them using a food pedal, and layering them over each other, resulting in a rich sonar tapestry that is interwoven and spliced in perfect harmony.

They rnb’d, gospelled, beatboxed and motowned away two hours with the use of no instruments at all although I kept scanning the stage thinking that at some point they must have sneaked an instrument onto the stage because the sounds they generated with their voices were simply amazing. They even did an “electric guitar” version of God Save the Queen which had me roaring, not with royalist pride, but with pure amazement that someone could manipulate their vocal chords in such a manner to create these sounds. They took on Beatles classics, Simon and Garfunkel, Genesis- and they didn’t just sing and perform “vocal play”, they entertained, talked to the audience and got us to join in. I must also add that they mimed all the actions of them “playing” on their specific instruments and their formation on the stage was exactly as it would be if they were playing actual instruments. That added another dimension to the entire performance and gave the ultimate air guitar experience even more depth.

Naturally 7 did a meet and greet in the Town Hall foyer, signing autographs  and taking pictures, but I was too much of a big chicken to get a proper photo of them so all I got was this..

There are a couple of dates left on their UK tour so if you get a chance to go and see them, cancel all other plans for the evening and make sure you go because its an absolute treat.

I left the venue high on happiness and glad I’d gone along. It was so much more fun than lettuce.

The only bum note- literally, was that someone kept FARTING throughout the performance. You know the silent deadly ones that make you want to up and run? It was horrid. Someone really needs to invent some kind of fart catcher that you can poot into to trap the gas then release it later when you are out in the open. You have nappies for babies so they can do their business and you dispose of it later and there needs to be a similar facility for wind. We can send people to the moon, correct impaired vision with lasers but we can’t catch a fart. Someone needs to get on that, pronto.


Gok Wan Comes to Brum

TV fashion stylist Gok Wan is coming to Birmingham next week to film part of his new series of Gok’s Fashion Fix at Selfridges. If you have no idea who I’m talking about, click here for the crash course.

He will be filmed doing his fashion face off against designer boutique owner Brix Smith- Start (co- founder of Start) in a bid to prove that you can achieve catwalk looks with high street clothes. Filming will take place from Tuesday March 10 to Friday March 13 and there will be chances to see him in action at 1pm and 6pm each day. Also, the first 200 people there will get the chance to vote in the final catwalk showdown. For more info visit selfridges.com.


Birmingham Streetstyle Blog! *gasp*

Oh happy day! Here I am ambling around cyberspace counting down til my midnight bedtime and I stumbled upon this- Birlook– a brand spanking streetstyle blog based in Brum. Hooray! There are no actual photos on there yet as the blog was only started yesterday by the looks of things, but I am very much looking forward to seeing who gets shot (in the photographic sense of course, you maniacs). Blog administrator, Coral Stars. I admit- London is the country’s epicentre for interesting quirky streetstyle looks, but Brumington has its own headturners too. There are a few people I have in mind who I just KNOW whill turn up in this blog at some point- the woman with the winged eyeliner and Heidi of the hills hair, for example, who can sometimes be seen sporting a long cornflower blue leather coat. You know who you are- I think you’re fab.


Plus Size Pagent

This is one for all you curvy chicks who want to strut on the catwalk- there is a beauty pagent taking place in Birmingham sometime this year called Miss Proud and Plenty. There is no date listed on the website so I don’t know when it will be held, but there is a link to an application form and a contact number for more info. Will I be entering? Not on your nelly! I really am not one for the spotlight and I would be so nervous I would do a Naomi Campbell and fall on my arse- even in flat shoes. Not for me, but for plenty of you out there!