If you’ve not yet drawn up your Christmas shopping list (let alone finished it and got it all wrapped, yes, we’ve all got those organised friends!) then you’ll be wondering where to start. Here are my top suggestions of where to head, in person and on those rainy days when you are sofa bound, for the very best festive shopping inspiration. Continue reading “Christmas Gift Ideas”
This post is not about somewhere new I have discovered, but it is about somewhere YOU need to go and discover. It’s about an old favourite which keeps getting better every time I visit. In fact, if you read this and go see for yourself, part of me might feel a teeny, tiny bit jealous that you are getting to take it all in for the first time…
First things first – look out the Barbour jacket, hunter wellies and any other “country accessories for a city gal” that you, like me, feel The North Of Scotland requires, and head to Inverness, the captial of the Highlands. The sausage dog unfortunately stayed put this time..
Just a little North of Inverness, you’ll find The Storehouse of Foulis. It is a foodies dream location. The family run restaurant and farm shop sits on the shores of the Cromarty Firth, a gorgeous location all year round, with dramatic views across to the Black Isle.
The couple in charge of this operation are Quintin and Michelle Stevens, (Mr F&P’s sister and her husband) and it really is a family run business in every sense. Millie, their gorgeous working cocker spaniel can often be found moseying around whilst Michelle works in the office upstairs, and Quintin can be found at the Storehouse every day, and as a result knows all the regulars well. Their boys, 4 and 2, are also often around, adding to the friendly, relaxed family atmosphere of the place.
The restaurant at The Storehouse is open 7 days a week and offers an extensive brunch, lunch, supper and snack menu. With so many fresh, delicious plates on offer, it’s no surprise I’ve never been when the place isn’t buzzing. On Sundays there is no better place for a roast, as Quintin and his staff turn the food counter into a full blown carvery.
We arrived at The Storehouse late morning, meaning we attacked the brunch menu with gusto. I tucked into an enormous scone with blackberry and pear jam, whilst Mr F&P enjoyed muesli, fresh fruit and yoghurt, followed by a sensational bacon, gruyere and rocket sandwich – a fitting breakfast feast for a man who ran up Ben Wyviss at the crack of drawn that morning.
After a perfect brunch, it was time to head to through to the farm shop. Just outside the main shop, there is another little wooden hut – a second treasure trove of gifts, but we will come to that later.
Inside the farm shop, Michelle and her team have the shelves and display cabinets bursting with attractive foodie treats. Alongside a deli counter and a Black Isle Dairy ice cream counter, you will find locally sourced meats, fruit and veg, preserves, biscuits, cheeses … everything you’d hope to find in a well stocked farm shop and more. Good relationships with local suppliers mean Quintin and Michelle can ensure both the food hall and restaurant are stocked with fresh produce all year round.
Impressive right? Make sure you factor in ample “wandering around the shop” time in your visit, because every time you look at a display cabinet you see something else you like the look of!
Now, you’re wondering what on earth could be left to go in the gift shop outside? Let me show you…
And look at these little guys just chilling outside!
Finally after a wandering around the shop, you can pop down to the pebble beach and take in the highland scenery. In the summer months, when the sun is shining, the seating area outside is packed and little tots with sticky ice creams cones on the beach are plentiful. Perhaps it’s because I’m not from this beautiful part of Scotland, but for me, these views never get old.
For now, it’s back to base in Edinburgh, but I am content in the knowledge it won’t be long until I’m packing up my wellies and heading North again.