I Heart Scotland Christmas Showcase

As you may or may not know, I am the Captain of the I Heart Scotland Etsy Team. Etsy teams are like little communities of Etsy Sellers usually with a common theme, ours is location. We share tips and advice and help promote each other on social media. As it’s almost Christmas, I thought I’d share some of our team’s work, you may find some inspiration for Christmas gifts here too.


Christmas cards by DugEaredDesign


Christmas cards by ElenLloydArt


Christmas cards by KaisCards


Christmas cards by AnnaSunCraftsShop

Ceramic robins by MudnessCeramics


Christmas decorations by Magicreations1


Christmas decorations by AnnethDesigns


Poinsettia Brooch by BrawBrichtCrafts


Snowball earrings by Chalso


The best place to find regular updates from the I Heart Scotland Etsy Team is on Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest.


Indie Friday 2018

Again this year the Just a card campaign is championing Indie Friday as an alternative to Black Friday.

Indie Week


Let’s work together to celebrate small businesses in the run up to Christmas – and remind everyone to shop independent this year.”

Indie Friday


Instagram will be awash tomorrow with independent businesses shouting loud for #indiefriday! Follow the hashtags #justacard and #indiefriday to find the most amazing artist/designer/makers!


Not just a card, at least a card!


Already this year, I’ve bought all my Christmas cards from independent businesses and I’m planning on buying loads of my Christmas presents from small businesses too!


Further reading

Giving Tuesday



Giving Tuesday 2018

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.

For more information, have a look at the Giving Tuesday UK website and follow @GivingTuesdayUK on Twitter to keep up to date with the campaign and for ideas on how to join in. You can also see the Chalso 2018 case study on the Giving Tuesday website.


Related blog posts

Giving Tuesday 2017

Giving Tuesday

Roundup of 2017

Community and Charity

Clyde Cash for Kids 1000 Faces Campaign

A Highland Adventure

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… 

Alvie House
Alvie House

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 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!

Alvie Estate
The stone circle on Alvie Estate.


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!

Explore the park here.


RZSS Highland Wildlife Park

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.

Highland Wildlife Park
One of the male polar bears at the Highland Wildlife Park.


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.

Urquhart Castle
Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness.

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.

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.


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!

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.



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):

View this post on Instagram

I’m back and the Chalso Etsy Shop is open again! Today I’ve spent mostly writing a blog about our October holiday adventure in the Highlands. Here are some of the highlights (ps. picture 10 is worth scrolling through for!): Pictures 1-3 Alvie Estate, just outside Aviemore. We stayed in the top floor flat of the main house! Pictures 4 & 5 The Highland Folk Museum including an old fashioned sweetie shop that actually sold Coulters Candy, a 1930s school and a 1700s village featured in “Outlander”! Picture 6 Urquhart Castle on the banks of Loch Ness (Video 7). Videos 8 & 9 Awesome family fun at Landmark Forest Adventure Park #landmarkmoments Picture 10 Polar Bear! At the Highland Wildlife Park. If you’ve read this far and would like the full story you can find the blog at Chalso.co.uk #Octoberholidays #visitscotland #familytime #glasgowblogger #TheHighlands #Scotland #AlvieHouse #AlvieEstate #HighlandFolkMuseum #UrquhartCastle #LochNess #landmarkforestadventurepark #polarbear #HighlandWildlifePark

A post shared by Chalso (@chalsojewellery) on

Alvie Estate

Landmark Forest Adventure Park

Highland Wildlife Park

Urquhart Castle

Highland Folk Museum

Visit Scotland

Previous blog posts that may be of interest:

Bonnie Scotland

Summer in Scotland

The Museum of Flight



September weekend at the National Museum of Flight Scotland

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!

Sarah x


Links and Further Reading

National Museums Scotland

More ideas for kids days out in Scotland can be found in Bonnie Scotland and Summer in Scotland

Autumn gift ideas

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!



Rich autumnal colours in the Chalso Etsy shop, including red Carnelian, beautiful natural woods, Tigers eye and silvery grey Hematite.


In ombré colours from red to orange, peach and white.

I never tire of making this beautiful necklace, each one is unique. It makes a great Autumn or October birthday gift.

For a 15% discount code to use in the Chalso Etsy shop, sign up to the Chalso newsletter.




Life in 7 Black and White Photos

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!

Home. A safe place, a calm place, a family bubble, the eye of the storm. I’m not building walls, I’m growing hedges.


Work. Just a part of the whole. Working from home is perfect for me at the moment. I have one room in the house that I use for Chalso. This means that I can shut the door on it when required and that I can easily work around family life and commitments.


Balance. Balance is essential for a happy and healthy body and mind. I regularly assess aspects of my life and give things a little nudge here and there to make sure everything is going in the right direction and everyone in the family has what they need to be happy and healthy.


Going my own way, but thanks for the advice
Going my own way, but thanks for the advice. This is as much to do with raising kids as anything else. I’m trying to bring my kids up to make their own decisions, think for themselves, no matter what they are being told or what direction they are being pushed in. It’s important to stop every now and again, and check if you are a doing what you want to do or if you are just following the signs.


No meat here
No meat here. Life-long vegetarian, I’m mostly a plant-eater and I’m doing a little more everyday to be more eco-responsible. Less plastic, less waste, less polluting…


Scottish and proud (OK so I was born in England to English parents, but I’m a Scot none the less 😜). Being Scottish isn’t about where you were born or who your parents were, it’s a state of mind.


Love. What’s it all for otherwise?


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!

Love, Sarah x



Balance, multitasking and focus



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!


On the beach


Links and further reading

Follow me on Instagram for daily updates.

For ideas on things to do in Scotland and family days out see these previous blog posts:

Bonnie Scotland

Summer in Scotland

There’s more on summer 2018 here Summertime, inspired by sun, sea and sand

The Chalso Etsy shop



Summertime! Inspired by sun, sea and sand…

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!

Summer hols 2018


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.



You can see more summer birthstone jewellery,  rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings on the Home page and in the Chalso Etsy shop.



For summer activity ideas in Scotland visit my other blog posts, Summer in Scotland and Bonnie Scotland.

More summer gift ideas.

Made with Pride by Chalso.

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May update from Chalso

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!


Paper Isle

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!


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! 😀

I Heart Scotland Etsy Team logo


Fathers Day

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.

If you are ordering Fathers Day gifts from outside the UK, please order by 28th May. If you are in the UK, please order by 11th June via the Chalso Etsy shop. 💙

Thanks for reading!
Sarah xx



I Heart Scotland Etsy Team

I Heart Scotland on Instagram

I Heart Scotland on Twitter

I Heart Scotland on Pinterest

Paper Isle on Instagram

Chalso Fathers Day gift ideas on Etsy

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