Bushmills – Causeway coast part 3

After our recently published post about our stay at the Shipquay in Derry we stayed a night at the Bushmills Inn. We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to finish up our Causeway Coast Series after publishing part 1 and part 2 so long ago!

From Derry we made our way first of all to Benone Strand. We were lucky to get a sunny and dry day in September, and the strand was really beautiful. We had a walk along the tideline before stopping to take some photos. After this we stopped off at Mussenden, a national trust site – it was pretty busy that day, but nice to walk around and get a few pictures of the temple and the views from the clifftop.

We then proceeded to drive to Portstewart as there was a restaurant on the beach that Iain has wanted to try for a while – Harry’s Shack, located on the beach at Portstewart. It was busy but we managed to find a table – we ordered mussels and crab claws which were delicious.

After refuelling we headed towards Bushmills. We didn’t stop at Portrush but would recommend anyone visiting the area to visit. Portrush has a number of bars, cafes and restaurants and beautiful beaches to explore. En-route to Bushmills we made a quick stop at Dunluce castle to get a few pictures.

We haven’t stayed at the Bushmills Inn for about 6 years, however the welcome as always was friendly and professional. We were asked if we would like to upgrade our room which we did. On arrival we received a bottle of prosecco and some delicious Irish chocolates – these went down well after our drive.

The style of the Bushmills Inn is old with mahogany furniture and old-style plastered and whitewashed walls in the bedroom. However, everything is well thought out and really comfortable. The bed was amazing and the bathroom was really modern with a lovely walk in shower.

Bushmill’s Inn Dinner

We had dinner in their restaurant, for starters Brianna had duck liver parfait and Iain had onion soup, these were delicious and had us looking forward to the rest of the meal. For mains we had lamb and pork with sides of dauphinoise potatoes which were beautiful and to finish we both ordered sticky toffee pudding.

The next morning we both had the cooked breakfast on offer ordering the eggs benedict, again this was perfect and we gave the food here a 10/10. Unfortunately we had hoped to visit the Bushmill’s distillery but it had closed to visitors due to covid-19, so we will have to return in future.

We weren’t quite ready to return home after this so we booked in for a night in the Ballygally Castle. On the way there we stopped off at Balintoy Harbour, as it was during the week it was great being able to walk around without the weekend crowds. It’s beautiful around this part of the coast and would recommend any visitors make a point to stop here. We then made our way through Ballycastle and along the coast to our final stop Ballygally Castle. Keep an eye out for our next blog on our stay there.

Until then, stay safe and keep planning the next adventure!

Brianna and Iain

Our top buys of 2020 to date!

Hello Everyone! As most of our travel plans have been curtailed this year we have found ourselves with a bit more extra money to make purchases. Here are our top purchases of the year and why! We also want to advise that this post contains affiliate links so any purchases you make we will receive a small commission.

Camera

We finally took the plunge and decided to start our blog in May, we both have decent smart phones but we really wanted something that could capture the details – especially with our great Irish Landscapes.

We saved up some money for this purchase and read reviews online, in the end we decided to go for a Nikon D3300 that we got second hand at MPB.com

So far this has been a great purchase, it joins us on all our travels and has got us some great captures for our blog and instagram.

Instant Pot

We both work pretty long hours due to our professions and are always looking for ways to make things easier around the house. After recommendations from friends and watching some YouTube reviews we took the plunge and bought an Instant Pot. This has to be one of the best purchases we have made, we use it pretty much daily to make curries, stews and soups. It has also got us exploring vegetarian/vegan meals with lentils and beans.

The big plus for us with the Instant Pot is we literally come in from work throw our ingredients in, set the time and go get washed or laundry etc and your dinner is ready in around an hour- We regulalry use cheaper cuts of meat that take longer to cook and they come out super tender!

Coffee Machine

Another purchase we made for our house is a filter coffee machine with timer, we both enjoy our coffee and would regularly get a delivery from Hasbean. We always got up in the morning and used our Aeropress but the convenience of setting a time on our machine at night and waking up to freshly brewed coffee is brilliant.

Robot Hoover

Most recently we took the plunge and bought a Robot Hoover, we opted for the Amazon Basics model as it was only £99 and we thought we can upgrade in future if needed. Our Hoover – now named Trevor, arrived two weeks ago – we have it based in our hallway and it comes with a remote control for its different cleaning settings.

Every morning we come down, have our coffee and send him off on auto mode, being a basic model it does struggle navigating sometimes but it has done a great job so far and manages to keep our floors really clean! This model also has sensors to detect drops as we discovered when we first let it loose at the top of the stairs and stood ready to catch it! We are completely sold on Robot Hoovers now!

Craft Gin Club

We have now received a couple of boxes from the Craft Gin Club and have really enjoyed what we received, they always come with a range of goodies and ideas –

Referral link for £16 off first box.

Non-Referral link

Flavourly

We also keep an Eye on Flavourly for offers on their Craft beers, we have got a couple of boxes this year for around £30 for 24 beers. We enjoy trying the variety of beers from Brewers that we would never see in Ireland. However, we don’t think their monthly subscription is really value for money compared to just getting beers locally.

Naked Wines

On the recommendation of a colleague we signed up to Naked Wines, our initial order was 6 bottles for £30. We received a mixture of red and white wines and they were really nice. Naked Wines allow you to deposit each month into their “piggy bank” which you can then spend on their wines, if you do this you also receive a discount. We are currently making deposits and are going to spend it before Christmas to stock up instead of getting our normal supermarket wines.

Click here to find out more (Referral link)

Non Referral Link

Shipquay Hotel, Derry – September 2020

In our previous blog post, we talked about our night in Carlingford. The next day we headed north again, but not before stopping off for some Irish Tayto and Cadbury. We had booked into Bishop’s Gate in Derry for a night, a city we’d been to once before for an hour or so, but never spent much time in.

Entering Derry in the car

We were really looking forward to our stay in the hotel, as it had so many positive reviews online. However, a problem arose as we approached the Glenshane Pass. A phone call came through from Bishop’s Gate to say they were unfortunately having to close for 48 hours due to 2 members of staff testing positive for Covid-19. They quickly reassured us however that they had a room available for us in the nearby Shipquay Hotel, should we want it. After pulling into a carpark and taking a quick look at it online, and seeing that it had the same level of high-praise reviews, we phoned back and confirmed our new booking.

The entrance to Shipquay Hotel

The hotel is a beautiful boutique hotel originally built in 1895, and is in a great location in the city. It was only a five-minute walk away from the car park on Bishop Street, and handy to a number of bars and restaurants; it was also close to the famous City Walls. We were a bit early, and our room wasn’t ready yet, so we left our bags off and went to grab some lunch. We stopped in at The Thirsty Goat, where they were continuing the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. After some stew for Iain, and bangers and mash for Brianna, we went to Blackbird bar around the corner for a drink, before going back to Shipquay, where our room was ready for us.

Bangers and Mash at The Thirsty Goat

The hotel had upgraded our room from a premium to a superior, and had brought our bags up to the room so we didn’t have to, which was a lovely touch.  Our package also included a glass of prosecco on arrival, which we enjoyed in our room with some delicious chocolate truffles and chocolate chip cookies. Already we were realising why the hotel had so many good reviews. An interesting touch about the rooms was that they were all named after different streets in Derry, rather than numbered. We were in the Silver Room, which was the original name of Shipquay Street. Our room was beautiful, with a lovely modern feel to it. There was a well-sized en-suite bathroom, with both a walk-in shower and freestanding bath. The room also had lovely soft bath robes and deliciously smelling Voya products.

Shipquay Room
VOYA products in the bathroom

When we had originally booked our stay at Bishop’s Gate we had a 2-course included into the price of our stay. Shipquay had upgraded us to a 3-course meal, which we loved. We had booked dinner for 8, but were ready an hour early, so we decided to head down to the restaurant early for a few pre-dinner drinks. There was a lovely buzz around the restaurant, with a mix of families and couples in having some food. We had a couple of cocktails each before dinner – a margarita for both of us, and then an whiskey sour for Iain, and an espresso martini for Brianna –  all of them delicious.

Margaritas

By then it was time for us to order our food. Both of us opted for the scallop starter, and for our mains Iain went for the Moroccan lamb, while Brianna had the fillet steak. We wrapped up our delicious meal with a chocolate brownie and a crème brulee. The whole dining experience was one of the best we’ve had in a long time. The food and drink were wonderful, and the serving staff were friendly and attentive. The great experience continued with breakfast the next day, where we had an Irish breakfast and avocado toast. We even received a glass of prosecco with it, which was a nice touch.

Scallop starters

Our stay in Shipquay was a wonderful. We had a lovely time from start to finish, from the warm and welcoming staff, the great food and drink, and the comfortable room, it was all great. We’re glad Bishop’s Gate were kind enough to arrange for us to stay. We left feeling refreshed and ready for the next stop – The Bushmills Inn.

Keep an eye out for our blog post about our night in The Bushmills Inn.

Until then, stay safe and keep planning the next adventure!

Brianna and Iain