Bumble Bff: Success or fail?

Bumble Bff

It's true when they say there is an app for pretty much everything these days from food to jobs, dating to holidays and one I've discovered most recently is an app for friends called Bumble BFF. I remember using Bumble briefly for dating when I was single, but I never found it as enjoyable as the other apps I was using. Although it was amazing to stop guys spamming with pics if you didn't want to talk to them first. As females have to talk first on the app. My friend Bec advised me that she had found a friend using the site, so I decided to give it a go myself. Similar time limits apply to on the BFF version, however, once a match is made either person has 24 hours to message, after this time the match expires. The time limit thing can be a bit annoying as if you are anything like me, you'll forget to check it for days and then go back to loads of missed matches. I guess this is how Bumble entices people into paying for premium.

I have been using Bumble BFF over a month now and I am still checking the app (when I remember oops) so I decided to share my findings with you guys. If you've not yet got the app, I'd totally recommend it. I live in a pretty small town and even I've been able to locate people nearby. When you're making a profile you can decide how far you want your account to reach, I did it to around 40km as I live within 30 minutes (or less on the train) of 3 different cities. So I decided to make sure my radius reached all of those areas. With that, I was on to swiping. I felt like I was on Tinder somewhat with the swiping but for me, the friendship shouldn't be based on looks so I am always looking for interesting bios/experiences and what pets they have because my priorities are in the right order. With Bumble it offers you a variety of questions to ask your match which I find is quite cool as it allows you to get to know a person quite quickly.

With apps such as Bumble BFF, I do always try to put a lot of effort in at first when talking to someone, but when I get a bunch of one-word answers or really dull conversations like "hi, how are you" over and over I tend to give up the conversation. Although on occasion it does pay off, I was able to meet a friend called Emily. We've even met up in real life and had lunch and coffee. We are super similar as people and we now talk almost every day. I didn't imagine when I joined Bumble BFF that I'd actually make a friend but I am ecstatic that I have.

As Bec was the one who told me about the app in the first place, I wanted to hear what she had to say about her experiences.

"Before Christmas, I downloaded Bumble BFF after hearing other North East Bloggers had used it and I was looking to make friends in my area anyway. I got talking to a lovely girl who was moving up to Newcastle from the other end of the country and we had a lot in common! We met up for a double date with her boyfriend and mine and we got along really well (so did our boyfriends)! I ended up planning a night out on the town with her and we had a lot of fun. We plan to go out more and I’d certainly say I’ve made a friend from Bumble. I would recommend others to give it a try if you’re wanting to meet new friends. I wasn’t expecting anything to come of it, but I’m very happy I plucked up the courage to do it!"

Hearing that Bec had such a positive experience made me happy to know that the app can result in success. I also spoke to Ellie from NinkComPoop who had met Bec through the app and I asked her for her thoughts on the app.

"Well... I used BFF because I was recommended it by a few people who knew I was moving away from home. As somebody who had instant success with Tinder a couple of years ago, I was really keen on the idea. I really needed to open myself up to new friendships as I was going to be hundreds of miles away from home. I feel like I'm quite good at understanding people's sense of character quite quickly, so I got on with a few people almost straight away. I would 100% recommend it to people who are up for building new friendships or want to explore a new area with somebody. I was lucky in that I was able to become friends with somebody who knew the area quite well so could show me the ropes of a new place and invite me to fun events also."

Ellie also offers the advice of:
Also... for so long, myself and others were always saying "why isn't there a Tinder for friendships!". I hear people saying it ALL the time! Not enough people know about BFF, so I was so excited haha! I also think it's a good idea to make it clear on your bio what exactly you are looking for; a night-out buddy, a travel friend, a fellow mummy friend, a takeaway & horror movie buddy, etc. I feel like you'll find people on your level that way :)

With this I totally agree there are so many people the app, some are after the same things you may be after and others you may not be suited to, just like friends in real life. Not everybody will get on with everyone but there is a huge variety of people on the app and that's what makes it great!

Thanks to Bec and Ellie for taking the time to be a part of this post and I'd love to know in the comments your experiences on Bumble BFF.

How To Make Spring Themed Bark With Hobbycraft.

It's no secret that I am an avid baker, I enjoy to create just anything that involves chocolate, being creative and of course, tastes great. In case you hadn't already guessed, I am a huge fan of creating bark. Bark is essentially a ton of chocolate melted down, made into a slab and decorated. I've made a few variations in the past like my Halloween Bat Bark. This time, I decided to create something a little more colourful and fun.

For the bark, you are going to need: 
*A variety of chocolate or candy melts, for mine I used some of the Funcakes yellow candy melts and also some white chocolate that I dyed green.

*Buttercream or icing, I used the Sugar and Crumbs natural flavoured icing in raspberry ripple flavour (would recommend 110%) in which I made into buttercream by adding 250g of butter to the icing.

*Finally a variety of other toppings, I used edible glitter, smarties, cake angels sprinkles and even more edible glitter.

When making the bark itself you need to work fast as the chocolate dries so quickly, I'd recommend doing one colour at a time. I started by melting two large bars of white chocolate, you can do this in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water. When my chocolate was melted I grabbed some green dye, I love to use the Sugar Flair gel dyes which you can get on Amazon as they last for ages and you only need a drop to get a super bright colour. I then tipped the chocolate on to some parchment paper. When you've tipped the chocolate on the slab it will start to harden so you need to add sprinkles and other decorations quickly so they stick to the chocolate. Once you're happy with one colour, then you can melt your next colour and then apply this as you wish, I decided to do it around the edge. Next, I popped this in the fridge for an hour.

Whilst this was in the fridge I made up some buttercream to put on top of the bark, the aim was to make it a little lighter than what it turned out but I went a little OTT with the blue dye. I whipped up the Raspberry Ripple icing with butter and then pipped it on to the bark, this gives the bark a variety of textures when you're eating it. Finally, this was topped with more sprinkles and tons of edible glitter. You may want to put this back in the fridge for the icing to set before breaking this. Once the bark is completely solid you can snap it into a variety of different shapes and sizes and then share it with your friends and family (or eat it yourself) and that's pretty much it for making spring-themed bark. I'd love to know in the comments if you've ever made bark.

*This post contains gifted items from Hobbycraft, however, as always thoughts are all my own.

Easter Brownies Eggplosion!

Baking is one of my favourite past times, I'm pretty sure it always has been. This is possibly due to allowing me to be as creative as possible within my work. Despite enjoying baking, the intricate flowers and models are not my friends. Although I can whip up a batch of chocolate brownies no problem. As it is almost Easter I went full out with an Easter theme for these. These brownies are thick, full of chocolatey goodness and then topped with crushed smartie egg. Oh and throughout, there is a variety of chocolate eggs too. The brownies take under an hour to make and they're so amazing. I decided to create a recipe card which will allow you to print this out to follow it step by step. I hope you enjoy my recipe and I'd love to see any pics you make of them. 

Introducing LoyalFree AD.

We reward our new customers for joining us, but a lot of companies forget to reward their loyal customers for coming back time and time again. This applies to car insurance, banks and online shopping. As regular users of a service, it would surely make sense to reward those customers for their loyalty? Well, that's what the companies on LoyalFree decided to do. If you're in one of their current areas you're in for a treat, with tons of discounts and freebies in the local area. The app costs nothing to download and you just need to go to those places you'd usually go but with the added extra of discount in your pocket (or should I say app?). It's been a long time in the making that students get discount on so many things but those who are no longer students or who have never been, do not get any of the generous discounts or fun experiences that comes along with being a student. Until now, since Loyal Free has popped up it gives us all a chance to enjoy what the app has to offer and the great discounts and hidden gems around our local town. 

So I hear you ask, what does the LoyalFree app offer? 
Well, the app offers a huge variety of different things, with things such as buy four coffees and your 5th is free, discounts on days out or things to enjoy such as beauty treatments, classes and gifts and a ton more to pick from. As well as offering you tons of free things, you can find out about experiences and events in your area which you may not of known without the app, cool right?

As someone who regularly looks for a discount code of some sort, for pretty much everything this app is super handy. With an easy to understand app which is quick and reliable 'everyone' can join in the fun. Speaking of fun, within the app you can go on trails based around themes and it will tell you a variety of places to visit on your trail to make the most out of the local area and also what you enjoy, there are trails based around dogs, vegan eats and even some cocktail ones. Sounds like a win to me. I am someone who has so many apps for different discounts but I feel like the loyal app covers it all under one roof with money off, collectable stamps and finding out about great offers around your town/city you're in for a real treat.

Well what are you waiting for? Go download the app now and get saving some money. 

*This post is sponsored by LoyalFree, however, all thoughts within my post are all mine and I genuinely back this app and wouldn't promote it if I didn't* 

5 easy ways to de-stress.

Stress is something we have to deal with in our lives from time to time, for some of us it can be more often than others. It is normal to feel stressed as a reaction, but being able to combat it is also important. For those who struggle with stress a lot, it may be worth seeking advice from your doctor or counselling to get to the route of the problem. But we all have bad days and sometimes we just need something to help us de-stress. As someone who stresses out a lot, sometimes at the smaller things in life, having ways for me to be able to de-stress from it all is super important. In the past, my self-help posts have been super popular (therefore I am hoping useful) so I thought I'd bring you a new post today with my top tips for de-stressing. Let me know in the comments what your top tip is to help you relax on a bad day.

1. Take a nap:
When I take a nap I instantly feel better once I come round a bit. Stressing can make you tired so when you allow yourself to take a nap you feel a lot better. According to Verywellmind the amount of time you nap for is crucial, as once you fall into a deep sleep it can be harder to wake up from, leaving you feeling worse (anyone else ever woken up after a nap and completely have no concept of time or date?) a nap between 15-30 minutes can help us feel refreshed and I always feel so much calmer after a nap. I prefer to take naps somewhere which isn't my bed as I always find it harder to come out of a nap. Some people take naps on the sofa, however, others prefer to take one outdoors on a Hammock which sounds like a dream, especially in the summer.

2. Turn off your phone:
My worst habit when I am stressed is looking at my phone, I feel unable to switch off when keeping my phone on, yet I am worried about missing something important so I won't turn it off #fomo probs. However, the times in which I've turned it off and spent a few hours away from it, I do find my mood is so much better and I feel a lot less stressed.

3. Write down your thoughts:
Writing down your thoughts when you're feeling stressed is a great way to try get to the root of the problem as well as being able to vent. You get your own personal place to vent and you don't have to worry about sharing it with others. Paperchase has a large variety of life journals which have tons of different pages to write on. Carrying one around with you is also a great idea so you can look back on it and reflect.

4. Read a good book:
Never underestimate the power of a good book, allowing yourself some time just to zone out with a book of your choice can be a great thing to help you de-stress. You get to live out of your mind for a while and soak in the surrounds of the book. In the summer I love to read books outside as it makes me feel extra relaxed. You can also dig your teeth into a book in whilst sitting in a hanging hammock chair which allows you to get super comfy in and relax.

5. Have a relaxing bath:
This is one of my favourite ways to relax when I am stressed as it allows you to be alone for a while, you can light up some candles, get yourself a nice drink and pop a bath bomb in the bath and you're good to go. I love buying bath bombs from Lush as they're always super fun and you can tailor your mood to which bath bomb you pick. An alternative to bath bombs can be adding some oils to the tub, like lavender for the ultimate relaxation session.

What are your top tips for de-stressing? 

*This is a collaborative post, however, it was fully created by me and all thoughts are my own as always. 

Shop my style JD Williams edition.

Summer is my favourite season of the year, who else relates? There's so much more light, warmer weather even if on occasion it gets *too* warm, people seem happier and us Brits get to spend the entirety of summer moaning about how hot it is and how we wish it was winter again. One of my favourite things to do when the weather is changing is to shop, being plus sized I do often struggle to get clothes in my local town as we don't have that many shops which do stock plus sized lines. So I do often head online for my clothes, on the plus side (excuse the pun) it does mean I am provided a huge amount of choice and there so many more retailers online.

I was recently contacted by JD Williams who asked me to create a wishlist sharing some of my favourite items and as a new customer of JD Williams I was thrilled to find out how much they stocked online. Whether you're looking for day dresses, a new t-shirt or even something to wear for a wedding they stock it all. You can see here some of the amazing clothing pieces they have on site. I decided to create four my top 3 items from a variety of their categories to give you an idea of what they sell. Even for somebody who loves to wear alternative clothes I was able to find some staple pieces to add to my summer wardrobe and still feel comfortable.

The site is super diverse I found and if you're on the look out for a new wardrobe this may be the place to start looking. With sizes up to size 38 from a size 8, this is a site that caters for everyone. Sadly, this should be something that more shops take note of and start stocking for a wider range of sizes. Let me know in the comments what your favourite item from my wishlist is.

*This post is in collaboration with JD Williams, all thoughts are my own and the site is seriously awesome for most sizes!

Skinnydip London Review

Skinnydip London is a brand I've been fond of for a number of years now, they caught my eye when I saw their amazing phone cases. I've always been one for breaking the rules of fashion and in my opinion the more colour and sparkle the better.  Skinnydip constantly releases new goodies on the site and they're always as cool and creative as the last lot. Recently they've partnered with Disney, Tangle Teezer and Starbucks to create the coolest accessories around. The brand is always extending their product ranges and keeping up with the trends and today I am super lucky to be reviewing some of their products for you. This is in collaboration with the brand, however, I have been a long time fan of the brand always promote them to my friends and family. 

I've been looking for a new purse for the longest time since my trusty Barbie purse gave up on me, sad times. I've been using an old one until I found 'the one' and I finally found it on Skinnydip. The purse is pink with lobsters sewn on it and in the inside it has lots of pockets for cards and a fairly large compartment to store coins. I love this purse as it is ideal for all of my things, although it might be too big for some who carry a smaller bag. But I love a big purse as I have so many loyalty cards, although it seems like the cards are now moving online more which is a great thing for using less plastic and for my purse too. This purse is currently on their site for £16. 

When purchasing this bag online I couldn't decide whether it was going to have enough space in for my stuff but decided to take a gamble as I loved the style of the bag as it reminds me of an old school lunch box, the bag inside is absolutely massive. I honestly couldn't believe how it could hold so much. The bag does come apart at the sides, however, you don't really need to undo it as the part at the top is big enough to put items in and out with ease. The bag is easier to put across you which is ideal for the festival season, the bag itself is lightweight and looks great. Although I picked this in gingham they do have an adorable yellow one with purple flowers on which I also need in my life as it's amazing. You can grab this here

Phone cases are my weakness, I kid you not I must have 20 for my current phone and a variety of others floating around for my last two phones. The reason this Daisy case stood out to me is I saw their Pink Daisy Phone Grip and wanted to get a case which would compliment it. This case is amazing as it has glitter within the case and I love to play with it (like the child I am) plus it is clear so it shows off the gold colour underneath. This year is the first year I've ventured away from the extra large silicone phone cases partly because nobody sells them for an 8 plus, but also so I can a phone grip as I've dropped my phone on my face far too many times. 

Last but not least my favourite thing from the haul is the hungover crossbody bag, it's such a statement piece and I knew I had to have it as soon as I saw it. The bag has a clasp closing which I love and think it adds more of a statement to the bag. The strap on this bag is also detachable which allows it to be a clutch bag for those nights out. The bag inside is relatively small but still looks amazing. You can get your own for £24 from Skinnydip now.   

*In collaboration with Skinnydip London and has affiliate links within this does not affect your purchase in any way, it just gives me a small percentage of the sale.*

Tips to stay motivated when working at home.

Working from home is one of those things which sounds like a dream, getting to work from your bed, not even having to get dressed for a day of work and you don't even have to leave the house at all if you don't want to. Communication doesn't even need to happen in person, which is great for those days in which small talk doesn't seem possible. If you're working as part of a job role which allows home-based work it can be easier to stay motivated as you have set tasks to do, but when you're self employed it is a whole different ball game, you pick your hours, you pick what you do and most importantly you need to keep your motivation levels high to be able to stay focused and keep producing a high standard of work. If you're like me when I'm having a bad day I find it almost impossible to remove myself from my bed unless I am booted out of bed by my other half (which doesn't ever happen) so I've been finding ways to motivate myself whilst working from home, as it is not all fun and games like it may first seem. Last year I wrote a post called "working from home, what's the deal?" which is one of my all time most popular posts so I thought I'd share some more working from home-based posts and it would be great to hear your thoughts in the comments. 

Make a plan:
One of the things I've found most helpful when working from home for myself is writing a list of the things which I need to do on a sticky note and then crossing them out throughout the day. I like to make a plan of what I need to do and at what times too, like similarly to being in a workplace there are set times to do set things for most of us. Like having breaks and going to meetings. It can be easy to find yourself not doing a lot when you're working alone. You can find amazing desk planners online which are great for this, I always find having one in front of me allows me to see what is left to do for the day. Paperchase has a "hit list" one which allows you to prioritise your goals and also tick them off when you've completed them.  This gives me that extra push to keep going, especially when I can see the list going down throughout the day. 

Limit distractions: 
This one is easier said than done, especially if you live in a household with lots of people around. I don't have this issue, however, my phone does give me a constant stream of contact with the 'outside world' and as much as I enjoy Twitter and Instagram they're one of the biggest distractions on my phone. I find not having my phone around when I'm working makes it easier to get things done. I always have my phone on silent so this doesn't distract me either. I'd recommend putting your phone out of sight, you know what they say, out of sight, out of mind. I allow myself to use my phone during breaks but for the rest of the time I try to have it as far away as possible and if I do have it near me for a particular reason, I have it face down, there is nothing more distracting than the constant flashes of notifications. 

Set yourself working hours:
I hold my hands up to this one and admit I am not good with setting work hours. I'll work at random times in the day and then go back to things a few hours later. Allowing yourself to figure out when your most productive is a good start. I know the evenings are when I work best, so for me, it does often make more sense to work through the evening instead of early mornings. But deciding how many hours you are going to work that day is a great way to split your day up and keep to the hours you've set. That will also allow you to fit breaks in around those hours. 

Create the ultimate working space:
Out of the list, this is one of the tips I think are most important to follow as it can really affect your mental health if you don't have the correct working environment. As much as it can be OK to work in your bed for a treat. Working in bed for me makes me tired, makes me ache and I can confirm I am a lot less productive. If you've got a spare room turn it into your own office space. There is nothing worse than spending all day and all night in your bedroom without really anytime out. Plus if you're creating yourself a work space it means you need new homewares and stationery. Who doesn't need an adorable Watermelon Planter or Pastel Cat Highlighters, amirite? 

With that folks, that is it, those are some of my best tips, I have so many more I could share with you but I didn't want to make this post too long, but I am happy to write a 2nd part if this is something any of you would find useful.

*This post does contain affiliate links, however, this does not impact your sale in any way, if you choose to purchase the item via the link I will gain a small percentage of money* 

Why are Graduates Staying in Liverpool?

Liverpool is renowned as one of the UK’s best student cities, but it is also gaining a reputation for the number of students who stay afterwards and settle in the booming Northern city. Liverpool has a student population of over 70,000 and the number of graduates who stay in the city after they finish their degree is constantly rising. So why are so many of Liverpool’s graduates staying?

 *This is a collaborative post* 

Luxurious Living
Liverpool has been the recipient of an incredible amount of investment, and the city’s skyline is a testament to this. Many new builds in the city are offering luxurious city living which is perfect for recent graduates. Property investment companies like RW Invest have been involved with a number of projects in Liverpool which offer a high-end living experience in beautiful modern apartments. Compared to other cities in the UK, the level of premium accommodation available in Liverpool is impressive, and for graduates, finding a new apartment is simple. From dockside apartments in chic warehouse conversions to brand new studios in the city centre with on-site gyms, games rooms and cafes, there are a wide range of options available for graduates.

Job Opportunities
Decades ago, Liverpool wasn’t exactly famous for its job opportunities. However, due to huge changes in the city, there are far more career prospects available than ever before. Liverpool’s thriving economy is set to continue growing, and the council’s Liverpool Local Plan sets out a strategy which includes the creation of 38,000 new jobs. From the new Knowledge Quarter which will offer specialist scientific and research roles, to the tech and digital hub at the Baltic Triangle, to the thriving Albert Dock with its variety of shops and restaurants, Liverpool is offering a range of different job opportunities that graduates simply don’t want to move away from.

Thriving Culture
Liverpool is world famous for its musical legacy and unique culture. This former trading city has been a melting pot of different cultures, creating a distinctive city that welcomes everyone. Liverpool’s nightlife is famous, with a range of unique bars, pubs and clubs that appeal to everyone, and this is another reason why so many young people decide to live in the city after they graduate. Liverpool is also home to a number of special events and celebrations, like the Liverpool Giants, the Liverpool Biennial and Liverpool International Music Festival. With more museums and art galleries than any city outside of London, Liverpool has plenty to do.

Cost of Living
Liverpool is also an incredibly affordable city, which makes it far more attractive to recent graduates in their first job, with limited disposable income. Compared to cities in the south of the UK, Liverpool is an incredibly cost-effective choice. When comparing Liverpool to London, you will find that food is 24% cheaper, housing is 47% cheaper, and transportation is 44% cheaper. These lower costs of living that students have grown accustomed to while they have been studying in the city, mean that moving to somewhere that is so much more expensive isn’t a popular option.

If you went to university, where did you go?

My Mini Bedroom Overhaul: Spring Edit

This post does contain some gifted items, these will have an (*) next to them.

Colour makes me happy, no matter what form it is in, if I see something bright it instantly boosts my mood. Hence how I ended up with a huge rainbow cactus which might actually be for your garden when visiting Asda for something else. You'll find me in every store which sells bedding, down that isle deciding which new cover I should buy despite having over 10 already. Coloured decor makes my room instantly my haven, it's the simple things. Recently I've added a *few* new things into my room, some which aren't rainbow! But they make my room that little bit more enjoyable to be in. In addition to this, I've rearranged a bunch of my furniture and the space in the room feels so much more spacious and optimised. I'll leave links within the post if you'd like to purchase anything from within the post.

It's strange how having matching furniture within a room can make it flow so much better like I understand it matching does look good but I can tell a huge difference in the room with having white furniture and it's mostly from IKEA, because who can resist an Ikea Kallax cube or two. Although I've had my Kallax storage for a few years now, I decided to turn the 8 cube Kallax on to the side instead of having it up right and it's made so much storage, it allows the top to be used to showcase items and then each box contains a theme. On top sits my beautiful pom pom garland*, Stephen Hawking 50p which I've now framed, my amazing Reptar bar, as well as a few other cute bits, which are usually candles. As well as the 8 cube, I also have a 4 cube one, which has bigger squares which are perfect for putting drawers in. We are currently using ours for a TV stand with bits of storage underneath. All of the Kallax furniture is super affordable and works pretty much in any room.

Also from IKEA I purchased two bedside tables which are ideal for those who may be lacking space, I made the purchase as they go so well with our other decor, plus they're great for storing things on. They've recently had a few extra additions added on top of them including 3 artificial succulents from IKEA, which by the way for the three and their pots it was only £4. I recently went on a bit of a shopping spree over at Hurn and Hurn* and purchased some super cute finishing touches for my room. I purchased the Umbra Poise 2 tier accessory tray* which is amazing for storing my glasses in, as well as little trinkets like earrings. I've been using the top half to store some my overfill of Yankee Candles.

Since we moved in there has been a floating shelf which is super handy for having displays on, since we moved in back in September I've changed it up every month dependant on the season. Currently, it has my favourite quote in a frame, some mini succulents, a picture of me and Will, a mirror I purchased from a Halloween section and somewhere to store loose change from New Look. Following on from this section of my room, you have a huge set of IKEA drawers which is another place I love to store things. I have a lovely clock from Hurn and Hurn which makes an amazing alarm clock too. A panda ornament from George at Asda, a basket full of face masks and finally one of my favourite things from within my room, my spinning acrylic storage* which is amazing for storing perfume, hair products and some makeup. Honestly, if you're obsessed with beauty products as much as I am, this is a must have.

The final thing within my room which I am excited to show you is this gorgeous fluffy rug from Land of Rugs*, this rug was £74.99 and was kindly gifted to me by Land of Rugs. Will & I have wanted a rug for ages and just haven't gotten around to purchasing one. We are overwhelmed with how quickly this arrived and how soft it really is. Our bunnies love it too. There are so many rugs to choose from on their site and they're at reasonable prices too.

I hope you enjoyed this post about my bedroom, excuse the curtains in the last photo we haven't gotten around to buying new ones yet. I'd love to know in the comments what your favourite piece of homeware is from my post.

*This post contains gifted items and an affiliate link for Amazon. 

Lea Marston Hotel Review 2019.

Lea Marston Hotel
Lea Marston Hotel
Lea Marston Hotel
*The Lea Marston hotel offered me a complimentary stay in exchange for an honest review*

Location: Haunch Ln, Lea Marston, Sutton Coldfield B76 0BY

The Lea Marston Hotel situated in Sutton Coldfield, a 20-minute drive from Birmingham city centre itself, is an enjoyable 4* experience with a choice of spa and gym facilities included within the price of the room, what's not to love. Whether you want a massage or to play a round of golf the hotel has plenty of offerings for you to indulge in. The hotel has recently undergone a variety of refurbishments which has revamped their on-site Hathaway's pub and also a complete revamp of the reception area along with the Aurtrim bar and conference rooms. In a secluded with location surrounded by grounds which are great to explore, sit in within the summer months and of course play a round or two of golf. 

On the day of our stay, Rob and I arrived and were able to easily park as there is a huge on-site car park, as we had both booked treatments, these were first up and I went straight in to enjoy my treatments which were a deep tissue back massage and  an Elemis facial, I paid £70 for two treatments which were 55 minutes in total, the massage was amazing one of the best I've ever had and I enjoyed the facial too. The only thing I would suggest for the facial is to be advised what Elemis products are being used and what for, as I've had them in the past and been told what was used throughout, it would be interesting to learn more about the products for possible purchases in the future. Whilst I was in the treatment room, Rob went to explore the spa and see what it had to offer. After my treatments, I headed to the reception desk to ask if I could check in a little bit early and they were super lovely about it and gave me our room number and key. Also during this time I also set up a tab for all of my drinks and other things I may do whilst staying at the Lea Marston. Then it was time to find the room. The hotel is mostly on the lower floor with a few separate rooms upstairs which makes the hotel super accessible. Our room was the very last one at the far end of the hotel, which felt like it was forever away, however, when we made it, it was worth the walk. 

For a deluxe room, the quality of the things within the room was amazing, including a flat-screen TV with Sky, an amazing shower, a heated towel rail, lots of lovely mirrors, gorgeous bathroom and some magazines on the table. Along with a variety of tea and coffee and an offering of biscuits and fresh milk can be provided if wanted. The room had plenty of plugs, as well as USB plugs on the wall to allow you to be able to charge a variety of things at once. After putting down my stuff, I saw Rob had phoned me and was trying to find me, I had texted him to tell him the room number but he never got this. We quickly realised that within the room we couldn't get any phone signal or 3G/Wifi, which I did find quite annoying. I did plan on doing some story updates from the hotel and tweets but was unable to do so, plus neither of us could message our other halves. Even without the phone signal, the room was advised to have great wifi which didn't connect for us at all. 

Once we had unpacked we hopped into the car and headed to Pesto which was nearby and I was so happy to find one outside the Trafford Centre. We ate food there (a lot of it) and then headed back to the hotel to enjoy the spa. I did find the food to be a little pricey on site, especially for a main meal which is why we looked elsewhere, however, all day I was tempted by room service. The hotel itself has some really cool decor and statement pieces which I enjoyed to look at. 

Lea Marston Hotel
Lea Marston Hotel
Lea Marston Hotel
Lea Marston Hotel
Lea Marston Hotel
Lea Marston Hotel

I was super excited to head to the spa once our food had rested, however, as I ate so much for dinner we decided to do some walking around before heading off to the spa. There were so many lovely areas in the hotel to explore and we looked through the newly refurbished Hathaway's bar, and I fell in love with the amazing umbrellas on the ceiling as they're so quirky and brightened up the room. We also had a look around the Atrium bar and decided we'd head back later for a drink. 

Finally, we had rested our food enough to enjoy the spa, the changing rooms within the spa are great, with lots of lockers which allow you to use them by entering a code set by you, so it's great not to have to carry around a key or find a coin. The spa itself has one large pool which is the same depth at both ends which threw me a little. A spa pool which is essentially a Jacuzzi without the heat. There is a fully air conditioned gym which looks out on to the spa and then finally sits a steam room and a sauna. The health club is open quite late so I think we picked a great time to go. We hit up the steam room first which actually made me feel amazing, my skin still feels good now which is amazing. After washing off we went between the spa pool and the swimming pool for a while before heading back into the steam room. All of the facilities were kept well, spacious and you felt relaxed and able to enjoy your surroundings.

We dried off, went back to the room to drop our stuff off and then headed to the newly refurbished Atrium Bar, it is a super modern room with a great feel to it. Due to the day in which we went it was fairly chill but I enjoyed the atmosphere within. We both enjoyed soft drinks and popped them on my tab. After a couple of hours we headed back to the hotel room and watched some TV, it is great to have Sky as you are able to explore more channels. When it came to going to sleep we decided to switch the aircon on due to how hot we both get in our sleep, however, we had no idea how to do so as there weren't any instructions. I decided to attempt to figure it out but after 10 minutes I gave up attempting to do so. The room was pretty stuffy that night as the duvets were super thick (comfy, but thick) and I felt like it could have been avoided with some instructions. The beds, on the other hand, were luxury, the linen felt amazing and the bed itself was like a dream. However due to the heat sadly, this meant I didn't have the best sleep and when I woke up at 7am I decided to watch some TV. When Rob awoke we headed for breakfast and we were both super excited as we are huge breakfast fans. 

Lea Marston Hotel
Lea Marston Hotel

We were quickly seated at breakfast and offered a variety of different tables to sit at. Then we were offered hot drinks, we both decided to get coffee and then I headed off to my favourite part of all buffet breakfasts the toaster. I grabbed two slices of white bread and popped them in the toaster. Nex,t to the toaster, they had tons of condiments which you can't fault. Despite it only being about 45 minutes into breakfast time a lot of the food appeared to have gone before we arrived and wasn't refilled. The pastry box had tons of choice but only appeared to have the scraps left which were disappointing as they tasted stale also, I wondered if this was due to it being during the week. Rob decided to get lots of fruit and some cereal and was made up of the choices on offer. Being a vegan Rob did find it hard with the hotter options for what he could have. I am a vegetarian, so I went for beans, toast, eggs and hash browns. The eggs were amazing, I could have eaten them for days. However, sadly the hash browns weren't cooked properly. The hot choices on offer were sausage, fried egg, scrambled egg, bacon, beans, black pudding and mushroom so there is a wide choice of options to choose from. 

Throughout breakfast, I had my fair share of juices and I also had an apple and a few pieces of cheese, yum! Once we had both finished we headed back to our room and packed to go home (via an Ikea detour). When it came to checking out, our bill seemed massively over what it was supposed to be, turns out they forgot to remove the treatment in which Rob had and paid for at the time, which was an extra £40. As we only had the drinks put on the tab alongside my treatment it was £79 in total which I was pretty happy with. We said our goodbyes and headed out of the door. I left feeling a lot more relaxed and happier than when I went in the previous day and would go back for another spa day for sure! 

Lea Marston Hotel
Lea Marston Hotel
Lea Marston Hotel
Lea Marston Hotel
Lea Marston Hotel

*I was kindly gifted bed and breakfast at Lea Marston Hotel for 2 in exchange for this review, however, all thoughts are my own and completely honest based on our experience*