The beautiful thing about living in the middle of the country (literally the middle if you believe Tiny Town's claim, although it is one of many) is that nothing is very far away any more. Having spent so much time up North I'm constantly inwardly groaning any time anyone mentions anything further south than Doncaster - not realising that actually the South is kind of on my doorstep now.
In the immediate aftermath of the break up some work friends stepped up to the plate in an unheard of way and rallied around to keep me busy and occupied. One plan was to take a trip to Birmingham, a formerly undiscovered city which, although not really that far from me, remained out of reach due to the fact that I was reliant on public transport to get anywhere.
One of my friends lives nearby so took it upon herself to be official Birmingham Tour Guide and got everything all planned out for us. First, we would get our cultural hats on and go and visit the Library of Birmingham, we would then get our food hats on and get some food at The Mailbox and finally get our shopping hats on and visit The Bullring.
I have been desperate to visit the library since it opened a year ago. Not normally a fan of big fancy modern new buildings I was quite surprised when I saw it and absolutely loved it. No doubt it is not many people's cup of tea but I think it is beautiful.
And let me tell you, it is a blogger's perfect building because it offers up approximately 1,000 ways to take a photo of the same thing.
It is delicious. Like a chocolate box. Only instead of there being chocolates inside of it, there are BOOKS.
What I didn't realise about the Library of Birmingham is that those tiered layers of gorgeousness that you see in the photo above hide secret gardens and you can go up and be on them and look out at the city. You can work at benches looking out at the views. I very nearly packed up and moved there on the spot.
You get in an almost too tiny lift, all very Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator style, and shoot up into the sky before walking out up and above the city.
The smell of the plants is gorgeous and the sounds of the traffic are far away and Summer 2015 is going to see me installed up here one day, I am determined of it.
Unfortunately we only got about 5 minutes viewing time as our visit coincided with the setting up of the Annual Conservative Conference and they were closing the terrace as it overlooked the marquee.
Just another reason to hate the Tories really isn't it?
There are books on books on books inside. Obviously. It's a library after all. But these books are special. Mostly because I could not for the life of me work out how you got to them. There must be some kind of secret entrance and a password and a marauder's map of some kind.
Also, check out the super travelator to get up and down. Way cooler than a stupid boring escalator.
Cultured out of our eyeballs we made our way along the canal, saying hello to lots of extremely friendly people. I'm not sure if we were there on an especially friendly day or if the people of Birmingham are just in a permanent state of giddying happiness but people were smiley in that city. Like really smiley. It was unnerving and I'm Northern so I feel I can take a certain amount of random stranger smiling.
Our destination was The Mailbox which was a little overwhelming for me as I haven't seen this many chain restaurants since I moved to Tiny Town. We have two chains here - a Wetherspoons and an Ask - and it was almost too much to take in.
Best part about the Mailbox was the gigantic red desk lamp which we saw when we exited.
I have no idea why it exists but it is fabulous and I love it. I love that it has an actual plug on the wall and that the lightbulb is actually lit up.
Too much my friends, too. much.
If I thought The Mailbox was overwhelming, The Bullring nearly did me a mischief. Too long have I been held captive by the very small New Look in Tiny Town - there were too. many. shops.
Fatigued by our cultural morning and overwhelmed by the choice of shops I actually did pretty poorly in the shopping stakes and have vowed to return again this month, renewed and ready to take on the challenge.
Miss Pond has already given me a new place to seek out next time I'm there after her post about a place that sells gin in a watering can. A watering can I tell you. Any other recommendations please feel free to send my way.