It’s been a busy few weeks for me, not half because Christmas is nearly around the corner.
However the C word I’ll be referring to in this post is the phenomenal fashion extravaganza that is The Clothes Show, which wrapped up it’s final show of this year on Wednesday.
For a special birthday treat for my cousin, we decided to travel up on the Friday night, stay over at the Hilton Metropole by the NEC, then spend all day Saturday shopping til we drop, before enjoying some of Birmingham’s culinary delights in the evening.
It was a good choice! The Hilton was a fab hotel, and the room service pizza Marinara I ordered at 10pm was much appreciated. It had so much cheese I thought it may give me nightmares but I was pleasantly surprised!
So after a bottle of prosecco and room service, Saturday was upon us before we knew it, and having spent ages getting ready our full English breakfasts were spot on, as was the view of the lovely Jeff Brazier sitting over the other side of the restaurant to us!
A short walk over to the NEC followed, and what awaited us there was simply amazing! This has got to have been the best year yet. The catwalk show was stunning, as were the male models and dancers strutting down it (Nick Geurts, Andrew Hamshire and Max Rogers to name but a few)! I thought it would be difficult to top last year, but this really was something else. The Department Store theme was such a clever way to showcase the best of British fashion and the dancers were spectacular.
Onto the shopping… boy did we shop. Muubaa, Jovonna, Bolongaro Trevor, Juicy Couture, Religion, Jelly Pong Pong, Barry M and many, many more were taken home by me that day at some amazing discounts. We had so many bags between us that even the gorgeous George Lamb commented! He said ”I would wish you happy shopping girls, but I think you’ve done that already!” We lauged, he laughed, it was a beautiful moment. Had I been able to fit him into one of my many bags, I think I would have tried.
Now contrary to my usual self, we shopped so hard we didn’t even stop for lunch!Although saying that, the chocolate coated waffles didn’t pass us by either. So after a hard day on our feet, we treated ourselves to an Elemis massage in the spa bus and trotted back to the Hilton to get ready for dinner.
We caught the train into Birmingham and had the obligatory stop at the German Christmas Market, where I introduced Sophia to the joys of German Lebkuchen, but sadle due to the sheer volume of people queueing up for beers we didn’t stay long.
Onwards we went to Browns Bar & Brasserie at the newly opened Spiceal Street. To say the place was buzzing is an understatement. Full house, live pianist in the background and a really good atmosphere.
We were seated straight away, upstairs by the full length glass windows with a view of the Bullring and the church all lit up spectacularly in the cold evening. The view was really lovely, and a great backdrop to our meal. Our waitress Meg was fab too. She helped us choose a bottle of wine, a really refreshing Pinot Grigio, and we had plenty of time to order without feeling rushed.
We both started with Duck Parfait which arrived really quickly, which was good news for both of us as at this point, we were starving! The parfait was smooth and rich, the beetroot and apple chutney really delicious and home made bread topped it off. Very impressive first round.
I then had lobster tagliatelli with a white wine, cream and chive sauce, which was, I must say, perfection. The food again arrived without us even noticing the wait, and mine looked absolutely amazing! There was half a grilled lobster on top, which was sweet and succulent, the pasta was cooked really well, a tiny bit al dente, and the sauce was flavoursome and really complimented the fish.
By this point you’d have thought we were full, which we were, but we still decided to have puddings anyway. We opted for the Creme Brulee as I wasn’t sure I’d be able to fit anything else in. I was very pleased I did - the portion size was perfect, small enough to not make my dress split at the seams, big enough to feel like a proper dessert. The top was crisp and golden and the centre was really vanillary and velvety.
I was very impressed with the food, but I have to say, the service was impeccable. A full restaurant, barely any waiting time for the food, service with a smile every time, very knowledgable staff, and no rush to throw us out when we’d finished. I’ve gotta hand it to them, really well done. Definitely recommend a try!
Well, following our delicious meal, the the only thing left to do was retire to bed back at the Hilton, having booked some spa treatments for the morning.
Breakfast was a somewhat lighter affair the next morning, but both me and my cousin were impressed with the Hilton’s omelette and pancake station. I had a really well cooked cheese and mushroom omelette, with a side of George Lamb sitting across the way from us this time, then a much needed massage to ease the aching shopping muscles before the drive home.
What a weekend huh?!