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Primary school teacher, making the most of the weekends. Blogging about the best of Birmingham, food, cocktails and dresses!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

A trip to the Cotswolds

During half term, Edd and I headed to the Costwolds for a couple of days. I love a relaxing break in October half term- the first few weeks of school are always so tiring.
We stayed at the Stonehouse Court Hotel in Stonehouse near Stroud. Stonehouse  is a village (small town?) surrounded by beautiful countryside. Look at the view from our window!
On the first evening we ate in the hotel. It was of a really high standard, beautifully presented. This was Edd's strawberries and cream dessert.
I found Bath Salts in the bathroom. BATH SALTS. Obviously I used them!


The following day we walked to Stroud and found The Greyhound Inn for lunch. They had a really varied menu, lots of pitta wraps and so on. Edd had a cheese and bacon burger and I had a mini platter which was basically a lot of cheese. YUM.

Coat: La Redoute, Bag: Accessorize, Boots: Bertie

The walk to Stroud along the canal was really beautiful . It took ages so that definitely burnt some calories! I've just started using a Fitbit, wish I'd had it then so I could see all the steps I'd done!

Then it was back to the hotel for the cream tea which was included in the price. More food!

In the evening we went for a curry in Stonehouse. The waiter was really happy that we were from Birmingham! "There's a lot of Indian restaurants in Birmingham," he said. Tandoori prawns in my belly!

 We had a lovely relaxing time in Stonehouse. The hotel was absolutely gorgeous and I could have stared at the view all day.




Monday, 10 November 2014

Drumroll....RIB NIGHTS!!!

Today's song:

Well what an exciting day I have had! Back in September I excitedly booked two tickets for an afternoon of delicious food at The Church Inn, Hockley. Today I headed there for RIB NIGHTS ROUND 5!

Rib Nights is a Birmingham based event in which two teams compete for the honour of having the best ribs of the day. No one knows which team is which, you just have to vote for the ones you like the most. As I said, this was round 5 and apparently the final is coming up soon. Also to come is a Burger Battle which I already have my tickets for!

The venue is a lovely pub in Hockley, very traditional looking but selling a great range of cocktails and ales. We were in the back room which I once spent a very drunk night in...

When we sat down at the communal tables we were handed a list of cocktail specials. The person who typed it up was obviously very excited by the final cocktail.

I went for a Maple Old Fashioned. It had a lovely scent of maple as you would expect.

Before we started eating, our host Ahmed explained that we would be partaking in something called a Pickleback. This is a shot of bourbon followed by a chaser of pickle juice. Uh, yum? The bourbon was good and I understood the point of the pickle juice but it wasn't for me.

After banging on the table and shouting 'RIB NIGHT' so the rib teams could hear us on the room terrace above, the sides started appearing. Corn on the cob, fries and a lovely salad/coleslaw type thing. This caused some huffing and puffing from some folks who felt they hadn't had enough of one thing or another, but the staff from the venue soon started bringing more out so everyone had their fill. 

And then the ribs started to appear....

Team A's were chewier and had quite a spicy taste. Team B's had a smoky tang and more tender meat. Some folks on our table felt Team B's weren't cooked long enough and some felt Team A's sauce overwhelmed the sauce. I liked both and I'm not going to tell you who I picked!

A few minutes later the ribs were all gone!

And it was time to place a thumbprint of sauce on our favourite team.

But that wasn't it, as there was pudding to come. We had some delicious, oozing chocolate brownies.

As well as all the eating and drinking there was some entertaining going on. A DJ was playing a great soul and funk mix and a magician was working his way round the tables doing some pretty awesome card tricks.

Here's what I wore...

T-Shirt: Topshop, Skirt: Tesco, Boots: M&S

And the winner is..... Team B, Smoke and Spice BBQ!

Well done to the winners! Both teams produced some excellent food and I can't wait to return for the final and to try out UK Burger Battle.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Halloween at University College Birmingham!

Why have I never done this before?!

Last Tuesday, Edd and I headed to UCB to try out food at an event put on by the Hospitality students. I had heard about the restaurant and how good it was but had never gotten round to attending before. Most of the people eating were students or family of the students so I think it was a little odd for us to be there. Never mind, you can't go wrong for eighteen pounds!

More details at this website. http://www.ucb.ac.uk/facilities/award-winning-restaurants.aspx

The students had dressed up in Halloween costumes and there was a magician (he used to be a teacher so we ended up chatting about that- magical). It was a lot of fun!

Tickets were only eighteen pounds and included a welcome drink, amuse bouche, three courses, coffee, the table magician and a little bag of sweets!

The students serving were all very nervous and worked hard to make sure we had a great evening. One of them told me it was their first event, so I am excited to see what it will be like when they've had more practice.

The amuse bouche was tomato soup with bread. Starter was goats cheese and caramalised onion tart. I'm not a big shortcrust pastry fan so this wasn't for me. The main was chicken supreme which was very good indeed, the chicken was beautifully cooked. Finally pudding was a chocolate torte. We finished with coffee which wasn't great but you can't have it all.

Service was a little hit and miss but that's why we are there- for them to practice on!

Will definitely return to another event. What a great experience for the students, it reflects really well on the university.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Costa Musical Bingo

Today's song: R. Dean Taylor- There's a Ghost in my House

Last Wednesday, I attended a very special Blogger event- Halloween Musical Bingo! It was my first blogger event and I wasn't sure what to expect.

I felt like a bit of an idiot because I'd taken Edd along as my plus one (well we were both on holiday!) and he was the only man in there not being paid to be. Awkward. He didn't care- he had an amazing time!

So, musical bingo is great fun. You have a bingo card with lots of songs (they were Halloween themed). When you hear the song you mark it off. So half the battle is knowing the songs- I was pretty lucky that I knew almost every one! There were prizes throughout the evening for lines and full houses. If more than one person won at the same time you had to take part in a challenge- mine was a TWERKING competition. Believe it or not I did not win. Edd won a prize though! We were hoping for the slow cooker, no such luck.

The event was at The Victoria in Birmingham, a very cool pub which sells amazing cocktails and food. I had a few of those cocktails and a pizza which was delicious- definitely heading back for another one.

It was a crazy night, thanks to Costa Bingo, Joe Blogs and Musical Bingo! I attended for free but would soooo pay to do something like this. You can see a blog about it on the Costa Bingo website here.

I didn't speak to as many bloggers as I would have liked but I did speak to a few of you. Everyone seemed lovely, hope to speak to more of you in future!

The prizes on offer

 What is going on here!

 That darn slow cooker...

Dress: ASOS

Oh yeah, and then Edd and I got drunk and went to Snobs.

Most of these photos were taken by the professional photographer at the event. I felt like an actual celebrity.

*I was invited here by Joe Blogs and Costa Musical Bingo so I got in for free, also had a pizza and four drinks included. All opinions are my own etc etc*

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Half Term

Today's song: Dusty Springfield- Spooky

I have had such a lovely half term. I spent last weekend sleeping, catching up on blogs and watching films. I knew I had a busy week ahead and didn't want to tire myself out.

Monday I got lots of work done, Tuesday evening visited University College Birmingham's training restaurant, Wednesday attended a really fun blogger event (my first!) and then went off on a mini-break to the Cotswolds.

Tuesday daytime, Edd and I had to pop to the solicitors to pick up some documents about the flat sale. Annoyingly the solictors office is in Walsall- a 20 minute train journey away- so we were going out of our way. Edd suggested we have lunch there to make a bit more of a day of it.

Well I don't know Walsall at all (apart from the illuminations, anyone remember them?? No?) so I turned to Twitter and Yelp. Reviews for Smokeys seemed good on Yelp and then someone recommended it on Twitter too! So Smokeys it was.

Smokeys is an American dive type place, selling lots of deep fried foods, burritos, hot dogs and burgers. The decoration is generic American- route 66 signs and pictures of yellow taxi cabs, you get the picture!

I had three chicken drumsticks with BBQ sauce, chips and coleslaw. The coleslaw had far too much mayonnaise in it and I couldn't really eat it. The chips were lovely, the chicken had a great smokey taste and the BBQ sauce was delicious! Edd had a hot dog wrapped in bacon, deep fried and covered in pulled pork! Wow! He absolutely loved it.

With two soft drinks and two meals, the bill came to twenty pounds, what a bargain! There were lots of things on the menu I would have eaten so if I'm in Walsall again I will certainly pop in.

Afterwards we went to the Arboretum to look at the ducks. This is where the illuminations were so I have fond childhood memories. I didn't really recognise it but it's always good to see some ducks and I even managed to stop for a pose.

 Scarf- Accessorize, Coat- La Redoute, Bag- present, Boots- River Island

Friday, 31 October 2014

October in Food

The Sun on the Hill

A pub in Birmingham city centre which has been recently renovated. You would have just walked past it before, now it is much more eye catching! They've changed the menu too and there is a focus on hot dogs and burgers. I had a chicken and bacon burger and Edd had a bacon wrapped hot dog. Both were gorgeous and we had 20% off with my Independent Birmingham card.


Kents Kitchen meal kits

Made a delicious Thai Green curry using a kit which comes with all the oils, spices and herbs you need! Love things like this- you just buy the fresh ingredients.

Hello Fresh

Had another Hello Fresh box this month. I don't usually like pasta, but this herbed pork and parmesan dish made me very happy!

The Old Joint Stock

A Birmingham institution. This pub is in an old bank (of course). I've never managed to eat in there before as it's so busy. Edd and I managed to get a table on a Saturday evening. I had fish and chips and he had a burger. Very tasty indeed.

Have you eaten anything yummy recently?

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Birmingham Independent Food Fair

Way back in September, Edd and I headed to Birmingham's Millennium Point for the Birmingham Independent Food Fair. This was a celebration of food and drink in Birmingham. So many new businesses have popped up in the past few years, it's a great time to be in the city!

Businesses included:

*Le Truc French Restaurant
*Kneals Chocolates- these are amazing amazing amazing!!
*All Greek Deli
*Peel and Stone Bakery
*6/8 Kafe
*UCB Training restaurant (I'm going there tonight!)
*Langley's Gin

Those are the ones I remember off the top of my head- clearly these are the ones which made an impact!

An early bird ticket was about five pounds. This got you a card which entitled you to samples from each place. You could also buy larger items. Some places were more generous than others of course!

From reading reviews in various places, I know some people were annoyed that members of the general public could get in and buy items. This meant that the stalls ran out of food fairly quickly. I can see why the organisers would think 'the more the merrier' but it wasn't that great for those people who had paid to get in. You also spent a great deal of time queuing. I believe this was the first time they had run the event on this scale so I am sure they will have ironed out the creases by next time.

 Goats cheese and beetroot from Le Truc

 A talk from local Langley's gin.

 Kneals Chocolates- the greatest ever chocolates!

 We had to pick up some of those gorgeous chocolates