Monday, 10 July 2017

Our Scottish and Cumbrian Minimoon.

This earned us a few honks on the drive up to Scotland! 
After the wedding (catch up on wedding posts here) we took off for our little Scottish 'mini moon' I feel like a bit of a dingbat saying that but we have a proper honeymoon booked in September so it feels a little greedy to say we're having 2!
We stayed in the unbelievable White Tower of Aberfeldy and it really felt like the height of luxury. It was totally secluded up it's own road and every room brought more luxurious surprises.
T H E    T O W E R 
Drunken Boohoo purchase in the weeks leading up to the wedding!
Most of our pictures from the honeymoon are phone pics and even then we didn't get a great deal, we stayed off our phones as much as possible and it was so nice to be off the grid (sort of, there was actually 4g at the tower!). We arrived to a lovely hamper of Scottish goodies, and much to Sam's delight, some whisky from the local distillery that I had booked for us to tour the next day! 
I'm afraid this post may be a bit mismatched as I can't really remember the order of things, but here is a picture of the outside of the tower, and me being v proud of being designated honeymoon fire starter ;)  The top of the tower was the piece de resistance for me. Just wait to see what awaits you up there. 
I had hinted to the view of loch Tay with my earlier picture of my morning coffee (coffee so good it prompted us to buy a Nespresso immediately on return) but the hot tub was just the cherry on top of the cake. It felt like such a luxury and it was amazingly relaxing. Of course we had to have an afternoon up there with champagne (and wedding cake!). 

T H E   G R O U N D S 
We felt so lucky to be so secluded in this area with our private wood lined road leading up to the Tower, it was so lovely to explore and make sure we weren't completely sedentary in the hot tub all the time ;) We were keeping our fingers crossed that we'd see some deer as so many in the guest book had but unfortunately as we later found out on our highland safari the wind was wrong for them to be our way on. Who'd have known?!

I'm not sure you can visit the Highlands without going to a whisky distillery? Sam is a big whisky fan so I knew we'd have to check out the local one on this trip away. Dewars was absolutely amazing, even for someone like me who can't stand whisky. They had a great visitors centre and cafe where we had a delicious afternoon tea. I had booked Sam the connoisseurs tour as a surprise so after we had toured the facilities he got a whole load of whisky to try while I watched and didn't believe him that any of them tasted of anything other than alcohol. The staff were so helpful and even gave him a taste of a completely different whisky that he was interested in getting (and did end up buying) for free. I got a little designated driver gift bag with all the ingredients and the instructions to make a whisky cocktail once we got home, such a nice touch! 
Sam's honeymoon whisky. The bottle had actually only been filled the day before our wedding from a cask that they had on display in the shop! We searched for the perfect one that had been bottled on the wedding day however this was close enough. 

H I G H L A N D   S A F A R I
On one of the days we booked a highland safari which was so much fun. We went off in a land rover with our guide and a bloody annoying couple from Berkshire who thought we were young idiots (lol). It did nothing to ruin our fun and although we didn't actually see any wildlife, like I mentioned earlier, the wind was wrong (unlucky!) it was great to hear of the history of the area from our guide. We stopped in a bothy to enjoy a hot drink (me), whisky (everyone else) and some shortbread. 

E A T 
Most of our minimoon was spent chilling out and spending some quality time and chilling the heck out in the Tower but we went out for a meal and a few drinks (single malt whisky for Sam again!) in the local town, Aberfeldy, which was lovely to put a bit of make up on and get properly dressed nicely for the first time since the wedding! 

A P P L E B Y   M A N O R 
Before we knew it, it was time to pack up and head back to Carlisle! The night we were back we went for a lovely meal at a nice restaurant, David's in Carlisle and then on to an amazing Spa break the day after that at Appleby Manor. 
We had been to Appleby Manor for a spa day before (I booked it without telling Sam thinking he'd have refused) and we both absolutely loved it so knew we wanted to extend our post wedding celebrations with a stay overnight here. We were here one week after the wedding and started our separate massages at exactly the time we were getting married the week before. I had an amazing Elemis rose garden massage while Sam went for a full body one, we both agreed that an hour just flew by! After that we had some time in the private hot tub with prosecco, not sure how we're ever going to be able to stay somewhere without one now ;) 
Then it was time to relax in our room with this lovely view before yet another A la carte restaurant experience. The food throughout our whole minimoon was bloomin' delish, I've never eaten so fancy! We just had some time for more hot tubbing the next day before a quick game of ping pong and pool in the hotel's games room and then heading back to collect our bb Charlie! 

It was an amazing way to spend our first week as a married couple as we just wanted to feel the most chilled out we could. 

Now we just have our real honeymoon to Italy in September to look forward to! Really spread out the celebrations. 

Friday, 7 July 2017

A new tradition: Alphabet dating. A!

Alphabet dating is not something we have come up with ourselves. We booked a 'we've been married for 2 months and don't have kids yet and can do stuff without too much planning!' date night to a local italian we've wanted to try for ages called Amato's and soon after I heard about alphabet dating so figured it was something we could have a go at!
Basically each month (or week or however often you want a date night) you find some kind of activity to match the letter of the alphabet. Simple.

Outfit shot courtesy of my real life instagram husband.
Dress and shoes are from ASOS and I would like to applaud Sam for his iPhone photography. Save for our wedding photos the few pics he took as we were on our way out are some of the pictures I like the most of myself. What a bae :)
I have to apologise for these grainy pictures from inside Amato's, it's such a lovely place with twinkly lights all over the ceiling but it is in a lower level building. I've always walked past and admired it and how cosy the atmosphere looked, it didn't disappoint! I didn't get any pics of the food as after this we ordered and popped our phones away to actually talk to each other, ew I know.
Sam had the largest portion of calamari I've ever seen to start and I had amazing mozzarella filled risotto balls. Mmm cheese. Then we both had penne with different additions for main and canoli for pud! I wasn't so fussed about the canoli as it was a little too sweet but the entire meal otherwise was just cooked to perfection.
After our meal despite already being tipsy on a few glasses of prosecco (I am a lightweight) we decided to extend our night with a cocktail at The Lane Bar. Again, it's a basement bar so not great photos! (what is the point of this blog post again? soz) I  love the vibe in here, I've heard rumours that its owned by some millionaire who basically just does what he wants and doesn't open if he doesn't want to. Someone tell me if thats true. It's the kind of eclectic, decoration wise, that other places try and fail to be. The cocktails are seasonal and delicious and they played the whole first album of the 1975. All winning points for little old "we're not hipsters" us.
Team tipsy Barnes. 

Ideas for the next couple of letters!
B - bowling, barbecue and (if we had the spare dollars, it will only be a few weeks to honeymoon when this rolls around) a trip to Bath! We'll just do the first 2 though.
C - cinema. (I can not think of anything else to go here!)
D - drive(??) dance.
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