Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Who needs New England in the Fall?

Having left the boys (the cats Jack and Ollie) at home in the care of their temporary guardians, and with the dead certainty that there wouldn't be a massive rush on the new web emporium that is Elsie May and Bertha, my other half and I are on the second of our usual bi-annual visits to the Glengarry Castle Hotel.

Set on the shores of Loch Oich, and next to the ruined caste from where it gets its name, the hotel is our second home.

We normally come up at the end of May (for our wedding anniversary) and the end of October (for my birthday, unfortunately they're not open for the other half's birthday in November).

In May the rhododendrons fill the air with their heavy scent, the leaves are green on the trees and, if you're really unlucky, the midges venture out. Unfortunately, I attract these horrible little insects like bees to honey, and get bitten remorselessly, whereas the other half doesn't attract a single one and wonders what all the fuss is about.

Anyway back to nicer things - Scotland in May. The sun, more often than not, shines most of the time. In fact the weather can be a lot better up here than in the rest of the country. On the spring bank holiday this year it was gloriously sunny here, but in London it was pouring down with rain! 

At the end of October, the trees turn into a multitude of different hues of red, gold, and brown. These are shown beautifully in the sun when the reds are high-lighted. And when its dull or raining the yellows and the darkness of the tree branches and trunks come to the fore. Another difference during the autumn is that when it's sunny you can see farther and more clearer, as you're not hindered by the heat haze of the warmer weather.

The Glengarry Castle Hotel itself is a great place to stay. Gorgeous rooms, great food and lovely staff. I'd recommend it to anyone.

Must finish now as there's a scone with my name on it awaiting.


Sunday, 24 October 2010

Website launched

Following frenetic activity over the past couple of weeks (hence there being no posts here), I've launched my Elsie May and Bertha website onto the world wide web (i.e. at
I've been busy sewing cushion covers, christmas decorations and scented hearts and knitting washcloths (I can complete one of these really quickly now) and adding these to the handmade section of the site. I've also had the excuse of being able to go out shopping for vintage items, though I have got to be strong and make sure that all the vintage stuff goes onto the website and not into the house! Visit the vintage goods section of the site to see what I've got available (including this Avon Ware dish below).
 The next job is publicity. I think that this is going to be the hardest bit of the whole enterprise. I can make stuff at the drop of a hat, and managing the website is the same as type of stuff I've done when I was working for the council, but advertising is something completely new.
There's simple stuff to be done, submitting the site to search engines and starting a word of mouth campaign by sending the link to everyone I know and encouraging them to pass it on. But the real hard bit will be the advertising campaign. Saatchi and Saatchi I ain't. So wish me luck as I delve into the dark and mysterious world that is advertising.


Friday, 8 October 2010

Knitting washcloths part deux - or shower gel verses soap

Having a sister that is currently popping over the pond on a regular basis, she was able to enlighten me on the American fascination for the washcloth. Apparently, they don't use shower gel anywhere near as much as we do, but use soap instead, using the humble washcloth to distribute the same over their bodies.

This started me thinking, why do we use shower gel as opposed to soap? There are plenty of shower gels etc on the market, but there are equally just as many soaps. Type in 'soap shops' to any search engine (don't just type in 'soap' - you get lots of links to the soaps on TV rather than the washing kind) you can see the wide variety of soaps available. These include many handmade soap sellers from large ones such as Lush, to smaller business, such as the Isle of Skye Soap Company. I came across the latter whilst in Scotland last May and I bought bath bombs (I chose the beautifully scented geranium rose, that smell just like the scented geranium we have in our garden and the lavender varieties). But I didn't buy any soap. And why not? Well, there's shower gel in the shower and liquid soap by all of the sinks, when would I use it?

Since I've started knitting wash cloths and trying one out myself, I'm becoming converted to using them and soap. This means the next time I come across some handmade soap, I'll be buying! 

A couple of years ago, whilst on holiday in Scotland, I'd bought a bar of soap