The Barnt Green Inn Review

Located in the leafy Worcestershire village of Barnt Green, the popular country pub favourite of mine, The Barnt Green Inn, has recently had an exciting new refurbishment. I couldn’t wait to visit to see how this beautiful historic listed pub had reinvented itself! I’ve always loved the food at The Barnt Green Inn, so for me the most exciting part was the brand new menu which was chosen to incorporate fresh fresh flavours and ingredients inspired by modern world food trends.

Eager to see the transformation I headed to The Barnt Green Inn for their re-opening night so I could be one of the first to see the exciting new chances. At the door I was met with the usual warm welcome by the staff but was taken aback by the breathtakingly new lush interior, which brought a twist of modern to the classic feel of the half timbered original decor.

The bar area was large but had a private feel to it and was still as cosy as I remembered it before! Situated in the bar on the opening night was something I’d never seen before – a build your own gin station. Filled with an array of fresh fruit, garnishes, and botanical, something I couldn’t resist. With the expertise of the staff I was able to craft a gin and tonic that consisted of the perfect combination of flavours for my personal taste.

It has to be said The Barnt Green Inn has really succeeded in creating a luxurious venue whilst still incorporating the classic charm the building had before its renovation. I don’t think there’s an establishment within the Midlands quite like it! I really am impressed with the new interior but I have to say my favourite part is the toilets (strange I know).

I absolutely adore the chic feel of the bathrooms and couldn’t help taking a few pictures of myself in the cute little mirrors either. If only I could have a bathroom this stylish at home!

Now onto the food. I’d probably say my favourite hobby is eating, so I was definitely excited to taste the new menu that had been created by the team. I was spoilt for choice, everything sounded so lovely but I finally settled on the Pork Belly Bao Buns and my mother opted for the Seared Wild Atlantic Scallops. Our food arrived shortly after we order and looked an absolute treat! The Pork Belly Bao Buns came with a red chilli, pineapple and mango salsa which perfectly complimented the pork. Additionally the chilli gave the dish a fiery kick that went nicely with the sweetness of the mango and pineapple. On the side was a pot of thai-style dipping sauce if you fancied adding a little bit of extra heat to the dish! I really enjoyed the Pork Belly Bao Buns; they were perfectly flavoured, very filling and brilliant for sharing.

I’ve never tried scallops before and as my mother opted for the Seared Wild Atlantic Scallops I found this the perfect opportunity to try one for the first time. The scallops were served along lobster and a crab bonbons with a pea and truffle oil velouté. My mother really enjoyed this dish and I have to say so did I…my first time tasting scallops was a success! I expected them to be overpoweringly fishy, but instead they were tender and juicy, with a very subtle seafood taste. Now I know that they’re delicious I will certainly be ordering them in the future!

For the main I opted for the Outdoor-Reared Heritage Breed Rotisserie Sticky Glazed Pork Belly. I had pork as my starter so probably shouldn’t have opted for it as my main, but it sounded too delicious to resist! It was served with smoky creamed corn, roasted butternut squash, calvolo nero mashed potato, red wine jus and crispy crackling. The pork was cooked to perfect and was so tender it melted in my mouth. Surprisingly I’ve never tasted roasted butternut squash before, I’ve only tried it in soups but it was really flavoursome and I’ll definitely be trying it at home in the near future. The creamed corn went unusually well with the dish, adding a unique flavour when paired with the pork. My only criticism is that I would have liked more calvolo nero in the mash as I adore it, but I guess that’s just a personal preference!

My mother opted for the Four Bone Lamb Rack which looked impressive to say the least! This was served with chorizo, butternut squash purée, roasted shallots, calvolo nero, dauphinoise potatoes, chimmi churri and a red wine jus. You were able to choose how you wanted your lamb cooked and to my mothers delight it was cooked expertly, with it being exactly how she had asked for it to be. I didn’t try dish myself but I’ll take my mother’s word that it was all cooked to perfection, being one of the nicest meals she’s had in a very long time!

After finishing two mouth-wateringly delicious courses we browsed the desserts menu and decided on the Icon Sharing Dessert Birdcage. This exciting dessert consisted of a half birdcage structure with three tiers of desserts. The desserts included were vanilla cheesecake, strawberry, chocolate & pistachio smash; blackcurrant mousse & mango coulis; home-baked brownie, French almond macaron & pecan praline ice cream. This dessert is made to be shared between two to three people, or just one if your appetite is big enough! I was excited to try each dessert of this trio, as they weren’t too similar in taste or texture and it seems like the selection was picked so as to bring you an array of different flavours to excite the tastebuds. My favourite was the chocolate brownie as it was really light and fluffy, but decadent at the same time! Overall, I really did enjoy all the elements of each dessert and would definitely recommend the Icon Sharing Dessert Birdcage if you’re stuck on what dessert to choose, not only is it delicious but also makes for a great picture!

Overall I had an absolutely amazing night at the newly refurbished Barnt Green Inn. The staff were as friendly and attentive as ever, but I was really taken aback by the effort that has gone into designing the luxury velvet interior which merges perfectly with the original timbered structure. Before the refurbishment I didn’t think the food could get any better at The Barnt Green Inn but I couldn’t be anymore wrong. I throughly enjoyed every course I had and wished I could have ate it all over again!

The Barnt Green Inn has really put itself on the map as a luxury dining destination. Perfect for family outings or special occasions, it’s really worth giving this establishment a visit as you certainly won’t regret it. You can find out more information about The Barnt Green Inn and see their menus here.

What’s your favourite country pub?

Laura 

Disclaimer: I was gifted this meal, however all opinions are genuine and my own.

 

Heaven Sent Lichfield Review

It’s not often that I get time to pamper myself, so I set it as my new years resolution for 2020 to start giving myself the pampering I deserve! There’s nothing better than having a relaxing massage or facial after a hard week at work and in late 2019 I discovered the newly opened Heaven Sent in the charming cathedral city of Lichfield, located in Staffordshire.

Heaven Sent is a luxury salon spa located in a beautiful listed building on the scenic cobbled streets of Lichfield. Already having a branch in Sutton Coldfield, Heaven Sent opened the Lichfield branch in December 2019 offering an array of skin and beauty therapeutic treatments. After visiting the salon in December when it first opened, having an amazing facial and massage treatment, I couldn’t wait to come back. Eager to visit again I returned this month to try out the ‘Lichfield Luxury Ritual‘.

Upon entering the salon you’re greeting by the bright fresh chic interior and friendly staff who show you to the stylish seating area to relax and enjoy a drink whilst you wait for your treatment. After a few minutes I was then shown to the ambiently lit treatment room where the ‘Lichfield Luxury Ritual’ would be taking place, which had amazing heated massage beds and candles lit to set the mood. I was so warm and cosy that I could have nodded off! The treatment started off with some relaxing inhalation’s of lavender and vetiver to bring a calming feel of tranquility to the experience; this is something I’ve never done before but it really relaxed me!

The ritual then proceeded which started off with a well needed soothing foot exfoliation for my tired feet. My feet were then wrapped in warm steamed towels whilst my back was coated in a cleansing body lather that contained olive grains to exfoliant and cleanse my skin. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, a soothing mask was applied to my feet, followed by amazing heated booties. I was in heaven! To finish the ritual my whole body, including face and scalp was massaged with luxurious body oil followed up with sleep well nourishing body cream.

The whole ritual took about 80 minutes and I was left feeling a new level of relaxation I’d never felt before, with super soft skin! After my treatment I was able to return to the stylish waiting area where I chatted to the lovely staff and helped myself to the drinks on offer for clients. After a tiring January at work this was just what I needed to revitalise myself! After the treatment I returned home and had one of the best nights sleep I’ve had in a long time. Heaven Sent go above and beyond to make sure your experience is one to remember, from the beautiful interior to the attention to detail to goes into perfecting every treatment. Kelly and all the team at Heaven Sent really know how to make you feel special and this is reason why I will be returning again and again for the fantastic treatments they have on offer!

If your local to Staffordshire or the West Midlands I’d definitely recommend visiting Heaven Scent, you certainly won’t regret it! Whether you’re tired and worn out, or just need some pampering, Heaven Scent has a treatment to fit your every need and bring you back to feeling like your best self! You can find out more about what they have to offer on their website here.

When booking you can use ‘LAURA15’ to gain 15% off the price of any treatment!

What’s your favourite spa treatment?

Laura 

Disclaimer: I was gifted this treatment, however all opinions are genuine and my own.

 

The Envy Facial at Dermoperfection UK

Over the festive period whilst we eat, drink and be merry, the partying and over indulgence can really take a toll on our skin. Thinking there’s no way to rescue your skin? Dermoperfection in Birmingham has come to the rescue with the ENVY Facial!

Dermoperfection is a medical aesthetics clinic that opened in early 2019 within Birmingham city centre and is now the first establishment in Birmingham to offer the ENVY facial. If you haven’t heard of the ENVY facial as of yet I’m sure you will be hearing much more about it soon, this celebrity favourite facial helps you achieve the skin of your dreams leaving your skin red carpet ready in under an hour!

How does the ENVY facial work?

Photo credit: Dr Nyla Raja

The ENVY facial, created by ENVY medical cleverly utilises a 3-in-1 skin resurfacing treatment carried out by a patented diamond tip hand held device, which exfoliates and extracts dead skin, blackheads and impurities, whilst infusing your skin with serums all one one step. The ENVY technique allows the serums to fully penetrate your skin, absorbing into the layers where they’re most needed.

The most exciting thing about this treatment is that it’s completely customisable, which the choice of different serums targeted to specific skincare issues. But as many of you know most people have more than one issue with their skin and the founders behind the ENVY facial understood that, creating a device that can infuse two separate serums into the skin to target your different concerns.

Interestingly at the end of the facial you are actually able to see what impurities, dirt and blackheads were removed from your skin. If you book a course of facials you will be able to see that over time your skin will improve with each facial and less impurities will be present in the jar at the end. Not only does the ENVY facial reduce the appearance of wrinkles and plump up the skin, but it also has been shown to be very effective at treating other skin concerns such as acne, hyperpigmentation, rosacea and large pores.

My Experience

Upon entering the clinic I was greeted by Stuart, the friendly and knowledgable owner of Dermoperfection. Stuart showed me to the treatment room where I had my consultation and skin analysis during which it was decided what serums would be best for my skin. The ENVY facial offers 4 different serums to chose from:

  • Pro-Infusion Ultra Hydrating serum
  • Pro-Infusion Vitamin C serum
  • Pro-Infusion Skin Brightening serum
  • Pro-Infusion Pore Clarifying serum

Each facial uses two serums and with Stuart’s advice I decided to opt for the Pro-Infusion Pore Clarifying serum and the Pro-Infusion Vitamin C serum. The pore clarifying serum contains salicylic acid, bakuchiol and Origanum Vulgare leaf oil, which work together to target bacteria, unclog pores, reduce surface redness and prevent future outbreaks. The vitamin C serum contains vitamin C, vitamin E and grape seed extract which work together to help the production of collagen synthesis, protect against free radicals caused by oxidisation from sun exposure and helps the skin to retain moisture by preventing transepidermal water loss.

Next my skin was cleaned, followed by the serums I had chosen then being placed into the ENVY medical dermal infusion device with the facial then taking place shortly after. During the facial you feel a slight scratching sensation and pressure as the device is applied to your face, which is due to the diamond tip exfoliating the dead skin away. It was not painful in the slightest and the pressure applied can be altered so even the most delicate areas of your face such as your under eye area and lips can also be done. The facial itself took under half an hour and I was left with dewy glowing skin! My skin looked radiant and had no redness after, so I was able to leave the clinic and carry on with the rest of my day. However the best results from the facial appear 1-3 days later after the serum has been able to get to work , which is when my skin began to look even more radiant and youthful.

For me the best part of the facial is the jar of ‘junk’ you get at the end of it. This jar contains all the dead skin cells, blackheads and impurities that we’re extracted out of your skin and it really is a shock to see how much grime can be extracted from your face even if you have a brilliant skincare regime! Below is a photograph of my before (left) and after (right) jar.

I’m not sure if it was satisfying or disgusting that I was actually able to see the dead skin and blackheads floating around within the mixture extracted from my face which can be clearly seen in the photograph below.

I believe the ENVY facial is the perfect treatment to get your skin in tip top condition again without having to use invasive techniques. What’s also brilliant is that the ENVY device can be applied to any area of your body, so if your suffering from back acne or maybe want a glowing décolletage then this might be the perfect treatment for you. It’s really exciting that Dermoperfection has become the first clinic in all of Birmingham to start offering this revolutionary treatment and I can’t wait to see what other groundbreaking treatments Stuart and the team will be offering in the future! No other facial technique is able to carry out the 3-in-1 technology and infuse serums deep within the skin like the ENVY facial does. So what are you waiting for, 2020 calls for a new beginning and what better way to start it than having an ENVY facial at Dermoperfection!

Will you be trying you the ENVY facial?

Laura 

Disclaimer: I was gifted this treatment, however all opinions are genuine and my own.

 

My First Experience With Microblading

I’ve always dreamt of having the perfect eyebrows, but brow pencil just hasn’t quite cut it for me. Whether it’s my technique or the products I’ve been using, I’ve never been able to get my eyebrows to look just how I’d want to them to; I’m sure every girl understands this struggle! For a long time waking up with ‘fleeky’ eyebrows was just an unachievable dream for me until I discovered the new latest trend – microblading.

What is Microblading?

Microblading is a semi-permanent tattooing technique that uses a handheld tool to make small superficial incisions into the epidermis layer of the skin, depositing pigment under your skin. Microblading strokes are finer and look more natural than a traditional tattoo. Additionally, techniques can also be customised to include a combination of microblading and tattooing to create more defined brows.

Picking the Right Artist

After trawling through Instagram for hours, days, weeks, account after account, I finally found the artist I was looking for – Chelsea Brows! During my search I’d come across a lot of shoddy work and ‘back street’ practitioners advertising their work on Facebook marketplace without having proper training. It’s really important to research the person you’re going to, because they are literally giving you a tattoo on your face which will take a lot of time and money to remove if you don’t like it. Even worse you could end up with a nasty infection and scarring if your practitioner isn’t trained in aseptic techniques.

The Procedure

I’ve always been someone who’s a bit of a wuss and terrified of needles, so the thought of having my eyebrows microbladed terrified me. But beauty is pain right? After hearing some horror stories from friends telling me that the procedure was extremely painful I headed towards Chelsea Brows in Birmingham afraid of what lay ahead of me. Almost certain that I was going regret my decision to get my eyebrows microbladed when I discovered how painful it was I lay down on the table awaiting my fate. My microblading artist, Chelsea, was lovely and assured me it wasn’t going to be as bad as I expected it to be and after the first stroke I felt stupid that I was even scared! The pain was no where near as bad as I expected it and strangely enough I quite liked the weird scratching noise the microblading tool made as it created the strokes. Yes it was a bit sharp, but no where near the pain level I was expecting after reading other people’s reviews of their experiences online. I’m the type of person who faints whilst having blood tests so if I can do it then anyone can!

After the first initial strokes Chelsea applied a numbing cream which meant I could hardly feel anything after and the experience was quite relaxing. I opted for the ‘combination brows’ which was a combination of microblading strokes and shading using a tattoo gun to create more defined look whilst still looking natural. After Chelsea had finished she showed me my eyebrows, to say I was shocked would be an understatement. They were better than I expected, they were the eyebrows I had always dreamt of! I had envisioned in my head exactly how I wanted them to look and she had created that vision perfectly.

The Healing Process

This was definitely the most annoying part of having my eyebrows microbladed. It was amazing having perfect eyebrows but I had to keep them from getting wet for two whole weeks, which resulted in me having to shower in some very unusual positions to keep my eyebrows dry. After the first week and a half my eyebrows started to scab up and itch, which is completely normal but it took extreme concentration to prevent myself from scratching my eyebrows every time they got itchy. Prematurely pulling off scabs instead of letting them fall off naturally can pull out the pigment and leave you with patchy eyebrows so it’s really important that you don’t do this! After 6 weeks when my eyebrows had eventually healed I went for my microblading top up session which was included in the price of my initial session. The purpose of the top up session is to re-shade areas which may had faded during the initial healing process and make sure your brows are looking perfect as they can fade slightly after the first session. After the top up session I had to repeat the whole healing process once again but at least this time I knew what I was doing!

Is Microblading Worth it?

Following my top up session when my eyebrows had finally healed I was left with the eyebrows I had always dreamt of. It’s crazy how a tattoo can look so natural! Everywhere I’ve been going I’ve had compliments on them which is a definite confidence boost. The best thing about having microbladed eyebrows is waking up in the morning with perfect brows and being able to stroll out the house without the stress of trying to draw them on. I even had a man ask me how I manage to draw my eyebrows on so perfectly, Chelsea Brows is how!

That’s it now, I will be hooked for life on having my eyebrows microblading. How could I ever go back to drawn on eyebrows when I could have beautiful natural looking eyebrows from microblading. It’s safe to say I won’t be picking up the eyebrow pencil anytime soon! For more information and pricing details for where I got my eyebrows microblading you can visit the Chelsea Brows website here.

Have you ever contemplated having your eyebrows microbladed?

Laura 

Disclaimer: I paid for the treatment in full, all opinions are genuine and my own.

 

The Victoria, Barnt Green Festive Menu Review

My favourite part about Christmas isn’t the presents but the food. There’s nothing more that I love than a delicious freshly cooked roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings. I can’t forget the mince pies either! Now it’s reached November it means the festive menus have started appearing at many places, great news for me then! There’s nothing better to do on a cold winters night than divulge in some delicious heart warming food, so I headed to The Victoria in Barnt Green to sample their new festive menu.

Located in Bromsgrove, just 10 miles south from Birmingham city centre, The Victoria is a quaint village pub that hosts a warm homely ambience with a touch of luxury. Upon entering the pub I could see it had been tastefully decorated for Christmas and friendly staff promptly seated me at my table, next to a crackling open fire. There are three different choices with the festive menu currently on offer at The Victoria:

  • Three course classic festive menu – £26.95
  • Four course indulgent festive menu (choice of premium dishes), with a glass of Prosecco on arrival and luxury chocolate truffles to finish – £33.95
  • Five course extra special festive menu (choice of premium dishes), with a glass of Moët & Chandon champagne on arrival, rustic breads and olives, and a cocktail of your choice – £48.95

I opted for the three course classic festive menu, as well as one of the the special festive cocktails! I chose the festive pornstar martini, which was a standard pornstar martini with the added twist of winter berry syrup to give it a lovely spiced festive taste which didn’t overpower the drink. My partner chose the festive espresso martini, which like my drink, also had the addition of the winter berry syrup with complimented the coffee aroma perfectly.

For my starter I opted for the ‘duck liver & port parfait served with toasted walnut & raisin bread and a spiced fruit & sloe gin chutney’. Duck liver parfait is a classic Christmas favourite of mine so I couldn’t resist choosing it and I definitely made the right choice because it was delicious! Even though I’m not a fan of port, it perfectly complimented the rich creamy flavour of the parfait, with the spiced fruit and sloe gin chutney really giving the dish the festive feeling it needed. Spread over the warm toasted walnut and raisin bread this dish was to die for! My partner opted for the ‘creamy garlic mushrooms on toasted sourdough topped with Blacksticks Blue cheese’, I managed to steal a forkful from him and even though I’m not a big fan of blue cheese I found there was just the right amount in this dish for me to enjoy it and not be too overpowered by it.

Our mains arrived not long after our starters were cleared and WOW were we impressed! Laid before us was a feast fit for a king and we couldn’t wait to get stuck in. I opted for the ‘maple pork belly and pig cheek, on Dijon chive mash, cavolo nero, crisp prosciutto and a red wine & sage jus’, although apprehensive as I’ve never tried pig cheek before I was assured by the waitress that I’d love it. The pork belly crisp but juicy too, being cooked to perfection with the maple glaze browning at the edges giving it the perfect caramelised sweetness. The Dijon chive mash and cavolo nero was equality as tasty. When I was feeling brave enough I tried the pig cheek for the first time and was surprised that it wasn’t like anything I’d tasted before. It was deliciously tender and melted in your mouth, overall bringing a unique twist to the dish. My partner opted for the ‘roasted turkey with fluffy beef-dripping roasted potatoes, a honey mustard duvet and pork & clementine stuffing. Served with red wine gravy and bread sauce’. I didn’t personally try this dish but my partner told me everything was all cooked to perfection; usually turkey can be quite dry but it was flavoursome and moist. I was also extremely jealous that he got pigs in blankets as I adore them! Both meals came with an accompaniment of seasonal vegetables which consisted of sprouts, carrots and roasted parsnips coated in a tasty seasoning. The pictures don’t do the meals justice as the portion size was so plentiful for both the meals and the accompaniments, with it all being seasoned to perfection. Me and my partner both agreed that this festive meal was one of the nicest that we’ve ever had. The attention to detail with every aspect of the meal, making sure everything was seasoned and glazed accordingly, really excited my taste buds putting The Victoria up there as one of my all time favourite places for a heartwarming festive fayre.

I was pleasantly full after the first two courses, but as they say ‘there’s always room for dessert!’. Fancying something a bit fruity I opted for the ‘apple and plum crumble topped with a demerara sugar crumb, served with custard’. Served in its own mini saucepan the crumble was just as delicious as I expected it to be, tart and heartwarming balanced perfectly with the vanilla custard. The perfect way to end any meal! My partner being a chocoholic chose the ‘chocolate brownie with Belgian chocolate sauce, honeycomb ice cream and a brandy snap crumb‘. He couldn’t get enough of this decadent dessert and only wished he could eat another! He’s tried many chocolate brownies in his time but he did comment that this one was gorgeous compared.

Christmas is a time of the year best spend enjoying yourself and I can’t think of a better way to enjoy yourself than divulging in the gastronomic delights that The Victoria has the offer. From fun festive cocktails to the heartwarming food than you can eat next to a crackling fire, you can’t go wrong with The Victoria. You can check out their festive menus and full menus here.

What’s your favourite food to eat at Christmas?

Laura 

Disclaimer: the food I received was complimentary however all opinions are genuine and my own.