Stay at The Abbey Hotel, South Birmingham - UK

The Abbey Hotel Redditch Birmingham

Located in Redditch (Worcestershire), The Abbey Hotel, Golf & Spa is a family run 4 star hotel in the Midlands that aims to create great experiences for every guest who comes to stay at the hotel. Focusing on the core values, the staff strives hard to 'exceed customer expectations' to create everlasting memories. 

The Abbey Hotel Redditch Birmingham

The Abbey Hotel Redditch Birmingham

After spending some good 4-5 hours at a popular attraction in Birmingham, and enjoying the Christmas festivities on BabyN's birthday weekend, we headed straight to the hotel and paused our plan for some time to take some rest before our next move. It was a smooth drive to the hotel without any traffic delays or congestion, and there also wasn't any hassle for us to look around for the parking because The Abbey Hotel has it's own car park, complimentary for the hotel guests.

The Abbey Hotel Redditch Birmingham

In no time after a smooth check-in, we were inside our room located on the ground floor and BabyN' didn't wait even for a minute to start jumping on his bed. There was a good-sized bed for us in the room, and a separate single bed for the little one. Also, there was a writing desk, spacious cupboard, tub chairs and a surprise for us neatly placed on the bed. 

The Abbey Hotel Redditch Birmingham

The Abbey Hotel Redditch Birmingham

The Abbey Hotel Redditch Birmingham

The Abbey Hotel Redditch Birmingham

The ensuite had a separate bath with all the required toiletries - shampoo, shower gel and soap and BabyN' was really attracted to the blue lighting and requested to get the same for his bathroom.  The other amenities in our room included a hair dryer and an iron with a board, and tea and coffee facility. 

The Abbey Hotel Redditch Birmingham

The Abbey Hotel Redditch Birmingham

The Abbey Hotel Redditch Birmingham

The Abbey Hotel also has an impressive spa and health club and we didn't want to miss using the facility so we made sure to avail the children pool timing as we all were really looking forward to spend some family time together. The adult only pool timing is between 12-4 pm while the children can go between 10:00am -12:00pm & 4:00pm - 7:00pm all days except Thursday between 4:00 till 6:30 pm. Besides a pool, sauna and a Jacuzzi, there are also different spa treatments available using products such as ESPA and Dermalogica. 

The Abbey Hotel Redditch Birmingham

The Abbey Hotel offers both in room dining and breakfast in bed options but I decided to walk to the Bramblings restaurant to enjoy a buffet style breakfast with the beautiful view of the golf course instead of ordering something for myself in the bedroom. The stunning panoramic views of the golf course and the grounds looked lovely and the rays of sunshine flowing through the glass windows felt great! 

The Abbey Hotel Redditch Birmingham

The Abbey Hotel Redditch Birmingham

The Abbey Hotel Redditch Birmingham

The Abbey Hotel Redditch Birmingham

For the meals the restaurant offers a seasonal, casual yet creative menu for which the best ingredients are sourced locally. Moreover, the guests can also enjoy afternoon tea between Monday to Saturday (12:00 - 5:00 pm) with two options - traditional £16.95 & savoury £18.95 while children's afternoon tea costs £11. 

The Abbey Hotel Redditch Birmingham

The Abbey Hotel also has an 18 hole championship golf course, where one can practice a swing and located only 25 minutes from the Birmingham city centre, the hotel also offers space for private events, weddings and conferences and is also perfect for couple or family breaks. Moreover, the hotel's support for different charities and involvement in the communities around is highly commendable. 

The Abbey Hotel Redditch Birmingham

This was my second time staying at The Abbey Hotel and I have also reviewed the hotel previously. The hotel also has a sister establishment - Lea Marston Hotel in Warwickshire and I've also shared my experience of staying at the Lea Marston Hotel in one of my previous posts, which you can read here

Nowadays, Birmingham is even more lively because of all the Christmas fervour and Christmas markets and lights can be seen everywhere. We decided to visit the popular German Christmas Market in Birmingham but the GPS took us elsewhere which we thought to be the market we wanted to visit. However, that gave us a chance to see the beautiful Birmingham Cathedral lit up on that extremely chilly night, and instead explored the Birmingham Christmas Market. The market had different stalls, and also a Santa ride but BabyN' had already slept so we didn't experience it. Also, just near to the market was the Ice Rink and the Xmas Wheel  setup especially for this time of the year, so make sure to visit all these places especially if you're in Birmingham in December! 

Ice Rink Birmingham

Birmingham Christmas Market at Birmingham Cathedral

Birmingham Christmas Market at Birmingham Cathedral

Birmingham Christmas Market at Birmingham Cathedral

Important Information - The Abbey Hotel 
Check-in: 3:00 pm
Check-out: 11:00 am
Parking: Complimentary for hotel guests 
Breakfast: Buffet styled English breakfast (hot and cold items) 
Amenities: Spa, pool, gym & golf course 
In-room amenities: Hair dryer, iron, fan, kettle, toiletries & tea/coffee provided
Location: Hither Green Ln, Redditch B98 9BE
Website: www.theabbeyhotel.co.uk

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Lamb Yakhni Pulao Recipe (Lamb & Rice)

Lamb Yakhni Pulao Recipe

Originating from Lucknow in India, Yakhni Pulao their signature dish cannot be cooked without some of the major ingredients - lamb, it's stock and rice! Since the pulao also has lots of different Indian spices, it's very flavourful and full of essence. The recipe is perfect for a family dinner or for serving it at a party or on a special occasion. The combination of lamb and rice is not just tempting, but also appeals all the age groups. This significantly traditional recipe is best cooked when basmati (long grain) rice are used and cooked in the aromatic lamb stock on low heat to ensure all the flavours of the spices infuse well in the dish. 

When the lamb cubes are boiled with water, it results in a soupy texture known as Yakhni which is added in the pulao. Instead of adding plain water when cooking rice, it's advised to use the yakhni to cook to use as a replacement of water to ensure a beautiful flavour and that's how the name of the dish has been derived i.e. Yakhni Pulao. This delightful main course cooked with a blend of herbs and spices results in a hearty meal which is healthy as well. 

Lamb Yakhni Pulao Recipe

Lamb Yakhni Pulao Recipe

The Major Ingredient - The Lamb! 

If you don't remember the last time you cooked lamb, then I must remind that you're definitely missing one of the important ingredients that must be included in the diet. A change in the lifestyles have been observed in the individuals under 35 residing in the North Western European countries such as England and they hardly seem to purchase or cook lamb nowadays. 

Lamb Try it, Love it

The EU funded Lamb Try it, Love it campaign has enabled people to discover the unique flavours of lamb at their convenience. The Lamb Yakhni Pulao recipe is a popular Indian protein-packed dish which is perfect for a mid-week meal or for a special occasion. The premium and high quality lamb produced by the European farmers ensuring sustainable practices is a major contribution to the local economies and there's nothing more praise worthy than producing fresh and tender lamb for the people. Lamb is often used as  an important ingredient in my kitchen, and I feel it's a really exciting ingredient to cook and experiment different recipes.

Variety of Cuts of Lamb

Being a versatile ingredient, lamb can be used in lots of different recipes and is available in various cuts. Incredible lamb dishes can be produced even by using economical lamb cuts, and therefore, its not always necessary to go for the expensive cuts to cook an impressive dish for family or friends. Lots of lamb cuts such as chop, rump, neck, leg, shank, breast, loin rack, neck and shoulder are available, and for Yakhni Pulao it's advised to use meat with bones as the juices from the bones will give an added flavour to the dish. Several lamb dishes can easily be cooked in only 30 minutes and lamb is not just flavoursome, but is available easily and is affordable too!

Health Benefits of Lamb

The high quality lamb produced by the European farmers is extremely heathy because its packed with proteins and it ensures the consumers get all the essential nutrients such as the 7 vitamins and minerals including vitamin B12 and niacin that leads to a healthy lifestyle. It is highly recommended to add lamb to your everyday diet as this essential ingredient can fulfil some of the most important nutritional needs the body requires to function well. 

Once you try it, you're definitely going to love it! For more information on lamb and the lamb try it, love it campaign, click here.

Lamb Yakhni Pulao Recipe

Lamb Yakhni Pulao Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

For the Yakhni:
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
1½ teaspoon cumin seeds
2 star anise 
5 cardamom
8 cloves
2 flower of mace
2 cinnamon sticks
1½ teaspoon coriander seeds
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
500 grams lamb cubes, cleaned & washed well

For the rice:
4 tbsp oil
2 bay leaves
2 medium sized finely sliced onions
2-3 slit green chillies
4 tablespoon whisked yogurt 
2 cups long grain basmati rice
½ cups of yakhni stock
1 teaspoon, garam masala powder
Salt, as required 
Few drops of kewra water or essence
Golden fried onion, julienne cut carrots and kishmish/raisins for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

Steps to prepare the Yakhni (lamb stock):
Use a small clean muslin cloth and add fennel seeds, cumin seeds, cardamom, star anise, cloves, flower of mace, cinnamon sticks and coriander seeds in it.
Use a string to tie it properly and ensure it secures all the spices.
In a pot, add 500 grams of lamb cubes and 4-5 cups of water (water will reduce to 2½ cups by the time the lamb is cooked). 
Add salt, ginger garlic paste and the muslin bag containing all the spices.
Once the lamb is tender, separate the lamb stock and the lamb cubes. 
Squeeze the muslim cloth containing spices well, so all the flavours are extracted before discarding it. 

Steps to prepare the rice: 
Wash and soak the long grain basmati rice for 20 minutes.
Heat oil in a pan and add bay leaves, then fry sliced onions until golden brown.
Once done, add the slit green chillies and fry.
The next step is to add the lamb cubes in the pot and cook on high heat for a few minutes.
Add whisked yogurt and salt and stir well
Add the rice after draining the water added at the time of soaking.
Add the lamb stock, it should be 2½ cups. Just in case if the yakhni or lamb stock is less than the required amount, add water to ensure the measurement is correct. 
Add the garam masala powder, mix well, cover the lid and leave it for it to boil.
Once the rice is 90 percent cooked and the water or stock dries up, keep it on very low flame with the lid on and leave for 10 minutes.
Add a few drops of kewra water once the dish is cooked. Some people like it and some don't prefer adding it, so its totally up to your liking and for you to decide whether to add it or not!
Garnish with golden fried onions, julienne carrots and some kishmish/raisins
Serve hot with raita and salad of your choice.

Lamb Yakhni Pulao Recipe

IMPORTANT COOKING TIPS:

The lamb will cook quicker if a pressure cooker is used instead of a normal pot.
Cook the lamb prior to the time when you wish to prepare the dish as this will reduce the cooking time a lot!
Add freshly cut green chilies for the extra heat.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 45 mins
Serves: 4 individuals

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BabyN' Visits Cutty Sark - Family Friendly Attraction in Greenwich, UK

Cutty Sark Greenwich

Part of Royal Museums Greenwich, Cutty Sark located in Greenwich is a great place for the adults and children alike to visit and explore. We visited Cutty Sark few weeks ago, and were lucky the weather was brilliant that day. There’s a charged and secure public car park located at Royal Museums Greenwich offices on Park Row and is at a walking distance  from Cutty Sark. We parked the car for 2 hours and paid £3 per hour. Please note that card and cash payments are accepted but the car park is only open between 8:00 am – 7:00 pm on weekends and bank holidays

Less than a minute’s walk from the parking was the massive ship ‘Cutty Sark,’ that we could easily spot from far away! 
Cutty Sark Greenwich

Cutty Sark Greenwich

A British clipper ship built in 1869 for a shipping line, Cutty Sark was used to transport cargo for several years - more specifically to transport tea initially after which wool was also transported and later it was used as a navy training ship. After the ship got retired, she was donated to be displayed to the public and became a part of the Royal Museums Greenwich group that also includes the National Maritime Museum and AHOY gallery, and the Royal Observatory. Unfortunately, the boat was also damaged by fire in the recent years, and that didn’t really help in sustaining its body even though it seemed to be in great condition when we visited. Split in 4 different levels, the Cutty Sark has exhibits, interactive displays, and videos that bring the history back to life! We noticed there were both adults and children who seemed to be enjoying their time on the ship. 

Cutty Sark Greenwich

Cutty Sark Greenwich

On entering the attraction, BabyN’ was handed over an explorer trail at the admission desk and we were guided towards the ship. The trail is for ages 4 till 11, and the under 5’s also have the option of borrowing a backpack from the admissions desk. In the trail, you answer clues and collect stamps. 

Cutty Sark Greenwich

Ground Level: Lower Hold

We headed straight to the ground level where we got to see the original structure of Cutty Sark that was built in 1869. Also, the visitors can watch the film about the successes of the ship, and the challenges over 150 years. There were seats for visitors to sit and enjoy watching the film. Just after exploring the ground level, we wanted to head to the tween deck on level 1 but we had a buggy with us, and we couldn’t take it upstairs so decided to first leave it at the buggy park in the basement near the cafe. The attraction has a lift that took us from the ground level to the basement where we could see the ship suspended three meters above the ground and we also got a chance to touch the copper-lined hull.

Cutty Sark Greenwich

Cutty Sark Greenwich

Level 1: Tween Deck

The visitors get a chance to smell and touch different samples of the ship’s cargo that had been displayed in various exhibits. Also, one can also navigate the ship on the digital game and try and beat Captain Woodget’s fastest time. 

Level 2: Main Deck

After exploring the tween deck, we moved on to the main deck to meet one of the costumed character talk about life on the ship. There’s a timing for this, so we made sure to reach the main deck at the suggested time because this was something we didn’t really want to miss at Cutty Sark.

Cutty Sark Greenwich

Cutty Sark Greenwich

We were right on time and that’s when the tour started. The costumed character told us a lot of things about Cutty Sark and about lots of other things such as the way the crew lived, what they ate and where they slept. It was really interesting knowing about the facts we were being told, and one of which was about the amount of water each person used to get and they had to use the water very wisely for drinking, washing or for any other chores. Visitors can also explore the Captain’s Cabin, the kitchen and try the tiny bunk beds where the other crew slept.

Cutty Sark Greenwich

Cutty Sark Greenwich

Cutty Sark Greenwich

Further taking a few steps up, we got to see the big steering wheel of the ship and BabyN’ got quite excited on seeing it. From the main deck, the visitors can also enjoy views of the River Thames and the London skyline. 

Cutty Sark Greenwich

Under the Hull: Sammy Ofer Gallery 

Visitors can admire the cutting edge design of the ship that made it the fastest sailing ship in the world, and see the collection of merchant ship figureheads.

Cutty Sark Greenwich

Cutty Sark Greenwich

Cutty Sark Cafe & Shop

Cutty Sark Cafe located underneath the ship serves hot drinks such as tea and coffee, cakes as well as traditional afternoon tea. The cafe opens between 10:00 am - 5:00 pm. 

Cutty Sark Greenwich

Cutty Sark Greenwich

Inspired by one of the most popular ships, Cutty Sark Shop sells great gift items and things such as books, toys, jewellery and souvenirs for visitors to take home. 

Cutty Sark Greenwich

Family Fun Workshops

Arts and crafts workshops for all the ages are held at Cutty Sark, keeping in mind the theme of CuttySark’s adventures. This generally takes place n the first weekend of the month, and also takes place on a few specific dates during the school holidays. 

Toddler Time at Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark has also introduced ‘Toddler Time’ perfect for under 4’s to enjoy songs, stories and playtime. The attraction changes themes each week to keep it interesting and to keep the little ones occupied. This takes place every Wednesday during term time (10:00 am - 11:30 am and 13:20 pm - 14:50 pm) and entry is free with admission to the ship. The accompanying adult needs to pay £5 and this includes their admission to the ship. 
Membership 

Members get free entry to all the attractions and special exhibitions. Also, they also get invitations to exclusive events and 10% discount in shops and cafe. Adult membership is £49 and this would allow you to take part in Toddler Time at no additional cost. 

Cutty Sark Greenwich

It was a fun day out at Cutty Sark in Greenwich, and we really enjoyed our trip to the attraction and would definitely love to go back again! 


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Disclaimer: This post is in paid partnership with Cutty Sark & Royal Museums Greenwich.