Birmingham

Every now and then you visit a restaurant where things go a little bit wrong, but the friendly staff and the service they provide makes you want to go back regardless, and that's exactly that happened when I dined at The Encore in Stratford-Upon-Avon.


The Encore restaurant is located in central Stratford-Upon-Avon, a mere stones throw from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and easily accessible by car, bus, train, and even boat. It houses two floors of beautifully designed dining space and is a lovely setting for lunch, dinner, or just drinks. 


Looking up at The Encore restaurant from the street below
The Encore viewed from Bridge Street in Stratford-Upon-Avon


There are several menus to chose from at The Encore (lunch, brunch, vegan, etc) but as we dropped in on a sunny Sunday afternoon, it would have been rude not to order a traditional Sunday roast. Whilst I eat a mostly vegetarian diet these days, I do bend the rules for certain meals, roast dinners being one.


The options for the Sunday roast include:


  • Trio of roasts (beef, pork, chicken) - £18.50
  • Roast beef - £16.50
  • Roast chicken - £14.75
  • Roast pork belly - £14.95
  • Fig & dolcelatte roast - £14.95


I chose the roast pork belly and my sister opted for the roast beef. At that sort of price we were expecting good things and we weren't disappointed, mostly.


A large plate of meat, roast potatoes, and a large Yorkshire pudding. A bowl of vegetables can be seen in the background.
Slices of roast pork belly, roast potatoes, crackling, stuffing, and a large Yorkshire pudding


Once our dinners arrived we were presented with two large plates of meats, roast potatoes, and giant Yorkshire puddings, and one sharing dish of mixed veggies. The portion sizes were certainly not small. We were delighted at the sight of the meals we were about to dig into, until I spotted a hair in mine. 


Accidents happen from time to time, and although most restaurants have high hygiene standards things like this do happen. That being said its never nice to find a hair in your dinner even if you haven't started eating yet. I raised the issue with the waitress straight away and she swooped the dinner from under me to replace it as soon as possible.


Grace is sitting to the table. Her dinning in on the table below her. The inside of the restaurant can be see in the background.
Is there any point going for a fancy dinner if you don't take a photo with it?


As my dinner was so impressive I did worry it would be quite some time before another was brought to the table but to my surprise I didn't have to wait too long at all. I would estimate that a fresh pork belly roast was plonked down within 10 minutes of the waitress taking the original away. After bringing a new meal to the table, our waitress apologised quite sincerely and said that the meal would be complimentary. Whilst I expected maybe a small discount, or the offer of a drink after such an issue, I didn't expect the whole meal for free. For this reason and the genuinely good customer service I received from our waitress that afternoon I would not hesitate to return to The Encore again.


We soon wolfed down our meals which were equal parts delicious and filling, and went on our way discussing another possible visit for December after spying their festive menus earlier in the day. 


Despite the little blip I was quite impressed by my experience at The Encore, and the way they dealt with the situation ensured we left the restaurant as happy customers.


The Encore
1 Bridge Street
Stratford-Upon-Avon
Warwickshire
CV37 6AB



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Stratford-upon-Avon CV37, UK

THE ENCORE STRATFORD UPON AVON

*Ad - gifted experience


In my opinion massages are good for the mind, body, and soul. There's not much that can't be fixed by a session with an experienced therapist, so when I was approached by The Massage Company in Sutton Coldfield I was more than happy to put their services to the test. It would be rude not to wouldn't it?


Based in the Mere Green area of Sutton Coldfield, The Massage Company offers a range of massages to suit everyones needs. The location is on the main high street surrounded by shops, bars, and restaurants. Parking is also easily available within just a few minutes walk, as is the Four Oaks train station. Although this is their only location in the Midlands, they also have branches across the South East in Camberley, High Wycombe, Tunbridge Wells, and Putney. 


The entrance to The Massage Company in Sutton Coldfield
Entrance to The Massage Company in Sutton Coldfield

On arrival at The Massage Company, I was greeted by a friendly receptionist who checked myself and my sister in. We were each given a short survey to complete which would ran through a few health questions, allowed us to pin point any areas we would like to particularly focus on, and any areas we would prefer the therapist not to touch. This is not something I'd come across while having massages in the past, but something I thought was a great idea, especially as I primarily enjoy back massages and would always like that to be the area of focus. 


Whilst we waited for our appointment time the receptionist talked us through the available massages and the upgrades. We were both booked in for a Swedish Massage which is a full body massage, something I'd not yet tried. Along with our main massage we were also offered an upgrade. This time we both opted for the Hot Stones although I was very tempted by the Scalp Massage.


The full range of massages available:


  • Deep Tissue Massage
  • Sports Massage
  • Swedish Massage
  • Maternity Massage


The upgrades available:


  • Hot Stones
  • Scalp Massage
  • Aromatherapy
  • Fantastic Foot Treatment


Once inside the treatment room the therapist gave me time to get undressed and comfortable. Although going for a massage is nothing new to me, they can be very intimate which is why it's always nice to find a therapist who is friendly and makes me feel at ease.  


Inside the treatment room. In the foreground the massage table can be seen and in the background is a table with a range of prodcts.
The treatment room at The Massage Company

Before starting the treatment the therapist checked that I was as comfortable and as relaxed as I could be by adjusting the massage table and ensuring the temperature was to my liking. She also ensured I continued to be comfortable throughout the massage, adjusting things where needed and regularly checking that the pressure she was using was fine.


Although it's not something I've chosen before, the Swedish Massage was a very good choice and a treatment I would likely chose again. The massage lasted for 50 minutes which is longer than I usually go for but I found this was the perfect amount of time to really chill out and enjoy the experience. The upgrade to the hot stones was also a very good decision as the sensation of the warm rocks gliding across my skin added an extra layer of pleasure.


Throughout the whole experience I felt relaxed and happy that I was in the hands of a very experienced therapist who did not give in until every single knot was rubbed out of my back, something that is no easy task let me tell you. My sister also said that she thoroughly enjoyed her treatment and we both agreed it was something we liked being able to do together before continuing the day with a well deserved brunch.


Although we didn't take out a membership this time, I think the sharable flexi membership The Massage Company offers would be great for friends or family members looking to meet up and enjoy a relaxing experience.


The Massage Company
320 Lichfield Road
Sutton Coldfield
B74 2UG


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The Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield, UK

THE MASSAGE COMPANY - SUTTON COLDFIELD*

Brunching, it's one of my favorite past times. There really is nothing better than heading off for some banging grub and a few fab bevvies with your pals! So when it comes to brunching in Birmingham, well, I'd like to think I know some great spots by now. 


I've done bottomless Brunches at Dirty Martini, boozy lunches around Birmingham city centre, and various Afternoon Tea's across the Midlands (I'm putting them in the same bracket as brunches), but this new brunch offering at the Bournbrook Inn in the heart of Stirchley might just beat everything I've tried so far!


THE BOURNBROOK INN - BIRMINGHAM'S BEST NEW BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH
 Living my best life in Stirchley - Birmingham's favourite neighbourhood

The Bournbook Inn on the Pershore Road in Stirchley has been recently refurbished making it the ideal pace to grab a few drinks with the girls, without having to drag yourself off into town. The pub offers a whole range of affordable food and drinks throughout the week, with there new bottomless brunch taking place every Saturday.


The brunch which comes in at a very reasonable £25 per person runs from 12pm until 3pm, that's three whole hours of unlimited drinks, something you'd be hard pushed to find elsewhere else in the city. The majority of Birmingham brunches now only last between 1.5 and 2 hours which is not nearly enough time to guzzle down a wild amount of cocktails.


Speaking of cocktails, the Bournbrook Bottomless Brunch offer several drinks - 


  • House red, white, and rose wine
  • Prosecco
  • Strawberry Bellini (my personal favourite)
  • Maiden Adora (non-alcoholic)

Egg's Benedict garnished with salad
Eggs Benedict at the Bournbrook Inn Stirchley


Brunching with the Girlies in South Birmingham


While I do think they offer a good selection of drinks, I've very surprised that beer isn't an option for the brunch as beer is something the Bournbrook does very well. The pub regularly serves a variety of both big names and locally brewed beers, so it would be nice to see one of these included in the brunch in the future perhaps.

What are the food options like? Well in my opinion they're equally as good. While the majority of bottomless brunches across Birmingham serve a platter of 'picky food' the Bournbrook brunch includes 2 courses. 


Mains available with the Bournbrook Brunch -


  • Smashed Avocado on Toast
  • Eggs Benedict
  • Eggs Florentine
  • Wild Mushrooms on Toast
  • Waffles & Bacon
  • Full English


Desserts available with the Bournbrook Brunch - 


  • Pancakes
  • Waffles and Ice Cream
  • Bournbrook Mess


Sipping on Strawberry Bellini's

Waffles with Pecan and Chocolate Ice Cream  (Just about surviving the sunshine in the beer garden)

For my main I chose the Eggs Benedict which was absolutely delicious and I can confirm the eggs were cooked to perfection - nice and runny, but not runny enough for me to be concerned about dying of Salmonella. My dessert was also incredibly tasty. I opted for the Waffles which come with pecan and chocolate ice cream, just what I needed after a few hours of sipping on Bellinis!


So would I recommend the Bournbrook Brunch? Absolutely! Not only is it one of the cheaper brunches in Birmingham, their bottomless drinks also last for much longer than most others, and the food is just incredible. If you haven't tried it out yet, get yourself booked in for an afternoon you'll not soon forget (or maybe you will, the drinks are unlimited afterall!)


The Bournbrook Inn

1273 Pershore Road

Stirchley

B30 2YT


Open  12pm - 10pm Monday - Sunday



Do you have a favourite Birmingham brunch spot?

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Birmingham, UK

THE BOURNBROOK INN - BIRMINGHAM'S NEW BOTTOMLESS BRUNCH (& it's only £25)

This year Mother's Day falls on the 14th of March, so if you haven't got that special lady a gift just yet, you'd better act fast! But what do you get the most influential woman in your life? Well if you're from Birmingham, I already know one thing you're definitely going to be hunting down this March - a "Mom" card. We don't do "Mum", "Mam" or "Mother" here!


A selection of cards are gifts from small Birmingham businesses

I'll also assume (because you're reading this gift guide) that you're a good Brummie who is looking to support some great Birmingham businesses this Mother's Day, so I'll try to help you out the best I can!


I've popped together a list of fantastic Birmingham independent's supplying all of the things your Mom could possibly want. From flowers arranged by born and bred Brummies to bevs brewed right here in the second city, I'd like to think I've got it all covered!


Oh and I've even tracked down a couple of Mom cards too! You're welcome!



So here it is, my ultimate Brummie Mothers Day Gift Guide...




Plants and flowers


Jungle Houseplants


Birmingham based houseplant shop with delivery across the UK. Gifts, greetings cards, and gift cards are also available. 


Isherwood & Co


Florist and houseplant shop based on Stirchley high street in south Birmingham. Mother's day bouquets, gifts, and cards available to order.


A bouquet of mixed flower from a small birmingham business
Isherwood & Co - Based in Stirchley


Easy Plants


Houseplants, garden plants, artificial plants and more, all available for delivery across the UK.


Urban Design Flowers


Hall Green based florist offering bouquets, gifts, cards, balloons, and more. 


Petals of Piccadilly


A boutique florist based in Piccadilly Arcade in Birmingham City Centre.



A bouquet of yellow flowers
Flowers at Moor Street


Flowers at Moor Street 


Fresh flowers, house plants, and gifts available to buy online or from Moor Street Station.




Health and beauty


Mudd beauty 


A vegan and cruelty free makeup brand based right here in Birmingham.

Currently 20% off with code MARCH21


Harvest Skincare 


An independant skincare company based in Kings Heath. Facials, massages, and others treatments are also available.


A selection of bottles and jars filled with beauty products from Harvest skincare
Harvest Skincare - Based in Kings Heath in South Birmingham

Shakina Spa 


Dry Spa in the centre of Birmingham. Treatments, gift vouchers, and spa products available.


Moor Hall Hotel & Spa 


Spa hotel based in Sutton Coldfield. Treatments available from 12th April. 




Clothes, jewellery, and accessories

 

Urban Village Vintage 


Vintage clothes, accessories, books, and records.


People


Clothes, accessories, homeware and more. 


A pair of forget me not earrings
Working Clasp

Working Clasp 


Laser cut jewellery, DIY craft kits, and workshops available.


A Typical Thing 


Minimal recycled silver jewellery. Designed and made in Brum.



A gold sycamore seed necklace
Hannah Kyrikou Jewellery

Hannah Kyriakou jewellery 


Botanical inspired jewellery handmade in Birmingham's world famous Jewellery Quarter.




Food and drink


The Early Bird Bakery


Independent bakery based in Kings Heath. Cakes, Vouchers available. The Mother's Day Afternoon tea available is currently sold out.


A selection of cakes from Early Bird Bakery in Birmingham
Early Bird Bakery - Based in Kings Heath



Three Church Road 


Restaurant and bistro based in Edgbaston. Takeaway Afternoon Tea available for collection.


Bean Green Kitchen 


Sutton Coldfield based Deli and Salad Bar. Breakfast, Brunch, Afternoon Tea, and graze boxes available. 



A cocktail from Pineapple Club in Birmingham City Centre
Pineapple Club - A new City Centre Cocktail Bar


Pineapple Club


A new Birmingham based cocktail bar. Pre made cocktails available for delivery.


Grace + James


Kings Heath based shop and deli selling Wine, cheese, hampers and more.


A selection of cheeses available at Grace + James in South Birmingham
Grace + James


Loki Wines


Natural wines and gift cards available.




Cards, gifts, and wrapping


Folks Like These

Stationary, books, greetings cards and more.


You Got This Club


Funky cards, gifts, hampers, and more.


Rachel Alice Art


Greetings cards and prints. "Mom" cards available!


A mothers day card showing a hand drawn bouquet with the word "mom" on the gift tag
Rachel Alice Art


Laura The Drawer


Greetings cards, stickers, and prints. "Mom" cards available!


Marenzo Designs


Cards, stickers, wine labels, and more. "Mom" cards available!


Baby Aid Birmingham


A Brummie charity selling mothers day cards to help families with young children. "Mom" cards available!


A greetings card with the text "Mom you're bostin!"
Cards By Banks

Cards By Banks


Fun Brummie greetings cards. "Mom" cards available!




So with all these fantastic Birmingham Businesses selling all kinds of cards and gifts, I'm sure you'll be able to pick up a thing or two for your Mom this Mother's Day whilst also supporting some great independent sellers!


Let me know if you've grabbed any goodies from the businesses lifted above, and if you think I've missed off any fab Brummie brands give me a shout in the comments!


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Birmingham, UK

THE ULTIMATE BRUMMIE MOTHER'S DAY GIFT GUIDE

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