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Mima's picture of The Kelpies

The Kelpies

A Visit To The Kelpies, Falkirk

After one of the children asked what the Kelpies were and my reply was “some metal horses, I think”, I decided to do some Googling and this led me to find out a few things. That they were less than an hour away and that their ‘foals’ were proving so popular in New York that people were coming to Scotland to visit the real ones. So, intrigued, or at least I was, we set off with Biba in the boot to find these mythical horses.

They are in fact in Falkirk, not the most amazing place in Scotland, but benefiting from large sums of Lottery funding and showing distinct potential in the form of landscaping along the Forth and Clyde Canal, which stretches from the Firth of Forth across to the Firth Of Clyde. We paid £11 for 3 of us ( and Biba) to take a tour with a lovely girl called Mhairi who had some artistic leanings making the talk more appealing to the kids by describing the legends of the Kelpies, mythical water horses who led folk to a watery death, in an dramatic way.  She also went on to tell us about the artist, Andy Scott, who had been commissioned to make the steel structures and how he had stood on “this exact spot to look at the hills in the distance and imagine their ideal finished height”, which in this case was 30metres. The horses are constructed of tubular steel with over 900 steel panels covering them and are based on 2 actual Clydesdale horses that are alive and kicking today and live in Glasgow called Duke and Baron.

Mima's picture of The Kelpies

Mima’s picture of The Kelpies

The ‘foals’ I described earlier are the 3m models Andy Scott first created these were shown in New York as publicity and  the city were so taken with them they have remained there.

After being allowed inside to study the construction we then went over to the gourmet burger van and had an average burger with a wonderful view of 2 of the worlds largest equine sculptures and felt it had been a morning well spent, definitely worth a visit.

 

 

Hampers For Campers To Stock The Hooded Towels

Hooded Towels For Holiday Makers

Cool Camp Hampers have asked if they can supply their customers with our hooded towels, hurrah!

It’s great when you meet someone who has sort of the same outlook on life as yourself and, if you are both entrepreneurs, all the more so. It helps validate your reasons to want to be on this crazy journey of ups and downs and put the ‘why did I start this?’ voice out of  your head. But to meet someone like Claire McMillan, founder of Cool Camp Hampers, was to meet someone who also shares my passionate love of the outdoors and I think her business is fab. Not only does she love the Scottish countryside, she loves it’s food too and she has combined these two things in Cool Camp Hampers which, when pre ordered, can be delivered to your campsite or other accommodation allowing you to get on enjoying your holiday in style.

http://www.coolcamphampers.com/

Interns with the hooded towels

A Student Internship

It’s Christmas time in my final year of University and everyone’s applying for graduate roles and schemes, everyone that is except me. Every time I come to undergo the disheartening task of searching for jobs I’m faced with profile after profile filled with corporate jargon that doesn’t interest me. I am also becoming increasingly aware that many companies ask for experience, but if everyone wants you to have experience before you start then how can you get experience?! After the realization that I needed something extra on my CV, other than ‘MA English Literature and Spanish’, I decided to try and secure an internship which I could carry out alongside my studies.

The search began and, long story short, I stumbled across an internship with The Hooded Towel Co.; a student internship that promised experience in a creative business environment. Perfect! This is just the kind of thing I need, I thought to myself. So I applied and was soon asked by Rachel, founder of The Hooded Towel Co., to come along for an interview. Needless to say, I got the job.

Fast forward 5 months, and here I am writing a blog post for the website about my time here at The Hooded Towel Co. First and foremost, I’d like to say that I’ve had a great time working alongside Rachel, because she has been very supportive and understanding. The variety of tasks that I have been put to, from researching ideas for labeling and packaging to writing and editing web content, reflects her willingness to enrich the internship experience. So many an intern is simply asked to make some photocopies and brew the tea and coffee. Here at The Hooded Towel Co., however, I have had an insight into the process of starting up a business; having an input in that process has been an incredibly worthwhile experience.

Interns with the hooded towels

Erin and I unpacking the hooded towels!

But what now? What next? Well, if I’m completely honest, those are two questions I still don’t know the answers to. So far my plans extend to soaking up the graduation experience of gowns and champagne, watching Wimbledon, the FIFA World Cup, the Commonwealth Games, and maybe going on holiday in between. I, of course, am looking for a job, but now when I look at applications  and job descriptions I don’t see a load of irrelevant jargon, instead I see the qualities and requirements that I fulfill thanks to my internship at The Hooded Towel Co.

Hooded towels

Morton Of Pitmilly

 

Morton Of Pitmilly in Fife is a stones throw from the beach and with their own pool and outlying accommodation  they are the perfect stockist for the hooded towels. A perfect base for exploring the east coast of Scotland especially the beautiful town of St Andrews and one of our favourite beaches at Elie only 15 mins down the road.

Geocaching

Geocaching on Loch Lomond

 

” No it’s not virtual, it’s a real treasure hunt, in the real  Scottish countryside.” I heard my husband explaining to kids at breakfast. Having just finished a 1 hour stint on Mine Craft  by 8.30am I don’t think 10 year old had grasped the cold, hard truth. That, yes, we were going outside. It was bank holiday Monday and the weather was set to stay dry till 2pm. So we planned to find our first cache.

Geocaching is a treasure hunt for the digital generation, a high tech adventure that involves the searching, and hopefully  finding, of one of the 2 million small, waterproof boxes that have been hidden around the world. To find them you have to create a free account with goecaching.com and download the coordinates of the cache you are going to look for. Using a GPS enabled device, we used a Samsung Galaxy, off you trot to the vicinity of your choice.

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Going Geocaching

There are a hundred or so caches hidden within a 50 mile radius of us so we decided to head for  Loch Lomond, a 45min drive away. After parking the car in Balmaha National Park Visitor Centre car park we crossed the road towards the water. We had tried to visit the Island of Inchcailloch 2 months previously but the jetty from which to get the boat  had been under the water so no one could take us over, but this time we were in luck, the 15mins boat trip, costing £17 for 5 of us was running smoothly and took us to the beautiful island.

Primed with our downloaded coordinates and a map from the visitor centre, we set off walking through a beautiful bluebell dells and natural woodland.

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Bluebells galore

It wasn’t long before we came across the steep steps to a burial ground, which someone had posted was a clue to the position of the treasure. The kids all raced to find the cache and in due course had the box opened and inspected. By the time I arrived they had decided what to take and what to replace it with ( a pre requisite on finding the cache is to replace anything you take with something of equal or greater value) we took a tape measure and replaced it with a  mini whisky flask, we then filled in the little log book and tucked the box back where we found it.

Geocaching

Found it!

We carried on our walk around the island coming across a gorgeous beach with picnic tables and areas to put a portable BBQ (maybe next time), arriving back at the boat jetty at the time agreed with the boatman and left the island. Stopping off at a cafe on the way home, the portions were enormous and this helped everyone agree, it had been a success.

 

If anyone is thinking of going geocaching it’s a great way to get your kids outdoors and learning about coordinates.

 

Arran Beach

Arran with Kids

A Day trip To Arran

Balancing working at The Hooded Towel Co. and being a mum can be tricky, I love it if I can combine the two. So during the Easter break I decided to take the kids on a day trip to Arran to have some fun and visit some potential new stockists.
Arran is a beautiful island off the west coast of Scotland with stunning beaches and magnificent mountains. From Glasgow, the drive to Ardrossan Port takes approx 45 mins, where you can leave your car and hop on the ferry as foot passengers. It cost us £28 for 3 kids and 1 adult return for the 55mins crossing to the main town of Brodick. Arran has a lot of visitors so Brodick is well set up with a tourist information centre close to the ferry terminal and that is where we headed first.
On receiving some maps and ideas about distances we left the tourist office and started on our way. After taking in some of the shops and a game of crazy golf we started to walk out of Brodick on the beach path to Brodick Castle. I stopped in to see Tracy from The Boat House, a shop right on the beach that sells all sorts of holiday paraphernalia while the kids loitered in the play area.
The Boathouse, Arran

The Boathouse

Continuing on, one of the roads to The Castle leads past Arran Aromatics, we had a turn at making some soaps and, while they were setting, continued up to Brodick Castle.

Brodick Castle is set in a wonderful location with a backdrop of Goatfell, the highest mountain on Arran. Although you can wander round in the house we decided to eat our picnic and see the gardens. Next time we’ll definitely spend more time there because they have so much going on from Early Birds and Bacon Butties to Badger Watch.

We picked up our soaps on the way back and headed to the much acclaimed Auchrannie Resort where we found the general manager and got his feedback on the hooded towels. The kids and I were so impressed with the place we could see why it is no 1 on Trip Advisor and have joined their Buddy Scheme to get details of offers.After calling it a day we caught the 4.30 ferry back and arrived home to find dad with tea on the table. A perfect end to a perfect day!

 

Dogs and Beaches

Biba At The Beach

BBQ

Oban at Easter

 

 

Oban At Easter

Oban in the Spring

Who would have thought we would choose the hottest weekend of the year to visit our holiday house, not only that but Oban recorded the highest temperature in Scotland on Easter Monday.For those unfamiliar with the west coast of Scotland, 4 days without rain in April is a legend only spoken about in whispers.

Tepco

Tepco waiting for summer

Didn’t get chance to take the boat out but did a lot of lounging around and managed to fit in 2 BBQs.

BBQ

BBQ

Couldn’t have been a more perfect weekend, topped off by finding 6 ticks on Biba when we got home!

Beaches in Scotland for families – 5 of the best

There is no question that Scotland has some of the best beaches in the world. In this short guide we will tell you which ones we think are the most child friendly, ideal for kids and parents alike, regardless of the weather.

Silver Sands, Aberdour, Fife

With it’s long stretch of ‘silver sands’ this is one of Fife’s most beautiful beaches. A short drive from the village of Aberdour or a 10min walk from the Aderdour train station this beach won the Blue Flag award in 2012.
It offers the freshness and variety of a good seaside but with the tranquility of the countryside. The coastal walk is well worth looking into for those with older children as it offers some fantastic views out to the islands of Inchmickery and Inchcolm.

Milsey Bay, North Berwick, East Lothian

North Berwick is easily one of my kids favorite beaches. It has a boat pond which holds the water when the tide is out making it a safe place to sail boats and paddle. The beach is on the doorstep of the beautiful seaside town of North Berwick with it’s picturesque harbour and quaint streets. 
There are some great places to get goodies for a picnic and an ice cream to follow while mums can browse the gorgeous shops. I have been known to leave my husband on the beach with the kids for hours at a time.

Loch Morlich, Highlands

Loch Morlich, at the foot of the Cairngorms in the heart of the National Park, is Scotland’s only fresh water beach and it’s location means it’s ideal for water sports, sunbathing and picnicking. This award winning beach also has great lochside walks.

Inverboyndie Beach, Aberdeenshire

Inverboyndie has a very popular beach, being recommended as a marine conservation area. It is very popular with families and also attracts many surfers and wind surfers. It is next to the 4 star Aberdeen council caravan site and has a popular play area.

Ganavan Sands, Argyll and Bute

As we holiday a lot in Oban this has become one of our most frequently visited beaches. It has plenty of car parking and is a short drive from the main hub of Oban, a busy fishing town that offers a step back in time.  The views are fantastic out to Mull, Lismore and Morven and beach is so large it never seems busy.  
Happy sandcastles and remember those hooded towels!