Loving living in the Borders

by Sara Barton, 26th October 2022
Borders Insider | Suzanne Mulholland | The Batch Lady
Loving living in the Borders

Author and time management specialist Suzanne Mulholland lives in the Ettrick Valley with her husband and children. Known as the Batch Lady, Suzanne has created cookbooks offering time efficient and budget friendly methods for preparing the weekly family meals

Prior to having children Mulholland worked as a time management specialist. Once babies came along she quickly realised there were plenty of things in her home life that could do with a bit more efficiency.

“Some moms at the school gates said: ‘Show us how, you’re always organized,” explains Mulholland. “So I did it for charity, in this kitchen four years ago, put it on YouTube, and that’s how the Batch Lady was born.”

Suzanne Mulholland introduces us to the many delights of the Scottish Borders

Not a native of the Borders, Mulholland has nonetheless adopted her new region with enthusiasm. The family moved to her husband’s family farm when they decided they were keen to start a family 16 years ago.

“Now my children have been raised in the Scottish Borders. And we absolutely love it,” she enthuses.

Mulholland was less keen on cooking, despite her newfound fame as a cookery book author. “I was trying to show people how you can choose something that is mundane in life, but you end up doing it day in and day out and turning that around to say let’s see how short a time you can actually do it in,” she explains.

Created out of the desire to save time on onerous tasks, the Batch Lady has become a full-time job for Suzanne.

Bounty of food and drink

Living and working in the Borders, Mulholland is well aware of the bounty of food and drink on offer in the region. In addition to amazing farmer markets at Selkirk, Kelso and Faldonside, Mulholland points out that the regions’ other events usually have a great foodie offering on the side. “Things like the Borders Book Festival and Melrose Sevens have food marquees or trucks and great foodie events going on within the larger event.”

Mulholland herself is usually at these events, doing live feeds and promoting on her social channels. Keen to spread the good news she works hard to support local businesses and food producers through her large following on Facebook and Instagram.

“I Instagram my life! I’m always at these events and I do live events and I’m always promoting them. So I really hope that that helps because my influence goes all over the world and I want to really pull people to the Scottish Borders.”

Plenty of choice – plan in advance

While she may have left Edinburgh behind, Mulholland still likes the café culture you can find in the market towns of the Borders.

“There’s amazing towns with great cafes, great restaurants. Most days I will be out at some point meeting someone for a coffee whether it be Melrose, Kelso, Selkirk….”

Suzanne Mulholland drinking a cup of coffee in the Scottish Borders.
Suzanne loves the café culture of the Borders’ market towns.

She does proffer a small word of warning – if you are coming to the area and have specific foodie places in mind, book in advance, don’t just turn up and expect to have a late lunch or to be able to find a table.

“You can’t eat at 3pm – things are open 12-2 and then they open again for supper. We have friends come down from Edinburgh and they say they couldn’t get anywhere to eat, which I find so frustrating. There are all these amazing places but you need to decide because they’re not all open for the whole day.”

One firm favourite which definitely needs a reservation is the Michelin-recommended Hoebridge restaurant in Gattonside. But she equally loves the cozy little coffee shops like Apples for Jam in Melrose and the Mainstreet Trading Company in St Boswells with its great coffee shop.

A landscape for thinking

When she is away from the kitchen Mulholland loves to be out in the wonderful landscapes of the Scottish Borders.

Its big open skies and green spaces allow Mulholland the space to relax and think about life and how others live their lives. “What problems do other people need solving? Life is usually very fast paced and we don’t have a lot of time and time is what I’m always talking about,” she explains.

Suzanne Mulholland, author, on her family farm in the Scottish Borders.
Author Suzanne Mulholland lives on the family’s farm and loves the green rolling hills of the Border country.

For those who have never visited, Mulholland describes the Borders landscape as rolling green hills dotted with beautiful villages – a rural, relaxing, lovely place to live. But you would be wrong if you thought it was a sleepy backwater. Having started her own business here, she has subsequently found an entire community of small local businesses providing services of all kinds.

Her marketing company and logo design company are nearby delivering excellent service because they are small companies dealing with local people. 

“You can live anywhere in this digital age and you can create a business that goes around the world from the Ettrick Valley!” she laughes.

Suzanne’s Five Sites

Seen here from Scott’s View, the Eildons offer fantatastic panoramic views of the Scottish Borders.
  • Mainstreet Trading Company, St Boswells: “Great bookshop & deli makes me really feel like I’m sitting somewhere in London and I’m right here in the lovely Scottish Borders.”
  • Bow Hill, Ettrick Valley:  large park which is great for children
  • Walk up the Eildons: take a picnic with friends and marvel at the view of the whole of the Scottish Borders
  • Melrose: shopping, cafes, the Abbey
  • Peebles: for mountain biking and shopping