Mannequins and Wax at Belleva

I have a fear of deadlines. Years ago, I used to design, sell and hire out mannequins. They were not the easiest things to package and deliver. Human size. A little like working in a morgue but within the fashion sector. I had to ensure the mannequins were delivered to venues, then dressed accordingly and returned immediately afterwards, as otherwise I could lose them. They would end up buried away in prop rooms or worst still, stolen. I did ask for a deposit to cover this eventuality, so we still got by. But you know, I sort of got attached to the dummies. There will be mannequins here at Belleva and we are at 30 St Chad’s Road Blackpool.

I have spent over two years renovating Belleva. It’s been done in stages, and I have paid attention to each small detail. As this is a project with my ‘creative’ side, I have not simply done the basic requirements to get the doors open and take bookings. I have savored each small move, as I want to appreciate everything life gives to me. I want to see the reason why I have had so many challenges. It’s certainly made me wiser, because when things go wrong, I take time alone to reflect where this could have been done differently. And when humans intentionally hurt me, I ask myself why I allowed this to happen. Being ‘creative’ has the same ‘empathetic’ values within our sensitivity radar. It goes hand in hand.

The important thing in life is not to go looking for negativity and to have strength to focus only on that which drives us forward with optimism and positive mindset. I have had some promotional opportunities but it’s a 7-bed hotel, so I don’t really want to overburden the public arena. It really is about balance.

I don’t want to exist hanging on reviews either, as doing this trade for over 3 years most of ‘my’ visitors don’t do mobile phones etc, which surprised me with this ‘internet culture’ many live almost simulations existence within. When in the past I have had the ‘not so nice’ reviews there is always a hidden reason. And it’s usually we just didn’t get on – but generally speaking I did well considering I didn’t really know what the hell I was doing. It is a pity small business cannot review their guests by return as there are some shitty manners out there. Although I always say and will stand by, most people really are adorable. And there is nothing wrong with constructive criticism. But when a guest leaves smiling saying they’ve had the best time ever then resort to the web to complain, it’s too late for me to do anything.

With Tripadvisor they do a hashtag to position each venue and this is based on many factors to include how often the venue is open and available. So for instance if a hotel closes during the week they will be near the back of the hashtag score. I don’t buy into that shit.

I have made Belleva in Blackpool an adult only hotel and often wonder whether I have made a mistake but the amount of washing up and laundry we get with larger occupancy to rooms is a lot of work. It took me sometimes until lunch time to get up straight after breakfast and then the piles of laundry were overwhelming. I am 56 years old and think that running a couples (adults) hotel will be more manageable, as I do have a life beyond cleaning.

I am really excited to share my home. And yes, to me it is my home – as I put my heart into the things I have chosen to do in life. Although my apartment at the back is my own little hub of happiness. It’s like having two lives all in one place and I am glad to be on this journey.

There have been mishaps. I flooded my bay window room. Nothing really matches (but I knew it wouldn’t). I shouldn’t have stored my furnishings in there whilst it was still being renovated but I was so excited I couldn’t wait.

If I could start again though, I would still make mistakes. But I am being true to myself and have some good people around me. St Chad’s Road is a lovely street. We cannot get along with everyone as some people don’t want harmony in favour of resentment but generally speaking I have met the most inspiring and sweet people in my life within my neighbours and community. They really have given me so much support in so many ways. I hope we continue to get along as Blackpool is big enough for everyone. There is so much progress being made here. The town is shifting and changing and the art is mind blowing. Tonight I have been invited to watch Alright play their first live gig and I am taking Josie. Also, I am doing some work for Stay Blackpool this weekend. Blackpool is a good place to live as there are no awkward introductions, you can get straight into groups and crafts. Everyone is very sweet.

As for breakfast. I have had a lot of feedback about this. My guests want the full English. I also want to offer a more extensive vegan option. Since we have local produce delivered to our doors I will probably stick with the more traditional approach. But I will also be doing meals. Belleva is my ‘social’ too and I want to talk with you all. I want us to nibble at posh natural cheese, organic fruit, dips and yummy desserts.

Remember I have my soap and wax counter too. If anyone fancies making some melts or candles with me let me know. Would love to play!

You will also meet my friends some of which are other hoteliers and interesting people from our community. They just drop in. I have no idea where this will take us but life’s short.

See you Soon.

Tiffany Belle Harper.