A slight obsession with books

Crafts, cats and books


Sutton Owlfield

On Stephen’s day off last week, we headed for Sutton Coldfield which has been renamed Sutton Owlfield for the summer. They have a lot of owls there so we planned to find them all and have a nice lunch out too.

On the way there we stopped off at Fort Dunlop to find the two owls there.

I love this one.

Midnight Hoot

Midnight Hoot

A simpler design than some, but very effective. I love the colours.

The other one was inside the atrium and is another nice one. Lots of detail.

Night Owl

Night Owl

We carried on to Sutton, via the Empire cinema where we found this handsome chap.

Hedwig Owl

Hedwig Owl

Next we parked at the Gracechurch centre. There were nine small owls scattered round the shopping centre, in groups of three, and several of the large owls.

I loved this one.

Ahoy Matey

Ahoy Matey!

And I really loved this one.

A word to the wise

A word to the wise

Two of the owls were just outside the main shopping area so we started walking. This one was just up the hill. It’s yet another one to add to my favourites.



This next one was a bit further away, on the college campus.

The Sutton Coldfield Owl

The Sutton Coldfield Owl

We’d found all the owls within walking distance, and had done a bit of shopping too, so we hopped back into the car and drove to Moor Hall Hotel, just up the road, to find the Love Owl.

Love Owl

Love Owl

He’s a beauty and is in the grounds of a very nice hotel. There was a woodland walk sign-posted so we followed it. It wasn’t very long but there were some lovely features there and they’d put signs up on the trees with Owl facts and jokes.

We were getting peckish by this point so we decided to go for lunch. I was still hankering after pancakes so we thought we’d go to the Quinto Lounge. What a brilliant choice that was. I had my pancakes, with lots of crispy bacon, maple syrup and a sausage pattie. It was perfect! Stephen spotted the fish finger sandwich on the menu and had to have that. It turned out to be little fish goujons on the sandwich and it looked delicious. I was almost jealous. I did sneak a couple of his onion rings and fries. We both had a cold drink – iced watermelon tea. It was lovely and refreshing. I was really impressed with the lounge. The food was excellent, as was the service. I loved the quirky decor too. Definitely somewhere to visit again.

After lunch we headed to Sutton Park to find the large owl there, plus the five small ones. We had no problems finding the large owl.

Spotting and jotting in Birmingham

Spotting and jotting in Birmingham

Unfortunately we could only see three of the small ones. Two were in the donkey sanctuary which closes at 3pm and we arrived at the park just after that. I was quite disappointed as it’s a long way to go back if I want to complete the collection, but Stephen says that he fancies seeing the donkeys so we may pop back when he has some more holiday. It’s a lovely big park to go for a walk in too, so it’ll be another nice day out.




More owls in Brum

Stephen had a holiday day last Wednesday so we went up to Birmingham to try to spot the owls that I was still missing. We wanted to start at the Jewellery Quarter so we got the bus into town, and then the tram out. I’d never been on the new tram before and I was really impressed. It’s bright, clean and very smooth. We were at the JQ in no time at all.

The first owl was right outside the station, Brown Inky Owl and the next one was just around the corner. We had intended to take the tram back to Birmingham, but as the next owl was halfway back to town, we walked instead. This is the owl that was on the way there. It’s one of my many favourites.

Bejewelled Owl

Bejewelled Owl

We carried on walking into town, going via Church Street to pick up Nature’s Growth and then headed to Corporation Square where we found a few more owls.

I rather liked this one.

Leo side


We then found the ones that were scattered around that side of town before heading to the Bull Ring for some lunch. We went to Ed’s Easy Diner in Selfridges. I’d hoped to have pancakes but they only serve them before 11am so I was too late. I had a burger instead, as did Stephen and they were very nice indeed. I liked it there and would go again.

Next we found the owl near the front of New Street Station and from there we went to Burlington Arcade where we spotted another one of my favourites.

Swirly Whirly Birmingham Owl-land

Swirly whirly Birmingham Owl-land

The artwork on this one is stunning. I loved all the little details especially this bit with the bull.

Swirly Whirley Birmingham Owl-land bull_eOnce I’d taken plenty of photos of Swirly Whirly, we went looking for the owl inside New Street Station, which is another one with brilliant detail.

Owl Aboard!

Owl Aboard!

Next was one round the corner in John Bright Street, and then we carried on towards The Cube. I’ve never been there before and it’s a lovely building. They had one owl in the Atrium and another up on the rooftop terrace of the Marco Pierre White steakhouse. The views from up there were amazing, although I did get a bit wibbly after a while – it was very high.

Stephen in CubeI’m not quite sure what Stephen was doing there. Probably telling me to get a move on with the photo.

From The Cube we walked back to The Mailbox, another place I hadn’t been before. It’s lovely. Lots of shops and restaurants and right on the canal. We found one large owl inside The Mailbox, just outside the BBC and eight little owls inside the BBC. We also found this.

TardisAnd this.DalekWe got quite excited about those as we love Doctor Who. There were loads of different things to look at inside the Beeb, and if it wasn’t for The Big Hoot, we’d never have thought to go there.

We needed to get the owl at Gas Street Basin, so rather than walk via the street, we went on the canal path, which was lovely. This is the owl that we found there.

Bob the bat

Bob the bat

He’s a lovely owl, but what fabulous surroundings. I loved that you were on the canal with really old buildings and brickwork, and yet there were all these beautiful modern buildings surrounding you too. A real taste of old and new coming together. I’d like to go back for a longer walk along the canal as we really enjoyed it there.

We’d now got all the owls in and around the city centre, apart from three near to Aston University. I can get those another time though as I have to go to the uni for some training soon. We’d been lucky with the weather. There were a couple of showers but otherwise it was dry and fairly warm. I took the chance to get a better look at some of the owls that I’d only had time to glance at last time, due to the rain, and found some details that I’d missed before.

One of the owls that I really like is Welcome to Birmingham, outside the ICC. On this visit I spotted this on his side.

Welcome to Birmingham floozie_eIt’s the Floozie in the Jacuzzi! Brilliant.

Another favourite, and yes I do have a lot of favourites, is New Street Flyer. His eyes are lovely.

New Street Flyer eyes_eI’d noticed them before but hadn’t taken a close up photo. I hadn’t spotted the beautiful detail on his feet before though. Just look at this.

New Street Flyer feet_eIsn’t that fab?

There are so many gorgeous owls in Birmingham and once again I had a great time finding them. We walked about eight miles too so got a bit of exercise.

I took far too many photos to include them all in the post, but I’m going to sneak in a couple more, just because they’re too lovely to leave out. (ok, maybe more than a couple).



Owls with friends – part three

I’ve already posted lots of photos of the adventure I had with Jackie and Fliss when we went on the trail of The Big Hoot in Birmingham. I had far too many favourite owls to do just two posts of our day out, so this is the third and final instalment.

By the time we’d reached, and explored Brindley Place and got all but one of the owls up there, we were getting a bit weary. (we missed the one at Gas Street Basin, but I will be going back to find him soon)

We planned to head back to the bus stop, taking in one last owl at Snow Hill station, as he was definitely one not to be missed, and also the Owltlet in Great Western Arcade to see if there was anything nice to purchase as a souvenir of our day.

We did pop into the library and zapped the QR codes on the four little owls there and then walked down Colmore Row towards Snow Hill. We got very sidetracked by all the owls down there though so stopped to catch them with the app and take photos.

This one was in Temple Row. He’s amazing.

Under the glow of moonlight

Under the glow of moonlight

There were some beautiful owls in St. Philips Place. This one was a fun owl. He celebrates the invention of the postage stamp and postal service.

Delivered by owl

Delivered by owl

This one is lovely.



This is my favourite of the ones in this area. He is so blingy!

Owl by night

Owl by night

I’ve seen photos of him taken at night and he looks incredible. Apparently he has solar powered LEDs in his base and the mosaic tiles reflect all the lights around him.

In Cathedral Square, we found another four. I have photos of three of them to show you.

This one is very pretty. The artwork is inspired by the archives of Lloyds Bank, who are the sponsors for this owl.



This is another fun one, inspired by 1960’s posters, cartoons and ephemera, commemorating space travel and moon landings. Also he has a brilliant name.

One giant hoot for Owlkind

One giant hoot for Owlkind

This one is gorgeous with its bright, vibrant colours and fabulous detail. Fliss loved him, so I got her to pose with him.

Clash & Fliss


Finally we got to our intended destination to see the owl in Snow Hill Station. Isn’t he brilliant! And what an excellent name – Dr Whoot.

Dr Whoot

Dr Whoot

From there we went across the road to the arcade to find the shop selling all The Big Hoot merchandise. We made a quick stop in the sweet shop there. Well, we were passing it anyway…

We found Bluey in the arcade, so snapped a quick photo of him. He is rather handsome.



You can just see Mr. Simms Olde Sweet Shop to his right.

We were a bit disappointed with the Owltlet. It was small and there wasn’t much choice. There were some mugs, but not in the designs of our favourite owls. There were magnets and coasters to match the mugs but we were slightly horrified that the magnets were £5.99, just 1p cheaper than the mugs. I’d hoped to get a couple of bookmarks as a souvenir that I’d get some use from, but they didn’t have any, which surprised me. I’d thought they’d be the perfect souvenir, especially for kids. None of the other items in the shop appealed to me so I came away empty-handed. (Apart from the sweets, and the yummy loaf from the posh bread shop.)

We detoured a bit more on the way back to catch the bus, to catch one last owl. We’d seen this one as we passed near it, but were headed for coffee at the time and didn’t want to be distracted.

He was worth going back for though.

StarlightFinally we got to the bus stop and timed it perfectly for our bus home. We were definitely weary at this point, with aching bits everywhere, but considering how far we’d walked, that’s not surprising. I’d had Map my Walk running on my phone and on checking it found that we’d walked almost ten miles.

We saw more owls than we thought we’d get to and enjoyed ourselves immensely even despite the rain. I’m sure it wouldn’t have been half as much fun without my friends so thank you to Jackie and Fliss for a great day out.

More owls coming soon.



Owls with friends – part two

I posted a few days ago about my trip to Birmingham with Jackie and Fliss to find as many owls as we could. We walked almost ten miles in a few hours and found about eighty owls, which we thought was pretty good. I had far too many photos to put in one post, so here goes with part two.

After photographing the owls in Victoria Square, which is where I left off last time, we went into the Art gallery and museum. It’s an incredible place, with lots to see, including the Staffordshire Hoard – and it’s free. They have one of the large owls and he’s a beauty.


He also has a pun-tastic name – G’owl’d. Love it. Some of the owls have the most brilliant names. G’owl’d has hieroglyphs all over him and a chart at the side so you can translate them.

G'owl'd-2See those coloured ones by his feet? They spell out the artist’s name – Temper.

There were a further 26 small owls in the art gallery, all in one room. It was a beautiful sight to see.

Art gallerySome of them were amazing. I really loved this one. He’s covered in album covers from the likes of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath.

Rockin' Owl over the world

Rockin’ Owl over the world

After the art gallery, we walked on towards Brindley Place passing some more lovely owls on the way. In Chamberlain Square we spotted this one.

The Ship

The Ship

In Centenary Square we found these.



TropicOwl (both)

Tropic Owl

Tropic Owl is sponsored by Twycross Zoo. I loved the giraffe on his back.

Also in Centenary Square was this beauty. Look how he matches the library!

Wise old owl

Wise Old Owl

One of my favourites was outside the ICC. He had bits of Birmingham all over him, including an eye that matches the Selfridges building, some of the library design on his chest, and reference to the canals. He is gorgeous.

Welcome to Birmingham (both)

Welcome to Birmingham

Inside the ICC, we found Owlfred. He has pictures of local heroes and famous faces on him. We spotted Ozzy and Jasper Carrot, among others.



Finally we made it all the way up to Brindley Place, where we found this one. His artwork references Brindley Place and its environs – IKON, the canals, tree-lined squares and international cuisine. He’s very handsome and I love his eyes.

The Oozells Owl

The Oozells Owl

This one wins the award for the most pun-tastic name so far. It’s perfect, although I keep getting the song in my head now.

You can call me Owl

You can call me Owl

We spotted lots more owls than those that I’ve added to the post. Some I took photos of, and some I didn’t. I regret not getting a photo of the lovely Midnight Moths at Brindley Square but there was a workman with his truck right behind it. I may need to go back to get him. I’ve added most of my favourites to the post to give you a flavour of what we saw though and I think you can see just how much fun it is to go Owl-hunting.

There will be a part three to our adventure, as we captured yet more owls as we walked back to our bus stop, via the cathedral and Snow Hill station. Coming soon…


Owl hunting in Kings Heath

There are owls all over Birmingham. It’s called The Big Hoot and is a trail of beautifully painted owls all over the city. I want to find as many of them as I can, so on Monday I took the bus to Kings Heath and started walking.

One of the reasons that I want to do the owl trail, is that it’s a great way to go for walks in different places to my usual routes. I’m trying hard to do my 10,000 steps per day so this should really help.

There are several owls in Kings Heath and I found most of them. One was in a shop that should have been open, but wasn’t, and had its shutters down so there was no owl to be seen. Another shop had the owl in the window, but didn’t have the QR code on display and again, they were closed. In order to ‘find’ the owls, you need to scan the QR code with the official app, so I need to revisit Kings Heath at some point to get those two ticked off. I also managed to miss one, as I didn’t notice that there were two to find in the park.

My favourite owl of the day was this one. It’s a Hobbit owl!

Frowldo Baggins

Frowldo BagginsIsn’t he brilliant?

My final stop in Kings Heath was the park. The owl was right by the Horticultural college that I attended many, many years ago. It was a bit of a trip down memory lane, especially as I went inside for a peek. One of the rooms that we used is now a lovely tea rooms so I may need to investigate that another time.

Kings Heath park was looking lovely. This is a photo of the college.

Kings Heath ParkIt’s such a beautiful old building.

From there I walked to Cannon Hill park, which is where I worked while at the college. Another blast from the past. I love that park, and it’s right by the Birmingham wildlife conservation centre, which has more owls.

Cannon Hill park was looking really beautiful. The flower displays are always fantastic there. I really enjoyed walking through the park, even though it was drizzling a bit.

Cannon Hill Park

I took photos of most of the owls that I found. Some were in shop windows so the photos could be better as it’s never easy to take through glass. Most came out ok though so I’ve made a gallery of them.


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Outrageous Owls – Feb update

I’m very happy to have stitched another two owls during the past week and have really enjoyed doing so. Both owls are in colours that I particularly like and I thought it was rather appropriate that I finished stitching the pink owl with the heart pattern on it during Valentine’s day.

These are the two latest additions, which I’ve christened Blueberry and Cranberry.

OAFeb01That makes me two-thirds of the way through now so I’m confident of finishing this next month with the last two owls and the last bit of branch. I’m so chuffed at how quickly and easily this is stitching up and how much fun it is to do.

This is what the whole thing looks like now.

OAFeb02Aren’t they adorable? I’ve started back on the Formula One project now and am happily stitching away at the front spoiler on that McLaren. That isn’t coming on quite so quickly but I am seeing progress and more importantly, I’m loving it.