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* 

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*