Hi I’m Grace, a born and bred Brummy, but I’m sure you already knew that. I love my home city and even the strange accent it gave me, but now days I spend most of my time planning to escape this town. So much so that when asked where I like to eat and drink I could real off a list bars in Amsterdam, and I could tell you exactly where to get the best grub in Disneyland Paris, but Birmingham? I’m not so sure.

I’m forever jetting off to new and exciting places when I have a whole host of great things on my doorstep. There are so many fun and interesting things to do here, from the fantastic IKON Gallery, to the Botanical Gardens, and a huge range of fab bars, pubs, and hotels in Birmingham that I am yet to try. Not forgetting that we have more canals here than Venice! Oh you knew that one already? Well it's true and since the massive redevelopment a few years back Brindley Place and similar areas have become pretty popular sites to grab some grub and a few bevies. 


So where would I recommend for a couple of drinks? A few weeks ago I wouldn’t have been able to tell you, that was until I challenged myself to a Brummy Bar crawl to discover some fab new places in the city centre. And I didn’t even touch Broad Street once, I actually stayed on the same road for most of the night!

So where did I go?

Bodega Bar and Cantina
12 Bennets Hill, Birmingham, B2 5RS

Bodega is a fun little eatery where you can get some fab Mexican food and drinks. Tori (my drinking partner for the night) and I both ordered Burritos which were much too spicy for our tastes and I ordered a Mojito because I’m boring and basic.

I’m not going to lie the service was pretty bad that night, several tables who were seated long after us were served before so that wasn’t fab. That being said the atmosphere is pretty cool and there is a Mexican Stir Fry on the menu that I really fancy. 6/10 - would return on a school night.


The Cosy Club
33 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, B2 5SN

After slurping down our drinks we nipped over the road to The Cosy Club. This fancy little bar is a firm favourite with lots of locals and I’ve been once before myself. It's not the cheapest place in the world but it isn’t extortionate considering the banging city centre location and pretty interiors. 

Here I ordered a Grapefruit Gin and Lemonade which was surprisingly tasty and Tori went for a Cherry Bakewell cocktail which she said was amazing. 8/10


Dirty Martini
7 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, B2 5ST

If you’ve been here a while you will know I’m a big fan of the fairly new Dirty Martini. The decor here is amazing and I couldn’t think of a more Instagram worthy bar in all of Birmingham. I’ve had several little drinkies in here before and I have no doubt I will be back again.

Expect to pay between £9 - £10 for a Martini here unless you manage to visit at happy hour which runs A LOT and then you can pick one up half price. Tori and I both ordered the Poppy Blush Martini which was on special for a fiver and tasted delicious! 9/10


Lost and Found
8 Bennetts Hill, Birmingham, B2 5RS

Lost and Found is one of those bars I’ve been meaning to visit for ages, I’ve heard nothing but good reviews and I can kind of see why. Like the others it was completely rammed and hard to get served at the fairly small bar, but what can you expect on a Friday night really?

Similar to others along Bennetts Hill, the interiors are fantastic and almost mimic a victorian pub, or at least what I expect a Victorian pub would look like. We even spotted a secret room that seemed to have an event on at the time, but it looked amazing. 7/10


The Botanist
14 Temple Street, Birmingham, B2 5BG

Another bar I have visited before and the only one from the night not on Bennetts Hill, it's actually situated on the next road over. The Botanist is a gorgeously decorated bar that serves all sorts of weird and wonderful beverages, which is why I’m very sad to say I only ordered a diet coke this time. Tory was a little more fun an opted for a Mocktail but its safe to say we were done with alcohol by the time we arrived here. Even if you go for nothing more than a coke I would say the Botanist is still well worth a visit! 7/10


There are so many lovely little bars and restaurants in Birmingham City Centre and I'm always looking for more recommendations so please feel free to leave them below or send me a tweet!


Thanks for reading!



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* The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, however all views are my own.

MARTINIS AND MOJITOS - A FANCY BAR CRAWL IN BIRMINGHAM CITY CENTRE*

And just like that it's December. I cannot even begin to explain how busy the last few weeks have been for me. I would say I'm not coping well but, I'm still here and just about keeping on top of everything. 

So as its a new month its time to pop down my three keys to happiness. Like I said, I haven't really had time to even breathe these last few weeks so there is a hell of a lot to write...


Something to look forward to...

Well the biggest thing I have coming up at the moment is Disneyland Paris! I am beyond excited for this trip. It's the first time I have been during the Christmas Season so I know it's going to be magical. There was a bit of drama around this trip (isn't there always?!) but that's thankfully resolved now. On Friday morning my lovely friend Zoe text me to say she had noticed that the return flight she booked for us was actually in June and not this Sunday. Fast forward a lot of stress and a few hundred pounds and we now have brand new flights. We also still have a return flight from Paris in June so I guess we will just have to go again right? RIGHT?!!

I am also very excited for Christmas and a few family birthdays dotted throughout December. I'm just really looking forward to spending good quality chill time with the people I like the most.

Something to be proud of...

Well not losing my shit (too much) the last few weeks is one. I have honestly had a lot of crap to deal with and even though I cried a lot, and even once at work, I'm still milling along. Life has a funny way of throwing pretty much everything it can at you in one go but what can you do really? Sometimes you just have to get on with it even if you really can't see the point.

I'm also really proud of all of the fun blog collaborations I've had in the last few weeks and are continuing to plan even now. I've worked with a lot of great brands recently and even managed to get a paid opportunity which was fab. My platforms seem to have really taken off lately and honesty I'm just so excited to see where my little blog takes me in the future!

Something to do...

I spent the start of the month in London. You might have noticed from the distinct lack of pretty much any content anywhere that it was hectic. My sister and I went down for the Vuelio blog awards (which was amazing by the way) but stayed and made a girly weekend of it. 

I've also spent today at the Good Food Show at the NEC. I'd not been before so I was very excited to see what that was all about. We had a live cooking lesson with James Martin and ate hundreds of testers, most of which were booze. I came away with two massive bottles of Amarula and tonnes of other goodies. 

As I said previously I'm also going to be spending a good few days running around Disney and I have lots of other bits and bobs to keep me busy. I also have a marketing exam this Tuesday that I have had hardly any time to revise for so I'm not sure how well that's going to go down. If there's one thing I'm definitely not lacking this month is things to do!

So those are this months keys. I think this is going to be the last one I do of these, I'm probably not as happy as I should be still but my god am I trying. I know that sooner or later I am going to be completely content and I am so excited for that. Until then I will plod along doing whatever I can to build myself up into the woman I want to be!

Thanks for reading!

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MY KEYS TO HAPPINESS - DECEMBER

As I'm writing this I've got the heating on full blast and a cuppa on the side, winter is here and it's bloody chilly. I spend most of my life being being cold and uncomfortable, even in the heights of summer I still get goosebumps so when this time of year rolls around I need to gear up.


In the last few weeks I've invested in numerous jumpers, brushed cotton bed sheets, pyjamas, and even a few thermal pieces in in a bid to try and stay toasty through the winter months. If I could strap a hot water bottle to my body permanently I would.

The temperature has plummeted lately and I've been virtually living in my snuggly pyjamas. The second I get in from work its off with my clothes and straight into my comfies. I actually think it's really weird that anyone would want to chill around their house in outdoor clothes, I'm all about comfort.


I've not counted but I would take a guess and say that I have as many pairs of pajamas as I do normal clothes and I'm 100% okay with that. I've been wearing my fluffy Hunkemoller pyjamas the most in the last few weeks and they really do keep me warm. I was kindly gifted a pair of pyjamas of my own choice from the site and whilst there were so many super cute options I chose the thickest snugglist set I could.

My set is actually fluffy pyjama bottoms and a fluffy zip up hoodie. I don't know if most people would sleep in a hoodie but I do and it keeps me very toasty. I do wear a plain black vest underneath but I guess you don't really need to. I've been wearing the new set practically nonstop and it's safe to say I'm a big fan. That being said I do think it's a bit pricey. The bottoms retail at £19 and the hoodie top sells for £34.


I'm not sure if I would be able to drop this sort of money on pyjamas again anytime soon but I do love the cute winter print and the super snuggly material they are made from. They've certainly kept me cosy in recent weeks and will continue to do so until they are old and worn like most of my other sets.

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* The pyjama set was kindly gifted to me however all opinions are my own.

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SNUG AS A BUG IN HUNKEMOLLER PJS*

Pies, Pasties, Sausage Rolls - if it involves pastry I'm probably going to want to eat it. I'm a huge fan of all things savoury, so when I was invited down to try out the new festive menu at PieMinister I couldn't say no. Christmas Pies? Yes please!

I decided to take my mom along with me to taste test the goods. We've been going for little lunches quite regularly lately and it's honestly been so lovely. Is there a better way to bond than over good food a drinks? I don't think so.


After studying the festive menu for a while and pratting about in our little Christmas crowns we finally decided on our Pies. We both went for Christmas Lunch which includes a Pie, two sides, a stick, and a pudding and costs £15. We probably could have gone for the Christmas Feast which is a little bit larger but honestly the portion sizes are pretty decent here and we didn't want to feel sick for the Christmas shopping we would be doing after lunch. 

We both opted for 'The Cracker' pie which is a Turkey and Ham pie with Cranberries, Parsnips, and Sherry. I was very tempted by the 'Cristingle' too which is filled with Honey Roast Parsnips, Chestnuts, West Country Cheddar, and Leek, but I went with the more traditional option and I'm quite glad I did as it was yum.


The pie comes with a tasty poultry gravy which is quite fragrant. I've always enjoyed the chicken gravy but both my Mom and Sister have said they weren't massively keen on it. I have since been told there is the option to swap that gravy up for a veggie based one which might be worth knowing if you don't fancy a chicken gravy. 

For our sides we both chose Mash, I chose the Festive Slaw and mother chose Minty Mushy Peas. The mash was perfect as always and Mom really loved her minty peas however I wasn't completely sold on the slaw. It was full of flavour and had a very strong citrus zing to it but it's not something I would probably choose again in all honesty.

For our Sticks we also both went for the 'Meaty' which included a Pig in Blanket, a Stuffing Ball, a Mini Yorkshire pudding, and some Cranberry Sauce. There was no competition between the Sticks if I'm honest, I was always going to choose the option with a Pig in a Blanket! I just wish I could have ordered a bowl of them as a side!


Now for our puddings, which we just about had room for, I chose the Hot Chocolate Pudding with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream and Mom went for the Sticky Toffee Pudding. When it comes to sweat treats I'm not usually all that bothered. I could skip dessert every time and it wouldn't bother me but if I did want something tasty at the end of my meal it has to be choctastic! I can honestly say I wasn't disappointed as my little chocolate cake came absolutely smothered in warm thick sauce which I virtually drank. It was good.

So would I go back to PieMiniser? Of course I would, I bloody love pie. I do think PieMinister can be a little pricey compared to a lot of the places I usually eat at but it's clear they use good quality ingredients in those pretty little pies. They also cater very well for Veggies, Vegans, and even have a range of Gluten Free pies which is always good to know. 

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* Our meals were complimentary however all opinions are my own. 


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PIES PIES PIES*

I'm not a cat person. Dogs are better. Fact. Sorry but it's true. That being said, I am quite fond of the funny little fluffballs so when I happened to stroll past a cat cafe on my solo trip to Leeds a few weeks back I virtually ran inside.

I wasn't really sure what to expect, and I really really wasn't sure if it would actually be an enjoyable experience on my own but I was more excited than anything so I paid my £6 entrance fee and off I went. I didn't know there was an entrance fee at first, there didn't seem to be signs anywhere, but I guess it makes sense as this particular cafe works closely with a cat rescue centre. 


Once inside and shown to my seat I was allowed to wander around, I was actually encouraged in fact. This seemed like a good idea at first, the cats were great at hiding and I didn't fancy waiting for them to come to me so I got up to find them. 


On my first walk I didn't actually see many cats, I can only assume they were hiding/ sleeping/ fed up of being poked by children all day. Admitting defeat I headed back to my table for a cup of tea. Being the clean freak I am I didn't want to actually eat food in a place full if kitties, no matter how clean it looked. 


On a second thought maybe I should have ordered a snack or two to entice the cats over to me. I spent most of my 1 hour slot frantically trying to take photos of various cats as they desperately tried to run past my table without being touched or so much as looked at. These cats were wild.



Not having much luck with my furry friends in my seat I decided on yet another walk around. This would be my second of many attempts to see some kittens. Whilst there were various cats lounging around in comfy hiding spots, for the most part they were all out of sight.


It was on this wander that I realised why they were all tucked away, and that would be because of the children. Actually scrap that, it was because of the people acting like children. Old and young alike seemed to spend their hour slots chasing and poking the little fluffs as they went about their day. It's no wonder really that practically all of my photos from that afternoon are of cat coloured blurs.


So I took some snaps, drank my tea, and off I went to think about whether cat cafes are actually a good idea. So what did I think? Well on the one hand they are a fun way to make some money for good charities. Most of the cafes I've heard about are linked to a cat rescue in some way by either adopting cats, donating money, or both. That being said I also can't help but think there should be sort sort of 'stay in your seat' rule. I don't even know how they could enforce something like that but letting children run around after terrified cats isn't the best business plan i've ever seen to be honest.



So would I go back to one again? Maybe. I did enjoy it don't get me wrong but it wasn't the magical kitty utopia I imagined. It might be a better idea to visit these kind of places in the week, that way it wouldn't be full of wild children and maybe the cats would be more inclined to make an appearance if the room was a bit quieter. 


I love animals and I love a good cuppa, so combine the two and for me you're on to a winner. Maybe I wouldn't go out of my way to visit a cat cafe again, but if I happened to walk past one I would probably give it another go.


Have you ever been to a cat cafe before? What did you think?


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MY FIRST CAT CAFE EXPERIENCE

Another month has come and gone. How we are in November already I don't know, but as its the start (ish) of a new month it's time for me to write down my three keys to happiness again. So what have I got to look forward to in November? 


Something to look forward to...

The first thing is my Dad's 60th which is actually tomorrow. We are going out for Chinese food which I am super excited for. On the weekend we're also going to the Bear Grylls Adventure over by the Airport which looks amazing! We will be doing obstacle courses, escape rooms, and even indoor skydiving. It's going to be wild.

Right at the end of the month is the Vuelio Blog Awards. I went a few years back and had a crazy night (see here & here) and I can't wait to do it all again! I've been given a plus 1 this time around so I'm taking my sister and were having a bit of a girly weekend in London which will be really really nice.

Something to be proud of...
So what am I proud of? Well apart from just generally keeping my shit together and staying on top of most things, I finally booked my first solo trip! So I know I haven't got to the scary part yet, but to me just having something booked and knowing there is no going back is a big step. I'm going to Belfast in January for 3 days and I don't have much planned yet so feel free to send me all of your recommendations!

Something to do...
What have I been up to and what am I going to do? Well when I'm not working or studying I've still been blogging (sometimes) and jogging (occasionally). I've been so lucky to have been offered lots of fun bloggy things lately and I still get excited over every single opportunity, even if it does sometimes take me a little while to reply!

I've also mostly been keeping up with jogging although I did manage to tear a muscle which has put me out for a couple weeks. What am I like? But I have been getting better and I've even been enjoying it amazingly!

Here's to a fab November!

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MY KEYS TO HAPPINESS - NOVEMBER


A few weeks back I popped down to Resorts World to check out their brand spanking new Beauty Outlet. As a lover of all things beauty I was excited to smother my hands in swatches and bring home some new bargain products to try out. 

So what did I pick?

Victoria's Secret Fragrance Mist in 'Secret Charm' - I've had scents from Victoria's Secret before and I've always loved them. They're not as long lasting as perfumes but they're still pretty good. That being said I do think they are pricey so when I saw this little bottle for just £8 I knew it was destined to live on my dressing table.

Exposed Cosmetics Sahara Sunset Palette - Heard of Exposed Cosmetics before? No? Neither had I. This palette was a complete impulse buy but I just fell in love with the shades! I've used it a few times now and although the shades aren't as vivid as the likes of Mac or Urban Decay, they aren't bad for a palette under £10.



W7 Makeup Remover Cloth - I've had makeup remover cloths in the past and I will more than likely buy them again in the future. They are so much softer than wipes or flannels and they actually do take your makeup off without any product. I paid a tenner for my first cloth but this one was only £1.99 and works just the same.

Blistex Happy Lips - I have about 400 Lip Balms dotted around the house and in various handbags but I thought one more wouldn't hurt. I actually picked this up to keep in my desk at work (I have an actual adult job now you know) and at less than £2 it didn't break the bank.

Sally Hansen Cuticle Eraser & Balm - I haven't tried this out yet but I am very excited to. I have the worst cuticles known to man but I'm too lazy to do anything about them. If a simple cream can handle that mess I will be very very happy.



Bourjois Rouge Velvet Lipstick in shade 02 'Flaming Rose' - Now this beauty I have tried and loved. It's a little darker than my usual lip colours but I do think it suits me well and its super long lasting too. I did find that it dries almost like a chalky liquid lipstick so I just apply a thin layer of lip balm before wearing it.

Bag full of W7 goodies - This is the only product I didn't pick out myself and if it wasn't gifted to me I'm don't think I would have chosen it in all honesty. Its a bag filled with W7 products and at only £10 it's not a bad price. It holds practically every product you could want if you were just getting into makeup but as someone with a pretty solid collection it didn't offer me anything special.



Cover FX Highlighting Powder in 'Moonlight' - Like a lot of the brands in the Beauty Outlet, I'd not tried anything from Cover FX before. It's one of the higher end brands in store and had a good selection of quality products. I fell in love with this highlighter as soon as I set eyes on it and I wasn't disappointed. It's a little darker than my usual highlight but it gives me a great little glow.

Rimmel Lipstick in shade 650 'Pretty Penny' - I'm a sucker for a lippy so obviously I went home with two. Both shades I chose were similar but this one is a lot more sheer and shiny than the Bourjois one which is probably why I haven't reached for it too much yet.



L'oreal Paris Colour Riche Eyeshadow in shade 500 'Lumiere' - Now this little beauty I haven't tried out yet but I cannot wait to. It's a gorgeous bold gold shade that is going to be perfect for the festive season. I've been trying to build my eyeshadow singles collection this year and I'm very glad I picked this one up. If I remember right it was only about £3 aswell!

TRESemme Perfectly Undone Sea Salt Spray - I'm slowly but surely trying out every sea salt spray I can get my hands on. I haven't tested this one yet but I usually get on well with TRESemme products so I do have high hopes. 

So those are the goodies I took home with me from the Beauty Outlet. I honestly could have picked up so much more as there are loads of products from various brands at decent discounted prices.


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* I was gifted a number of items which I chose myself in exchange for an honest blog post. I would never promote anything I didn't believe in.

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