Oh boy if you could only imagine how much I had been looking forward to this! A little mini-break, just Richard and I. So last Thursday, Stina did her last ballet lesson before the Summer holidays and we parents were allowed to watch and it was lovely. Their teacher Miss Walker is amazing, the excitement of a three year old is heart warming.
Richard got home from work, so quick dinner, packed the car, got the girls in to pyjamas and headed north to Aberdeen and to my in-laws. A few days of relaxation and being spoilt. I love it there, my in-laws are so helpful, enjoyable company and they love spending time with their grandchildren. And the girls enjoy it so much there, Stina loves spending time in the garden and their summer house with farmor (Swedish word for father’s mother).
Finally Richard and I were off for a night away, well needed! Had a few sleepless nights worring about Lovisa who is not a great sleeper. How will the grandparents cope, she will scream for hours! But farmor told me to relax and just enjoy the night away. What could happen? I think Lovisa actually did ok, only up once and settled quite quickly. My sister-in-law with family came up to Aberdeen that night we were away so they did get lots of help with the girls.
When we moved to Edinburgh in 2008, it was just the two of us and we had a lots of time. No children or business, these days I can sit down a Saturday evening and just wonder what we use to do instead of getting children in bed without a fight and then work a few hours in front of the PC or the never ending housework. And I guess we did go out more, had different conversations and we used to do weekend trips up in the Highlands. So during one of these weekend trips we came across Ard-Na-Collie, a fabulous guest house in Newtonmore. It became a place we just wanted to visit over and over again and we did not look for any other hotels or guest houses since we knew we would be happy there. Last time was in December 2009. And it was also the time when Richard FINALLY popped the question (romantically at Queens View in Perthshire)! Only took him three years! Then the whole business idea kicked off and I also got pregnant with Stina so we kind of stopped doing our weekend travels and focused on the business and becoming parents.
So on Saturday we left early, well not as early as we planned (due to rough night with both girls up). Popped by Eighty7 Design in Aberdeen own by Danish Helena. Lovely lady, lovely shop. Clean, stylish and very Scandinavian. Do recommend a visit if you are in Aberdeen, we both do a few same brands and it is always so nice to have a chat with other shopowners. Headed towards another shop that had been recommended to us but got lost and just skipped it, and I was hungry which is not good (I get a bit grumpy when hungry) so towards Banchory and had a fantastic lunch at The Chatterbox. A comfortable tearoom with pleasant staff and very tasty food and cakes. Then off towards Balmoral, did the proper Balmoral tour a few years back when we had Swedish family over, so we just drove by it and of course managed to take a photo.
Headed over the Lecht and wow just wow, the views are breathtaking. None of my photos does it justice. The Lecht Ski Centre isn’t just for winter sports and there were and impressive number of cyclists heading over the pass. Some of them looked like they had a few doubts about why they had started climbing such an enormous hill…
Arrived at Newtonmore and the fabulous Ard-Na-Collie, I could probably do a blog just about this place. This former Hunting Lodge is on top of a hill with stunning views. The house is welcoming and it is a building you just want to move into and never leave. Imagine to wake up with those views every morning. Put on your wellies or walking boots and head out for long walks and fresh air, come back for a hot cup of chocolate in front of a log fire. I am not surprised this guest house is such a popular choice for many when looking for a romantic and comfortable get away. The owners Jacquie and Mike is a very pleasant couple who welcome you to enjoy your stay. The breakfast is fantastic, Jacquie is known for her award winning Eggs Benedict and I wish I had my camera with me down for breakfast (or even just my phone) because it tasted just as good as it looked. Plus I had a Bucks Fizz, yes for breakfast! I know, quite unusual for me, but hey Richard drove and it was my birthday.
Sadly had to check out and head back to Aberdeen but went up north first and drove along the coast through beautiful Aberdeenshire. We have not explored too much of Scotland, yet! But am getting quite familiar with Aberdeenshire and Perthshire. Think next year we can pack up the car and do a weekend trip with the girls. Maybe the West Coast or even north above Inverness is would be lovely to explore.
Back to Aberdeen and lots of hugs from my two beautiful girls. I did miss them a little bit. Super tasty chocolate birthday cake and a BBQ for dinner. Perfect end to a great weekend.
Scotland is fantastic, beautiful buildings, green landscapes and stunning views. I consider myself very lucky to have this on my doorstep.