A Night At The Fairmont St Andrews

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If you are a regular reader of the blog you will have seen that in September I spent two days in Fife experiencing the very best of Fife’s larder. I was very kindly offered a room in the Fairmont St Andrews for my overnight stay.

Situated on a 520 acre estate, Fairmont St Andrews is a luxury resort offering peaceful surroundings and panoramic cliff top views of St Andrews and the North Sea.

My first visit to the Fairmont St Andrews was back in 2007 for a friend’s hen do, where we had a lovely lunch in the clubhouse and got to experience the spa and treatment rooms. The Fairmont St Andrews really is the perfect setting for celebrating, relaxing, and pampering.
Since my last visit, the hotel has undergone extensive refurbishment, bringing it up to date, and ensuring it maintains its place as one of Scotland’s leading luxury hotels.

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The lobby of the Fairmont St Andrews

The designers have been really successful in reflecting the surroundings of the hotel in their interior design. The Atrium area features a spectacular lighting sculpture by renowned artist, George Singer, named Zephyr, which emulates shoals of fish in St Andrews Bay and the blowing reeds on the cliff tops.

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Zephyr by George Singer

The colour palette in the public areas (which is remarkably similar to my own living room!) is warm, inviting and relaxing. I particularly loved the library and only wish I had a longer stay so I could have really enjoyed the facilities at the hotel.

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The library

I was lucky enough to spend the night in one of the hotel’s suites. The suite was spacious with a separate sitting area, dining table, a desk to work at, the comfiest of beds, and a luxurious bathroom. Here is a room tour…

Due to a busy itinerary for the Feast Of Fife Bloggers Weekend I had very little time in my room, but I had a wonderful night’s sleep in beautiful surroundings, and an excellent breakfast the next morning.

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Left – obligatory hotel robe selfie
Middle – bed of dreams
Right – a perfect breakfast to start your day

I can only dream of a child-free break with Mr Hungry Squirrels here in order to further enjoy the luxurious setting that the Fairmont St Andrews provides. The suite would also be perfect for a stay with the Little Squirrels. However, the thought of some adult-only time is a little more appealing. There is so much to take in at the Fairmont St Andrews, from two championship golf courses, to the sumptuous Signature Spa, to an array of eating and drinking facilities, not to mention the Savoy Afternoon Tea.

With Christmas looming, I can highly recommend gift vouchers for the Fairmont St Andrews as the perfect present for your loved ones in need of some rest, relaxation, and pampering!

Many Thanks to the Fairmont St Andrews for having me for the night. I hope to see you again soon…

Feast Of Fife – The St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company

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Day two of our Feast Of Fife Adventure started with a trip to Falside Farm. Situated just 8 miles from St Andrews, and 4 miles from Anstruther, Falside Farm is home to the St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company – Fife’s only unpasteurised cheese makers. The land here has been farmed by the Stewart family since the 1930s. In 2008 Jane & Robert Stewart began cheese production, with their original Anster cheese. Since then they have opened up a coffee shop and have expanded their range of cheese, and are winning awards for their beautifully crafted traditional cheeses.

Stepping out of the minibus I was struck by the stunning views… fields of lusciously green grass rolling down to the Firth of Forth, and of course the beautiful Friesian Holstein Cows that produce the milk that makes St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese.

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We were all seated in the Coffee Shop and were welcomed by the very lovely and charismatic Jane Stewart.
Jane spoke to us about how their cheese business began in 2008 when milk prices were low. Jane & Robert recognised a gap in the market, in that no one else in Fife was making cheese. Jane spent some time in Wales with a traditional cheese maker who was retiring, learning her craft, and was then able to buy the equipment she would need to start cheese production. This wonderful video from Andy Swinscoe of The Courtyard Dairy in Settle shows how the cheese is made, and illustrates perfectly Jane’s enthusiasm and passion for what she does!

 

Jane explained that at St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company they are about making the best top quality cheese that people want to buy. They have five varieties that they have mastered. We were served a cheeseboard allowing us to sample the wonderful cheeses that Jane & her team produce, alongside some beautiful cheese scones, cheese biscuits, and oatcakes and chutney.

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Left – a beautiful board of the five cheeses produced by St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company
Right – homemade cheesy biscuits and cheese scones

The original Anster is a Cheshire-style cheese, matured for 2-4 months, with a crumbly texture and a tangy taste. The Mature Anster is matured for 7-9 months and as a result has a more pungent flavour and a flaky texture. Red Anster is the sister cheese to Anster, made using the same recipe but with the addition of a natural red colouring and garlic and chives. Smoked Anster is smoked in nearby St Monans, using traditional methods with real oak and beech chips. Finally St Andrews Farmhouse Cheddar is aged for 9-12 months, resulting in a bold creamy cheddar.

I am fond of my cheese, so it was a real treat to sample the beautiful cheeses that Jane and her team produce. I particularly loved the original Anster and the Farmhouse Cheddar. If you are visiting Fife, St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company is well worth a visit. The coffee shop is set in a beautiful location, and offers a lovely menu of freshly cooked food and home-baking using locally sourced ingredients. There is also a great deli section where you can buy some of the UK’s best farmhouse cheeses.

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Glasgow-based cheese lovers can pick up some Anster cheese from Iain Mellis on Great Western Road or from George Mewes on Byres Road.

Hello Pumpkin… Pumpkin Picking at Arnprior Farm

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Autumn is most definitely upon us…. The temperature has dropped, the air is fresh, fallen multicoloured leaves are crunching underfoot. Halloween is just round the corner.

Last weekend Mr Hungry Squirrel mentioned paying a visit to a pick your own pumpkin farm just 40 minutes from home. I may have squealed with excitement at the mention of this! I had a romantic notion of family photos amongst the pumpkin patch North American style…

So on Sunday morning, we all jumped in the car, and drove over the Campsie hills to Arnprior Farm, just a few miles from Kippen, Stirlingshire. Dropping down in to Arnprior we were greeted with the view of early pumpkin pickers scattered across a field adorned with beautiful orange jewels.

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I loved our visit to Arnprior Pumpkins. Pumpkins, haybales, coffee truck, The Extraordinary Sausage Company, face paining, dig up your own potatoes and turnips, a kale maze, pumpkin-themed selfie and photo opportunities aplenty (compliant small children-allowing)… there is everything to float your Autumnal boat!

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I didn’t quite mange to get the beautiful family photos amongst the pumpkins I had dreamed of. A grumpy 3 year old and a clingy 1 year old made that difficult! Nonetheless, I had a blast and came home with two beautiful pumpkins, and am looking forward to my visit next year already!

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If you fancy picking your own pumpkins, you have two more weekends to visit Arnprior Pumpkins. Remember to wrap up warm, wear wellies, and make sure your little ones have emptied their bladders before you take them!

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Hungry Squirrels Introduction To Fife

If you follow me on social media, you will have seen an abundance of posts last weekend from the #feastoffife – an exclusive foodie weekend aimed at food bloggers and writers, hosted by Welcome To Fife.
We were promised award-winning restaurants, a chance to visit some of Fife’s best food & drink producers, and a chance to sample some of the finest produce that Fife has to offer.

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Welcome To Fife really did put together the most amazing weekend for us. Thankyou Karen and John, & to the whole team from Welcome To Fife, for hosting an incredible showcase of what Fife has to offer! Of course, big Thanks are due to the producers and suppliers who welcomed us with open arms, but more on them later…

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a series of blog posts featuring some of my favourite producers and suppliers from my weekend in Fife. Hope you enjoy reading them, and that they inspire you to visit Fife to see how fabulous the Kingdom Of Fife is for yourself!