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30 and Fabulous



It had to be my time to turn 30 at some point, and now it’s finally happened. But who cares?! I feel like 20 and still get asked for ID almost every time I buy alcohol (believe it or not) so maybe turning 30 isn’t that bad after all! And I do feel a lot more comfortable in my own skin than I did when I was 20, so wouldn’t go back even if I could. I actually mean it!

I’m usually not too keen on celebrating birthdays, but I do think that it’s important to celebrate milestones and take some time to contemplate life – where you’ve come from, where you’re going and most of all; where you are now. I feel like I’ve experienced a lot – mostly because of all the travelling I’ve done as well as having lived in several countries and therefore having had the privilege to get an insight into different cultures. I feel very content and like I’m on the right way – don’t think I’ve ever felt this at peace before!

Anyway, I have an amazing boyfriend who made the whole transition from 29 to 30 a lot less painful (and a lot more luxurious) by taking me to a fabulous  countryside hotel in Perthshire in the Scottish Highlands called Monachyle Mhor. Matthew’s good friend works there as the hotel manager, which made the whole thing possible – so thank you James!!

I’m used to staying in crappy hostels and don’t think I’ve ever stayed in a luxury hotel before. All the 14 rooms were bespoke, and our room even had a private steam room (people here are always really surprised when I tell them that most houses and even flats in Finland have their own sauna, or at least a communal one, so it’s a big thing here) . The weather wasn’t great, but it didn’t matter that much as we had a cosy, warm room with a huge bath. Also, we didn’t get any reception and the wifi wasn’t working so we were totally detached from the real world, which was nice for a change! Here’s a few pics from the hotel.


The courtyard.


The entrance to our pad.


There was a bottle of chilled champagne (note: not Cava or Prosecco) waiting for us when we arrived. Bliss.


This bed was about twice as large and three times as comfy as our bed at home.


A divan gives a room that luxurious touch.


Such a beautiful (and huge) bathroom.


The steam room was very welcome after a walk in the rain.


It’s all about the details.


Even the soaps are naturally made by hand and locally produced.


For him and for her. I’m kind of starting to understand why people pay loads to stay at nice hotels, never quite comprehended that before. The standard is set.


The view from the lounge. The hotel is located right by two lakes; Loch Voil and Loch Doine.


The communal lounge.


Matthew waiting for beetroot soup and home baked bread.


The lamp.

monachyle mhor bar

The bar was small but lovely.


On the second night we had an amazing dinner at another restaurant by the same owners, after which we came back to the hotel and the guys started carving a pumpkin.


The evening was all about The Pumpkin.

photo (1)

Matthew got so into the whole pumpkin carving thing that he’s already carved another one at home. It looks like an old monkey and scares me a little…

Will do a separate post on my birthday dinner and the photos of the surroundings. Hope you have a good start to the week!

x Nina x

Nina Äikäs

<p>I’m a Swedish-speaking Finn who left Finland for the lovely and thrilling London town in 2011, but after meeting an equally lovely and thrilling Scotsman I somehow now find myself in the beautiful city of Edinburgh. In February 2015 our gorgeous little girl arrived and made us a happy family of three. Follow my blog and get to know us!</p>

  • freebutfun

    Sounds like a good choice of a boyfriend 😉 ! Ps it was around 30 when this “backpacker forever” realised that she had outgrown hostels….and “upgraded” to camping grounds (cabins or tents), omenahotel, apartment hotels or motorlodges when traveling (=cheap but with simple cooking facilities) but also started to enjoy a nice hotel night every now and then only with hubby. Welcome to the 30’s!

    November 4, 2013 at 4:48 am
    • ninaaikas

      Good choice indeed 🙂 Thank you, it’s not that bad to be in the 30s club as I thought haha! (Also known as no-more-hostel-club ;)) It’s nice to stay in a luxurious hotel every now and then, but if you would do it all the time I guess it would lose its appeal, so will still be looking at other alternatives when I travel!

      PS. Like the concept of your blog, can imagine how useful your tips are for many families with small children!

      November 4, 2013 at 10:27 am
      • freebutfun

        Thanks, Nina!

        November 4, 2013 at 6:20 pm
  • annika b

    The first time I noticed that i simply CANNOT stat in a hostel was during my last, a bit longer, trio to Asia, and that happened to be 2 months after a turned 30. Before that I thought that I always will be comfy in hostels.

    I never allowed myself any luxury, until I was 30. It might be NOW or never to allow it to yourself, cuz now you have both that little extra money, and that extra time to do it. Soon small dwarfs might have u tied up and unable u to practice luxury things.

    My hair start to raise when I think of being 24 years old and having million pages of homework to do and abt 100 exams still coming up, horrible feeling.

    November 6, 2013 at 4:03 am
    • ninaaikas

      I also thought that hostels were great and didn’t even want to stay in hotels – but that was my backpacker self talking and couldn’t really see myself in that setting anymore! However, there are nice, cool hostels without that backpacker-vibe out there that I would still stay in.

      November 6, 2013 at 7:34 pm
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