Back in December I was lucky enough to win a 3 night stay at The Cartshed with Eastside Cottages x Sawdays so what better time than to make the most of the longer coronation weekend than to escape to the countryside in the Pentlands and enjoy a cottage escape?
Eastside Cottages are located on a farm in the Pentlands, about 30 minutes from Edinburgh. They have a few different accommodation options and if you’re a larger group, then all four nearby cottages on the farm can sleep up to 12. The Cartshed, our home for the stay, was suitable for two adults but some of the others can sleep four guests including dogs and children. The Cartshed is an old barn that’s been converted into a lovely space which features a little kitchen, a double bed, a fireplace and a little loft where you can sit in the beanbags and stargaze through the window in the ceiling, or just sit and relax whilst listening to the birds and sheeps outside. The cottages are self-catered and we made sure to bring all the food we needed with us, so we didn’t have to drive to the shops during our stay, but you’re not too far from places like Penicuik, which is about a 10 minute drive away.
Susan & Jenny made sure we had all the information we needed, but had as a policy to leave the guests alone, unless they needed anything. We communicated with Jenny through text messages and emails to check on when we wanted our sauna time, when she dropped off the sauna robes and to let us know when the sauna was all ready to go. If we had any questions she was super quick to respond so we definitely felt well looked after.
What’s in the cottage?
There’s dishwasher tablets, cleaning equipment, teas and filter coffee in The Cartshed and also some basic spices, an ice tray in the freezer compartment and toilet paper, hand wash + body lotion in the bathroom. There’s also towels for the shower and hands. For use of the sauna you get provided with additional towels and comfy robes. For the fire there’s logs along with kindling, newspaper and matches. The kitchen is equipped with a kettle, coffee press, oven, hob and toaster and the glass- and tableware have a lovely rustic design that just suits the cottage so nicely. It was also so nice to walk in and see the fresh daffodil flowers on the table!
The only things I wish I would’ve brought with me was measuring cups or scales for the baking and cooking, some more snacks (we do love a salty snack!) and perhaps a face mask for some home spa vibes.
If you want to go for a hike during your stay, then there’s also a backpack with mugs and a thermos that you can borrow, which I thought was such a lovely addition.
Making the most of a self-catered cottage
We really took advantage of the self-catered opportunity and planned some lovely meals to enjoy on our holiday. I’ve listed our meals here below, which might give you some inspiration and option for your self-catered holiday.
There’s something extra tasty about homemade pizza and I love that you have all the options in the world of toppings. Meatballs & pineapple, pepperoni & mozzarella, banana & curry – the world’s your oyster for flavour combination. Ever since my friend told me to prove my pizza dough for three days before cooking, my pizza game has been raised to a new level. It’s also important to preheat the baking tray (or pizza stone if you have one) to give the base the best conditions to crisp up. Also, I’d highly recommend adding honey or maple syrup to your pizza – it’s so good, trust me.
Bees Knees Cocktail
This is one of my all time favourite cocktails. A Bees Knees with Bruadar and a Gin of your choice. You’ll find the recipe here. They’re so easy to make, a refreshing tipple and of course they’re super tasty!
Cookies & Milk
What can be more homely than to bake some cookies for an afternoon treat and eat fresh out of the oven with a glass of cold milk? Either you can bake the cookies from scratch and make sure to bring all the ingredients from home. Or if you’d rather make life a little bit easier, then prepare the cookie dough at home, freeze it and then just cook in the oven when you crave fresh cookies!
Freshly baked bread for breakfast
I couldn’t resist making some bread for breakfast as there’s just nothing better than warm bread… I made my go-to bread which proved overnight and is pretty much fool-proof and no kneading required. You’ll find the recipe here!
As we live right nearby to George Mewes in Edinburgh, I decided to pick up a little selection of cheeses to put together a cheeseboard for our stay. I also added some strawberries, grapes, crackers and honey for some fresh and sweet notes. Just so delicious!
Hot Dogs & Marshmallows
Went for a comfortable camping vibe with grilling hot dogs and toasting marshmallows by the fire one evening. Just wait until the fire calms down to embers and as always be careful around fire.
Curries or Stew with naan bread
I always think a cottage stay calls for a hearty comfort meal – and curries or stews are perfect for this. I made a curry with tomato, garlic, ginger and coconut with home baked naan breads. A beef stew with red wine and mushrooms would be so good in the autumn though.
The Woodland Steam Sauna Yurt
Included in your stay is a 4 hour session for the Woodland Sauna, which is located right behind the farm, literally 10 seconds from the door of The Cartshed. We chose the 17.30-21.30 time slot on our second day so we could jump in the sauna before dinnertime.
They were inspired by the Finnish art of sauna, but decided to build a Scottish version for their guests to enjoy. The yurt itself is inspired by the traditions and techniques of the nomadic people of Kyrgyzstan. Inside there’s a longer raised wooden bench with several backrests which are surprisingly comfortable. The sauna is a lower temperature than most Finnish saunas, allowing you to sit for a longer time. There’s also a refreshing cold plunge pool outside where you can nip away for a quick dip before warming up in the sauna again. I absolutely love sitting in the sauna until you start getting a bit too hot, and then going for the cold dip and heading back inside. It makes you feel so alive and is a weird kind of mental strength building and almost meditative. I’d highly recommend it. It was raining when we went for our sauna session and it was so cosy to sit and listen to the rain hitting the yurt.
I’d recommend bringing some easy shoes like crocs or flip-flops for easy access to the sauna and plunge pool.
Exploring the area
Eastside Cottages have a lovely surrounding view of the valley and nearby hilltops. In pretty much all directions there’s sheep walking about and I also met Curtis and Toby (the horses) that live right next doors. It would be a shame to visit Eastside and not walk up the hills as the views are just so lovely. We did have quite a misty and rainy few days (not that it wasn’t super cosy to sit inside and listen to the rain) but managed to time it well as the area cleared up and even got us a little bit of sun for our walk. Eastside Cottages recommend a variety of routes you can walk in the area on their website, and we did the one just behind the farm where you walk along the farm road and can climb up the hill to your left as you walk up. It’s about an hour long walk, but very enjoyable and you are rewarded with some stunning views almost instantly.
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