Wednesday, November 23

10 Things I’ve Learnt About Living on an Island with The Static Gypsy

I moved to the Isle of Skye in 2010 from a village just north of London. In the last few years I’ve learnt a lot about living in such a remote part of the world, and most of it is exactly what you might expect of a quiet island life. So here are ten things I’ve learnt about living on a Scottish island.
  1. It can and will snow pretty much any month in the year.
  2. Most people are known solely by nicknames.
  3. It’s socially acceptable to live in a caravan.
  4. There’s no rat race.
  5. The views!
  6. Everyone says hello when they pass you on the street.
  7. Finding work is incredibly competitive.
  8. The local supermarket is the hub of life!
  9. It’s safe enough to leave your doors unlocked.
  10. No one bats an eye to driving two hours through mountains and snow for a days’ shopping.

There’s so much more I could say about living on an island, but then I’d be going on for days and days! There are bad things, obviously, but for the most part, life on Skye is pretty idyllic. And given that it recently topped the Daily Records list of ‘Most Desirable Places To Live In The UK’, I’d say most of the UK is pretty clued up on how lucky I am to live where I do!

Find Liv...

Friday, November 18

Bloggy Pages: Before Blogcess, Foreplay with Lee Goldground

A big and slightly nervous, spotty, teenage handshake to you, Scotblogger reader. Two lies straight away that come with the turf:

1. I don’t know you and you don’t know me, so we have to pretend we’re saying hello for real. I hope you’re good at it, it’s all we’ve got.

2. The big and slightly nervous, spotty, teenage handshake is metaphor – I was born in the 70s.


You might remember it, you might be in the middle of it, you might be terrified of it, but it’s there as the only universal truth Buddha left out: foreplay. 

Without it, nothing comes. I’ve spent 9 years writing the debut – can you call a 9 year novel a debut? Sounds a bit artsy. A bit of me just calls it a miracle. It’s a miracle the bloody thing got finished with the rips life decided to spring along the way. Maybe, when we know each other better, I’ll fill you in on the rips. But not yet. I don’t trust you. No hard feelings. 

But blogging. It’s the most exciting, fumbling, bound-to-get-it-wrong-I’ve-gone-in-too-quick-I-think-it’s-over pulse-quaking terrorbuzz there is, but we have no choice – unless we try, we’re never going to learn what each other likes. Maybe even loves. 

It’s my first ‘guestblog’ since completing the fiction. It’s a weird name, guestblog; far too formal for what is, in reality, an up-close, knuckly-gut, skin on skin first snog-with-words experience. I like it so far. But I have no idea what to do. I’m doing what I do when I write – one word at a time, feel the feelings, go with it, hoping you’re enjoying it and loving every minute. 

It’s a faith-fumble. 

Making a mess in the knowledge we’re both going to get a lot better. 

We all want great cess. Success for our lives, blogcess for our blogs, whether we’re reading or writing them.We’ll get there. We’re getting there. Many of you already are there, I’m sure. It’s about not being scared to come away with a few bloggy pages in your hand now and then. 

Writing’s weird, eh? And reading? Don’t get me started. I don’t think any writer wants a ‘reader, or a reader a 'writer'. At least, I don’t think I do. We want people, you, me, contact, a banter, the mini-contract of two ‘Alright?’s in the staff-room or pub or cafe or bus stop or tube. The introducey stuff. Then, when we’re ready, the meaningful mindy stuff that never leaves your head, that burns and concerns and inspires and confuses and incites and falls away and grows again. 

Do you think we should stop? Before the hear us in the next room? I was supposed to be writing a couple of sentences to lead into the blog, but it turns out the first sentences, the first faith-fumbles, are the complete experience. And what's the rush? The book can wait – maybe next time. As we said, the truth – foreplay – has to be conquered first. So you might not want to click on this yet. I don’t blame you, take your time. Don’t give your clicks out to just anyone.

Find Lee...

Wednesday, November 16

DIY Christmas Gift Idea | How to Make Your Own Candle with Scotch Miss

Hey everyone,

My name is Abbey and I've only been a blogger for a couple of months, so please go easy on me :-)

My blog is called Scotch Miss, and I try to publish three times a week usually Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I live just outside Glasgow and I have a particular love for candles and Scottie dogs.

With Christmas rapidly approaching (I mean seriously, it could give Usain Bolt a run for his money!) I thought it would be the perfect time to share with you how I make my own candles. I think these would make gorgeous personal gifts, especially for those Secret Santa dips!

So, without further ado, here's what you'll need to make your own candle;

1 Candle Can
24g Candle Fragrance Oil
211g Soy Wax
1 Wick & Sustainer
Glue Dot/Sticky Pad
Worktop Scales
1 Large Pan
1 Small Pan
1 Measuring Jug

Step 1 - Weight, Boil, Melt.
  • Weigh out your soy wax. 
  • Fill the larger of your pans to a third of it's volume with water and let it come to the boil. 
  • Place your wax into the smaller of your pans and sit it inside the now boiling water, making sure you stir it regularly.

Step 2 - Lets Get Sticky

  • Use your glue dots/sticky pads and attach one to the bottom of your wick sustainer. 
  • Attach the sticky wick sustainer to the bottom of your candle can, making it as central and straight as possible.

Step 3 - Bottoms Up

  • Once your wax has melted, pour it into your measuring jug.
  • Add your scent of choice and stir for 2 minutes.
  • Pour the wax into your candle can and make sure the wick is centred. If the wick isn't straight, pin it in place using pencils or straws. 
  • Leave your candle to set for 4 hours and try not to burn it for a week to let it cure.
  • Once the candle has cured, trim the wick to 1/4 inch.

You can leave your candle here, or you can cover the tin with paper or material of your choice. The scent I used for this candle is 'Lord of the Glen' so I chose a brown paper to cover my tin. You can wrap your candle in cellophane wrap with some gorgeous Xmas ribbon if you'd like to gift it for Xmas. Or you can do what I did and add a bit of Xmas ribbon with a candy cane.

I hope you enjoy this post and have fun making your own candles, I'd love to see photos of them so please feel free to tweet them to me @scotchmissblog.

Love and hugs,
Find Abbey...