Shake It Up at Malmaison

There are some days when an invite drops into your inbox and you have to reply so fast, your keyboard practically steams. Shake it Up at Malmaison was one of those invites. Cocktails? Pampering? Food? SIGN ME UP!

Malmaison

Blogger Event

The event was held in the beautiful Malmaison hotel, in their Work and Play space. Work and Play is a flexible space offering everything from two person pods for meetings to large event spaces for dining and parties. It even has it’s own bar, so I collected a glass of fizz on arrival and set off to investigate the pampering options on offer.

Le Petit Spa

Cover FX

Immediately grabbing my attention was Le Petit Spa, Malmaison’s own spa, who were offering manicures. I settled in and selected a bright pink from their range of CND Shellac polishes. Shellac is a fast drying, glossy gorgeous polish that can last up to 14 days, without damaging your nails. My manicurist expertly shaped my nails into the rounded off shapes I like, and began to paint. Shellac really is fact drying, and I was merrily snapping photos again without a smudge in no time at all. I love the finish of Shellac, as it is really high shine, and your nails look glossy and gorgeous.

Next, I went to chat to Cover FX, who are baed in Harvey Nichols. I had heard of them before, for their truly incredible Total Cover foundation which I’ve seen cosplayers use to cover tattoos. Cover FX specialise in products that make your base perfect. All their make-up is vegan, cruelty free and free of parabens, fragrance, gluten, mineral oil, and talc, all of which can cause irritation. Their foundations are available in a whopping 40 shades, and it’s all gorgeous. Deneita (ask for her at their concession in Harvey Nichols, and tell her I sent you) shade matched in record time, and showed off a selection of their products with obvious pride. I fell in love with their gorgeous highlighters, especially in the shade Celestial, and their frankly miraculous setting powder, which is water resistant. They showed off just how water resistant by painting on some foundation to the hand of Alev, of Bella And Robot. They set the foundation with the powder, tipped some water over her hand and then blotted with a tissue. Not a single piece of that foundation moved a millimetre. Incredible.

The spa were also offering up ESPA hand cocktails, and talking us through all ESPA’s lovely products, while other girls were being coiffed by the team from Blow Ltd.

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All that pampering was hungry work, but luckily team Malmaison were ready with a selection of dishes from the new summer menu.

We had Summer Minestrone SoupSmoked Mackerel PatePoached Salmon HollandaiseSlow Roast Beef BrisketSummer Vegetable and Cherry Tomato Linguine, and Chargrilled Chicken Breast with Crunch Thai Salad. All of it was delicious, light, and perfect for summer dining. It was colourful, with fresh flavours and nothing too heavy. The real stand out was the brisket for me, which was so well cooked and tender.

Cocktails

Suitably fed, it was cocktail time! Malmaison had created a selection of cocktails to match the nail varnish colours on offer. We were given the chance to have a bash at making our own. I am generally pretty crap at making cocktails, but always up for the attempt, so I assembled the ingredients for the pink Metropolitan, a twist on the classic Cosmopolitan.

Under the watchful eye of the bar tender I merrily sloshed vodka, lime juice, cranberry juice and raspberry puree about, and shook the whole lot with ice.

Cocktail making

Metropolitan

Topped with raspberries, my attempt looked pretty and tasted even better. I was pretty generous with the lime so it was sharp, just how I like a cocktail, and the colour actually did match my nails pretty well.

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The most important part…dessert! Fresh red berries and vanilla mascaprone served with shortbread crumb, Banoffee Cheesecake and Warm Summer Pudding. All super pretty, brightly coloured and delicious. Let me back at that cheesecake.

Sadly, with goody bags collected, it was time to go home. The whole evening was excellent fun and I highly recommend you look to Malmaison for all your eating, drinking and fancy nails needs.

I was a guest of Malmaison and East Village. All opinions are honest and my own. 

Cocktails at 1565 Restaurant, Bar and Terrace

Hands up if you love cocktails and a bargain? Oh, all of you? GOOD NEWS, the gorgeous 1565 Restaurant, Bar and Terrace are currently running a cocktail month, with a different cocktail every day for just £5. Tucked away in the Park Regis hotel,  1565 is a chic, chilled out spot for a cocktail or five.

1565 Cocktail Month

Laura of Bite Your Brum and I headed over on Tuesday for Rhubarb Margarita day. We settled down on a pair of bar stools and immediately became friends for life with outrageously charming barman, Christian. Unfortunately, the Rhubarb Puree he needed to make our drinks had entirely disappeared, but this actually ended up being a good thing. Our new best friend had an alternative solution for us.

Margarita Birmingham

We’d already regaled him with a tale of a truly awful Margarita Laura had been served elsewhere that evening (think salt and lemon squash…yuck) and Christian was pretty horrified, so he set about making up for this horror, by presenting Laura with the beauty above. I had a little sip and this margarita was perfect. Sharp, and with just a slight hint of salt from the lip of the glass. Christian talked us through properly salting the glass so you don’t end up with salt in the drink, and then served it by rubbing a wedge of lime around one half of the glass so Laura could change the sip to have more salt or more lime, depending on her preference.

Old Fashioned

Christian himself is a fan of the Old Fashioned, which is one of my favourites too, so I had to try one of those. It was perfection. Strong and with a good hit of citrus from the orange peel, which is exactly how I like it. Again, Christian talked us through the proper method to make this cocktail perfectly, and he clearly knows his stuff.

The restaurant was quiet, so we stayed sitting up at the bar, chatting with Christian about cocktails, his home in Romania, afternoon tea and life in Birmingham. He truly was the perfect barman; chatty, entertaining and very knowledgable about his craft. A real credit to 1565!

Espresso Martini

I will always drink an Espresso Martini if there’s one on the menu, and 1565 do! They call it the Insomniac Martini. It was gorgeous, with a great balance of the bitter coffee and sweetness. Perfection.

Throughout August, a different cocktail is available everyday for only £5. Each cocktail is taken from the main menu, so if you enjoy the cocktail of the day, you can come back and enjoy it again and again. For details of the what the day’s cocktail is, make sure you’re following 1565 on Twitter.

Our drinks were complementary in exchange for social posts while we were there. I was not obliged to write a post. All opinions are honest and my own. 

All You Can Eat Pizza at Rub Smokehouse

I’m all for a good old-fashioned carb load, so when Rub Smokehouse asked if I could take on the challenge of their All You Can Eat pizza, I put on a food baby hiding dress and headed straight over.

Rub Smokehouse

For £12.95 a person, booked in advance, you could eat all you can eat pizza (each slice is brought individually and you must finish each slice before requesting the next one) for an hour and a half. The current record stands at 20 slices, and if you beat it, you can win £100 in Rub vouchers. Bite Your Brum, Miss Pond and Kat’s Blog of Stuff decided we weren’t quite ready for 20 slices of pizza, but we could still make a pretty good attempt at shovelling in LOTS of pizza.

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The pizzas on offer are all a little…unusual. I tried four of the six pizzas on offer (choosing to pass on the slightly dry looking Nacho Cheese Monster and the classily named Mystery Ring Sting). The Mad Korean was by far my favourite. The toppings are Pulled BBQ Pork with a Korean BBQ Sauce, Spring Onions, Sesame Seeds, Kimchi, Chilli, Mozzarella & Prawn Cracker Dust. The BBQ sauce was tangy and the prawn cracker dust slightly melts into the topping adding an interesting chewier texture. This was a very popular option round the table and we all ate lots of it, enjoying the addition of kimchi immensely. The Mac n Cheetos (Mac n Cheese with Cheetos & Mozzarella) was mostly confusing. It was tasty, although we found the slices were much tastier if you got the first few slices of a batch. The longer the pizza stayed on the tray, the more the mac ‘n’ cheese solidified, and it was much nicer a bit sloppier. The cheetos were a bit challenging to keep on top of the slice while you were chomping, and I do feel pasta and crisps on pizza is a lot of carb in one go, even for me. It’s also on a barbecue base, which is never my favourite.

The Idaho State Fair (Frankfurter, Buffalo Sauce Popcorn, Dill Pickles, French Mustard & Ketchup Base) was also really good. The pickles and the mustard add tang, and the frankfurter pieces were  juicy and tasty. I did prefer this without the popcorn though, as I didn’t think it added anything except getting stuck in your teeth. The Katsu Chick Flick (Japanese Curry Sauce, mini chicken nuggets, pickled ginger, mozzarella and crushed spicy rice crackers) was the one we were all looking forward to, but it was actually a bit disappointing. Kat was presented with a slice that didn’t actually have any of the chicken nuggets on it, and while the slices were well smeared with katsu sauce, the other toppings were a little sparse. What was there was delicious though.

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Cocktails are two-for-one all night during the event (classic cocktails are two-for-one 11am til 7pm and 10pm til close usually). I started with the Bourbon Peach Smash (£8.50), which is Buffalo Trace, Briottet Creme de Peche, sugar syrup, fresh mint, lemon juice and soda water. It had a good peach flavour without being overly sweet, although a splash more bourbon wouldn’t have gone amiss. I do like my cocktails boozy though, so perhaps if you’re not so inclined, you wouldn’t miss it. I followed it with a Bramble (£7.95), which is Brokers Gin, Briottet Creme de Mure and lemon juice. It was sharp and delicious, and I think the best of the two cocktails I tried.

Rub is, to be honest, slightly mad. The menu is all enormous American classics (there is SO much stuff I want to go back and try, like the Pizza Fries, Risket for a Brisket, the Hoagies and of course the truly ludicrous Kitchen Sink Sundae) and the decor is all american diner in feel, with lights, posters and all sorts of bonkersness all over the walls. The staff were all super friendly, despite how busy and noisy it was. If you’re looking for a bit of a unique dining experience, keep your eye out for future events and eating challenges.

Our food was complementary in exchange for a blog post, but we paid for our own drinks. All opinions are honest and my own.