Birmingham

One of my favourite things about travelling is definitely gorging on new types of weird and wonderful foods. I love trying out new things, and even though I'm the fussiest eater known to man, I always leave a trip having eaten something I've never tried before. The only problem with this is that when I'm not able to travel I find myself pining for my favourite foreign foods, and usually, nothing that I, nor my local restaurants cook will suffice. You cannot beat traditional meals cooked by the natives who grew up eating them, it's a fact. 


Grace is sat to a table inside Mr Souvlaki Restaurant in Stourbridge. In front of her is a plate of Chicken souvlaki, a bowl of salar, and a mixed grill platter.


So when I saw Birmingham Eats tucking into a banging portion of Souvlaki a few weeks ago my interest peaked. Chicken Souvlaki has been one of my all-time favourite meals since I first tried it over 10 years ago on the beautiful Island of Crete. It's a fairly basic meal, but done well it's absolutely delicious. So where had the pair behind Birmingham Eats managed to nab an authentic-looking Souvlaki dinner? Mr Souvlaki in the centre of Stourbridge.


Now Stourbridge isn't exactly on my doorstep, it's around a 40-minute drive away from Birmingham, but that's a hell of a lot closer than the nearest Greek island so I was prepared to make the journey to feast some traditional greek food.


On entering the cafe-style venue, you're almost transported to a beautiful whitewashed Greek town. The interiors are done in such a way that it looks as though you are sitting on the outside of a small Greek taverna, it's just a shame they weren't able to also capture the Mediterranean weather. 


Inside Mr Souvlaki restaurant in Stourbridge. The interior is decorated to look like a white-washed greek town.


But the feel of Greece doesn't end with the decor, oh no, its with the food itself that you are really taken on a trip. The menu is pretty straightforward - Souvlaki, Gyros, Burgers and more are all on offer here, and available at greek prices too! The only thing over £10 on the menu is the mixed grill which comes in at £19.50 but feeds two!


After what seemed like an age of starting at the menu (we really were spoiled for choice) we opted for a couple of Mixed Grills, a portion of Chicken Souvlaki, a Village Salad, and 3 pots of Tzatziki. We thought 2 portions of Tzatziki would do at first but believe me that stuff is so delicious you'll want a scoop of it with every bite!


First impressions of our meals were good. The portion sizes were generous, everything was well presented, and the smell, well that was just something else. I'm not sure how I managed to take any photos before we all jumped into our dishes because the scent of the warm fresh meat in front of us was beautiful. 


And the taste didn't disappoint either. My Chicken Souvlaki was cooked perfectly and the pitta bread that arrived with it was the best I've probably ever tasted before. I can only assume it was cooked fresh on the day because I've never had pitta bread that was quite as soft and fluffy as this - not even in Greece! I also tried a few bits and bobs from the Mixed Grill Platters which tasted just as good as my meal if not better. I didn't get the chance to munch on everything from the platter but I was assured by my family that it was all as good as it looked.


A plate of Chicken Souvlaki, a mixed grill,  a bowl of salad, and a bowl of Tzatziki at Mr Souvlaki Restaurant Stourbridge


The only criticism I have with the food was that it wasn't as warm as I would have liked. Although the cooked meats were warm, the potato sliced chips were actually quite cold which we raised with the staff at the time. This wasn't a huge issue but the meal would have been perfect if they were a little bit hotter. 


Would I visit Mr Souvlaki again? Without a doubt! I've never had a more delicious and authentic Greek meal outside of the country itself before, and I doubt I will come across one again for a while. Although it's not exactly local to me, the quality of the food and the crazy low prices would definitely bring me back to Mr Souvlaki's again in the future, especially while travel is off the cards!


Are you a fan of Greek foods? Where is your favourite place to nab an authentic Greek meal in the UK?


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Two previous images from inside Mr Souvlaki. Test between the images reads "MR SOUVLAKI - A TASTE OF GREECE IN THE HEART OF ENGLAND"


MR SOUVLAKI - A TASTE OF GREECE IN THE HEART OF ENGLAND

*Our tickets to Go Ape Coventry were complimentary in exchange for an honest review.

Coventry, it's probably not the first place you would think to go for an action-packed day out. But nestled away in the beautiful grounds of the Coombe Country Park you will find Go Ape Coventry, an adventure centre filled with fun activities for all ages. From obstacle courses high in the treetops, to zip wires longer than I'd ever experienced before, and even Axe Throwing - this place has it all!

Grace standing on one of the many wooden crossings

I popped down to Go Ape Coventry to try out their Treetop Challenge and Axe Throwing...


At Go Ape Coventry you can choose between 3 Treetop activities; Treetop Adventure, Treetop Adventure+, and the Treetop Challenge which is the longest of the courses and the one we decided to go for on our visit. The Treetop Challenge consists of 4 different courses (which were numbered 5 - 8) and can take between 2 - 3 hours to fully complete. I'd guess that we took the full 3 hours to finish all 4 courses, though this did include a snack break or two!

On the Treetop Challenge, you'll find a fair bit of climbing, plenty of tricky crossing's, and my favourite - zip wires. While I've taken on similar challenges before, none of them had quite as many zip wires as the Coventry Treetop Challenge, and definitely none were as long or high as the final zip wire on course 7. 

Grace and her sister posing for a photograph up in the trees. Her dad can be seen in the background hanging on to one of the crossings.


The course has an easy-moderate difficulty level, and while this is true for the most part, I would say that you'd need to have some level of fitness to complete all sections of the course. Also if heights aren't your thing, I doubt this course would be for you as some areas are pretty far off the ground!
That being said the course isn't scary and although there were times I had to push myself to jump over the edge, I felt completely safe the whole time I was there. 

The Treetop Challenge costs £33 for visitors over 16, and £28 for anyone 15 and under.

Two pairs of hands wearing the fingerless Go Ape gloves

Tips for completing the Treetop Challenge at Go Ape Coventry


  • Grab a pair of gloves like the ones pictured above. We did the first two courses without gloves, and whilst this is perfectly doable, we completed the last two courses wearing gloves and it was much more comfortable.
  • Course 5 is likely the longest course out of the 4 so I would recommend doing this first.
  • Course 7 is all about the zip wires and in my opinion, is the most fun and exhilarating course, so I would recommend doing this one last as it really does leave you on a high!
  • Wear appropriate clothes, and try to avoid wearing anything too bulky as you will want to be comfortable in the harness you are required to wear.

Several people working their way through the treetop obstacle course


Once we had completed the Treetop Challenge at Go Ape Coventry, we moved on to another fun activity - Axe Throwing. The Axe Throwing costs £14 per person for 1 hour and guests wishing to take part need to be aged 16 or above for obvious reasons. There are 4 lanes at the axe throwing site which was perfect for us as it meant everyone in our group had a lane each.

For the first part of the Axe Throwing, you are shown how to safely throw the axe, you are then allowed to chuck it about to your heart's content. After practising for a while the instructor will set up a few games for your party, before moving on to the main tournament. I obviously came last in the final game, even though I was the only one who had been Axe Throwing before, but I'm not bitter about it...

Two men throwing axes towards a wooden target board while another man standing to the side is keeping score

Safety measures put in place due to Covid-19


As we are still in a pandemic, it's only right that Go Ape Coventry has taken extra precautions on their site to help stop the spread of coronavirus. As well as limiting the number of guests on site I noticed the following safety measures:

  • Hand sanitizer and hand wash stations available around the site.
  • Staff wearing visors if they needed to be within 2 metres of guests.
  • Staff explaining that social distancing rules need to be adhered to at all times.
  • Cones laid out to prevent guests front mingling in queues.


For the most part, I thought the extra precautions were spot on and I felt that the staff on site were taking the situation very seriously which was great. The only issue I had on the day was that the initial entrances to 3 of the courses are through vertical shafts which guests are required to climb. The shafts are next to each other and if two guests from different households are climbing the shafts next to each other, social distancing is impossible. This is something we came across on our visit but hopefully staff have since gotten better at staggering the number of people allowed to enter the courses at the same time.

a GIF image showing Grace's sister going down a zipwire


All in all, we had a fantastic day out at Go Ape Coventry, and we felt it was a safe way to enjoy a few hours without having to worry too much about the ongoing pandemic. The grounds surrounding the Go Ape site are also lovely to wander around - if you have any energy left after your activity that is!

Have you tried out any of the Go Ape courses before?

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Coventry, UK

MONKEYING AROUND AT GO APE COVENTRY*

There was once a time when you weren't a proper blogger unless you were living in the capital. London was the place to be for budding social media stars, and you'd never make it unless you were dining at Peggy Porschen or Sketch 5 times a week. But Birmingham is my home town, I have no intentions of leaving it (just yet) and actually being a Birmingham blogger is pretty damn great.

I love being a Birmingham blogger, and here's why...


Grace inside a restaurant drinking a strawberry Daiquiri


I can nip to London for the big blog events if I like, but actually, there are a tonne of things happening right here in Birmingham too! While it's unlikely that huge blog events will be held in my fair city anytime soon, we have enough fun things happening here. From skincare launches to new restaurant openings and even comedy nights, Birmingham has events for every type of blogger!

The Birmingham Blogging community is pretty nice. There's minimal bitchiness in our community and most of the time we all support each other. I have a good selection of blogger friends who I look forward to seeing at events and even when I meet new bloggers for the first time we always get along. I've heard a lot of stories from London bloggers of how competitive the scene is over there and I'm so glad that's not the case here in Birmingham.

Independent bars, cafes, and restaurants are everywhere in Brum and there are so many Birmingham Bloggers promoting them too. If I'm ever on the hunt for a new haunt I can just ask some of the Brummie Blogger girls and I'll be given a thousand suggestions for places I've never even heard of. I actually think Birmingham is one of the best cities in the UK for independents of all kinds and that's something to be proud of.

The Birmingham Blogger community is mostly working class. Before anyone starts I have nothing against luxury lifestyle bloggers, I just prefer reading blogs written by people like me. The majority of Birmingham bloggers I know are common as muck and I absolutely love that for us! Besides blog events wouldn't be half as fun if we were all prim and proper and didn't drink our body weight in free booze right?

Ever since I can remember Birmingham has been branded a shithole (usually by snobs & people who have never even been here) and I genuinely feel that this label is unjust! Here in Brum, we have so many gorgeous places which means Birmingham Bloggers have tons of great locations to shoot. From the beautiful Botanical Gardens to the sophisticated Colmore Row, and our miles of canals - Birmingham can easily rival London for fab backgrounds!



And so those are just a few of the reasons why I love living and blogging in beautiful Brum!

Are you a fellow Brummie? Tell me your favourite things about the second city in the comments below!


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Birmingham, UK

WHY I LOVE BEING A BIRMINGHAM BLOGGER

*This was a gifted experience which was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.


Are you ready for this? I thought to myself anxiously as I stuffed my bikini into my rucksack on the morning of my booking at the Bear Grylls Adventure. I'm a naturally anxious person but I'm also a thrill seeker and unsurprisingly these personal qualities don't always go well together. But on that morning, as I prepped myself, I knew I was more excited than nervous, afterall I was about to experience something I'd never done before.



A few weeks before I had been asked if I would like to try out some of the activities at the Bear Grylls Adventure* over by the Birmingham NEC, and of course the answer was a resounding yes. I'd been the year before to try out the base camp (Fear Zone, Escape Room, Assault Course, and Archery) and the iFly (indoor skydiving) so I was quite pleasantly surprised to find that the Fear Zone and Escape Room had recently been relaunched. I booked myself and my family in for the two newly revamped activities and something else a little more show stopping - Scuba Diving. 

The Fear Zone was very similar to before with only a couple of minor changes. The walk through activity focuses on several common fears as you pass through it, and whilst it is a good bit of fun I did think this particular activity is more geared up for the kids. That's not to say adults won't enjoy it, if you've got a particularly nervous, jumpy, or squeamish individual in your group it can be a laugh.



Now the Escape Room at the Bear Grylls Adventure had been completely switched up from what I remember last time. Although I don't remember all that much (memory like a sieve over here) I do know I enjoyed the theme a lot more this time. You do have to really use some brain power for this one and working as a team is also a must if you want to crack the codes and escape within the 60 minute time frame. We did end up having a bit of help from a staff member every now and then but for most part the five of us were hard at work solving puzzles and hunting for clues. We got out in around 50 minutes I reckon. 

The highlight of the day for me and my family really was the diving however. As a family who have spent many a sunny beach break feeding fish in the hot mediterranean sea, it was going to be a real treat to actually get up close and personal with the creatures. Diving in a tank might seem 'less authentic' to some, but I thought this would be a great way to try out a new activity in a safe space, plus the Bear Grylls Adventure tank is huge!


Although I was beyond excited to become a temporary mermaid I did think my nerves might get the better of me and once I was all geared up and in the water my anxiety did nip in to say hello. It took me a little while to get used to the equipment and calm my breathing enough to feel comfortable under the water. It was clear I was nervous and so a second member of staff took me aside to talk me through everything one to one. 

Once I was calm and ready to go I submerged myself into the tank to meet up with the rest of the group and for the remainder of the activity I couldn't have been happier. Sharks and various other fish swam around us oblivious to the amazing experience we were having under the water. Although I was an anxious wreck at the start of the dive, I now can't wait to get back in the water and wouldn't hesitate to dive again in the future as it really is just an incredible, surreal experience. I do have the diving staff to thank for that as they were just so helpful and patient with me as I struggled to calm myself.



So Bear Grylls Adventure? Almost completed it mate, just the Climbing, High Ropes, and Shooting to do before I've ticked off all of the activities. Would I recommend it though? Honestly yes. I know some of the adventures can come in quite pricey however, so make sure to look out for deals or use your Merlin Pass of you're a passholder! 


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Birmingham, UK

BEAR GRYLLS ADVENTURE - SCUBA DIVING, ESCAPE ROOM & MORE*

On thursday night myself and the rest of the family popped into Birmingham newest pop up bar, Once Upon a Time in Birmingham. It's a Christmas themed pop up bar situated slap bang in the center of Birmingham inside the old Jamie's Italian Restaurant. 
The launch night actually fell on Dads birthday so I thought it would be rude not to nip in for some complimentary xmas themed bevies!


On arrival you are given a pair of kaleidoscope glasses which are meant to 'enhance the experience'. They basically multiply the twinkling lights by 1000 and make you feel like you've already had one too many cocktails.They do make for some fun photos though and I've never been to a bar in Birmingham (or anywhere for that matter) that dish out props for the night!

Once inside there are several areas to sit in, booths, a chill out area, and the main bar area. We chose to drink in the main bar area as there were a few of us and the booths were taken. If you do get the chance I would recommend grabbing a booth as the view you get of the bar is by far the best from there. The booths are also surrounded by a forest of fairy lights making that area almost den like.


Around the bar there are over 88,000 fairy lights, a shit tonne of tinsel, and various other Christmas decorations, tacky doesn't even come close to describing this temporary birmingham bar. That being said I am a lover of all things novelty and I know this place will do incredibly well in the run up to Christmas. Christmas, booze, and a super fun interior? I think they're onto a winner here.


Speaking of booze, what can you guzzle down in this funky little place? Well the menu consists of everything you would expect, wines, beers, soft drinks etc. but it also features several Christmas cocktails which I don't think you would find anywhere else in Birmingham, or even the UK. Over the course of evening I think I managed  to try every festive drink on the menu, but my favourite by far was the super sweet Gin & Pomegranate Punch. It would have been nice to also see a few basic cocktail combinations on the menu but I understand that they've tried to keep the whole experience on theme.


There are also festive bar snacks (Christmas spiced bombay mix, pine salted peanuts, and potato & gravy flavoured crisps) none of which I tried as we had come straight from a Chinese buffet and you best believe we stuffed our little faces silly! The one thing I would have liked to try however was the elusive clear christmas pudding. It's highly advertised and even shown as a bit of a selling point for this Birmingham bar however I sadly couldn't get my hands on any as the chefs had gone home. Better luck next time maybe?


So what did I think overall? It's a fun little pop up that I know will be massively popular over the next few weeks. I do think the cocktails are a little on the pricey side of things but it's a gimmicky xmas themed bar so you're always going to pay a little more at those kind of places. It's probably not the kind of bar you would want to spend every weekend but it's a nice enough place for a few festive drinks in the run up to Christmas!

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* Our drinks were complimentary however all opinions are my own

Birmingham, UK

ONCE UPON A TIME... IN BIRMINGHAM?*

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