17 years since our first date………. I believe in celebrating the small stuff and any excuse to be taken out for dinner!!

We’re incredibly lucky to live where we do, just over an hours drive and wer’e on the shores of Loch Lomond.  It was a rare day without the dogs, Alex took them a good walk in the morning so they were quiet happy snoozing the rest of the afternoon until we were home and it was their dinner time.

Being dog free we headed for Loch Lomond Shores for a browse in Jenners, its a while since I’ve been there. A browse it was for me anyway, I’m trying not to buy just for the sake of it.  I did see a fabulous faux furleopard print full length coat, I daren’t try it on because I new what would happen.  It was the dream but I have one, although its not faux fur also my mum bought me an Alice Temperley leopard print coat for my birthday in August when we were in London in January.  Ages away I know but it was a steal and I will have a new coat for Autumn this year.

Alex did treat me to 4 new mugs for the house, stags in the highlands, they are beautiful.  I find stags majestic, the house is becoming a bit of a shrine to them.  I need to stop buying anything with a stag on it!!  Alex got a few jumpers in the sale too.  By this time we were hungry so back to the car and we drove round the other side of the loch to Balmaha.

Now this wee place is something else, a tiny village  sitting at the bottom of the Conic Hill with a few cottages, B & B’s and the Oak Tree Inn & The Village Shop next to St Mocha’s coffee shop and ice cream parlour but there’s something about it. It’s a place I would love a wee holiday cottage.

The Oak Tree Inn sits just off the lochside, built with slate from the local quarry, modern and stylish but sits perfectly within the village.

At Christmas they wrap the building and the big oak tree in a big red bow, a huge Christmas tree stands proud at the front door and the garlands round the entrance were beautiful.  Theses photos were from our New Year’s Day walk.

You can choose to eat in the conservatory or the fire side bar, we opted for the bar with roaring fire, there was a wait but only about 10 minutes and Ken our waiter got us a great seat near the fire. It’s fascinating room with plenty to see, old grandfather clocks, tools and swords from years back hanging on the walls along with stuffed animals.

The menu always has plenty to choose from. We both choose creamy garlic mushroom on ciabatta bread to start, it was delicious the sauce was perfection.  My plate was empty before Alex!!  For our mains we both choose Creamy Chicken and Leek Pie, potatoes and veg.  The veg was a mixture of cabbage and big chunks of turnip, it was Burns weekend along with carrots and broccoli and pea’s.  Again absolutely delicious.  By this time I was stuffed and left some potatoes, by what I mean stuffed, I needed to leave room for pudding!.  A scrumptious trio of cheseecakes, banoffee, chocolate and raspberry with 2 scoops of ice-cream coffee and raspberry.  It hit the spot!  Alex had sticky toffee pudding.


Not the best photo 🙂 but I thought Id show you what I was wearing  Coat – Old Boohoo, Faux fur Scarf –Joules  Boots – Dubarry Bag was my Christmas present from Alex. I love it Strathberry

Time to head home driving back through the picturesque villages of Balmaha and Drymen, dreaming of owning a wee place around here, totally stuffed, the button undone on my jeans because I though I was going to burst but it was worth it!! It was home, make up off ,skin care done, pyjamas on ready for Call The Midwife.  A great Sunday.

Chat soon



We both lead busy life’s with what can be stressful jobs (like most jobs these days) and last year we made the decision to take time out together once every couple of weeks.

We usually road trip in the Highlands but sometimes to give Alex a break from the driving we head to a loch where Alex can fish, I can read, take photographs and we can just chill for the day.

buddy and alex

A relaxing 2 hour drive and we had arrived at Clatteringshaws Loch.  First on the agenda is breakfast, cooked in the campervan, usually a roll n sausage & a coffee.   With the freedom of the van we’ve had breakfast at some amazing places throughout Scotland. Alex set up his fishing rods and Buddy and I went a wander.  This time of year is just a blanket of bluebells and the smell is just divine.

buddy in the bb

With 300 square miles of the Galloway Forrest there’s plenty of exploring to be done.  Fishing in the many lochs, cycling, horse ridding and walking with miles upon miles of forrest track, the most popular being the 10 miles Raiders Road trail.  The Galloway Hills are not as dramatic, or as rugged as the mountains in the Highlands but it does have “The Merrick” which is the highest summit in Southern Scotland standing at 875m.  On a good day you can see as far as the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland.

Because we were going to be home around tea time, I brought some snacks to keep us going throughout the day.  I graze during the day, I can’t help it, I quit smoking and took up grazing!  I came across Sourced Box through You tuber Naomi Smart, Naomi is one of the founders of Sourced Box .  Its a box of healthy snacks which can be delivered monthly or a one off which ever suits, there’s always a drink, chocolate treats which are raw chocolate much much better for you, crisps, dried fruits & seeds. Great for popping in your bag if your on the go all day and I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself from treats as I’m still having chocolate; its just the healthier kind.  Win win!!

My shoulders had finally returned to there original place and not up at my ears, we were chilled, relaxed, the smurry rain had finally stopped and the pesky midges were out on force, it was one – nil to the fish (sorry Alex!!) it was time to pack up and head home stopping for a fish supper for dinner on the way;  its all about the balance! Another great day ………………..

Marlene x