by Fiona Duncan-Steer

Recent Posts

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 […]

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 […]

The Hilton Nottingham

The Hilton Nottingham

Nottingham Hilton Hotel (formally the prestigious Victoria Hotel) for those of the generation to remember was my recent ‘home for the night ‘as I visited to experience what facilities they had to offer and I was not disappointed…

I decided to take along my mum who actually used to work at the hairdressers within The Victoria Hotel as an apprentice in her younger days, alongside my auntie who was their head stylist.  We were also joined by mum’s Jack Russel Billy because yes – Hilton Hotels are dog friendly hotels!

Check-in was efficient and quick and the room (we were on the fifth out of six floors) was a good size with a super large bed as we were pleased to have been given a king deluxe room.

All mod cons were accounted for, a shower over the bath and included double the number of usual toiletries, with loofahs’ something you don’t usually see.  There were also robes and slippers provided in the wardrobe- these would come in handy later for our visit to the hotel spa.  I was also pleased to see an iron and board provided – again a small thing but something you take for granted when not already provided in the hotel room, meaning you have to go to the trouble of requesting it from reception or even worse- paying an additional charge to have your clothes ironed, which is often the norm in European hotels.

Hilton Nottingham is located on Milton Street in the heart of the city centre, less than a minutes’ walk from The Victoria/Intu Shopping Centre and a whole array of restaurants offering every cuisine imaginable.  Parking can be provided at the hotel on a first come first served basis for the cost of £14 per night or there is a multi-story carpark just opposite at a cost of £15 overnight.

Next stop were the spa facilities, as we hit ‘basement’ in the lift and were greeted by the friendly and efficient Jaimal on reception.   We enjoyed a few lengths in the pool, jacuzzi, steam room and sauna before getting ready for dinner, bypassing the gym, though this is possible to use during your stay.  The changing room facilities are sufficient in size with hairdryers, swim wear dryers and plenty of shower cubicles.

Dinner was at 7pm and we were greeted by friendly staff who allowed us to choose our table- we opted for a private booth next to the front window- great for people watching on a Saturday night and the seats were super comfy  The menu was large with plenty of choice and a good selection of vegetarian dishes for us both.  We decided to share a Greek platter to start with of warm flatbreads, hummus and baba ganoush with olives- a great ‘social dish’ I always find and not too heavy to begin a three-course meal with.

Main course offered us superfood salads, pasta, risotto, chilli and flatbread options for veggie’s and so I went for one of my favourite treats- Penne Arabiata which arrived in large bowl, enough of a portion size for two and lots of melted cheese on top!  Mum went for the bean and rice crockpot served with naan bread and arrived in an attractive stew pot.

We decided to share a dessert so as not to over do it and went for a lighter option of lemon tart which was served with meringue and gin and tonic sorbet!

The wine/ drinks list was pretty extensive, and the bar was beautifully designed lit up with twinkling fairy lights which added to a cosy ambience, as we sipped on Prosecco, rose wine and finished off with  gin and tonic at the end of the night.

There was a real buzz in the restaurant throughout the evening, as we saw guests come and go – unlike many hotel restaurants  I often find can be rather sparse with diners and  have somewhat of a flat atmosphere, this was quite the opposite.

Highlight

Breakfast was for me the highlight of the stay, buzzing with the residents who you forget are staying in the same hotel as you and suddenly all emerge at once for what I can only describe as a banquet and breakfast for kings.  The choice was fantastic, and they had left nothing out.

The breakfast staff were great too, offering us hot drinks on arrival and then it was a case of help yourself from there… everything was presented very nicely and labelled, so for vegetarians/vegans you had no issue in selecting your options.  I went for cereal first which I was pleased to see came with a choice of cows, almond or soya milk.  There was the usual continental of cheeses, meats, fresh fruit, yogurts, pastries but with the addition of freshly baked muffins, smoothie shots and a pancake machine to ‘make your own’ with your choice of toppings; American style maple syrup/fruit/honey etc. and then there was the cooked section where a full English awaited if you were so inclined- of course we headed straight there after our entre of cereal and enjoyed scrambled egg, baked beans and hash browns on toast with real butter.  It was there we met ‘the egg man’ who cooked your eggs any way you wanted them freshly in front of you on his griddle – fantastic!

To summarise

All in all, The Hilton Nottingham offers everything you need from a city central hotel, conference facilities for events and business meetings, spa facilities, comfort, good food at a good price, excellent service and a cracking breakfast, plus an added bonus that they are dog friendly just opens themselves up to every demographic leaving no one out.

Fiona Duncan-Steer

Saco Nottingham- Beautiful Spacious Self-Catered Apartments

Saco Nottingham- Beautiful Spacious Self-Catered Apartments

Susanna and Peter were very welcoming as the first faces we were greeted with upon arrival at Saco Nottingham, located in the affluent Ropewalk/Park Estate border of Nottingham. It was Peter’s first day in training and he did very well in making us feel welcome […]

Birdhouse Cafe, Nottingham

Birdhouse Cafe, Nottingham

The Birdhouse Café located on the corner of Middle Pavement and Weekday Cross, in Nottingham recently opened its doors with owner Dan Shaw present to offer a warm welcome to those who attended the launch evening.  Dan brings a wealth of experience from his background […]

SACO Derby Apartments- The Millhouse

SACO Derby Apartments- The Millhouse

Set in a stunning refurbished mill, Saco have converted what was once a mill house into a set of beautiful self-serviced apartments just a short walk from Derby city centre…

Located within a private courtyard behind electric gates the security is high and as this is a self-check in property (with no reception area) the efficiency of this side of things has been perfected to a tea- we were impressed with the smooth process of our check-in experience and were pleased we were able to park our car almost directly outside our apartment, which gave us peace of mind and convenience when unpacking our luggage.

The apartment we stayed in had two bedroom and two bathrooms with a good sized living area and open plan kitchen with all the mod cons you would expect including a dishwasher and microwave.

Full instructions were offered on how to operate all electrical equipment which was handy even though it was all pretty self-explanatory.  Pots, pans, crockery and cutlery were provided as well as basic cleaning products and everything you needed to cook up a storm in the kitchen- which after all if you opt to stay in a self-catering apartment you’d like to make use of, and make use we certainly did!  We stopped at the local Sainsburys for two bags of food for our dinner that evening and breakfast the following morning as we planned to make the most of our stay and the facilities.

I was delighted to see we were also given complimentary tea, coffee and milk in the fridge, along with luxury Dorset muesli and Borders biscuits- a nice touch.

The main bathroom also housed a bath which I was super pleased about – my night was planned- dinner then a night in the tub relaxing from a busy week at work with a magazine.

We cooked pizzas in the oven which was nice and easy to operate and enjoyed our meal with salad and coleslaw- the fridge is ample sized and everything in the kitchen is clean and looks next to new.

There is a good sized television in the lounge area with double sofa and floor lamp, giving it a cosy home from home feel.

The apartment is finished to a good quality spec and decorated in a minimal contemporary style, so no clutter or things to collect dust.  The main bedroom also had a good sized flat screen TV which came in handy for watching a late night film on in bed with a hot chocolate (and our Borders biscuits)!  We were delighted to have enjoyed the best night’s sleep as the bed was a good size and mattress very comfortable.

It was really useful having access to two bathrooms so we could each get ready at the same time in the morning- the second bathroom containing a good sized power shower with fluffy towels provided. 

The views from our apartment were lovely over- looking the stream, which I imagine once belonged to the mill house and there was no traffic noise either which was a bonus. 

I would say that Saco Derby is ideal for graduates on graduate schemes, families and couples who want a quiet escape, whether it be long term or short term, business for pleasure, with easy and quick access to local amenities and safe parking for their cars. 

Of course self-serviced apartments are also handy for professionals on business trips who want that step further than a hotel, to have access to more facilities and gain a home from home feel, in particular if they travel often.

Saco apartments can be booked online via their website- https://www.sacoapartments.com/stay-saco/ If you sign up to the Saco newsletter via this link you will also receive a 15% discount from your next stay (the code can be used multiple times).

Fiona Duncan-Steer

Brewery Experience Day- Brewhouse & Kitchen

Brewery Experience Day- Brewhouse & Kitchen

Masterclasses are quite obviously on trend at the moment and due to their vast array of themes they are also extremely popular group activities to undertake- gin making/cocktail making/flower arranging you name it there’s a masterclass for it, all making for perfect team building or […]

All You Yoga

All You Yoga

I’m so pleased to have recently discovered All You Yoga ran by Lee-ann Cordingley. As a self-confessed, not by any means expert but enthusiastic yogi, I have practised yoga for many years- different types, different classes, different teachers and have enjoyed all experiences, as I […]

Brewhouse & Kitchen – New Menu

Brewhouse & Kitchen – New Menu

Brewhouse and Kitchen recently opened in Nottingham in the popular West Bridgford area located directly on Trent Bridge over looking the river Trent, so the perfect location for drinks in Summer with a view, local to the vibrant centre of Bridgford and near all of the important sports clubs, therefore catching a nice diverse demographic.

I visited with view to sampling the newly launched menu on a Saturday and the atmosphere was better than expected with people enjoying lunch inside and out, drinks on the terrace in the sun and a few even taking part in the beer and gin masterclasses.

The drinks list is vast, because Brewhouse and Kitchen true to their name brew their own beer in-house!  What’s more they host regular beer experience days and events surrounding this very idea- great for corporate away days and group celebrations or just joining in as an individual if you’re into beer!  I myself have never really drank beer, its never been my go to drink of choice, however always open to tying new things, I decided as they specialise in it, it would be rude not to sample the goods and I’m so pleased I did because…well I now realise that I like the taste of beer!  Well at least some and if you like me don’t think beer is for you, then I urge you first to try their beer tasting sessions, as there are so many favours to choose from that you are guaranteed to find at least one you really enjoy.  Much like wine tasting you are looking at colour, body, and flavours – each ale has its own combination of flavours; some more full-bodied others lighter and it was the light ales I personally preferred one in particular made with tropical flavours of pineapple and mango- I don’t think you can go wrong with a fruity beer if you are not a regular beer drinker.  My dining partner on the other hand is a Guinness drinker and so really enjoyed the stout as her top choice and this one was a chocolate stout which I found had coffee notes in it too.  Anyway, enough about the beer, the food was impressive and the menu pretty huge.  You can opt for the usual starter/main course and dessert options if you wish with lots of varied choice and vegetarian options.  There is also a burger and sandwich section and many of the dishes are cooked in their own beer- nice touch.  Alternatively you can go for the small plates which are on offer at £14.95 for three plates.  This was the route we took and simply asked for a selection of six vegetarian dishes – tapas style for us to feast on.  I love this style of eating because it then allows you to try a little bit of everything and is a much more social way of dining.

With the six beer samples and the six small plates, we did have to overflow onto the next table but it was fine as it was available and allowed us more room comfortably to dine, but nothing went to waste, we managed to make our way through loaded nachos (served with guacamole, sour cream and salsa, jalapenos a oh and of course just the right amount of melted cheese), aubergine baked in Japanese miso  with chilli, coriander, spring onion and sesame – the flavours on this dish were astounding.  The mac n cheese melts- a firm favourite with me and the sweet chilli sauce accompanied the bites really nicely, blistered padron peppers with sea salt and loaded quesadilla with more melted cheese, sautéed mushrooms, onions and peppers served with a cool tomato and coriander salsa- again really tasty and just the right size.  Finally, the showstopper of the veggie small plates (other than the aubergine) had to be the baked camembert with honey and almonds served with crostini’s- beautiful.

This selection would be for those who enjoy a selection of vegetables, fresh herbs, a kick of spice and lots of cheese where appropriate!  For the non-vegetarian diners and lovers of meat and fish there are plenty of option such as pork belly burnt ends, mussels cooked in a rich wheat beer sauce made in-house using of course their own beer, as well as ribs and chicken satay.

For dessert we opted to share a sticky toffee pudding with custard which contained a good amount of fresh ginger and looked very pretty in the bowl.

All in all my lunchtime dining experience with Brewhouse and Kitchen Nottingham was a ten out of ten for service-thanks to Kitty who looked after us very attentively, the food quality and amount, value for money and the beer tasting just added to the whole enjoyable experience and I look forward to returning very soon.

Fiona Duncan-Steer

Mike Lawrence Holistic Therapies

Mike Lawrence Holistic Therapies

Mike Lawrence has been hailed in the media as having a ‘gift’  being the ‘go-to’ person when considering a holistic treatment… Treatments advertised on Mike’s website range from stress management and life coaching to cognitive behavioural solutions and Chinese therapies.  Many of these therapies are […]