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School rulers

Back To School With Style

Back To School With Style


Caramel baby and child

Caramel baby and child

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..

School rulers






Back to school

Caramel Boys

Caramel tights and socks

Cosy Tights And Socks




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


Mackerel Fishing

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.


1. Archery



2. Monopoly

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…


3. Rowing

so he also helped her avoid pining for Snapchat by whizzing her around the garden on the quad bike…..


4. Quadbiking

and taking us all out mackerel fishing ( his favourite pastime).

Mackerel Fishing
5. Mackerel Fishing

So from all on The Hooded Towel team we wish everyone a fabulous new term and a great school year!

Outdoor swimming pool

Time And Tide Wait For No Man

No 3 Tarlair Outdoor Pool, Banff, Aberdeenshire

Outdoor swimming pool

Tarlair outdoor pool

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.

Outdoor pool, Tarlair

Tarlair in its heyday.

When this beautiful area has its outdoor pool up and running again I’ll be sure to visit and post some pics.

Gourock Outdoor Pool

Outdoor Pools/Lidos

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.

Gourock Outdoor Pool

Gourock Outdoor Pool


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.

Gourock Outdoor Pool

Views over to the Holy Loch






summer holiday with the hooded towel co

Get Kitted Up For Summer!

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.

Kids swimming goggles2. Floats- keep the kids safe with a float so they can have endless fun.

SwimFin Swimming Float3. Flippers – a great accessory for the kids to use when exploring in the water, hunting for hidden treasures or pretending to be mermaids.

Silicone flippers for kidsmermaid flippers

4. Water Shoes – protect those little feet from nasty cuts when rock pooling and exploring out of the sea.

Kids water shoes5.  A Hooded Towel – of course, after all the fun on the beach or in the pool the kids need to get dry and what better way to do it than with one of our hassle-free hooded towels!

 Hooded Towel for kids

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.



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

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!