The Stair Arms Hotel Review

Just a half hour drive outside of Edinburgh city centre, in the small village of Pathhead, is one of the most charming Scottish hotels I’ve ever had the luxury of staying in.

My sister and I, were invited along to The Stair Arms Hotel after work last Friday for a girly overnight trip. Situated along the main road, the hotel has a very cosy, country feel to it which makes for the most idyllic and peaceful setting. The ideal stop for passing travelers and locals.

the-stair-arms-hotel-review

the-stair-arms-hotel
Family run, The Stair Arms has recently been refurbished, staying true to its Scottish heritage in the capital with chic tartans and grand chandeliers, the rooms have a real luxurious feel to them. Upon arrival we were greeted with the roaring warmth from the log fire and the friendliest staff, who just couldn’t do enough for us.

Once checked in, we quickly threw our bags into the room and headed straight down for dinner.

the-stair-arms-hotel

the-stair-arms-hotel

the-stair-arms-hotel

the-stair-arms-hotel

the-stair-arms-hotel-review

The food in particular was outstanding. The menu was bursting with creative and elegant dishes, using only fresh local ingredients. The home made bread rolls and dip in particular were a highlight and there was a whole other menu just for vegetarians and vegans – which did not disappoint.

the-stair-arms-hotel

The cauliflower steak with mushroom potatoes, carmalised onions and carrot puree was heavenly and the mac n’ cheese with vine tomatoes and garlic bread was the perfect hearty, comfort food. We decided to share the chocolate brownie sundae for dessert – only because we brought our entire weight combined in snacks for a Halloween movie night in.

the-stair-arms-hotel-review

The Stair Arms Hotel

the-stair-arms-hotel

the-stair-arms-hotel

the-stair-arms-hotel

the-stair-arms-hotel-review

the-stair-arms-hotel

the-stair-arms-hotel-review

The interiors are nothing short of fabulous – traditional meets modern. The Stair Arms have a range of rooms available, all very spacious and cosy. Check out the next day is at 11 am, perfect for those who enjoy a long lie.

Packed up, we headed down for a glorious traditional scottish breaky (vege options available also) and a wander around the grounds, a peaceful awakening to our day.

the-stair-arms

The Stair Arms Hotel

the-stair-arms-hotel

the-stair-arms-hotel

the-stair-arms-hotel

the-stair-arms-hotel

the-stair-arms-hotel-review

The Stair Arms also cater for weddings and with the experience of their wedding coordinators, can cater to any type of wedding.

the-stair-arms-hotel-review

Keep up to date with my latest adventures – A Bonnie Travelers Inside Guide.

*AD|Gifted

 

MOAI SUP Board Review

“Paradise is just a paddle away”

MOAI is an amazing new brand from the Netherlands, designed in Holland and inspired by the people of Polynesia who invented the art of paddle boarding. As soon as I saw MOAI’s stand up paddle (SUP) boards, I instantly fell in love. The unique design of the boards, along with their vision to ‘stand up for a better world’ as they collaborate with the Waves 4 Change charity was a company that I knew I instantly wanted to support.

Also, is anyone else thinking Moana?

moai-sup-board-review

moai-board

moai-sup-board-review

MOAI SUP Board

I have been channeling my inner Moana this summer on MOAI’s 10’6 board and couldn’t recommend it enough to anyone looking to purchase a paddle board. It’s a great quality board with amazing stability and versatility, the perfect all round board for beginners. I often take out my friends and family who are new to paddle boarding and they all agree that MOAI’s board was the easiest to balance and maneuver on, compared to other brands. The board is incredibly robust on the water and its wide body allows for comfortable balance and posture.

The board also has several d-rings with a cargo net, ideal if you want to bring additional gear such as a dry bag or camping gear. The 10’6 board also has several rings on the center body where you can attach a kayak seat.

MOAI’S 10’6 board is, however, slightly heavier when compared to some of it’s competitors due to the board’s double layer technology. It consists two layers of robust PVC  providing increased strength and non-slip protection. This board wasn’t built for speed which is partly why I love it, it’s an excellent board for newbies and touring.

moai-paddle-board

moai-stand-up-paddle-board

moai-paddle-board-review

Waves 4 Change

MOAI strive to make their boards as environmentally friendly as possible and believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to enjoy nature. In 2018, they started collaborating with the Waves 4 Change charity in South Africa to support their amazing work in changing lives, one wave at a time.

With every board purchase, MOAI donate a profit to Waves 4 Change. Paddle boarding is such a great way to disconnect and clear your head but it’s so important that we keep protecting, conserving and celebrating our wonderful blue marble. We are all responsible for looking after it, which is why I’m so proud to support a company that advocates for protecting our environment.

moai-waves-4-change

Pros:

  • Competitively priced – Paddle boards can be pretty expensive, with MOAI, you’re getting a high quality board plus accessories for a really great price.
  • Stability – the board has a wide body which makes it really easy to balance on.
  • Appearance – MOAI’s boards are beautifully designed, I’ve had so many compliments.
  • Pump it up – Super quick and easy to pump up with the double action pump
  • The paddle – The adjustable paddle is really lightweight and comfortable to hold.
  • High Quality Accessories – Everything is included with the board and it comes with a beautiful trolley bag, no more sore backs. YAY!

Cons:

  • Weight – The board is quite heavy to carry so I wouldn’t recommend for little ones.
  • Speed – As the board is slightly wider and heavier than most, it’s not great for speed.
  • Fin – I found the detachable fin slightly confusing to attach at first and have even lost it on occasion so always ensure it’s properly secured to your board.

moai-sup-board-review

moai-sup-board

moai-sup-board-review

What’s Included?

  • Adjustable aluminum paddle
  • Premium trolley backpack
  • Double action pump
  • Center fin
  • Safety leash
  • Repair kit

If you have any questions about paddle boards, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – A Bonnie Travelers Inside Guide.

Images by: SUP Glasgow

*AD|Gifted

 

 

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

the-royal-edinburgh-military-tattoo

edinburgh-castle

August is without a doubt the best time of year to visit Edinburgh. Not only because temperatures change from sub zero to mildly tolerable but it’s also the month long arts festival. A city filled with comedy, theatre, pop up bars and restaurants all which give Edinburgh a unique buzz throughout August.

I was invited to spend the day with Festivals Edinburgh to explore the city and squeeze five festivals into one day, including The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, my personal favourite this year.

the-royal-edinburgh-military-tattoo-show

the-edinburgh-military-tattoo-performance

edinburgh-military-tattoo

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo takes place from 2nd – 26th August and is Scotland’s biggest outdoor spectacle, attracting an international audience of two hundred and twenty thousand people each year. Located on the esplanade of the iconic Edinburgh castle, over one thousand military and civilian performers from around the world congregate to perform the show of a lifetime.

The show incorporates a wide range of music, dance and precision display with massed pipes and drums, military bands, cultural troupes, singers as each country tells a story  of their heritage and culture and the moving piece of the lone piper against the stunning backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.

royal-edinburgh-military-tattoo-nigeria

royal-edinburgh-military-tattoo-nigeria

nigeria-at-the-royal-edin

We secured a prime position on the forecourt and got to experience the show up close and personal. Trinidad and Tobago’s Defence Force Steel Orchestra was a personal highlight as they brought a fun twist to the show along with the Hjaltibonhoga fiddlers from the Shetland Isles.

This year’s theme, Kaleidoscope, captures the imaginations of audience goers through a series of performances bold with colour and light, comparable to the optical invention which was created by Scottish physicist, Sir David Brewster, in 1816. I spoke briefly with Brigadier David Allfrey, chief executive and producer of The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, who explained “The Tattoo is always looking to stimulate as many senses as possible: sight, hearing, smell, touch and even taste.” And is set to be the “most colourful and extravagant show yet”.

bagpipers-at-the-royal-edinburgh-military-tattoo

highland-dancers-edinburgh-tattoo

edinburgh-military-tattoo

This unforgettable performance is brought to an emotional and poignant close each evening as a lone piper, spot lit high on top of the castle, plays a haunting lament. We were lucky enough to view the finale from above the crowd as fireworks and a mass chorus of Auld Lang Syne from the audience brought the curtain down on a truly memorable night’s entertainment.

13

edinburgh-military-tattoo

the-royal-edinburgh-military-tattoo

The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo can be pretty pricey and always sells out in record time so ensure to grab your tickets early. Alternatively, tickets for the pre-show performance (which takes place on the Thursday night) go on sale the Monday before the show starts.

Check out some of the other festivals that we visited throughout the day;

  • Edinburgh Art Festival – 25th July to 25th August
  • Edinburgh Fringe – 2nd to 26th August
  • Edinburgh International Festival – 2nd to 26th August
  • Edinburgh International Book Festival – 10th to 26th August

Remember to wrap up as the show is outdoors. Thanks for reading, keep up with my latest adventures – A Bonnie Travelers Inside Guide

1

 

 

Breeze SUP Wear

This week I teamed up with UK based eco-friendly clothing brand Breeze Sup Wear for a chat. I had the pleasure of trying out a few pieces and also caught up with Adrian (one of the founders) about Breeze and the brand’s ethical qualities.

Tell me about Breeze, how did you start out?

Myself and Matt, my business partner, have been best friends since we met back in 2006. Matt owns a stand up paddle board company so we are quite often out on the water together. In 2017 on one of our summer paddles, Matt raised the idea of starting a SUP clothing company.

The more we spoke about the idea the more we realised that there wasn’t a brand out there which concentrated on eco-friendly SUP specific clothing and so we thought we were on to something. I had dabbled in clothing design in the past and Matt had the expertise about the demands of the sport so we decided to start Breeze.

5

1

Tell me more about the team…

Me and Matt own the company. We also have some great ambassadors working with us to promote Breeze.

Matt uses his vast knowledge and experience of SUP to gauge what kind of items SUP users need and then does market research to find out if there is a demand for it. I am responsible for all aspects of the clothing; from designing them, to sourcing fabrics and suppliers, and making sure that they are the best quality and of course eco-friendly.

Was being eco-friendly part of your initial concept or did it develop later in the design process?

Whether you’re in the ocean or a loch, you’re passionate about being in beautiful places and so you’re gonna want to look after those places. It didn’t make sense to make products out of stuff that damages the environment. Being eco-friendly was part of our ethos right from the start but it has developed as we have moved along. We have to think about everything, from making sure our packaging is made from recycled materials, our tags and business cards are made from recycled card and we have to ask for our clothing not to be delivered in bags.

7

8

Can you explain what being eco-friendly really means and why it’s important?

To me, it means living with intent, which is the intent to be Earth friendly. We all have a responsibility to make sure that the only footprints we leave on this earth can be washed away by the sea. We need to protect our oceans by keeping them clear of plastic, using recycled products and upcycling old things to prevent waste and conserving energy to make sure that we can use sustainable sources instead of robbing the Earth of its precious materials.

If everyone just changes one thing about their life to make it more eco-friendly then we are moving forward. Anything we can do to conserve energy and prevent air and water pollution is fantastic!

Would you agree there’s a lack of awareness?

People have been slow on the up-take. There’s a massive drive behind it now though, especially in young people. For the first time, the younger generation are leading the way with this kind of stuff. I don’t know whether it’s down to social media but they do care more about the world. They are the driving it forward now and it’s up to them to embarrass the older generations who are stuck in their ways. I don’t think you can escape it, it’s great!

6

9

What is the manufacturing process for recycling clothes?

Our hoodies, for example, are 70% pre-consumer recycled cotton and 30% post consumer. What they do is get all the scrap waste that is produced when making clothes and mix it with other recycled clothing, then chop it all up really finely. After that, the fibers are so small that they can be reused. Check out their video with Salvage here.

How important is style as a factor when making the clothes?

Paddle Boarding (especially in Scotland) is all about warmth, people are far more fashion conscious in warmer climates. I don’t want to be influenced by other brands, I’m confident in my own designs. Style is important but to me it’s not about keeping up with current trends, it’s about designing things that will match their use, I also want the designs to be unisex. I try to keep the designs simple. Having said that, I do have some wacky designs for leggings.

10

Do you guys have any plans for expansion (into warmer weather clothing, wet suits, etc.)

We hope to increase our leggings range this year and also have some board shorts for men coming out for the summer. We have started trying to source poncho towels and caps. Wet suits would be great but there are already so many out there that are now being made out of eco materials that we could never catch up, we will let the big companies have that share of the market. We will continue to focus on bringing out quality eco-friendly products and who knows what direction that will take us in.

What’s your most popular product?

Hats and sunglasses, I often joke that we should have just gone in to the hats and sunglasses market as it would have been a lot easier. Our hoodies are very popular too and we expect our new recycled leggings to fly off the shelves.

*Gifted

Keep up to date on my latest adventures: A Bonnie Travelers Inside Guide

Go Ape, Aberfoyle

Not being one for heights, I had successfully managed to avoid visiting Go Ape until now…

Last weekend I was invited down to Go Ape’s Aberfoyle site for a Tree Top Adventure with a friend. With high speed zips, free-fall Tarzan swings and daring crossings, a Tree Top Adventure sounded like my worst nightmare. However, after doing a little research, I learned that over half of Brits are ‘very afraid‘ and ‘pretty nervous‘ around heights. Feeling slightly more at ease that I wasn’t alone – I decided to go for it. 

Scotland is currently having one of the most beautiful Autumns I’ve ever seen, we got so lucky with the weather and had a dry, crisp day with the sun splitting through the trees. We were booked in for an 11 o’clock slot at the Aberfoyle site (about an hour outside of Glasgow) so were up and off early for a fun, girly day out. 

What to Expect

On arrival, you are given some safety rules to read through, which is pretty important as you are responsible for your own safety on the course. Then you are given a safety briefing by a tribe member who ensures your harness is fitted correctly, shows you exactly how to clip on and off all the wires and that you are fully comfortable doing so. 

Next, you’re off! A spectacular 426m zip line through the trees drops you at the first landing station where the route begins. 

Go Ape

Go Ape Zipline

Pumped with adrenaline you make your way round five different aerial assault courses with various challenges on each. You’ll find plenty of tribe members wandering down below you, should you need some encouragement or a little reassurance before taking the step out onto a wobbly ledge.

Go Ape - Tree Top Adventure

There are some bits of the course that are optional, should you want to take an easier route – although everyone is encouraged to do the dreaded Tarzan swing! One of the most feared obstacles, solely for the reason that you’ve got to hurl yourself off a platform suspended 30 feet in the air and then clamber up a cargo net back onto the platform on the opposite side. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I have to admit, it was one of the best bits and so, so much fun. 

Go Ape Sky Park

And finally, after many Tarzan fails, hysterical laughing fits and a very muddy bum later, you are presented with a certificate of awesomeness. 

Go Ape Certificate

I would highly recommend Go Ape and can’t wait to go back. If you’re like me and a bit of a wimp around heights, I would say to just go for it. I felt so safe and secure the whole time I was up there; the staff were brilliant and so re-assuring when you have a bit of a panic and just want to hug the nearest tree for a minute. 

The groups were also spaced out really well, I didn’t feel like I was holding anyone up going at a granny pace over the obstacles or when we stopped to take a few (shakey) pictures. You also don’t need to be super fit to take part – we went for a fun day out and had a blast. 

17

What to Wear

  • Closed toe shoes (Trainers are perfect)
  • Trousers/ leggings – that you don’t mind getting muddy
  • Jacket/ Jumper with pockets – you’re not allowed any bags on the course so if you want to bring your phone/ camera etc. they must be in a zipped pocket.
  • Waterproofs (if there’s rain forecast)
  • Gloves
  • Bobbles 

It’s also worth noting, if you want to go along but prefer your feet firmly on the ground, there’s lots more to do. You can go walking/ biking and even try segwaying. Plus, Ben A’an and Ben Venue are just next door if you fancy a slightly more challenging walk. And after all your adventures – cake at the on-site cafe! 

This year, Go Ape is encouraging Scots to think twice about traditional stocking staples and consider the gift of an unforgettable experience this Christmas. They are offering the chance to gift an experience with bundles available in denominations of £30. Vouchers are delivered instantly, making it the perfect option for the last-minute shopper (guilty).

Available here: https://goape.co.uk/giftvouchers?utm_campaign=influencers&utm_medium=social&utm_source=bloggers&utm_content=giftvouchers

thumbnail_Go Ape gift vouchers 2

Keep up with my latest adventures – A Bonnie Travelers Inside Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jobes Sport Review – 10.6 ft. Surf SUP

It’s been just over 3 months since I purchased my first SUP board from Jobe Sports and I absolutely love it. It is perfect for me and I use it almost weekly for solo paddling.

I researched lots of companies and different sized boards for a while before deciding upon this one – I was looking for an inflatable light weight board with good stability as I wanted to be able to travel with it but my biggest challenge was deciding which size. A lot of people recommended the 12 ft. but I just felt that it was a tad too big for me so opted for the 10.6 ft as this promised ‘great stability, easily maneuverable and ideal for solo touring’.  It does all of that and more… once you master the wobbling part.

3

7

4

The Pro’s

  • Stability – I was very surprised by the rigidity of the board when inflated, it handles really well on the water but I wouldn’t recommend more than one person on the board at a time.
  • Lightweight – These boards can look really heavy and clunky but they’re so light and easy to carry. The strap handle in the middle of the board allows for easy and comfortable lifting.
  • Speed – I wasn’t expecting to go anywhere fast on this little board but I was so wrong. The board is streamlined and cuts through waves with the pointer bow brilliantly – I’ve even managed to surf some of the smaller waves with it.
  • Appearance – At the moment, it is only available in the one colour but I really love the design on the surf 10.6 ft. boards. I think it looks clean and smart (plus, it matches my wet-suit).
  • Pump it up – Thumbs up for the high pressure dual action pump. The gauged pump is a life saver, I wouldn’t know when the board was pumped up enough otherwise -the manual details exactly how much air to pump in as well.
  • The Paddle – The adjustable paddle is super lightweight, has great durability and is really comfortable to hold.

1

6

11

5

10

The Cons

  • I only have one and it’s a small one – there’s no cross guard so I can’t secure any bags or anything onto the board with me.

Aside from the cross guard, I genuinely have no improvements to suggest towards this board. It’s really quick to inflate and deflate, lightweight and easy to maneuver in the water and easy to pack down. If you’re buying for one – it’s perfect!

12

9

15

2

What’s Included?

  • 10.6 ft. Surf SUP
  • Waterproof Carrying Bag
  • Pump (with nozzles and pressure gauge)
  • 1 x Aluminium Adjustable Paddle
  • Ankle Leash
  • 3 x Detachable Fins
  • Repair Kit

14

Keep up with my latest adventures – abonnietravelersinsideguide

Note: Not Sponsored