My first reaction on entering the cottage was that it was bigger 'in real life' than I expected from the photos. The counter with the bar seats is very big, far bigger than most proper dining tables I've seen, and will easily hold a game or a jigsaw puzzle with plenty room for other necessary things like snacks and drink.
The washing machine was very handy to have, did 2 shorts and a long as i was there for three weeks. The bedroom is very spacious and has a lot of storage space which is ideal for longer stays when you don't want to 'live out of your suitcase'. You won't need to wash the linen that goes with the cottage (towels, bedlinen etc) as Sandra takes care of that.
I had no problem with the bathroom, but taller people might have problems as the shower is under the sloped roof, which was standing height to me but might give you trouble if you're over 1.80 meters.
It is only a short (and I mean really short!) distance to the village high street with all its shops and the supermarket. And it's the same distance to some of the walks on the forested hill to the east of Braemar. Sorry most hills and mountains in Scotland got pretty unpronounceable and therefor hard to remember names!
The woodstove was lovely on the colder nights and it was fun to rekindle my repressed pyromaniac persona after so long a time living without a woodstove. I only used it 5 or 6 nights in the 3 weeks that I stayed there, as due to climate change Scotland just about experienced the sunniest and warmest month of May since measurements began. From snow to shorts in a week!
The cottage holds the warmth well as long as you remember to close the doors. As I like sleeping cold I kept both doors between livingroom and bedroom closed and opened the bedroom window. Only improvement I can think of was a thinner duvet (or a choice between thick and thin) as the current one was very warm and i was constantly trying to kick holes in the duvet to stick my feet out from under to cool down.
For electricity you need to feed the meter. Just remember to keep a few pound coins handy. If you use the woodstove or if it's summer you won't need many.
Sandra knows a lot about the area and was a lovely host along with Derek, wonderful warm and welcoming couple. They met me at the bus stop at the Invercauld Hotel as I had mentioned I would arrive with the bus, and we walked the 100 meters to the cottage. They showed everything in the cottage and explained how it all worked.
A car is handy but not necessary while staying in Braemar. It makes some of the more distant walks easier to get to (like Glen Derry, Glen Callatar and Glen Ey) but there are plenty walks around the village as well. When at the duckpond, don't forget to go across the road into the little quarry - amazing view! Also don't forget to book a highland safari from braemarhighlandsafaris.co.uk. Looking down into Coire Kander on the Glen Callater tour was an amazing experience, especially if you've never been on a proper 4x4 drive before, like me.
The Co-op shop stocked all the necessaties and has plenty non-necessary stuff like snacks and drinks so I never felt the need to go to Ballater for 'big' groceries while in Braemar. I also saw the Tesco deliveries truck roaming around for those that require a very broad and specific range of groceries.Sadly the weight lost by walking was gained again because of the sticky toffee pudding the Co-op stocked.