Monthly Archives: December 2008

Scots Tradition of First-footing

Whisky & coal

When I first moved to Scotland in 1989 I was greeted with ‚  many new Scottish traditions, Hogmanay being one! ‚   My family had never really celebrated the New Year, so on our move northwards we had our first experience of how the Scots celebrate.

Hogmanay is the Scots word for the last day of the year. ‚   The most common custom is “first footing”, whereby immediately after midnight a good friend will cross the threshold of your home and bring you a gift, such as:

  • Salt
  • Coal
  • Whisky
  • Shortbread

The first-foot is supposed to set the luck for the ‚  rest of the ‚  year.

Enjoy your Hogmanay celebrations!

Origins of Auld Lang Syne

Singing Auld Lang Syne

Auld Lang Syne ‚  is a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788. ‚   It has ‚  since been set to folk music and is sung for the clocks striking the New Year in. ‚   Everyone ‚  will form a circle and ‚  link crossed arms, singing Auld Lang Syne.

“Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll be your pint stoup,
And surely I’ll be mine,
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne!


We twa hae ran about the braes,
And pou’d the gowans fine,
But we’ve wander’d monie a weary fit
Sin’ auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl’d in the burn
Frae morning sun til dine,
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
Sin’ auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere,
And gie’s a hand o’ thine,
And we’ll tak a right gude willie waught
For auld lang syne!


Meaning of unusual words:
Auld lang syne = Former days and friends
stoup = tankard
gowans = daisies
braid = broad
Gude willie waught = friendly draught

Gift ideas for a 3rd Wedding Anniversary

The traditional gift to mark 3 years of marriage is leather, and here’s a few ideas on how you could incorporate leather into a gift for family or friends:

  • To bring a smile, gift wrap a bar of Imperial Leather soap
  • His and hers leather wallets
  • Leather address book, diary or journal
  • Passport cases made of leather
  • A beautiful travel clock bound in a leather case
  • Leather gloves for the Winter
  • Trip to Walsall Leather Museum
  • A story written by Stephen Leather

Traits of a Capricorn


My sister is a Capricorn, and so are you if you were born between December 22nd and January 20th. ‚   Capricorn is symbolised by the goat, and is the 10th astrological sign of the Zodiac. ‚   Capricorn is considered to be an earth sign, negative and femine, likened to an introvert.

The traits of a Capricorn include:

  • Disciplined
  • Practical
  • Careful
  • Reliable
  • Self-critical
  • Hardworking
  • Shrewd ‚  

Make Festive Fatballs for the Birds

Festive Fatballs

Over the next couple of days when you are roasting potatoes, turkey, goose, duck or a ham, remember to keep all the left over fat ‚  in a container and when you have a cupful you can make these delightful treats for the birds.

  • Cupful of used fat, melted into a pan
  • Stir in a cupful of bird seed
  • Add a cupful of porridge oats
  • Sprinkle in a handful of raisins
  • Pour into 2 half coconut shells, or 2 plastic disposable cups (ensure they have a loop of string attached)
  • Leave to set overnight somewhere cool
  • In the morning, hang them out on a tree and the tits will flock in

Cosy Christmas Cocktails

Christmas Cocktails

Fancy trying your hand at a cocktail ‚  this Christmas, well here’s a couple of recipes that will keep you warm and cosy over the festive season.

The Fireside Cocktail

  • 1.5 ‚  parts Baileys
  • 1.5 ‚  parts Frangelico
  • 1 ‚  part clove syrup
  • Combine all ingrediants into a shaker with ice, shake well and serve in a martini glass garnished with cocoa powder.

A Plum Toddie

  • 1 ‚  part Sloe Gin
  • 1 ‚  part Tuaca
  • 1 ‚  part clove syrup
  • Hot water
  • Add all ingrediants to a thermal glass and decorate with a lemon twist, an orange slice and a cinnamon stick. ‚   Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Festive Place Cards

Having friends and family over for a festive dinner, and you don’t want to spend too much on place card holders, then why not make your own place cards by trying one of these nifty ideas.

  1. Simply afix name labels to Christmas crackers and ‚  lay one at each table setting.
  2. Have some fun and using some coloured card, pens, felt and cotton wool, create your own set of characters by sticking each onto a folded piece of card.
  3. Something a bit more elaborate, you could cut out festive images and hang them off the side of each wine or water glass on the table.

Happy crafting!

Carols by Candlelight at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Carols by Candlelight

My husband and I spent a romantic evening in Glasgow last night. ‚   We got the train up and checked into a hotel in the city, we then had an early dinner at the Piazza Italia Restaurant and then we walked up to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall to see ‚  Carols by Candlelight.

The show featured the Consort of Voices choir, Mozart Festival Orchestra and a Soprano ‚  all dressed in period costume from the 1800s. ‚   We had a sing-a-long to a number of the carols, including:

  • Once in Royal David’s City
  • The First Nowell
  • O LIttle Town of Bethlehem
  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

I had a great time, and it brought back memories of when, as a child with my family we used to join the village Carolers at Christmas.

If you have never been to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, then do check out the line up for the New Year as a treat for yourself or as a gift for family and friends.

Dining at the Brig O’ Doon

I had a Christmas lunch at the Brig O’ Doon House Hotel today, it was scrumptious and in beautiful ‚  festive surroundings (even with the wet miserable day outside). ‚   I don’t like to overdo the turkey and trimmings, so I selected the following 3 courses:

  • Chicken liver pate with garlic bread
  • Breast of chicken with haggis, neeps and tatties
  • Vanilla pavlova

Within an area of outstanding natural beauty in Alloway (birthplace of Robert Burns) ‚  the ‚  Brig O ¢ ‚¬ „¢ Doon House offers a luxurious stay and dining experience for guests. ‚   The original Inn on the site was built in 1827, and was later replaced by a hotel which was sympathetically restored and upgraded in 1988 by Costley Hotels.

I enjoyed my drive home ‚  from the Brig O’ Doon, seeing ‚  the range of Christmas lights, both outside and adorning the trees inside peoples homes. ‚   This year there seems to be a lot more blue lights being hung in gardens.

Sarahs Creative Occasions