blogging, days out, Hotel Review, Musings of Matt Doy, Uncategorized, Weekends Away

The Cobden Hotel and Birmingham – Don’t stay there

So a few months ago, Emma was planning to attend a networking event in Birmingham. I hadn’t ever been to Birmingham before, so it was going to be the first time for the both of us. Emma needed a hotel that was reasonably priced, within distance of the venue and one that needed on site parking. This seemed to rule out a number of hotels in the city.

We eventually found one called the Cobden Hotel in the Edgbaston area. It ticked the necessary boxes and seemed quite reasonable with some fair customer reviews. The journey was just over 3 and a half hours, so we left late morning. The drive wasn’t too bad until we got closer to the Midlands. People think drivers down this way are crazy, you simply haven’t seen some of them up in the Brum.

Anyway, having eventually arrived at the hotel, all seemed ok. We went in and to be honest it wasn’t the most welcoming hotel reception. Dour and drab and not exactly welcoming. The reception staff were hardly the most chirpy. We let that go as we know reception staff are only human and have all sorts of customers to deal with.

We got into the lift and boy did it stink, it was hard to guess or even want to take a guess at what the aroma was. Thankfully it was only three floors. I’m was almost sure it couldn’t get any worse… We arrived at the room and er well, it wasn’t the greatest. Just like the reception, there was no life. Yes I know it was a reasonably priced hotel, but you would still expect more warmth than a mortuary. Well there was warmth in fact too much. Two radiators giving out more warmth than either of the receptionist.

The remaining interior of the room was much to be desired too. The desk was slightly damaged and could have been patched up, the mattress was a bit springy in fact too springy.

We decided to head out to the Bull Ring  ventured to TGI Friday down the road and after a 45 minute wait which turned out to be more than an hour and a disappointing meal. I ordered a chicken burger, thought I’d go for something different, sadly the chicken burger was disappointing, disappointing to the fact that I had tasted better from a local chip shop in St Peters, is quite something.

Having returned to the hotel room, which yet again sounded an alarm when using the key to open we flicked the tv on. What choice we had on Freeview, BBC1, BBC2, BBC3,Red Quest, ITV and other usual channels seemed to have ‘No Signal’. I know you don’t go to a hotel to watch tv but when you want to relax before sleeping, limited tv doesn’t help. I guess though with the walls being not so thick that we could hear the people in the next room talking away as loud as they could.

There was no fridge either. Some may say so what, but I have stayed in a £20 a night B&B that had a room with a fridge. In order to keep the milk cold that we bought, we had to fill up the basin. That of course didn’t help when we wanted to make a cup of tea as not only did we have to empty the basin, but because of the tap size and angle, I ended up having to fill the kettle with a plastic cup that we were provided. The water needed running a while so it became clear. Talking of water, the toilet hardly flushed properly. I would have complained but I had dread to think what the alternative could have been.

Sunday faired better, a trip to the Sealife Centre was enjoyable. For all the fuss of being a city, it seemed no busier than a Sunday in Canterbury. We had lunch in the Smoke Haus. A fab meal and a mocktail. The burger was freshly made and had the home made feel about it. The Smoke Haus though is something that I would recommend for anyone going to Birmingham.

Come Sunday evening an attempt at going to bed early disappeared quicker than a Kent batting line up. We decided to check out before midnight even if it meant a 4 hour journey home in the early hours with added thick fog every so often.

Safe to say we won’t be making another leisure visit anytime soon.

Just to sum it all up, just down the road was a Premier Inn WITH PARKING!!!!!!

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Album Review, blogging, Music, Musings of Matt Doy, Uncategorized

Beginnings – Hannah’s Yard album review

Beginnings, the debut album from Hannah’s Yard came out last year but it’s only now that Ive actually managed to sit down and listen to this album and I have to say it’s a great album from a talented young artist. Beginnings is a great way to start a career and young Hannah Layton Turner,who is 21, yes 21 has had a busy but amazing couple of years. With the support and guidance from her fellow musicians and writer and I can only imagine that Hannah a will continue to have more success.

When you read that Hannah’s Yard has featured on various BBC regional radio stations whilst getting high praise from well known stars such as Paul Carrack,  you know this artist and  her supporting musicians are certainly going to do very well under the Yard Name .Not only that they have been asked to record a video session for the radio and tv legend that is ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris and that is something to be proud of.

The album  covers more than one genre, but don’t let that make you think that Hannah is trying to find her way, far from it. Hannah has a voice that easily carries over well.  The track Make Your Mind Up features Hannah’s vocals from when she was 15, yes only 15, a remarkably talented young lady. Closing the album with the classic hymn Amazing Grace that  is one that is  a great way to finish. The her take is simple with no big effects or bagpipes to accompany her, just her voice backing from her fellow musicians. It beautiful and gentle and can be taken with great credit.

The rest of her album consists of some really fine songs, where you find yourself either singing along or just chilling to her tracks. The tracks Baby I’m There, Dream With Me and Dance Our Way back Home are three tracks that definitely give you a happy and chilled vibe. Hannah along with the Yard, is a young woman who has fab voice and has a long career ahead of her and one that is heading only upwards. You might not have heard of her before, but you have now and will definitely in the years to come.