You may have gathered that I am determined to steer the old Holly Lodge Girls to independents during their visit to Birmingham.
In my last post I gave them a number of indie coffee shops to visit so if I see any evidence of visits to chains to get coffee or tea I will judge them harshly.
So onto shopping. Yes there is the Bull Ring. It is full of chains and it will be absolutely rammed and migraine inducing. And of course there is the German Market, plus the so called craft market that starts just outside the new Library of Birmingham. Not wanting to offend I don’t care if I have offended any stall holders but quite honestly most of it is imported tat. There I have said it and I don’t care.
So where to go for good quality hand made original gifts? The Mailbox. Yes, you heard me right because the lovely and extremely talented Crafty Muthas from Bearwood will be there selling their hand made goodies. To find out more click here.
English: The Mailbox, Birmingham, UK (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
While you are at The Mailbox you can have a giggle at the silly prices in most of the shops there (if there isn’t a price on it you can’t afford it) and visit the BBC shop too. Harvey Nics staff believe they are superior to everyone so please go and annoy them too. It will be warm as it is under cover but not heaving like the Bull Ring which will be full of cashed up Bogans. And if you need a coffee Urban have a pop up pod there.
If you haven’t seen the Selfridges building yet, here it is. So now you don’t need to walk to go and see it. Happy indie shopping ‘old’ girls.
Selfridge store, Birmingham Bull Ring (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Today, because it was raining and the thought of being alone in a cold house all day, I decided to try out a couple of coffee shops that my friends rave about. I got into coffee in a big way in Melbourne and one place I visited set the bar very high so I can be um, hypercritical, and this was Mart130. Another place I love for brunch, not as faraway as Melbourne is Pinky Murphy’s in Fowey. Still not somewhere I can just pop out to though.
First stop was Yorks Bakery and Cafe. I have been there before so it’s not new to me. It is very New York lofty industrial style and the bread they bake there is truly wonderful. It was just gone 11.30 and they were winding up breakfast, so on the suggestion of the barista (who I think used to work at SixEight) I had a pulled pork roll with my small latte. Just under £8 is isn’t cheap but then I did stay there until 1.00. Also it was very cold in there, and I’m usually hot everywhere I go, so I was sitting near the door on one of the wettest Mondays that has caused flooding and train cancellations country wide. I could have moved seats I guess. I wish they did an all day brunch. The barista thinks so too!
Lots of suits in there over lunch time and I’ve been so out of the smart clothes loop, I’d forgotten that people wear ties to work and so many women in boring black suits. Shudder. No, I cannot go back to the corporate life. So seeking somewhere more me and wanting tea I went in search of Brewsmiths which claims it’s in the JQ. It is under a railway arch and I have to say while so less über cool than Yorks, I like it. I had my own armchair and coffee table, and tea and a bacon butty cost £3.20 which is a bargain. It’s cozy. It has bunting, books, magazines and music I like. I could move in.
The downside is that to get there from Snow Hill you have to go through an underpass. And they scare me. I had to use this one every day when I worked in Cornwall Street and there was a resident tramp, which bizarrely made me feel safe. He’s not there anymore.
Anyway. Another indie I have visited. If I lived or worked nearby I would come more often. So it’s back to Bearwood with frankly its poor choice of coffee shops with wifi and atmosphere. Sigh!