Time to Fly the Nest

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You have been there for them every step of the way from first words to first steps to first days at new schools, and now it is time for that first goodbye. After a year of enduring the hormonal teenage moods induced by stressful exam periods and maybe even touring the country as you scouted all the open days known to man, the moment you may have been dreading/anticipating in equal measure is finally here as your young one flies from the nest for the first time in search of a new adventure. This is because while it is the middle of the year, August/September are actually months associated with new beginnings as many young adults across the nation embark on the exciting, enlightening journey of higher education.  They are going to make new friends, experience new things and learn new lessons (both in and out of the classroom!) and most of the time this will be away from the sanctuary that is the home they grew up in as every new beginning requires a new setting. However, before you can even say that tearful goodbye, you actually have to move them out which considering they have had 16/17/18 years to accumulate all kinds of interesting possessions as well as wardrobes which contain enough clothes to cloth a small nation, is a lot easier said than done. Therefore, it is undeniable that numerous car/train/bus journeys from A to Z transporting their entire haul will become a hard, stressful reality. Consequently, it is no surprise that moving out your offspring is a somewhat arduous, timely task which may require the assistance of a few extra pairs of hands.

Therefore, we have a suggestion which will hopefully ease some of the stress and the pain as you settle your loved one into their new home. While you are making those various treks from ASDA to their new student pad, what about renting out a serviced apartment for the family so that you could have all the space you could need during the transition? With apartments in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh, we are located in some of the biggest and most-establishment student hubs in the nation. Moreover, we do not just mean we are located in the inconvenient outskirts, we mean we are literally in prime city central hotspots such as Hanover Street (Edinburgh), Merchant Quarter (Glasgow), Mannofield (Aberdeen) and even on the doorstep of the Mailbox in Birmingham. Therefore, staying with us means you could not be closer to university accommodation to help ease all the packing/unpacking woes and it also means you can take a few moments for some exploring during those tearful goodbyes. With apartments capable of holding up to six persons and the inclusion of fully-equipped lounges and kitchens as well as separate bedrooms, you can bring grandma, grandad, aunties, cousins, younger siblings – whoever wants to be a part of this exciting time. There is plenty of space for the whole family and it just means you have that extra space and comfort to say your goodbyes properly and not feel time-bound and rushed to drop your offspring off at the kerb with their 20 plus bulging suitcases.

Of course, goodbye is not really goodbye as there may be plenty of times across the four years where you want to stop by and visit (ok, spy on) your hard-working offspring to see if the ratio of partying to studying is in check. Likewise, while you can begin the higher education adventure with us during Freshers, you can also see witness its heavenly completion with us because serviced apartments are great for graduation time when the whole family pack descends and requires a place to stay (just you wait to see how many people clamour for one of those exclusive golden graduation tickets). University and college are full of so many special times from that exciting induction week to prize-givings and to all kinds of events in between. Therefore, make sure not to miss a minute of it by booking a stay at The Spires whenever the time comes to say ‘hello’ again.

For more information on our apartments, visit http://www.thespires.co.uk or email us at info@thespires.co.uk

Bollywood Meets Birmingham

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               Today marks a sad day as we reach the closure point on our Bollywood Meets Scotland series. If you had mentioned to me at the start of this year that I would end up blogging about the connection between Bollywood and India, I would have been somewhat doubtful to say the least; predominantly because I had never even realised that any Bollywood films had been filmed in Scotland. However, fortunately I have now been enlightened, and I have been thoroughly interested to discover just how many a Bollywood movie has been filmed here and the wide array of locations that have been featured. However, before we bid adieu to this blogging series, there is still one important stop to make: Birmingham.

                Ok, so geographically we are all well aware that Birmingham is not a part of Scotland. However, considering the increasing popularity towards filming a Bollywood movie in Britain’s second city, there is no reason why a Bollywood adventure in Scotland cannot turn into a Bollywood adventure in the UK. In 2013, Birmingham even celebrated the 100th year anniversary of the Indian movie industry through hosting a wide range of Bollywood themed activities from live music, dance and entertainment, such as “Bollywood’s Got Talent” to functions which included the attendance of famous Bollywood royalty such as Zeenat Aman. With classic Bollywood movies being shown during the month-long festival, it would be inconceivable to consider leaving Birmingham out of all the fun.

               Prior to last year’s festival, less than 12 films a year used Birmingham as a backdrop but to that ignorant likes of me, that was a much higher number than I had anticipated. One of those dozen films which Birmingham squeezed its way into (it even held the premiere) was the recent Yamla Pagla Deewana 2, a UK-based 2013 action comedy sequel to Yamla Pagla Deewana which focused on the trials and tribulations a married Indian man from Canada experienced when searching for the brother and father in India he had lost contact with. Although not setting the Bollywood Box Office on fire, Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 did succeed in generating £2.5 million for Birmingham’s local economy which only goes to reflect the positive benefits of film tourism. This is particularly true when it is considered how the likes of big stars like Dharmendra have now visited Birmingham, putting it on the map for their loyal fans. Happened to have watched Yamla Pagla Deewana 2? Well, Birmingham featured extensively in the movie and some iconic Birmingham sights to keep an eye out for include the Gatecrasher Night Club, the Rotunda Apartments and the NEC Birmingham.

               Another recent movie to feature Birmingham was Tezz, a 2012 action movie featuring a rather darker plot with a man hiding a bomb on a train in order to avenge the wrong that had been done to him in his past. Birmingham’s St Phillips Cathedral played a part in the action as did Victoria Square where the ransom money was even dropped.

                A particular link that can be found between Birmingham and Bollywood is the food series “From Birmingham to Bombay” which followed the renowned head chef Alan Coxon as he discovered how the 5 favourite UK curries, cooked by the best Anglo-Indian chefs, matched up against their authentic Indian counterparts to see just how they compared. Filmed in both the UK and India, if you like curry, spices, food history, Indian food, beautiful scenery and a captivating knowledgeable narrative; this is one for your viewing. As a disclaimer, just remember to have some food at hand because the odds are favourable that you will begin to feel a bit peckish! Make sure to check out the whole series on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6afkSPLHc0. Not to name-drop, but also look out for the credits on Episode 1 where a certain serviced apartments firm makes a sneaky appearance….

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               One final link that reflects just how intertwined Birmingham and Bollywood is that Birmingham was the first UK city to open up a Bollywood Academy which teaches vocals, acting, singing and dancing from expert teachers who are well renowned in the UK and India alike for their Bollywood based talent. As a result of this academy, the awareness of Bollywood themed Performance Arts in the UK can only be increased and enables further opportunities for the industry.

Alas, that brings us to the final stop on our Bollywood venture through Scotland into Birmingham. While the story may be over, your journey can only just begin if you choose to follow the action, music, dancing and romance in the movies and live it out for yourself. See where all the famous stars acted out those iconic moments in some of the UK’s  favourite and most beloved cities that are full of history, culture, entertainment and beautiful landscape. The whole way throughout your journey, The Spires can accommodate you and with apartments that come with fully equipped kitchens, spacious lounges and comfy bedrooms, we can cater for the whole family. So what are you waiting for? Engage in a little bit of Bollywood magic and follow in the paths of the stars. Make sure to share those movie-ready selfies with us!

Photo: VisitBirmingham

Want to go back and look at how the Bollywood journey began? Or have you just tuned into all the fun now? Here are our previous Bollywood blogs…

https://thespiressuites.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/have-a-bollywood-adventure-in-scotland/  

https://thespiressuites.wordpress.com/2015/03/05/bollywood-meets-the-north-east/

https://thespiressuites.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/bollywood-meets-glasgow/

https://thespiressuites.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/bollywood-meets-edinburgh/

There is No Place like Home

Some questions, such as in mathematics, have a set answer to which it can only be classified as right or wrong. However, some questions are a bit more subjective and can have any number of potential responses. The question on our lips today falls more into the latter category unless you can tell me otherwise that there is a definitively correct answer to the question; where is home to you? The reason behind the subjectivity of this simple question is that it is an incredibly personal question which will undoubtedly garner a whole host of varying answers. No one person will have the same answer as the other, particularly if you answer the question with a very specific answer that details the exact house number, street and postcode of the residence in which you can currently inhabit (which is probably what the dictionary definition would have you do).

When it comes to thinking about where home is, a saying that typically comes to mind is “home is where the heart is” reflecting that sense of how a home is somewhere you belong-where you can be yourself. Consequently, it conjures associations that a home is where your nearest and dearest are, such as your family and friends, because it is those who you should feel the ability to be yourself with and where you feel safe. Home could be where the true essence of you lies and is that one place you can rely on. Maybe it is not even a particular place; maybe it is more abstract and is your country of residence or even a person. Similarly, it is also said that “a house is not a home” which also goes to reflect how a home is not necessarily a physical object, it is more of a feeling or a sentiment. Therefore, a home does not have to be a permanent building; we can make it wherever we go as there is more to it than just bricks and cement.

Why am I getting all philosophical on this Friday afternoon? Well, recently I have taken to uploading old (maybe it is more fashionable to say vintage) videos of The Spires and one that particularly caught my attention was one where we asked 50 people one supposedly simple question: where is home? To us at The Spires, home is so important because obviously we are part of the hospitality industry and therefore no matter how briefly our guests stay, we want our apartments to feel like a home to them. Some of our guests can stay for multiple months due to a business project or even just due to a temporary relocation, and so in these cases it is even more critical for us to make our guests feel like The Spires is their home away from home. That is why we fit our apartments with fully-equipped kitchens; spacious lounges; comfy beds and a familial decorative touch so as to create a warm, inviting atmosphere which guests feel comfortable in and are excited to return to. The atmosphere that an apartment provides cannot be matched by that of a hotel where due to the limited space and freedom, it is incredibly hard to make your room your own and feel fully comfortable there.

Consequently, I hope you all enjoy watching the video (which you can view here: https://www.facebook.com/TheSpiresSuites/videos)  and that it causes you to ponder where exactly home is to you to the same extent that it has to me. On that note, I suppose it is only fair and fitting for me to finish off by providing my own answer to our pressing question of the day. To me, home is a safe haven and is that aforementioned feeling of belonging. Consequently, in my perspective, you can have more than one home as there are numerous places and persons with whom you can go home to at the end of the day and feel totally free and comfortable. Whatever it means to you, there is no denying the importance of the concept of the home. Therefore, I hope that no matter who you are or where you are, somewhere or someone is a home to you because as that old saying from the Wizard of Oz goes; there is no place like home.

P.S. We cannot help but love this response as to where home is…

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Image: http://weknowmemes.com/

Image:  www.digitalclaritygroup.com

The City Spotlight is on Birmingham

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Maybe it was due to a lack of regional knowledge, but Birmingham was never really a place that was on my travelling radar. I am ashamed to say that whenever I considered a visit to England, invariably my favourite ‘go to’ places were Manchester and of course, that distinctly well-known city of London. However, coming to The Spires and doing a daily press check to see what is going on in the world, a city that keeps coming up on my newsfeed is you guessed it; Birmingham. Not only is Birmingham a consistent news item but it is one for all the right, positive reasons such as being named best city to *insert activity such as live/visit/invest*. Birmingham is on such a role that it is really starting to give London a run for its money, hence it commonly being referred to as“Britain’s Second City”. Consequently, Birmingham is now firmly headlining my ‘to go’ list and I hope to persuade anyone who is thinking of engaging in a ‘staycation’ this year or even in a mini city-break to do the same. All the way back in 2012 we highlighted the awesomeness of Birmingham (read here) but here are some facts and reasons as to why Birmingham (and The Spires!) should be on your 2015 UK bucketlist and to fit with the 2015 theme, I will give you 15 reasons:

1. What links Rome and Birmingham? Well, Birmingham’s quality of life is on par with Rome’s with both cities placing at number 52 out of 440 cities featured on Mercer’s Quality of Life 2015 report. Factors that were taken into account to generate the rankings were aspects such as political, cultural and social environments. However, Birmingham edges it in terms of miles of canals when it is considered how its 18th century canal systems designed for trading, outstrips Venice’s at 56km of waterways. Read more here for full rankings.
2. There will be a greater sense of jubilation in the city with many anniversaries being celebrated in Birmingham including Birmingham Cathedral’s 300th Birthday and the renowned Rotunda’s 50th. Get those party poppers out!
3. In 2015, the party is at Resort World Birmingham which will be the UK’s first ever integrated destination leisure complex complete with an 11-screen cinema; an outlet shopping centre; an array of international cuisine options and a casino.
4. In 2014, the Birmingham Hippodrome was the highest attended single theatre in the UK and features all kinds of shows from musicals to drama to opera to comedians. Things to look forward to in 2015 include the likes of Shrek, Dirty Dancing and The Bodyguard. However, if concerts are more your thing, the Genting Arena and 02 Academy should be sure to hit the spot with musical acts this year including Take That and Fleetwood Mac. Birmingham’s music scene has clearly proven itself to be one to watch as previous bands which have made their breakout in Birmingham include UB40, Duran Duran and Black Sabbath.
5. Have a liking for the sparkly things in life? Well, Birmingham’s trendy Jewellery Quarter is still inhabited by over 500 jewellery firms and is full of heritage with it being a designated conservation area. Come here to check out some positive community spirit, historic architecture, some unique restaurants and a bit of bling!
Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham (Source: http://www.maguirejackson.com)
6. Out of all UK locations, Birmingham was the only one to make it in Rough Guide’s Top 10 Destinations of 2015 where it was in the warm company of destinations such as Wellington and New Orleans. Factors that attributed to the awarding of this accolade were in relation to Birmingham’s impressive shopping, music and diverse cultural scenes.
7. According to Site Selection’s (read here) “The Best to Invest List”, Birmingham was determined as the best UK city to invest in and the second best in Western Europe. This was determined by its success at attracting investment projects and considering all the developments that are happening, it is no surprise why these investments are sparking further ones such as the ambitious HS2 high-speed rail project.
8. If you are a chocoholic as well as a foodie then Birmingham is your new paradise. As well as the production of the nation’s favourite chocolate bar happening here, within Birmingham you can also find Bournville which was a community built by the Cadbury family for their chocolate factory workers. For all you extreme chocoholics, make sure to check out the Cadbury World Museum where all the chocolate fun and sugar comas are at.
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Cadbury World (Source: http://www.coolplaces.co.uk)
9. The iconic Bullring is more than just iconic, it is also historic as it has been a market trading area since the Middle Ages. With the wide array of brands, restaurants and retailers it now boasts, it is an attraction that acts as a retail magnet for tourists the world over with its status as one of the UK’s largest shopping centres.
10. Exiting times lie ahead for you in Birmingham in 2015 if you are a sports fan with two Rugby World Cup matches being held in Birmingham as well as The Ashes.
11. Are you a foodie? Well, after London, Birmingham has the greatest number of Michelin starred restaurants, such as Glynn Purnell, and its dining scene has been praised by many a national and international publication. Do not have a Michelin friendly wallet? Well, Birmingham also has an abundance of street foods covering a global range of cuisine.
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Adams Restaurant (Source: http://www.edgemagazine.org)
12. Nature is in abundance because there are plenty of places to take a leisurely stroll with Birmingham having more parks than any other European destination and in Victoria Square, you can even find one of the largest water fountains in Europe.
13. Exciting developments are all around in 2015. For instance, in September, the New Street Station development will be complete with improved facilities; a new concourse and a shopping mall; the Grand Central Shopping Centre. The centre will feature 60 retailers and restaurants as well as the inclusion of a flagship John Lewis store. It has been claimed that the new centre will be a “world class transport, shopping and community hub”. Definitely one to watch!
14. Those who like to engage in a little bit of retail therapy will also be pleased by the developments going on at The Mailbox Refurbishment and Selfridges Birmingham. Selfridges’ £20 million investment will bring in 70 new brands as well as an “Oxford Street” edge while there is a an even greater upgrade being made to The Mailbox, including the flagship Harvey Nichols, where £50 million has been spent to take luxury shopping to its max. You can already feel bank accounts cowering away in fear…
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Birmingham 2015 Developments (Source: http://business.grandcentralbirmingham.com/the-location.aspx)
15. The Library of Birmingham was the only UK Visitor Attraction to be featured in the UK Top 10 Most Visited Visitor Attractions (as determined by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions) that was not in London. Just look at this building for the reason why!.
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Birmingham Library (Source: Wikipedia)
Therefore, I hope right now you are all plotting a getaway to Birmingham because with even bigger, future developments on the horizon, it is clear that Birmingham’s already impressive music, cultural, dining, shopping and transport scene are set to become even more attractive. If I have failed to convince you of this, watch this space and let Birmingham’s growth do the talking!

Information: http://visitbirmingham.com/ ;http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/birminghams-15-15-big-projects-7149572http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/

Head Image: http://finedininglovers.com