Yesterday morning, I headed into Birmingham to chat with the team from Grand Central shopping centre at the beautiful Caffe Concerto. It’s not often I attend a blogging event without the girls – in fact, I’m not sure I ever have. But if all events are as fabulous as the one I went to this morning, I’m on a mission to go to a few more.
Grand Central shopping centre is conveniently located right above the Birmingham New Street train station. I had always assumed that the shopping centre was part of the station, but as it turns out my assumption was totally wrong. There are in fact 67 retail outlets located in the Grand Central shopping area – it has literally everything you need for a day of retail therapy. Caffe Concerto is one of many food outlets – and it is one I will definitely be visiting again. When I arrived, I treated myself to a black coffee as I was a bit early. Having smashed our cafetiere last week, I’ve been desperate for a decent cup of coffee, and this didn’t disappoint. In fact, when the event started and they came to take our drinks order, I ordered another one. But my delight at the coffee paled into insignificance when I saw the afternoon teas arrive.I can confirm that the food was just as delicious as it looked. Being vegetarian, afternoon tea can sometimes be a little disappointing. Few places make much of an effort with the sandwiches – I usually get cheese and cucumber. Here though, there was a special vegetarian offering including some delicious and unusual sandwiches, scones, jam, clotted cream and a different selection of cakes to make sure they were all veggie.Now I don’t wish to brag, but I am something of an expert when it comes to afternoon tea. I am happy to travel far and wide to sample sandwiches, scones and cake – but then who wouldn’t? And I can honestly say that this was one of the best I’ve tried. I will definitely be visiting Caffe Concerto again soon. Unusually for me, there were leftovers. This was purely due to the fact that we were nattering, causing me to pause for breath during my eating endeavours. So we were given some beautiful takeaway boxes and bags and I headed home with plenty of cake.As well as discovering a new favourite café, it was interesting to learn all about Grand Central. I have to admit, I do a lot of my shopping online. When you have children, a leisurely stroll around the shops is a thing of the past. But Grand Central put on a lot of events for shoppers, such as the Deliciously Ella skincare event at Neal’s Yard this weekend. So heading to the shops isn’t just about purchasing what you need and going home, it’s a whole day out on its own.
For me, the convenience of being able to hop on a train ten minutes from home and do all my shopping in one area right next to the station is a thing of perfection. Especially as I can grab lunch while I’m there and make a day of it. It was lovely to meet the Grand Central team, as well as bloggers Amy and Emma. We even went away with a bag of goodies from just a few of the amazing stores based at Grand Central. And the best thing to come out of today? For the first time ever, I’m looking forward to doing my Christmas shopping. I even have a few ideas of what to buy already.Please note, I was invited to Caffe Concerto by Grand Central and they treated me to my fabulous afternoon tea. However I was under no obligation to write about or recommend my experience and all views, opinions and cakes are mine. Yes, mine. Hands off.