A lifestyle blog all about Birmingham, UK.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

REVIEW: Romeo & Juliet, Birmingham Royal Ballet at Birmingham Hippodrome

The temperature has sure been sizzling in Birmingham this week, but the beautifully passionate Romeo & Juliet, now on stage at Birmingham Hippodrome, brought the hot passion and romance inside too.

Birmingham Royal Ballet's Romeo & Juliet follows the story line of the most famous love story of all time.  However, this take on the tragic story brings a whole new side to the story through the incredible medium of dance and makes the production more magical, romantic and captivating than ever before.

To say that Kenneth MacMillan's adaptation of the Shakespeare play is totally captivating would be a complete understatement. The production really brings the beautiful setting of Renaissance Verona to the stage and with thanks to Prokofiev's outstanding score, performed by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, which helps bring the incredible intensity to each act. 

Right from the opening act, the production is incredibly powerful, from the dancing to the music and by far the stage itself. We are soon introduced to sworn enemies Montagues and Capulets and there is tragedy within the first few minutes, after a fight breaks out between Tybalt, nephew of Capulet, and Romeo and his friends. We then meet charming Juliet, and the audience are taken to the masked ball where she firsts sets eyes upon Romeo. 

We watch as Romeo and Juliet fall madly in love with each other and all the joy of first love, right through to total tragedy. From the classic balcony scene right through to the tragic church ending, the production helps bring the story to life, but with beautiful dancing, fitting music and surprisingly fantastic acting skills alongside it.
Taking on the role of Romeo, is the brilliant Brandon Lawrence, whose portrayal was totally captivating and alongside the fantastic Celine Gittens who made the role of Juliet completely her own, worked amazingly well. The chemistry between the duo was totally believable and it was hard to not completely fall in love with their portrayals. 

The star of the show for me was definitely the stage itself. It was transformed from the grand palaces of the Capulets and the Montageus to a range of different sets that were each as magical as the next. It was simply fantastic how much effort and thought had been put into each aspect of the stage and how well the audience were taken to a whole different time and place with swift changes and smooth transitions. 

It has to be said though, the production really was an emotional show and it blew me away just how well each member of the ballet cast portrayed their intense emotions. From ecstatic and electric dancing and fun at the parties, right through to total tragedy in numerous death scenes, and of course ending in the most tragic of them all.
I was completely overwhelmed with how much I just absolutely adored this production. It is incredibly diverse, creative and feels very modern despite the fact that it was set hundreds of years ago. Birmingham Royal Ballet have created yet another breathtaking production and we are so lucky to have such beautiful talent right here in this city. 

Do not miss this production - it is an absolute must see. 

Romeo & Juliet rating: 10/10 


Saturday, 23 June 2018

Independent Birmingham Festival's summer line-up announced

The full line-up for this summer's Independent Birmingham has been announced and it is set to be biggest celebration of independents from across the West Midlands to date.

Following the huge success of last year’s sold out Independent Birmingham Festival At Aston Hall, where upon 2000 people descended on the beautiful heritage site for a fun-filled day of feasting, drinking, shopping local and rocking out to live music on the main stage, the event is returning to the iconic venue on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 July, 2018. 

Visitors can expect a spectacular line-up of pop-up restaurants, cocktail bars, street food, craft beer, fine wine, coffee, independent retailers, and live music from local bands on the main stage.

Take a look at the full line-up...

Food and Drink 

The Meat Shack, BoneHead, Michelin starred Hampton Manor, 40 St Paul’s, Low ‘N’ Slow, The Prince of Wales, The Flying Cows, Laghi’s Deli, Buddha Belly, Burning Soul Brewing, Peel and Stone pizzas, The Indian Brewery, Loki Wine, The Wolf, Wayland’s Yard, The Vanguard at 1000 Trades, Habaneros, Arch 13, Faculty, The Bournville Waffle Company, Street Chef, U-Juice, Quarter Horse Coffee, Pietanic, The Warehouse Cafe and Cake Doctor. 
In addition to this there will be two indoor market halls packed with the city’s finest independent retailers, artists, designers and makers, and live music all weekend from local bands. 


Anderson & Hill, Bake, Brumhaus, Chiddlers Boutique, Lint & Thread, Dot Moth Studio, Fudge Box, Hannah Kyriakou Design, Hookway’s Salads, Ikon Gallery Bookshop, Jam Vs Custard, Currentstate Studio, Kate Gilliland Jewellery, Known as Unknown, Koo Arts, Mini Mini, Minima, No 50., Peel & Stone Bakery, Pin Game, Pip’s Hot Sauce, Provide, Spectacle Emporium, Abbie Gaiger. 

Live Music

Pistol Pete Wearn, R John Webb (Of Rhino and The Ranters), Bostin’ Brass, Martyn Nelson & The Rhythm Remedies, Delta Autumn, Harry and The Howlers, Three Step Manoeuvre, Las Anteojeras Pico, The Heels and Call Me Unique.

Tickets cost £10 and children under 12 go free with no ticket required. Grab your ticket here

Summer in Southside set to return to Birmingham

Birmingham Hippodrome’s two-day family festival Summer in Southside heads back to the carefree days of childhood with a programme full of free fun for kids of all ages next month.

On the weekend of July 14-15 2018, the streets around the theatre and the Birmingham Hippodrome foyers will be transformed into a summer playground with traditional fun-fair rides, retro arcade games and a whole host of exciting and nostalgic performances to spark your imagination. 

A new commission for this year comes from Fantabulousa, a pop-up family entertainment grotto, where you can listen and join in with different fabulous story time sessions involving storytelling, lip-syncing, face painting and the wonderful world of drag. 

There will be theatrical delights for all, with plenty of exciting pop-up shows throughout the weekend. This year, The Fabularium return with the brand new outdoor performance There be Monsters. Another exciting new aspect of the festival is the construction of French artist Olivier Grossetête’s Perrott’s Chinese Tower. Over the weekend, the giant structure is built, completed, pulled over and then even squashed.

From Monday 9 July, Birmingham Hippodrome are running free public participatory workshops in preparation for the festival where you can help construct the building blocks for this immense tower.

There’s plenty to see and do this year including Actual Reality Arcade, a life-sized interactive pop-up game zone inspired by classic arcade games. The festival also features Mufti Games, creating playful and memorable experiences for all. 

There will also be Fun DMC, featuring a daytime Block Party for kids and parents. Visitors will have the chance to learn the art of rap, decorate the graffiti train, compete for your very own gold chain in dance competitions and for all those fathers with smooth moves you can enter the Dad Dance Off!

Other festival highlights include street theatre, comedy, installations specialists Dot Comedy, pop-up theatre performances from Pif Paf, live brass band Bostin Brass, live performances from Gorillabot.

There will also be independent food stalls, face painting and a whole range of craft workshops and family activities in the theatre foyers. 

Summer in Southside returns in July 2018. Find out more here

Moana to join characters at Disney on Ice

Audiences will set sail with the wayfinder Moana as she makes her Birmingham debut live on ice in Disney On Ice presents Dream Big. 

This all-new production, produced by Feld Entertainment, assembles a collection of inspiring stories connected by a cast of characters with a desire to explore the depths, heights and horizons of their dreams. 

Alongside Moana and demigod Maui are eight tales of courage and heart, including Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Tangled. 

The production will visit the Area Birmingham from 19th – 28th October 2018. 

Courage leads the way for Disney’s most daring heroines, in this brand-new ice skating spectacular. Travel to the kingdom of Arendelle with Anna, Elsa and Olaf in a dramatic retelling of the sisterly love that saved a kingdom, jump into amazing adventures with Aladdin as he seizes his chance to outwit his adversaries in the marketplace of Agrabah and discover uncharted worlds with Rapunzel and Jasmine. 

Audiences will also get the chance to battle the villain Maleficent in the form of a fire-breathing dragon alongside Prince Phillip, dive under the sea with headstrong Ariel as she yearns to explore life above the waves and is willing to risk it all for curiosity and the thrill of adventure and find the inner strength that comes from kindness and determination with Belle, Aurora and Cinderella. 

Those who arrive early will also get to celebrate 90 years of Walt Disney’s true original, Mickey Mouse. 

Executive Vice President and Producer Nicole Feld said: “Disney On Ice presents Dream Big was created with the intention to inspire everyone to explore their world by highlighting the defining moments of relatable characters who became their own heroes.

“Having both a daughter and son at home, I knew it was important to present a variety of Disney stories as well as show the connection between these stories and illustrate how a journey can unfold in many ways.” 

“Our greatest wish for our guests is that they will be inspired by these tales of bravery and see that anything is possible if you follow your dreams,” 

Disney on Ice presents Dream Big arrive into Birmingham in October 2018. Find out more here.

TV royalty Sooty to star in Wolverhampton Grand pantomime

Wolverhampton Grand have announced that teddy bear royalty, Sooty, will star in this year’s magical family pantomime Sleeping Beauty this Christmas. 

Sooty will take to the stage alongside his good friend Richard Cadell, with Debbie McGee, Doreen Tipton and Ian Adams from Saturday December 8th. 

The television, stage, comic book, animation and film star made his screen debut over 66 years ago and in that time has delighted audiences of millions worldwide with his cheeky sense of humour, magic tricks and hilarious mishaps, despite not ageing whatsoever. 

Ably supported by his original owner and friend Henry Corbett, and later his son Matthew, Sooty became a regular on the BBC’s Saturday Special, and fronted his own programmes The Sooty Show and Sooty & Co. 

More recently he appeared on CITV’s Sooty and Sooty Heights with his current guardian Richard Cadell. He also holds the Guinness World Record for the longest-running continuing children's programme in the UK. 

On stage, Sooty and his friends have regularly appeared in theatres across the nation in an array of different productions and pantomimes which saw him perform his range of magic tricks and cause all sorts of mischief as only he can. 

In Sleeping Beauty, Sooty will play himself with Richard Cadell as The Jester. They will join the previously announced stars Debbie McGee and returning favourites Doreen Tipton and Ian Adams in yet another unmissable Grand pantomime. 

Associate Director of Development and Communications at the Grand Theatre Vicky Price said: “We’re delighted that Sooty is joining our pantomime cast with Richard Cadell this year. Our pantomime is always a magical experience for the entire family and who better to bring the magic than everyone’s favourite teddy!” 

Tickets for Sleeping Beauty can be booked in person at the theatre, by calling 01902 42 92 12 or online here.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

REVIEW: Woyzeck, Birmingham REP

Thought provoking, intense and incredibly dramatic, it's safe to say Woyzeck is unlike any piece of theatre I have ever seen before.

On stage at Birmingham's REP Theatre until Saturday, 23rd June, Woyzeck is in association with Birmingham International Dance Festival 2018 and combines both theatre and dance in an electric, intense production.

The production follows the story of Woyzeck, who just can't get a break. Although the war has come to an end, he's stuck living in military barracks and is forced to shave his condescending commanding officer everyday and his girlfriend and mother of his child might be having an affair.
To make matters worse, he is now hearing voices. Is he about to crack, or is it all down to the pea-only diet that his doctor is trialing on him in exchange for extra money. However, is the extra money worth the total breakdown he is going through? 

To say that the story line is intense would be a total understatement. From traumatic and downright shocking moments to funny and bittersweet; the production focuses on the current state of the world and what we could expect in the future. As well as picking up on everybody's obsession with sharing their lives on social media, the show also focuses on robots, bullying and so much more. In fact, it's incredible how many topics they mange to fit in to just 90 minutes. 

The set was one of the main highlights of the production for me. The stage was brought out much closer to the rows of people in awe of the show, giving the audience the opportunity to really feel part of the production as it was happening so close. I loved how by bringing the stage closer to the audience, we felt involved. I had never seen that done before, and I was really impressed by it. It was a huge space and the cast took great advantage of it.
The main cast was made up of just two people; Thomas Pickles, who made the role of Woyzeck his own, alongside Jalleh Alizadeh, whose take on the role of Marie totally captivated the audience. 

However, it was the huge ensemble which really made the production what it was. With almost 100 people all on stage at the same time, the stage was brought to life with people from all walks of life. The team behind the production simply looked for an eagerness to be involved from those who auditioned, and they ended up with teenagers to those over seventy who were obviously ecstatic to be part of the production. 

Woyzeck was totally unexpected and a fantastic thought provoking production, but it certainly isn't for the faint-hearted. It does have some incredibly shocking moments, but it also has some hilarious touches that help to balance the show out well. The slight negative I have with the production is that it lacks flow between the scenes and it is easy to lose track of what is going on at parts, but it does require a bit more concentration than your standard show. 

Woyzeck is a must see production - do not miss it! 

Rating: 8/10

Sunday, 17 June 2018

REVIEW: Brunch at Chung Ying Cantonese Restaurant, Birmingham

I have made no secret on this blog of mine that Brunch is by far, my favourite activity EVER. My usual Brunch 'go to' option is smoked salmon and poached eggs. Every single time. I wouldn't say that I am a creature of habit, but when it comes to Brunch I always have the same cravings. That was until I headed along to a Chinese restaurant - and my whole take on brunch has changed forever. 

Admittedly, I have never thought to head to Chinatown before dinner time. After taking a seat at Chung Ying Cantonese Restaurant in the heart of Chinatown in Birmingham, its the only place I want to head to before 12pm. The restaurant is behind the city's first 'Hong Kong Brunch', so I was very intrigued when I headed along on a Saturday morning recently. 

The restaurant's brunch menu is the most expansive I have ever seen, with a huge selection to suit everybody's taste buds. We started our brunch with a traditional Chinese tea, which was incredibly refreshing and a wonderful start to the meal. My partner went for the Hong Kong Style Congee, which is like a savoury rice pudding, and consisted of Pig Skin, Ham and Squid, alongside a side of soft noodles. It was unlike anything either of us had tried before, but it was super tasty.

I went for the Dim Sum options, which was one of the hardest decisions I have had to make in a very long time. With almost 30 Dim Sum options available, I was going back and forth with what I fancied for so long! Eventually, I went for the Steamed Caramel Buns and the Chicken and Prawn Buns. Oh my life. I became completely obsessed with my Dim Sum options instantly, and can't remember the last time I got so excited over food. The Steamed Caramel Buns were absolutely delicious - I could have easily eaten at least 15 of them.

Other options on the menu include Claypot Rice, Noodle Soup, Seasonal Vegetables, Rice Dishes, Ho Fun Noodles and a huge range more. In fact, the Brunch menu offers a whopping 76 options, giving those who have never tried a Hong Kong Brunch a real opportunity to throw themselves into all the different tastes and flavours of a super cool culture.
I'm not going to lie, the restaurant doesn't have extravagant stunning decor, but it doesn't need to have it. It really is all about the food, and the decor is cosy, relaxed and inviting, so what more could you want from a restaurant, really? For 10.30am in the morning, the restaurant was surprisingly busy, and it only got more popular during the time I spent there. 

Price wise, Chung Ying Cantonese Restaurant was incredibly reasonable for the quality, and quantity of food. The vast majority of dishes come in at just £6, which is a total bargain for the amount of food you receive and well worth it!
However, it's the staff in the restaurant simply make the restaurant. They were incredibly warm, welcoming and helpful when we had a couple of questions about the menu. 

I'll be honest, I was very sceptical about the Hong Kong Brunch. I didn't see how you could make Chinese cuisine work in a brunch situation. However, now I can't believe that it's something that I have been enjoying for years! I genuinely cannot recommend the Hong Kong Brunch at Chung Ying Cantonese enough. I feel like there's been something missing in the Brum food scene for a while - and I've just found the answer in this place. 

The Hong Kong Brunch at Chung Ying Cantonese in Birmingham's Chinatown is on everyday from 10am-12pm. 

Chung Ying Cantonese rating: 10/10

Please note: I am fortunate enough to review a whole range of venues across the West Midlands. I was invited to the restaurant to review the Brunch menu on my blog, therefore I did not pay for the meal. However, all my reviews are honest and my personal opinion, and I plan on returning to the restaurant very soon to enjoy the Brunch menu again. 

Saturday, 16 June 2018

BBC Good Food Show returns and it's better than ever

Birmingham's food event of the summer returned this weekend, and I was fortunate to head along to and enjoy the show. 

BBC Good Food Show and Gardeners World Live is taking place at Birmingham's NEC until Sunday June 17th and the hugely popular event was bigger and better than ever, with more of a selection of exhibitors than ever, taking up both the main hall in the venue as well as a a whole host of fun taking place outside.

I did head along to the winter event back in December, but the summer event exhibited a whole host of new stands which offered everything from gin to brownies, and everything in between. As well as a huge range of food stands with offerings from around the world, the event also hosted Gardeners World Live, which had everything from giant hot tubs to thousands of gorgeous plants. 

At the event I was fortunate enough to head to the Big Kitchen to see the king of Saturday mornings himself, James Martin. He showed me and over 2,000 more people how to cook three incredible dishes that he discovered whilst travelling across America.
Not only did he tell us some super interesting facts and tips from his time in the USA, he also opened up about his experiences of cooking, his favourite places to eat and he was also incredibly funny. He was also very humble about his appearance at the Good Food Show, which he has been involved in for over 20 years, which was incredibly heart-warming!

So, what did I enjoy the most?! Well, I enjoyed some fabulous tasters from Lindt Chocolate, The Real Pork Crackling Co, The Snack Organisation and The Cocktail Pickers Club, which were all totally delicious.
As well as tasting plenty whilst making my way around the show, I also picked up some goodies to bring home too! This included a Rocky Road Doughnut from The Continental Bakery, which was amazing, a mini Chocolate Orange Chocolate Pizza from The Gourmet Chocolate Pizza Company and Sweet Chilli and Teriyaki Rice Crackers from The Snack Organisation. 

I also couldn't say no to the gift pack from The Real Pork Cracking Co, which for just £5 was an absolute steal. I'd love to tell you that I am using the 'gift pack' as a gift, but i'd be lying to you, it's all for me!

The summer version of the BBC Good Food Show is a wonderful day out, and a great way to experience a whole host of new flavours and discover incredible food outlets which you will want to bump into time and time again. If you get chance to go along, I highly recommend it to foodie lovers.

The BBC Good Food Show and Gardeners World Live is on at Birmingham's NEC until Sunday, June 17th. The event returns in December 2018. 

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Cocktail bar with a twist 18/81 set to open in Birmingham this month

A brand new cocktail bar is coming to Birmingham, in a secret location on Thorp Street. 

18/81 is the new bar concept from Robert Wood, former head bartender at The Edgbaston Hotel and 40 St Paul’s, and owner-operator of Smultronställe, and Joe Schuppler, founder of Independent Birmingham. 

It is set to be the new destination hotspot for cocktail lovers in Birmingham’s Southside and across the city. 

A destination cocktail bar looking to bring something new and exciting to Birmingham’s already brilliant independent bar scene, 18/81 will focus around serving the highest quality drinks, in a laid-back and friendly environment. 

The menu at 18/81 will focus around a core selection of pre-batched cocktails, where the very best ingredients are combined ahead of time and perfectly diluted, then poured over ice within seconds. In addition to this, 18/81 will also serve a fantastic range of diverse and high-quality spirits, with a suggested classic cocktail for each spirit category, offering customers a way to enjoy these brilliant, and rare, spirits in style. A small wine and beer menu will also be available. 

The dedicated and extremely talented bar team have a wealth of experience between them, with 40 years of combined experience at the very best bars in Birmingham.
18/81 wants to be a cocktail experience, a destination for cocktail lovers, where you can try something new and exciting you won’t taste anywhere else in the city. The bar itself will not broadcast its location, merely stating it is on Thorp street. Part of the cocktail adventure is finding it. 

Once located, customers will then ring a doorbell in order to get let in. 18/81 will not take reservations for future dates, only same day bookings via text, keeping 50% of the tables free for walk-ins. 

If the bar is full, customers will be given a referral card and then texted when their table is ready. 

Joe Schuppler said: “Having championed and celebrated Birmingham’s independent scene for the last 5 years, I’m hugely excited to now become a part of it and to add something new and special to this ever-growing and brilliant city. I’ve always had a passion for cocktails, and I’m delighted to team up with Robert Wood to create this destination cocktail bar."

18/81 will open on Thorp Street in Birmingham city centre on June 20th, 2018. 

The Story of Suffrage set to take to the stage at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Tickets to a special Edwardian Tearooms Late event with a Suffragette twist are now on sale, as Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery marks 100 years of the women’s vote. 

Tickets have been released for Edwardian Tearooms Late: A Story of Suffrage on a significant day in the museum’s history. 9th June marks 104 years since Suffragette Bertha Ryland entered the museum and approached a painting of John Bensley Thornhill, known as Master Thornhill by the well-known 18th century artist George Romney. Fighting for women’s rights, she took a meat cleaver to the canvas, slashing it three times. 

This comes as Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery has this week been recognised by Historic England for being one of 41 places across England at the centre of suffragette action. 

At the event on 11th August 2018, visitors will find themselves transported back a hundred years to witness the determination of the women of Birmingham who played monumental roles in the Suffragette movement. 

This playful yet commemorative evening, which features a live band, custom-made cocktails and an immersive acting experience, celebrates the actions of those who campaigned to make our lives better, pioneering a revolution through suffrage. 

From 7-11pm, step back in time and witness leading Birmingham suffragettes such as Bertha Ryland and Catherine Osler fight for women’s rights in Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. 

The drama will unfold around visitors, with virtual protests and demonstrations; fighting for justice – will you join them? 

The night will begin with period cocktails served from the team at The Canal House featuring Aviation Gin, an American gin which is the world’s highest rated.
As the night unfolds, visitors will be able to make their own rosette or suffragette flag to pledge allegiance to the cause, as well as posing for some images in the photo booth to remember your evening by. 

The event will also aim to celebrate the empowered women of Birmingham’s past and party the night away with live band, Jukebox Jazz, playing classic music from 1900-1930. 

The Edwardian Tearooms, a fitting location for the evening, will stay open until late, serving Pimms, wine, beer and soft drinks. 

Alex Nicholson-Evans, Commercial Director at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, said, “We are delighted to host such a unique event as part of our Edwardian Tearooms Lates. We hope guests will find out lots about Birmingham’s place in the Suffragette movement, and celebrate and commemorate the lives of the women that fought for women’s rights in an immersive and engaging way. 

“We hope the evening will empower the audience and leave them with a sense of pride for our city and its women. It’s set to be a unique, poignant and memorable night!” 

Tickets are now on sale for the event for £10 per person. To book a place, head here

Harry Potter star to take the stage in Wolverhampton

Harry Potter star Mark Williams is set to take to the stage at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre in 2019. 

Star of The Fast Show, Father Brown, 101 Dalmatians, The Borrowers, Shakespeare in Love and Arthur Weasley in seven of the Harry Potter films, Mark Williams will star as Doctor Dolittle in Doctor Dolittle The Musical at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre from 29 January – 9 February 2019.

With book, music and lyrics by double Academy Award-winner Leslie Bricusse, featuring stunning visual puppetry, this new production, with the book reworked by Leslie Bricusse, will be part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the original film starring Rex Harrison and will feature the same songs, including the Academy Award-winning Talk To The Animals. 

Mark Williams’ many theatre credits include Fanshen at the National Theatre, Doctor of Honour for Cheek by Jowl, Moscow Gold, Singer, A Dream of People and As You Like It for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Art in the West End, Toast at the Royal Court and Tartuffe at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. 

Further casting for the production is to be announced. 

The musical follows the story of eccentric Doctor Dolittle who embarks on an extraordinary adventure to find the Giant Pink Sea Snail that holds the secret of life and makes the world a happier place. 

Helped by his human companions and an exotic menagerie of animal friends, including the Pushmi-Pullyu and trusty sidekick Polynesia the parrot, the larger-than-life Doctor Dolittle teaches us not only to talk to the animals but to listen to them as well.

Leslie Bricusse has written the book, music and lyrics for more than 40 musical films and plays. Stage musicals include Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Superman, Home Alone 1 & 2, Hook, Goldfinger andYou Only Live Twice. 

The new stage production of Doctor Dolittle The Musical will be directed by Christopher Renshaw (Le Grand Mort, Zorro, Taboo, We Will Rock You, The King and I), with design by Tom Piper and musical supervision by Mike Dixon. Book your tickets here

Harvey Nichols launches Gin Afternoon Tea

Harvey Nichols Birmingham is raising its teacups to the nation's favourite tipple with a limited-edition afternoon tea created in collaboration with Edinburgh Gin this summer. 

Perfect for gin-thusiasts, the menu has been inspired by Edinburgh Gin’s favourite flavours and boasts all manner of tasty mini savouries such as G&T cod with rosemary straw potatoes, duck leg croquette with plum sauce, goat’s cheese and vegetable terrine and artichoke and courgette wrap. 

Sweet treats include cucumber candy floss; strawberry and elderflower éclair, peach, rhubarb and ginger gin tart, pomegranate and rose panna cotta and, of course, scones with clotted cream and preserves. 

There is also unlimited tea or coffee and you can add a specially created Edinburgh Gin cocktail to make it even more of an occasion. 

The limited edition Edinburgh Gin Afternoon Tea will be served in the store’s stylish restaurant from 1pm-4pm Monday to Saturday and 3pm-5pm on Sundays throughout June and July. 

It is priced at £22 or £30 per person to include a cocktail. Booking is essential, please call 0121 616 6028 or email reservations.birmingham@harveynichols.com.

The Everyday and Extraordinary exhibition opens at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery's new summer exhibition is set to present a playful and surreal experience which encourages visitors to look at everyday objects in new and imaginative ways. 

Now open at the city centre location, The Everyday and Extraordinary will explore the potential of everyday objects to be transformed into artworks of wonder. 

Visitors to Birmingham Museums will find themselves in a Wunderkammer, a room of wonder, in the heart of Birmingham’s city centre. Entering the exhibition, visitors will become immersed in a gallery space where objects climb the walls, large sculptures fill the gallery floor and vibrantly coloured walls dazzle against a ‘cabinet of curiosities’ style installation. 

From an umbrella fashioned into a crow to over one hundred plastic objects arranged in the colours of a rainbow, this vibrant and visually immersive exhibition will feature over 70 artworks by internationally renowned artists, many of whose work will be presented in Birmingham for the first time. 

In an increasingly digital age, this exhibition celebrates the material and handmade, looking at how artists have transformed everyday objects in their art. Surrealism used found objects to evoke humour and satire, and Pop Art famously directly appropriated items from popular culture. 

Artists based in Birmingham will feature Chris Clinton, whose paper-coil dartboard artworks ‘Spiderman’ and ‘Nascar #29 Kevin Hardwick’ entered the internationally renowned Arts Council Collection in 2013. New work by Birmingham-based artist Kurt Hickson will also be showcased in this major exhibition.

The playful and vibrant nature of the exhibition can be found rooted in the curious brilliance of the contemporary artworks on display. Tony Cragg’s vivid yet delicate New Stones, Newton’s Tones is a rainbow-toned artwork made up of everyday objects collected by Cragg in just a few hours in May 1978. 

Also featured in the exhibition is Yoko Ono’s All White Chess Set. The all-white chess board is accompanied by white chess pieces, which results in players being unable to remember where their pieces reside on the set as the game unfolds. 

A large-scale striking artwork that will be on display is Hew Locke’s ‘Jungle Queen II’ on loan to Birmingham for the first time from The New Art Gallery Walsall. Hew Locke describes his artistic practice as ‘painting with objects’ and he uses found objects in his artwork to interrogate resonant themes such as the ideas of power, wealth, culture and identity, and what they mean to him. 

Bright colours and the richness of artworks will create an inspiring family-friendly environment for all ages to enjoy and explore. Alongside the exhibition, there will be an innovative and experimental learning programme where families can get practically involved with the processes of creating artworks and transforming everyday objects. 

Zelina Garland-Rowan, Curatorial & Exhibitions Manager at Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “In 2018 the digital world is all-consuming. Our everyday lives have forever been altered by access to an online expanse of data and information which can have both positive and negative effects.

"This exhibition celebrates the physicality of our everyday world through the extraordinary eyes of artists. The objects we might overlook, forget or use as part of our daily routine can be a source of inspiration or intrigue for artists who can help us all to see the world in extraordinary ways.
“The Everyday and Extraordinary celebrates artistic creativity in all its skill, wonder and imagination. Art historically relevant, timely and ambitious, this exhibition is a must-see summer exhibition for all.” 

The Everyday and Extraordianry exhibition is now open at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Find out more here

Birmingham Beer Week to return this summer

The city's biggest celebration of all things beer is set to return this summer. 

Birmingham Beer Week is a week-long celebration of Brum’s beer scene and the culture that makes the city so great. With a rich brewing history that is evolving into a forward thinking craft beer haven, #BrumBW18 will be bringing together the city’s finest breweries, pubs, bars, bottle shops and restaurants. 

Creating a whole array of fun and exciting events, with good music, food and of course great beer, the event will celebrate Birmingham's evolving beer scene. 

The first Birmingham Beer Week in summer 2017 helped create over 35 events across 20 venues around Birmingham, showcasing the best of what this city's beer scene has to offer. 

Birmingham Beer Week returns in July and is set to be bigger and better. Organisers are keen to also promote beer culture in Birmingham and explore where it can intersect with the worlds of music, art, history and food, bringing together the dedicated fans, new explorers and even people who are yet to discover the world of beer. 

Birmingham Beer Week takes place at venues across the city from 20th-29th July, 2018. 
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