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* 

Weird and wonderful Mother's Day gift guide.

If you're a regular reader of Dungarees & Donuts, you will know weird and wonderful is my speciality, gift guides are especially where I get to show off this side and I love to bring you the best gifts from far and wide (the internet) to inspire you to adventure out of the 'norm' for presents and dare to be different. I can confirm this guide does feature some gifted items, however, if I didn't love them I wouldn't include them as I'm not that kinda person. I hope you enjoy my weird and wonderful Mother's Day guide and for my other alternative gift guides, you can click the link to enjoy.

Lush Gift Set 'You ok, Mum?':
Lush is an amazing go-to brand for gifts, you know what you're going to get is going to be good quality and Lush have the best packaging. The 'You ok, Mum' gift set is a gift set which doesn't require a bath, as like most of you know. Lush is primarily somewhere that sells bath products. The great thing about this set is, it even has 'shower bombs' which sound super exciting don't they? In the set, there is also a shower scrub, shower gel, body lotion and a lovely soap bar. They are all wrapped up within a lovely box and tied with a ribbon. The set comes in at £32.95 which on the surface is a lot, but for a lush fan and the number of products you get within the set, it is great value for money. Plus, all of the products in the box are vegan and cruelty-free.

NOT Terry's Chocolate Orange Gin:
I don't know about you, but my mum is a huge fan of gin and when I saw this gorgeous looking bottle of chocolate orange gin I knew it would be a hit. Not only is the bottle amazing and looks like it has chocolate dripping down it, the liquid is also coloured like it is chocolate orange. Firebox claims the gin tastes exactly like chocolate orange which is exciting as who doesn't like alcohol that tastes that bit sweeter. The bottle is 50cl and costs £29.99 from Firebox. P.s. No chocolate oranges were harmed in the making of this gin.

Belgian Waffle Yankee Candle:
Of course, Yankee Candle had to make it onto the list, is it really a gift guide without a Yankee Candle? Following on from the food theme above, we have a gorgeous Belgian waffle scented candle. The candle costs £23.99 like all large Yankee Candles do, however, this can be purchased in a smaller size. The scent literally mimics a syrup covered waffle, it smells sweet and sugary with notes of cinnamon running through. Yankee Candle also have three other candles in their new Sunday Brunch collection which are also great alternatives for a Mother's Day present (or yourself, because, treat yo self right?)  

Stephen Hawking 50p Coin:
The final item of the guide deserved an honourable mention as it's one of a kind and can only be bought for a short period of time on The Royal Mint. The Stephen Hawking 50p costs £10 but it is the ultimate gift for any coin collector. With mine, I decided to frame it within a box frame with a background to keep it in perfect condition. The coin comes with information about the coin itself as well as about Stephen and all of the amazing things he did during his lifetime, it is currently being sold as it is one year since he passed. 

Which item in the guide catches your eye the most? 

*This post contains gifted items and some affiliate links* 

Mother's Day Gift Guide with Cosmetify!

Cosmetify makeup
*This post is in collaboration with Cosmetify* 

Mother's Day is fast approaching, which also means we are almost through March! I don't even know where the time goes, it's madness. For Mother's Day this year, I decided to scrap the usual chocolates and flowers and round up some alternative ideas. I'd love to know in the comments what you're getting your mum this year or if you are a mum what would you like to receive? 

Beauty Products:
I don't know about anybody else, but my mum is always asking me about various beauty products and what to get where, so I decided this year to get her some beauty related items for herself. She has previously spoken about buying a new lipstick so I decided to step in and she will now be the owner of a new Morphe lipstick. For beauty items, I was actually introduced to Cosmetify which I didn't even know existed! On site, they have over 100,000 products and the site works somewhat like a beauty search engine, all you need to do is search at the top what type of product/brand you are looking for and Cosmetify does the rest, pretty cool right? I must have spent an hour just looking through my own favourite brands before branching out and focusing on the task at hand, whoops. With everything on site from hair products, to the latest beauty and even all things grooming and beauty for men (I am coming back for Fathers Day for sure) you're spoilt for choice. I'd totally recommend checking them out for Mother's Day or just any beauty related purchases you plan on making. 

Cosmetify makeup
Morphe lipstick

Experience Days:
In recent years I've actually fallen in love with buying people experience days as gifts as well as hampers. Experience days are great as people don't tend to buy them for themselves, they're always fun and quite a unique thing to do also. With everything from afternoon tea to a hot air balloon ride, there is something for every kind of mum. There are tons of great sites to purchase these from such as Buyagift and Prezzybox. I know a lot of people do enjoy to spend money on memories as opposed to gifts so this would be a perfect alternative for those. 

Stationery & Homeware: 
I feel stationery is a great gift for just about anyone, I'm not even sure if this is just because I love stationery, or if it really is just a great thing to buy for everyone. I do often end up buying I've seen so many great ideas for stationery related gifts in shops lately and they're always super great for being organised and just for looking cute really. The same with homeware, things from candles to ornaments these are things that most mums won't treat themselves too, so it's great to be able to do that for them.

Thanks for reading today's post and I'd love to know in the comments what your dream Mother's Day gift would be. 

Mothers Day with Handpicked Hampers

Handpicked hampers
*This post includes gifted items* 

There's something amazing about receiving a hamper. When you get one as a gift, I love the element of surprise which comes within. In this past, I've gifted hampers around Christmas time for my family as it is a great way to pick little bits and put them together in a package. Hampers are a great gift for giving all year round and with Mothers Day on the horizon, I thought I'd share with you how to create an amazing hamper with the help of Handpicked Hampers. Chloe from Handpicked Hampers kindly allowed me to create my own hamper on their site. On the site, they do offer premade hampers for most occasions and currently they have their Mother's Day ones. These are great if you're not too sure what items to include as they are themed well. If you do decide to get a bit creative you can create your own, which is what I did. There is a variety of baskets to choose from at different price points to send your hamper in. The prices of these do vary dependant on what you put in your hamper and also what basket you would like it to arrive in. Each basket on their site states how many items you can fit within that particular one and also shows you what it looks like so you can get the real feel for it. I decided to go for the small grey wicker hamper which fits a max of 6 items within. I then spent around 45 minutes trying to decide what to put within the hamper. 

On the Handpicked Hampers site, you can choose items from the categories they have on the site, these include different types of food, drinks, pamper essentials and other cute gift ideas (I'd recommend checking out what they have to offer in that section currently as they have some seriously adorable Mother's Day gifts. When I had chosen the basket I headed straight to the chocolate category (duh) and then the sweet selection. Both sections had some great picks so it was hard to decide how many of each to include within the hamper. After this, I looked around at all of the other sections before picking my final 6.  I went for a variety of items with the theme 'perfect night in' in mind. 

As far as pricing goes this is dependant on how much the items cost which you are adding to the hamper plus the hamper itself and the delivery will make up the final total of the Hamper. The total of the above hamper came to £41.46, which included 6 items, the hamper itself and a personal message. Delivery is extra, however, it does come within 1-2 working days so great for those who are short on time (we've all been there, no judgement here). You can also choose a select day to have this delivered which is great if you are wanting to order in advance for a loved ones birthday.   

I like the products on offer on the site as they all appear to come from smaller companies and aren't products you come across everyday. In the hamper I choose White chocolate and raspberry meringue drops, a delicious bar of Honeycomb milk chocolate, some honeycomb chocolate bites, a bottle of strawberry lemonade, a coconut espresso body scrub and finally a small bottle of Canti Prosescco with a difference, the bottle is completely covered in glitter and looks amazing. I went for these items as they are like an ideal pamper night in a box, just add a book and a bath bomb and you're good to go. With the hamper being wrapped so nicely and allowing you to add your own message when on the site you can even get these sent direct to the recipient of the gift. Not only are the contents of the hamper amazing, but the wicker basket itself is great quality and fastens nicely, so it can be used for other things in the future. I hope you've enjoyed reading this post and I'd love to know what would be included in your ideal hamper. 

*The items within this hamper were gifted to me, however, I had complete editorial control over this and Handpicked Hampers are an amazing company.*

Technology: The past, the present and the future?

*This post is in collaboration with ebuyer* 

Being born in smack bang in the middle of 90s, I've grown up around technology. I've seen some huge changes over my lifetime with technology, from having some next level brick phone that doesn't even have a coloured screen to being around some truly amazing new and upcoming technology, including 3D printing and virtual reality. Some brands have just gotten bigger throughout the years and others have sadly pretty much disappeared. From toys to games consoles, we've seen some huge changes over the last 20 years. This post was inspired by ebuyer who are celebrating their 20th Birthday currently and it's super exciting to see how tech has advanced over the last two decades.

Some things have done a full 360, from being popular to pretty much going out of fashion altogether, then them being replaced with more modern alternatives to eventually making a come back. With phones they started out huge, then everyone wanted them to be small, I remember those flip phones and ones that twisted into place to make a long phone, phones with keypads, full qwerty keyboards like on our Blackberry. Finally returning back to being a large phone which is 100% screen and no keypad and a variety of large sized phones. For phone brands, most people are either team Apple or team Samsung, it's hard to get a look in for other phone manufacturers. Getting my first phone with the fully functioning internet on was in the last 6 years or so, before that, I did have phones which could go online but the apps were ridiculous, does anybody else remember Facebook on a Blackberry?

Photos are a weird one too, they go from being printed out, from being taken on a phone and uploading to the internet, to using a Polaroid camera for those internet snaps. Being able to upload photos online is a huge thing for a lot of people and most of us couldn't imagine having to take a film to the store and wait for it to be developed and then going to collect it. As someone who was young around this time, it isn't something I really remember other than using those disposable cameras when I visited London as a child. Then my parents getting them printed and the photos were a complete mess and half of them were in the dark or pointing at the floor. Weirdly, I still have a few of them, despite them being of someone's shoes and the tube in the dark. I still love taking Polaroid photos as they're great for scrapbooks and framing. I even used them to announce that I had gotten engaged. I think I will always have a soft spot in my heart for polaroids and photo booths.

The way in which we listen to music is something that I think is amazing, I remember growing up I had a portable CD player and I thought it was amazing. It was bulky, heavy and could only play the songs which were upon the disk inside (roughly 11 songs), swiftly moving on from that I had my first MP3 player, they were amazing for car journeys and being outside. I used to have a playlist compiled by my dad throughout my very early teens. It was mostly Avril Lavigne with a mix of Pink and Nickelback added in too. Next, I got an iPod shuffle, which although it was smaller than my MP3 player was kind of a step back as you weren't able to control what songs were going to be next, they would in be random to the order they were on your iTunes account. I mostly filled mine with Escape The Fate and Papa Roach, I am pretty sure they only held like 40 songs or something too. 

After this, the real fun started, with the iPod touch, my first experience of an Apple device with a screen which included using Facetime. It allowed you to pile up your Itunes with songs and even buy albums on the device and it was pretty cool. I've always seemed to have a phone you could listen to music on. I do remember at school using Bluetooth to send songs to your friends via phone and needing to stand close together to be able to send them (not even sure if this is even true?) and then you'd get a brand new song on your phone which you've wanted for ages and you felt like a boss. It does make me sad that the kids of today (oh my god, I am officially old) won't get to experience such terrible technology like we did. 

This post has been a huge wedge of nostalgia for me, and I hope you've enjoyed reading it too, despite it being super long. I'd love to know in the comments what your all-time favourite piece of technology is. 

The truth about my ex relationships.

I read an article which states people usually fall in love 3 times in their lifetime, which got me to thinking about how many people I've been 'in love' with. I've had relationships which have lasted a few months to a few years, and now I think my search for the 'one' is finally over. Sadly, people change, people do things to hurt other people and dating can lead to heartbreak. But it can also lead to knowledge and you know what they say about knowledge, it's power. I always find it great to be able to reflect on past relationships and think about what went wrong, and if there were any common factors. Most of us have a type, and I feel like it takes most of us years to stop searching for 'our type' and start searching for the right kind of person. The reason I am writing this post primarily is to let you guys know, there isn't a set number of relationships you should have, nor a set length these should be, despite what society likes to make us believe. 

It can take 100 people (or even more) to find the right one, and that is completely ok. Just because it has only taken your friend only two relationships to find the right person doesn't mean this is the correct number. Once you stop caring about what others think about you dating and date for yourself you're more likely to find happiness and locate the right person for you. I hope you enjoy this post and if you like my dating/relationship posts, do let me know in the comments as this is something I'd love to feature more in the future. 

My first 'serious' boyfriend:
I met my first 'serious' boyfriend through my best friend at the time, she knew him from a Christian retreat and I remember her showing me the pictures of him and I was amazed by him and she put us in touch and we began to talk, I can't remember what actually happened from then on, but I remember we got together pretty quickly and we fell in love (or so I thought we were back then) it was a great feeling. I was 15 at the time and I thought we all had it figured out. The few times I met his mum she decided she didn't like me, and from then on, it really didn't work. I was naive to think it would be ok, that we'd fight against his mum and make it work, the whole Romeo and Juliet sitch without the ending. Then one day, we broke up. There was no going back, I thought I was never going to get over it, honestly, my first heartbreak was awful and I didn't think I'd get through it. You'll be shocked to know, I did, in fact, get over it.

The one who wanted us both. 
It was around 8 months later that I met my next boyfriend, through another friend. He was so different from the last, a lot more my type at the time. We both dressed in alternative clothes had similar music taste and he was in a band. Our relationship somewhat was kept a secret and on the down low from his friends and I never knew why. Like it wasn't a secret but he didn't show me off with pride like I had once hoped. It turned out he was in an off relationship with somebody, although they had ended this time for 'good' He'd told me they were over and I believed him, but when things went bad with us, he'd go back to her and visa versa. Eventually, I took myself out of the situation, I wanted someone who actually wanted me and not someone who used me and another girl. Weirdly though, that girl became one of my close friends for many years. Although we don't really speak anymore, I am glad I gained a friend from such a rubbish situation.

The one who couldn't decide: 
I met my next boyfriend in college, which in hindsight wasn't a great idea as we had to spend 4 days a week together and every fight would involve my friends and his and would cause a divide. The whole situation was a mess, we were both going through huge problems with our mental health and we didn't help each other at all. He'd break up with me and then get back together with me a lot, one time he broke up with me 7 times in the space of two days and it confused me. He, in the end, decided to drop out of college, I'm not sure if it was totally linked, however, I wonder what would have happened if we didn't date. We've not spoken at all since we broke up, and for a while, that was hard as we were sort of friends before it happened.

The one I fell out of love with:
Although this post does seem to include me being broken up with a lot, I did end up breaking up with someone who to this day is still my longest relationship. We met through friends at a party, you were so laid back you were basically horizontal. A few years went by and we were happy, but things started to come between us. We didn't share the same hobbies, they'd end up changing our plans a lot to suit other people and the one tragic event changed you as a person and it felt like you just pushed me away completely. Day by day it felt harder to cope with, so I had to walk away. We've since met up and do make better friends and he's now been travelling the world which I am super jealous of, but I know it wouldn't have happened if we were still together. Oh and I still love your mum and stepdad for taking me under their wing and making me feel like part of your family. 

The one who wasn't a perfect match: 
This relationship was one of the weirdest ones I've actually been in, as everyone from the outside could see what we were failing to see from the start. We really didn't go together at all, the majority of our relationship was doing things we both hated. He hated what I wanted to do and I hated it what he wanted to do. We moved into a student house together which for a while was all fun and games, then he became somebody totally different and didn't like the student life anymore. We'd argue more and more until I called time on the relationship. We had moved in together separately so the break up was so awkward as we spent 6 months in a house we both lived in as we had no money to go our separate ways. 

The one who wouldn't commit: 
My last ex isn't one I shouldn't really class as an ex, as he would never admit I was his girlfriend unless he was drunk. He wanted the whole girlfriend thing 70% of the time and the other 30% he wanted to act single. This situation went on for about two months and then it finally came to an end, with him cutting off all communication with me. Which at the time, felt like the worst thing to happen ever, however, now I am so glad he did. Oh hindsight you are a truly beautiful thing, aren't ya? 

The one who is my forever? 
2017 was when I met Will, we hit it off straight away. We went to the same college and university, we didn't know each other as he was the year younger, but we knew loads of people the same. We went our first date to Starbucks and the rest is history. In November of 2018, we got engaged and I couldn't be happier. 

"We can't change the past but we can start a new chapter with a happy ending"