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Last week, I was invited to the Bullring’s Your 5 event for the autumn and winter to speak to a stylist. The Your 5 stand was set up next to Selfridges on the ground floor of the Bullring, as it was last time. I arrived and was assigned a stylist who took me around the five different key trends for the autumn and winter and talked me through each one. I then had to pick a piece from each section and the stylist took photos of them on her iPad and then emailed them over to me at the end of the session.

The five different sections were:

The Coat – I’m currently looking for a new winter coat and I found so many that I liked. Bomber jackets are still in for autumn and winter, they’re just a bit thicker and longer than the ones that were around in the summer. The coat I picked out was this green faux shearling biker jacket from Topshop.

The Knit – Again, there were so many different jumpers that I liked and I was surprised that the majority of them were from Topshop as I would never usually shop there.

The Wide Leg Trouser – I’m not a fan of wide leg trousers, as I thought they would make my legs look shorter and stumpier than they already are, however the stylist showed me a few different styles that would suit me and now I will definitely be trying a few pairs on.

The Skirt – I absolutely loved most of the skirts that were on the rail, but I especially fell for this green pleather skirt from New Look. It’s such a bargain at £19.99 and I will be trying it on a bit closer to payday.

The Boot – I think that boots are a must have for the colder months and I currently don’t have an everyday black pair, so it was good to have a look at the stylist’s picks. I found a couple of black pairs that I liked but there were also some gold ones from New Look that caught my eye.

If you’ve ever travelled from Birmingham International Airport before then you will have walked through their World Duty Free store, however since February they have been having quite the makeover and at the end of July the newly refurbished store opened along with several new brands.

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As well as the usual counters from Clarins, Chanel, MAC and YSL, you can now enjoy VAT-free products from the likes of Urban Decay, Smashbox, Bobbi Brown and Jo Malone. I was invited along to have a tour of the new shop and to try out a couple of treatments.

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When we had gone through airport security (it really felt like we were going on holiday, I wish we could have gotten on a plane!) we were taken through to the new Duty Free shop and were treated to glasses of champagne, a selection of canapes and these amazing travel themed bicuits from Biscuiteers. We were then divided into pairs for our treatments and I was partnered with Ting.

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Ting and I started off at Urban Decay where they talked us through the new Vice lipsticks and also tried a couple out on us. I went for Tilt which is a lovely vibrant orangey red, perfect for the summer. I didn’t realise how much I loved Urban Decay until the sales assistant was showing us the products and I kept saying “Yep, I’ve got that one” to every other product. I own Naked 1, 2 and 3, the Naked Basics 2 palette, a couple of lipsticks, an eye primer, the Naked Skin concealer and the Setting Spray so I’m quite a big fan.

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Our next stop was the brand new Jo Malone store. I am a huge fan of Jo Malone colognes and already own three (Vanilla & Anise which has sadly been discontented, Pomegranate Noir and Mimosa & Cardamom) so I was excited to have a complimentary hand and arm massage using products in a fragrance of our choice. We were shown the new Cologne Intense Body Cremes and I chose to have my massage with the Velvet Rose & Oud creme and cologne. I’d never had an arm massage before and this one was so indulgent – first of all the Geranium and Walnut body scrub was used, then the Cologne Intense Body Creme was massaged in before the Cologne Intense was sprayed over the top. We left the boutique sniffing our arms as it smelt so good – the scent lasted all night as well.

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We were then shown the most popular makeup trends for this season by top makeup artist and youtuber Harry from Harry Makes It Up which included blue eyeliner and blue mascara. She gave a demonstration on Ting with MAC’s Fluidline eye liner gel in the shade Siahi.

After the event, we were given the most amazing goody bags (contents shown above) as well as £100 in World Duty Free vouchers which I spent on the Jo Malone Cologne Intense in Velvet Rose & Oud, a MAC lipstick in Matte Royal and a MAC Mineralise Skin Finish in Lightscapade.

It was such a fantastic afternoon and I can’t wait until I go through Duty Free at Gatwick airport in October – I hope the shopping is just as good there!

Although I’ve lived around Birmingham for over 20 years, there’s still so many places that I have yet to discover and I’m making it my mission to try out as many new restaurants as I can, so when I was invited to the press launch of Pasta di Piazza a couple of weeks ago, I obviously jumped at the chance to go.

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Based in Birmingham’s famous Jewellery Quarter, just off St Paul’s Square, Pasta di Piazza is a beautiful building with exposed brickwork, impressively high ceilings and the most wonderful stained glass windows. Pasta di Piazza is not a new restaurant, however they have just undergone a £400k renovation and have recently opened up the top floor of the restaurant allowing for more tables and it has a lovely cosy but airy feel.

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There’s so many delicious things on the menu and it was really hard to choose a starter! In the end, Tom went for the stuffed mushrooms which he thoroughly enjoyed and I had the grilled goats cheese which was absolutely delicious. There were also baskets of bread with butter on the table for us to have along with our starters.

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The star of the show was definitely the mains. Tom went for a seafood dish, the Linguine Alla Marinara –Marinated seafood mix with olive oil and herbs cooked with Neapolitan sauce, king prawns and garlic. Served with linguine. He really enjoyed this dish, however he was a bit disappointed that there was only one king prawn!

As I’m not a fan of pasta, whenever I visit an Italian restaurant I will usually go for a pizza, however I decided I would try something different and chose the Involtino Pollo. The Involtino Pollo is described as –  Flattened, rolled chicken breast filled with ham and provolone cheese with a breaded herbycheese crust. Topped with a light cheese sauce. It was honestly one of the best things I have ever tasted and I could have eaten it again straight away. Everything about it was perfect, from the creamy cheese sauce to the herby cheese crust. I’m now desperate to go back to Pasta di Piazza just so that I can have this amazing dish. I’m so glad I went for something different and didn’t go for a predictable pizza!

Tom and I are both in agreement that Pasta di Piazza is the best Italian in Birmingham. The building and the atmosphere is fantastic, as are the attentive waiting staff and obviously the food is divine. I definitely recommend that you book a table here the next time you want to treat yourself to a great meal.