Urban Emporiums – Birmingham Review

Yesterday, I went to celebrate my friends birthday at Urban Emporiums – Church Street, Birmingham 🎈

The cafe is really easy to find, it’s super close to Snow Hill station and just behind Pigeon Park at Colmore Row.

First impressions, when I walked in were I knew this was a cool and quirky place to hang out! The atmosphere was great because it was busy but being over two floors it was the right kind of busy!

Most of the party I was with opted for “Bottomless Brunch”. They offer brunch on the weekend for Β£22.95 a person which includes your choice of food and bottomless bucks fizz!

I chose to have the Breakfast Burrito made with smoked tofu and avocado smash with red peppers and mushrooms in a warm tortilla wrap.

This cost Β£6.95 which I consider very reasonable and I alao bought my good old fave peppermint tea! I was craving a chai latte but their chai powder contains milk πŸ˜ͺ

The burritio was so tasty, I am not a fan of warm avocado 🀒🀒🀒 but the rest of the wrap was amazing. I loved the smoked tofu and it was complimented well with the peppers and mushrooms!

The menu was full of options for Vegans and as I was leaving I also noticed they had vegan soup, a butternut squash wrap and this to die for peanut butter chocolate brownie (whyyyy am I on a diet haha).

They offer a variety of dairy free milks too πŸ™‚

The cafe is great for everyone and I would particularly recommend it for groups of young professionals, a cute couple breakfast date and anyone who likes tons of vegan options πŸ™‚

Here is the menu:

http://urbanemporiums.com/menu-church-street/

Staff are all friendly and helpful and the cafe is clean and modern πŸ™‚

Tesco Vegan Haul

Most girls post clothes and make up shopping hauls…. I post vegan goodies shopping hauls haha!

I have only been away for two weeks and I feel like there were so many new Vegan goodies released! I still need to track down the Goodfellows falafel pizza!!!

This is what I got from Tesco last night πŸ™‚ granted it’s not all new but new for me πŸ™‚

Swedish Glace Coconut and Passionfruit Ice Cream

If you haven’t seen, Swedish Glace have released a few new products including cone ice creams (vanilla with strawberry sauce and also toffee).

After spending 11 days in Thailand I am all about the coconut so this one took my fancy!

I was not disappointed, it has such a creamy texture and just the right amount of passion fruit sauce! I couldn’t really taste coconut if I am honest but this ice cream is out of this world!

I love all the swedish glace flavours and I think it is my fave Vegan ice cream! My omni OH demolished the tub and says it is one of the best ice creams he has ever eaten!

I know a lot of people are against Swedisg Glace because they are owned by Unilever who are evil to animals but in my opinion if a company is producing vegan products I think we should show there is a need for them πŸ€·πŸ½β€β™€οΈ

This was only Β£2.50 too which compared to lots of other vegan ice creams is very reasonably priced!

5/5 – I would recommend and buy again as a treat!

Deliciously Alchemy Rice Flakes

I have seen a few people have these for breakfast as an alternative to oats!

They are gluten free and have a similar creamy texture to gluten free oats. In my opinion they do taste quite similar to oats as well!

Good for a change but I am not sure they would be as versatile as oats for example in baking etx πŸ™‚ You cook them the same way as oats too and they are a similar price.

I bought for Β£2.40

4/5

Pukka Vanilla Chai

I love anything chai and after seeing this tea all over Instagram, I finally tracked it down!

I love that Pukka do not use any plastic in their teabags πŸ™‚ #winning

Overall this tea has a nice chai taste and not too overpowering. Caffeine free too πŸ™‚

Normal price is Β£2.50 but I got on offer for Β£2.00

4.5/ 5 – I would recommend and definitely buy again if on offer.

Volvic Sugar Free Watermelon Water

I am not a massive fan of anything with artificial sweetners, just from a health aspect and also because they don’t seem to agree with me but after seeing every bikini girl post about this water, I needed to try!

I personally find all of the Volvic Touch Of Fruit leave a weird aftertaste (anyone else?!) and give me a furry mouth haha

But this did taste like watermelon and was enjoyable at the time of drinking!

Bought for a Β£1.00 πŸ™‚ Would recommend for anyone wanting a sugar free drink, not sure if I would buy again myself.

3/5

Urban Fruit Mango

I had these on my flight to Singapore and loved them so bought some more as a treat πŸ™‚

I love Aldi’s dried mango but these are equally as good πŸ™‚

They were a Β£1.00 for a small bag

5/5

Let me know if you try any of these goodies πŸ™‚

Dream Beach Club Review

Dream Beach Club reminds me of Ocean Beach club in Ibiza. It definitely appeals to a certain type of clientele so the club won’t be for everyone but myself and my partner loved it!

There is abgreat atmosphere and an awesome DJ playing current tunes. Drinks are reasonably priced and the bar staff couldn’t do enough for us. A beer was around Β£4 and a juice was around Β£5.

As there was only two of us we didn’t buy a bed but we were happy to chill at the pool bar. I think the beds were a munimum spend of 5000 baht.

They offer brunch deals and I hear Sunday is the most liveliest day.

We came one evening to watch the sunset on layan beach which was beautiful and the manager found us a great seat for dinner. The waitress was exceptional and sorted us out fans to keep us cool.

If you are staying at Dream Hotel you can get a free transfer to and from the club and also a free sunbed πŸ™‚

Being vegan there wasn’t anything specific on the menu but i am sure the chef would have catered for me if I had asked

Just be careful if you go in the sea near the club, my bf got bitten by jellyfish which is quite common

I loved the bean bags in the pool!

Travel – Review of Dream Phuket Hotel and Spa

IMG_9850Positives
– Clean
– Amazing bar staff Moo and Bank
– Instagram worthy pools
– Good food at breakfast and dinner
– Shuttle buses and trips
– Gym

Negatives
– Sewage smell in room
– Towel policy
– Noisy air con
– Lack of toiletries in room
– Some unhelpful staff
– Didn’t feel like a true 5 star experience
– Poor exchange rate for currency
Other
– Remote location (can be good or bad depending what you like)

Please read below for a more in depth review:

Room

We were allocated room 4506 at the back of the hotel on the fifth floor. Unfortunatly we didnt’t have a pool view and when we asked if we could swap for one we were told we would have to pay more so we stuck with our room.

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First impressions were good, the room was big, spacious and clean with the best looking bath ever!

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Bed was comfy enough but I failed to have a good nights sleep all week due to noisy roosters outside (not the hotels fault) but be warned to take ear plugs unless you want to be up at the crack of dawn every morning.

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This moves me on to the next point, I also struggled to sleep because the air conditioning in our room was soooo noisy, however it does a great job of keeping the room cool.

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I have read quite a few reviews where people have said their room smelt of sewage. We had the exact same problem, we didn’t spend much time in the room but when we did the smell was pretty awful.

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You are provided with a kettle along with tea and coffee sachets and non dairy creamer. These were great, however some days they were replenished some days they were not.

You get two free bottles of Dream water a day too, which is great, however some days these also didn’t get replenished.

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For a five star hotel I found them super stingy with the toiletries. For two of us we were given one tiny shower gel and one shampoo a day, and 2 small body lotions in 11 days.We had one soap to last us the 11 days and one sachet of bath salts which were never replenished. Luckily I had my own supply, I am sure if I had asked we would have got more, but from a 5 star hotel, I personally feel one shouldn’t have to ask.

 

The door on the shower wouldn’t close properly which was annoying but a big plus was the rain shower ❀ I loved it!

I tried to use the amazing bath one night but no matter what we did the plug just drained the water out.

No signal on the TV at all except the dream channel.

A positive was the robes and flip flops provided! There is also an umbrella which came in handy! A digital safe which was also a big positive.

There is a mini bar with alcohol, soft drinks and snacks and one can order room service. Our fridge however didn’t keep anything cool so we didn’t make use of the mini bar.

I cannot fault the cleaner, she was superb at keeping our room clean. Thankyou ❀

Pools

I cannot fault the pools at all. They are just like the photos you see on Instagram.

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There is one very large pool downstairs with a swim up bar. There are reclined seats to lie in the pool, comfy individual seats and lie down individual beds on the side of the pool and of course the amazing beds. We always found it easy to find a space.

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Music in the pool area is great!

 

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There are two platforms within the pool that have jacuzzi style jets but we found them to be quite random for when they were on and off and the staff didn’t understand when we asked how to turn them on.

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I have read other reviews about the towel policy. You basically get given a towel each when you check in and then the cleaner replenishes this daily. However this means if you use the pool in the late afternoon and then want to go again in the morning, you are stuck with the same towel. Reception and the bar cannot change it for you.

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The infinity pool upstairs is breath taking and is great when the sunsets! Happy hour is 5-6pm every day at the infinity pool and you can order food upstairs too.

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Restaurant

Breakfast has a wide selection to suit everybody from salads, fruit, cereal, cooked food from bacon to noodles and rice, waffles/pancakes, an egg cooking station and then breads and pastries.

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I particularly loved the fruit selection and was very happy there was soya milk too πŸ™‚ I have to agree with another review that the bread doesn’t taste fresh but other than that no complaints with the food. It is all clearly labelled too which is a big help.

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I also agree with other reviews that there should be a coffee machine as some days we had nearly finished our breakfast before we were offered a hot drink.

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I was disappointed that the Indulge restaurant was closed whilst we were there so we only had the option of the Trilogy restaurant. However the setting is nice in the evening on the decking by the pool.

 

IMG_0535The menu is huge and something to suit everyone. We enjoyed the food we had at Trilogy. It was top quality and very tasty!

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Customer Service/ staff

Firstly I would like to congratulate some of the amazing staff members. Bank and Moo, the bar staff were exceptionally good, they had great knowledge of the local area and were friendly and polite.

On arrival we were given cold towels and lychee juice πŸ™‚

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The breakfast staff such as North and Haan and the girls were very friendly too and I loved one of the chefs who came out to check all his food was presented well!

Fe and the concierge manager were also very helpful πŸ™‚

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In regards to some of the problems we experienced at the hotel, one might wonder why we didn’t raise these issues with the reception team. We did try to speak with them a number of times about things but we found there was a communication barrier with some of the reception team. For example asking for a local shop we kept being told to go to Boat Avenue which is a 10 min drive away. Finally speaking to Fe he told us about the shops within walking distance!

On our last day we had a very very very disappointing experience. The hotel had a film crew in taking photographs and making a video to promote the hotel. Funny how all the little extra special touches were added on these days such as towels on all the beds and more decorations, seems like these are all for show. Anyway we were relaxing by the pool and were asked to move out the way for the film crew!!!! After not being able to order a drink for an hour as they were filming the bar this was unacceptable. I am a reasonable person and if I had been asked politely it would have been fine, or perhaps offer us a drink to move?! We headed for the roof bar so that we were out of the way and then 20 minutes later we were made to feel like we were in the way yet again. We were unable to use the pool as they were filming and it ruined our last day. We expressed our concerns to the food and beverage manager and after getting quite irate she gave us a free drink but we both felt she didn’t really care about our experience at the hotel.
Later we tried to speak with a duty manager of the hotel and he really didn’t care either so we felt the customer service was shocking and not what we would expect from a 5 star hotel at all.

Gym

Well equipped and good air con πŸ™‚ Towels and water provided.

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Spa

I cannot comment on any of the treatments because I chose to use a cheaper spa elsewhere down the road (Project Artisan, amazing!)However I agree with other reviews that you can’t really call it a spa when there is no sauna/steam/jacuzzi.

Location

Quite remote but close to airport (30min drive).Takes around 40 mins drive to Phuket Town. 5 mins drive to Layan Beach. 10 mins drive to Boat Avenue ( shops and a great market on Friday nights).There is a small local shop left of the hotel where you can buy water, beer etc. Right of the hotel there are a few restaurants and more local shops and a 24 hour Family Mart.

Also first impressions the surrounding Β areas of outside the hotel look really derelict.

Trips

Free shuttle bus to the Dream Beach Club is reliable, one must book it the day before to reserve your space and you can also reserve a sunbed at the club. The sunset is amazingly beautiful on Layan Beach. Be careful if you go in the sea here, my OH got bitten by jellyfish lava and we spent days trying to track down local pharmacies.

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Boat Avenue trip was great. We went on a Friday night to enjoy the night market ( food and music) There are shops and a supermarket/ bars and restaurants and a pharmacy. We paid 150 baht each for a return – very reasonable. Pick up at 6:15pm and return 9:15pm

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Nakka night market was good on the Saturday. This is a massive boiling hot market but filled with street food and fake designer things and clothes/shoes etc. We paid 550 baht each return but we noticed they reduced the price to 300 half way through our stay. Pick up 4pm and return 9pm. Pharmacy also here if you need one!

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Phuket Old Town – Great to wander around and we climbed Monkey Hill to see the monkeys and also found a cat cafe! We paid 550 baht each return but again this was reduced to 300 baht. Pick up 11am and return 3pm. Pharmacys here too!

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You must book the trips a day in advance and there must be a minumum of 4 people going. We would have liked to go to Patong but unfortunatly no one else booked to go. The hotel were good at informing us when another couple booked on to the Phuket Trip πŸ™‚

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We also went to James Bond Island and Phi Phi Islands but didn’t book through the hotel.

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Other Comments

Currency exhange rate was poor at the hotel, we found it better to change at Boat Avenue/airport/market/Phuket Town.

I personally wouldn’t stay at the hotel again and I would only recommend if you need a hotel close to the airport for a few nights stay out of the hustle and bustle. The pools and food are amazing and the shuttle buses to places are a big plus, for me it just lacked the little extras I have received from other 5 star hotels.

Project Artisan – Phuket Review

After living off coconuts and plain Tofu from the supermarket, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found a trendy new restaurant just metres away from our hotel!
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The funky signs advertising Project Artisan caught my eye and after a quick Instagram and Facebook search, I felt like I had won the lottery when I realised they sold Vegan food πŸ™ŒπŸΎ

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When we arrived we had the choice whether we wanted to sit in the outside garden which is full of nice decorations and lights or sit inside which is equally as quirky! As the OH was melting from the heat we chose the nice air con inside option!

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I had a mango smoothie for starter and the waitress was so helpful when I asked for it to be made vegan! It was so tasty πŸ‘Œ

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For main I went for the Vegan burger, the food tasted so fresh, I loved the tomato salad that accompanied the meal and the sauces were super tasty! I wasn’t overly keen on the fries but thats my personal taste of not liking anything too oily.

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I was going to be good and resist dessert but how can you resist when the waitress brings over a selection of homemade fruit sorbets on an ice tray! They looked so good I was tempted by the passionfruit sorbet and the presentation was just superb! It could not have been any more passionfruity if it tried, pure heaven!

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Overall the atmosphere, service, price and food was exceptional and we loved it so much we will return tomorrow for dinner and to enjoy some drinks (they have a DJ every Wednesday). I also loved how there were cats in the gardens πŸ™‚
Project Artisan also has a grab and go bakery and a spa and I hope to have a massage before dinner tomorrow! i will keep you all updated!

I would definitely recommend if you are close by and the OH loved his omni food here too! Defo the best food I have had in Thailand! In terms of price it cost us 1600 baht for 2 drinks, a starter, 2 mains, a dessert and water.

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