9 Things I've discovered since living in (Birmingham) city

I got asked a lot of questions during my time at university ‘What are you doing for your project’ When do you want to go for lunch?’ ‘Are you going on the Paris trip’ ‘Did you understand any of that?’ ‘Does this look right’ ‘Is that printer working’ With the main one being ‘what will you do after university?’ A question I’m not entirely sure I even know the answer to now... so let’s skip past that one. 

One question in particular though, was from a friend of mine who asked ‘Are you planning on moving in with Jay and into Birmingham after uni?’ to which I replied ‘Yeah, I mean not straight away, but at some point, more than likely?' an answer to a question I can confirm is exactly what I went on to do. 

We (Me and Jay) never really set out with a plan for where we wanted to end up living when we decided to move in together. I'm still not sure where my career will take me and Jay's job means he's been pretty settled here in his hometown, Birmingham. I also could never see us buying or renting a place in Coventry both a) because I never wanted to and b) it didn't make sense to, so that meant we settled on Birmingham as the place to be for the time being and we're pretty happy with that. 

8 month’s we’ve been living in the city. 8 months that have entailed warm nights sat on the balcony watching the city go by, watching the sun disappear behind the buildings and the day fall into the night, watching taxis go by, sirens, the odd protest or two, countless trains backwards and forwards to work, impromptu ventures into the city, flocks of seagulls swooping above in the sky, groups of people on foot below. We've enjoyed a little egg hunt in the apartment at easter, a sunlit birthday in the park, a Midsommar inspired birthday party, Sunday dinners and gatherings around the table and many a night curled up in front of the tv watching films. It's been an insightful and eventful few months, that's for sure but most of all this has been a learning curve and experience for both me and Jay living in the city for the first time so I thought it'd be nice to share some of the things I've discovered since doing so.

The city is bursting with Independents

One of the things I love probably the most out of living here is that there are SO MANY independent coffee shops, clothing stores, restaurants and bars. Even before Covid I was partial to visiting them but especially after Covid, it's made the importance of supporting them even more inviting to visit. In particular, my favourites are Waylands Yard, Cherry Reds, Morridge, Urban and Hockley Social Club but out of them all Medicine bakery is my favourite. 

Now those who aren't familiar with Birmingham probably won't have heard of this place before but those that know me, know that it is truly, truly my favourite place. I’m sure many would boast how much of a real gem it is to have in the city. Their cakes are honestly to die for, their cronuts? *Chefs kiss* I’ve not had one I haven’t liked yet, and I’ve tried MANY. 
When we first began looking for a place in the city we very almost settled for a place, well I say we, I settled on a place mainly because in the description it mentioned how close in proximity it was to Medicine Bakery, it was a really lovely place too, Medicine wasn’t the only unique selling point, honest, but it certainly sat high on my criteria when searching for a place to live. A criteria that Jay very quickly put to bed. Jokes aside I have been obsessed with this place ever since my first visit and luckily in the place we’ve ended up (even more lovely than the place we settled on initially) we’ve been lucky enough to have MANY trips to medicine, more than I’d care to admit. 

 Everything is open on your doorstep 

 I moved from a city that closes up shop at 5 and quite literally turns into a ghost town so to go from that to a city that is open a considerable amount longer it’s a welcomed attribute. We've watched a lot of Friends over the past few months and in one of the latest episodes, Phoebe talks to Chandler and Monica about moving out of the city to which she tells them 'You can’t move out of the city. What if you want Chinese food at 5am?!' not that I have had or even wanted Chinese food at 5am but the statement remains valid. You come to find after a few months of living in a city that most things are open when you need them to be and better still they're all on your doorstep which is good given that I'm terrible for leaving things until the last minute. The city has been a saviour for birthdays.

Which can quite temptingly lead to the desire to go shopping all the time 

Now firstly I have been good, honest! I'm not much a shopaholic nowadays like I used to be... not that I was even that bad but I am more conscious and aware of spending my money on clothing, always questioning if I really need it, if I have anything that will go with it, or will I hate it in 2 months time, but the desire and passion for clothing and more recently homeware has never really gone away, so on days where I feel down, or just simply in need to get out and get some fresh air, I head to the shops to try on a few pieces and just indulge myself in the shopping process, I find it really helps.

The city is stunning 

I asked Jay for the answer on this one 'What is your favourite thing about living in the city?' to which he replied 'I love walking to work looking at the buildings and admiring the architecture' Much like I'm sure you'll agree from the photographs in this post, Birmingham City is very visually striking. It has so many interesting and cultural buildings to admire. More importantly so more places to take photos, much to Jay's delight I'm sure...

 There’s nothing quite like nighttime in the city

Whether it's the lights, the reflection of the city on the water, the hum of the city coming alive, the sound of cars, the chorus of voices, there's nothing quite like nighttime in the city. There's something so incredibly exciting and intriguing to it all, it's like seeing what a store is like after it's closed, when the lights are out, it's full of surprises and electricity like no other. 
Yet, it's quite nice to find moments of still amongst it all, to watch everything go by whilst standing in one place.


 Saturdays are the wildest of all 

 We moved into the city during the pandemic, so any movement on a weekend was far and few, looking back now it’s hard to believe just how ghostlike the city was. Fast forward a couple of months post lockdown to when the bars reopened I remember one of the first Saturdays being electric like lighting a fuse, the city came alive. A couple of weeks later the clubs followed suit and again there was a shift in the atmosphere. I think despite being used to the hustle and bustle of the city it’s still quite a scene on a Saturday night to see the hoards of people heading to nightclubs, bars spilling out the door, taxis on every corner and traffic built up all along the street especially following the serene sounds to the city on the Sunday that follows. 

and on those Saturday nights, Digbeth is the place to be 

We went out a few weekends following the easing of lockdown and the reopening of bars and nightclubs and ventured into Digbeth, somewhere we frequent quite often but this night in particular we found ourselves swept up in the atmosphere, how full of life it was and how alive it made us feel. They have some of the most unusual and exciting places opening up at the moment, it's easily one of the places you're guaranteed to go and have a good time. 

Just like the weekend 

 It’s very rarely not busy even during the week

One thing you learn about living in the city is that there isn't really no such thing as 'popping to the shops' a quick there and back journey. Quite frequently you end up following a swarm of shoppers, men in business attire, loads of scooters (where the bloody hell have they come from) and the infamous slow walkers. You end up getting swept up amongst it all, moving like cattle through a market all to ironically get some Oat milk. 

 Feels like waking up on holiday 

    I've always felt ever since we moved here that each day feels like the feeling you get the morning after you wake up on holiday, you pull back the curtains and look out at the view and think, wow, I'm really here. That feeling exists either because we are new to living together or that we've never lived in the city before but either way that feeling hasn't really ever faded. We love it here. 

What's your opinion?

@paige rhianne_