Posts Tagged ‘Discover Northern Ireland’

Baytree Boutique B&B

As the Easter holidays approached and I had not one thing planned for my days off, I was contacted by the lovely Susan, the owner of a new boutique B&B near Hillsborough, and invited for an overnight stay.  Now I have to admit, watching the progress of this B&B growing and changing on Instagram, whether I had anything planned or not, I was definitely making a space in my diary for a stay at this new location.  And as a bonus, Ruth from Willow Lane was coming along too!

Baytree Boutique B&B

It’s a long time since I stayed in a B&B so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  But Baytree Boutique B&B is so far removed from what I remember of the last B&B I stayed in, and I have to say, that was a bit of a relief!  You have the comforts of the personal touch from the owners, but you also have the space and anonymity I search for when on holiday.

Baytree Boutique B&B

My view

Let me explain a little more!  On arrival, we were greeted by Susan and welcomed into Baytree B&B where the necessary information was laid – Wifi password, taxi numbers, breakfast menu – all the essentials!!  After a tour of the property (which is separate from the main house, but close enough if you have any issues), Susan took our coffee orders and left us to make ourselves comfortable – we headed straight to the living area for a catch up!  The decor is minimalist and fresh but in contrast to the quaint look outside, is surprisingly modern inside.

Coffee and homemade treats devoured and Ruth and I set to taking some photos.  I was taking full advantage of having a photographer (who isn’t 7 and doesn’t require pocket money for all photos taken!) and also the beautiful gardens around the house.


This pleather dress was bought from Zara in the last of the sales. It cost £5. Current price per wear 71p;)

silver brogues

This cosy knit from Miss Selfridge was perfect for keeping the heat in while relaxing outside on a beautiful spring afternoon!


The bell sleeve and embroidery on this top from Primark ticks all this season’s trends boxes!

Puma trainers

I wasn’t sure how wearable these Puma trainers would be, but they have easily integrated into my wardrobe. Slightly quirky, very comfy;)

As the B&B is set just outside Hillsborough, it is in the ideal location to explore the area. From the castle, to the park and lake or into the village for lunch at The Owl and The Pussycat, flowers from Twigs and Twine or pick up something from a Northern Irish designer stocked in In klover.  Ruth and I decided to explore a little further however, so headed for dinner at one of my current favourite restaurants, Bull and Ram in Ballynahinch (worth a visit if you haven yet been!).

On return to the B&B, the lights were on, the fire was lit (those special little touches are everywhere!) and we were ready to sit down with a glass of chilled prosecco!  After the perfect relaxing evening, a magazine and easter egg were waiting upstairs for me to enjoy, so we said goodnight and headed off to our rooms.  Fresh linen from The White Company with pillows of different densities for the best night’s sleep – to say Susan has thought of everything really is an understatement!

Baytree Boutique B&B

The 8am alarm came far too quickly!  Although, the part of this stay I was looking forward to most was awaiting us – the breakfast! Susan offers an extensive menu of hot and cold dishes, all of which are selected the previous evening.  Again, Instagram had sold me on her yoghurt and granola and the eggs benedict (even now as I write this, I’d happily go for breakfast every morning!!).  Breakfast is served in Susan’s dining area in her own home but she also offers the option of serving it in the house, especially for guests staying a longer period.

Baytree Boutique B&B

Breakfast at Baytree

Check out time came too quickly.  We were slightly hesitant to leave, I’m already trying to work out my date of return!

Thank you to Susan for an amazing stay – whether you are visiting the area for a particular reason, or just getting a break away, Baytree Boutique B&B is top of my list of recommendations!


Learning the Value of Alone Time at The Culloden Estate and Spa

Put up your hand if you are reading this in the moments in between all the things you ‘have’ to do?!

Life is busy, it’s hard to find quiet, and if you are anything like me, even when you do, you think of that one thing you meant to google earlier in the day!  It’s full of demands – some of these demands are placed on you by yourself, some placed on you by others.  But regardless of the source of the demand, it still has the ability to cause pressure when sometimes all you need is a break.  I have tried over the past few years to relieve the demands and take a bit of time out.  Time without housework, people, work – time for me to do what I want to do.  After spending many years in the company of others 24/7, I nearly had to re-learn how to be alone.

Hastings Hotels gave me the chance to rectify this – well for one morning anyway!  I had a few days where my little boy went off on adventures with family, so after I had spent the first day on the usual clear out (how is it possible to gather so much paperwork?!), day two was dedicated to relaxation.

During the summer holidays, one day easily rolls into the next so of course, I had thought of the great plan to take my relaxing day, but hadn’t yet booked it.  I phoned The Culloden on Sunday and was pleased to hear there was availability.  Big plus Number One!

I had been gifted the Spa-Tisserie Experience which included one Spa Treatment (55 minute treatment choosing from ESPA Aromatherapy Full Body Massage, ESPA Aromatherapy Facial, ESPA Body Envelopment, Manicure or Pedicure) followed by Afternoon Tea.

On arrival, I was greeted and given a quick tour before changing and entering the Relaxation Room before my massage.  After enough time to sit back, relax and flick through a few pages of Harper’s Bazaar, my therapist Chris brought me into the Treatment Room.  As you would expect, the mood was calm, the music relaxing and the decor conducive to helping the mind and body unwind.  I had opted for a full body massage; squeeze out any lingering stresses before getting ready to welcome a new term.  I was given the option of a relaxing or energising massage (I went with energising) and then given different oil options to suit my mood.  With just the right amount of pressure given, the massage had the desired effect, thank-you Chris!

I had booked my Afternoon Tea for an hour after my massage, giving me the time to head back to the relaxation room to finish my magazine, before heading for a quick dip in the pool.  Perfection.  There was also a sauna available but I can’t do the heat!  At this point, I’ll just add my one request – room signs!  As you enter the spa, there are no signs on the doors.  In my complete state of relaxation I got a little disorientated and nearly disturbed someone else’s massage time! Mind you, I would have happily snuck in to a Treatment Room for a little more pampering;)

When ready, I headed to Zest Juice Bar which was situated just by the pool, to enjoy my Afternoon Tea.  Greeted with a cup of coffee and a fresh iced water, I waited for the my treats to arrive.  I am a savoury girl at heart so happily devoured the delicate sandwiches and scones smothered in cream with a fresh cup of hot coffee (the service was impeccable!).  After a short breather, I dipped in to the sweet treats but they defeated me – thankfully they could be boxed up ready for home!

I still find it very hard to be alone and do nothing however – I managed to write most of this post while dining!

Unfortunately my time had come to an end, I was due to set my ‘me time’ to the side and get back to duties.  A quick shower in the spacious changing room and on the road again, feeling relaxed and revitalised!

I had an amazing experience in the Culloden Spa – it is a place to enjoy time alone or with others but whatever your grouping, a place to feel completely at home and just breathe.  Thank you to the Culloden Estate and Spa, Hastings Hotels and Michael at Duffy Rafferty for this experience.