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!

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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!

Weekend Adventure

Amsterdam. Can you do it in one day?

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Well, at the weekend, Daniel & I boarded a plane & hit Amsterdam to find out!

I had brought the plane tickets as a surprise for Daniel’s 25th Birthday so we were extremely excited.

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We arrived at 9:30am & boarded the train from the airport into Amsterdam City Centre. With this only taking 10 minutes, we had arrived into the centre at 10am so decided to go for a coffee in Dam Square to consult our maps & arrange a game plan for the next few hours!

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I don’t know what it is, but the coffee we have in Europe, always tastes better than the coffee we get in the UK!

We decided to have a general walk around the City & after stumbling upon the Red Light District, we felt we needed to get away & do something we know well…SHOPPING!

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With Amsterdam’s equivalent to Harrods right around the corner, we decided we needed to visit!

De Bijenkorf is right on the edge of Dam Square, & away from all things drug & sex related!

We spent some time in here & decided to look at the restaurant & champagne bar on the rooftop.

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We settled on sushi, Tai & champagne whilst deciding on our next move!

We headed over to Jordaan, which is a neighbourhood in Amsterdam considered to be one of the prettiest.

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Full of canal side cafes, scenic views everywhere you turn & A LOT of bicycles!

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The bicycles were cute to start with. Then a crazy lady man-handled me & I nearly ended up in the canal. Not so cute.

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Overall we had 6 hours in Amsterdam before making our way back to the Airport, (which, is HUGE by the way!).

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We felt like we had done everything that we wanted to do & saw everything that we wanted to see.

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We felt staying over night or staying any longer would have been too long for us, so we were ecstatic to be back home in our pyjamas with a tea by 7.30pm!

It’s quite crazy what you can do in a day.

We grabbed an early flight from Birmingham Airpot & travelled with Flybe. I would highly recommend doing what we did if you want a real adventure! You can get to most places in Europe in one hour (with Amsterdam taking us 50 minutes!), so what’s stopping you grabbing an early flight & visiting somewhere for a day!

Happy travelling!