A Night at The Airds Hotel, Port Appin*

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When it comes to travelling, I’ve been lucky enough to go to some pretty fabulous places. I don’t need any sort of persuasion to hop in a car or on a plane and go explore somewhere new, it’s resulted in some fun adventures, but it’s also meant I’ve slightly neglected Scotland as a destination.

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So, last month, in the middle of a rather busy few weeks, I left my laptop at home (and with it, my work emails) and in the hopes of relaxing for a few hours, headed out west to stunning loch side village of Port Appin. The drive itself was glorious – three hours of nothing but scenery to enjoy, and before too long we happened upon our destination for the evening – the lauded Airds Hotel.

Part of the Relais & Châteaux group, the hotel is a historic inn, boasting 11 luxury guest rooms as well as a fabulous 3 AA Rosette restaurant which has been given a nod for Fine Dining in the 2020 Michelin Guide.

Check-in was a glorious affair – we were ushered into the cosy lounge, and offered glasses of champagne in front of a crackling fire whilst our bags were swept up to the room.

The attention to detail at the Airds Hotel is evident in the details throughout the hotel – as you enter the hotel, the hallway is filled with dozens of fresh lilies which smell absolute divine, and the sitting room has the most beautiful arrangement of fresh orchids.

After we’d finished our champers, we were shown upstairs to our room for the night – the fabulous Loch View Suite.

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Situated at the front of the hotel, the room isn’t overlooked by anything other than the loch, so on the advice of the fabulous Carolyn, we slept with the curtains and windows open, so we were woken up with the most glorious views of the sun rising over the water.

The bedroom was a study in comfort – kitted out with the most heavenly beds courtesy of ViSpring, and linens from my forever-favourite Frette. As we were lucky enough to be in a suite for the night, there was a snug extra sitting room, as well a roomy ensuite which had a soaking tub, and shower too.

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I was thrilled to see toiletries by Bulgari in the bathroom – and it was such a treat to enjoy a post-dinner soak with them.

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As if the rooms weren’t comfy enough – they come with a bottle of Whisky Mac – a local delicacy dreamt up by the fishermen of yore. Made up of whisky and ginger wine – it’s a tipple which warms you up in a drop, and was the perfect accompaniment to the delicious Oban Chocolate Company truffles.

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Before too long, we headed downstairs for the most delicious of suppers (a blog post to come!) but heading back up to bed felt like a treat.

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Thanks to the suite’s position at the front of the building, waking up early felt like a treat thanks to the beautiful views. Even better? Each morning, coffee, pastries and the paper of your choice are delivered to your room so you can wake up at your own pace.

Once we were suitably caffeinated, we headed downstairs for a bit of breakfast. Since the dining room faces out to the loch, it’s worth grabbing a table by the window so you can soak in the views.

Breakfasts at the Airds Hotel are something to really savour. As we pondered the menu with more piping hot coffee, we were enjoyed a selection of toast and pastries – we even had the chance to try some of the hotel’s home-made bannock (a thinly sliced fruit loaf) and homemade lemon curd (as smooth and delicious as you’d imagine).

Despite not normally being the biggest breakfast fan, I couldn’t resist trying some of their cooked options.

We couldn’t resist trying the full Scottish breakfast – filled with local produce, it was a seriously delicious, and hearty start to the morning. Since I’m the mushroom fan in the family, I must admit to stealing them, and having zero regrets about it!

I opted for the smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and spinach. All locally-sourced, it was absolute perfection, and a perfect set-up for a busy drive home.

Set up for the day ahead, I was lucky enough to be given a tour of the hotel by Managing Director Shaun McKivragan, sneaking into a few of the stunning bedrooms to see what was what.

If, like me, you’re in need of a little time away from the daily grind, Airds have a number of fabulous offers on. I’m loving their Scottish Luxury Winter Escape. With up to 25% off all rooms from the 1st November until the 26th March 2020 (excluded dates apply), it’s the perfect excuse to enjoy a relaxing in the Scottish Highlands this Winter. From just £125.00 per person, per night, based on two people sharing. (Includes dinner and full Scottish breakfast)

A night for two in the Loch View Suite is priced at £530 for two and includes dinner and a full Scottish Breakfast. You can find out more here.

 

 

Jorum Studios Phloem Eau de Parfum*

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Now that Halloween and Guy Fawkes have been and gone, we’re firmly in the grips of ‘Gift Guide Season’. I’m not quite sure where 2019 went. One moment I was filling in my calendar and making those resolutions, and now I’m trying to figure out how there are only 46 days to go until Christmas. During the Edinburgh Festival back in August, I was introduced to the Edinburgh-based Jorum Studio, an artisan perfumery dedicated to making the most beautiful handmade scents, and during their Jenners pop-up, I was kindly gifted a bottle.

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Although each of the fragrances were striking, I couldn’t resist their Phloem Eau de Parfum. Named for the the vascular tissue responsible for the transport of sugars from source tissue in plants during photosynthesis, the scent incorporates fruity notes of Passionfruit, Rhubarb and Mulberry with floral hits from Honeysuckle, Camellia and Gorse.

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The base of the perfume is sweet and rich thanks to Tonka Bean Absolute and Ambrette, and it’s one of those fragrances which just gets better the more you wear it! I love how niche Jorum Studios’ scents are – you’re not going to bump into a handful of people wearing the same perfume as you.

Phloem Eau De Parfum is priced from £40 and is available here

Mac Prep & Prime Cucumber Fix +

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Another day, another MAC product, but I promise, it’s a good ‘un. Originally launched earlier this summer, the brand released a lineup of Fix + sprays, all with varying scents – some fresh, others fruity all perfect for warmer climes. I’m not going to lie – I was sold when I saw the cute illustrations and had a handful of them in the basket before I’d even read up on their benefits.

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Small enough to fit into my on-the-go the Cucumber Fix+ Setting Spray is the most wonderfully refreshing way to finish off my makeup each morning, or give myself a bit of a refresh in the middle of the day. Like the original Fix+, the cucumber version hydrates skin thanks to the inclusion of coconut water in the formula, and it’s filled with vitamins and minerals for extra skin goodness.

MAC Prep & Prime Fix+ Setting Spray is priced at £12.50 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

Mac Cosmetics Extended Play Gigablack Lash

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When it comes to picking mascaras, admittedly, I’m picky. I don’t like formulas that are too thick, too chunky or not quite black enough, and I rotate through a handful of favourites depending on the effect I’m after. Prior to picking up my tube of Mac’s Extended Play Gigablack Lash Mascara, I don’t think I’d ever tried a mascara from the brand, and I’m not quite sure why.

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I had actually been gifted the tube when I visited the new St. Andrews MAC store (not a blogger perk, just an opening celebration) so it was a bit of a surprise when I realised how much I liked it! The brush is thinner than the average mascara wand, meaning I can really get in around the lash line, and comb the formula from root to tip. The mascara is a lovely, light consistency, which coats and lengthens lashes. It’s super black from the first swipe, and it really elongates lashes. I love it for days when I want to look natural but still put together. The effects of the mascara last all day too – there’s no smudging or flaking, even if I wear it during a work out!

MAC Extended Play Lash Mascara – Gigablack is priced at £16.50 and is available here (UK) and here (US)

Cutting down on single use plastics and waste with A Waste Free World*

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2019 feels like the year that becoming as eco-friendly as possible became trendy. It feels weird to load up on single-use plastics, whether it’s for your takeaway coffee, or the produce you pick up at the supermarket, and sites like A Waste Free World are making it super-easy to reduce your impact.

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I was very kindly sent a hamper (packaged completely in recyclable packaging) filled with goodies which let me reduce my use of single-use plastics thanks to a selection of products I can use daily. Alongside classic ideas like a bamboo straw (perfect for my iced coffee habit) there were a few products which I hadn’t even thought about.

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Things like the string bags are perfect for shopping for fresh produce, and I’m more than a little obsessed with the Safix Scrub Pad (£1.99) which is made from coconut fibers, and is completely compostable once I’m done!

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The bamboo cutlery (£9.99) set has been tucked into my bag for lunches on the go, and I’ve been making changes to my bathroom too, with products like the Friendly Shampoo Bar (£3.50) which smells incredible, and the bamboo toothbrush (£2.99) and toothpaste tablets (£4.99) which take up less room than their wasteful counterparts. Perhaps my favourite switch has been to the bamboo cotton swabs (£3.99). Previously I ditched those blue plastic ones in favour of American compostable ones, but they’ve been difficult to find, so these are the perfect alternative!

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If you’re starting to think about Christmas gifts, why not head over to A Waste Free World and create your own hamper – it’s much better than treating them to something which will just add to their pile of unused goodies!

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