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Thursday 7 March 2013

GUEST POST : Scotland Staycation...

Our lovely guest blogger friend, Gemma Pears is back again after her début post back in December 2012 when she brought us her super duper Diptyque account of the brand's festive collection and scent mixing service. This time round she's been chilling out in bonnie Scotland and has kindly agreed to share her weekend tips and cottage recommendation for a girlie weekend away...

I, like the Mice, love a staycation and a good old relaxing weekend away - I find it a happy-challenge to cram as many into the diary as humanly possible! The 3BM sisters are always visiting and sharing top tips for weekends away or travel trips abroad but for the first time we're heading over the northern border into beautiful Scotland, to the seaside village of Coldingham. I bring you ... Sanddancer Cottage. 

Whether it's peacefully lapping against the shore in Barbados or roaring in the bracing cold in Brighton, there is no better background sound than the sea, and Sanddancer Cottage offers just that. Perched on top of a cliff overlooking the tranquil Coldingham Bay, the cottage is the ideal getaway for a group of girls, friends or families, and really does offer something for everyone. 

The first thing you notice when you arrive is the detail. From the big WELCOME sign when you first walk in, to the handmade driftwood bench seat enticing you to remove your shoes - the house screams style, warmth and comfort. The ground floor is home to three beautiful double rooms (one with en suite), a big bright bathroom and a utility room. Each room is personalised and unique with sweet additional touches along the way.

If the ground floor description didn't blow you away then the upstairs definitely will! A stunning open plan lounge/diner/kitchen takes over the entire floor with windows aplenty offering an idyllic view of the sea and Coldingham Bay on one side and rolling hills on the other. Beaming with lots of natural light and packed with statement furniture pieces - many of which were lovingly handmade out of driftwood by the owners - and cosy finishing touches, you'd struggle to not want to move in immediately! I guarantee you will not want to move an inch all weekend ... well, perhaps a quick skip to the garden to jump into the tempting hot tub - pure heaven! 

In the winter, the wood burner in the centre of the room ensures an all round warm glow and in the summer, open the balcony doors on either side to let the cool breeze drift on through. 

The owners have thought of everything...

Sofas big enough for everyone to lie down on with soft blankets - check 
A gorgeous handmade dining table and chairs fit for the queen - check 
Cosy dressing gowns and slippers in every room - check 
Top notch coffee machine - check 
Cooking oils and kitchen essentials - check 
Fire guard for the wood burner in case any little hands are visiting - check 
Wine cooler set into the garden wall (amazing) - check
Sound system and plastic wine and cocktail glasses for the hot tub - check 

You get my drift! 

If you do want to venture a little further (and to be fair, you must leave the house at least once) a brisk walk to Coldingham Bay and up along the coast to St Abbs will leave you feeling revived and invigorated. I recommend a vist to Number Four Art Gallery and am in love with its location page summary of St Abbs - 'Situated within the dramatic and rural landscape of the Scottish borders on the east Berwickshire coastline, the gallery is positioned by the footpath to St Abbs head, the spectacular headland forming a patchwork of rolling countryside meeting with imposing volcanic cliffs, rising from crystal clear waters'.

Coldingham Bay itself is a hive of - albeit, very laid back - activity via the St Veda Surf Shop which offers all sorts of activities for beginners through to experienced sea farers, including Sea Kayaking (**so much fun**!), body boarding and surfing.  

If you really do want to go further afield and are keen to explore (or revisit) a new city, Edinburgh is just a mere one hour drive away to the North, and Newcastle one hour to the South. Just along the coast, Bamburgh and Holy Island are perfect day trip locations - see Northumberland Coast for more information.

Top Tips & How To Get There: 

The Detail: Four double bedrooms, sleeps 8 comfortably + room for additional little people. Child and family friendly - stair gates, fire surrounds etc. all provided. One master bedroom with en suite + two additional bathrooms. Car parking. Washing Machine.

Top Tip: Sainsbury's delivers direct to the door so if you're arriving by train (or just want less hassle) my tip would be to order your shop direct to the cottage. That way, you'll be stocked up on the essentials and you really don't need to leave the house, other than to enjoy the spectacular views and walks. 

How To Get There: 
By Train: East Coast trains from London Kings Cross to Berwick-upon-Tweed leave hourly and take approximately 3.5 hours. Standard Price is £125 but book early for good deals! From Berwick, Coldingham is just a short taxi ride away. 
By Car: Coldingham Bay is just of the A1 on the Scottish Borders

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