On the announcement that Kate and William are expecting again, I thought it would be nice to have a little look back at their story….with a bit of Taylor Swift thrown in.
Back To School With Style
There is a definite chill in the air as we all gather our reserves and steel ourselves for the return to school. Saying goodbye to late breakfasts and carefree summer days and hello to routine can be a little dreary especially on those for whom the shorter days can take their toll. Here are my favourite little pics to cheer me up..
These are from one of my favourite brands, Caramel Baby And Child and the ever popular Etsy.
5 Activities For Kids When Holidaying In Scotland
The end of the school holiday is upon us, the uniforms have been tried on and either replaced, handed down, debobbled or defluffed and our holiday to Oban is a distant memory. We had a typical mix of sunshine, rain and clouds ( I read somewhere that Scotland gets the most varied weather on earth, I think that is a blessing?) and we had our typical mix of activities including fishing, playing board games, splitting logs and walking Biba. This year we threw in a bow and arrow and that was a huge success with son no2, as well as the Highlands and Islands version of Monopoly which was a slight distraction for my daughter who was having to go cold turkey without wifi.
Although she did manage to persuade her dad to help her row over to the marina at the opposite end of the loch to gain access to their wifi but it was deserted…
so he also helped her avoid pining for Snapchat by whizzing her around the garden on the quad bike…..
and taking us all out mackerel fishing ( his favourite pastime).
So from all on The Hooded Towel team we wish everyone a fabulous new term and a great school year!
No 3 Tarlair Outdoor Pool, Banff, Aberdeenshire
Although this is a fairly depressing photograph of what was once a community meeting place, can you image how much it would have been used in the glorious summer we have just been experiencing if it was not in such a poor state of disrepair? This is the feeling of many residents of the nearby town of Macduff, known as Macduffers ( I want to move there just to be a Macduffer!) and also the Friends Of Tarlair, who were set up in 2012 to lead efforts to persuade the council of the merits of restoring this A listed complex and its beautiful surroundings.
The complex, which includes a swimming pool, art deco tea room and boating pond, was designed by John Miller, the architect, who was also the burgh surveyor for Macduff, he designed the pool’s outer wall to be fractionally below high-tide level, enabling waves to roll in over the edge, refilling it with clean sea water twice a day. The pool first opened in 1931 but due to the rise in cheap holidays abroad in the 70’s and health and safety concerns was forced to close its doors in 1995.
Last year, a range of options put forward by historic conservation experts Addison Conservation and Design were considered, from taking no action to full refurbishment at a cost of £2.5 million.The work agreed upon will see the old boating pond fixed and a series of repairs to the associated buildings and roads at a cost of £300,000.
When this beautiful area has its outdoor pool up and running again I’ll be sure to visit and post some pics.
Benefits Of An Outdoor Swim
I thought about doing a series of blogs on the world of outdoor water, big subject to cover I know, but I wanted to focus on the kind of outdoor water that man has managed to harness. From outdoor chlorinated pools to fresh and seawater pools, I’ll be covering the most basic tidal swimming pools to the more modern heated sea water lidos.
Even though I prefer a warm heated pool there are certain benefits to swimming in cold water, a Czech study found that people who immersed themselves in cold water three times a week experienced a significant increase in their white blood cell count — immune cells important for fighting off infection.The researchers put this down to cold water acting like a mild stressor, activating the immune system and giving it a workout.
Another, similar study found that cold water immersion may improve our sex lives by increasing the levels of testosterone and oestrogen in men and women respectively.
But it is swimming in salty sea water that may be particularly beneficial. A study published in the International Journal of Dermatology found that magnesium-rich sea water promotes the retention of moisture in the skin.
So swimming in the open could add a few fun filled, psoriasis free years on to your life, what’s not to like.
No1 Gourock OutDoor Pool
My first foray is into my local outdoor pool, Gourock, because our hooded towels are stocked there and Kenny the manager is always very helpful.
The pool originally opened in 1909 with the water heating system being put in 1969. The seawater goes through a cleaning and filtering process before being heated to 29C, at first I thought warm seawater just didn’t seem right after spending a lot of time at our Oban house freezing our n***s off, but now I’m a convert and should really spend more time here. Being on the coast you get all the smells of the seaside without the cold bit until you get out, then on a cold day, it’s a quick dash to the changing rooms. These have had a revamp, along with the gym and the seating area and it is all looking very spruced up, especially as it has my husbands showers and taps in situ.
Saving the best till last here is a photo I took today of the beautiful view across to Loch Long and The Holy Loch from Gourock outdoor pool.
The summer holidays are fast approaching and no doubt for most of you the kids are ecstatic about going to the beach and swimming pool. So we’ve put together a shopping list to make sure they have everything they need to make the absolute most of their summer holidays. Get kitted up for summer!
1. Swimming Goggles – make sure to keep the chlorine and salt water out of the kids eyes.
4. Water Shoes – protect those little feet from nasty cuts when rock pooling and exploring out of the sea.
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.
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.
A Day trip To Arran
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.
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.