We’re not long back from a blustery and wild trip to the Outer Hebrides. Weather set to fire the imagination, stir the spirit and feed the soul so they say, and they’re right! On our trip to the Isle of Harris and Skye, we had sunshine, clouds, hailstones, sleet and snow storms….but when the sun shines on the glorious waters of the Hebrides, it’s pretty much as close to paradise as you can get…

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The West Coast will always remain a huge source of inspiration for my Mairi Helena fabric and wallpaper designs. One of my very first designs ‘Harris Green Thistle’ wallpaper and fabric, was inspired by a trip to the island a few years ago, where I was enthralled by the lush landscapes, rich textures and abundant fresh flora and fauna.
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Above: Mairi Helena Harris Green Thistle Wallpaper
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I thought I’d share a few photograph snaps from my recent travels to show just where and why my inspiration comes largely comes from the wonderfully wild and weatherbeaten West Coast.
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Heading to Harris
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Take the Calmac ferry from Uig on Skye to Tarbert and you will be welcomed by an island full of charming unspoilt beaches and magical scenery (and the famous Isle of Harris Distillery Gin of course!)
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Here are a few of my favourite corners of the Island…
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Luskentyre Beach
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Northton Salt Marshes
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Golden Road
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A Wild Walk along from Huisinis
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Capturing the Essence of Harris
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The beautiful Isle of Harris is home to luxury fragrance brand ‘Essence of Harris’. A wonderful Scottish brand which I would love to draw your attention too, who take all their inspiration from the island, from the crystal blue waters to the white sandy beaches and turn them into the most glorious of scents.
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Seek out the scents of Seilebost for example,
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a sensual scent of black pomegranate or how about Losgaintir, (image courtesy of Essence of Harris)
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scents of bergamot, coconut and vanilla to take you back to the vast Luskentyre white sands. (Image courtesy of Essence of Harris)
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an enticing scent of lemongrass and ginger …..(image courtesy of Essence of Harris)
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And then there’s the scents of Huisnis
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sparkling champagne blended with citrus fruits of sweet grapefruit, Brazilian orange and pink pomelo. (Image courtesy of Essence of Harris)
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We visited the Essence of Harris factory and shop while on the island where they create and hand pour these luxury scents. As soon as you step into the front door, the sweet, punchy aromas immediately arouse your senses, it’s a wonderful experience!
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Onwards to a snowy Isle of Skye
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After a thrilling few days on the Isle of Harris, we navigated through the snowy sleet showers on the Calmac ferry and after a slight detour to Lochmaddy in which to shelter from the winds, we headed on to the Isle of Skye.
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The Isle of Skye has been hugely influential to some of my most recent designs in my new ‘Mairi Helena Explorer Wallpaper Collection’ which I launched last month at the Scottish Interiors Showcase. A trip to the craggy Cuillin mountain range and Loch Coruisk inspired my ‘Cuillin Edge’ and ‘Coruisk Ink’ wallpapers.
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Above: Mairi Helena Cuillin Edge Wallpaper from her Explorer Wallpaper Collection.
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This time we headed to the majestic Quiraing and the Old Man of Storr to take in the iconic shapes of Skye’s landscapes.
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Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye
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Staying in Style on Skye
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Looking for a special retreat to Skye this Summer?! Well I have the answer for you!!
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We had the wonderful opportunity to stay at ‘Abhaig B&B’ run by Vivienne and Steve, a boutique B&B situated just a stones throw from Uig with stunning views out across the seas to the Westerly points of Skye.
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Vivienne and Steve have recently renovated their new bothy ‘Am Bothan Dubh’ (The Black Bothy) and to my delight have installed my Mairi Helena Island Botanist Wallpaper in the new interiors!
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It was a privilege to be amongst one of the first to stay in their brand new Bothy which is now available to guests to book online.
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Touches of delight fill the room from corner to corner….just look at these most wonderful little snippets of indulgence for example:
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Home baked lemon drizzle cake awaits you in Abhaig Skye B&B
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Best Quality Bed time reading…in one of the most luxurious of beds I’ve slept in!
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A wee dram…
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We experienced the most wonderful hospitality, delicious home cooking and hearty breakfasts..
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If you’re looking to book a Skye adventure this Summer, then I definitely recommend Abhaig B&B as a perfect base in which to explore the island. A Bothy all to yourselves in which to relax in, be looked after by and retreat too…you won’t want to leave!
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Back now in the homelands of Edinburgh and already plotting my next West Coast escape…!
Until next time…