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So very Proud….

It was great to visit the Air Ambulance HQ at Coventry Airport today, to see the Heli and the wonderful crew. It really hit home why I am raising money for this wonderful charity.

I know all the hard work and dedication over the last 6 months throughout my training is greatly appreciated by the team there. The (extremely) cold training runs. The commitment to my strict diet plan. It will all help as in less than 9 weeks, I will be running my first ever marathon for this charity – one that I have been supporting since it was formed 15 years ago. I am so very proud when I see the Heli up close, or even when it flies overhead. I know that my sponsorship will potentially help save someone’s life.

So much is in the mind – it’s such a powerful thing – so I not only have to be physically ready, but also mentally ready. I think I’m 95% there for both. Just gotta give it one last push over the next 8 weeks. I will give it my best shot, and think of the money I am raising as I pound the Blackpool Prom in April – I know I can do this…..



Some might say I have the best job in the world working for Pride of Britain Hotels……I would have to agree. I take my ‘Brand Compliance’ role (or the Brand Police!) for the collection very seriously, and I am immensely proud to be part of this wonderful collection. I thoroughly enjoy visiting the properties; learning about the hotels and the local areas; and working with a great bunch of hoteliers that really do believe in great hospitality.

This week marked a landmark for me. I can now proudly say that I have visited all of the current members in the collection – in England, Wales and Scotland. No easy task, and one that may not have been completed by many others (if any). Thousands of miles, but each and every one worth it, when at the end is a stunning Pride of Britain hotel member.

Pride of Britain Hotels is a collection of (never more than) 50 independent, mostly family-owned hotels in some of the most beautiful locations around the British Isles. Each has its own distinctive style and character, and all are run by people with a passion for great hospitality.

I genuinely believe that the Pride of Britain brand is more widely known now through my gentle persuasion and commitment, and I am passionate about growing the awareness further to help our members.

Should you not have stumbled upon this collection, I will forgive you, but waste no time in checking out the beautiful properties on offer

Do I have a favourite?….. I couldn’t possibly say! ;o)


It’s the little things in life (or a room) that matter….

Whether it be for work or pleasure, I have spent many nights’ away at B&B’s and hotels all over the UK in last 12 months. I get used to being away from MAUN HQ, and have most things I could need in my overnight bag. I’m never without my phone charger, spare clothes to cover most occasions, or
my shoe shining kit – all just some of my stay-away-from-home essentials.Although I plan and prepare, one thing I have noticed during my visits, is the difference in bedroom designs and amenities offered in the rooms. It makes me wonder whether the designers, or even the owners/proprietors stay over at the establishments and experience it as a guest? Perhaps only then would they fully understand the true feedback of a guest stay, and the possible need for some simple solutions…..

  • How about a kettle that actually fits under a tap, so it can be filled easily. Or even a plug near the tea/coffee tray so it doesn’t mean backwards and forwards to the cups with hot water.
  • What about a plug socket next to the bed? People with Apple devices will appreciate the need to charge your phone on a regular basis (overnight) to maintain enough battery power for the next day. 
  • Bath towels big enough to do a proper wrap-around of your body (I could understand this would have been a bigger issue for the old ‘larger’ Stu, but surely the slimmer, leaner Stu should not have issues?).

On a positive note – I’m easily pleased. If I am welcomed to a room that offers fresh milk as standard (for a nice MAUNing cuppa) – that’s always a bonus! I’m sure I’m not the only one that hates the milk in the ‘jiggers’.
I once stayed over at my parents house, and offered them (cheeky) feedback of how to make my ‘business’ stay there more enjoyable. Needless to say to say they took all my comments on board and made changes for my next stay the following week! Admittedly the rate offered there was much more preferential than other establishments I have stayed at this year!! Haha.

What are the things that you like/dislike the most when you stay away from home?
Who gets it right in your opinion? Do tell…. 

End of an era…

Over four years ago, I set up my own company – MAUN Consulting. At that time I concentrated on social media management – looking after a number of accounts and going out and training clients. With this came 24/7 work! Constantly looking at my phone, my iPad, my laptop. Today sees the last social media account I manage handed over to another agency.

My business is still going strong, in its fifth year of trading, but times change. I’m still very proud of the clients I work with, the work I do for them, and the value I add to their business. Long may this continue.

You’ll still catch me on social media – the odd post on Facebook, the occasional tweet – but for me a bit of ‘social media down-time’ is welcomed. It gives me a chance to concentrate more on other new projects I am currently working on – and they are just as exciting.

I’m looking forward to not having to constantly reduce things down to 140 characters!  :o)

Perhaps this mean I might actually talk to people face-to-face a bit more now!

A good Monday night challenge

There’s nothing more than I enjoy than sitting down on a Monday evening and tuning into BBC2 at 8pm. Some may be surprised to know that one of my favourite weekly shows is University Challenge. I absolutely love testing my knowledge along with the teams, and of course enjoy listening to the put-downs that Mr Paxman comes out with.

My personal best is 7 questions correct in a single show – which actually isn’t that bad is it? I even feel good when I get a question wrong, especially when my answer matches that of the boffins on the panel!

I’m determined to get to a double figure of questions answered correctly – so watch this space. I think I’ll need to brush up on religion, the monarchy, chemicals and literature before that happens though!

We’ve been expecting you Mr Bond….

This MAUNing I tuned in to Sky News on my laptop just at the right time – to catch the live announcement and unveiling of the new 007 movie. I grew up (as I am sure did most of you) watching Mr Bond, week in, week out, loving every single moment. I still get excited to this day, when the producers announce that filming has started for a new installment. Naturally, the films have bigger budgets nowadays, bigger star names, more computer enhanced graphics – but the kid in me, still eagerly awaits the release. Anyone else with me on this?

So here’s to SPECTRE hitting the large screens in November 2015 – I can hardly wait!

Daniel Craig - New James Bond movie Casino Royale Spectre

Proud of the Pride….

Sometimes I have to sit back and reflect on how lucky I am.

As many of you will know, my career has mainly been in the hospitality industry, and therefore to continually work with Pride of Britain Hotels (as I have done for the last few years) is something I am extremely proud of.

Pride of Britain Hotels is a consortium of independently owned hotels in the UK – with an emphasis on great hospitality. Currently, there are just shy of fifty member hotels in the luxury consortium – and I’ve had the pleasure in visiting, staying at, or dining at about half of them! I consider myself very lucky. This year I had the pleasure in staying at Dormy House Hotel in the Cotswolds – following their £10m refurbishment. What a hotel! Simply stunning. No wonder it scooped the AA award for ‘Hotel of the Year’ this year (not to mention a number of other hotel and spa awards throughout 2014).

Next on my list is the beautiful Lucknam Park Hotel near Bath, which is the chosen venue to celebrate my 38th birthday in February 2015.