It's Independents Day today. All of us are being encouraged to buy at least one item from a local, independent company.
Staying Cool is very proud to be a small, independent and we use
our buying power to support other companies like us. For instance,
the cafetiere coffee in our Rotunda apartments is supplied by
Coffee Company, which now has three outlets in
Birmingham and is taking on the corporate coffee chains in the
city, and we buy thousands of juicing oranges a year from the local
We also actively seek out independents for bigger purchases. We bought our sofas from naughtone, who design and manufacture near Harrogate, and Heather at Eclectic Chair in Leeds handmakes cushions and curtains for us.
We were excited to see that one of our favourite Birmingham restaurants, Purnell's, has won the prestigious BMW Square Meal Best UK Restaurant Award 2012.
This award sees Purnell's beating world-renowned restaurants, such as Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir de Quatre Saisons, to first place. You can read Square Meal's full top 50 UK list here.
Turners also made the grade at number 36.
Birmingham has a great cultural scene with some really quirky stuff on offer.
The Electric cinema is one of our favourite venues and this is their Shock and Gore Week. We can't wait for the Dracula wine tasting!
29th June 2012
The winner of our Food Festival competition was Eleanor Edgar. Unfortunately, Eleanor couldn't make it. We therefore drew another name and Chris Davis and a guest will be coming along in Eleanor's place.
Birmingham Food Fest is on its way and, to celebrate, we have the perfect competition on offer for foodies. Our winners will stay overnight with us in the city on July 12th and enjoy a unique culinary event featuring top Chicago chef Dirk Flanigan.
We're offering a stay for two in one of our 5* Clubman apartments at the top of the Rotunda. Our winners will also enjoy a five-course meal with wine at Opus restaurant, as part of the Colmore Business District Food Festival. And this is a very special evening - one of America's rising culinary stars, Dirk Flanigan, will cook alongside Opus' chef-director, David Colcolme.
We are hosting Chef Flanigan for a week to show our support for the festival. Gavin Burns, our Head of Marketing, said, "Dirk should feel right at home here - all of our apartments have fully-equipped Poggenpohl kitchens and we provide cooking basics such as balsamic vinegar and olive oil. He'll be able to whip himself something up in no time."
Our competition will launch tonight at 8pm and entries will close on June 29th, 2012. You can enter via Staying Cool'sFacebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org using the title 'Food Fest Comp' and your name will be popped in our virtual bag.
We're supporting the BE Festival which takes place in Birmingham from 2nd-8th July this year. BE promotes the performing arts from around Europe and it's wonderful.
We were happy to hear that Birmingham's Balti curries are in the process of receiving protected status. You can read all about it in The Independent.
Thinking of coming to stay? Adam from The Lussorian blog did and he wrote, "The apartments are equipped with all mod cons and high end fixtures and fittings. Minimalist white bathrooms and a poggenpohl kitchen show that the design team know what their customers like."
Adam brought his kids along too and they seem to have had a lot of fun, "The apartments are chic but without the 'hands-off' feeling that sometimes accompanies such exclusivity. In fact, fun is positively encouraged, as evidenced by the children's packs that were provided. Games, toys and best of all, bubble wands, were all put to good use. We all stood on the windy balcony sending bubbles across the bustling shopping centre, before retiring indoors to watch the sun set and the lights go on over the city."
The Voyage can be seen nightly in Victoria Square. Four free, spectacular performances will take place from Thursday 21st-Sunday 24th June at 10pm.
If you're celebrating Fathers' Day with us in Birmingham this weekend you could take a special Fathers' Day tourof the city, which ends at the pub.
If you prefer wine to beer, then Saturday's course at Birmingham Wine School could be ideal.
Cadbury World is challenging dads to put their driving skills to the test on a specially designed giant Scalextric track. Get the chance to go head-to-head against a family member on the 16ft x 8ft track. The winner of each race will receive a prize and the fastest drivers on Saturday 16th June and Sunday 17th June will receive a special Cadbury World chocolate hamper.
Wherever you are, have a lovely day!