Tuesday 27 October 2015

Event: Chi Kitchen Launch Debenhams Birmingham

Chi Kitchen is a Pan Asian dining concept that has recently opened in Debenhams, Birmingham. Created by Eddie Lim, the man behind Mango Tree in Belgravia, Eddie even made a special trip to Birmingham to open his latest venture.

Tucked away in a corner on the beauty floor, Chi Kitchen is a breath of fresh air. The swanky yet Asian inspired interior has a distinctly cosmpolitan feel to it, and the sweeping bar is so inviting that myself and Ahmed from Dine Birmingham pulled up a chair later in the evening to watch the chefs at work; mesmerising.

We were welcomed with cocktails and beers at the bar before moving further into the party. Dishes from chicken satay to spring rolls and pomello cups were generously dished out, as well as sushi on steaming platters of dry ice, but we were lucky enough to have a few platters made up especially for us.

The first was a mix of Pomello cups, chicken satay, wasabi prawns, wagyu beef and chicken puffs.

The teriyaki Wagyu beef was a revelation. A sweet, salty and BBQ flavoured sauce over a delectable piece of melt in the mouth beef, this is first on my list of things to try next time I come.

Later on, when we were joined by Ting and Chloe, we were also treated to a huge plate of sushi just for photography purposes.

Eddie Lim gave a speech, and I did clamour my way forward as I'm kind of a big fan... However, I only managed to get a few shots, sorry they're not so good! He talked about the location (Birmingham is great!) and the food (halal, MSG free).

I spent quite a while staring at the chefs. It was almost like therapy watching them work quickly and swiftly, expertly slicing, dicing, grilling and flaming dishes.

I also noticed the authentic grill in the kitchen, perfect for BBQ style Korean dishes.

This is where you'll find me next time; at the kitchen bar. It's honestly more interesting than watching Eastenders.

The chefs also treated us to desserts including mango cheesecake, coconut filled pandan pancakes, a Thai speciality, and apple pie gyoza.

Chi Kitchen is a stylish, contemporary venue for Pan Asian cuisine. Expect no unneccessary frills, beautiful presentation and no gimmicks. I can't wait to visit again.

*With thanks to Chi Kitchen for inviting me to the launch party

Wednesday 21 October 2015

OOTD: Cut Out Shoulder Dress

Can you tell I'm feeling purple this season? For daytime, earthy colours are great but I am loving purple for the evening's.

Here is a quick OOTD for you featuring another purple dress, but this time with cutout sleeve details. I've kept it super simple and added my favourite marble necklace and some strappy tan sandals. The dress is current from Primark and the sandals are past season Primark.

How disco!

Sunday 18 October 2015

Dermalogica Facial at Selfridges Birmingham

A few weeks ago I was invited to an evening with Dermalogica at Selfridges Birmingham to meet with an expert dermatologist and try out a Microzone treatment.

In case you're not familiar with Dermalogica, the brand is best known for its Face Mapping technique, whereby the face is divided into 14 zones. Each zone is assessed for redness, dehydration, breakout activity, congestion and redness, and treatments and products are then tailored to your specific skin concerns.

I arrived for my appointment and filled in a questionnaire to discover more about my skin concerns and skin type.

My therapist, Dal, then tailored my facial based on these results. 

After laying down on the couch, Dal got to work on clearing up my skin and applied a Pre Cleanse followed by Ultracalming Cleanser. Dal also used the Daily Microfoliant, (one of my favourite Dermalogica products) Ultracalming Mist, Skin Smoothing Cream, Ultracalming Serum Concentrate and also the Overnight Clearning Gel to help clear my blemishes. 

As a result of my redness and congestion concerns, my treatment also included the use of the galvanic machine in order to help cleanse the pores. I've never had a galvanic facial before and was a little hesitant as I was told to hold onto a metal bar before a special pre-treatment gel was applied over my face that has a negative charge. 

The device was run over my face and thankfully, I couldn't feel the low voltage current on my skin! 

At the end of my treatment, I sat down with Dal and she went through the recommended products for my skin and I was also able to take away sample of some of these to try at home.

After my facial, my skin was smooth and not as red as skin can be. One thing I also noticed was how much firmer my skin was around my cheeks especially. The reason why? Galvanic facials are also used to smooth and tighten skin. Result! Will I be back again? Yes, if I can get an appointment as they are so in demand.

*Thank you to Dermalogica Selfridges Birmingham for my complimentary treatment

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Food Review: Vivaanta Private Dinner

I love a private dinner. Whenever I eat out with friends and family, it's usually a very informal affair. A private dinner however? There's something special about stepping into a room and knowing you'll be well looked after away from the hustle and bustle.

Vivaanta is an Indian restaurant specialising in seafood located right on the water's edge at The Mailbox. I was invited to a private dinner to sample some of the fabulous dishes available.

Before we sat down to eat, we enjoyed a few drinks at the bar right beside the water's edge. I opted for a Bellini but the bar staff are charismatic and excellent at rustling up some unusual creations.

Into the main room, we were seated at a horseshoe shaped table which enabled up to talk to guests opposite as well as those beside us. First off, we tucked into a variety of poppadums, from seeded versions to some with pepper and sesame alongside four dips; mango chutney, raita, spicy chilli sauce and citrus pickle.

We devoured these before being presented with a seafood medley of char-grilled salmon, Devonshire crab with ginger and lime, mussels in lime, baked sea bass, Nepalese cod pakora and aloo tikki. This was a special dish made up for us on the evening to allow us to try a selection of dishes (Indian tapas; I like it).

The mussels were served in a rich, sweet sauce which I devoured and the white fish was soft and perfectly cooked. I couldn't try some of the dishes as they were in breadcrumbs sadly but the staff were great at pointing out what I could and couldn't eat which was great.

Next, we had a few larger plates to share from. We had Nihari lobster and seafood medley, chingree muncharian, lamb kaalia gosht and garlic chilli chicken.  The chicken reminded me of a chicken satay but of course heavy on the garlic, in a rich, thick sauce, whilst the lamb in a sweet tomato sauce was pretty spicy and contained dried chillies. However, even being a wuss as I am, I still enjoyed this dish and it was hearty and rich. The king prawns in the Chingree were huge and this dish was in fact mild in a chunky sauce.

The lobster was of course, wonderfully presented but don't worry, the actual flesh had already been taken out and the shell was just for show. There were also some decent sized scallops in the medley too and the whole dish was super creamy.

To round us off, another platter. This time a dessert platter of Indian classics including gulab jaman, almond helwa, jelabi, pistachio ice cream and fruit. It's unusual to find helwa on a dessert menu but I enjoyed this super sweet speciality and it rounded off the meal. Sadly I couldn't try the gulab jaman or jelabi as they are not gluten free but I'm told they were pretty authentic.

I have to admit, I never normally order seafood at an Indian restaurant as I don't associate the two, but I was pleasantly surprised. The main dishes all worked well with seafood and the mussels and baked sea bass starters were my favourite of the lot. The scallops on their own in the seafood medley were tasty and would have worked just as well without the lobster, but for an occasion I can understand that the shell helps give the dish the wow factor.

The evening changed my perceptions of Indian seafood and I really enjoyed the experience of private dining as the service and presentation was excellent on the night. For a special occasion, Vivaanta would be a wonderful place to dine as the whole experience felt luxurious and discreet. Would I go back? Yes, I just need something to celebrate so I can go back and dine in style.

*I was invited to dine as a guest of Vivaanta. All view remain my own.

Saturday 3 October 2015

The Clothes Show Live comes to Bullring Birmingham - 3rd and 4th October 2015

September is fashion month not just on the streets of Milan and New York, but right here in Birmingham too. Hot on the heels of Style Birmingham last week, this weekend Clothes Show Live is popping up in Bullring.

Offering a sneak peak of the main event on 4-8th December (put the dates in the diary!), the space outside Debenhams will be turned into an autumnal city rooftop garden with a catwalk stage hosted by fashion and celebrity stylist Kalee Hewlett. There will be catwalk shows showcasing key looks including Red Alert, Bohemia, Dark Victorian and Be Bold and SAKS will be doing hair and makeup demos too.

There's also model masterclasses for budding models where you can learn how to walk like a model, boost confidence and improve posture. Liam Lunniss will teach girls how to walk like a pro and there will even be a catwalk battle! How very ANTM!

There's a whole host of prizes being given away in association with ALCATEL ONETOUCH and the chance to sample Lambrini fruit wine.

I'll be heading down on Sunday so let me know if you are too and come say hello! I'll no doubt be in a hat since I can't seem to resist them lately!

All the info on the weekend can be found here.

Friday 2 October 2015

Selfridges Live + Loud 1-4 October

There's always something exciting happening at Selfridges. Whether the brand is supporting emerging artists, celebrating local producers or offering exclusive products, there's always something to surprise in store.

This weekend, from 1-4th October, Selfridges is hosting Live + Loud, the biggest event to ever be held in the Birmingham store. It's not happening anywhere else and it's just lucky Birmingham shoppers who'll get to experience the exciting events on offer. There's something for everyone, from Bollywood Cinema at Itihaas to a chance to see the incredible Jimmy Choo Cinderella shoe in store.

With so much going on, I've put together a list of some of the events going on instore and at the offsite location in Digbeth on Floodgate Street, where the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts) is hosting a pop up arts space.

In store events

Meet The Chef, with Michelin-starred chef Anthony Demetre celebrating his Birmingham homecoming, a one-night-only dining experience at The Balcony restaurant on Thursday, 1st October between 7 - 10pm.

Make-up fans will be able to enjoy a celebration of beauty and wellbeing in store on the Thursday between 5pm and 9pm.

There will be a chance to find out from beauty experts about technology, nutrition and inner wellbeing and how they can create real solutions for your lifestyle. This will be alongside some pampering treatments, a live DJ set by Yasmin Evans and exclusive treats from top beauty brands.

For lovers of celebrity make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury, there will be a chance to get an exclusive and complimentary ‘Quick Trick’ treatment in their Tilbury Taxis, which will be parked in Rotunda Square between October between Friday, 2nd October and Sunday, 4th October.

Throughout the four days, there will be a chance for shoppers to see the exclusive Jimmy Choo Cinderella shoe on Level 4.

Film-lovers will also be able to get involved in the festival action. The Itihaas restaurant will be inviting shoppers to enjoy a complimentary taste of Bollywood, screening 20 minute Bollywood movie highlights and serving Bollywood style Street food creations Chilli popcorn and Ghol Gappa. These take place in the popup Cinema in the Foodhall between Thursday 1st and Sunday, 4th October.
Film Timetable:
Maine Pyar Kiya - 12.40 until 1pm
Sholay - 1.40pm until 2pm
Mr India - 2.40pm until 3pm
Dilwale Dhulania Le Jayenge - 3.40pm until 4pm
Songs of Bollywood - 4.40pm until 5pm.

New cult brand This is A Love Song will be launched on Level 3, and denim lovers will be able to get their jeans from Diesel, Religion and Replay customised.

The Birmingham School of Art from BCU will also be showing off their new and emerging talent in store on the Podium on Level 1.

Across the four days, there will be a chance to find out more about the incredible creative minds being cultivated in the city. From a chance to find out more about contemporary art, philosophy, history and the wild sciences, to have a glimpse at their latest work and exhibitions, it will be a must-see to catch the designers and artists of the future before they make it big.

Youngsters with an artistic flair also have the chance to discover how charity The Art Room are supporting children facing challenges in their daily lives, one art class at a time. There will be a drop-in workshop in Kids on Level 1 on Saturday, 4th October and Sunday, 3rd October between 1pm and 6pm (5pm on Sunday). The art sessions are a way for children to see how art can help them be creative and confident, and perhaps find hidden talent along the way.

Punch Records are setting up stage in store on Sunday 4th October and Birmingham-born and internationally renowned British Soul Singer Jacob Banks will be performing acoustically and taking part in a special question and answer session. A worldwide fashion icon, Jacob has just written and produced his second EP with support from artists including Pharrell, P Diddy and Annie Mac. He has previously toured with Emeli Sande and is currently working with Chase & Status, Plan B and Wretch 32.

Live sets will also be played throughout the day by contemporary Birmingham artists.

Energetic rapper and female MC, RoxXxan, who has been described as the ‘one to watch’ by a national newspaper will be performing too on the day. This will be alongside new and upcoming singer songwriter Namiwa Jazz, and eclectic Soul/Jazz artist Call Me Unique, who has opened from international artists such as Rihanna, Beyonce and many more.


Sunday, 4th October between 12pm and 4pm on Level 2, Mens.

1pm - Namiwa Jazz
2pm - Call Me Unique
2.30pm - RoxXxan
3pm - Q & A with Jacob Banks
3.30pm - Jacob Banks

This event is free, turn up on the day to enjoy the music.

There is lots more going on in store so this weekend is a great time to visit if you're thinking of shopping as there's lots of special competitions and gifts with purchase available in store.

Off site, there is plenty going on too.

The ICA Off-Site exhibition will be open from October 2 until October 4, and visitors will be able to see work by top photographer Tyrone Lebon, commercial artist Fergadelic, Filmmakers Tim & Barry / Just Jam, self-taught artist Ben Sansbury and one of the most promising young British fashion designers, Ashley Williams.

The artists have been linking heavily with Britain’s second city, and aim to reference recent trends in contemporary urban sub-cultures. The off-site venue will feature the temporary exhibition and music programme that draw on Birmingham’s mix of industrial and post-war brutalist architecture, celebrating the city as the centre of creativity and a source of inspiration.


Tyrone Lebon - the photographer and filmmaker Tyrone Lebon will present a new work on slide projectors, featuring photographs of local people from Birmingham, interspersed with photographs of both his own family as well as the family of late 90’s fashion designer Christopher Nemeth who live in the city.

Fashion designer Ashley Williams will present a site-specific installation featuring a unique print from her forthcoming AW16 collection, that will be applied to a series of fabrics draped around the space. Situated within the space will be a collection of related objects that will be accompanied by a new video work made in collaboration with Lev Tanju. Ashley was a huge hit at London Fashion Week SS16 so she's definitely worth keeping an eye on!

Tim & Barry, the film and photography duo, will be presenting a video programme of rare and unseen archived footage of past Just Jam broadcasts, alongside the full-length footwork documentary, ‘I’m Tryna Tell Ya’. The film presents an oral history of the ground-breaking Chicago based dance and music genre, delivered by its pioneers and brightest stars.

Tom of England will headline the opening live music event with support from Tim & Barry and their signature psychedelic visuals. On the Saturday night Just Jam will present and broadcast a programme of live performances by Midlands and UK based contemporary electronic musicians including Barely Legal, Crack Stevens, Scratcher and Tsunga. To accompany the exhibition and events programme, Voodoo Rays will provide New York style pizza and drinks inspired by local Birmingham flavours.

Fergadelic is a commercial artist, working as a freelance designer, but uses each of his jobs to explore his artistic expression. He has worked alongside a variety of individuals and their respected brands, including Palace Skateboards, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Paul Smith.

Ben Sansbury is a self-taught artist whose work has evolved from a distinguished career as an art director and graphic designer. He uses a variety of mediums including sculpture, found objects, digital video and collages to suggest alternative perceptions of reality.

ICA Offsite Timetable

Friday, 2nd October:

Tim & Barry present Tom of England 8pm until 12pm. Free ticketed event.

Saturday, 3rd October:

Exhibition opening hours 11am until 6pm.

Just Jam present, Barely Legal, Crack Stevens, Scratcher, Tsunga from 8pm until 12pm. Free ticketed event.

Sunday, 4th October:

Exhibition opening hours, 11am until 6pm.

This is a free, ticketed event. Tickets must be booked onlin at www.ica.org.uk/Digbeth.


There are so many reasons to come into store this weekend and if you're free I'd really recommend coming down as there really is something for everyone. I'll be at the Bollywood Cinema for sure!

See you there!