I've already talked quite a lot about our trip to Scotland - it was somewhat eventful - but we did so much when we were there that I haven't even touched on! So here's what we got up to...
So we were in Scotland for the wedding of our lovely friends Duncan and Emma. It was brilliant. They hired out the whole of Comrie Croft in Crieff, which is a beautiful youth hostel with adjoining barn. It meant that we got to have a whole weekend together with our friends, starting with fish and chips (and booze) on Friday night and finishing with a big old breakfast on the Sunday before we reluctantly all headed our separate ways.
The wedding was SO good. As we were supposed to turn the music off at 11, but didn't actually have to LEAVE the barn, Duncan's dad organised a silent disco and we kept dancing (and shout-singing) until 2am. THE BEST. But also the worst because I'm holding it up as a marker for our own wedding planning. Gah.
Here is the status of my face throughout the day.
On the Sunday we headed to Stirling and stayed in a nice hotel for the night, which was an excellent idea. We were so tired and so hungover that we just wanted to stay somewhere comfortable and be looked after. We went to the spa, ordered room service and went to bed super early before starting the next day with massages. Pretty dreamy.
We then did a massive, decadent Waitrose order (so much cheese) and drove through the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park to Carradale, where we'd booked an Airbnb for a few days. Our original plan was to stay near Loch Lomond, but then we found our Airbnb and fell in love, and we were not disappointed. Carradale is like way, way, way on the west coast of Scotland, and was about 3.5 hours from Stirling, so a manageable drive. We actually split all our driving into easy chunks, including the drive up to Scotland (we stopped in a charming Travelodge in Crewe on the Thursday night).
Carradale was JUST what we wanted. It was in the middle of nowhere, it was cosy and it was STUPID beautiful. Our cottage was on the edge of a cliff, overlooking the Isle of Arran, and we just took the opportunity to relax and be lazy for a few days, eating cheese and drinking wine and watching the sea and the birds out of the windows. Book. It. Now. I mean sure, it's a 9 hour drive from Hertfordshire, but it's worth it.
That's where we got engaged, on the Tuesday. We hadn't left the house all day, and were all sleepy and cosy and happy, and then Matt told me he had a present for me. And, well, you know the rest.
We visited Campbeltown whilst we were up there too, which is home to many a whisky distillery, and then on Thursday we drove across the country to Edinburgh. 'Drove across the country' doesn't really encapsulate how amazing that drive is. It is BEAUTIFUL. It's like driving through CGI or a painting. It's STUNNING.
For lunch, we stopped at the Loch Lomond Deli & Oyster Bar. Here's a tip - if you aren't a fan of seafood, eat in the deli at the front and don't go to the nice restaurant at the back. We did the latter, and there was pretty much nothing on that menu that wasn't seafood, except steak, and I didn't really want steak for lunch. I had the deli board - minus the fish, which was pretty much just cheese - and chips. Good chips! But, y'know, I could have had pie. Damnit. Be better at explaining that, Oyster Bar staff!
Anyway, Matt's oysters were very pretty:
In Edinburgh we stayed in the Hub Hotel, and I was actually super impressed. It's one of those trendy pod hotels with small rooms and just the basics, but the rooms were actually a pretty decent size. They were also super trendy, and had an app to control the lighting and the heating and whatnot. I would definitely stay there again. And it was really reasonable - about £45 a night and right by the Royal Mile.
Fun fact: I cheerfully posted the picture of the doughnuts above to Instagram and about two hours later remembered I hadn't told anyone I was engaged and had just cheerfully posted a picture of my hand onto the internet. Luckily you couldn't actually see the ring.
I thought I had LOADS of food recommendations from our trip to Edinburgh but actually we were only there for one full day and I can only eat so much, you guys. I do try. Anyway, I loved The Dogs (I recommend going for lunch, much easier to get in and cheaper too - although it's really good value anyway), the doughnuts at Baba Budan were great, the canapes at Scotch Whisky Experience were surprisingly good and Edinburgh Food Studio was so epic, I'm going to give it its own post at some point.
It wasn't nearly enough time in Edinburgh, but we were also kinda ready to get home and return to reality... and start sharing that little bit of news we had.