Fàilte 2020

WeeBox helps you toast 2020, Scotland and of course Robert Burns this January!

With Burns Night on the way and preparations taking place around the world, WeeBox decided to take a nostalgic trip to Burns Country and walk in the footsteps of the Bard!

On the 25th January 1759 Robert Burns was born in a small cottage in Alloway, Scotland.  He would become Scotland’s favourite son and national Bard – his legacy has held strong over the centuries and his memory will be celebrated this month.

From Los Angeles to Singapore and from Canada to Hong Kong – this year, WeeBox is helping Scots-at-heart across the globe celebrate Burns Night …. and we’ve channelled inspiration from our visit to his birthplace, Alloway.

Robert Burns Cottage

The most picturesque village and made famous by Burns, Alloway is pristine, thick with history and a story (or ten!) to tell.  Every inch seemed to nod to the Bard – from the sign posts, street plant pots and street names such as Shanter Way.  We followed in the footsteps of the adventures of Tam o’Shanter, had afternoon tea at the Brigodoon Hotel and popped in to ‘Poets Corner’ coffee shop for a blether and a natter.  

When WeeBox visited, the village was preparing for a host of unique events on and around the 25th January.  One which captured our imagination was an exclusive Burns Supper in Burns Cottage where it all began.  What an unforgettable night it promises to be with piper, toasts, recitations, music and speeches, in the most remarkably preserved thatched cottage.

Why not throw your own Burns Supper?! Your January ‘Fàilte 2020’ WeeBox is curated to help you have a night to remember – so gather your friends and family around for haggis, whisky,  poetry with lots of fun and laughter.  

Selkirk Grace

Some hae meat and canna eat, 

   And some wad eat that want it; 

But we hae meat, and we can eat, 

   Sae let the Lord be thankit.

Slàinte mhath WeeBox Clan and Fàilte 2020!

Happy Hogmanay 2019!

Only one nation can celebrate the New Year, or Hogmanay with such passion – the Scots! It is the BIGGEST party of the year and WeeBox has everything you need to ‘First Foot’ like a real Scot …… wherever you are in the world!   

Celebrate, reminisce and Fàilte 2020! Hogmanay is steeped in tradition – celebrated like nowhere else on earth.  

Its origins are viking – Norse invaders celebrated the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, with wild parties in late December.

So, here’s our WeeBox guide to celebrating like a true Scot!

  1. Share Hogmanay with your nearest and dearest: it’s all about being with the ones you love and having a party to end all parties. 
  2. Redding’ the House:  Have a good clean out to ready the house for the New Year!  In days gone by, sweeping out the fireplace was very important and there was a skill in reading the ashes, the way some people read tea leaves.  
  3. First footing:  it is considered a great honour to be the ‘first foot’! This is where the first person to enter the house after midnight – ideally a tall, dark man – brings gifts such as a black bun, whisky and coal. First footing is supposed to affect the household’s fortunes for the coming year, so make sure you have a tall, dark pal to hand!  It’s also a great excuse to get round to your neighbours and Fàilte 2020!
  4. Singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’: accompanied by the linking of arms and singing with great gusto!  Be prepared, even for the second verse (which most people realise they don’t know!) with the words below:

Auld Lang Syne

First verse: 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind? 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
and auld lang syne? 

Chorus: 
For auld lang syne, my jo, 
for auld lang syne, 
we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet, 
for auld lang syne. 

Second verse: 
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup! 
and surely I’ll be mine! 
And we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet, 
for auld lang syne. 

Chorus 

Third verse: 
We twa hae run about the braes, 
and pou’d the gowans fine; 
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit, 
sin’ auld lang syne. 

Chorus 

Fourth verse: 
We twa hae paidl’d in the burn, 
frae morning sun till dine; 
But seas between us braid hae roar’d 
sin’ auld lang syne. 

Chorus 

Fifth verse: 
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.

And, finally eat, drink and be merry this Hogmanay … lang may yer lum reek!

Slàinte mhath WeeBox Clan and Fàilte 2020!

St Andrews Day

5 things you need to know!

Who was St Andrew? Why is he Scotland’s patron saint? Why do we celebrate St Andrews Day all over the world?

The end of November can mean only one thing – we are getting ready to celebrate the kick off to Scotland’s Winter Festivals with St. Andrews Day on the 30th!  So get your saltire sweeties ready from your October WeeBox with a wee cuppa and read all about Scotland’s national day.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 St Andrew is Scotland’s patron saint and one of Jesus Christ’s 12 disciples.  Known for his generous and cooperative spirit, St. Andrew struck a chord with Scotland which is renown around the world for its incredibly warm welcome and friendliness.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 The saltire flag is his flag and thought to be the oldest in Europe and the Commonwealth.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 St Andrews Day lets us enjoy a bank holiday in Scotland – this year on the 2nd December as 30th November falls on a Saturday. 

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scotland celebrates by getting people together to ‘gie it laldie’!  Celebrations of Scottish culture, ceildhs, feasts and parties go on long into the crisp, winter night – a tradition that goes as far back as the year 1000 AD.

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 St Andrews Day is celebrated by Scots and Scots-at-heart all over the world.  Following in St Andrews charitable footsteps, ‘St Andrews Societies’ around the globe were founded by Scots as early as 1729, looking to help the poor and distressed.  From these remarkable roots, the charities work still today to support the vulnerable and needy – with fundraising often a focus of St Andrews Dinners … not to mention a good old knees up!

Your October WeeBox was curated with St. Andrews Day as our inspiration – so don your luxurious, tartan scarf, cook up an old-fashioned feast with your ‘Scottish Teatime Favourites’ recipe book and toast our great, wee nation!

Happy St. Andrews Day WeeBox Clan x

“Lifting the Lid on WeeBox” Series. Meet our Founder

Firstly, the warmest of thank yous to all of you for joining us on the WeeBox journey!  We have been overwhelmed with support and love from all over the world and it is truly our honour to bring you Scottish happiness every month!

Your WeeBox was born from a passion to spread Scottish joy and bring our glorious land a wee bit closer – whether you are a Scot abroad, of Scottish heritage or just dream of visiting one day, WeeBox is for you.

So to celebrate moving into our 3rd year this St. Andrew’s Day, we wanted to ‘lift the lid’ of WeeBox … introducing you to our dedicated founder, team and some of our favourite small, Scottish artisans who create your inspiring gifts each month.

So sit back and enjoy our wee ‘lifting the lid’ series. 

Meet WeeBox Founder, Amy McCusker

When WeeBox Founder, Amy McCusker, first tried to send her brother Scottish gifts from home after his move to Australia, she discovered it wasn’t so easy!  

The shipping was hugely expensive and any Scottish hampers did not have the quality or range of products that she knew she would handpick.  So, she set to work with her husband Gerard and 3 wee boys to lovingly design and curate a ‘wee box’ of Scottish joy that she knew her brother and family would adore.   From this … WeeBox was born!

Now moving into its 3rd year on St. Andrew’s Day 30th November 2019, WeeBox has grown to become a much cherished part of thousands of Scots and Scot-at-hearts lives all over the world.

Amy shipped her 1st WeeBox in January 2017.  Tens of thousands of WeeBoxes later, Amy has spread Scottish happiness to over 25 countries, won 5 international awards and helped over 150 small, Scottish businesses reach a global audience.  Not to mention lovingly caring for her global WeeBox Clan subscribers and creating an inspiring community of like-minded Scots and Scots-at-heart who share their stories, Scottish heritage and travel with each other.  This is what Amy is most proud of.  

So, into 2020 you can expect more new and exciting Scottish products, not yet featured inside WeeBox, more joy, more surprises and more Scottish happiness straight from WeeBox and Amy to you!

Iconic Scotland

The land of legends …

Pipers, the unicorn, tartan, the highland cow … this month, delve into Scotland’s most famous legends and let us bring iconic Scotland straight to your door.

The Little Book of Scottish Beasties

We were so excited to discover this little gem of a book for you!  Scotland is renowned for its huge range of beasties!  Wildlife that comes in all shapes and sizes .. and often mythical!  In this book Tim Kirby introduces 45 of them, from the iconic red deer and golden eagle to the Highland cow and ubiquitous midge. In addition, he offers his take on animals of myth and legend, such as the world-famous Loch Ness Monster and the mysteriously watery kelpies. And he also includes other creatures which may or may not be classed as animals in the conventional sense – such as the haggis (rarely seen alive but eaten every Burns Night) and even the bagpipe (surely some kind of animal given its appearance and piercing call). Enjoy this adorable wee book bursting with fantastical tales and Scottish humour.

Hairy Hamish the Highland Coo!

The icon of the Highlands is yours to love  … ‘Hairy Hamish the Highland Coo’!  We have worked in proud partnership with Silver Stag of Scotland, a social enterprise helping the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in our society … so Scottish love all round.   Hamish comes complete with a STAND* tartan scarf too.  

*In 2014 Silver Stag developed a tartan for one of their Scottish charity partners, STAND to raise awareness of the work they do with disadvantaged individuals and communities.

Edinburgh castle, tartan and sweet nostalgia … 

…  you don’t get much more iconic than Ross’s of Edinburgh Rock in the bonnie tartan satchel! Full of heritage and one of the sweetest treats you’ll ever have.  We first met our pals at Ross’s 2 years ago when they kindly gave us a tour of their factory and a sweetie tasting day – utter heaven.  We often hear such heart warming stories from our subscribers about their childhood memories of Edinburgh Rock – typically involving a wee day doon the water at the seaside in Scotland!

Bring iconic Scotland to your own hame*!

Unicorns, the lone piper, thistles … and much more.  Display this stunning teatowel and notebook for you and your family to enjoy. 

*Scottish word for home!

Edinburgh our romantic capital

We are proud to bring you this month’s ‘Auld Reekie – Edinburgh our romantic capital’ WeeBox, brimming with gifts to take you on a journey through our capital city’s cobbled streets

Edinburgh Festival audience breaks three million barrier for the first time

August is by far the most vibrant, busy month in Edinburgh’s calendar. This year more than 3 million visitors flocked to our capital for the 1st time in its history!  The combined audience for cultural events in the city topped 4 million when the attendees at the military Tattoo at Edinburgh Castle and visual art festival are taken into account too! When will you come to visit?! 

Take a journey through Scotland’s capital, ‘Picturing Scotland – Edinburgh’

Enjoy this wee book that takes you on a journey, capturing Edinburgh’s moods and famous landmarks.  Dip into the city’s fascinating past and discover some its best kept secrets!

Bring Edinburgh’s illuminated cobbled streets to your home:

What better way to bring the romance straight to you than with this elegant ‘Sightlines Edinburgh Papercut Lantern’ by Couthie Gifts.  Depicting Edinburgh’s iconic buildings, casting a warm glow and atmospheric shadows when lit – heaven!  We’ve even included a special ‘Scottish Breakfast’ tea from the iconic Edinburgh Tea & Coffee company … so make a wee cuppa, sit back and enjoy the full Edinburgh experience!

‘Edinburgh Castle Sunset’ by Kevin Hunter

We are honoured to include this stunning print by one of Scotland’s most prolific contemporary Scottish artists … not to mention a best seller with visitors to Edinburgh Castle.

Which bookmark did you get?

The Lion Rampant Bookmark

“The Royal Banner of the Royal Arms of Scotland”, or more commonly known as the “Lion Rampant” is flown over the Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh and historically used by Scottish monarchs – golden history indeed!

Or, The Luckenbooth Bookmark – Scotland’s most romantic symbol of love!

Dating back to the 17th century and often given as a token of betrothal, the Luckenbooth is so called as they were first sold from the ‘locked booths’ of goldsmiths on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

Bring ‘The Athens of the North’ to your wardrobe:

This stunning tweed corsage is perfect for wearing anywhere and imagining you’re walking the cobbles of Old Town!   Designed using the best of tweed by Earth Squared based in North Berwick, near Edinburgh .. which colour will you get?

le deagh dhùrachd!

With best wishes, WeeBox HQ x


Wit and Wisdom of Heilan Coos

This July, WeeBox celebrates an icon of the Scottish Highlands – the ‘Heilan Coo’!

No-one can resist the shaggy appeal of these bonnie beasts and this month we bring you a glimpse of their wit and wisdom together with stunning gifts to bring your own coos to your ‘hame’ no matter where you are in the world!

The Wit and Wisdom of Highland Cows

Celebrate the undeniable charm of our beloved Heilan Coos with this heart-warming book packed with photographs of all varieties of Highland Cow in their bonnie habitat, accompanied by words of wit and wisdom that will bring a smile to your face and you make you pause for reflection.  One of our favourites is ‘don’t grab Hamish by the horns’!! 

Bring your very own Highland Coos ‘hame’

A sighting of this majestic, Scottish icon in the Highlands never disappoints! So WeeBox brings you an adorable, Heilan Coo cruet set, teatowel and bronze coo with a flash of red tartan to add a special touch to your own family home – straight from their Highland playground.

Look bonnie with ‘Clara the Heilan Coo’ from Scottish Keepsakes 

Wear your very own piece of hand-made Scotland.  Set on heritage tweed, Clara the Heilan Coo is the creation of Carol, founder of Scottish Keepsakes.  Inspired by Scotland’s rich cultural heritage, tradition and folklore, she lovingly makes each and every piece by hand for you to enjoy.

WeeBox met Scottish Keepsakes last year and adored their gifts immediately! So Scottish, original and fun.  And, did you know your wee coo is eco-friendly? Wrapped in a ‘green’ clear display bag that is fully compostable and biodegradable, Scottish Keepsakes worked with WeeBox HQ to find the best option.  So your wee coo won’t cost the earth.

Scottish Keepsakes’ full range can be found on their website at www.scottishkeepsakes.com and in their Etsy and Amazon shops.  

Indulge in the taste of the Highlands

For four generations the Maclean’s family have held the title of ‘Scottish Master Baker’ and we are proud to bring you their award-winning chocolate chip shortbread – hand-baked, straight from their Highland Bakery to indulge! 

Originally from the Western Isles, they now produce indulgent traditional shortbreads and sweet biscuits together with a range of oatcakes at their modern bakery in Forres, centrally located between the Highland, Speyside and Grampian regions of Scotland.  At Maclean’s Highland Bakery they have recipes going back over a 100 years, these recipes have been handed down from generation to generation of Maclean’s family bakers.  Over this time, many things have changed but there are some things the Maclean family will not change: quality of ingredients, quality of the finished product, eating quality and flavour. Most of these values are adhered to by not taking short cuts in the baking process. They are proud to say they don’t do things the cheapest way, or even the easiest way, but the RIGHT way. Paying attention to the little things really do produce results in the finished bakery products.

Watch their story here – celebrating 40 years! 

https://www.macleansbakery.com

Outlander-inspired!

Be transported back in time with WeeBox and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander books this month! Clans, tartans & tweeds, ancient recipes and of course, castles.  Delve into the history and romance of Scotland wherever you are in the world!

‘Take me home to Lallybroch’

Hand-crafted within a hairsbreadth of Lallybroch (Midhope Castle) by Louise of Leviko Designs, we bring you this stunning bookmark of gemstone and crystals which surround the ‘key to Lallybroch’.  

Lallybroch is the ancestral home of Jamie Fraser, the fictional character in the Outlander series, set in 18th century Scotland. Jamie is a Scottish soldier and landowner, well-educated and raised to be the future Laird of Lallybroch. Midhope was built in the 15th Century and was built by John Martyne, laird of Medhope. It was rebuilt in the mid 1600s and remains much the same today.  

Claire’s Traditional Tweed

Outlander is inspiring innovative Scottish designers to breathe new life into Scotland’s heritage fabrics. The show’s talented costume designer, Terry Dresbach, who sources local materials for authenticity—has played a large role in this new Scottish style-spotlight. 

Dresbach credits Scotland’s “extraordinary” craftsmanship and the country’s “real integration of nature into the work that’s done here” for the long-awaited fashion reinvigoration. So we’ve found you this bonnie tweed purse, designed by Earth Squared, a local design house based in North Berwick, near Edinburgh … which one did you get?

Phoebe Sherston’s traditional bramble* jam (*blackberry)

Diana Gabaldon’s ‘The Fiery Cross’ brought us inspiration to create this exclusive bramble jam hand-crafted by Pipsqueak Preserves! The bramble or Smear Dubh was much valued by old Highlanders and this old-fashioned jam, is Pipsqueak Preserves re-imagining of what Phoebe Sherston would have brought to the battlefield at Alamance.  Enjoy and take a step back in time!

“Jamie and the Governor, shaken out of their nose to nose confrontation, had also retired to the shadows; I could see them, two stiff shadows, one tall and one shorter, standing close together.  The element of danger had gone out of their tête-a-tête, though; I could see Jamie’s head bent slightly toward Tryon’s shadow, listening.

“… brought food,” Phoebe Sherston was telling me, her round face pink with excited self-importance.  “Fresh bread, and butter, and some blackberry jam and cold chicken and…”

“Food!”  I said, abruptly reminded of the parcel I held under my arm.  “Do pardon me!” I gave her a quick, bright smile, and ducked away, leaving her open-mouthed in front of the tent.”

The Fiery Cross (Chapter 72 – Tinder and Char)

Wear Doune Castle with pride!

Own your own wee piece of Doune Castle or Castle Leoch, the seat of Clan Mackenzie! This bonnie, cotton bag bearing the stunning medieval stronghold was designed exclusively for WeeBox by our great pals at Brave Scottish Gifts.

It is here at Doune Castle, that we are introduced to many important Outlander characters, including Murtagh, Mrs Fitz and Laoghaire MacKenzie as well as Colum MacKenzie, Laird of the Clan, his wife Letitia and their son Hamish.  Much of the castle was used in filming. The huge courtyard, and great hall were used to great effect, as well as the surrounding grounds. One interesting exception was the Doune Castle kitchen. A set was built to exactly replicate the castle’s kitchen, presumably to help make filming easier.

We had 2 braw options for the ‘book’ element of this month’s WeeBox, so we decided to bring both for our Clan to try … which one did you get? 

Chronicle your own Scottish adventures

Celebrate the fight for love, honour, and the Scottish Highlands with this deluxe Outlander notebook, inviting you to pen your own inspiring travels

OR

Follow the Clan Fraser Origin Story 

Enjoy the stirring story of Clan Fraser from the beginnings in the mist of Caledonian history with this bonnie wee book.  Frasers of Lovat, Jamie Frasers Clan in ‘Outlander’ was in fact, a junior branch of the Clan Fraser.  It was during the 14th century when Clan Fraser split into two separate clans – the Lowland Frasers of Philorth, and the Frasers of Lovat – which are today recognised as two separate clans with common ancestry.

Clan Gathering

With ancient origins, Scottish Clans are celebrated across the world and this month WeeBox is brimming with gifts to help you create your own ‘Gathering’ no matter where you are!  So set the scene with gifts to eat, experience and fill your senses, taking you on a journey to glorious Scotland!

Create the ambience of an ancient Highland Gathering 

Light your bonnie candle for a walk through Highland landscapes with the aromatic unity of moss under foot, fresh citrus and greenleaf all inspired by Shearer Candles’ Scottish heritage.

Can you find your Clan Crest?

Ancient Scottish Clans are celebrated the world over and we are proud to bring you this bonnie Glen Appin teatowel, perfect to display in your kitchen or even frame!  

The tribal instinct is as old as mankind. The Scottish Nation, which came together between the 6th and 14th centuries, was to absorb many immigrants in the process of its creation.  Few aspects of Scotland’s fascinating history were as colourful, or as bloody, as the clan system. From ancient origins in the Celtic, Norse or Norman-French traditions, by the 13th century, the clans had grown firm roots in the Highlands of Scotland.

While the term ‘clan’ means family or children in Gaelic, not everyone in the same clan was actually related to each other. The clans lived off the land, with cattle being their main source of wealth and, along with border disputes, the prime cause of inter-clan unrest.

Today, many clans can be traced back to a specific part of Scotland, for example the MacLeods of Skye, the MacNeils of Barra or the MacNabs of St Fillan on Loch Earn. If you have ancestral ties and a clan history in Scotland, a trip to your clan’s homeland is an incomparable and moving experience like no other.

Toast your Clan! Slainte!

“Too much of anything is bad. But too much whisky is never enough” Mark Twain 

What’s a Clan Gathering without our national drink?! This luxury tartan hipflask from Couthie Gifts is perfect for the guid stuff whether you’re rambling in the Highlands or jigging at a ceilidh.

WeeBox HQ love working closely with Craig and his team at Couthie to bring you special wee gifts.  There’s always a hot cuppa and a wee biscuit too when we pop into their showroom to browse their stunning gifts!

Salute World Whisky Month and take a journey through whisky country ….. 

Ever wondered where your favourite wee dram comes from in Scotland?  Did you know May is whisky month? And what better way to salute this, than with the brand new ‘Whisky Pocket Guide’ by expert and founder of World Whisky Day, Blair Bowman.  Blair is an in-demand whisky writer and consultant and has created a this  whisky map which is a wee bit different.  It focuses on flavours instead of regions, concentrating on the tastes and textures of the tipples … braw fun to read!

Scottish artisan oatcakes from the Kingdom of Fife!

We guarantee these are the tastiest oatcakes you will ever have! Hand-rolled, rugged and multi award-winning ‘Your Piece Baking Company’ is famous for Fife oats and ‘Fife Cut’ (classic triangular shape) used by generations of Fife bakers – ideal for serving at your Clan Gathering! 

At Your Piece Baking Company they take their baking very seriously and are proud of Scotland’s culinary heritage (‘piece’ by the way is another word we use in Scotland for ‘sandwich’!!).

All the oats are sourced from farms in North East Fife and they never use any artificial additives or preservatives. The recipes are based on those used by Scottish artisan bakers for centuries. Crafted by hand they create unique, delicious products that are enjoyed all over the world. 

So, finally, light your Highland Collection candle, pour your favourite dram, sit back and dream of Scotland!

Slainte from all at WeeBox HQ!

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