This was quite an exciting invitation to pop into my inbox! I blog about my Nice Days Out and my holidays exploring the UK's cities (and their excellent museums) but I've never really thought of myself as a "proper" travel blogger... and I definitely haven't had any invitations before from hotel chains to come stay at one of their recently refurbished hotels and eat nice food and generally have a very fancy time for free.
There was a time in my life when impostor syndrome (and general anxiety about going on my own to hang out with total strangers) would have gripped me pretty hard and I would have emailed back with sad apologies, pretending to be busy that weekend or something. But (happily!) that time has passed, so I sent an email back which was only slightly more restrained than YES PLEASE OMG THAT SOUNDS AWESOME... and rocked up at the Grand on Friday afternoon, ready for some fun times.
Normally when I blog about my travels I don't tend to mention the hotels I stay in because, honestly, they are really not worth mentioning. I'm usually on a tight budget and stick to the absolute basics hotel-wise to save a bit of cash. It was a wonderful treat to stay at such a nice hotel, one where just sitting in your room or having a shower in the morning feels like a delicious luxury (let alone the possibility of a dip in the hotel pool).
I feel like I might have to stretch my budget a little for my future trips! I mean, how nice is this hotel room? I am particularly in love with that chair.
All serious travel bloggers take stupid selfies in hotel bathroom mirrors, right??
After taking a lot of ridiculous selfies (you think that one's daft, you should have seen the ones I deleted...) I made tea (of course, gotta have tea), tested out the bed (v comfy) and the biscuits (v tasty)...
... then headed downstairs to the bar to meet everyone for drinks and dinner.
The Grand has beehives (housing 40,000 bees) on its roof, which were the inspiration behind Keepers Kitchen & Bar (Keepers, geddit? Like beekeepers?). The restaurant's decor has a subtle bee theme, with hexagon motifs and pops of yellow, and their homegrown (harvested? whatever the right word is, please imagine I wrote it here like someone who knows about this stuff) honey pops up in a lot of the dishes on the menu.
After some introductions and lots of oohing over the fancy cocktails, we sat down for dinner. It was steak night and the steak proved a popular option...
... but as I'm vegetarian, I opted for a veggie pizza (yum).
There was much photographing of the food, of course, and lots of Instagram-ing during dinner - the great thing about hanging out with other bloggers is that no-one minds when you do this stuff cos they're doing it too!
We all even took our phones/cameras to the loos because it turned out they were really rather fancy and definitely photoworthy...
After dessert and a lot of nattering, I decided to call it a night and went back to my room to get a good night's sleep...
... aaaand I'll be blogging about what we got up to on Saturday on Friday. Now I come to type that out it sounds a bit confusing but basically, come back soon for part two :)
Disclosure: as mentioned above, I was a guest of Mercure Hotels UK and received a free night at Mercure Bristol Grand and free meals during my stay, but this is not a sponsored post - I wish I could get paid to blog about staying in lovely hotels but, alas, this is just an ordinary blog post about a very fun weekend!