Primark Fashion Challenge with The Fort

Like most people, I am a bit of a fan when it comes to Primark, or Primarni, as it is often referred to. When the budget for shopping is a little limited I know I will be able to find myself a lovely wardrobe addition that will also be purse friendly. I love the shoe collection, which even has wider fit shoes now, and also the jewellery, particularly the necklaces, which often belie their bargain price, looking far more expensive.

I was recently asked to take part in a bloggers style challenge with the brand new Primark store at The Fort shopping centre in Birmingham. What outfit(s) could I put together on a budget of £50, could I show that Primark appeals to a wide and diverse audience and create an outfit that would surprise people when I said, ‘Yes, this is all from Primark’. I hope I have been able to do this.

My Outfit(s)

Regular readers of this blog will know that I tend to live in skirts and dresses, I’m really not a trouser person. But I have been steadily losing weight for the past couple of years, and now feel more comfortable in trousers and jeans, so I decided to try something outside my comfort zone by opting for trousers, and teaming them with a couple of this seasons Bardot style tops, the striped one costing £10 and the floral one £8. The trousers were just £8, and with green being a huge colour for next season, I reckon I will get a lot of wear from them.







I chose to accessorise with nude coloured shoes and handbag, and chose both heels and flats within my budget, along with a neat clutch bag that would match with both pairs of shoes. The flat design were £6, the heels £13, and the clutch bag £5 – complete bargains that will go with so many outfits.




All the pieces came to £50 combined so I stayed within my budget and I was really pleased with everything.

If you are near Birmingham I would definitely recommend trying out the new Fort branch of Primark which is just full of great bargains like these.

*With thanks to Gung Ho and The Fort and Primark for the invite to take part in this challenge.


Frankie and Benny’s great new kids menu

On Sunday, my family and I were invited along to Frankie and Benny’s at The Fort Shopping Centre in order to review their latest children’s menu. As a family, we are already big fans of the Italian/American restaurant, finding them to be very family friendly with a great extensive menu, but I had never been to The Fort branch before. Needless to say, we had a wonderful time.


Joe and dad.


Enjoying my Amalfi Sunrise

The children’s menu has been extended, with new options that include ‘build a burger’ and ‘wrap it up chicken’ options.  The children’s menu is good in that it is divided into two separate sections, ‘kids’ and ‘juniors’ so that it caters for both younger and older children. Joe, at 6, still chooses from the younger version, but I like the idea that slightly older children can still eat at the reduced cost (£7.75), rather than having to choose from the adult menu.


DSCN6942[1]We began with drinks and starters. Joe chose the ice cream milkshake in chocolate. It was very creamy and tasty (I know – I couldn’t resist trying it myself) and I liked that it was served in a plastic beaker rather than a glass. It was lunchtime so I resisted the alcohol and opted instead for a ‘mocktail’. The Amalfi Sunrise was beautifully refreshing, a mixture of mango, orange and lemon with a splash of grenadine and lots of ice. The mango came through strongly and was just delicious.



I chose a starter that I knew Joe would enjoy too. This was the garlic dough balls from the specials menu. This is a bowl full of tasty garlic dough balls served with a pot of garlic and parsley dip on the side. It was a very decent sized helping of dough balls that were cooked perfectly (I have had these in the past when they have been rather burnt.). I think that a little extra garlic butter would be good, but other than that, this was fine and Joe enjoyed them too.

DSCN6951[1]Pete chose the Meatballs Italiano as his starter. This is an impressive dish with two large pork and beef meatballs covered in a delicious tomato, chilli and onion sauce. The meatballs are generous in size (about the size of a faggot) and serving them with ciabatta means that the lovely sauce can be mopped up too – no waste in this dish!


For our main meals we again looked to the specials menu (2 courses for £11.95 Sunday to Friday – menu here.) I chose a vegetarian option of Pasta Verde, and this was a lovely, big, rustic plate of food. It usually contains peas, but they happen to be one of my idea of food hell so I asked for them to be left out of my dish. I was really impressed when I was offered different options, and added onions instead. I really enjoyed what was a filling, substantial meal, and think this could also be a great option if served with chicken too. Pete tried the Pulled Pork pizza. Again this is a good sized dish, but due to the dry nature of the pork it may be better served with an accompaniment – barbecue dipping sauce maybe?



Joe chose to have the cheeseburger meal with chips and beans. I was impressed with how tasty the children’s options were, and the portion size was just right – in fact, Joe couldn’t quite finish – especially as he was leaving room for a new dessert he had spotted on the menu and was super excited about…



The dessert had quite frankly got me excited too. The Ice Cream candy shop consists of 2 scoops of ice cream and glass milk bottles of sweets, all served with a jug of chocolate sauce to pour. It comes on its own tray, and there is an old-fashioned paper bag to take home any sweets left over (as if!). There was also a packet of popping candy which caused sheer delight for Joe (and his dad). For just £1.95 this is an absolute bargain – a perfect dessert which is worth popping in for even if you don’t want a complete meal. It is Willie Wonka’s perfect pudding and Joe thought it was pretty near perfect too.




We had a lovely time at Frankie and Benny’s. The service was friendly and attentive, and the food was affordable and tasty. We will definitely be dropping by again soon – for Sweetie shop desserts of course!

The Fort Shopping Park Blogger Badge

*We were invited to sample the menus as part of the Fort Bloggers programme.

Super new Next store opens at The Fort shopping Centre

An invitation to have a sneak preview of one of my favourite stores on the morning it opened was an opportunity that was far too good to miss, so on Thursday 13th June I took a trip to The Fort shopping complex with the lovely Emily Jayne to visit the giant new Next store.

The first thing to say is that the new store is truly huge. Covering 25,588sq.ft, it is double the size of the previous Next store on the same complex, and has created a 100 new jobs for the area, which is fantastic news. The store has also created new concessions within the store, the most exciting being the Beaverbrooks Jewellery concession, the first for any Next store in the Country, and so doubly exciting for Birmingham.

The store is bright and airy, and oh so spacious. It carries a great many of the lines you can find online, but due to the size of the store, you never feel enclosed. A new shoe studio has a feel of a girly boudoir, and is placed at the front of the store, bound to immediately attract the attention of every passing shoeholic.

As you would expect from Next, the clothes are organised by collections. One particular collection that caught our eyes was the Cyber Barbie collection, a heady mix of sophisticated separates and pink neon. We were also seriously impressed with the work wear, which showed that the days when you could only wear a distinctly unfeminine suit to the office are long gone.

The new store is well worth a visit, but, be warned – it might do some serious damage to your credit card!

More gorgeous images from the opening.