The tap-tap of woodpeckers and singsong of birds are the soundtrack to a stay at Kincaple, a quaint hamlet three miles from St Andrews. The cottages, former stables, rest in the pretty, sheltered courtyard of Kincaple House, next to the Coach House where Claudia lives – her friendly terriers and cat sometimes wander over to see you. She has an eye for colour: subtle tones of grey-blue, honey and buttermilk are sparked by vases of flowers; in the living and dining room, a cream sofa curves around a stylish wood-burner and a bleached solid oak table seats four. It’s all top quality. Find Villeroy & Bosch, Le Creuset and Siemens in the kitchen – small, square, with a stable door to the courtyard and well-stocked wine cooler – and Molton Brown in the bathroom. The main bedroom is flooded with light; the second bedroom has a zip-link bed. Well-travelled Claudia is passionate about poetry, writing, languages and this beautiful area of Scotland where she and her three daughters have settled. There are beaches, birds and golfing to enjoy, as well as ancient St Andrews with its university, vast cathedral and many fine shops and restaurants.