5 reasons why we opened a Bed & Breakfast (AKA what plan?)
We did this the wrong way round
We should have sat down a year ago and asked ourselves: “why do we want to open a B&B?”
We should’ve. But we didn’t.
Now, armed with hindsight, a sense of achievement (or is that exhaustion?) and a cup of herbal tea*, I’m going to start my first ever Telegram from The Queens and tell you the top 5 reasons why we opened The Queens Bed & Breakfast.
*gin and tonic
1. I needed a chunky project to get stuck into
In Australia, I was a hairdresser (still am technically). Weddings mainly, but I did a bit from home as well. I love it - I really do. But moving back to the UK was my chance to mix things up a bit. And I have a really short attention span and need to keep myself busy. If I don’t, I end up wasting half a day finding my new favourite voice-altering, comedy filter on Snapchat. So moving back to the UK, my Lady-Wife Judith had one condition: I needed a chunky project.
Chunky is an oversimplification.
Fast-forward 12 months, and I’m now an expert on everything from environmentally-friendly boilers and Victorian plumbing, to interior design and painting and decorating. I mean, our ceilings and walls were made with horse hair. Come on - seriously? (Although I did find that discovery particularly interesting.)
2. My big chunky project had to be creative, colourful and something I could touch at the end
So who cares if we combined our “somewhere to live” with the business I would have to build from scratch. But it was the perfect combination of everything I loved: food, hosting, cleaning (yes!), colour and creativity. I had a vision. And I was going to see it through, no matter what.
My hairdressing taught me about the science of colour and design. I *ahem* know what I like, and what I don’t. (Just one of the many reasons we called it ‘The Queens’.)
Every hook, every bit of furniture, every splash of colour has a story behind it. And even though all the renovations are done, and my creative muscles get some much-needed rest, I can look around and touch what feels like my life’s work.
I’m actually stroking the mustard sofa I had custom-made for the Drawing Room to prove this point to myself.
3. I BLOODY LOVE HOSTING!
I don’t get tired of it. I’ve got this inner voice (nothing serious) that keeps saying things like “what’s missing?”, “why haven’t they got a drink?”, “are they cold?”, “are they hungry?”, “are they enjoying themselves?”, “we need more gin”!
So if you see a twitch in the corner of my eye, that’s me thinking about making you a gin and tonic.
4. We needed to channel our foodie spirits into something
Judith (the wife) and I have always included cooking lessons in all our big holidays at home and abroad. We’re those people. So it just felt kind of wrong to open a B&B and serve bacon and eggs on toast. We know that’s what some people want and don’t worry, we’ve still got a ‘Full Scottish’ on the menu.
But this was our chance to channel all the chefs we stalk on Pinterest. So when you come to stay, for the love of Scotland, try the Kedgeree. Curried fish with rice for breakfast might not sound like your normal cup of tea, but you’re on holiday. Live like a Scot for a day.
5. We wanted to create a space that people like us would love
We’re gay. We’re women. We’re well-travelled. We love a wander. We love gin. We love food. We love hosting. And when it comes to B&Bs, and accommodation in general, we’ve stayed in thousands*.
We would have done myself a disservice if we created a space that wasn’t a funky-looking tapestry of all the best bits from our travels and B&B experiences across the world.
Maybe it was the jetlag?
Wind it back 12 months. I’d just landed in Edinburgh Airport. My Lady-Wife and I are heading to Dundee to visit family and friends. And then - as if by magic - we’re the accidental owners of a proud, women-led accommodation provider in the heart of South Queensferry, right next to Edinburgh and looking over the Forth Rail Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Scotland’s (and Britain’s for that matter) most famous landmarks?
How did that happen? That wasn’t the plan. Oh wait, we didn’t have a plan.
Regardless, we’re very lucky and excited.
I’m pinching myself right now. I’m pinching the Lady-Wife too.