Blogs

52 weeks in Brum

Emma Victoria Stokes

  • The Butterfly Farm: Stratford-upon-Avon
    by emmastokes on 6th June 2022 at 12:31 pm

    A popular visitor attraction in Warwickshire, EmmaVictoriaStokes.com was invited to experience the UK’s largest butterfly paradise. A tropical environment simulated inside a large greenhouse, this is home to free flying butterflies and other animals. Ad-gifted experience. A wonderful family-friendly experience, the Stratford Butterfly Farm is one of the finest and biggest butterfly attractions in the country. ... The post The Butterfly Farm: Stratford-upon-Avon appeared first on Emma Victoria Stokes.

  • Bloom Cafe – Solihull
    by emmastokes on 25th May 2022 at 2:11 pm

    A new coffee, breakfast and brunch cafe – Bloom is open 7 days a week in Solihull and serves some of the most beautifully presented dishes in a relaxed atmosphere. I want to tell you first off what made this place stand out for me. It was not only the food, but the lovely team ... The post Bloom Cafe – Solihull appeared first on Emma Victoria Stokes.

  • Creating a buzz on World Bee Day with Blooming Heck’s plantable seeded cards
    by emmastokes on 17th May 2022 at 11:15 am

    May is a busy month for gardening lovers. With both ‘World Bee Day’ and ‘No Mow May’ taking place, it’s a great time to introduce my very own eco-friendly and sustainble plantable card business – Blooming Heck. A concept designed to help pollinators and wildlife thrive, this project has been my second baby since lockdown ... The post Creating a buzz on World Bee Day with Blooming Heck’s plantable seeded cards appeared first on Emma Victoria Stokes.

  • Sunday Lunch at Smoke – Hampton Manor, Solihull
    by emmastokes on 9th May 2022 at 3:13 pm

    Where real life meets a manor dream, Smoke is one of the most talked about restaurants among food writers. Tucked away in the ground of Hampton Manor, the restaurant delivers rustic charm, quality seasonal produce and a flawless culinary dining experience. Smoke oozes charm and a laid-back atmosphere one would expect from a restaurant set ... The post Sunday Lunch at Smoke – Hampton Manor, Solihull appeared first on Emma Victoria Stokes.

  • Luxury Press Trip To Cotswold House Hotel & Spa
    by emmastokes on 27th April 2022 at 6:52 pm

    Ad-press trip / One of the best hotels in Chipping Campden, Cotswold House Hotel, invited EmmaVictoriaStokes.com to experience another luxury getaway. Fast forward three years, I was given the opportunity to return with a spring in my step, baby-free, and ready to indulge in a night of uninterrupted sleep. The team certainly understand what exceptional ... The post Luxury Press Trip To Cotswold House Hotel & Spa appeared first on Emma Victoria Stokes.

The Thing Thang

  • The ‘sticky sandwich’ nail hack to making polish last (ad•gifted)
    by Ting on 14th April 2021 at 6:30 am

    There is something a little bit throwback about the ‘sticky sandwich’ nail hack. I first discovered it years ago before gel nails became my go to. I’m hard on my hands so finding ways for nail polish to look good beyond two days is a challenge. With the ongoing pandemic restrictions, I’ve rediscovered the ‘sticky sandwich’ nail hack as a way to make regular nail polish last. The basis of this technique is to sandwich your colour nail polish between layers of a ‘sticky’ base coat. I love to use the Orly Bonder Rubberized Base Coat (£14.99). This works with any brand or colour […]

  • Pixi Beauty Rose Bodytreats (ad•gifted)
    by Ting on 26th March 2021 at 7:30 am

    I am a huge fan of the Pixi Beauty Rose range of skincare. It’s hydrating and caring for my dry and dehydrated skin. Excitingly, Pixi Beauty have brought out a range called Rose Bodytreats. This is what my skin needs in the lead up to spring. It’s a time when I might dare to put away those winter woolies and reach for the lighter layers instead. The first Rose Bodytreats product is the Pixi Beauty Rose Body Cleanser (£18). This is a nourishing cream body cleanser . The formula is rich in flower oils so it gently cleanses skin whilst also hydrating and softening. I found this rich cream […]

  • Dermalogica Hydro Masque Exfoliant (ad•gifted)
    by Ting on 18th January 2021 at 7:30 am

    There’s nothing more satisfying than finding a decent face mask to pep my skin during all this time at home. It’s so important to use a good exfoliating product once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells. This helps active skincare products to absorb better into skin, helps makeup apply better and improves the general health of bare skin. I have been using the Dermalogica Hydro Masque Exfoliant (£55) in my Sunday self care routine for the past few months and loving it. The Dermalogica Hydro Masque Exfoliant is a hydrating and exfoliating mask treatment. It suits all skin types but […]

  • Little Blackwood bao at home | pandemic life
    by Ting on 14th December 2020 at 7:30 am

    Trying to arrange a birthday celebration during a pandemic is challenging. Our usual celebrations involve meals and possibly drinks out with friends and family. Maybe even multiple outings depending on the occasion. With the current pandemic, we are adapting so we marked my husband’s birthday with a Little Blackwood bao takeaway. We had some good fortune that Little Blackwood were doing their bao specials at the right time. It’s not their usual offering but with covid19, businesses are doing what they can to adapt to ever changing guidelines. We ordered a Family Bao Box (£79), with 20 […]

  • The ethical Christmas jumper to wear all year round
    by Ting on 7th December 2020 at 7:30 am

    Trying to dress more sustainably for me involves thinking about all the ways I can utilise what I have. I don’t want to keep buying things for one specific occasion without considering longevity and cost per wear. Given that most of my clothes are currently in storage whilst I await my house move, I was considering how I was going to dress for the colder British winter – and Christmas. I found a few great options but this ethical Christmas jumper (£34) from Rock on Ruby is perfect as it works all year round – not just the lead up to 25th December. Firstly, the slogan speaks to my […]

The Gastronomic Gorman

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Strangeness & Charm

  • Summer skincare
    by Hayley on 30th June 2022 at 12:06 am

    When it’s warm outside, I don’t want to spend too long doing my makeup because it will just melt off. Instead, I focus on my skincare to keep my skin looking as good as I can. I like to switch up my skincare routine in the different seasons to suit my skin’s needs. Cleansing First of all, it’s important to make sure you cleanse your skin every evening, even if you’re not wearing makeup. Of course, you won’t need to use a heavy duty makeup remover, but some sort of cleanser should be used. I tend to go for either a gel or a cream cleanser. This is to wash away any dirt and grime […]

  • Fresh summer makeup
    by Hayley on 28th June 2022 at 12:19 am

    When I do choose to wear makeup in the summer months, I usually go for a simpler look. I find that less is definitely more, so it is better to keep things simple. Starting with my eyes, I make sure that I keep up with tinting my eyebrows so that they don’t require many products. A quick brush through with an eyebrow gel will help to keep them tidy during the day. The Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Gel is a personal favourite because it makes my sparse brows look fuller. To help make my eyes look bigger and more awake, I tend to choose a lengthening mascara. I have very straight eyelashes, so […]

  • Visiting Giant’s Causeway from Belfast
    by Hayley on 27th June 2022 at 4:49 pm

    I didn’t think I could plan a trip to Northern Ireland without visiting the Giant’s Causeway. This naturally occurring phenomenon is located in County Antrim on the north coast of Northern Ireland. When I was booking my trip to Belfast to see my favourite band, The National, I made sure I put a day aside for this excursion.  What is Giant’s Causeway? Giant’s Causeway is known to the Irish as the 8th Wonder of The World. It is an area of around 40,000 interlocking basalt salt columns which formed 6 million years ago next to the North Atlantic Ocean. This phenomenon is the result of an […]

  • What I took to Latvia
    by Hayley on 31st May 2022 at 4:30 pm

    I’ve recently been to Riga, Latvia for a city break. As I like to do things on a budget, we only too hand luggage which fits under the seat in front. For me, this is a medium sized backpack. There are also the restrictions on liquids to contend with. With this in mind, I stocked up on a few mini products that would be ideal for travel. Skincare As I’m going to be travelling a few times over the coming months, I thought I would get some miniature skincare products that I can take with me. When I’m travelling I don’t tend to stick to a full skincare routine because I’d have to take […]

  • May favourites
    by Hayley on 31st May 2022 at 11:08 am

    May has been a great month! The weather has started to get better and I’ve had quite a lot of plans. I have also been trying a few new products over the past month and have discovered some new favourites! Makeup favourites One brand that I really love is Catrice. They are a really affordable makeup brand, but the price really doesn’t reflect on the quality. Everything that I have tried from them so far has been amazing and always makes me want to try new products. This month, I got a couple of bits from the Catrice Disney collection. The Catrice Disney Princess Ariel highlighter palette […]

Digital Birmingham

  • BRUM and Birmingham's customer service strategy
    by suritasolanki on 14th April 2022 at 4:30 pm

    This is a feature article written by partners UKAuthority News: A technology investment from 2019 is now playing a key role in developing a new customer service strategy at Birmingham City Council. Speaking with UKAuthority, its technology leadership team explain the importance of Birmingham's BRUM account, which provides city council forms and for payments and connects to the council customer relationship management (CRM) system, so citizens can manage their council tax, benefits or request services.It grew significantly in terms of citizen numbers and usage during the Covid-19 pandemic […]

  • Launch of Council's new Digital Strategy
    by suritasolanki on 25th March 2022 at 3:00 pm

    In an earlier post, I set out the Birmingham digital approach. I am pleased to formally launch the new Digital Strategy 2022-2025. This is the next step to further modernise how we re-imagine, design and deliver services that better serve the needs of our citizens and businesses and reflect more the way our citizens and businesses want to interact with us in the internet age. You can find out more about the strategy here […]

  • The Birmingham Digital Approach
    by suritasolanki on 17th March 2022 at 10:00 am

    Dr Peter Bishop, Director of Digital & Customer Services at Birmingham City Council, responsible for delivering services to just over 1 million citizens and 11,000 staff, explains why the organisation’s Digital Strategy is the next big step forward. Read his recent blog below: The council took back control of its ICT Strategy back in 2016, but it did not have all the levers to make that strategy a full reality. In 2019, my core priority was focused on bringing the control of our outsourced IT services back in house enabling the council to deliver on its priorities rather than a […]

  • Birmingham launches its Customer Services strategy
    by suritasolanki on 7th March 2022 at 7:00 pm

    As part of our commitment to achieving better customer services for everyone, all the time, we have today launched our Customer Services strategy online.  Alongside the strategy is our Customer Charter which includes our promises of how we will deliver customer services from all council services going forward. As you will be aware, all citizens should receive excellent customer services regardless of how they engage with the council, in some areas we need to improve.  The Customer Services Strategy defines our approach to making this happen.  To register to find out more  - […]

  • Share your views of 5G across the West Midlands
    by suritasolanki on 15th February 2022 at 3:00 pm

    We're asking business leaders from across the West Midlands to help shape the future of the region by participating in a short ten-minute survey. By sharing your views, you can help the work of West Midlands 5G as they continue to rollout the next generation of wireless technology for the benefit of both businesses and citizens across the county. As well as helping to ensure the rollout of 5G continues to support businesses across the West Midlands, those that complete the survey will have the chance to enter a draw for a £100 Amazon voucher. Simply follow the link at the end of the […]

John Tyrrell

  • DE-COLONISING EDUCATION: EMPOWERMENT PROJECT. D.E.E.P.
    by John on 17th April 2021 at 6:21 pm

    ISSUES & RESOURCES Sign posting human & multi-media resources to schools & beyond to combat inequalities, racism and injustice arising from our colonial experience.  ISSUES Introduction A group of teachers working through 70s, 80s and 90s, much of the time in Birmingham, are responding to requests for help and support in the present climate when

  • The Sewell Report
    by John on 14th April 2021 at 9:51 am

    2021 and another report on racism. Following on Black Lives Matter and the inequalities laid bare for all to see by Covid 19 and once more a disproportionate proportion of the burden on the Black community, particularly those working at the front line, in hospitals, in the care services. This latest report requested by the

  • Black Lives Matter. Implementing Rampton and Swann
    by John on 4th March 2021 at 7:30 pm

    In 2020 Black Lives Matter became a universal cry after another death of a Black person, George Floyd, caused uproar re-opening the Civil Rights’ Movement action 4 decades earlier. At the same time the pandemic, Covid 19, also laid bare gross inequalities, not least Black people, many of whom were prominent on the front line

  • Marketing Covid 19. Why testing won’t work in the UK
    by John on 17th September 2020 at 11:47 pm

    Testing for the presence of the Covid 19 virus was put into private hands like everything else in the world of neoliberal ideas – more or less dominating the whole of planet Earth. Questions were asked from the very beginning why Serco should be entrusted with tracking and tracing when they have shown themselves to

  • Re-opening schools
    by John on 26th May 2020 at 9:53 am

    The Socialist Labour Party issued the following statement from its Leader, Arthur Scargill on 2nd May, 2020 No Schools, Colleges or Universities should be re-opened until there is a drug to cure anyone infected by the virus or we have a vaccine to prevent it. In the event that a decision is made to re-open

Kristy Marie

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