Why You Should Be Using Smaller Bloggers For Your Marketing Campaign

There has been a big rise in blogging over the last few years and blogging is now a viable career for some (including me), however, there is still a lack of understanding by some about what blogging is and how blogging can help businesses.

What is blogging?

Blogging first started as a way to have an online personal web log, in which a person would write a diary or journal about their day. From web log came the term blog and so blogging was born.
Bloggers typically write about their interests on a regular basis. Popular blog subjects include parenting, beauty, health, gaming and travel. A lifestyle blog often encompasses many of these topics too. 

What is the difference between a blog and a website?

Blogs are updated on a frequent basis, with many bloggers posting weekly or even daily.  Websites often have more static content and are not updated so frequently unless they are a news website or magazine style site.

Blogs also have a more personal connection than websites. Many bloggers write about their personal life and build up their social followers (on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and so on) who like what they write about.

Blogs also allow for reader interaction and engagement on social media, much more so than a traditional website does.

Audience and influence

Bloggers vary in the size of their audience from nano bloggers with typically less than a thousand followers to a micro blogger who has between a 1000 and 10,000 followers, to a macro blogger who has 10,000 followers upwards to 100,000. There are also a number of bloggers with 100,000 followers or more that become minor celebrities. 

Bloggers of a certain level of engagement are often are said to have influence and can be referred to as 'influencers'. They have a higher engagement rate than celebrities who often don't have time to interact with their huge number of followers. 


Bloggers are often seen as more trustworthy than celebs. 

People identify more readily with bloggers and many bloggers have a code of conduct, to only endorse products they really love and to give their honest opinion on an item for review. 

An authentic voice

Trustworthiness and authenticity is key to most bloggers. 

If you find the right blogger for your brand, someone who really loves what they are reviewing or writing about then you have struck marketing gold. Bloggers provide honest feedback that their readers will appreciate.

They are relatable

Bloggers are usually people that are just like their readers. 

They may be the same age, or come from the same background or have the same interests. They are relatable to their readers as they are similar to them. 

Niche and age

There are so many bloggers around the world and although many write about a range of topics, there are also many that have a niche, such as jewellery, luxury, family travel, mental health and so on. 

Bloggers are not just millennials or Generation Z, there are bloggers from the Gen X era and 'baby boomers' too that have a higher level of disposable income and that may appeal to luxury companies. Check out my post on why you should choose a Gen X blogger to promote your brand, and as blogging as a career gets older so does its readership. Of course, blogging is also becoming more appealing to teenagers too.

If your company has a niche area or is aimed at a certain age you should be able to find someone that your brand can relate to, and that will support your brand.

They are affordable

Bloggers are affordable compared to celebrities. They may charge to work with a company but those with a small to moderate following are affordable to the majority of small businesses. 

When you compare the cost of placing a small advert in a local newspaper to the reach of even a small blogger, potentially worldwide, then you can see that bloggers are supremely affordable.

They provide backlinks

Bloggers can provide referrals and useful link backs to your website which is useful for SEO as well as sales. They can really drive traffic and raise your profile to get your brand noticed. They can also improve your sales by being brand ambassadors.

How to work with a blogger

Many bloggers will have contact details on their blog and companies can either contact them on social media or via email with a proposal. This can be a little hit or miss, as the blogger may not love your brand as much as you do. To take a lot of the hassle out of organising a blogger collaboration there are blogger outreach sites available.

Blogger outreach sites such as Get Blogged allow companies to connect with bloggers by posting their requirements and bloggers are then invited to apply for the opportunities. I've personally used this site and they have a range of opportunities for bloggers to apply for on a weekly basis. Here is my affiliate link if you want to sign up as a blogger.

As you can see smaller bloggers are trustworthy, authentic and relatable to their audience and can be a very affordable way of marketing your business. This is why you should be using smaller bloggers for your marketing campaign.

*Collaborative post

Biggest E-Commerce Trends in 2019

E-commerce covers a broad sweep of industries, encompassing any transactions or business that is conducted online or via the internet. This includes banking, real estate contracts, and much else. Retail, of course, makes up a large proportion of these transactions, with people buying and selling everything from second-hand clothes to groceries to antique furniture. Here are some of the expected trends of e-commerce in 2019 and beyond.

Retail and E-Commerce Become One

The retail industry will merge with e-commerce. Retail transactions are expected to comprise almost one-fifth of ecommerce business in the near future and there is scope for this number to swell even more as any differences between the two industries blur away to nothing.

Convenient Delivery

This means that traditional shopping – with patrons visiting premises and choosing from the stock on offer – will decrease. Any suppliers wanting to remain with a predominantly physical presence will find themselves suffering as customers turn to what is more convenient. Even shops like convenience stores who rely on gaining custom out of hours and at weekends, might find themselves struggling as delivery times shorten – some deliveries can already happen within hours of ordering – and people use their devices to order that much-needed milk or bread.

Ethical Concerns

There is a hesitation at present in the growth of online, in part, due to ethical concerns over the treatment of workers and the growing introduction of robots over manpower: driving down costs to management but forcing people either out of work or into long hours in dangerous warehouses. If these large companies can overcome their labour issues, then the convenience of shopping online and having your purchases delivered to your home is sure to win over the public once more.

Pop-Up to the Future

Where a physical presence is needed, there is a growing provision of multi-function spaces – large premises that can be hired for a day or a month in order for events to be held. Whether they are pop-up offerings, promotional or celebratory events, while the real business continues uninterrupted thanks to the online presence that allows people to do their shopping first thing in the morning, just before bed, or even at 3am on a sleepless night.


Finally, social commerce is on the rise. Almost everyone has heard of influencers, Instagrammers or YouTubers who promote products or lifestyles to their thousands of followers. This trend began with pap-shots of celebs or royals in certain dresses or clothing items that then sold out within minutes. The trend is increasingly being monetised by social media savants who seize on popular culture and trends to instantly decree changes in tastes and styles.

This insta-culture can be worrisome as there is little in the way of regulation so far, but it is a very visible platform and any unsafe claims (extreme eating regimens, Gwyneth Paltrow's notorious jade egg, or encouragement to perform dangerous stunts or trespass on private property) are usually called out promptly.

The overall trend for e-commerce is a shift away from trust in large impersonal corporations and towards companies that have a recognisable 'face' attached to them. A good social media presence and prompt responses to queries and issues all help to establish a business as offering good customer service and being generally trustworthy.


How To Become A Landlord

There is money to be made in property and you may be wondering how to capitalise on this when interest rates are so low. One thing you can do is become a landlord but it can seem like a minefield at times.  So here is a simple guide to becoming a landlord.


Are you buying a property for this purpose or do you have one already you will let?

If you are buying a new property to maximise potential, you could look at buying one in an area in demand, such as near colleges or universities or in a tourist destination. 

Type of Let

Are you going for a long-term or short-term let? You could potentially get more money for a short-term let but this could be seasonal. You have more flexibility with a short-term let which means you are not locked into a long-term agreement. A long-term let generally means you get a regular income coming in but the returns may be lower. 

Remember you can earn £7500 tax-free in the governments rent a room scheme.  If you are going down the Air BnB route you should be furnishing the property to a good standard, and provide free Wi-Fi, good quality bedding and towels as this is what is expected these days to get positive feedback.

Furnished or Unfurnished

Will you rent your property furnished or unfurnished? A furnished property can demand more money but you may get items damaged and you will have to factor in replacement costs long-term. 

Don't forget you have a responsibility to provide fixtures and fittings including furniture which is safe to use. Whether you are letting it furnished or not you need to provide smoke detectors, carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers. fire blankets and gas and electricity safety certificates. 

Tenancy agreement

Make sure you have a tenancy agreement in place, which is a contract between you and the tenants. It sets out your responsibilities as a landlord and that of the tenants such as when they will pay their rent. 

Consult a solicitor to ensure you have the correct details. This is a legally binding contract. If you use an agency they will be able to provide a tenancy agreement for you.


If you decide to use an agency to help you let a property you have advantages and disadvantages. 

The biggest advantage is that they can advertise the property for you and also deal with the tenant. The biggest disadvantage is that they take a fee, usually 10% but can be up to 20%. Some people prefer to use an agency as it can be a stress-free 'hands-off' approach to letting without the fuss.


A buy-to-let mortgage is the type of mortgage you need for a new property.

If you still have a mortgage on a current property it is important to inform your mortgage provider as you could get into trouble with them otherwise, as the mortgage was provided in the first place presuming you live there unless you said otherwise.


So you have agreed on a let, then be sure to have the appropriate insurances. 

As well as building cover which is essential a landlord insurance policy is worth considering.  It can cover you for loss of rent if your home is damaged and is inhabitable, accidental or malicious damage by tenants, eviction of squatters and more. 

So here is a simple guide to becoming a landlord.  Let me know, have you ever thought about becoming a landlord

*Collaborative post

Are You Saving Enough For Your Child's Future?

Having a child changes many things in your life. This small person is now the centre of your world. Gone are the days when all you had to look after was yourself.  It's not just you in the world any more, you have this bundle of joy that you have to care for, nurture and protect. 

Although the simple basics of looking after a child aren't that costly - food, clothing, and love, we all went the best for our children, and some things will cost more than you expect. If you want to help your child in the future you should be considering saving for their future. 

Maybe you want to give them a helping hand and save for their college education, maybe you want to put money aside for their first car, or maybe you want to help them get on the property ladder and save for their first deposit. These are all great ideas, and will certainly help your child, but have you thought about how you are going to do this?

Many of us use a mix of Junior ISAs, children's saving accounts, and friendly society tax-exempt plans. In fact, this is what I did saving for my son when he was a child. It was great when he got to 18 and I had some money to help him with the costs of starting university. 

If you are wondering if you are saving enough for your child's future, have a look at this infographic by Shepherds Friendly below. Shepherds Friendly, which is a friendly society, (a mutual association for the purposes of pensions, saving and insurances), surveyed 2000 parents and found out of those surveyed, 43% had thought about opening a savings plan for a child.  Of those that had thought about it, 65% said they would only pay between £10 and £50 a month. 

Now you may think that isn't a lot but it can make a big difference in the long term even if you put £10 aside every month. That is what my mum did for me, start small and then when she could afford it she increased the amount. I remember my mum always saving for my future.  Every month she would pay money to the insurance salesman, who used to collect the money door-to-door. That's what you did in those days. She is clever my mum!

When I was older then, I had money towards my first car. That was a massive help to me when I was a student nurse.

To work out how much to save for your child's future, just think about how much you can realistically afford, times it by 12 and put aside that amount every year. Of course with savings plans, you need to save on a regular basis so that's why it's important to have a realistic idea of the amount you can save. If you think about it, an average cup of coffee is £2.50 and saving the cost of two cups a week for 4 weeks is £20. Then if you can afford it increase it slowly. That's a reasonable amount to start with, that can go towards something nice for your child when they are older, such as their first car, their wedding or going to university. If you have family members that are happy to help, they can set up a savings plan for your child too. T

With the cost of a second-hand car and insurance from £2000, the cost of a new home deposit from £10,000, and university debt running up to £50,000, then any helping hand your child receives will be greatly appreciated I am sure. 

Let me know, do you have a savings plan for your child? Do you think it's a good idea? What would you use the savings plan for?

*Collaborative post

Why You Need to Invest In Make Up Tools

A beautiful face needs the right investment to make it look good. First, you need amazing makeup products like those from Sulwhasoo and then you need to apply it properly. Every makeup artist needs his/her own set of makeup tools to get the perfect look and there are many benefits of having your own makeup tool kit. Having the perfect brushes, sponges, and applicators can really make a difference. It is a good investment, both for those that wear makeup every day and for those amateur and professional makeup up artists that work in the beauty industry.

Here are all the reasons why you need to invest in your own makeup tools:

1. Keeping your own makeup tool set is more hygienic and sanitary

The primary benefit of owning your own makeup tool set is having better sanitation both for you and your makeup client. Makeup tools like brushes, sponges, and applicators come into frequent skin contact, both from your hands and the face of your various clients.

It is important to make sure your makeup tools are clean to prevent skin outbreaks and irritation caused by dirty makeup applicators. It is so much easier to clean and ensure makeup hygiene when you have your own tool kit than sharing or borrowing it from others.

2. You will have better product control and management

Another perk to having your own makeup tool kit is being able to choose your own brush sets, foams, and applicators according to your needs and budget as a makeup artist. You’ll have more freedom to choose which makeup tools to use and buy depending on your needs and preferences.

For example, you may choose to buy an entire brush set from a certain brand only, or mix and match several individual brushes from various brands. You can also decide how many or less of a particular makeup tool you need. You may like to have three eyeshadow brushes instead of just one because you don’t want to mix up eyeshadow palettes or choose to just have one because of a limited budget.

3. Enables for more precise application

One of the greatest perks of owning your own makeup tool kit is that you’re more comfortable and capable of handling the tools you’re going to use, which leads to better and more precise makeup application. You are basically familiar with handling a makeup brush with the right grip and using the right strokes.

Comfortability is an important factor when applying makeup because having the wrong grip or stroke is not going to help you achieve the best results on your client. Furthermore, improper handling of makeup tools will cause joint fatigue on your hands that will diminish your ability to apply makeup on a client’s face, especially when you are applying a makeup look that takes several hours.

4. You can achieve better effects with the right tools.

Using your own makeup tools also delivers better effects on your makeup application. If you are comfortable with handling your tools, you will also be more accustomed to blending correctly and applying the cosmetic product to achieve the desired effect. The cosmetic product may be good and even expensive, but without the right brush or required makeup applicator, the makeup artist may not be able to achieve the right effect.

5. Having the right tools can maximize the products’ effectivity and function.

The right makeup brushes, sponges, and applications can boost and maximize the effectiveness of a cosmetic product. For example, liquid foundation is spread out more easily and with a better finish when it is applied onto the face using a blending sponge than just using your fingers. An even application saves you more time, energy, and the product itself since it ensures that only the right amount of the product will be used due to better application. Having the right brushes also enables your colour palettes to look better because it will be properly applied using the right brush, thus making blending easier and making the colours stand out or harmonize each other.

Investing in your own makeup tool kit is a good idea as it helps you ensure better sanitation, product application, control, and management that greatly benefits any makeup artist by ensuring the makeup process is more comfortable and easier.


How To Discover Your Home Decor Style

Are you planning to decorate your home but stuck for ideas? When it comes to home decor, everyone has their own personal style. However, if it is your first time decorating a home you may not have established your style yet. It is important to understand your interior style, as it will make the design process much easier, whether you decide to take on the project yourself or work with a professional.

To help you uncover your home decor style, you should read these top tips which will allow you to create your dream home.

Get inspired 

If you have no idea how you want your home to look, you need to look out for inspiration which will help you discover different types of interiors and what your preferences are. The best interior influences usually come from Pinterest, where you can find thousands of home decor boards which should get your design juices flowing. You can then create your own Pinterest board or even bring your designs to life on a real-life mood board - all you need is a cork board, pins, and some magazine cutouts.

Looking at properties up close is also beneficial, as it allows you to visualise potential d├ęcor better. You could consider visiting show homes or even the home of a member of your family, or a friend who you think has great style. If you’re looking for professional inspiration, you should look to property experts like RW Invest, who have a variety of luxury apartments available with some of the best on-trend designs.

Look in your wardrobe

One of the best ways to establish your home design style is by looking at your personal style and assessing your wardrobe. By doing this, you can discover your favourite colours, patterns, materials and styles you enjoy and how you translate your fashion choices into your home.

You could even piece together an outfit that you could wear on a normal day, then add a focal piece like a necklace or statement jumper which you would describe as one of your favourite fashion pieces. It may be that your favourite pattern is streamlined stripes and you have a weakness for vintage pieces, so why not take this and use it as a starting point?

Find a focal piece

Another good way to start your interior design planning is to shop around and find one piece of decor that can be used as a focal point, which the rest of the room decor can be worked around. This could be anything from a wallpaper sample to a table centrepiece, whatever it is, make sure it is bold and makes a statement.

Using a focal piece will allow you to make a start, as you then have a reference for the style of the room, which will help you get the creative ball rolling. For example, if you choose a terracotta lamp, you could then start to look at similar coloured wallpaper and neutral furniture to complement it. This will make your interior purchases much easier as you know what to look for to create cohesion in a home you love. 


How to Create A Future Proof E-commerce Website

Trading online is a great way of expanding your business and extending its reach across the globe. For many businesses, e-commerce is the only means with which they sell their goods.

If you are looking to set up an e-commerce site then it’s vitally important that you have a website and a platform capable of growing with your business. The last thing you want is to have to scrap it all and start again in a few years, as this is both very expensive and very time-consuming.

So, how can you ensure that you create an e-commerce website that you won’t outgrow?

Business Basics

It’s vital to get the basics of what you want to achieve right from the start. Decide what you want to offer and think about why it’s different from what other people are selling. Check out your competitors’ websites and see what they are offering and how. It’s not usually a good idea to compete in a race to the bottom on price; instead, look at how you can add value, perhaps by offering gift wrapping or extras related to the product.

It’s important to set a budget too. Decide how much you want to spend on setting up a website and work out how much you will need to sell to recoup that cost. Building an e-commerce site from scratch is costly and time-consuming, so you’ll probably want to invest in a web developer to help you put the site together. You should first choose what kind of platform you want to use though.

Choosing an E-commerce Platform

There are loads of off-the-shelf e-commerce packages, such as Shopify or Magento. These not only let you sell from your own site but via established platforms including eBay and Amazon Marketplace. They are also relatively simpler to setup than building a site from scratch and also feature a range of add ons and extras to help you with everything from SEO to dropshipping.

Getting the platform right is important as once you’re set up and running, it’s a very difficult exercise to swap your site over to another platform. It’s important therefore to research each platform and understand what it is you want to achieve from it.

Site Design

Having established what it is that you want to achieve from your e-commerce site you can turn your attention to the site design itself. The look of your site needs to reflect what it is you are selling. A site whose purpose is to sell tickets online for music concerts may want a modern and funky vibe. Alternatively, a website that’s selling formal evening wear may opt for something far more traditional and refined. Getting the look and feel of your site right is essential if you want to really grow your brand online.

It can help to take a look at what your competitors are doing online but never try to emulate or copy what they’re doing wholesale but, instead, try to take lessons from it. What does it do right? What does it do wrong? You might find that there’s a particular style used by people in your sector. Most e-commerce platforms offer a range of templates so you can build something to suit your needs but still have it look distinctive.

Once you’ve built the site you need to test it and make sure everything looks and works as it should. It’s a good idea to get someone else to help here as it’s easy to overlook issues such as spelling errors.

Hosting and Payment Gateway

You need a site that’s reliable, so choose who you want to host it with care too. Some platforms offer their own hosting, whilst with others, you need to find your own. Take a look at independent reviews and see how other people rate the service. Cheapest may not always be best here. Similarly, consider how you are going to take payments; most e-commerce platforms are able to handle credit cards and services including PayPal. Make sure your chosen provider supports the services you need and has appropriate security controls in place. They must comply with PCI DSS standards.

Search Engine Optimisation

When your site is finished and live, you need to make sure that people can find it. Having a fully researched and comprehensive SEO strategy for your ecommerce site is an absolute must. This will ensure that your site ranks well in the search engines and will ultimately help you deliver traffic and sales for your business.

This means ensuring that your site contains keywords appropriate to your business sector, again research successful competitors to see what works and making sure that your content is kept up to date. Factoring in SEO should also inform your choice of e-commerce platform. From Shopify to Squarespace, not all e-commerce platforms are as SEO friendly as each other, so do your research and try to find one that you or your SEO agency can work with.

If you're new to all of this (or even if you do have a bit of knowledge) then there really is no substitute for working with professional web developers and SEO people. A quick search online will bring up a host of local providers so take the time to research a few and get an idea of pricing so you can budget for it, as this initial investment will always pay for itself many times over further down the line.

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Common Expenses To Have A Plan For

It is hard to save money. Many of us are paying more in bills and our paychecks are not growing. However, it is still important for you to try to save money for a rainy day and an emergency fund is a great idea to cover unexpected costs.

There are several things that you will need to plan for.

Car Repairs

Chances are your car is one of your most important possessions. You need it to get just about everywhere. That is why if it breaks down, then it can create a major inconvenience for you. Fortunately, if you budget for car repairs, then you can get it repaired quickly.

There are also other things that you can do to protect your car and reduce the need for repairs. You can keep your car functioning properly for a longer period of time by getting regular maintenance. You can also protect your car by driving safely.

Many people take out a cash advance when their car breaks down. Turning to loan advance companies for quick cash is a convenient option in this situation, but it shouldn’t become a recurring solution to chronic car problems. You’re much better off saving your money for a down payment on a newer vehicle with less mileage

Home Repairs

Your home appliances are guaranteed to break down at some point. Structural components like the roof and foundation can also fail over time. It is a good idea to set aside at least one per cent of your income for getting home repairs done when necessary. You should also follow up on home maintenance on a regular basis.

Unplanned Travel

A vacation is something that you typically plan for in advance. However, there may be times when you have to go out of town on short notice. For example, you may have to travel due to an illness or death in the family. This is not something that you can really plan for. Sign up to hotel loyalty schemes that will give you a free stay is one way of dealing with this but if you don't have enough points, your emergency fund can also help in these circumstances so set aside some money for it.

Pet Emergencies

If your pet is seriously injured or ill, then the cost will likely be the last thing on your mind. However, the massive cost is something that you will be faced with after the emergency is over. Consider paying into a pet insurance scheme to cover these costs, alternatively saving an amount for unexpected bills is a good idea so you are not hit with a massive bill if your beloved pet gets ill.

Health Care Bills

We are lucky in the UK that we have the NHS, but if you want to go private, health insurance is designed to cover your doctor's visits, prescription medication, and hospital stays. If you don't have this cover you may have to wait a long time to be seen by a specialist. Check out a site like 
Accendo Medicare supplement if you live in the US. Paying to go private is an option and having an emergency fund to do this is another good idea if you don't want to go down the health insurance route.

Funeral costs

As we get older this is one thing that we need to think about - the funeral costs. With the average funeral running into thousands then having a lump sum set aside for funeral bills means our loved ones won't have to worry about this expense at this distressing time.

Life can sometimes hit us with things that we do not expect. However, if you can plan for unexpected emergencies, then it will be easier to deal with them. Pet emergencies, unplanned travel, home repairs, car repairs, and medical bills are some of the things that you will need to plan and save up money for.

Let me know, do you have an emergency fund?

*Collaborative post

A Stay In The Village Hotel Club Bristol For Bristol Fashion Week Festival

We like Bristol. It's a great city with so much to see and do and some fabulous shopping. So when we were invited on a press trip to Bristol to stay at the Village Hotel Club Bristol and cover some of the events at Bristol Fashion Week then I could hardly say no, now could I?

The Village Hotel Club Bristol is a newly opened hotel, a short drive from the city centre in Filton, and less than two miles from fantastic shopping at The Mall at Cribbs Causeway. 

We checked in quickly with the receptionist who was cheerful and informative. There was also a self-service check-in available too.

First impressions of the hotel were good. Everything was clean, modern, cool and contemporary.  I really liked the bright decor!

In the foyer, there is a Starbucks coffee shop, perfect for your morning Americano or mid-morning snack and also the Village hotel 'Pub and Grill' for all-day dining. We would be eating in the Pub and Grill the next day so more of that later.

Room review

Our room was a club room on the 5th floor and it really had the wow factor. Now I have to admit it wasn't the biggest room in the world but it made up for this in the decor, the room features and technology. 

A nice little welcome.

Firstly, how cool is this decor? I am not a fan of the beige and browns you get so often in a room so this made a refreshing change. 

Rather than some soggy biscuits, an apple was complimentary in the room (It would have been nice if we had two though).

The bathroom was super modern and included features such as electric blinds, a magnifying mirror with adjustable lighting and a huge rainfall shower.

I was pleased to see proper size bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash. So much more eco-friendly than the tiny bottles of toiletries you get in most hotels, with all the plastic waste. The ESPA products smelt lovely too. Other eco-friendly features include the half flush on the toilet and the ability to use the smaller shower head instead of the rainfall shower.

A quirky 21st-century feature of the bathroom was the privacy door. As the bathroom door is glass, at a touch of a button you can make the glass opaque so no one can see you. Such a cool feature. If you are not that familiar with the person you are sharing a room with though, it could be a bit of an issue, the sound from the bathroom does carry, so best to book a separate room. 

As there were so many interesting gadgets, there was a sheet in the room explaining these and how they worked. 

The room had a Tassimo coffee machine, Dyson hairdryer and an Alexa - Amazon's virtual assistant.

The Dyson was super quick at drying hair, which for £300 if you had to buy one, I would definitely want it to be! The Tassimo was great and came with a range of pods as well as sugar and milk for those coffee hits. 

The Alexa was a little temperamental. They are always like this though and we had fun asking it questions. If you said "Alexa, Ask Village...." and any questions about the hotel it would tell you the answer.  A nifty feature.

The TV was a massive 55inch HD TV and came with Sky Sports and movies as well as all the usual channels. You can also check out of the room on the TV which is useful if you are short of time. A Chromecast was another feature in the room, which allows you to stream from your devices but we didn't use this. 

If you want room service there is a menu available and you can order it from the Village Hotel app. The prices for main courses seemed average for a hotel, the starters were a bit more expensive than I thought they would be but the portions are large. 

Tribute night

So after freshening up, we started to get ready for the evening ahead - an Ed Sheeran and Beyonce tribute act in the hotel's function room. The hotel holds these every weekend and they cost £30 per person including a three-course meal. Drinks are not included but there is a bar available.

The room was nicely set out and the tribute acts were good.

Even though we are not fans of Ed Sheeran he did look and sound like him and got the crowd going, as did the Beyonce tribute, a very effervescent lady who had so much energy!

The three-course meal consisted of butternut squash soup with warm bread rolls, a roast turkey dinner and a raspberry and cream mousse. The starter was particularly good and for the price of the meal and entertainment, I thought it was great value.

So that night after being well fed and truly entertained we retired to our room and had a great night's sleep.

The next morning breakfast was included in our rate and was in the Village Pub and Grill. It consisted of a buffet breakfast with a choice of hot and cold food. It wasn't a hugely extensive breakfast but it suited our needs and included tea and coffee, long life juices, cereals, yoghurt, croissants and melon as well as bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs, mushrooms and beans. One of the bloggers we were with is gluten intolerant and they did have gluten free bread available as well as soya milk.

Leisure facilities

After breakfast, I went for a swim to work it all off. If you are staying in the club room you get the use of the leisure facilities for free. This includes the pool, a state of the art gym, and exercise classes. Mr W was very impressed with the gym and if you are a local I think the off-peak rate for a monthly pass is around £35.  If you have a regular room you do have to pay £5 for access to the leisure facilities.  Everything was clean, modern and high-tech and the leisure facilities are a huge plus point if you are staying here.

Les Mills event 

After checking out the pool and gym I popped along to the Les Mills launch event. Les Mills is a fitness programme that runs classes throughout the world. Their mission is to create a fitter planet and their classes from Body Pump, to Body Combat combine exercise to music. Every few months they revitalise their classes and create new moves to keep everything fresh so today was the launch of their new season of classes.

The class had so much energy that I really wished there were Les Mills exercise classes near me. Unfortunately, I live in a small town on the South Wales coast where the average age is 80, but I live in hope! 

Bristol Fashion Show Festival 

Then it was a quick change and a short ten-minute drive to the Mall at Cribbs Causeway for the Bristol Fashion Show Festival. This ticketed event was a lot of fun. As well as the tents that included beauty and style makeovers you got three  30 minute events - a catwalk show, a styling workshop and Caryn Franklin, TV presenter and broadcaster in conversation with some of the top UK fashion influencers. 

I was greeted at the entrance and offered a complimentary soft drink or glass of bubbly. A nice touch!

I booked myself in for a free 10-minute style consultation. I was asked which styles I like and was shown some of the new designs out this season. I think I probably needed to be more specific in what I wanted out of this session, as I wanted to be shown items I wouldn't normally wear.  If you wish to do this in future I would go for the more in-depth style consultation for 30 minutes at a small charge.

After this, I went into the beauty hall. There were makeovers, beauty treatments and hair being styled by companies such as Lush, Clinique and GHD. I had a mini makeover at Benefit which I enjoyed. 

I am a big fan of Benefit and have used a number of their products over the years so I was keen to see what they could do for my eyebrows. The makeup artist was really helpful in explaining how to apply the products and how to shape my eyebrows. I always struggle to get my brows just right and with the help of Gimme Brow volumizing eyebrow gel and Precisely My Brow eyebrow pencil, my eyebrows looked the best they had ever been. 

Then it was time for the first event, a discussion with Caryn Franklyn in conversation with Sonny Turner and Zoe De Pass, two fashion influencers. Sonny is an influencer that has curves and who celebrates body positivity, whilst Zoe is a London based content creator that works on changing misconceptions that being a mum doesn't mean you have to dress 'mumsy'.  

Anecdotally people seem to see influencers like this as a relatable side of fashion. Not everyone is a size 8 and 5 foot 10 and women want to see other people that look like them in the fashion industry. Caryn asked how many people there read blogs and almost all the hands went up. 

Sustainability and ethical fashion were flagged up as an area to watch. Caryn suggested that you ask your favourite fashion brand what they can tell you about their carbon footprint about their worker's conditions. When they are asked this on a regular basis it may make them realise people want change.

Next off, it was time for the catwalk show. I was impressed with the diverse range of models used, of all shapes, sizes and ages, with abilities and disabilities and with different skin tones.

Spring/Summer designs for 2019 I loved included Florals, Print Mix, New Neutrals and Going Wild.

The last session was a styling workshop where the founder of the Image Consulting Co, Emmeline Stevens talked about fashion to help you feel good about yourself.

The Bristol Fashion Week Festival was a fun event that was worth going to. I loved the interesting discussion with Caryn Franklin and the influencers about body positivity. This is one area that the fashion industry really needs to change, using models of all shapes, sizes and appearances to reflect society.
Tickets were priced at £15.50 with 50 pence going towards the Be Real Campaign that works towards changing attitudes to body image and putting health above appearance. This charity works with schools, individuals, businesses and public bodies. A very worthwhile cause.

So then it was time to head back to our hotel. 

Evening meal

That evening we met with the manager Mark and sales manager David for our evening meal. Mark and David were obviously proud of their hotel and David talked passionately about the work of Village Green and how the Village Hotel Club Bristol are starting to work with the local community and disadvantaged youths. I didn't realise that the Village Hotels support their local communities in this way, so this was a nice surprise.

So onto our meal. You can order your food on an Ipad provided, the Village Hotel app or at the bar - a great use of technology yet again.

We ordered hummus and Korean BBQ chicken tacos for starters. The tacos were good but the real star was the hummus which was topped with a delicious red pepper pesto. Served with tortilla chips it made a substantial starter.

Mr W had chicken peri-peri skewers next and I had the half pound burger. The skewers were good and the spicy sauce took the dish up a notch. Not for the faint-hearted when it comes to heat!

The burger was made with good quality beef, and although slightly overcooked came with a great kale coleslaw. Fries were lightly cooked and crispy and were excellent. 

Desserts available sounded delicious and included a baked vanilla cheesecake with strawberry sauce and a four-layer chocolate fudge cake with whipped cream. We were too stuffed to try any, unfortunately. 

So time for bed again, and after breakfast the next morning, it was time to check out. 

We enjoyed our stay in Bristol for the Bristol Fashion Week Festival. The Village Hotel Club in Bristol is a great hotel, close to the Mall at Cribbs Causeway and a short drive from the centre of the city. The club rooms are bright in design and technologically advanced. The leisure facilities in this hotel were some of the best we've ever experienced for a moderately priced hotel. Check out the video below that Mr W created for our dedicated travel blog Fly Drive Explore.

If you love fashion, I also highly recommend the Bristol Fashion Week Festival, which had a great body positive message.  I would definitely visit both the hotel and the festival again in the future. 

Let me know, what do you think of the Village Hotel Club Bristol? Would you visit the Bristol Fashion Week Festival next year?

* This was a press trip, I was not paid for the trip and all opinions are my own.