Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Welcome 2015

As we come to the end of another year, I am thankful for all those friends, family & readers who have taken time to make my life a little richer with your presence, messages & friendship.

In 2015 I would like to …. 

Celebrate the things what I want to see more of - kindness, consideration, friendship 

Do random acts of kindness - smile at a stranger, chat to those serving you, help someone in need

Be the change I want to see 

Make that call, write that letter - let people know they are valued & loved

Do something new or learn a new skill 

Go somewhere new & embrace the culture 

Take time out to just be: to think quietly & process all my busy life - in quietness I always find peace

It is almost a New Year - another fresh start, another empty page, another clean slate - as you open that calendar or diary & pic up the pen - start as you mean to continue - by making the new year everything you want it to be.

Bring colour & light in to your life this New Year 

 Take TIME to breathe in the moment … 

"Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem, see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Today is the first page in a New Year, write a good one,  Be blessed in 2015,
Dee ~♥~

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Birmingham's industrial past …

Do you find it fascinating to explore cities you visit?

While visiting Birmingham over the festive season, we went for a night time walk which always makes it look different.

In the morning, we took a very chilly walk around the industrial / commercial areas near the Jewellery Quarter & St. Paul's Square.

As mentioned, St. Paul's Church was started in 1777 so the area has a long history.

A local pub - the Actress & the Bishop has this claim to fame?

I found this reference to the event:

Prior to the prison opening, the last public hanging in Birmingham was in 1806 of Philip Matsell after being convicted of the attempted murder of Robert Twyford, who was a peace officer (an early form of police officer). Matsell was executed at what was then the junction of Great Charles Street, Snow Hill and Bath Street, on Friday, August 22, at 1.25pm. 

The only hanging appears to be Santa left dangling in the tree outside.

A wondering star daughter & her man tell me that this is rather an interesting place, Eight Foot Grocer- unfortunately closed on Boxing Day but it is named for its small space.

I found this mention of the Eight Foot Grocer & think I might like to pop in on my next visit.

 The Jewellery Quarter is the largest jewellery manufacturing centre in the UK - a fascinating place that I explored with Ms M ….

 Mmmm I love Ethiopian food - I might just have to try this one …

Seen on the top of a building …

The Jewellery Quarter signs ….

How beautiful is this gate? I love the detail & its uniqueness ….

The Chamberlain clock in the Jewellery Quarter

Seen on a building opposite the clock - I wonder who he is & why he is there?

Industrial buildings …

A reminder of the wars & its effect on the Midlands

The Birmingham mark for jewellery

The BT tower ….

This is next to The Jam House pub

A foundry, a reminder of the Industrial heritage of Birmingham

The Snow Hill train line arches with old meeting new ….
I wonder how many people have walked this street through the ages of this city?

I love the canals that crisscross our region - in days gone by, they transported cargo from the Industrial heartland …. Today they are mainly for leisure and it is common to see canalboats passing & negotiating the numerous locks.

Old meets new in Birmingham - this reflection sums up a city built on a solid Industrial past, but one which moves with the times & is modern & vibrant; that is how a city should be …

I hope you have enjoyed these views with me; next time you are out & about, enjoy the heritage & history of the place where you are …

Thanks for stopping by,  taking the time to read the story & leave a comment.
Dee ~♥~

Sunday, 28 December 2014

St Paul's, The Jewellers' Church, Birmingham

I hope everyone has had a lovely, peaceful festive break with friends & family.

We overnighted in Birmingham & I got to explore a bit more. I love the buzz of our second city with its stunning architecture, the variety of shops, walks, canals & places of interest.

On an evening walk (my favourite time when it is peaceful) we passed St Paul's Square & my a wondering star daughter told me that the ground around the church has mounds because that is where the plague victims were buried & there were so many of them, that the burials created these raised areas around the church.

 Elegant tombs around the church

…. Late of St Paul's Square, formerly of London ….

Old Headstones along the side of the church show the history of the church

Elegant tombs surrounded by lovely buildings …

The BT tower echoes the tower shape - a nod that time doesn't stand still ….

I freely admit to loving history & finding out about the past so I had to return in day light to view it properly.

The church was unfortunately closed but we did wander around & it was a very peaceful place in spite of its dark history.

St. Paul's church was built from 1777 when the Colmore family gave £1000 towards the building costs.
It is said to be a smaller version of the Neo Classical St. Martin's in the Field in Trafalgar Square, London.

St Paul's was set to the side of the city,  with high end housing around it. Many of the pews were let to the wealthy. St Paul's is close to the wealthy Jewellery Quarter of Birmingham so the church was known as 'The Jeweller's Church'

I would love to know the tales these walls could tell & how many are interred in the mounds around the church  - so much history in this small space ….

Thank you for your visit & comments, another year is almost done,
Dee ~♥~

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas blessings from my home to yours …

My dear followers

I am sending you blessings from my home to yours on this Christmas.

Thank you for your support & lovely comments over the year - I love your comments & to know that you find something in my blog that speaks to you or that you can relate to.  I love that you take the time to let me know what you have enjoyed & share your lives too - connected across the continents, across cultures & across time zones.

Many of you have been with me since that first tentative blog post - I have grown to know you through your blogs too so I wish you & yours the very best for a peaceful & blessed Christmas.  Remember what is important & keep that utmost in your mind when things get hectic.

Sending blessings from my home to yours …..

Dee ~♥~

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Time for some festive baking …..

I know, I hear you all cry, Christmas is almost upon us & you are only baking now?

I love doing festive baking with my friend Ellie - we have a long tradition of baking together at Christmas - usually catching up on each others busy lives & just enjoying the evening together.

This year it has been rather hectic in both our homes but we have got our baking done.

I am Godmother to her two lovely lads & they love to bake Christmas biscuits with me - as they get older, the biscuits are becoming cuter, with icing & piping bags being used too.

Last year, my girls were about to help with the Christmas biscuit baking, this year, the lads pressed on very confidently on their own, even when the dough was more sticky than usual.

The IKEA woodland cookie cutters were used again this year - they are so lovely

Ooops - we took our eye off the oven to flick the topiary lights in the front …

Iced & ready in IKEA baking packages (aren't they the cutest cardboard boxes).

Ellie & I even managed to make a quiche for supper in between all the festive baking - with Godson & I rolling out the pastry & baking it blind while she made the filling.

Then on to the production line of mince pies for both our homes over Christmas. Mince pie baking time with a gingerbread pastry recipe that we used last year. The tins are greased ready for the production line with all 4 of us having something to do ….

Last year, we decided to add a little square of marzipan to the bottom of each pie before filling & we loved the taste so that was done again. We also did some marzipan stars on some last year to cut down on the pastry (truth be told we ran out of pastry but are ever resourceful.)

We liked the lighter marzipan star tops so much that this year, that is all we did.

We even had a marzipan production line going with it being rolled out, cut out, arranged & passed on to be put on the tops of the boiling hot pies as they came out of the oven - great teamwork!
Marzipan star time as they come out of the oven ….

The lads took a welcome break to construct with Geomag magnetic toys that we still have at home …

After 7 hours of baking, the tins are full, the oven is finally turned off & it is time to hang up the Christmas apron & put away the festive cutters for another year. Phew ….

Our efforts will soon go over the festive season but hopefully the memories will remain long after the last pie & biscuit is eaten. The recipe we used was shared in last years post in case anyone needs it.

I hope your festive plans are all as relaxed & enjoyable as our baking night was. Thanks for stopping by,  I love reading your comments.
Dee ~♥~