As you know I get married in just two months, so I’ve been busy booking my pre-wedding beautification. Being the lazy tomboy I am, I require some serious sprucing prior to getting hitched, so I’ve got a whole 4 hours of exfoliation, massages, manicures and pedicures (and a fizzy lunch, obviously) planned at Hotel du Vin the day before we fly to Vegas. Just as I had been wishing it was all happening sooner – and as if the gods heard my moaning – an invite popped into my inbox for an event combining cocktails and pampering. Better yet, it was being hosted by the lovely folks at Malmaison – winner! Called Shake It Up, the event was designed to offer bloggers the chance to enjoy express beauty treatments and tasty cocktails in the fabulous setting of the popular Mailbox hotel. From trying the new Vinylux polish manicures, to hair styling courtesy of Blow Ltd and even mini spa treatments from ESPA, it was well and truly a girls-only party at Malmaison, made extra wonderful by some summery food.
I’m no stranger to Malmaison and the cocktails are something I’ve been back time and time again for; the bar staff really do take the time to make you a great drink. I’ve also had my fair share of Sunday brunches there, it must be said. Most recently I took some clients to the bar for a few post-meeting tipples, but previously I’ve visited to try the seasonal cocktail menus, my favourites being from Spring 2017. (You can read about those, along with my review of the venue generally, here).
Arriving at the hotel we were directed towards the ‘work & play’ area which is situated above reception. Flutes of fizz awaited us on arrival, and we discovered what lovely treats lay ahead. As well as hair stylists and make up artists on hand ready to provide makeovers, plus manicurists on standby to buff and polish our fingertips, there was also the opportunity to grab a plate of food from the buffet and knock up some fruity drinks.
I decided to go for a manicure (which I was kindly given despite turning up with hideous chipped black nail varnish – bad girl) by a lovely lady from the hotel spa. She deserved a medal considering what she had to contend with. After my previous varnish was removed and my nails were filed I chose a gorgeous slate blue polish to give them a new lease of life; many of the ladies chose the bright red which also looked fabulous. The new Vinylux polish available that evening comes in a variety of shades and offers results that last up to a week, but they’ve also now added a new Shellac varnish for a longer lasting result. Both are now available from the spa within the hotel.
After being painted I took myself off to the bar for my one on one cocktail making class. With a choice of five cocktails to create I decided to give the Grapfruit Twist a go. Combining vodka (a lot of), peach liquor and grapefruit juice, Tyler – the lovely bar tender – showed me how to mix and shake my cocktail before I took it away for the big taste test. Spoiler alert: it was delicious. Sharp, punchy, and very strong.. which was totally my fault/plan. My pal Tash made the Melon Mojito which was a fabulous vibrant green colour and tasted like far flung holidays.
Nails on fleek (I believe that’s what the kids say) and refreshed from my fruity cocktail I headed to the buffet table to check out what foodie treats adorned the pleantiful platters. Lovely Laura from Malmaison explained the pick and mix style dinner was designed to give us an idea of the new summer menu themes, including items found on the fixed price menu. Dishes included Smoked Mackerel Pate, served with a horseradish creme fraiche and crispy sourdough slices, Summer Vegetable Linguini with chilli, and the Chargrilled Chicken Breast with Crunchy Thai Salad. It was so nice to have some lighter options (the Poached Salmon and Watercress was simple but succulent and flavourful) and these are all excellent seasonal additions to the menu, in my eyes. Special shout out though to the Slow Roasted Beef Brisket which was rich, ridiculously delicious and super tender; we all raved about this one. The blackened sweet potato accompanying it was dreamy too.
Desserts also made an appearance with taster mouthfuls of Banoffee Cheesecake, Berries and Vanilla Marscarpone (high five to the additional hidden shortcake crumble – lush) and Steamed Summer Pudding. As part of the summer menu you can have two courses for £19.95 or three courses for £24.95, and based on what I tried I’m going to book myself in pronto.
A fun event and great to catch up with some really lovely bloggers. The goodie bags were also fab; I can’t wait to take my haul of miniature ESPA skincare on the plane with me to America in a few months. I thought it’d be ideal to pack in my hand luggage to give my skin some love across the Atlantic.
Malmaison remains one of my favourite hotels in Birmingham, and the in-house bar/restaurant offers great food and drinks regardless of whether you’re staying over or just visiting. I’ve banged on about this before, but if you’ve not tried their 4-course Sunday Brunch (£19.95) you’re an absolute fool. By the way, the onsite spa, Malmaison Spa Birmingham, offers a variety of treatments, and you can view the brochure online.
Malmaison Birmingham, 1 Wharfside Street, Birmingham, B1 2JR
*Disclosure: This was a PR event; thank you East Village for my invitation. All opinions and images are my own*