by Fiona Duncan-Steer

Author: Fiona Duncan

Bottomless Brunch at St James Hotel

Bottomless Brunch at St James Hotel

Bottomless brunch is becoming something of a trend right now in many bars and restaurants, however St James Hotel is the first UK independent hotel I have come across to offer such thing and so when invited to try it out I was pleasantly surprised […]

Birchover Residences presents…Bridgford Hall

Birchover Residences presents…Bridgford Hall

Described as the ‘jewel in their crown’, Birchover Residences’ most recent development located in the heart of West Bridgford, Nottingham was refurbished and opened in May 2017. The well-known and popular Bridgford Hall is steeped in history dating back to 1768, having been family homes […]

Birchover Residences presents: Juniper Court

Birchover Residences presents: Juniper Court

Located on the edge of Nottingham’s Park Estate, notably one of the most affluent areas of the city, the recently refurbished Juniper Court offers a home from home stay in their luxury self-catered apartments…
The high ceilings are first to be noticed, giving character to the building, alongside the carefully chosen furnishings and décor, which combines clean modern living with a touch of the traditional.
Having stayed at Birchover Residences previously at other sites, it appears that they consistently offer a very efficient self -check in service, which is confirmed both by email and then by text message closer to the time, giving all door codes and safe key areas in order to gain access to your chosen apartment. Parking is always provided on-site which is a bonus and the buildings are always so quiet and inviting with feature entrance halls and receptions.


Our living area was open plan to the kitchen, with a comfortable teal corner suite, television on the wall and table and chairs for four (we were in a two-bedroom suite).
The kitchen has all mod cons including a large dishwasher, washing machine and fridge freezer. Upon investigating all cupboards and draws, we saw that nothing was left out and all basic cooking equipment was provided enough to cook up a storm, as well as an easy to use electric cooker and hob which heated up in an instant.
A nice touch was the discovery of milk and tea bags provided– it’s all in the detail.
The bedrooms are modern and the beds very comfortable, giving me a much-needed undisturbed night’s sleep, with no outdoor noise considering we were located on a fairly busy road.


Our apartment-with two bathrooms, one en-suite and in true Birchover Residences style; the bathrooms are a strong feature in the apartments, being very modern and bright with a large shower. I am always grateful for shelving /storage in bathrooms for overnight toiletry bags etc. when staying away from home as so many hotels often overlook this feature.
Nearby within walking distance there is a Sainsburys express and an award-winning ala carte restaurant offering tasting menus and wine parings virtually next door. The city centre of Nottingham is a short three -five-minute drive from the court, plus if you feel so inclined the popular Savoy cinema is also a short walk away.
We decided not to leave the apartment once settled that evening and simply enjoy the comfort and facilities by cooking and watching Strictly! An ideal way to spend an evening whether you are on business, visiting a new city or just fancy a night away from home in luxury surroundings.


Booking can be made online at – http://www.thebirchoverresidences.com/juniper-court-nottingham/


The Sleepy Vegetarian

Sunday lunch at The Tap & Run

Sunday lunch at The Tap & Run

The Tap and Run is the latest venture from the Cat & Wickets Pub Company, owned by Dan Cramp and England cricketers, Stuart Broad and Harry Gurney. Aptly named, the venue itself offers a cosy, home from home atmosphere, something you’d come to expect from […]

The Wine Room, Mapperley

The Wine Room, Mapperley

The Wine Room Mapperley is a welcomed addition to the Nottingham bar scene, aimed at; as its name suggests those who have a passion for wine.  Co-owners Debbie and Peter both share a love of everything related to the vino variety and so welcome to […]

Playa Day Club & Restaurant, Nottingham

Playa Day Club & Restaurant, Nottingham

Playa Day Club is a brand-new concept bought to Nottingham by the Mellor’s Group in the form of a trendy pop up bar, club and restaurant located in the Old Market Square.

The feel is that of something you would typically find in Marbella or Ibiza with its day beds, pool booths and DJ sets, where the décor is light, bright and colourful. 

They have a strong brand which was one of the first things I noticed upon arrival and the colours throughout reflect this with its aqua and pink furnishings, wooden seating areas and sporadic flamingos.

Playa organise various DJ nights and themed events which are posted to the calendar over the Summer season, so essentially there is something for most with chill out nights, Summer anthems, Ladies nights and Supper clubs to name a few, so whether you are heading out for after work drinkies, a night out with friends or a relaxed wind down as a couple, this place covers it with a fully stocked bar and food platters aplenty.

Within the pop- up complex is also the restaurant, ran by 2018 MasterChef: The Professionals winner Laurence Henry and his team.  The vibe in the restaurant is cosy- the kind of place you could pull up a table with friends and hang out the entire evening, think rustic long tables, grey and dusky pink interior, oversized hanging light bulbs – very Oliver Bonas style with a splash of Moroccan influence within the furnishings.

The open kitchen allows you to observe the chefs at work with flames arising and the smell of food wafting over every so often, all allowing for an overall pleasant experience. 

The menu itself focuses on the concept of small plates and offers both hot and cold options including snacks, meat, fish and vegetarian selections. Think edamame beans, salted Padron peppers, and ham croquettes to begin with, followed by meat dishes such as glazed belly pork, which I was told was pretty good, steak and a good burger if that’s your thing.  For the fish lovers, you could opt for a yellow tuna fish teak or crab salad and as a vegetarian myself I enjoyed the BBQ aubergine with a sticky miso glaze and a colourful tomato and burrata salad as a side. 

If you are looking for something a little different (and most certainly ‘Instagramable’) in a chilled out atmosphere, with the feel of being on holiday over the UK Summer season then Playa Day Club & Restaurant is the place to head down to, but be quick it closes at the end of Summer!

Find out more or book your table/booth at: https://playadayclub.co.uk/

The Sleepy Vegetarian

One The Brayford, Lincoln

One The Brayford, Lincoln

My recent stay at the stunning self-catered apartment, One The Brayford in Lincoln was made all the more special when I discovered just where it was located- adjacent to the waterfront known as Brayford Wharf with a spectacular view overlooking the harbour. A stroll along […]

The Alchemist Nottingham

The Alchemist Nottingham

The meaning of the word alchemist translates to a person who transforms or creates something through a seemingly magical process.  This perfectly sums up the entire ethos behind The popular bar/restaurant The Alchemist, where I had the pleasure of visiting recently in Nottingham for a […]

Hilton East Midlands

Hilton East Midlands

Hilton Hotel group have always had a great reputation for doing exactly what they say on the tin, consistent, affordable accommodation with all amenities covered and Hilton East Midlands are no exception, with their fantastic location just four miles from East Midlands airport, this is a popular stay for holiday makers, as well as families and those on business; based on the fact they offer conference facilities, free WIFI and a cyber lounge area.

I recently stayed at Hilton Nottingham and I have to say this is different again in design, layout and décor, so clearly you cannot compare all Hiltons as each are individual in style but as mentioned have similar facilities and cover everything you may need, from leisure, pool, gym, jacuzzi to breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea.  Afternoon tea is just what we enjoyed upon checking into their branded restaurant Whisk and Ladle…

The afternoon tea is more than ample with a good amount of finger sandwiches with various fillings including egg mayonnaise, falafel, roasted vegetable with hummus and mixed cheese, which came in both brown bread and wraps, beautifully presented.

The freshly baked scones were still warm and of course served with strawberry jam and clotted cream- a must.  The cake selection was very colourful and again varied with miniature Victoria sponge cake, lemon tart, chocolate slab cake, fruit baskets, macarons and more- a real feast and too much to manage in one sitting, so lucky for us they were happy to box up the remaining to take to our room for later.

We enjoyed a glass of Prosecco and a pot of tea also, English breakfast and fruit tea – where a selection of other options were also available to choose from.

We retreated to our room to enjoy a much needed end of the working week afternoon nap and the bed I have to say was super comfy, fluffy ‘sink your head right into’ pillows and the cosiest of rooms- almost loft bedroom style with a slanted roof and Velux windows.  We happened to be there the weekend we were blessed with twenty-four hours of torrential rain,  so to hear the rain pelting onto the roof and windows gave a very cosy feel to our stay and believe it or not aided our sleep even further.

Dinner was at 8pm and we were seated to the rear of the restaurant- which was rather large with plenty of covers.  Our service was tentative, and we decided to go for a starter each with a main course and leave out dessert on this occasion, due to the fact we had cleverly saved our cakes from our afternoon tea sitting.  As a vegetarian I opted for the cheesy nachos served with lashings of sour cream, salsa and guacamole plus the odd jalapeno which I have recently started to brave.   Main course was the bean crockpot, served in just that – a good sized portion I was never going to be able to finish but gave a good go.  The bean chilli was served with a small bowl of rice and more nachos and was very tasty indeed, along with a pot of cooling sour cream.

My non-vegetarian dining partner opted for the pork belly pieces to start with followed by fish and chips which were served in a wire basket with baked beans instead of mushy peas (upon request), tartare sauce and a wedge of lemon.  The food was all very tasty and well portioned.

The end of the evening saw us retreat to our room to enjoy a bath and film before we caught some Z’s with another fantastic night’s sleep, before waking for the mammoth of breakfasts!

Breakfast is always a highlight for me at Hilton Hotels as they do it so well, covering all bases plus more.  You can expect a full continental and I mean full, with all of the pasties, freshly baked muffins in various flavours, yogurts, fresh fruit, cereals, juices, teas, coffees, smoothies, meats, cheeses and fish as well as bagels, various breads to toast and healthy toppings.

Hot breakfast choices on offer include the full English naturally with tasty veggie sausages and eggs cooked anyway you like by the chef.  I went for my usual beans on toast with hash browns, sautéed button mushrooms and scrambled egg, plus a bowl of cereal with almond milk.  Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free are all catered for and any other special dietary requirements can be upon request.

There is plenty of parking at the hotel with a sheltered loading bay right outside the front entrance coming it handy when the rain is relentless upon check-out. 

Hi-Light

The high light of the stay on this occasion for me was the fact that I slept like a baby the whole time I was there, which for me is unusual.  The bedroom was cosy, the bed super comfy and the pillows- well let’s just say I need to get ordering some of the same!

The Sleepy Vegetarian

at1.SPACE + The Sensory Kitchen

at1.SPACE + The Sensory Kitchen

We recently witnessed a full moon and to my discovery many celebrate this through various ceremonies, including the act of yoga and meditation. Nottingham based at1.SPACE did just that, as I was invited to join in on a Full Moon Ceremony during the evening at […]