🍁 A Scottish October Holiday 🍁

We have just had the October holidays here, and we had a really wonderful time off all together – all work, nursery and toddler classes suspended for the week and just some lovely quality time. We originally planned to take a few days away in North Berwick, but in the end decided just to base ourselves at home (ever so slightly influenced in part by worrying how the kittens would cope without us for a few nights! 🙈) and take day trips every day. It actually worked out a wonderfully relaxed way to have a holiday – the girls are at the stage that any change of routine overnight means a lot less sleep, and this way we were in our own environment every night all getting well rested but had had adventures all day.

We visited some wonderful places and really enjoyed them. We went to the Scottish Deer Centre near Cupar which we all loved – it was a properly cold day with a very wrapped-up picnic in the middle but we had a lovely time seeing the deer. We didn’t see too much of some of the other animals that we’ve enjoyed seeing the other time we went a few years back – they have some wonderful foxes, bears, wildcats and wolves who are incredible to see, but, a big plus to me, they have wonderful big enclosures and can keep themselves to themselves if they choose to, which on this occasion they did! I’m always so glad to know the animals have the choice over where to be and never mind seeing them a little less. We weren’t there for too long as it was a proper windy October day, and we do plan to go back soon with other family for more of an explore, but we had a wonderful time. The kids played in the play barn, we watched a bird of prey flying demonstration; and the deer were absolutely lovely, we all enjoyed feeding them and they seemed so happy, some entertaining everyone galloping around. ❤️

We had a really lovely day out too one day to Craigie’s Farm near Queensferry, for cosy hot chocolates, pumpkin biscuits, adventure play and pumpkin picking.

Our biggest venture was up north for a jaunt to Pitlochry and Aberfeldy, two places we often find ourselves on our holidays and weekends away. We really loved the road trip, the beautiful seasonal world outside the window as we passed so much incredible scenery, and our potters back in our favourite towns. We’re usually in Pitlochry at this time of year for the Enchanted Forest, and although it had been cancelled again this year, it was lovely to be there and do our other October traditions of buying a new decoration for the tree in the Christmas shop and starting some Christmas shopping in the pretty shops, windows all lined with decorative leaves.

In Aberfeldy, we visited the holiday park where we’d had our last couple of family holidays and enjoyed a walk in the town we’ve come to know so well through our trips there. We stayed late that night out and about, and pyjama-ed the little ones after tea to drive home sleeping, which they loved the novelty of. ❤️

Another day, we went back to our old home town of Stirling, where my husband and I first met and lived for years, and enjoyed introducing the kids to some of our old haunts; as well as just very close to home doing a very first family cinema trip, and some adventure golf.

It was a really lovely way to enjoy the holiday and we all had a wonderful week- there was the added bonus of lots of time with extended family too as well as the pets, and no travel stress. That’s two years now we’ve just done at-home holidays all year, apart from one night away at my in-laws at the beginning of the summer, and it’s actually been really great, although I do really look forward to planning now a week away or so next year.

Also have to give a quick mention of all the wonderful book shops we got a chance to visit in our tour, a little more about them all on my all-things-books Instagram but below are some of the lovely ones we got to stop for a browse at.❤️

Back home here, we’ve re-started our normal routine again, both of us back to work, nursery started back and all the littlest one’s classes and groups too – including a new village toddlers group it’s lovely to have and we’re going to enjoy helping out with. Everyone is settling to normal life and we’re looking forward to Halloween this weekend. We carved our pumpkins last weekend and look forward to dressing up for a wee wander around the village, as well as parties at nursery and music group.

Do have to give a wee update on the furry members of the family too while I’m writing, and sadly we’ve said our last goodbye to our wee Sandy hamster, who lived to a wonderful age but who we lost last Friday. We are all missing him lots and have loved having the last couple of years with him, since we brought him home when he was just 4 months old in July 2019. He actually arrived into our home the very day we found out our youngest daughter was also on her way to join our family; and at the time our oldest was 19 months, exactly the age her little sister is now. He’s been a huge part of our family life and a lovely pet for all of us. He was always so friendly and relaxed, so content in his wee world but curious about everything around him too and interested in whatever we were doing – nothing ever phased him and he was just a brilliant character. We are very glad he lived such a lovely long life, and we were very lucky to have him share it with us.❤️❤️

The others are doing well, the kittens without a doubt having found their season – they are Halloween black cats through and through!

And as we’ve been faced with some proper torrential rain here the last few days, my biggest fluffy boy has been very much enjoying some cosy nights in his stable and is thriving on a little more time in and pampered.

We’ve really enjoyed our October break and looking forward to a Halloween weekend and winter bedding in. Hope you are all well and enjoying the season. 🍁🎃 x

October Holidaying at Home

In October we had our second at-home holiday of the year, when we had a week off all together that we’d had booked since the beginning of the year. We had loosely planned when our summer holiday was cancelled back in July to take some time away in October instead but with all the uncertainty hadn’t actually got round to either re-booking our caravan holiday planned just south of the border into England, or our plan B of booking one of our favourite places not too far away here in Scotland instead – and, in the end, as coronavirus cases climbed once more, restrictions and advice ever-changing with them, we decided to do just as we did in the summer and make our October holiday an at-home one too.

I do look forward at some stage to having our first overnight trip away as a family of four and setting up camp in a holiday house or caravan all together, but, for now, it feels safer and has been just as lovely both times to just base ourselves in our own house but fill our days with so many wonderful adventures.

We were very lucky indeed that during our time off although there were some travel restrictions they did allow us to get to our families both north and south of us. Now, growing restrictions have seen us needing to stay closer to home but I’m so very glad that we had a chance to get down to Dumfries and up to Perthshire and spend some lovely time with family as part of our adventures. The travel in itself was a wonderful experience I won’t forget – driving home in the evening, stopping for a cosy tea of chips in the car – all that was permitted in certain areas along the way with restaurants closed – pyjama-ing up and car bedtime stories before the last leg home. All very 2020, but all experiences full of magic and excitement that we’ll always remember.

We also spent lots of lovely time with family and friends closer to home, mostly outdoors and adapting to cafe life for gathering too. And of course, being nearby meant we were able to spend days at the farm, where it was lovely to be able to have Charmer’s company – who is doing wonderfully well just now which is such a relief and a joy to see!

Halloween fell during our time off and we had a really wonderful time picking a pumpkin and toasting marshmallows at a patch near us, and carving our lantern and making pumpkin soup back home. We took a wrapped-up walk with the girls in their (very cosy!) Gruffalo Halloween costumes out for a little ramble and pumpkin hunt around the village as it got dark, counting the pumpkins lit on doorsteps and enjoying waving hello to other families doing the same.

As has been the case so often this year, it felt like there was just so much value in the little things we still can do, and the new traditions that are being formed out of them. I already look forward to doing something similar next year, and we really can’t wait to do lots of twinkle walks at Christmas time around the village too, looking at Christmas trees and lights.

Time is hurtling on this year more than ever and it was so lovely to have some time to pause and take it all in – can’t quite believe we have a nearly 3-year-old and a 7-month-old and what a team they have become… it was such a blessing to be able to wrap up, explore, holiday together and watch another season change.

Hope you are all well and a happy Sunday to you all. X

Holidaying at Home

The last little while has been our summer holiday, with my husband off work for two lovely weeks. We originally had a caravan holiday booked (pre-lockdown!!) for what would have been our first trip away together as a family of four. We had planned to go to Haggerston Castle near Berwick on Tweed for a week, with another to enjoy back at home too. As it happened of course our travels were cancelled, and so we settled ourselves to a holiday at home, with a plan to take a first holiday away again in October instead, when things are a little more settled!

We have had the most wonderful couple of weeks – we always do enjoy time at home as part of our time off, have done even before the kids came along, as it’s always lovely to relax in our own space too. This year more than ever, with our freedom just beginning to open up to us again, it was wonderful to have the time to enjoy things close by and explore our local area even more. We took long rambles in the woods, following trails and finding animal footprints; had picnics by the sea; a good explore of every park we could find – it was wonderful to have the chance to see so much on our doorstep especially after missing it all the last few months!

We took a drive one day to the Kelpies in Falkirk, always an absolute favourite place of ours to visit, walking through the Helix park, spotting wildflowers and ducks on the pond, meandering along the canal side, and standing under the majestic Kelpies – loving seeing the girls gazing up at them, the littlest one’s eyes wide as she took them (and everything else!) in for the first time.

One of the added benefits of being at home was being able to meet with friends and family, and really enjoying time with them with no rush or schedule – and Charmer too of course, who was able to be part of our days – my little stable helper loving it!

It’s been a wonderful couple of weeks – despite being based at home (a “pretend holiday house” to our imaginative two-year-old) and only little drives in the car (our “pretend camper van”❤️) it really felt like our first holiday all together and we have all enjoyed our time.

Hope all reading are keeping well! Have a lovely weekend x

A Highland Adventure with my girl ❤️

I came across this post in my drafts, where it had been since it was written back in February, not having got round to posting it immediately and then with all the last few months’ events it having become pretty much obsolete. Decided today though to give it a post, on a day I’m struggling with so so missing spending time with wider family and so looking forward to reaching a point again before too long when all these simple things are the norm again. It’s lovely to remember how special little jaunts, time with each other, and all the places and memories we hold close with our family and friends truly are – I appreciate them now more than ever and can’t wait to return to them again.

A couple of weeks back, when Monday dawned again and it was back to weekday business as usual for me and the little one, we decided to break with the usual routine, skip our morning class, pack a picnic and head north to Highland Perthshire for an impromptu day out. We planned to visit my uncle for his birthday, who lives in the beautiful rural village of Kirkmichael, and make a swoop of the countryside while we did. The area is one we really love to visit – between family summer holidays the last two years in Aberfeldy (and a couple of weekends there just us two in the more distant past too!), annual autumn trips to Pitlochry to the Enchanted Forest with our friends, visits to family and camper van trips back in our exploring and touring days – always loving the winding road north and the walls of trees either side – ; it’s definitely a favourite place of ours as a family to head to, and it was lovely to point the car in that direction and set off.

River walk, Kirkmichael

As I drove, Radio Scotland my soundtrack for the day, topical debate in the morning moving into some chilled home-grown music as we journeyed north, the little one slept; and I enjoyed the quiet and the drive as the sun shone.

Our first stop was in Pitlochry, forever a favourite of mine, and I could feel myself sinking into the familiarity and charm of it as I crawled along the Main Street – the second-hand railway station bookshop to my left where we’d whiled away an afternoon in the summer and taken home a book each for all three of us… the craft shop to my right where we browsed, chatted and laughed every year with our friends on our weekend away together… the Christmas shop at the end of the road where my new decoration for the year was usually bought in the first chill of October.

Adventures in Pitlochry over the years

I drove out to Faskally Wood to stop, and just as we pulled in the wee one woke up – just in perfect time for a ramble in the woods. I’ve loved seeing Faskally in both summer and winter in daylight now, but the way we know it best is in the height of its “enchantment”, every year at Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Enchanted Forest.

Sparkling Bridge, Enchanted Forest 2013

We spent a lovely hour wandering in the trees and had our picnic there before heading out over the hills on the beautiful passing-places-dotted route between Pitlochry and Kirkmichael.

There wasn’t another car on the road and every now and then I had to pause just to breathe in the view a little more while the wee one watched the sheep, hills and occasional old ruin pass us by.

We had a lovely visit with my uncle – coffee, cake, celebrations and a wander by the beautiful River, enjoying every minute; and continued our loop down towards Bridge of Cally, stopping off to admire the two repurposed “library” phone boxes we discovered along the way.

Winding our way through Coupar Angus and back down into Perth, we stopped off for a final leg stretch, snack and blast of fresh air to keep the toddler awake for the home straight! Walking across the bridges with Perth’s darkening skyline our backdrop, it was beautiful to take in the city to end our day, before heading for the last leg home.

It was a lovely way to spend a day, and we are so very lucky to live in such a beautiful country, and have all this not too far from our own little home.

Wishing you all a lovely week. ❤️

Hope everyone is staying safe and keeping well, enjoying all the simple things we can close to home just now and looking forward to getting back to the rest when we can! X

Summertime adventures ☀️🔥💙

The last couple of weeks have brought with them a change in the weather, lightning splitting across the sky and cutting through the bubble of heat that had dominated the summer so far. Week after week of unbroken sunshine and dry weather, temperatures always in the mid to high 20s, gave way first to the heavy relief of lashing rain, and later to a steadier coolness, swirling some of the earliest leaves off the trees.

This is the first time I seem to have found the time and space in a while to take stock and catch up on what’s been a long and lovely summer. We had a holiday at the beginning of July – our first family break away, up north for a few nights to a little cottage where we happily self-catered, keeping everything relatively routine for the little one; had lovely long walks, in woods, along riversides and in pretty towns; woke to ducks waddling past the door in the mornings, coming to say hello; and enjoyed family firsts at swingparks and the swimming pool, all thoroughly enjoying the time together.

The summer has been a truly beautiful one and both while we were away and back home, we have had so many gorgeous days and sunny adventures.

Beautiful discoveries on summer walks

The pets have been doing fine – Jasper & Jet have been with us over a whole year now – we brought them home on 26th July last year to keep old man Perry company. I still remember so clearly driving them home and nervously doing the introductions, which were one of our most successful ever thanks to all three boys’ lovely natures. They’ve changed and mellowed a lot more even over that time, the bright-eyed and curious newcomers evolving into the two dumplings that are cuddling in of an evening this summer, so chilled out and so familiar. ❤

Jasper & Jet joining the family, July 2017

They had their first holiday too when we went away, as we had them booked in with a local pet boarder for the first time – I’ve never done that before with any of the little ones as we used to be just round the corner from my parents so the pets could just stay home, ably looked after by my dad. Last year we were due to board for the first time but I chickened out at the last minute due to so many ongoing needs the boys at the time had – and we ended up taking Reuben, Perry and Marley on holiday with us, a wonderful experience in itself. Jasper & Jet seemed to get on really well though at their holiday home. Dropping them off and picking them up was plain sailing, they enjoyed their adventures – and it was so lovely to have them home again when we all returned!

It’s been a horse-aversary this month too, celebrating 18 years with Charmer. It feels like such a huge spanning of time all of a sudden and it really is, been so lucky to have his company for almost two decades now. He’s been weathering the summer relatively well, with all its usual challenges – keeping him not too fat and not too thin, battling flies and midges, de-ragworting and keeping water and shade close by.. the usual fun! Overall though seems to have been enjoying it and been less plagued by midges than last year actually, so been able to enjoy some fly rug-free days with the sun on his back.

The extreme heat in the last few weeks has meant him sometimes needing to come in for periods during the day – which has brought me to the farm mid-day with my daughter in tow, the necessity giving me the push I needed to have the confidence to look after them both at once. He is just wonderful with her, affording the pram or sling the care he doesn’t bother to extend to me!!.. where he would happily give me a shove to get to where he’d prefer to be he’s always cautious, always watching and looking out for the baby. In the shade of the barn, now that she’s a little bigger, we’ve been able to spend a little bit of quiet time with her out of her pram or carrier and it’s been absolutely lovely to see her curiosity, his patience and them both getting to know each other. ❤

It’s been a really lovely summer – days long and warm and light lingering late. Outside, we’ve been enjoying watching the season roll on as the fields are farmed around us, the nesting sparrows coming and going, our resident robin in the garden, and the starlings that swoop around the village en masse – which I know will be coming to descend on us very soon as the berries on our rowan trees are reddening and almost ripe, and last year the starlings just went crazy for them – looking forward to seeing it again!

In the evenings, we’ve been treated almost every night to the most beautiful display from the bats who live nearby, swooping and gliding in the dusk. I absolutely love to just stand out in the garden as night falls and enjoy them passing by, they fly so very close but with such precision they never touch, they’re such amazing animals.

Hope you are all well and will hopefully write again sooner! Have a good week all. X

Camper van adventures – the memories we take with us as we trundle on… 💙

This winter, we are preparing to say a last goodbye to our much-loved 26-year-old Bedford Rascal camper van – bought on impulse, on eBay, from a pick-up location 500 miles away, just under half a decade ago.

This is, just to be clear, absolutely not the kind of thing it would ever have occurred to me to do, once upon a time – but is very much the kind of thing that was first introduced to my life (and repeated with what seems to have been increasing regularity over time) ten years ago when I first got together with my husband; for whom concepts like buying vehicles older than us from Brighton (and taking possession of them and driving them home in one long, Red Bull-fuelled day) have always seemed entirely feasible and achievable.

The Rascal wasn’t by any means the first – two 1980s Fiat Pandas had preceded it as his surprisingly reliable runarounds, one of which was also his partner in crime in a 10-country rally across Europe; and more recently we got three years worth of day-to-day life out of a bright turquoise ’96 Toyota Starlet he picked up very cheap one night in 2014 as a second car to see us through a couple of months of winter – going on to outlive everyone’s expectations until just this summer (when we finally gave it up for a “safe and reliable family car” which has, as it happens, caused us more trouble than all our older cars combined in the six months since… such is life!).

The van was, however, unique in that it was the first vehicle we could full-on holiday in – and suddenly the world (or, maybe more fairly, the parts of Scotland closest to us mainly, with the odd longer trip thrown in!) was our oyster; a night away requiring no more planning than slinging a bag in the back, beginning the (admittedly not always challenge-free) process of getting the engine started (tending to take slightly longer in the cold or when the choke was playing up!) and heading off.

Our first camp is one I’ll always remember – setting off on a beautiful sunny February day in 2013, we pitched up in Auchterarder at a lovely little campsite overnight, thankfully bringing plenty of layers and keeping every one of them on all night, as we woke the next morning to -10 degrees and a thick layer of ice on the windows inside and out. Our coffee that morning, brewed on the tiny two-ring hob, might have been the most warming I’ve ever tasted!

From those frosty beginnings on, we’ve had years of chugging up hills and waking up to the stillness of the world around us as we’ve got the van out and about and made so many memories I’ll hang onto forever.

The summer we got engaged, the autumn we got married, New Years being seen in on a cold, deserted but beautiful beach… They are all with us now wherever we go, moving on to all the next phases of our life together, and I’ll always be so very grateful for them. ♥️

Sunday night peace after a lovely weekend 

Enjoying the peace of a Sunday night at home as the most “hyggeligt” of weekends draws to a close – soup on the hob, candles burning and looking forward to putting feet up after a couple of tiring but lovely days in the outdoors, enjoying the very best of October’s charm. 

We have been away overnight on our annual trip to the beautiful town of Pitlochry in Perthshire, to the Enchanted Forest sound and light show. We first discovered it in 2013, taking our old camper van up to a campsite nearby overnight, and just fell in love with it – so since then have returned every year, the last few with our friends, wrapping up once again to amble the tracks of Faskally wood, toffee apples in hand, twinkling lights overhead, hot chocolates round the fire pit as the night thickens, and everywhere we look something new to take in. 

This year’s show, Oir an Uisge, or Edge of the Water, incorporated so many rainbows which I just loved. On rainier nights the magic of the forest is sometimes brought to life even more – with extra droplets everywhere to reflect the lights in different ways – and last night was certainly no exception; the weather lending itself so much to the theme and everything in the forest winding its way in – most beautifully of all when the supremely unperturbed swans woke to serenely join in the display.

There’s something really lovely about having a traditional break at this time of the year; a watershed moment before winter sets in to slow down for a weekend and take it all in. From the trundle up in the car, walls of trees in every shade of autumn lining the roadside and the Young Farmers’ hay bale displays catching our eyes along the way; the evening walks through the forest; late nights round the fire with our friends, chatting, relaxing and enjoying the warmth; cooked breakfasts the next day and a wander in the beautiful town on a long easy morning – with so many lovely gift shops to browse including a little Christmas shop with carols playing and tiny cups of mulled wine pressed into our hands as we crossed the threshold into its cosy taste of the season to come – it is all just such a lovely experience. 

As ever, though, I enjoy getting home just as much as getting away. Heading back to our little house, the preparations in full swing for our daughter’s arrival – now just seven weeks away; our ever-boisterous boys Jasper and Jet keen to get out to play; and my fluffy-as-a-bear Charmer ambling up the hill at sunset for a dinner in his stable that only weeks ago he was passing up in favour of the summertime grass – it all never fails to make a trip complete. Back at home now with just a quiet evening in ahead of us, I am looking forward so much to the cosier months ahead.

Hope everyone has had a really lovely weekend, and have a good week all. X  

Scribbles from Seal Cottage (Part 2)

Once more writing from our summer holiday home on Islay, this time as our week away is drawing to a close, with our ferry back home booked for 9am tomorrow and just one last day of exploring the island ahead of us today. 

This week has been one of the most peaceful holidays we’ve had, and there have been so many highlights in a restful few days adventuring at easy pace around the landscape. On Tuesday, we spent a lovely afternoon at the RSPB Loch Gruinart Nature Reserve, a beautiful expanse of land with amazing walks and dug-out hides in concealed wooden sheds where we could settle and watch hen harriers circling overhead and everything from wrens to buzzards swooping across the stillness of the hills.


We have spent days browsing tiny shops in tiny villages, local craft fairs here and there, cosying up with hot chocolates in hotel bars when the rain comes on and in the brightness of early evenings walking along huge untouched beaches where only the sheep contentedly lie.

In the middle of our week here, we decided to take a day trip across to neighbouring Jura, which was one of the most breath-taking places I have ever seen. With only 200 people there and 5000 deer, it is one of the wildest and least populated of all the Scottish islands, and we were so looking forward to seeing it, but it exceeded all expectations. I absolutely love rural Scotland, and there are so many corners where such incredible beauty can be found; but, within minutes of alighting on the island from the tiny drive-on ferry, I was absolutely speechless at just quite how incredible it was. Having pulled over to watch a buzzard circle overhead, we found ourselves at the vantage point of a whole group of red deer, antlers glinting in the sunlight, grazing, communicating and eventually taking flight across the hillside en masse, disappearing into a thicket of trees and leaving us amazed to have been able to watch such a breath-taking display. 


After a meander in the main village of Craighouse, a lovely lunch at the one and only hotel, a tour of the whisky distillery and a wander along the street, seeing the busyness of a Wednesday afternoon, with the mobile bank and fish van both parked up; we got back in the car and followed the road as far as we could, with the sea glinting to our right, Paps of Jura dominating the landscape to our left, and each twist and turn bringing new sights as we journeyed on. 


My favourite place we’ve ever been to outside Scotland is without a doubt Iceland, where we had our honeymoon three years ago and returned to last year, knowing we’ll be back again and again. The winding drive through such abandoned and completely still landscape did remind me of some of our drives up the hills there in the winter of 2014, gasping as we turned a corner to another incredible waterfall or reached a new height where the snow flakes were gently falling for the first time all year – yet what is so incredible here is the wildlife as well as the landscape. Reaching the end of the road, from where the most northerly points of the island can only be reached on foot, the last rural farm houses lying behind us, we again were face to face with a herd of deer, peacefully grazing in their untouched world. 

Back on Islay, strangely ‘busy’ by comparison in spite of being such a quiet island itself, we’ve trekked out to Finlaggan, the historic seat of the Lord of the Isles; stood on the shore at Bunnahabhain looking out to the most northerly point of the island; stopped still in the peace of ruined chapels, Celtic crosses weathering time, and warm working churches alike; and befriended the loveliest highland cattle around our little Portnahaven. 


By evening, we have more often than not been back at our cottage, and dropping temperatures have given the perfect excuse to light up the fire and settle in. We’ve done nothing but read at nights (many of my books animal or pet related which I look forward to writing about here too!) and for the pets, the evenings have been absolutely wonderful. 


The decision to bring them on this holiday was absolutely the best one. Just as we always enjoy having quality time to spend with each other when we’re away, we’ve enjoyed having quality time to spend with them too. Without all the demands of home life, we’ve sat peacefully for hours and the boys have adored curling up beside us with just the crackle of the flames. Perry, at home always on the go, has been uncharacteristically keen for cuddle, spreading out in the warmth and lifting his head whenever one of us has the audacity to stop stroking him. 

Marley has enjoyed mornings sat on the front doorstep, the sea air helping clear his wee lungs; and Reuben has again surpassed all our expectations by still being with us and what’s more still being content and happy. He’s eating, drinking, and enjoying time with his brothers and with us, which is all we can ask for. Have thoroughly enjoyed having them with us on our adventure. 


Looking forward too of course to getting back home again, and to bring reunited with the pony (who I’ve happily been provided with photos and tales of throughout the the week!); but this has been the loveliest week away and have truly loved Islay and Jura and all they have to offer. 

Hope you all have a lovely weekend. X

Scribbles from Seal Cottage

Writing from our holiday cottage on the beautiful Isle of Islay, where we are making our home for the week on the edge of the water in Portnahaven, a village on the south-western tip of the island. Beyond the stillness of the little bay outside our front door, the powerful waves of the Atlantic crash inwards just yards away and there is nothing to the west until Canada is reached, the sea just rolling on and on. 

We arrived here on Saturday, and it feels, in the best possible way, as if time has slowed down to almost a standstill since we did. The pace of life here is so easy, and we have spent most mornings and most evenings simply watching the seals in the water, learning their calls, their patterns and the spots on the rocks they will return to each day at the same time.

The island of Islay is a truly beautiful one and already we have explored some incredible places, walking along Machir Bay in the sunshine, waves crashing in; touring the smallest and most family-run of Islay’s eight whisky distilleries, watching the entire process from malting to bottling taking place on site; driving through the most incredible countryside on narrow lanes, adapting once more to the passing places and to making way for the sheep, the highest priority of road users, whenever they require it! 

There is something incredibly relaxing and refreshing about holidaying close to home, and these are usually my favourite breaks – visiting old favourite places or discovering new parts of our own country we haven’t before, and finding corners of it where life slows down so much.

This year, being just a couple of hours’ drive (and a ferry ride!) away meant we decided to bring the pets with us. Not Charmer of course, who has stayed happily at home on his own farm, being looked after very ably by my friend at the yard; but the little ones managed the journey very well indeed and so far seem to be loving the jaunt! 

We had planned to travel them in their carry case and leave the cage in the back but they seemed more content just in their usual bed, and so we left them there, where they curled all three in a pile for the duration of the journey very happily, just doing the usual dozing they generally do in the daytime.
The boys posing with their ferry ticket, as we didn’t quite pluck up the courage for an on-deck selfie! 



It’s been lovely while we’ve been here to have them with us, especially as autumnal-feeling windy nights and the cosiness of the cottage have meant our evenings have been spent inside, and they have enjoyed the easy time in front of the fire.

One of the main reasons we decided to bring them with us, even though it was a slightly longer journey than we’d usually want them on, was that both Marley and Reuben haven’t been well. Marley is having trouble shaking off a chest infection, which I’m sure we’ll beat before too long, but at the moment is needing anti-biotics and a wee steam in the shower room to help his breathing. He seems to be making strides forward and we’re hopeful we’ll get it shifted very soon. Haven’t written about Reuben’s health in a while though and unfortunately his prognosis is not so good. He has been given a presumptive diagnosis of kidney disease – any further tests to fully confirm would be too invasive for him but his symptoms all line up – and unfortunately there isn’t too much we can do. This means he’s really just enjoying the finer things in life, extra cuddles every night, whatever scraps of our food take his fancy, and what medication we can give him to keep him as happy as possible. A few weeks ago he had dropped weight significantly and we thought we were on our last days, but time and time again he’s rallied; and although we always know we could be saying goodbye to him anytime, and knew when we brought him here he might not have the full week with us, it’s a wonderful bonus that he’s had so many good days in the last couple of weeks and that he’s come with us on this little adventure and enjoyed his nights by the fire here. 

Reubes loving the warmth of the fire

Our week here has got off to the loveliest start, and watching the spectacular sunset last night, listening to the wails of the seals on the rocks, was so incredibly peaceful.

View from our cottage last night

We’ve seen so many weathers so far, whipping wind, lashing rain and glorious sunshine by turns; another reason I love a Scottish holiday, waking each day to unpredictable and dramatic weather, framing the beautiful landscape in so many different lights. 

Looking forward to plenty more exploring and relaxing here, and will write again soon. 

Hope you are all having a lovely week. X