14 January 2018


A year ago a post went online looking for bloggers to attend a retreat, I put my name down but sadly didn't get picked. A few months later a post went up to say a blogger had dropped out and could anyone go? I jumped at it and said ME! 10 minutes later an email came through saying I had got in! I was so excited. It was just down the road from Southampton and Sara-Jayne one of the other bloggers was local to me and offered to pick me up and take me home too. I was so excited, nervous but excited. 10 bloggers thrown into a house just clicked, everyone got on and it was just so lovely.
Next thing I knew there was a trip to Inverness booked and we were planning the next trip together. I'm finding a love for travelling and it's lovely, I have never enjoyed travelling due to my anxiety and have always declared I hate travelling because the thought of travelling anywhere made me sick to my stomach due to my anxiety but this year I have a few travels planned (UK only currently) and i'm looking forward to them, i'm gonna beat this travel anxiety and give my kids memories of holidays and see things I have never seen before. I don't hate travelling, my anxiety hates travelling and I don't like my anxiety so heres to making memories and travelling, I will love travelling and adventuring further than the new forest - especially making memories with with 9 (now 10) other lovely bloggers who have ideas bouncing off each other, sharing tips and tricks and just motivating and bigging each other up instead of knocking each other down. It's lovely.

Image by Le Coin De Mel

Six of us travelled out via easy jet, two via caledonian sleeper, one via train and one drove up. Sadly Donna couldn't make it this time but Laura stepped in and fitted in so easily!
Once we finally arrived in Inverness we headed to Eagle Brae. Eagle Brae is beautiful, with numerous log cabins varying in size and locations. None are very close to each other and at night time when it goes dark you get the most incredible star display, the slight tint of the northern lights and what can you hear? NOTHING! except the sound of rustling of deer below you and the river flowing. It's absolute bliss.

The log cabins are beautiful and they really are log cabins. This may sound backwards but I have seen log cabins before that are plaster board and logs on the outside to look like a log cabin. Eagle Brae's are legit, they are huge logs put together and everything is made of wood, that can be. (Not a wooden toilet or washing machine obviously)
Then the decor inside, the stag head, the log fire, the beds, the tartan, it all flows and is very "scottish" it's exactly how you imagine a log cabin to be.

After a night of game playing, a delicious home cooked meal courtesy of the Eagle Brae staff and Mel we had a lovely childfree night in comfortable beds, in a very warm log cabin and woke up to see the sunrising over the mountains, birds tweeting and the other girls in my cabin had a lovely Scottish fry up with haggis and lorn sausage, I had organic Scottish oat porridge and homemade Scottish jam! (I tried to be a little healthier.)

We had a lovely day planned on the Tuesday and I was so eager to go and see the sights of Inverness and the Lochness. I have visited Edinburgh before as a 14 year old and remember it being lovely but I have never visited Inverness so I was so excited.

We arrived at the docking place for Lochness by Jacobite and the boat was lovely and it had a lovely cosy indoor area selling some souvenirs, Scottish snacks and Costa coffee. There is also a open top deck which in nice weather (like Tuesday) gives you a great view, and with facts being spoken via the tannoy, you're learning as you go along. I spent a lot of time up on the deck looking out for Nessie and grabbing some video footage for my vlog (i'll link it below) 
The Jacobite warrior takes you across part of the Lochness and stops off at Urquhart Castle and then with a certain ticket can board the boat back to where you docked.

We arrived at Urquhart Castle and I just remembered why I LOVE old ruins and castles. I felt like I was Merida walking through the castle with my red hair. I was just missing the wild curls and Scottish accent but it was beautiful.  We followed the guide around for a while and listened to him talk so passionately about the Castle and it's history. I climbed to the highest points to soak up the stunning views and breath in the clear air. I could have sat for hours and just watched the waves of the Loch and the sun beaming and feeling the crisp air brushing my cheeks. The blue sky reflecting on the water made it a beautiful colour and interestingly one side of the Loch is darker than the other side of the Loch! One side is practically black whereas the other side is dark blue.

The castle was so beautiful and with signs everywhere you don't necessarily need the guide but the guide is really great to listen to. I loved everything about the castle, the views and it was a photographers dream! We then headed back on the Jacobite Warrior to where we started.

That evening we headed out to the Kingsmills hotel for dinner, I will be featuring Kingsmills hotel in a separate post as I was so impressed by the family rooms we saw that I wanted to feature it properly for people to see but we had a delicious Scottish dinner and champagne. Bill then told us the story of Robert Burns, who dined in the exact room we dined in and played us some songs on the bagpipes. It was so lovely and I left feeling so happy. 

Our log cabin was called Aquila and waking up there on the Morning we were due to leave made me so sad. I have never wanted to stay somewhere so much. Even at Disney by the final day as much as I wanted to stay forever I also didn't feel sad that I was leaving our hotel that morning. The trip was amazing and once again I have left knowing I have 10 friends in the blogging world that are wonderful and I get to see every 6 months and with a bundle of memories, moments and plans for more adventures in the future.

If someone would have told me that you could put 10 bloggers together with different lives, niches, styles, ages and personalities and put them in a house/cabin for 3 days solid and not experience any arguments, disagreements or bickering then I wouldn't have believed you but we do, we click, we get on and support, motivate and bring each other up. We share tips, tricks, stories and knowledge with each other and I just love each and everyone of them. This is my blog retreat tribe and they're amazing.
Blogging has bought me so many friends, memories, moments and pushes me to do things out of my comfort zone; I am very lucky.

image by Le Coin De Mel

Image by Le Coin De Mel

Thank you Eagle Brae, Lochness by Jacobite, Urquhart Castle and Kingsmills hotel for working with us on this wonderful trip.
Thank you to Bridget, Clare, Laura D, Laura Seaton, Laura Smallwood, Lauren, Mel, Sara-Jayne, Rosie and Donna (Who was there in spirit) for all the memories, laughs and fun over those 3 days.

Also a massive thank you to Clare for our retreat goodies of the Charles Conrad watch, which is a beautiful white and rose gold watch which is this bloggers dream and also to Joby for their amazing gorilla pod that works with my huge Canon and Sigma lens as well as my phone/go pro too - It's a super heavy camera so i'm impressed!

image by Mudpie Fridays