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Thursday
Jun122014

Gifts for Father's Day

Millerain Tablet Case

Made with genuine British Millerain waterproof waxed cotton, and a leather-look fabric, this tablet case is protective and durable. The outside design is a sophisticated muted tartan with a regal-looking label, and the inside is a soft leather. The flap is kept closed and secure with velcro.

Clan Crest Belt Buckle

These superbly detailed clan crest designs are approved by the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, as authentic representations taken from the arms of the Chief of the Clans. Clan Crests have a long and important history in Scotland. In the turbulent history of the Scottish clans it was custom for the Clan Chief to allow members of the clan to use his crest as a badge of allegiance. Crests couldn’t be used without the surrounding belt and the strap and buckle have become an integral part of every clan crest.

‘The Officer’ Sgian Dubh

The first recorded use of this type of utility knife was in the Crimean War and there is also recorded use in the Boer War. A number of variations were seen during the First World War but use died out thereafter. Because of the cost and complexity of manufacture it was always a gentleman’s accessory. The original had a corkscrew and screwdriver both of which are faithfully reproduced here and we have added a bottle opener as an added feature for modern use.

Tartan Messenger Bag

This stylish, yet practical, messenger bag is made with genuine British Millerain Waxed Cotton, making it waterproof and hardy to protect your possessions. With enough space to comfortably hold an A4 folder or your favourite book, the bag is spacious without being bulky. There is a handy zip compartment on the inside for your valuables and the magnetic fasteners are efficient for quick access.

Glengarry Dice Scarf

This wool scarf is soft, warm, and a perfect balance of Scottish tradition and style.

It is made from 100% wool, here in Scotland, and there is a matching scarf available.

The white red and navy checked trim set against the solid navy of the bulk of the scarf works extremely well.

Wednesday
May142014

Kiltaloons

We’re excited to announce an exclusive partnership between ourselves and Mint Clouds.

Mint Clouds design clothing for children that is both stylish and comfortable. Using hand crafted tartans from our own tartan mill, DC Dalgliesh, the result is something truly unique that can’t be found on the high street. One of our favourite pieces in the collection are these kiltaloons.

Kiltaloons for Girls

A cross between a kilt and pantaloons, kiltaloons are stylish and comfortable - we love them!

Kiltaloons for Boys

We think these would make a fun but smart outfit for a wedding. Available in a variety of tartans they can be matched with best men/usher kilts.

Friday
May092014

Let’s Go Shinny! by Jennifer

Guest post by Jennifer Feuerbach

The winter sun finally breaks over the winter morning horizon; boys and girls munch on their cereal in Saturday-morning pj’s. Maybe cartoons are on, but these kids are waiting for texts and phone calls that say “Let’s go shinny!” From tiny tots to lumbering six-footers, they throw on clothes as their parents grab coffee and warm up the cars. Lovingly the boys and girls grab sticks and skates!

What! Skates? Yes, ice skates. Oh, and pucks, too. Because this isn’t Scotland, it’s Ontario. The name for the pick-up game is still Shinny (at least in northern Canada), but the rest of the world knows the sport as hockey. Ice Hockey is literally Shinty on ice! Don’t believe me? Let’s compare some rules.

For Shinty and Ice Hockey:

You can’t kick the ball/puck in for a score, but it’s more than welcome to go in off of a defenseman’s feet.

Hitting an opponent’s arms with your stick is a foul called hacking. Hitting your opponent’s head or shoulders is high sticking. Hitting your opponent’s feet and lower legs is tripping. (In hockey all could land you in a fight with an enforcer before the game is over).

If you hold the stick with both hands you may used it to “block and tackle” to your heart’s content (not on the head). However, you may not jump directly on the person or put yourself directly in the player’s path.

A ball/puck that hits a referee is still in play (linesmen in hockey spend a lot of time jumping).

There are some interesting differences. In Shinty it’s specifically stated that during a “throw up” you’re not allowed to move your stance until the ball is hit. This was a gentlemen’s understanding in Hockey when dropping a puck during a face off on the ice (the setup is the same) until the 1980’s when Ron Francis of the Pittsburgh Penguins started turning in a quick circle, binding up the other player, and then kicking the puck to his players on the outside. It was so successful that the National Hockey League had to put the rule in writing.

It is a matter of the highest distinction in any American sport if you come up with a method so good that they declare it cheating and make a rule against it.

Shinty came to Canada in the late 19th century. Previously most Scots that had come to the New World had either come either as moneyed opportunists, their direct workers, skilled tradesmen, or soldiers. The soon to be United States did get a sudden surge of Scottish Aristocrats that moved here in the late 18th century. They called themselves “Jacobites” and settled VERY deep in the Appalachian Mountains, usually rather far south to avoid excess snow. My beloved Urquharts went all the way to New Orleans, which was French at the time, and the The Urquhart is there to this day.

As the industrial revolution brought strange economic changes to the British Isles, more and more farmers found themselves emigrating. Britain particularly sponsored ships to Canada because the land was very sparsely settled.

Those who found themselves on Nova Scotia must have found it a bittersweet change. On the one hand Scottish culture is very solid there. Highs schools today even offer Scots-Gaelic as a language. The land is lush and beautiful. But the people were often wealthy and refined. And the winters were, to put it bluntly, COLD! October nights on Nova Scotia can be chillier than Glasgow can get all winter long.

The good thing about snow and ice, and it is very good, is the sheer speed it can add to sports. You can skate easily three times as fast as you can run. And turning doesn’t slow you down. If you watch figure skaters, they always make along turn before a jump to pick up speed. If someone steals the pick from you in a Hockey game, you’re going to come flying from behind for revenge. Every snowfall resurfaces the ice. So instead of lying in bed, dreading getting up and shoveling a path to do chores, farm boys could drift off to sleep in glorious anticipation.

They did have to make some changes to the game. Hockey is very fast and can only be played in spurts. Line changes were needed so often that the number of players was cut down to half. Hockey has only six players at a time, including the goalie. Substitutions happen on a rolling basis; there are often 12-15 people on a team.

There is a story behind the shape of the puck, though it’s thought to be legend. Supposedly an indoor rink owner grew sick of having his windows broken and cut the ends off of the ball. Obviously it’s intended to let the puck slide rather than roll. Bandy, which is also Shinty on ice, is played in Wales, on ice, with a ball. I cannot conceive of how they pull it off. More power to them.

The other very major issue was penalties. You really can’t be “out of bounds” on an ice rink. In fact, they probably put the walls around the rink to resist the accidental, and the very much intentional, knocking of people off of the ice into the snow. It’s irresistible to watch people fall into a snowbank even if you’re not trying to win a game. In fact it’s almost impossible to keep young children out of them. But I digress.

Since there was no way to take a “penalty shot”, they changed the rules and took a player off of the ice, making the penalized team play a man down. This had major repercussions. It left a great deal of power in the hands of the referee, and to this day the professional game isn’t called fairly. This led to teams putting “enforcers” on their defense. I could go on, but let me just say that a well-called game is much more fun to watch.

It is an interesting fact that the State of California now has both internationally recognized Hockey teams and Shinty teams. The world gets stranger every day.

But Hockey never lost its Scottish taste. When I was growing up our team was the Buffalo Sabers, from Buffalo, NY, USA. Because we were so far north we often played Canadian teams, but I distinctly remember when we played Winnipeg. Not the games; they were in a later time zone and too late for me. No, it was the tone of voice of the sportscaster. “This week the Sabers play the Jets at Winnipeg”. There was no hope of victory. Indeed, he seemed to doubt that everyone was going to get back on the plane.

Make no mistake, Canadian teams aren’t generally the ones that pick fights. They don’t have to. Americans tended to pick fights to get good Canadian players thrown out of games. The best way to stay healthy and safe in a Hockey game is to move if someone is coming to slam you into the boards. This takes skill and hard work. Canadians always had the skill. But Winnipeg is a city founded by Scots, and if you don’t work the crowd lets you know. Winnipeg players ground you into the ice over the course of the night with toughness and consistency. We just wanted our team to live to win another day.

Monday
Mar032014

The Thistle by Tartangirl

This is a guest post by Tartangirl.

When you think about Scotland, it is bagpipes, whisky, tartan and kilts, lochs and the Loch Ness monster, the Saltire and surely the thistle that come immediately to mind. But have you ever asked yourself how it comes that the humble thistle is a Scottish emblem ?

There are several legends about how this flowering plant became Scotland‘s symbol but most refer to the battle of Largs in 1263. At this time, the western seaboards and Argyll were under the sovereignty of the Norwegian king Haakon IV. When Alexander III, king of Scotland, offered to purchase the territory and Haakon refused to sell, Alexander launched military operations against the Norse. Haakon replied to the attacks in sending an armed fleet of longships to the west coast, but a heavy storm forced some ships to land on a beach near Largs in Ayrshire. The Norsemen decided to take advantage of the situation and to launch a surprise night attack on a Scottish army‘s encampment.

The legend says that in order to make a silent approach, the soldiers took off their footwear. But one or more barefoot Norsemen stepped upon a thistle and the cries of pain woke the sleeping Scottish who were able to prepare themselves and to fight off the invaders who fled in pain.

There is no evidence that this is the reason why the thistle became the Scottish emblem, but we know that it has been so since the 15th century as it appeared on silver coins in 1470 during the reign of King James III.

Today, the thistle can be seen on everyday objects like towels, napkins, glassware, on tartans, kilt accessories and jewellery to show that the roots of the product are Scottish.

And you have certainly noticed that it is also used in Scotweb’s logo.

Wednesday
Feb192014

How To Care For Cashmere

  1. Always read and follow the garment’s own cashmere care label when washing your cashmere.

  2. We suggest turning it inside-out before washing for extra protection.

  3. When washing by hand, do not rub but instead squeeze the suds gently through the fabric.

  4. Never wring or stretch the fabric in any way, rinse several times in clean lukewarm water until the water runs clear with no trace of detergent.

  5. When washing your cashmere in a machine ensure you use a specialist cashmere or delicates washing liquid. Never wash it at more than 40 degrees, and ideally less, and we suggest avoiding biological detergents. Check the garment’s care label first to ensure that it is suitable for machine washing.

  6. Do not leave your cashmere wet; dry it as soon as soon as possible or odours may develop.

  7. When washed, smooth your cashmere gently back into its original shape. Place it flat on a towel and allow it to dry naturally.

  8. When your cashmere garment is dry it can be gently pressed with a cool iron to remove any creases.

Wednesday
Feb052014

Valentine's Gift Guide for Her

Choosing the right gift for Valentine’s Day can be a minefield. We’re here to help with a few helpful suggestions that we hope will make your job that little bit easier.

Ladies Tartan Brushed Dressing Gown

This dressing gown is perfect for lazy weekends. It’s made from soft brushed cotton tartan and is generously sized for maximum comfort.

Staying with the sleepwear theme, why not treat your partner to a luxury set of Bonsoir pyjamas. These comfortable brushed cotton pyjama sets come in six different tartans.

Harris Tweed Messenger Bag

This miniature take on the messenger bag is super stylish and rather sweet. It’s the perfect size for a day in town or a walk in the countryside.

Luxury Hand Knitted Icelandic Jersey ‘Odin’

This luxury crew neck sweater is hand knitted in a classic Icelandic pattern. Traditionally knitted on needles by our skilled craftsmen throughout Scotland, each beautifully made sweater contains a label with the makers name on it. Made from 100% British wool.

Sunday
Feb022014

Valentine's Gift Guide for Him

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to select a really personal gift that your partner will really enjoy.

These warm brushed tartan pyjama trousers by Bonsoir of London Ltd are perfect for cosy evenings snuggling up on the sofa. They’re available in four different tartans to suit all tastes.

Hoggs of Fife Thermal Neoprene Wellies

These wellies are the ideal gift for a partner who likes to be outside. Whether it’s a love of gardening or rambling, they will keep the wearer protected in all weathers and terrains.

Tartan Purse Flask

This beautiful solid pewter flask is made entirely in Scotland. Decorated with traditional Celtic knot work and motifs. The nature and quality of this piece makes it a treasure that will last a lifetime.

Braveheart Tartan Scarf

A great gift for the film lover. This beautiful woollen scarf is made in a specially designed tartan that was produced for the hit film Braveheart and that was worn by Mel Gibson’s William Wallace.

It has been woven from lambswool on the Isle of Islay in a family-owned mill. The mill is very traditional, using two looms that date to Victorian times.

Lambswool V-Neck Sweater

This lovely lambswool knit (made in Scotland) is soft, warm and versatile. It can be worn as part of a smart day to day work ensemble or dressed down with jeans and comfy shoes. Either way it’s a great staple piece for any man’s wardrobe.

Friday
Jan172014

How To Create An Authentic Burns Supper

You don’t need to be Scottish to celebrate Robert Burns or hold a supper in his honour. A Burns supper is a way to celebrate the life and work of the famous Bard and usually takes place on or around 25th January, but it’s also a great excuse to gather together family and friends for a good old knees up.

Gather Together

The celebrants gather and mingle, catch up on gossip, and peruse the whisky selection. The chairman or host may make some introductions among the guests, assign some readings, or deliver a few opening remarks.

The Selkirk Grace

The celebrants are called to the table, the host offers an opening grace - traditionally The Selkirk Grace - and the soup course is served. A Scotch broth or cock-a-leekie would be a traditional Scottish choice.

Parade of The Haggis

The parade of the haggis is the evening’s highest bit of pomp. The chef carries the haggis in, followed by the piper. The chef lays the haggis before the chairman at the high table.

Address to a Haggis

A previously designated reciter reads this poem over the haggis. A guid whisky gill is offered to the piper, chef and reciter. The haggis is then sliced open with the finely honed edge of a ceremonial dirk (though any old knife will do).

The meal is then served - Haggis, Neeps and Tatties is the definite favourite and a wee bit of whisky sauce if you’re feeling adventurous. See a selection of popular Burns supper recipes here.

Interval

After the meal there is a brief interval while the table is cleared or the celebrants retire to another room for the rest of the evening’s festivities. The chairman needs to keep the guests focused and facilitate the flow of the songs, toasts and poetry that are to follow. Time to refill your glasses!

Song

A good warm-up for the Immortal Memory, a musically inclined guest, or two, may sing a Burns song.

Immortal Memory

The chairman, or designated speaker, delivers the Immortal Memory address. It may be a general, biographical sort of speech, or may address a specific aspect of the Bard’s work that is relevant to the particular group of assembled celebrants. This speech always ends with standing guests, raised glasses and an offered toast to the immortal memory of the Bard of Ayr.

Songs, Music and Readings

Celebrants who have arrived with selections to read take their turn entertaining the others. (It always helps if the chairman has some readings selected for guests who have arrived unprepared or who may need a little encouragement.)

A Toast To The Lassies

A traditional Burns Night ritual, this toast should be a light-hearted lampoon of the lassies’ (few) shortcomings. Warning: Please be tactful! Think groom’s speech at a wedding, a few funny anecdotes is sufficient alongside plenty of praise!

Reply From The Lassies

Always delivered with grace, charm and wit, this savaging of the lads’ crude dispositions and social inferiority is always accepted with good humor by the menfolk present.

Tam o’ Shanter

No Burns Night is complete without a recitation of the great narrative poem.

Closing Remarks From The Chairman

When an end to the festivities has finally arrived the chairman should thank the guests for their attendance, good cheer and high spirits.

Auld Lang Syne

The traditional end to any Burns Night - indeed, an appropriate end to any evening spent among the company of friends - is the singing of this sentimental Scottish song. It always helps to have the correct lyrics printed out for the, by now, groggily satisfied celebrants.

Friday
Jan102014

Recipes For Your Burns Supper

The main purpose of a Burns supper is to celebrate the life and work of the Scottish poet, but your Burns supper needs to have some good authentic Scottish food and plenty of whisky if you want to ensure maximum enjoyment. We’ve collated some of our favourite recipes from our own Burns suppers.

Scotch Broth

This traditional Scottish soup is hearty and packed with vegetables. It’s also cheap which is always a consideration if you’re catering for a large supper!

Cock a Leekie Soup

Cock a Leekie is a good alternative to Scotch Broth. We like this one by Edinburgh based chef Tom Kitchin. According to Tom a good stock and fresh vegetables from a farmer’s market are the secret to a good Cock a Leekie.

Haggis, Neeps and Tatties

Haggis, neeps and tatties is the staple of the Burns supper - that’s haggis (sheep or calf offal with suet and oatmeal), turnip and potatoes if you’re not Scottish. It’s a pretty straight forward dish to prepare and a good one for cooking in large quantities.

Clapshot

Clapshot is a simple dish that originates from the Orkneys, it often replaces the neeps and tatties part of haggis, neeps and tatties.

Whisky Sauce

A simple whisky sauce only takes a few minutes to make but it will elevate your simple supper of haggis, neeps and tatties.

Cranachan A good meal requires an indulgent dessert to round it off (and possibly some cheese and port too!) Cranachan is like the Scottish version of Eton Mess, except instead of meringues you use toasted oatmeal, oh and whisky of course.

Clootie Pudding

If you fancy a pudding then look no further than Clootie Pudding - a classic Scottish pudding packed with rich fruit. Serve with cream and more whisky!

Monday
Mar042013

7 Steps To Your Own Unique Tartan

Google VP Matt Brittan & our MD in Google colours

1. Why would I want my own tartan?

Here’s why - nothing else shows off who YOU are, like tartan. And no, you absolutely do not have to be Scottish! It’s unique to your family or community, and tells the world with pride. What’s more, it’s beautiful, and a fabulous talking point. (If it’s good enough for Google…)

More and more people are designing new tartans, even if their family already has one! Maybe it’s for an occasion like a wedding… for one family branch… or just because a new pattern or colours would look better.

And for businesses or groups the benefits are endless. Wear it subtly as a tie or scarf, or unmistakably as an entire uniform, tartan brings your people together – visibly! Staff, members, associates, or fans will all love to unite under your colours.

2. Are you allowed to wear it?

That’s easy – you’re allowed. Anyone in the world can register or weave a tartan in Scotland. And there’s literally billions of possible designs, so unless you copy one that’s copyright, you’re fine. New designs are always checked anyway, so no worries.

3. The easy way – ask an expert

If you don’t want the trouble of designing it yourself, you can simply commission a professional such as the experts at DC Dalgliesh to create your tartan for you – which costs much less than people think. Share your ideas, or even just a bit about yourself. And your designer will create a choice of suggestions for you to discuss and change until you love one.

Of course, that would be missing out on the fun of trying your own hand at the design. So read on - as you’ll see, you can’t go wrong! You can also ask an expert designer to look over your ideas at any stage in the process, and they’ll be happy to add their experience to your inspiration!

4. The fun way - design it yourself

In just a few minutes you’ll start to see your ideas come to life on the screen, and even see how it might look as fabric.

What have you got to lose? Even if you only get half way there, you can send your sketches to a professional to turn into the tartan of your dreams – having learned something along the way. You never know, you may discover a hidden talent!

5. Start here - jump in and play

Design your own tartanIt’s incredibly easy to design tartans online.

So where do you start? You don’t have to begin with a blank sheet. Instead, pick any existing tartan from a gallery of thousands, and just play with it for a while! Pull sliders to thicken or reduce lines… drag and drop them to change the sequence… delete, add, or change colours. It will all help give you feel of what works best.

And here’s a bit of a trade secret. Lots of new tartans start just that way! If there’s an existing tartan with meaning for you, why not use it as a starting point? Change the pattern or colours. As soon as it looks different, it’s a different tartan! And this can give your new design historical roots.

6. Get personal - pick your themes

Now for another tip from the pros. It’s often best not just to design randomly, but to work with colours and patterns that carry some significance for you. This could be as your favourite colours, shades that represent your beliefs or traditions, or a company’s corporate colours.

Then think about numbers too. These could come from dates, or just about any numbers that matter to you. But the point is to literally weave these into the fabric by using them in the ‘threadcount’ which is the technical term for the thickness of the lines. Just remember that tartans are traditionally woven in pairs of threads, so numbers are always even.

7. The best bit - order & wear it!

So you’ve settled on a tartan design that you love. Now it gets really interesting!

The sky is the limit when using tartan. (Yes, really… we’ve had tartan on planes and hot air balloons!). It’s surprisingly affordable to get a piece woven, in wool, or silk, or indeed any fabric you like. Then that can be made into almost any garment or accessory you can think of, not to mention homewares, and so on. It costs less than you might think!

Besides, what price can you put on knowing that you’re absolutely the only person in the world wearing a gorgeous fabric that you designed yourself, with history and meaning woven into its every fibre?