Treetops Bed and Breakfast in Fort William

I cannot tell you how happy we were with our choice of bed and breakfast in Fort William. So I just had to review them because it was fabulous and you all need to know. I researched where to stay using Tripadvisor and their reviews were so exceptional, and the views looked spectacular, so we went for it and boy I am glad we did.

Treetops Bed and Breakfast is just outside of Fort William in a place called Banavie. It is high up on a hill so you are looking down on Fort William with an excellent prospect of the Mountains. And not just any mountains, but Ben Nevis!

view of ben nevis from bed and breakfast

We arrived after a long journey, as I am sure everyone does in the Highlands, to the friendly and welcoming JJ, the owner. He showed us to our room and announced that we had been upgraded to the best room in the place, and wow what a room. We stayed in the Great Glen room, which had the addition of a Balcony overlooking Ben Nevis. I have to say, that Balcony made me so happy, I could have just sat our there all day reading and staring at the mountains.

JJ then presented us with a warm pot of tea and homemade Scottish Shortbread, what a delight after 5 hours of driving. Not only that, he booked us dinner at the best restaurant in town, called the Ben Nevis Inn, what service! We did enjoy dinner there, but after spending 2 days in the Lake District the food was somewhat of a disappointment. It was perfectly nice, of course, just not exceptional. The atmosphere was very good, friendly service but served family-style (meaning that you just sit on a long bench with other people, not something I am used to though it was nice to experience something different.

In the morning we experienced the breakfast and I was blown away. The breakfast JJ served up was probably the biggest and best breakfast I have ever encountered in any hotel or B&B, there were so many options and each one was sublime:

  • A huge bowl full of fresh chopped fruit and a bowl of yoghurt
  • Juices and Cereals
  • A freshly handmade smoothie (I’m not the biggest fan of smoothie’s usually but it was delicious)
  • Toast
  • Home-made scottish porridge (absolutely enticing and my favourite part of the meal)
  • Choice of hot meal e.g. full scottish breakfast, salmon bagels, kippers etc.

That is a lot of food to eat for breakfast, we literally didn’t eat again until dinner, it was so filling, but I couldn’t say no to any of the course, they were too irrisistible.

homemade smoothie granola and yoghurthome-made scottish porridgescottish breakfast highlands

On our first day, the hubby decided to climb Ben Nevis, you know for fun, like you do. Well he never intended to climb the whole thing (because it takes on average 6 hours in total, depending on your fitness levels), but just wanted to see what the views would be like up there. So he got about half way and found a loch, actually on the mountain – who knew?!

loch on top of ben nevis

I spent a lazy morning recuperating from the long journey, reading out on the balcony, watching the clouds pass over Ben Nevis. It couldn’t have been more relaxing.

ben nevis images

The room was large and decorated beautifully with gorgeous little touches such as coasters of scottie dogs, beautiful lamps and Harris Tweed cushion covers. The bathroom was immense, had a bidet and a spa bath. We had an absolutely fabulous time.

harris tweed cusion covers


The Secret Life of MY 4 year old

3 4 year old taking pictures photographer

I really enjoyed watching “Secret Lives of 4 year olds” when it was on about 6 months ago. Back then my son was 3.5 years old (yeah I know, fast math!) and I remember talking to my friend in the kitchen at work, saying how amazing these 4 year olds were and that I couldn’t imagine Nate being like that. I also couldn’t believe the gap in abilities between my 3.5 year old and those 4 year olds, they seemed worlds apart.

What a difference 6 months makes!

My son is almost 4 years old and now when I watch the new series, I was thinking, Nate does this and Nate does that, and doesn’t he sound like Nate, it was illuminating. I loved it when the little girl said: “I’m telling Santa and the Tooth Fairy!” So funny.

So I thought I would share with you a little insight into the secret life of my (almost) 4 year old.

Nate: Mummy that is where I worked when I was a grown-up.

Me: What was your job?

Nate: I had 10 jobs!

Me: Wow 10, what were they?

Nate: Well not 10 jobs, 10 animals, that was my job.

Me: 10 animals?

Nate: Yeah the animals are my friends, I have a shark, a lion, a tiger, a elephant, a cheetah, a leopard, a jellyfish, a duck.

Me: They are all dangerous, don’t they try to eat you?

Nate: No they don’t because they don’t have teeth.

Me: Why don’t they have teeth?

Nate: Because I took them all out.

We have had many discussions just like this one, he can go on for hours, spinning a whole imaginary world. It is quite fascinating to hear how his mind works.

roaring lion picture image

I wouldn’t relish taking those teeth out!

One final thought from my 4 year old, but a little less risk averse this time:

Nate: You use the scissors because I don’t want to cut my fingers off, coz I like all my fingers.

Are you enjoying the new series of Secret Lives of 4/5 and 6 year olds?



Roadtrip to the Scottish Highlands

I have always wanted to go to the Scottish Highlands, and with our son basking in the Spanish sun with grandparents, we felt it was the perfect opportunity to go on a really long journey, the kind that would be tricky for a 3 year old to cope with.

It’s far…the Highlands of Scotland are monumentally far, especially for a southerner. Have you every driven it in one day? Well we have, it took us 9 hours! At least on the way up we had the sense to stop off at the Lake District for 2 days, and what a stopover that was, wow! We did actually consider flying, and found some good flights prices with Easyjet (though all the little add-ons were annoying, bumping up the price), we found really good car parking at Gatwick Airport for less than ¬£40 which I thought was a bargain, but the problem was getting from the airport. Unfortunately the closest airport to Fort William was Inverness, which is a 2 hour drive away, and that would have involved renting a car, so in the end we decided on a ROAD-TRIP!!

We drove from Milton Keynes to the Lakes and then after 2 perfect days in the Lakes, we drove from Windemere to Fort William, which was to be our base for 4 nights. It is a 5 hour drive from Windemere to Fort William (quite an easy drive though as it was mostly motorways).

map of scotland highlandshighlands and lowlands scotland map

On the way up we stopped for a quick bite and a short stroll around Loch Lomond, what a sight that was, our first taste of Scotland, not only was the loch gorgeous, especially with the sun beating down, but we were lucky to witness a sea-plane landing on the loch! My husband is a huge plane enthusiast, so you can only imagine his excitement. I even managed to catch a pic before it got too far away.

sea plane landing on loch lomond

Next we continued on, snapping photos at every opportunity, and even almost stopping traffic as my husband slowed down to allow me some good shots (very naughty) and then we noticed all of the millions of points on the road where you can pull over to take pictures. Just as well really, otherwise we would have either a) crashed the car, blinded by natural beauty or b) taken to a scottish prison for reckless driving. Of course I am exaggerating, we drove perfectly fine, but it was terribly distracting all the peaks, mountains and lochs that only improved as we continued our ascent.

Speaking of driving conditions, we were worried by the strange and continuous road signs and warnings in Scotland, here are some of the examples that caused us to comment:

  1. Are your eyes fit for driving? (Erm, I don’t know, are yours? And what do you mean by fit? Also, what if I decide they are not, there’s not much I can do about it on the middle of the motorway)
  2. Check your tire pressure (What now? Surely leaning out of my window would be more dangerous)
  3. Fasten seat belts front and back (Well we still haven’t found any seatbelts on the backs of our seats) side note: I hear Ross (from Friends) screaming “FRONT AND BACK!” when I see that sign!
  4. Drive safely (I am, why do you need to tell me that!)

I don’t mean to be flippant, I do understand how important road safety is, it’s just that, well down south we don’t really have road warnings like these, and if we do, they are very rare and not so often, and not quite so bossy. It seems strange that people need to be reminded of these things. I am intrigued as to whether they work.

Back to the matter at hand, we drove from Loch Lomond and through the valley of Glen Coe, I didn’t know at the time that it would be my favourite place, but it is possibly the most beautiful place I have ever encountered!

glen coe scottish highlands

The valley of Glen Coe is the result of and the remnants of a supervolcano that erupted 420 million years ago. Glen Coe is a very popular area for walkers, hikers, rock-climbers and for skiing. It was also the best part of our road trip, it is easy to drive through, a spectacularly scenic route for driving with a tremendous amount of laybys strategically placed for taking pictures and stopping for a ramble.

glen coe photos scotland

We arrived in Fort William (not the prettiest of town centres) and stayed in a gorgeous bed and breakfast in Banavie called Treetops. It was the perfect location, close enough to the centre of Fort William (5 minute drive) to pop in for some food, but just outside in a prettier area, on the top of a hill, next to the railway where the Steam Train whistled passed us twice a day on its famous journey to Mallaig. More importantly we had spectacular views of the mountains and a view of Ben Nevis from our balcony. We never tired of that spectacular view! Every morning, I sprang out of bed, opened the curtains and glanced out.

highlands in scotland

Some days there were interesting cloud or fog formations, and some days perfect sunshine. But it was stunning in all kinds of weather.

view of ben nevis from treetops b&b

I can’t imagine trying to keep a 3 year old entertained for 9 hours, but for us, it was perfectly do-able, especially if you stop for frequent breaks. Perhaps we will hire a camper van and take our son next time…and yes there will definitely be a next time! Stay poised for a review of Treetops Bed and Breakfast, examples of Gentle Walks in the Highlands and things to do in the Highlands.

Have you ever taken a road-trip? Hopefully not a drunken, I lost my tooth, there is a tiger in the bathroom affair!

Travel Monkey

My boy is TRANSPORT Mad!

I am a Parragon Book-Buddy! I cannot tell you how excited that made me when I found out, seriously I am a total book nerd, in case I haven’t made that clear previously. I inhale books and have surrounded my son with them since he was young, and my fingers are firmly crossed that he will continue to love reading as he grows up.

I’m not sure that Parragon Books will be able to top this month’s book, what a great one to start with because it is so much more than just a book. It’s a book, a game and a 2 in 1 jigsaw, and most importantly, it’s about Transport! Nate loves transport, he has always been obsessed with it and it has not really diminished over time. Everything from planes, trains, motorbikes to construction vehicles, those are his favourite.

parragon book and jigsaw

The package that you receive is like a little travel pack, with a handle, inside is a medium-sized book and a 2-sided jigsaw. The jigsaw has 30 pieces and depicts one of the scenes from the book. Both are of the same image (of cars), one side is colour and the other side is in black and white, waiting to be coloured-in.

Spot-A-Lot of Vehicles – The Book

For this age group I was slightly surprised at the size of the book, it is not the bedtime story kind of size where you lay it across your lap and look at the big glossy images. This one is more of a travel-sized book, which is perfect if you indeed want to use it for travelling, and we certainly will be. I intend to bring it in the car for long journeys as the protective case will keep it clean and protected.

3 year old reading a book

I was very impressed by how interactive the book was. I am used to just reading Nate stories, but this one asks questions and points things out along the way, this helps to extend his learning in the form of numeracy, shape recognition, colours and vocabulary. It also extends the length of the book, which on a long journey is invaluable.

The ilustrations have an old-fashioned quality to them and feels very reminicent of my childhood books. There are so many tiny little details on each page, lots of things you can point out and ask “what’s that?”. Everything from zebra crossings, bales of hay to pieces of coal in a truck.

pre-schooler reading books

Each page is littered with questions, and some are hidden, so I didn’t find them until the second or third reading, which is fun. Some examples include: “Find a car pulling a big trailer” or “Find 4 yellow umbrellas”. Some are whimsical such as “Find a cat that’s stolen my hat”.

Nate’s favourite question was: “Find 2 fish kissing”.

two fish kissing

Me: Find 2 fish kissing.

Nate: 2 fish kissing that’s silly.

Me: Why is it silly?

Nate: Because fish don’t have lips to kiss, but me and L kiss.

That’s his best friend at Nursery he is talking about, its so cute!

At the end of the book I asked him if he liked the book a little or a lot, and he said A LOT! So it has a 3 year old’s seal of approval.


Nate is pretty obsessed with jigsaw puzzles at present so this is perfect timing. He loved it, put it together with a little help from me and then proceeded to colour it in. Though he also tried to colour in the wrong side, had to put the kabosh on that one!

colouring in games for 3 year oldsalmost 4 year old puzzles

The jigsaw is perfect for his age (3 years old), they were a good size, and had enough pieces to be challenging.

Spot A Lot: Vehicles Book and Jigsaw is available at: Easons, Matalan, TK Maxx and The Works.

*I received a free copy of the book and puzzle in exchange for a honest review, all views are my own and I have full editorial rights over this and all of my blog posts.