25 February 2015

My Travelodge stay | Review

Travelodge Birmingham Central Bull Ring

It's fair to say that a lot of people have negative views on Travelodges. Personally, I've never had a horrible experience in a Travelodge. In fact, they've all been pleasant.

I was invited to try out the Travelodge last month, and so I decided to see what Travelodge Birmingham Central Bull Ring was like, especially since its refurbishment and 'new look'. I've stayed at the Travelodge on Broad Street, and needless to say you can only handle that place if you're drunk... So I was intrigued to see how this one differs.

From the outside, it's not great. It's really close to the Arcadian (it always amazes me how close everything actually is in Birmingham!) and walking distance from the train stations. It was very quick and easy to check in, and the staff were actually quite friendly.

Travelodge Birmingham Central Bull Ring
Travelodge Birmingham Central Bull Ring
Travelodge Birmingham Central Bull Ring
Travelodge Birmingham Central Bull Ring

I actually thought the room itself was nicely presented. It's got a lovely blue accent wall and colourful wall hanging to match. I swear most of the time, Travelodges are just white and minimal, but it felt a bit more cosy. It's definitely a one/two night stay hotel, as you get a small rail to hang your clothes, a small desk (with no mirror) and a view of the car park... I guess that could be worse though! I actually got a bit excited about the bottle opener attached to the desk, how useful!

The room appeared to be pretty clean, although the carpet probably needed hoovering a bit more. The bathroom was also really clean... In fact, it was probably the cleanest Travelodge bathroom I've ever set foot in.

Travelodge Birmingham Central Bull Ring

We were lucky enough to have breakfast during our stay too, which was... Okay. The restaurant wasn't busy in the slightest, so the buffet obviously hadn't been replaced in a while and most of the food was getting cold. You do get a selection of cereal, croissants, yoghurt, toast etc as well though, so there was still enough choice to keep you going. It probably costs a bit too much for the quality though...

Overall, if I needed a quick, cheap hotel stay in Birmingham again, I probably would stay in the Central Bull Ring hotel! Don't expect too much, and it's actually pretty good!

Disclaimer: I was invited to stay at Travel Birmingham Central Bull Ring for free. All views and opinions are my own.
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18 February 2015

Speick Natural Face Intensive Care Cream in Rich | Review

Speick Natural Face Intensive Care Cream in Rich
Speick Natural Face Intensive Care Cream in Rich
Speick Natural Face Intensive Care Cream in Rich
Speick Natural Face Intensive Care Cream in Rich - £12

I've never heard of Speick before - it's a German brand (which means it already get extra points from me), offering natural skin care products for women and men. Made purely with natural ingredients, I was excited to see what the products were like as I much prefer to use non-perfumed products on my face due to its dryness and sensitivity.

Speick's Natural range includes the Intensive Care Cream. Speick has 3 versions of this - Light, Medium and Rich - I received the Rich version which is for dry and stressed skin. I've started using this during my nighttime routine when my skin is in need of a serious pick-me-up.

My first thoughts of this product is that it stinks... You can really tell it's natural as it has a strong scent of plants (but not floral... I can't even describe it). I guess that's expected but I'm still trying to get used to it!

The product itself is a very thick cream. You're supposed to apply the cream generously as a 'regenerative face mask', and wipe away any excess cream after 15-20 minutes. The cream does tend to soak into your skin and there isn't much excess to wipe away.

My skin does feel quite moisturised afterwards, but using a cotton pad to wipe away the cream almost defeats the point of doing this. Maybe I need to use a muslin cloth instead. I think this is good for a pick-me-up, but it's not the best. And I still can't get over the smell...

Would I repurchase this? I'm not entirely sure for £12. It's good but it's not great.

Disclaimer: I was sent this product for free to review. All views and opinions are my own.

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11 February 2015

Bodega Cantina in Worcester | Review

Bodega Cantina in Worcester

Alex and I were invited to check out the new Bodega Cantina restaurant in Worcester - a fab South American restaurant offering fresh, authentic street food and cocktails. I've heard great things about the original Birmingham branch so we were pretty excited to try out the menu... Especially since it was our second anniversary too!

Bodega Cantina in Worcester

On first look, we absolutely loved the decor - I wanted to steal the duck egg blue dining chair Alex was sitting on! I felt too rude taking photos of the decor as it was quite a busy Friday night in Bodega. It's got quite a laid back feel to it but you didn't feel crowded or too close to other people even when it started getting busy. We had our own space to enjoy the evening.

Bodega Cantina in WorcesterBodega Cantina in Worcester
Bodega Cantina in Worcester

It took us a while to decide what to have from the cocktail menu. There was so much to choose from! In the end, Alex choose a Brum Runner (rum mixed with banana, blackberry liqueur, pineapple juice, fresh lime and molasses syrup) which he really enjoyed. He's not much of a fan of rum but, even though it was pretty strong with the alcohol, he drank the lot and preferred his cocktail to mine. I had the Raspberry Caipirinha (Cachaca, muddled with raspberries, limes , sugar and raspberry liqueur) - again, my cocktail was heavy on the alcohol but it was lovely and quite refreshing to drink.

After food, I also ordered a Peruvian Wiseguy (Pisco shaken with grapefruit, lemon and elderflower liqueur). I prefer fruity cocktails, so I thought the mixture of grapefruit, lemon and elderflower would work for me. Unfortunately it was a bit too lemony for me, but I still drank it! I think I started to get a little bit too drunk to care...

Bodega Cantina in Worcester
Bodega Cantina in Worcester
Bodega Cantina in Worcester

For food, we went for meals from the Large Plates section because, hey, we were hungry. I had the Bodega Burrito - a street food burrito filled with smoky BBQ beef brisket, rice, black bean and cheese, with a side of sweet potato fries. This was SO good. You can choose how hot you want it, and I chose Medium which was pretty risky. Luckily, I managed it but I think I'd prefer to go for mild next time. Sweet potato fries are potentially my favourite thing ever too.

Alex chose the Bodega Chilli, which included a hint of dark chocolate, rice and homemade tortilla chips. This tasted really good, as the chocolate created a richer flavour to the chilli without being overpowering. The homemade tortillas were great too!

We also ordered a side of Red Wine Glazed Chorizo. This was so tasty, with sliced sautéed chorizo, peppers and red onion in a red wine sauce. There wasn't much chorizo to go around both of us, but it was still delicious. I ended up dipping my sweet potato fries in the sauce because it was SO nice.

Bodega Cantina in Worcester

For dessert, I really wanted to try to Alfajores - Argentinian shortbread biscuits filled with dulce de leche and served with toffee ice cream - but they didn't have any available. GUTTED. So instead, I chose the Chilli Chocolate Brownie and Alex chose the Churros.

The chocolate brownie was delicious and melted in your mouth, but it was way too hot for me. The 'hint' of chilli really hurt my throat! I was able to swap the rum and raisin ice cream for toffee ice cream though, which was lovely and helped to cool me down. The warm churros were also pretty good. Alex did say that he prefers them with some sugar on, but luckily the rich caramel sauce did help bring some extra sweetness to it!

All in all, we really enjoyed our visit to Bodega. It's got a great feel to the place, we didn't have to wait too long for food, and when it arrived it didn't disappoint. If you like South American food, you'll love the place. If you love hot food, I'd be careful of some aspects to the menu and don't be too risky like I was! We'll definitely visit again one day - Nachos and Alfajores (and Burritos again, I'm sure) are definitely on our list!

Disclaimer: I was invited to review the restaurant for free. All views and opinions are my own.

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08 February 2015

Photoblog: January 2015 (Part 2)

Dani JohannaEggs and soldiersSausage casserole
Bodega Cantina in Worcester
Date nightHome baked cookiesHot chocolate in Costa
Five Guys, BirminghamDani Johanna and JessDani Johanna and Alex

1. FOTD. | 2. Dippy eggs. | 3. Boyfriend can cook. | 4. Bodega. | 5. Anniversary. | 6. Spot of baking. | 7. Costa catch up. | 8. Five Guys. | 9. Me and my girl. | 10. Me and my boy.

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04 February 2015

eos Smooth Sphere Lip Balm in Strawberry Sorbet | Review

eos Smooth Sphere Lip Balm in Strawberry Sorbet
eos Smooth Sphere Lip Balm in Strawberry Sorbet
eos Smooth Sphere Lip Balm in Strawberry Sorbet - £4.78 (Amazon)

I've heard so many good things about eos that I had to find out what all the hype was about. Is it bad that I still don't get the hype?

I've been trying this product on and off for the past month and, although the scent of strawberry sorbet is good enough to eat, I don't think the lip balm is doing much to help my lips this winter.

With shea butter and jojoba oil, you'd think this lip balm would keep your lips moisturised, smooth and very soft... I'd say my lips felt this way for 10-15 minutes until it faded away. It didn't do much in all honesty for me! It's a nice-to-have but I'm not in a rush to repurchase it at all.

The packaging is super cute though!

What do you think of eos lip balms? Have I missed the hype?

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