Sutton Coldfield is a town in the suburbs of Birmingham, West Midlands. Also known as Sutton or Royal Town of Sutton Coldfield, it’s considered the most affluent area in the county, with low crime rate and low level of unemployment. Whether you’re spending the weekend around the area or you’re about to move to Sutton, you can find some tips on exciting things to do.

Here’s a list of things on why Sutton Coldfield is a great place!

It’s incredibly popular

Looking for a house can be stressful, especially when deciding what zip code to move to. According to reports, Sutton is an incredibly sought-after town, as well as one of the most expensive post codes in the West Midlands.  

Families are attracted to Sutton because of the local schools, which are some of the best in the Midlands, and it is renowned to be one of the best places to raise children in the UK! While this may not be of interest if you’re just passing by, it’s important to know that Sutton is super close to Birmingham city centre, less than 20 minutes away by train!

Green space

One of the main reasons why it’s so popular is the green space. It is home to Sutton Park, a national nature reserve and home to many activities, such as horse riding, jogging and golf. The Park is also home to a wide variety of animals and plants and is one of the largest ones in the whole of Europe. Quite impressive!

More specifically, some of the most popular activities include a kid’s playground, ideal if you’re spending the day with your family. The Park is also home to the Birmingham’s Donkey Sanctuary, where you can interact with a group of lovely donkeys throughout organised activities. Ideal if you’re with children or if you’re an animal lover! The Sanctuary will soon be open to the public.

Vibrant town centre

While the park is a big plus and buyers are attracted to the green in the area, let’s not forget the town centre. Outside the centre of Birmingham, Sutton is the place with the most restaurant and shops. This is great to spend a day shopping away from the busy Bullring, while enjoying a different scenery. The restaurants vary from chains to local businesses, and there is a great variety depending on what you’re craving.

While the town is mostly known to attract families, it’s also attractive for young people looking for some fun, with many clubs and pubs all in the centre.

Rich history

And for any history lovers, the town sure is rich of it! The town was given the name of Royal back in the 16th century, by a charter of King Henry VIII. Sutton was definitely great back then, and it still is now!

And of course, we couldn’t not mention the one and only Cookes Storage Service.

If you’re moving to Sutton for either domestic or business reasons and need extra space to store your belongings, Cookes is the right spot for you. With an easily accessible location, 24/7 CCTV, affordable prices and flexible solutions, we make sure your needs are met. For more information on our services, contact our friendly staff members. You can either give us a call at
0121 250 5055 , get a quote from our website or simply pop into our store.

snowdrop blooming in spring

Despite the month ending in storms, there are signs that spring is on the way. Snowdrops and daffodils are poking green shoots up through the snow and there are more birds about, ready to start building their nests.

After a long cold winter we’re all ready to get out and about – some fresh air, long walks and even cycling ahead. We know that there are some fabulous places to visit in the West Midlands, so we’ve asked you to share some of your favourite with us. Here’s what you recommended.

Park Lime Pits

When you live in the middle of a town, it can be hard to imagine beautiful countryside a mile or two away. Park Lime Pits is just that – a stunning nature reserve only 3 miles outside of Walsall, complete with tranquil pools, mature woodland and a diversity of wildflowers and birds. We’ve been told you can even see wild parakeets – make sure you take a camera.

Barr Beacon

If you feel like a good walk to stretch your legs, then set off to the top of Barr Beacon. One of the highest points of the West Midlands, you’ll find outstanding panoramic views of 11 counties.

One of the focal points is the War Memorial, lovely in the daylight and magical at night for the clear night sky views. In fact, it’s a popular place for stargazing and has been designated a Dark Sky Discovery Site.

Red House Park

The Red House is a listed building standing in 27 acres of parkland. While the house itself has been converted to apartments, the park remains open to the public. Two pools – or small lakes – and beautifully maintained gardens provide a lovely area for walking, while the woodlands, park and playing fields are the perfect place for children to blow off some winter steam.

Kingsbury Water Park

With 15 lakes to explore, you could send the whole day here cycling. There’s fishing, sailing, pedal boats – everything you would expect from a water park, in fact. Children will love the farm and donkey rides, as well as the usual play areas. Hop onto the Echills Wood Railway for a fun way to explore more of the park’s wooded areas.

family mountain biking

Shustoke Reservoir

Shustoke Reservoir is a lovely place to hike or bike, and is certainly popular with nature lovers for the abundance of wildflowers. There’s an on site café if you need a hot chocolate in the crisp spring air – but we particularly liked that this recommendation came with the suggestion of stopping in at The Plough after your hike for a well-deserved pint.

Sutton Park

The most popular place you suggested by far was Sutton Park and it’s easy to see why. 2,400 acres of Nature Reserve, with heathland, woodlands, lakes, marshes, cattle and wild ponies sound amazing already, but on top of that there are playgrounds, restaurants and cafes, sailing and fishing, as well as plenty of room for walking and cycling.

Whether you’re walking your dog, exploring the woodlands, looking for group fun or peace and quiet, this really is a place for everyone. Make sure that when you visit, you stop by the donkey sanctuary.

The West Midlands has a multitude of nature reserves and countryside spots to visit. We’ve picked out the ones closest to home here near Sutton Coldfield and Minworth, but we’d love to hear more suggestions. If you’re planning to head out into the fresh spring air, tell us about your favourite place to visit.

Hand holding phone showing online shopping cart

Can you believe eBay has been around for over 20 years? It’s a huge marketplace, providing sellers with access to a worldwide audience of customers. EBay allows small companies and sole traders to set up shop alongside high street brands and compete more evenly.

Of course, the bigger shops still have some advantages – with bigger buying power and larger sources of stock, there’s more room for them to reduce prices. But it’s not all about the price – so here’s our top tips for growing your own eBay business.

  1. Clear, branded eBay descriptions.

As with most everything online, you only have seconds to grab the attention of your customer. After spending hours combing through the search pages of eBay to find ‘Rattan Garden Furniture’ or a ‘Vintage Child’s Toy Kitchen’, there’s nothing more off putting than a poorly written listing.

Create your own shop logo, and make sure it’s visible at the top of each description. It gives your shop a more professional and reassuring feel. Make sure every description is concise, but contains key details – the technical specifications and colour, dimensions and cleaning instructions.

If you have all of the details to hand, a buyer will feel more confident in knowing what to expect, and will be happy to pay a little more for that certainty.

  1. Fair postage and policies

Buying from eBay can feel a little daunting to the uninitiated, as it’s not always clear whether the seller is an established retailer. Of course, this benefits us as sole traders, as there’s no immediate advantage to being a high street brand on eBay – as long as we have clear policies in place.

Make sure your postage is fair – it’s easy to be found out if you are inflating courier charges or trying to profit on a stamp, and it will be noted in your subsequent feedback.

Have policies in place that outline whether you’ll accept returns on faulty items. Nothing reassures a buyer than knowing there’s an easy solution to potential problems.

Finally, take advantage of the About page to give some background to your business and location.

  1. Speedy communications

By providing clear and detailed item descriptions, you’ll cut out a lot of repetitive questions from potential customers. However, you’ll still get some queries before a sale, as well as customers contacting you in relation to delivery issues and so on.

Make sure you respond to every question clearly and quickly. Waiting days for an answer to a problem will just aggravate the situation, while potential sales will be lost as shoppers go on to the next seller.

When a sale is made, providing swift confirmation followed by emails to acknowledge postage and delivery will also build confidence in your brand.

  1. Organisation

Organisation is the key to running any successful business. While your eBay shop may start off as a hobby, as it grows it will take more and more of your time. To keep both your reliability – and your own sanity – it’s important to develop a process.

Firstly, if you can, keep to office hours. Then when you ‘finish work’ for the day, you can turn off your computer and relax, while your online shop just keeps on selling.

Secondly, develop a routine. Spend the morning answering queries from customers and organising new stock. Next focus on printing off new sales up to your cut off time. Then allow time to package and address them all, in time for collection by your courier, or for you to skip off to the post office.

Abstract blurred boxes on rows of shelves in big modern warehous

  1. Expand and grow

As your sales increase, routine becomes more important. Most eBayers start off at home. The constant swapping of the dining table from family use to functional production line will soon lose its appeal though.

As boxes of stock start to take over the available space in the home, consider expanding your operations to a storage unit. There are a number of advantages.

You’ll have a clear divide between home life and work life. You can set up an office space inside your unit, with a desk for your computer. This will allow you to focus without distractions during office hours. Many self storage units can be equipped with heating, power and Wi-Fi.

Your storage unit can also be fitted with racking, keeping boxes of stock organised and easy to hand. The tools you need for packaging, weighing and labelling items can stay out where they are needed.

A self-storage unit also has benefits over traditional shop premises. There is no separate business rates or council tax. You pay one rental fee – and only on the size of the unit you need. Then, as business booms, it’s easy to move into larger units or rent a second one – with more stock allowing you to match high street prices.

Finally, storage companies often offer other business perks. Cookes has a kitchen, bathroom and meeting space on site for your use – removing practical concerns from working on site all day. And we’ll accept deliveries, so you can forget hanging about waiting for stock to arrive, and spend your time elsewhere.

If you’re thinking of starting, or expanding, your eBay business, then get in touch. We’re here to help.


top tips to decluttering your home

If you plan to start the year with a fresh outlook, one great way to begin is to remove some of the clutter from your life. Our homes, workplace, and lives in general are filled with excesses of goods that we could honestly do without – and may be adding to the stress in our lives.

We know that the busier our lives, and the more we try to fit in, the more stressed and anxious we feel. The same applies to the space we live in. If you are surrounded by clutter, with overflowing wardrobes, piles of toys or bursting cupboards, your home is likely to be over stimulating, rather than the place of restful tranquillity you can escape to at the end of the day.

Here are some top tips to decluttering your home – and restoring some calm and control in your life.

Clear your wardrobes

We all keep items of clothing because we love them, or they were expensive, or they hold special memories – even when they no longer fit. You may be planning on a new year diet and aim to get into your designer jeans once more, but now is the time to be honest. Ask yourself, have you worn it in the last year? If not, it’s time to put it aside.

Go through your cupboards

Cupboards and drawers are a great place to dump things throughout the year that have no obvious home. Everyone has a drawer in the kitchen full of screws, keys, and ‘might be useful’ items. Speaking of kitchens, what about the spiralizer, the egg cooker or the doughnut maker. There’s a variety of must-have gadgets we buy but rarely use. Now’s the time to have a sort out and make some room.

An ornament free zone

Whether it’s candles, collectibles or home-made art, every surface in your office or lounge probably holds some sort of dust-collecting ornament that you rarely look at and likely don’t need. Be brutal – is it a special piece, or is it adding to your distraction and stress?

The difference between unnecessary and unwanted

Sometimes it’s hard to see past the piles. You don’t need to throw away special memories or give all of your children’s favourite toys to charity. The aim is to declutter your home, not break your heart.

Put everything you feel you may want to keep into storage and see how often you need to go and get it. It’s a great solution for those designer jeans – if you are going to stick to your diet, you don’t want to bin your entire wardrobe, only to replace it later when you succeed. But you also don’t want piles of too tight clothing taking up space and nagging you every day. Move everything into self storage and it’s there when you need it, without taking over your bedroom.

The same principle applies to your kitchen gadgets. Self storage companies allow you to rent as much or as little space as you require, and to visit your unit whenever you want to get something out. That means your doughnut maker is on hand when you are feeling adventurous, but out of sight while you work on your new year diet.

As the clutter leaves, your home will start to feel like a restful haven, somewhere to relax and enjoy yourself again. With the new year ahead, there’s no better time to get started.