Most people have heard of Black Friday, a day of huge sales and mass consumerism. Black Friday started in America and falls on the Friday of the Thanksgiving weekend (the last weekend in November). You may also know the Monday following Black Friday is widely referred to as Cyber Monday due to the spike in online sales on that day. But, have you heard of Giving Tuesday?
Giving Tuesday is a push back against the crazy consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s a worldwide movement to promote the Tuesday after Black Friday as a day of giving. It doesn’t matter what you give, how much you give or who you give to. You can fill a basket for your local food bank or donate some old clothes to your local charity shop. Donate time, cake or money, it’s up to you. The idea is just to do good stuff for your favourite charity or cause on Giving Tuesday.
Many small businesses already champion a charity close to their hearts. Some donate a percentage of sales, others donate profits from a dedicated charity item. Giving Tuesday provides an opportunity to raise the profile of your charity work and your chosen charity. By spreading the #GivingTuesday message, everyone benefits.
For the last few years I’ve donated a percentage of November’s sales on #GivingTuesday, donating over £400 to Clyde Cash for Kids so far.
This year Giving Tuesday is on the 27th November. So, if you’d like to join the movement, there’s still plenty of time to decide what your “something good” will be. Once you’ve decided, remember to promote what you are doing on social media using the hashtag #GivingTuesday.
Driving back to the Central belt, trying to drink in and commit to memory the sights surrounding me. I’m going to miss the copper of the bracken, the reds, yellows, browns and greens of the October Highland trees. The reflections in the Highland lochs and the tumbling brooks on every heather-clad hillside…
We spent the October holidays at Alvie House, just outside Aviemore, in the Highlands of Scotland. This week we have ventured as far north as Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness, had family fun at Landmark Forest Adventure Park and learned about Highland life at the Highland Folk Museum. We saw polar bears, tigers, snow monkeys and wolves at the Highland Wildlife Park and enjoyed walks around Alvie Estate.
Alvie House is a stunning old house that has belonged to the Williamson family since 1927. As well as traditional estate activities such as forestry and agriculture the current Laird has expanded the estate activities to include tourism. There are a number of holiday cottages on the estate, stables, zip lines and other outdoor activities. We stayed in the top floor flat of the main house. A five bedroom, self-catering flat, still fabulously old fashioned but kept in excellent condition. From the windows, there are wonderful views of the surrounding countryside and the local red squirrels! It was a great base for our Highland Adventure!
View from the top floor flat.
Top flat, master bedroom.
Landmark Forest Adventure Park
Landmark Forest Adventure Park is the perfect October family day out. All our kids loved it from the three year old to the eleven year old! In fact, much to their surprise, the parents and grandparents in our group thoroughly enjoyed themselves too! The October holidays seem like the perfect time to go as it wasn’t too cold or too busy. We had many, many gos on the water slides and rollercoaster! There was very little waiting around and the staff were happy and friendly. There is more than enough to fill a full day, the kids were sad to leave and can’t wait to go back!
The Highland Wildlife Park is another great day out and it’s only a couple of miles from Alvie House. It is home of, not one but, four polar bears (two males, one female and Hamish the polar bear cub!). We were fascinated by the snow monkey babies playing on the ropes and nets and waited in great anticipation to see the big cats (tigers and snow leopards) being fed. We encountered a pack of wolves snoozing in Wolf Woods and saw red squirrels darting around the trees. The staff were full of interesting information and were more than happy to answer questions about the animals.
Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness
The furthest we travelled was to Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness, about an hours drive north east of Alvie House.
The kids enjoyed running around the castle, up and down the towers and discovering what would have been beds and a toilet! The views of Loch Ness were stunning and there were even steps right down to the water.
Looking for Nessie…
Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness
The “Latrine” at Urquhart Castle.
There is also a visitors centre and cafe which makes it easy to spend the whole afternoon here. On the day we visited Urquhart Castle, they were holding a workshop at the visitors centre where you could make your own Knight’s Jug.
A modern reconstruction of a knight’s jug from the 1300s
Making our own versions of knight’s jugs.
One of the kids’ knight’s jugs.
Highland Folk Museum and Coulters candy
Anyone who grew up in Scotland will be excited to hear that we found Coulters Candy in the old traditional sweetie shop at the Highland Folk Museum! As well as the sweet shop, the highlights for the kids were the 1930s school, the 1700s village featured in the TV adaptation of Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” and of course, the squirrel hunt!
Kirk’s Store, 1930s sweetie shop and post office.
1930’s sweetie shop.
Coulters Candy, looks like green glass, tastes like the glaze on a toffee apple!
The Highland Folk Museum is a mile long outdoor museum on the edge of Kingussie. From the late 1800s “Aultlarie croft” at one end to the 1700s “Baile Gean” township at the other with lots to see in between. It’s definitely a full day event, and it’s free! We would recommend buying the Visitors Guide when you first arrive as it’s full of the interesting histories of the buildings in the museum.
The day we were there, Baile Gean township was peopled with traditionally clad men and women. They were happy to chat about the chores they were carrying out, like dying and spinning wool and making tools.
One of my favourite finds was the Curling Club hut and pond in the Pinewoods.
1930s Knockbain School.
MacPherson’s 1930s Tailor’s shop.
Newtonmore Curling Club Hut
Newtonmore Curling Club Hut
Making a belt buckle at Baile Gean Township.
1700s Baile Gean Township.
1700s village along with villagers, this lady was dying wool with nettles.
Apart from all the amazing activities, one of the best things about our week in the Highlands was being switched off from social media and the feeling of being far away from everyday life. Much as I love my daily life, it’s times like these that divide up the monotony of the routine that revolves around work and school. Without the memories made on adventures such as this, I fear the years would start to slip away with very little to distinguish one from the next…
Links and Further reading
You can see a few of the videos I took on this Chalso Instagram post (click the right arrow below):
Last weekend was the September weekend in Glasgow, meaning a four-day weekend for the kids! We decided to look for something to do that we’d never done before. I’d heard the National Museum of Flight was a good day out and it just so happened they were hosting a Wings & Wheels Show on Sunday. It’s a bit of a trek from Glasgow for a day trip but, it was worth it!
We were very lucky that it was an amazing day weather wise. The sky was blue with fluffy white clouds, a slight chill in the air, but a warm sun. The kids very much enjoyed the displays by Broke FMX, No Limits Cycle Show and seeing the massive Sea Eagles in the Birds of Prey Display.
The kids were excited to go on board Concorde too and really took an interest in the goings on in the military hanger. It sparked lots of questions about war, all of them starting with “Why….”
I too experienced some strong emotions seeing a Tornado up close. Especially when watching and, specifically, listening to the video of it flying. I grew up very close to RAF Leuchars and the sight and sounds took me back there in an instant!
The Museum of Flight is definitely somewhere I would recommend and we will certainly visit again, we only covered about half of the permanent exhibits as we were kept so entertained by the Wings and Wheels displays!
Are you ready to say good bye to summer and embrace the change of season? Even if you’re not, at least the colours that autumn brings kinda make up for it! This ombré Garnet necklace is a perfect match for the Acer at the bottom of my street!
Life in seven black and white photos, no people, no explanations.
Except this isn’t Instagram, Facebook or Twitter so, I’m including titles and the thinking behind each of these pictures for those of you interested enough to find my blog!
Credits: Purposefully, I chose two photos involving my husband directly, one was the pebble tower, which he built, and the other was the thistle. He came across the thistle in a neglected, isolated spot of the Scottish central belt. He was probably the only person to set eyes on it, and he took a photo of it, for me. 💜
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little glimpse into my life in black and white, thanks for reading!
It’s so important to have balance in life. Everything is possible, just not all at the same time! Multitasking is part of everyday life for a working mum but sometimes, you need to focus on one thing and enjoy it wholeheartedly. That was the past week for me. I switched my brain entirely to family mode and it was wonderful! We visited family in Wales, we swam in the sea, ate ice cream and built sandcastles, had family BBQs and sleepovers with cousins.
Our summer holidays are almost over now in Scotland, the kids go back to school next week. I’m so glad I didn’t spend the entire summer multitasking!
We are having a very un-Scottish summer this year! With weeks and weeks of warm sunny weather it’s like being in a different country! The paddling pool has been filled, emptied and refilled numerous times and the kids are looking healthy and sun kissed (though I can’t say the same for our lawn!).
We also went on our first family holiday abroad, braving the “all inclusive” package holiday, a first for all of us. It was a bit of a culture shock if I’m being honest. We’re not really used to being around that many people and I definitely wouldn’t recommend arriving at midnight to a place where the booze is free… but, the hotel was well staffed and smooth running, the ice cream was plentiful and so were the sun loungers so, all good!
As far as Chalso goes, there’s plenty of bright and colourful summery jewellery inspired by sun, sea and sand in the Chalso Etsy shop.
Bit of a random title that doesn’t really tell you what to expect or give you any reason to click through to read more… hey ho, here we go anyway! It’s been an exciting and busy month at Chalso HQ! I have my first stockist, a local gift shop called Paper Isle, and I’ve been promoted to Captain of the I Heart Scotland Etsy Team!
A beautiful, newly opened gift shop in Clarkston, Glasgow, Paper Isle stocks lots of beautiful cards and gifts, many by local makers. There is certainly something for everyone at Paper Isle!
Hole In My Pocket
Zoe Scott Designs
Paper Isle gift shop is located in Clarkston, Glasgow.
Skin care for Him and Her.
Something for the kids
Sea Drift Pottery
Some of the things I came home with after my first visit!
I Heart Scotland Etsy Team
The I Heart Scotland Etsy Team is a small group of Scotland-based Etsy shop owners. I’ve been a Leader of the team for a while, my role has mostly been to keep the team Twitter and Instagram going. Recently, the team Captain stepped down and I was asked to take her place. I’m very excited about my new role and have been putting some thought into how I’m going to take the team forward. One of the first things I’ve done is set up a team Pinterest profile. There are 20+ group boards for members to pin to. If you are a Scotland-based Etsy seller, pop over and join us! If you are a lover of all things Scottish or live in Scotland and like to support local makers, come and follow us, we’d be glad to see you! 😀
Now to more important things! Fathers Day is 17th June this year. There are lots of gift ideas for Dad in the Chalso Etsy shop including matching Father and son/daughter bracelets and family birthstone bracelet sets.
After a very chilly Spring Break, the kids are back at school and the sun’s come out, well it did for one day anyway, today we are back to “baltic”! It feels like every year Spring takes longer to arrive, I still have daffodils in my garden that haven’t opened! However, thoughts are turning to upcoming summer weddings judging by the increased popularity of Chalso wedding jewellery this month…
I’m also happy to take custom orders for variations on a Chalso Classic or to make multiples for your bridesmaids. These three bridesmaid necklaces were a recent custom order for 9ct Gold versions of the Sterling silver single pearl necklace already available in the Chalso Etsy shop.
Diamond is April’s birthstone. I make two Diamond necklaces, a raw Diamond necklace made with 25 tiny, sparkly raw Diamonds on Sterling silver chain and a black Diamond necklace made with seven cut black Diamonds on a Sterling silver chain. Both are perfect minimalist pieces, putting a Chalso twist on the traditional idea of a Diamond necklace.
If you are planning ahead and looking for a gift for a May birthday, Emerald is May’s birthstone. There are Emerald necklaces and earrings available in the Emeralds for May section of the Chalso Etsy shop.
Mothers Day in the UK has passed, but many around the world don’t celebrate Mothers Day until May. So, whether its mum’s birthday, Mothers Day or just a wee thank you gift for that very special lady, here are a few gift ideas for mum!
Personalised jewellery makes a great Mothers Day gift. The pendant shown is solid Sterling silver with initials stamped on each side representing each member of the family. I made one of these for my mother-in-law, each side stamped with the initials of her grandchildren, one side for each of her four children’s children.
As a mum myself, doing my best to bring my kids up to be confident, knowledgeable, healthy and responsible adults, it saddens me to know that so many children, for whatever reason, aren’t getting the best start in life. When I was a kid, I struggled with feeling less important than everyone else, not being respected as a person in my own right. It was never my mum who made me feel like that though, in fact she bought me a badge with “kids are people too” on it when I was very small. I remember it well, but have no idea what happened to it. I searched online recently to see if I could find one the same, but came up with nothing so, I got some made! I am now selling these in my shop with all profits going to Cash for Kids.