A lifestyle blog all about Birmingham, UK.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

The ultimate way to experience the best of Birmingham; Buckt!

As a Birmingham blogger, I am always on the look out for new and exciting things to do across the city. I am very guilty of spending my evenings in restaurants and bars across the city, but rarely experiencing anything different. If you're keen to spend you 2019 taking part in new and exciting activities, it's time you found out about Buckt. 

I first met the founder of Buckt, the UK's only tickets and activities subscription box, almost three years ago. I interviewed him when I was Journalist, and he told me about his idea for the box, and it's incredible to see that it is now a real, working business which offers people of the West Midlands a whole host of opportunities to get off the sofa, and discover more interesting things going on in the area. 

Buckt is a subscription box which contains five mystery activities in the region to enjoy every single month. It is just £12.50 a month, which is such a bargain considering the price of the activities individually. There's no extra costs either, as your monthly fee covers everything for each activity. The company also offers duo boxes, so you and your partner, friend or family member can take part in the activities together.
Monthly boxes contain a wide range of activities to suit a variety of interests, including traditional activities like cinema and restaurant visits, high end treatments such as beauty treatments and unusual activities like rage rooms and alpaca walking. The box simply comes through your letter box every month, and its always a great surprise looking at what you'll be getting up to that month. 

I was gifted with a Buckt box in 2018 and was fortunate to experience a whole host of activities throughout the year. Just some of my favourites included a rage room, a cinema trip and a Treasure Trail. The Birmingham Rage Room experience was total genius, and such a laugh. Me and my friend headed along and just about managed to smash up everything in the room during what was a particularly stressful time! I couldn't recommend the Rage Room enough, it is so unusual and unlike anything else in the city. 

Another experience I loved was tickets to The Mockingbird Cinema, which is based at the Custard Factory in Digbeth. The Mockingbird is one of my favourite cinemas. It is independent, and such a relaxed atmosphere. As the venue also has a bar and restaurant, you can take in anything you have ordered in that part of the venue into the cinema. Which means when I headed along to enjoy a film with my Buckt tickets, I also enjoyed some chicken and waffles alongside a cider, which of course, made the cinema trip much more fun!

My favourite experience that I have enjoyed with Buckt was the Treasure Trail. Funnily enough, it's not something that I thought I would enjoy at all, but I loved it. There are so many trails to choose from across the West Midlands, so you can either explore your local area or head along to an area you've never been to before. We chose the Trysull, Wombourne and Bratch Locks trail, which isn't too far away from me, but far enough for me to not know the area well.

It was a lovely warm morning when we headed along with our leaflets, which detailed everything we needed to know about the Treasure Trail. Our trail was a 'Murder Mystery' theme, and we set upon the area following all the clues. This meant that not only did we have the suspense of finding out who the murderer was, but also explored the area, and with lovely walks down the canal in the blazing sun, what isn't to love!
I can't recommend Buckt enough. It has been amazing to see how the business has grown from an idea into a subscription box full of experiences that so many people can enjoy. But really, it is a great way to explore and experience activities in the West Midlands, discover new places and spend more time with your loved ones doing fun things. And who knows, you may discover a new hobby! Find out more about Buckt here

*I was gifted with a Buckt subscription box in 2018. I used the experiences throughout the year. 

Saturday, 5 January 2019

REVIEW: Farmer & Friends, Wombourne

Stylish decor, huge milkshakes, hearty and traditional meals; it's safe to say that Farmer & Friends tick the boxes of what I love most in a super cosy cafe and restaurant. Based in the heart of the idyllic village Wombourne, just a stones throw away from Wolverhampton and Dudley, the cafe looks tiny from outside but it's actually quite a large venue and is always busy with locals catching up. It has a wonderful family friendly atmosphere, and should definitely be on your list to check out. 

This isn't the first time I have had the pleasure to head along to Farmer & Friends. However, last time I enjoyed a wonderful meal at their other venue, which is based right out in the countryside on the Bridgenorth Road. Last time, me and Dan enjoyed dishes off their Brunch menu, which was amazing. This time however, considering we had just come from an incredibly stressful IKEA trip (you know the type), we were in need of something a bit more substantial and filling. Before we even got round to looking at the lunch menu though, our eyes headed straight to the milkshakes section. I am a total fool for milkshakes, especially when they are fun and different flavours from just a bottle of Yazoo.

I went for the 'Holy Cow!' 'Mooshake' because A) I loved the name and B) It had a Forerro Roche on top, so SOLD! It was, of course, amazing and such a treat for a Saturday afternoon. Dan went for 'Reeces Pieces' which was a peanut butter shake with a Reeces buttercup. He went quiet for a few minutes whilst drinking it, and that usually means he is in his element.

For lunch, which is served until 4pm, I went for a classic but brilliant dish; a Jacket Potato. Now, I think Jacket's can have a terrible reputation for being a boring dish, but not in my eyes! There was a range of filling options, including chilli and chicken tikka, and I went for the Tuna Mayo. Seriously, stand up for your love of jacket potato. It is the ideal lunch dish; a step up from sandwiches but not quite a full blown meal. Mine at Farmer & Friends was super tasty, filled me right up and was lovely and warm which was hugely enjoyable on a cold day. My meal came with salad and homemade slaw, which was also delicious. Dan went for 'The F+F Club' sandwich, which is chicken, crispy streaky bacon, tomato, lettuce, melted cheese, mayo and barbeque saucce, which is one hell of a sandwich. He loved it, and it was packed full of flavours and was a generous portion. His also came with salad and slaw.

Other dishes on their lunch menu include traditional sandwiches, fish fingers, gourmet sandwiches, burgers, homemade soup, sausage rolls and egg and chips. So there really is something for everyone to enjoy, as well as a Kids menu and of course, the Brunch menu. The venue also offers a whole host of lovely cakes and pastries to enjoy.

It isn't just the food and great atmosphere which makes me love Farmer & Friends so much. I also just adore their decor, especially in their Wombourne cafe. It is super cosy, welcoming and comfy with exposed brick, industrial lighting, and a wide range of comfortable seating to choose from. It feels intimate and very homely, so it's no surprise that it is a very popular place to head to in the village.
I don't know about you, but one of my 2019 resolutions is to spend more time in independent chains across the West Midlands. Farmer & Friends is charming, and clearly a lot of hard work has gone into their venues. I know sometimes it's just too easy and convenient to head into a Costa, but when you can, I urge you to support your independent venues. 

Farmer & Friends: 10/10

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