Afternoon Tea – The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel & Cocktail Lounge

It’s Monday. What better way to spend the day than an Afternoon Tea, right?

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Monday blues are no more with The Edgbaston Boutique Hotel & Cocktail Lounge.

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Situated on Highfield Road, Edgbaston, this 6 bedroomed boutique hotel is a beautiful destination for Afternoon Tea!

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It’s definitely got a 1920’s feel about it & if you’re a fan of The Great Gatsby, (who isn’t!), then this will be the venue for you!

They are an award winning cocktail lounge, who boast an endless list of both classic drinks & cocktails with added style from the Edgbaston’s bartenders.

We entered the lounge around 12:30pm (Afternoon Tea starts at noon) & we were shown to our table right away.  We were the first people there for Afternoon Tea & so I took the opportunity to have a few ‘ooohhhhs & aaahhhhs’ on the decor of the place!

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The stylish yet classic layout is exactly to mine & Daniel’s taste & if we could morph our living/dining room into this cocktail lounge, we would be in absolute heaven!

There are a few Afternoon Tea options for you to chose from which are listed on their website here.  Prices start from £22.00 so most definitely compete with all other venues that offer Afternoon Tea.

We opted for the Laurent Perrier rosé Afternoon Tea with the traditional Breakfast Tea on the side. 

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The experience started with a bit of ‘magic’…a minus 78 degree surprise! It looked totally spectacular & really excited us for the remainder of the tea!

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Out came our sandwiches & little mini cakes which were all yummy (my favourite was the earl grey macaroon – I’m a sucker for a macaroon!).

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Lastly, we were presented with a fruit scone & a plain scone each.  The cream & the strawberry jam came in cute little containers.

After washing it all down with our lovely tea (the tea was organic loose leaf Jing Tea by the way!), we felt well & truly relaxed!

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The Edgbaston is a perfect place to come just outside of the city centre which is a beautiful hideaway where you can drink fabulous cocktails in a stunning location.

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I cannot wait to visit here for pre-dinner cocktails & me & Daniel were gutted we had to drive home! I had to stop looking at the extensive cocktail list before I got carried away!

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Date Night: Loki Wine Merchant & Tasting House

If you follow me on instagram (https://instagram.com/xjennaloulou)  then you will have seen that a few weeks ago I went wine tasting (again!).

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Dan has been working so hard lately and I just wanted a cute little date night that we could do on a weekday to relax & unwind during another stressful week.

Up stepped the most awarded Wine Merchant in Birmingham. Located in the Great Western Arcade, Loki Wine was the perfect venue for a lovely, relaxed evening of wine tasting.

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If you head over to their website here, you will see the current events that they have coming up.

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We attended the Rioja masterclass which was on Wednesday 28 October 2015 & started at 6pm.

We headed over to Birmingham & grabbed a coffee & then wandered over to Loki around 6pm.

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We were taken upstairs to the tasting room where we were greeted by Rioja goody bags.

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On the table was water and spittoons but we were encouraged to taste the wine & swallow if we so wished, which of course we did!

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We also had a slice of chorizo & some delightful manchego  cheese to pair with the wines.  Loki also sell meat & cheese platters & all food is sourced from the local, traditional delicatessen which is fantastic for local, independent businesses.

A pen was provided to us if we wished to make notes of the wines that we tasted etc.

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The experience was led by Paul who was so educated in wine that me & Dan felt like we could have listed to him all day!

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There was around 18 people on the tasting, which was a lovely number; just intimate enough but also a nice number to interact with.

We tasted 6 wines in total (including one white Rioja and one rosé Rioja).  We then tasted a range of Rioja’s varying in price.

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Every wine we tried was available to buy in the store on the lower ground.

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You can also come in, order some food, buy a tasting card starting at £10.00 & work your way around the wines.

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This is a fantastic idea if you’ve been wondering about a certain wine, but you don’t necessarily want to purchase a whole bottle just in case it’s not for you!

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Our wine tasting evening finished on Paul opening a bottle of 1970 Rioja which was a real experience!

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To drink something that’s nearly twice my age was wonderful & would make a great talking point at a dinner party!

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After the tasting had finished I took a look around Loki & was impressed with how relaxed it was.  There was a lovely room where you could bring your wine & have a natter after work or have a glass of wine after a morning of retail therapy.

We were also encouraged to browse the store before it closed around 8pm, which we took full advantage of!

Networking: Chocolate & Wine Tasting!

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On 20 October 2015, I was invited to an Event organised by The Gatekeepers Guild which is a Networking Group brought to you by SimkissGuy Recruitment created for PAs, EAs & Office Managers in Birmingham.

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When the email came round with the words ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Wine’ tasting, I didn’t even need to read the rest to know I was in!

So with three other colleagues from my firm, we headed into Birmingham for the event.

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The event kicked off at 5:30pm and it took place at Bank House in Birmingham.

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We took the elevator and was greeted with this wonderful view overlooking Birmingham!

We were given a glass of champagne (or two) & after a little mingling, the Chocolate & Wine tasting begun.

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Providing this amazing experience was Chouchoute Chocolaterie who have a wonderful shop in the Great Western Arcade in Birmingham.

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The shop is co-owned by Pierre Soualah who was trained at Fauchon in Paris & Selfridges in London – not bad eh!

Pierre went through the whole chocolate process.  From the cocoa bean all the way through to the tasting, Pierre went through in detail everything you would ever want and need to know.

His passion really came through in the way he spoke about the chocolate and he had me completely sold even before trying the chocolate.

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But next, we got to taste the chocolate – yay!  Each chocolate was different from the region the bean was grown, to the percentage of cocoa in each chocolate.  When going through each chocolate it was a lovely way to interact with people we work with, and getting to know the people we didn’t work with.  Trying to guess and understand the flavours of the chocolate was a real fun experience and with Pierre there to talk us through everything, I think I could well be a chocolate expert!

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After a glass of wine and a bit more of a natter, it was time to catch the train back home.  It was such a well organised, brilliant evening with some really lovely, hardworking ladies! Networking with people in similar jobs is a really positive experience and something companies should definitely encourage!

I really can’t wait to visit Chouchoute and pick up some bits!

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They cater for any occasion; birthdays, anniversary’s christmas, Weddings & they offer a wonderful corporate gift selection.  They also deliver to almost any address; business or personal & you can also add a personal message to your gift if you like.

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You will not find chocolates like these anywhere.  They are all handmade in a timeless fashion & the taste is second to none!

If you would like to check out the shop & you’re in the Birmingham area, their address is:

Chouchoute Chocolaterie Ltd
40 Great Western Arcade
Birmingham
B2 5HU

You can also find them on social media & I highly recommend checking out their website!

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The Mailbox launch weekend!

Hello & happy Monday!

I have today off work & so my mood is VERY different to a normal working Monday morning!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend & no doubt we’re already on countdown for the next one!

My weekend was possibly the best weekend I’ve had in a long time!

Me & Daniel celebrated our 9th Anniversary on Sunday which was a lovely day! (more on that soon!).

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But on Saturday we attended the Mailbox Sessions.

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This was a celebratory weekend for the Mailbox in Birmingham.  It’s finally opened it’s doors & as you may know, the new (& amazing) Harvey Nichols is also complete!

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Me & Daniel parked in the Mailbox (so handy!) & headed up to grab some breakfast.

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We popped into Cafe Rouge & had our favourite breakfast; eggs Benedict!  We are complete suckers for it!

We had secured tickets to the Gieves and Hawkes Tailored to You show at 10:30am.  The show was being held in the new Urban Room which is located on the floor with all the restaurants and opposite the champagne bar/restaurant entrance to Harvey Nichols.

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The show was fantastic.  It was led by Randall, an employee of the new Mailbox store, along with model, Luke, who modelled the suits that day.

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Randall went through what makes a perfect suit & what Gieves and Hawkes can offer to you.  A suit to a man is like that little black dress for a woman.  It’s SO important! Daniel loved the show & after the 30 minute talk we sauntered over to the Gieves and Hawkes store.

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Daniel picked out a tie & we got talking to the wonderful staff.  They asked what brought us to the store today & we mentioned it was our Anniversary weekend.  Next thing we knew the staff had given Daniel a little Anniversary gift; another tie!  It was such a lovely gesture & we cannot wait to go back & purchase more things!

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At around midday, Daniel went & met his brother to pick & try on wedding suits! (Daniel’s brother is getting married next year; SO exciting!).

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I had got a ticket for the Art of Style show which was led by Grazia Magazine’s fashion editor, Blogger Bip Ling & Harvey Nichols’ Darren Skey.  This was also held in the new Urban Room & a free copy of Grazia magazine was on each chair.  Nice touch!

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This show was a conversational talk all about how art influences style, style icons & a general chit chat about fashion.

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It was fun & informative & made me want to quit my job & work for Grazia!

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After the 45 minute show, I went back downstairs to the shop level where the new & beautiful seating area is.

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They had public dance performances & also a live orchestra playing delightful background music.

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I sat for a while whilst admiring the new layout & the stunning decor of the new building.

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Birmingham has really stepped up its game in the last few years & I am SO proud to live here!

If shopping is your thing then I highly suggest coming over for a whole weekend of retail therapy!  We now have EVERYTHING in the city that London can offer; only less busy & more relaxed!

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As department stores go, we have Harvey Nichols, John Lewis, Selfridges, House of Fraser & Debenhams.  With some fantastic hotels & with the Christmas Market arriving in the next few weeks, it’s perfect for a Christmas shopping weekend away!

So what are you waiting for?  Come & see us here in Birmingham!

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!

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