Monday, 2 March 2015

Arran and The Auchrannie Resort

I have been sorting through my many photo albums and I came across our photos from a trip we took to Arran back in 2010. They brought back memories of such a fantastic weekend away and as Easter break is just around the corner, I thought I'd share our experience of staying at The Auchrannie Resort in Arran. If you are thinking about visiting Scotland then this is definitely one of the places you should add to your list.

We took a ferry from our local ferry port which took about an hour. The kids were so excited to be travelling on a boat and enjoyed watching the waves crash against the ferry as we sailed towards the Isle of Arran. We decided to leave the car at the ferry port as the resort offers a free pick up service for guests staying with them. The mini bus was waiting for us when we arrived.

The Auchrannie Resort is tucked away a few minutes drive from the ferry port. The town itself is small; there are a few shops and restaurants to visit which are just a short walk away from the resort. We spotted a chocolate shop that we marked down for visiting during our stay. 

The resort is spread across two hotels; one is the original hotel, the Auchrannie House Hotel and the second is the Auchrannie Spa, the newer of the two. We stayed in the Auchrannie Spa which I felt was more suited to guests with families. The House Hotel, which welcomes families too, I found more romantic as it's an older building with a more traditional feel to it and would be a lovely place to visit as a couple. Both hotels looked amazing as we drove in to the grounds.

We were greeted and made to feel very welcome at the reception and shown to our room. It was beautifully decorated and there were lots of lovely touches to the room. A kettle, cups, milk and sugar were provided and the bathroom had a good stock of Arran Aromatics smellies. The room was spotless and a good size for the four of us. The views were amazing!

Our first stop was The Playbarn, a soft play and outdoor play area just behind the hotel. It's the only centre of its kind in Arran and it's open to the public to visit as well as hotel guests so I imagine it can get busy. We travelled in September and it was quiet during our stay. The kids loved the soft play but their favourite part was the outdoor area, filled with wooden climbing frames and assault courses. Miss C liked hiding in the teepee with Daddy.

After an hour or so in The Playbarn, we headed to the hotel's restaurant, Cruize Bar Brasserie, for dinner. They had an excellent menu when we stayed there and the food was all really tasty. Of course, the favourite part of the meal was the sticky toffee pudding the kids had for dessert. The portion sizes were very generous. The resort has two other restaurants which are located in the House Hotel; Eighteen69 and Brambles Seafood Grill.

The Cruize Bar was really relaxed and perfect for families. Once we finished our meal, we headed over to the lounge area where there was a TV and a play room with various games for the children. There was also a small soft play area suitable for babies and toddlers.

We slept so well that night, however once the kids were in bed, Husband and I were in bed. The House Hotel has interconnecting rooms and suites if you prefer a separate sleeping area for the kids and, at the time of our visit, the Auchrannie Spa was in the midst of planning an extension to the hotel to allow for more interconnecting rooms.

The following day, we had breakfast which was served as a buffet with both hot and cold food and was really delicious. We made sure to fill up for our day ahead. We walked in to town and had a nosey around the shops and went down to the beach to collect shells. Arran really is a beautiful place to explore and especially good if you enjoy being outdoors, walking, cycling or climbing.

After lunch at the hotel, we decided to check out their leisure facilities. The Auchrannie Resort is one of the few places in Arran that has a pool so it is also open to the public to use. We chose to go to the Auchrannie Spa pool, however there is a pool in the House Hotel as well. There was a shallow pool for the kids to play in with water fountains and showers for them to play under. The main pool was a good length for swimming in and the full area was lovely and warm. Husband and I took turns in the steam room and sauna however neither of us were brave enough to pull the bucket of cold water over us after! Apparently it's good for you! We used a family changing area and there were plenty of cubicles and lockers to use. Everywhere was spotless!

Inside the leisure area, there is a gym and a spa where you can book lots of lovely treatments. We didn't book anything but I do believe treatments have to be booked in advance.

We enjoyed dinner in the Cruize Bar for a second night and again, the meal was faultless. We had an early night as we were all exhausted after our very busy day.

We had such a wonderful time at the Auchrannie resort. Although we did take a walk in to town, we really didn't need to leave the resort as there was plenty to do. There are places you can hire bikes and ride through Arran and there are various walks you can go on too. However, if you just want to relax, take in some beautiful scenery, enjoy some really good Scottish food and maybe pamper yourself and still have somewhere the kids can go and play then the Auchrannie Resort comes highly recommended by us.

We stayed at the Auchrannie Resort on a Dinner, Bed and Breakfast plan which included Kids Stay and Play for free. We were invited along for a review for an external website and I was given a tour of both hotels and the beautiful lodges. The opinions and photos are all my own. 

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Lazy Days and Chocolate Brownies

Sometimes, because we are so busy during the week, we just need a little chill out time at the weekend. We need to have two days where we don't do anything much except relax in the house and enjoy each others company.

That's what we did this weekend and it was great.

So, our weekends don't stop and stand still completely; Z has karate, Miss C has horse riding and they both have swimming lessons on a Sunday. Aside from those, we spent all of Saturday in the house.

Whilst Husband and Miss C got on with making her castle for her school project, Z read his Beano comic and I baked brownies. We love eating brownies and the recipe I used this time made them extra gooey and chocolatey!

The kids asked if they could have burgers in buns for dinner so I obliged and make chips and a salad to go along with the burger. They gobbled it all up!

After dinner, we got in to our jammies and watched Night at the Museum together. The kids had never seen it before and both of them were engrossed. We had some crisps and our brownies as movie snacks.

Once the movie had finished, it was off to bed for the kids. We were all ready for an early night to recharge the batteries.

It's simple days like these that I love with my little family.

The Black and White Photo Project #33

My Sunday Photo 2015 #9


The Week That Was #9

Last Sunday, we had a bit of a lazy day at home. The full day wedding had drained Husband and I so it was a very welcomed and much needed lazy day. Z was off to his best friend's birthday party; a day of laser tag and bowling. Miss C decided to have a sneaky shot of Minecraft whilst her brother was away. We watched a bit of TV, did some jigsaws and just enjoyed having nothing to do. It was great!

On Monday, it was back to school and college for us. The rain and wind held off long enough for us to make it to our separate destinations. It was a pretty full on day for me and by 2.30pm, during a talk on interview techniques, I was almost asleep. I was doing that whole head dropping thing. Husband came to pick me up as it was freezing and wet. The kids and I caught up  on our days and had stovies for tea.

On Tuesday, another full day of college awaited me. The rain battered off the windows which kept me awake for most of the day. We had a really interesting class on behaviour and parenting styles. Husband picked me up again as it was still pouring at tea time. The kids were delighted they got to play Minecraft for a little while before dinner.

On Wednesday, it was placement day. The day went in pretty quickly but I came home feeling unwell and ready for bed. The kids told me all about their day at school. Miss C drew a picture of a horse for me and Z enjoyed reading his latest issue of The Beano. After dinner, we watched a bit of TV before heading to bed. Z's tooth fell out so we made sure it was under his pillow, ready for the tooth fairy to visit.

On Thursday, it was day two of placement. Again the day went in quickly but I was feeling drained and my throat was killing me when I got home. Z went outside to play football whilst the rain held off. Miss C enjoyed some Wotsits for snack. They don't get crisps very often so they really savour them when they do.

On Friday, it was my day off. The usual duties for Friday were done and then I got on with some college work but I found it tough to get in to. Reports on poverty and substance abuse weren't filling me with joy! After school, the kids had friends over to play and they all had a great time. They had pizza for tea and played Minecraft together. Z and his friend headed off to their Friday club and Miss C's friend got picked up to go home. Miss C was so upset! She stayed home to watch Tangled whilst sharing my pizza with me. I took delivery of some herbs and plants as part of a review we're doing.

On Saturday, we were up early for Karate. When we got home, Miss C and Husband started work on her castle project for school whilst I made chocolate brownies. We had lunch and then spent the afternoon chilling out. The weather was miserable!

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