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Thursday, 25 April 2019

Edgbaston Village

The real life of Birmingham is not just in the city centre, it's also around it.
I'm so glad that when we were searching for a school for Katerina we found this gorgeous borough. Less than a mile from Birmingham city centre there is beautiful, green and peaceful oasis. It's surrounded by the lavish Botanical Gardens, Winterbourne Gardens and parks.

Edgbaston Village doesn't have a high street as such, but everything is in walking distance. Literally walking distance - pleasant walks along fairly quiet streets. Over the past 6 years we've visited almost every place. We've celebrated New Year, numerous Birthdays, Baby Showers, Anniversaries, stayed overnight in a boutique hotel and embraced all 4 seasons at the Botanical Gardens. I've also been doing my laser treatments here for as long as I can remember. I think you get it - I love this place. And I was really chuffed when Edgbaston Village approached me for a collaboration.

So I'm inviting you to spend a day with me in Edgbaston Village!

My first stop is Simpsons - Michelin Star restaurant.

I celebrated my birthday here with my friend last winter and I was extremely excited to come back in the spring so I could fully enjoy their private garden after our meal.

But first ... Champagne! Before you go through to the dining area you can enjoy a glass of bubbly in the Georgian style lounge. Here you can see the transition from old British classic to modern style design. Although the ceiling and walls are decorated with delicate lace fretwork, the furniture and chandelier with its quirky design remind us that we live in the present.

The restaurant was renovated and extended a few years ago so now we can enjoy our meal in a modern space inspired by colours and shapes of nature. The glass ceiling lets in plenty of natural light and the glass wall lets you look out onto the garden and fountain.  

OK, I have to share with you the moment I literally froze and couldn't even mumble - when Andreas Antona came out to see us and personally thank us for coming. Andreas left London to start something of his own in the Midlands and now we have Simpsons which has been with us for 25 years, 20 (and counting) of which it has held a Michelin Star.

And finally let's talk food! 
I indulged myself with the tasting menu and Gareth chose a 3 course a-la-carte.
You get everything you'd expect from a Michelin star restaurant. The food was superb and cooked with the best seasonal ingredients.

I had:
Seabream Tartar - cucumber, dill, wasabi
Asparagus - new season asparagus risotto, truffle, chicken wing
Newlyn Gurnard - wild garlic, onion pure, charlotte potatoes, sherry vinegar sause
Blythburgh Pork - cod's roe, tamarillo, olive, sea fennel
Rum Baba - pineapple, lemongrass, chilli, coconut cream
Chocolate Delice - crispy milk, banana sorbet

Gareth had:
Carrot Broth - hen of the woods, smoked cheddar dumpling, fennel pollen, black garlic
Skrei Cod - wila garlic, onion puree, charlotte potatoes, sherry vinegar sause
Souffle - lemon meringue pie souffle, hazelnut ice-cream

Simpsons also has rooms. It has 3 suites upstairs to make your stay in Birmingham even more pleasant. We actually live just outside Birmingham and sometimes we book a room in the city centre to fully enjoy our night out and to be looked after when it comes to breakfast :)

Simpsons use their space very wisely! They also have a cookery school - Eureka every Saturday. It has a fully equipped kitchen for you to get your hands on. What an experience to learn the essential techniques for Michelin worthy presentation! I think it could make a great present as well.

My second stop is luxury furniture shop Oka.

What a beautiful addition to the Edgbaston community! Even though the brand was established in 1999, Oka Birmingham has only been with us for 2 years.

The Oka founders have a background in jewellery, fashion and faux flowers - extremely valuable skills and knowledge to create such a unique brand. I fully share the brand philosophy and design process which is developed through travel and exploration. This is why every carefully curated room set-up found a place in my heart and brought back memories from my travels and even my childhood.

As some of you might know I was born in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. A country of celestial mountains, nomads and exceptional craftsmanship skills. I used to work as a tour guide, trying to be that connection between East and West for my European tourists, telling them about the secret meaning of patterns on the hand crafted rugs. When I entered the room in Oka with rugs from all over the world, one of them stood out. I could unmistakable identify it from the rest - the rug from my home country. As colourful and vivid as mountain slopes full of wildflowers and herbs.

Oka is a vibrant fusion of East and West, antiques and modern, contemporary and traditional. Precious combinations of natural materials, such as wood, silk and linen. 

And the last stop for today is Neptune. 

A true gem. Less is more is not always my philosophy, but the Neptune family showed me something unique I'd never seen before.

I read the brand history and they say it all started with a hammock. My relationship with Neptune started with the smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns, which I thought was the scent of a candle. How wrong I was!

Our house is pretty well decorated and the only room which needs some work is the kitchen. I guess we haven't done it yet, because I enjoy the 'process' of renovation and don't want to feel like everything is 'done'. A kitchen is like the heart of the house and Neptune knows all about it.

The Neptune family call themselves thinkers, makers, mathematicians, inventors, designers, technicians and dreamers. But mostly family.
As I said before I've been invited to write my experience about Edgbaston. And it's obviously not the first time when I work with shops and brands, but this 'work' was very different. Every place showed me a personal touch which is so valuable. 

I was pleasantly surprised when the girls who work at Neptune said that they'd been waiting for my visit and their in-store design team had put together a small mood board for me based on what they though I might like. 

It was so thoughtful and so accurate to my personality that I started blooming and blushing like the peonies on the photo.

I knew this is something Gareth would like, but what I didn't realise was how much it might suit me. It felt like home, it felt cosy and peaceful ... and that smell of baked cinnamon buns! When we finished looking around I asked the girls if it was a burning candle I could smell. Life would be to simple if it was just a candle :) Apparently they'd just finished baking cinnamon buns in the kitchen downstairs and kindly asked me if I would like to try one. O M G . I had to say that I'm going to be their loyal customer if they can bake one of those every time I come.

 As I mentioned earlier they have an in-store design team, who can help you to find your unique style based on your personality, lifestyle and dreams. 

A huge thank you to Edgbaston Village and Calthorpe Estates for hosting me and inspiring me to share more of Birmingham with my readers.

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