The Alchemist’s kitchen, Tir na Nog

One of the places I love to visit is Oona McFarlane’s amazing nook of positive radiance near Drymen. Set up in 2004, this holistic centre is set in a wee fairy courtyard on a country estate just on the edge of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. With massage, relexology, Reiki and other fab treatments on offer, as well as a full calendar of courses and classes, I was first drawn there to complete my Reiki level two course. A year and a half on and I  Yummy cheese and chutneystill haven’t quite completed the coursework but this summer I am positively going to make time and do it! Since then, I’ve been back to take part in the Imbolc firewalk (yes, hot coals – and my feet!) in deepest darkest February and Reiki share afternoons with some lovely, enquiring minds. On Saturday I grabbed the train to Milngavie and picked up a lift with my friend Mary. It was the most drop dead glorious summers day – the first day of flip flops in Glasgow this year and we decided to sit outside the Nog’s cafe, the Alchemist’s kitchen and enjoy the sun and the great food. Open 6 days a week the kitchen is as laid back as it gets in terms of service but somehow there, the time doesn’t seem to matter, especially when you have sunshine to sit back and soak up.

The menu isn’t extensive but always includes a wonderful homemade soup. On Saturday I had a very tasty, homely cheese Fruit scone, jam and cream? Yes please :)and chutney panini with side salad while Mary opted for the brie and cranberry one – both got thumbs up. Since I was a little on the peckish side – and living dangerously I followed my lunch up with a cream tea – fruit scone, delicious strawberry jam and a pot of freshly whipped cream. Topped off by the fact you can buy literally any type of tea you like in this place, my second cup of redbush went down just as beautifully as the first.

The food was perfect for a little cafe, the fresh juices and cake selection alone are reason enough to visit (try the chocolate brownie – thick, heavy chocolate punchy, caress of a treat). However, partiality to crystals, jewelry, incense, books, tarot cards and music makes the shop a treat to explore and the walk down to the tepee, well it all conspires to make a lovely, escape destination for an afternoon drive.

Holistic centre Tir na Nog

Yes, it helped that the sun was shining, the grass was gloriously green and the sky was blue but I’ve been there in the deep midwinter and you still get the same vibe. Totally at chilled with whatever way it goes, including a barky dog or a rubbish afternoon of traffic delays. As I sat on a fallen down tree trunk to take this sunny green photo it felt genuinely good to be alive.  I don’t think a review can be more glowing or life affirming that that can it?!

Visit the Tir na Nog website for more info on all the wonderous things that Oona and the Tirnanogians have to unveil.  And have a chocolate brownie. Food that both punches you in the face and caresses you softly cannot be underestimated!