Hayley Matthews: With two boys in tow I’m winging it this summer

Some swallows do help make a summer, apparently
Some swallows do help make a summer, apparently
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I’m not sure how you’re getting on with the school holidays but I’m just about out of ideas to occupy my testosterone-fuelled child. I also have a double whammy as my meat-loving Highlander of a fiancé has taken two week off, so I have two boys to keep happy.

With a rare date night looming last weekend I needed to pull all the stops out for somewhere that would satisfy this hungry carnivore. Being an ex-vegan I don’t really know the grill spots in the city so when a friend told me about Rabble (it used to be Ricks) it sounded like the perfect place. With a starter of sesame chicken wings, a huge steak done on a flame grill, and triple-cooked crispy chips it was safe to say Mr Hayley was satisfied.

I overindulged on the garlic butter (which was well worth it as I was too tired for a snog anyways), and really enjoyed an incredible steak. I’m a chocolate lover so when the lovely Joanna (she was very patient with us) suggested a sharing dessert, I was all ears. It’s a great idea to order a hot chocolate espresso martini dessert with the good intention of sharing it with someone you know is not interested in chocolate. Naughty, I know, but it was incredible! If you’re a steak and chocolate lover, then there’s a seat with your name on it. I reckon I consumed my weekly calorie content in one night. Diet starts Monday, maybe. The only thing I didn’t find out was if the huge barrel levitating above the bar was actually filled with beer. If so, how do I get one in my kitchen?

So back in the good books it was time to try and please my bug-loving, mud-throwing, charged-up son. I always love trying to get out of the city if I can and was looking for something not too far away. Loch Leven was on my radar and especially since my son has taken an interest in bird spotting. Careful now. Not the variety that could take him out on the town for a good night and lead him astray, I’m talking the blue tit variety. The RSPB are offering a half-price family voucher offer which makes the holiday activities a little less strenuous on the purse strings which you can get at rspb.org.uk/familyfun.

It was a great experience and my son was still talking about it the next again day. We walked the giant loop trail, spotted lots of swallows and even pond-dipped, finding some newts, water skaters and lots of wee creepy crawlies that I’d never seen before!

I love the message that the RSPB are getting over to kids with their Wild Family Fun initiative, inspiring a future generation of Liz Bonnins (who people keep telling me I look like, I think it’s the mouth!) but seriously, our wildlife is so precious and plays a huge part in out ecosystem. It’s also incredibly relaxing to be surrounded my mountains and a loch 30 minutes in the car from the city. If you go along look out for the swallows nesting under the area where the balcony cafe is situated, it’s adorable!

My highlight was the aviary wall – a huge piece of land with bird-shaped viewing holes carved out, and when you look through, it’s like looking at a different world. The birds have no idea you are looking and it’s the closest you’ll get without a pair of binoculars.

Hayley Matthews – @hotlipshayley – is a TV and radio presenter