Breakfast At The Ivy Birmingham

There are some invites that you say yes to. There are some that you politely refuse. And there are some that you receive, scream, and jump up and down shouting yes, yes, yes over and over again. An invitation to breakfast at newly opened The Ivy restaurant in Birmingham is just one of those invites. And that is where a beautiful Saturday morning took me last week.

The Ivy is one of London’s most iconic and stylish restaurants, and its Birmingham incarnation is destined to be the same. It opened last week in the former Louis Vuitton building on Temple Row and is definitely the new place to see and be seen in the second city. A mixture of Art Deco and Art Nouveau style, the restaurant is absolutely stunning, a vibrant, colourful space spread over three floors, with a private dining room on the top floor.

We were treated to breakfast in the private dining room, The Archer Room, a room festooned with beautiful vintage prints and artwork that celebrates the best of Birmingham’s industry and achievements.  The room is dominated by a long table that can seat 20 people, and was laid out in exquisite style for the breakfast, complete with silver tableware and fresh flowers, all creating a bright and beautiful space.

The breakfast menu is deliciously balanced and varied, catering for those who enjoy both sweet and savoury options. The Beet It juice was deliciously refreshing, with a surprising hit of ginger giving you a great morning kick. The pastries were as soft and tasty as you would expect, I loved the chocolate twist which was just the right side of sweet and complemented the very good coffee perfectly. In terms of breakfast mains, I opted for the buttermilk pancakes (totally sweet tooth time). These proved to be a fine choice – not too sweet because of the use of yoghurt rather than cream. The sweetness was added by a succulent strawberry sauce, and the dish looked just beautiful in it;s presentation with the addition of the berries. The dish was also surprisingly filling with three decent sized pancakes.

The whole dining experience was relaxed and yet decadent, this is the perfect place for a breakfast/brunch with the girlfriends before a mornings shopping, although you may find it hard to actually leave the place, it is just so beautiful.

For bookings and more information, visit The Ivy website here.

3 Slimming Alternatives to Traditional Pizza

If you’re trying to make standard pizza healthier, you’ve got to begin with blotting off as much grease off the top layer of cheese as you can. Pizza lovers, don’t despair – there are various ways that you can enjoy the crisp crust, gooey cheese, and flavorful sauce that makes up pizza without eating too many calories. Try this pizza ring recipe for a quick way to help control your portion and make your meals a little healthier. In addition, here are three other meals that all pizza lovers will agree taste great.

  1. Stromboli

Technically, Stromboli includes all of the ingredients that you would find in a traditional pizza. There’s cheese, which is stuffed inside instead of sprinkled on top. Stromboli has a crisp crust that envelopes all of the other ingredients that would normally be found on top, like pepperoni, green peppers, and onions. Lastly, you dip your Stromboli into marinara sauce so if your goal is to shave off calories you can use less dipping sauce if you’d like.

  1. Vegan Cheese Pizza

With the exception of pizza dough and cheese, pizza is already a vegan ready food. So, swap out the egg that comes in traditional pizza dough and use some vegan cheese and you’ll have a meal that is safe to serve to everyone. The trick to making vegan cheese it making it gooey enough. First off, realize that vegan cheese doesn’t really taste like cheese made with cow’s milk, so get that out of your mind. You need to soak some type of nut, like cashews or walnuts, in water for a couple of hours or overnight. Blend the nuts to make a choppy paste, then add in some nutritional yeast to help bind your vegan cheese. Add fresh chopped herbs to make the cheese more flavorful, then mold it and slice it for your vegan cheese pizza.

  1. Veggie Pizza Pockets

Take some pizza dough, flatten it out and add a scoop of each kind of vegetable you want to enjoy inside of it. It is suggested that you use veggies like portabella mushrooms, eggplant, onions, garlic, and tomato for a savory and low calorie treat. These pizza pockets can be made with cheese or without. After all vegetables have been placed on top of the dough, you want to pinch the pocket closed so that it takes on the shape of a rectangle. Bake the pizza pockets until light brown on top and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil.

The type of pizza that you get from the pizzeria might taste great, but it will leave you feeling pretty bloated if you are a healthy eater normally. Try out these alternatives and your skin will stay smoother and you will have less of a risk of acne breakouts. Always enjoy pizza with a fresh made salad and perhaps a vinaigrette dressing so you can get the full effect of your Italian styled meal with much fewer calories. Your next pizza inspired meal will be a hit with your friends and your nutritionist.

Easter Gift Ideas – No Chocolate Necessary

Even though it feels that Winter has suddenly reappeared (did it ever really go), we are, in fact, just a week away from Good Friday and the coming of Easter.

I love Easter, but it can be chocolate overload, especially if you have children, so this gift guide is pointing you in a direction away from chocolate, and is instead looking towards activities that could help to fill some of the time over Easter, but with a little bit of cake thrown in for good measure.

There is even a chance to win a prize at the end of this post, courtesy of Chicco toys.

Easter Activity Bag From Crafty Arts

Good Friday and Easter Sunday are a great time to get creative. The Easter Activity Bag from Crafty Arts could, therefore, be a wonderful gift idea. The goody bag is packed full of craft ideas with an Easter theme, ensuring hours of fun, particularly on a rainy afternoon.  There are card making activities, scrap booking ideas and many other crafting projects, with bunnies and chicks galore.

All the activities come in a useful zip lock storage bag, which means that any materials that are not used can be stored away to be used at a later date. The whole kit costs just £12.99 and can be delivered within 24 hours, so if you wanted to get this now to let the kids make their own Easter cards and gifts, you still have plenty of time to get creative.

Easter Activity Bag £12.99 Click to visit Crafty Arts

Kitchenware from Simply Ice Cream

If you adore the gorgeous artisan Ice Cream created by Simply Ice Cream, then why not indulge in the beautiful new range of kitchenware from the brand?

The range comprises of a cup and a cute bowl that is perfect for your ice cream, and comes in an pretty blue shade that is also embossed with a lovely angel wings logo. The crockery range is hand painted and microwave and dishwasher proof, and comes beautifully boxed, making it a great gift idea.

Sally Newall, Managing Director of Simply Ice Cream says of the brand:-

“We have put a lot of time into the design of this range to make sure that it complements our luxury artisan brand. The bowls are designed for ice cream as the chunky ceramic helps to maintain the temperature keeping ice cream cool, or soup hot.”

Bowl £8.95 Click to visit Simply Ice Cream

Cup £7.95 Click to visit Simply Ice Cream

Olverum Bath Oil

Easter is not just about children, so a treat for you could come in the form of the Olverum Bath Oil. Olverum is a bit of a hidden gem when it comes to pampering, a highly concentrated, therapeutic bath oil containing 10 pure essential oils. As you can imagine, it smells divine and is the perfect way to relax and naturally relieve stress. It is also a great way to ease aching or sore muscles and is the perfect soothing antidote to a cold or flu.

Olverum was originally created in the 1930s, but has recently been repackaged. In a beautifully elegant glass bottle and with classic packaging, this would make a smart addition to any bathroom shelf.

Olverum was recently described as ‘bath nirvana’ The Sunday Times Style Magazine and I have to agree, you feel relaxed and soothed after taking an Olverum bath, and the scent, both on your skin, and in your bathroom, is just beautiful.

Olverum 125ml £29 Click to visit Olverum

Dr Oekter Bake In the Box Cake Mix

If you love the idea of baking a cake for Easter, but, like me, you are hardly going to rival Nigella with your cooking skills, then the Dr Oekter bake in the box cake mixes are a brilliant idea.

These lovely loaf cake ideas, banana and chocolate chip, lemon and poppy seed, and double chocolate, are delicious miracles for the non cooks amongst us, as all you need is to add milk in order to create a gorgeous cake in just 30 minutes.

The finished cakes could make a lovely idea for nan or a teacher this Easter, and you can get your little ones involved with decorating the finished cake.

Chutney from The English Provender

So here’s the thing. You want to give a present for a foodie, but a foodie who actually hates all things chocolate. If sweet is not their thing, then maybe you need to look down the savoury route with some of the amazing chutneys and pickles from The English Provender.

The English Provender Co. is a company that wants to pimp up that cheese board, or improve the quality of your sandwiches and salads. Founded almost 40 years ago, the inspiration for the chutneys and pickles come from the past, creating timeless classics and more contemporary chutney & pickle recipes.

The Moroccan Spiced Chutney would be perfect with falafal and  lamb koftka, whilst the Hot Chilli and Red Pepper chutney would be great on burgers, adding a little spice and flavour.

 

You can buy English Provender products online at Amazon. Find them at supermarkets nationwide from £1.99 RRP for chutneys and £1.50 RRP for pickles.

Goal League From Chicco Toys

Chicco Toys have recently launched their Fit N Fun range of toys, all of which would make a great alternative gift for Easter.The ‘Fit N Fun range’ is a collection that promotes the fun of development, featuring toys to suit everyone  and encouraging children’s physical, intellectual and cognitive skills, all whilst providing hours of entertainment.

My pick from the Fit N Fun collection is the ‘Goal League’, which is highly topical in a World Cup year. The goal league is an electronic football net that offers children from aged 2+ a number of football challenges, ranging from penalty shootouts to golden goal games.  The electronic focus adds clapping and cheering to support your child’s achievements. There is even a challenge game where your child can play against a friend, and keep score with the handy slider on the top of the goal.

Chicco say this about their new super toy:-

“…Goal League works to improve their accuracy and coordination by encouraging them to shoot at a target. This stimulates and enhances two key skills that are used widely in many popular sports. In addition the net has five different modes of difficulty, meaning it remains fun and challenging for your child as they develop and improve…”

If you have a budding Messi or Carli Lloyd on your hands, this could be the perfect gift idea for Easter.

Competition Time – Win a Goal League from Chicco Toys.

Chicco have very kindly offered one of my lucky fashion-mommy readers a chance to win a Goal League. Enter below.

Chicco Goal League Giveaway