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  • Kylie Sprott

The little things

Slowly but ever so surely, the flat is nearing the finish line. It has been over a year now and it is still not quite complete, but the end is most definitely in sight. What a journey it has been!

Whilst it would have been wonderful to present the fully finished version of my flat to my Mum on her visit to Rothesay, that was not to be. However, this meant that I could include her in the final stages of the renovation and decorating process. In many ways, that created a bonding opportunity between us.

We spent quite a bit of time together looking for "the little things" to finish off the Kyles of Bute flat. I have always wanted to make it a cosy haven for myself, friends and family - but also with a practical view of soon renting it out to visitors to Bute.

I am a fan of mixing the old with the new and the flat very much reflects that. There are plenty of new pieces, but a lot of nods to the history of Bute, Scotland and my ancestors. Wherever possible, I love finding unique and pre-loved gems!

On a day trip to Lochgair to see where some of our ancestors lived, we also had a good look around Inverary. Inverary is probably best known for its impressive castle, which would truly not look out of place in a Disney movie. It is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, but also reflects the part played by the Campbells in both Scottish and British history.

Having been to Inverary a few times now, I was keen to show Mum the Woollen Mill and the gorgeous gift shops. Neither of us were disappointed, and we picked up a number of items there for the flat including more tartan blankets and a gorgeous grey sheepskin for the second bedroom.

I was particularly taken with the Scottish cow door stopper. My kids and I think there is an uncanny resemblance between the cow and our beloved little Rusty (in his unclipped glory at home in Australia). Who wore it better? Hard to decide!

However, the biggest treasure trove proved to be back in Rothesay at the truly wonderful charity shop, "For Bute".

Run by the delightful Marlene, Pete and a wonderful team of volunteers, this shop is a must see. There are always new pre-loved surprises in there and this trip proved to be just as fruitful as previous visits. My mum was very impressed with all of the wonderful items that we purchased. A special shout out to Pete, who insisted on delivering some of these to us - thank you Pete. :-)

Below was a wonderful find - 3 mahogany nesting tables. These have proven to be the perfect addition to the lounge room, providing a very elegant solution for storage and a place to pop a drink or two. The inlaid leather on top means that there is no fear of creating unwanted marks either. Something I know that my friend Ange will be happy to read!

I was also thrilled to find a gorgeous little side table for my bedroom, as the previous bed side tables were sadly not a permanent solution, despite a brief appearance in the flat.

On one of my daily visits to For Bute, I discovered two paintings of Rothesay by a local artist - including one of the famous Serpentine Road. They were framed and the perfect balancing act to the large mirror (also from the island) in the lounge room. It is really special to have some paintings of Bute, that were pre-loved by another resident of the island. Mum and I could not believe our luck!

We spent quite a bit of time visiting Bute Tools, which I think should quite possibly be renamed to reflect the vastness hidden behind the store front. It is so much more than hardware - virtually anything that you can think of can be found there! There are toys, kitchen appliances, decorations and gifts. We even found a quality bed sheet for my bed, which was an unplanned, but necessary purchase.

Finally, I bought a few special items for the mantlepiece, that bring me great joy. The fireplace is almost finished now - just a wee bit of tiling is required and then it is done. So, I wanted to choose a few lovely items for the mantlepiece that are beautiful and make me feel happy. Mission accomplished.

I found this lovely red robin decorative plate at For Bute, and the truly special hand made glass red robin by Caroline Cooke, from Glencoe Studio Gallery. For some reason, I was drawn to both of these and later learnt that they have great symbollic meaning, which pleased me no end.

For centuries, the tiny red robin has been a symbol of good luck, happiness and rebirth. They are sometimes believed to be a messenger for lost, loved ones. The most well known robin symbollism relates to the spirits of our deceased loved ones watching over you. I like that very much.

In addition to a connection to loved ones lost, the robin red breast is also a symbol of spring song and good fortune. It symbollises passion, a new beginning and re-birth. Therefore, if the robin comes into your life, you will be blessed with happiness and joy. Perfect.

I found the amazing brass unicorn in an antique shop on our way to Dundee. We didn't linger long in Dundee, but I am glad that our trip there helped me to find this little fellow. The unicorn is Scotland's national animal and they are deeply embedded in the national psyche. The unicorn represents purity, innocence, power and ferocity in Celtic mythology and has been tied to Scotland as their national symbol for centuries.

But above all, unicorns remind us of the beauty and magic that exists in a world that can be dark and depressing. The unicorn reminds us to strive to be our best selves - as the unicorn is about opening up to the infinite possibilities in front of us and symbolises success. I like that very much too!

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