Thursday, 17 September 2015

Border Living!

So we've been living in the Scottish Borders for 3 months now and I thought it was time to do a big fat post about how much we've been loving it...but clearly I've left it too long, because by the time I had narrowed down pictures there were still 100 in the batch! prepared for a huge picture overload! 

Before we moved here, I can't say I'd ever really heard anything about the Borders! I'd never come across anyone who had travelled there, anyone who was from there, or any reason to go there! I'm not even sure I could have named you any of the towns that even existed there, and for a geography buff like myself I'm pretty embarrassed to admit that! 

On the other hand, knowing absolutely zero about it before we arrived gave way to some great anticipation and some great exploring fun and I'm safe to say we're all big fans of this Border living! 

The pics above are taken in Bowmont Forest, which is a 5 minute drive from Kelso, the town we live in.  It's not just the forester who is in love with the great outdoors around here!

How magical is this?! 

Even when it rains, which it has done...alot! we can go on puddle splashing walks to the forest! which Ella thinks is the greatest thing ever!

Oh, how she loves a good puddle!

and having a stick in each hand!

I love this little nature lover we're raising!

We wasted no time in introducing Ella to one of our fave summer traditions - strawberry picking!

She was a pro in no time! favouring putting them in the punnet, rather than in her mouth surprisingly. I'm sure that will change in the future ;)

As well as rolling hills, an abundance of trees and historic monuments popping up all over the place, one of my favourite things about the Borders is just how well they do flowers!

I joked with By that there must be a rule in our neighbourhood that everyone has to have a show garden! so he's got big pressure on him to keep our garden up to scratch! but it's probably just because our neighbourhood is full of old people who spend all their time gardening, haha!

But seriously, look at some of these scenes? 
These pics were taken in a free garden we found in the cutest town of Melrose, it was called the Harmony Garden, and we loved exploring it when Auntie Mara was in town!

One of my all time fave spots for flower lusting is at Floors Castle, which is right on our doorstep! 

We explored it when my mom and aunt Di were in town, and look how much gorgeousness there was! 

I've lost count of the number of times I've been there now - this walled garden is just too magical, and I love that every time I go different and new flowers are blooming and the colours are always changing!

and if you love flowers...then Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott just outside of Melrose on the way to Galashiels is also all kinds of dreamy!

It literally looks like it's straight out of a fairytale! 

We visited there when Byron's mom was in town.  

We couldn't get enough of how vivid the flowers were!

I'm a lot in love with wildflowers!

and with these two little cuties! who are always sharing a cute moment when Mommy is around with the camera!

Scott's View is a great little lookout just outside of St. Boswell's.  I had wanted to visit it for ages and finally got the chance when Mara was here.  

It shows off the Eildon Hills in the distance which we haven't climbed yet, but hope to very soon! 

In recent times, Ella has decided she's not quite as keen on photos as the rest of the family is! so she wasn't obliging on this particular day!!

The other awesome thing about St.Boswell's is their book and cake shop - Main Street Trading.  It's pretty much the only place I've found good cake so far...which would be a bit sad, if there weren't sooo many amazing cake opportunities in Edinburgh which will be covered on this blog very soon!!

For now, it's only 15 minutes away to this super cute place and worth several repeat visits!

Malteser cake...

and coconut and apple slice.  I also had amazing hummingbird cake here before too!

There are a basket of toys which Ella loves getting involved in!

and their childrens area of the book store is just so fun!

Ella sure makes herself at home!

These book burrows are my fave! You can snuggle down inside and listen to one of their audio books and there are cute paintings inside for the kids and a little hidden box of goodies under one of the rugs in the floorboards that Ella loves to peek at every time we go!

Our fave restaurant, The Buccleuch Arms is also in this little village.  It has several different parts, We ate at The Blue Coo Bistrot with my mom and aunt to celebrate By's great graduation results.

We loved how it was done out inside, very shabby chic!

Check out that map of Scotland made out of only wine corks! 

and this bottle chandelier was also fun!

Our meal was delicious and the little joker at the end of the table kept everyone entertained!

They also have swings and a slide in their garden which Ella just loves!

We ate there on our anniversary too, and a few weeks back when Byron's dad was visiting! It's so good it makes it hard for us to want to try anywhere else! 

We had haggis bon bons for starter!

and little Ella was our third wheel, but what a cute little third wheel!

She enjoyed her swing fun after dinner!

and we had to stop at Scotts View on the way home...because those views!

Ella was feeling much more photogenic this time around!

This is the little cobbled town square in Kelso - and the big town hall, complete with cute bunting! The farmers market meets there every 4th Saturday of the month.  Apparently it was modelled after a French town and you can totally see it was!

One of our fave local attractions is Harestanes, a country park that has an awesome playpark and big sandpit.  Ella loves to play there...and it's free entry, another bonus! 

Who knew that an ancient ruin of a Monastery of Melrose Abbey could provide so much entertainment for a toddler?

Pretty much anywhere with stones wins in Ella's eyes! 

and wide open spaces to run around...and she found a ramp so running up and down that was all she wanted to do! 

There are four abbeys in the borders - Melrose, Jedburgh, Dryburgh and Kelso.  I think the Melrose one might be my fave!

Not only are the views on the ground great, but there are also some pretty awesome views from above!

Mom and I climbed the tower, and had to snap a selfie at the top!

while Ella chilled with Auntie Di down below!

and climbed some more rocks! The little tartan daredevil!

Another area we explored was over near Selkirk, to check out the Bowhill Estate.

It has beautiful grounds, and a big lake, a little soft play area, a cafe selling oreo cupcakes for £1 and this awesome playpark! It is definitely the best we've come across so far! Our lovely friends from our Hamilton days came to visit us for the day and I showed them the ropes!

Ethan took such great care of Ella, and was a great helper for the day to her!

Those boys know how throw down some moves on the slides!

So of course their mum had to get in on the action too!

and Ella and I couldn't turn down the fun!

Finishing up my super lengthy round up of the Borders is St. Mary's Loch.

There is just so much beauty here!

Usually, she's all about the sheep but again she wasn't feeling the posing this day!

The cutest little bridge!

Having a splash with Daddy

Love those views!

We went back just last week and tagged along with the forester to see how he spends his days at work.  Well, it was amazing! 

The forest is a pretty magical place to be!

The first time I've ever seen a storybook mushroom!

and would you check out the dew on those spiderwebs!

I have never seen such dense forest before! You couldn't even see through the trees because it was just darkness, pretty spooky!

and with views like this, who wouldn't want to be working and living here!

Borders - we are a lot in love with you!

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