Lunch Date

So, you know the situation.  It’s nearly Christmas, you’ve used the majority of your holiday at work & you’re left with the odd day to take off.

What do you do?

Well you go shopping of course!

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Birmingham is absolutely killing it at the moment.  Grand Central has just opened and we’re less than a week away until the new look Mailbox opens fully!  It’s all very exciting stuff! Be sure to check back next weekend to see how the Mailbox looks!

I’d heard about a new Pan-Asian restaurant/bar that had opened just under a month ago.  It’s based in Debenhams in the Bullring and it grabbed my attention straight away.  After being taken with the launch photos, I suggested going for lunch.

After about 4 hours in the John Lewis home department (I’m not even kidding), we took the short walk through to the Bullring (use the connecting walkway – this will be mega handy in Winter!) and we found ourselves in Debenhams.

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Chi Kitchen it located on the 3rd floor of Debenhams and is open for breakfast (served until 11am), light bites, lunch and serves mains until 8pm.  The bar area is also a lovely place to come, sit, relax and order a glass of champagne.

Grand Central is lovely.  Just FAR too busy for me to enjoy a nice lunch & a drink.  Yes, I want somewhere with atmosphere, but no, I don’t want to be crammed in next to a million shoppers & their Primark bags.

Chi Kitchen to the rescue! We got there for midday and by the time we left it was really filling up.  Perfect for shoppers and workers, I was sold.

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To start, we went for a selection of mixed Sashimi.  This is a great option for a couple to try all of the sashimi together.  You get a platter of 2 tuna, 2 salmon, 2 yellow tail & 2 sweet prawn.

We then ordered the two things on the menu that excited us the most (this took time, believe me, I wanted EVERYTHING!).

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We finally decided on the Szechuan Beef and the Salmon Teriyaki.

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The Salmon Teriyaki was so good that Dan only gave me a small bite!  But that was OK with me as the Beef was just as good!

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We opted for a glass of rosé champagne, because well, it’s Monday, so why not?!

The presentation  of the food was second to none.  You can see the chef preparing the sushi, sashimi etc & when you walk into the restaurant, the fresh fish is all on display.

We got to sit at the back of the restaurant which is really nice as you’re completely away from the shoppers and you have a view overlooking China Town.

The next time I visit cannot come quick enough!  I’m planning on ordering some sushi rolls with maybe some popcorn shrimp & of course, a glass of fizz!

I cannot recommend this place enough.  Friendly staff and fantastic food.  This place offers something completely different to Birmingham & it has fast become one of my favourites!

You can check out the menu on the Chi Kitchen website here http://www.chikitchen.co.uk 

And be sure to check out what else is happening in and around Birmingham!  You will not be disappointed!

Hello July!

Hello!

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I hope you have all had a wonderful June!

I cannot believe we are now into July – where is the year going?  Are you all enjoying the sunshine?

I have just come back from an amazing little holiday in Marbella, Spain & I will be posting some pictures on here over the weekend!  Be sure to come back & check them out – it was a wonderful break away with my two best friends!  Sunshine, music, memories & fun, we really did have a great time.

However, it’s now back to reality, but thankfully England has been lovely and kind to us all and the sun has been shining its little heart out the last few days!

The weekend is now upon us & I for one cannot wait to top up my holiday tan!

Happy Friday! x

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Midweek Review: Mint Nail Salon

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Working at a computer all day, typing 100 miles (or words!) an hour, can really take its toll on your hands and nails.  I’m just getting over winter and my nails turning blue (yes, it really WAS that cold in my office!).

There’s nothing better, or more girly than going to get my nails done! It’s one of my favourite things to do.

With so many nail salons about now, it’s hard to know where to go.  Who’s the best value for money, who offers the best service, who can fit you in on short notice and who has the best atmosphere?

To be honest, I’m an ‘in and out’ kinda girl.  After a long day at work, I quite like to sit there, relax & unwind whilst getting a pretty colour painted on my nails.

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That’s why I love the Mint Nail & Beauty Bar. With six salons across the country, they offer a wide range of beauty treatments, all at competitive prices.

It’s everything you need under one roof. Need your nails done? Facial? Spray tan? Eyebrows done? Then mint is your place! They will also wax the living day lights out of you if you like!

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I have been coming to Mint for around 3 – 4 years where I always get my gel nails done. They use all OPI products which are my all time favourite. Is it awful that I always want to pick a colour just because of its name?!

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I really like the short, natural look (think Kimmy K!) and I always tend to go for the same three colours – Red, Black or French.

You can’t go wrong with these 3 classics. Sometimes I want to take a walk on the crazy side & pick a ridiculous florescent pink, but then chicken out at the last minute (probably for the best!).

The gel polish is a long lasting layer of nail varnish which will last between 2 to 4 weeks.  It has been known that I have lasted a whole 5 weeks.  Any longer though and my nails would have walked themselves to the Salon!

The girls working there are always smiling and the good thing about Mint is they do go out of their way to accommodate walk in appointments.  It’s ALWAYS busy and I ALWAYS try to book.

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When working in Birmingham I used to pop to the Birmingham branch on my lunch and get my nails done.  Now, and thankfully, with me working closer to home, I go to the branch based at the Merry Hill Centre.

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This particular time I was going to get my holiday nails done. This is always something I look forward to the most. Getting a new, bright colour for my holidays and knowing that holiday is just around the corner just makes me giddy with glee!!

I decided to break my mould and go for “Sweet Morning Dew”. Yes, OK I caved into the cute name and fell in love. It’s a soft coral which is not too in your face, but is a bit more daring than a ‘normal, every day life’ colour!

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The gel process takes around 35 minutes and is 100% dry when you leave the Salon.

If you’re based around the Birmingham/West Midlands area, then take a look at their website here to see the treatments that they offer, their prices & their online booking form.

Happy pampering! x x x

Weekday Treat in Chanel

Chanel-LogoSo, the other week, I was replacing my bronzer  (I swear by Soleil Tan De Chanel. I’ve been using it for over 5 years every, single, day!).

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The lovely lady on the Chanel counter in my local Debenhams asked if I would like to come along for a complimentary eyes & lips makeover for the release of their Summer 2015 Mediterrantee Collection. What girl could say no?!

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I obviously took them up on their offer & invited my two best friends along with me. I went along on a Tuesday evening after work to be greeted by a lovely Chanel makeup artist who then spent 30 minutes going through what colours I liked, what I would normally wear & what suited best based on my hair & eye colour.

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I’m going on holiday next week (make sure you pop back for holiday photos!), so I said I would definitely be back to purchase some bits!

The following was used to create my look:

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Chanel Lumiere D’ete Illuminating Powder (£46) – This powder is shaped as the iconic Chanel Camellia flower, which enhances a naturally golden complexion – making it a holiday must have! It’s Limited Edition so make sure you pick one up for Summer!

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This amazing power was applied using the Chanel Pinceau Poudre N 1 Powder Brush – £44

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Chanel Stylo Eyeshadow in Caroube (dark brown) – £23

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Chanel Le Volume De Chanel Mascara in black – £25 (My friends thought I had applied fake lashes!).

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Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof Long Lasting Eyeliner in brown – £19

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Chanel Ecriture De Chanel Eyeliner Pen – £27

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Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Parfait – £24

The collection is so so so beautiful, with reds, pinks, corals and golds playing a major part. It just screams sunshine & holidays, which is what Summer is all about, right?!

Thank you to Debenhams at The Merry Hill Centre for their time! You can access the Chanel collection online at the Debenhams website here!

Enjoy the rest of your week! x x x

Sunshine and Hikes

Happy Friday everyone!

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I hope you have all had a wonderful week & you’re all ready for the weekend! (I’m sure you are!)

What have you got planned for the weekend?

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I’m hoping for some more sunshine so we can get out & about on a little hike.  There’s nothing more lovely than getting up at the crack of dawn, having breakfast & going for a long stroll in the sunshine!

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After a long week in an office, you can sometimes forget that there’s a whole beautiful world out there to explore!

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Having a little sing song in the car on the way to our local countryside is one of my favourite things to do! I never know the correct words, but that’s what makes it fun right?!

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Going for long walks we always find ourselves talking for hours about anything and everything.

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It’s so lovely to have these surroundings on your doorstep.  Just to take a second out of ‘real life’ & get lost in the scenery is a wonderful thing to be able to do!

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I hope you all have a well earned peaceful weekend full of relaxation and adventures! Happy Friday!

Morrisons Great Birmingham 10k

Sunday 3 May 2015 saw the first Morrisons Great Birmingham 10k.

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A really fun 10k which gave runners a choice of musical starting waves to select from. With music from the 70s, 80s, 90s and the 00s, the event promised to bring a party to the streets of Birmingham.

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Starting by the  Bullring shopping centre & ending on Broadstreet, the course was a fun, but tough route around the second city.

After an energetic warm up, the race started at 10:30am.

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The atmosphere from the people of Birmingham was amazing & rivalled that of the Half marathon back in October 2014.  It always amazes me when people come out & support you. It really makes a difference & spurs everyone on!

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I completed the race in under an hour, which is what I wanted,  & the medal was beautiful!

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Around 7,000 people took part & all abilities were welcome. It was a great event for Birmingham & I cannot wait to sign up for next years event!

Did you complete any runs over the weekend? What have you got coming up? ..Remember, keep on running!

Food Review: Bank Restaurant & Bar Birmingham

Me & my mom like to do lunch. We especially like to do lunch when it’s sunny outside.

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With Birmingham on our doorstep, there’s always a new favourite we become obsessed with. In steps Bank Restaurant & Bar.

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Situated in the cosmopolitan surroundings of the popular Brindley Place, having sampled their cocktails many times before, (the bartenders encourage you to ask for ANYTHING. Don’t just pick off the menu. Fancy a Pina Colada? Then ask for it!), & with an impressive lunch menu tempting our tastebuds, we decided to head over there for an early lunch.

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With its outdoor heating & seating area, we braved the British wind & grabbed a cocktail, sat outside & pretended we were on an episode of the Hills.  I asked for a lychee martini (I’m obsessed with these!), & I was not disappointed! We had pre-booked our table for 1:30pm & was taken to our seats and seen to straight away. We were presented with a special lunch menu (1 course for £10, or 2 courses for £15) & given the specials & the normal extensive menu if we so wished to order from there.

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We picked our wine (priorities!) & settled on the special lunch menu.

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Almost immediately we were brought complimentary breads & olives for the table, which was a lovely touch.

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I went for a fish themed afternoon & started with chilli squid with a noodle salad.

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I then chose a main course of the salmon fishcakes with spinach.

From around 2pm, the restaurant was truly buzzing. There was a great atmosphere with everybody from cute couples, to larger family & friendship groups choosing to dine out here for lunch.

The food itself was outstanding. Service was quick & attentive, with everyone looking like they had just stepped out of a modelling agency.

With restaurants in Birmingham & Westminster, it really is a must when visiting Birmingham.

This special menu runs 7 days a week. 1 course for £10, or 2 courses for £15, it really does make for a fantastic afterwork venue, & an even greater weekend location. The menu runs on the following days:

Monday to Friday: 12pm – 7pm

Saturday & Sunday: 12pm – 5pm

So, if you’re in the Birmingham area & fancy a lunch with a touch of class & sophistication, Bank Restaurant & Bar is your place!

Read their menus & book your table here! 

A two course lunch, with a bottle of white wine, two cocktails & service charge (included in your final bill), came to £65.00.

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What I wore:

Dress: ASOS

Shoes: Michael Kors

My Moms dress is from Marks & Spencer

Mini Break: Barnsdale Hall Hotel

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With the stresses of work, & the awful British weather, we were in need of some R&R!

The British countryside truly is beautiful so where better to go? In the sunshine it’s stunning. And even on the coldest, wettest winter British days, it is one of the nicest places to sit in front of a log fire & sip on tea all afternoon (plus a slice of cake!).

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Based in Rutland Leicestershire, Barnsdale Hall Hotel is situated on a picturesque lake , with log cabins, lake views & bigger apartments/holiday villas to rent with big groups.

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We arrived at lunch time & grabbed a coffee in the brasserie before our pre-booked spa treatments at 2pm. All leisure & spa facilities were included in the stay (& you received 25% off spa treatments).

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Daniel settled on a full body massage & I chose an Indian Head massage. After an hour of pure bliss, we sauntered back down to the brasserie, where we embarked on the biggest scones we had ever seen!

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With our dinner reservations in the restaurant at 7:30pm, we took the scenic route back to the room to get ready, where shampoo & toiletries were provided. Whilst getting ready, we cracked open a bottle of prosecco & then made our way to dinner.

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The choice of home cooked, country food was lovely.  I settled on the salmon & crab fishcake which I didn’t want to end! We paired our meal with a bottle of white wine & then made the short walk back to our room.

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We got up early on Sunday morning, where we had our Sunday paper delivered to our door. We took this to breakfast at 8am & as I’m not a huge fan of a ‘fry up’, I was so happy to see the amazing choice of pastries, yoghurts, jams, cereals & fruit!

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We managed to see the lake & surrounding views of the hotel in its full glory before the heavens opened & we made a run for it!

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The hotel boasts a handful of activities with mini golf, floodlit tennis courts, lakeside walks, swimming & a gymnasium being just a few! I imagine in summer time, the hotel will be one of the nicest spots to visit!

To see room rates & availability, check out their official website here!

The Stroke Association

Having a Stroke is the third largest cause of death in the UK, after heart disease & cancer.

Shocking, right?

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Before signing up to the Stroke Association’s Resolution Run series, I did not know that 150,000 people have a stroke every year in the UK. 50,000 will make a full recovery, 50,000 will be left with a severe disability and 50,000 will die.

I have never raised money for the Stroke Association before, & with these figures, I was determined to do something.

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Taking place at the beautiful Hagley Hall in Hagley, Worcestershire, I chose to do the 5k run around the stunning grounds.

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The course itself was very daunting & extremely challenging for me (being used to flat surfaces & the treadmill!), but once I had gotten over that, the views really took my breath away!

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Castle ruins, untouched countryside & lively deer were just a few things that we were lucky enough to see.

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It really is a wonderful place to come for a Sunday morning walk & with it being Mother’s Day, my Mom & Dad surprised me half way through my race, shouting my name on their morning walk!

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This was the first Resolution Run at Hagley Hall & I felt really lucky to have taken part. It also turned out that I was the first woman to finish the 5K race, which really topped off the morning!

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It really is important that we all raise awareness, & with it being Action on Stroke month in May, it really isn’t too late to do something! To find out how you can help in your local area, go check out the website here!

Gift Guide: Mothers Day

With Mothering Sunday looming, I always find myself panicking. I want to get my mom something nice & special, just like her.

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It’s a day where your mother gets to put her feet up, relax & have some ‘me time!’

I’ve put together a little Gift Guide for that special Mother in your life!

Yankee Candle

An absolute firm favourite with my Mom & Mother-in-Law! We are all obsessed with a good Yankee Candle.

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A busy day at work is made better with a glass of wine & your Yankee lit in the background!

For up to 50% off some scents, check out www.yankee.co.uk for some great deals just in time for Mother’s Day!

Chocolate

All Mother’s love chocolate, right? RIGHT!

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You can’t go wrong with a nice box of chocolates & Hotel Chocolat are doing some wonderful sets for Mother’s Day!

From everything from Hampers, tea, candles, prosecco, body cream & chocolate, Hotel Chocolat will have something for every Mom!

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Prices range from £5.00 to £70.00 & you can shop online here!

Flowers

You can’t have Mother’s Day without flowers!

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A firm favourite is obviously Interflora with reliable delivery & good value.

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On my travels, I was surprised to see some supermarkets such as Tesco, Asda, & even Aldi all offering up fabulous flower arrangements/bouquets. High Street faves such as Marks & Spencer & Next also have a Mother’s Day range.

Afternoon Tea

A firm favourite with me & my Mom, Afternoon Tea is a lovely afternoon out. With such busy lives, it’s a lovely chance to sit down with your Mom with some cake & champagne & talk the afternoon away!

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I have taken my Mom to Hotel Du Vin & a few independent Manor homes for Afternoon Tea in the past & I would highly recommend it.

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There is a fantastic range of Afternoon Tea’s available now, with many Hotel chains offering an Afternoon Tea service. To see local Afternoon Tea’s by you, you can check out this fantastic website, which also allows you to book online at some venues. www.afternoontea.co.uk

Spa Day

What better way to relax & spend quality time with your mom, than a Spa Day!

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You could book a few treatments, use the facilities & even grab some lunch.

It’s a lovely way to spend a day & a lovely few hours for your Mom to relax & unwind!

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Find your perfect Spa Day on www.spabreaks.com

So there you have it! Something for every Mother out there!

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You could also pick up her favourite bottle of wine, or treat her to a lovely blouse & pair it with a statement necklace from Marks & Spencer. Purchase a new bestseller, buy her favourite perfume or even just cook your Mom a homemade meal!

I hope your Mother has a wonderful day on Sunday!