Ever found yourself sat on a train or driving home after a weekend away and asked yourself – have I really only been gone for 24 hours?

I might be wrong, but I’d say that was the sign of having had a damn good time.

Bound by a deadline, every second counts, and whether you choose to cram in as much as possible, or just be highly lazy, knowing this time is restricted makes it all the more valuable.

So if you had Saturday through to Sunday at your disposal and a group of girly mates up for some good times in a big city, where would you go and what would you do?

Rather than hunting down your passport and switching quids for Euros, why not keep it UK-based and head to Birmingham? Handily located smack bang in the centre of the country, it’s pretty easy to get to for most.

Birmingham bull
You can’t beat a bit of Bully in Birmingham

In these harsh financial times us smart birds want to enjoy a bit of luxury but also save some cash.  Even the best of thrifty intentions can sometimes go off course, but by balancing the bargains and the treats you can live it up without cleaning out your bank account. Not too much anyway.

So take a group of friends – four is an ideal number. Throw in a stylish hotel, a shopper’s delight of a city centre and add some vague plans in which boozing and eyeing up clothes feature heavily .  What more do you need for a belter of a girls’ weekend away?

Oh yes, another ‘friend’  – a bottle of prosecco or other bubbling celebratory drink that makes you feel posh.

Bring your own booze.

Clattering onto the train laden with supermarket bags full of wine might earn you some disapproving sneers from fellow passengers, and lugging heavy, potentially explosive bottles around can be quite inconvenient.  But surely this becomes insignificant when you think how much you’re saving on those hotel and bar prices by guzzling a few down in your room before going out?

Book ahead

Advance train tickets are a cash-saving innovation – just check you’ve booked them for the date you intend to travel and not the week before.  This tends to avoid awkward chats with the train conductor.  Oops.

Sign up for discount deals

The super-stylish four-star Hotel La Tour, with it’s glorious views of the Bullring shopping centre, is only a short haul of an overstuffed overnight bag through the bustling streets from New Street station. Get yourself on their mailing list and be the first to snap up special offers.  The perfect base for 24 hours of fun, and an affordable treat.

The same goes for food.  Paying full prices? Don’t do it!  Sign up to the mailing lists of your favourite restaurants and voucher code sites and never shell out for the menu price again.   Just make sure you study the small print and check the offer is applicable on a Saturday. Ah.

Spend money. In your dreams.

Literally everything in the magical department store that is Selfridges is nice.  Much of it is also highly unaffordable. So idle away a couple of hours roaming the stunning floors entranced by pretty things and imagining a life where money is no object.

As you’ve only spent cash in your head you can treat yourself to a fizzling flute of something tasty in the champagne bar. Beware of the large spending hazard cunningly disguised as a shoe department right by the entrance though.  Locating Jimmy Choos near champagne is either the work of someone very devious or a total genius.

Get on the booze, again.

After a day of discounts and pretend shopping, you can indulge yourselves a little, pick up a range of savoury snacks/canapés, pile back to your swanky hotel room and crack open those bottles.

Suitably oiled, ask Mr Taxi man to take you to the cocktail bar of the Malmaison Hotel in the upmarket Mailbox shopping centre.  Drink in the stylish atmosphere, knock back a few mojitos and sip a few sambucas. Or should that be the other way around?

On a chilly night you don’t want to be traipsing too far so stop another cab and get your heeled feet to Stirlings bar and lounge in the Jewellery Quarter.  There you can carry on the cocktail and chic surroundings theme and dance your way into the following day.

Now go home

Wake up, accept there is a high chance you will look terrible, ignore reflection in the mirror, and head downstairs to fill your boots with a tasty breakfast. Full English, continental or just sod it and stuff down the whole bacon, beans, sausage, toast and croissant lot.

Pack case, somewhat lighter following demise of glass bottle friends, and retrace your steps back to New Street station.

Settled at a train table with hydrating bottles of water apiece, the dissection of the previous day and night and recounting of funny tales can begin.

Has that really only been 24 hours?


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