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Here’s my easy Pavlova Recipe

Don’t you just love the summer (ok, that’s a slight exaggeration in Scotland just now because the weather’s been colder than usual!). The summer fruits are starting to taste really good and so it’s time to make pavlovas. Several years ago I was given a tip on an easy pavlova recipe and I decided to share it.

I use the whites of three eggs and a full cup of caster sugar; a tiny pinch of salt; a teaspoon of vinegar and a teaspoon of vanilla essence or extract.

To make the meringue, I place half the sugar in a very clean bowl, add the whites of eggs and the tiny pinch of salt (actually, it’s more like a few grains of salt on a teaspoon). Whisk these ingredients together to form stiff peaks of meringue (it’s possible to turn the bowl upside down and the meringue stays in the bowl!) After this stage, add the rest of the sugar slowly, making sure it’s incorporated evenly. Finally add in the vinegar and vanilla essence.

I usually make individual pavlovas – placing a tablespoonful of the meringue on a greased paper. Make a little hollow in the meringue so that you can later fill it with fruit and cream. Depending on how generous you are with your portions, you can get 8/9 portions of pavlova. I cook mine in an electric fan oven at 120C for approximately an hour. Allow to cool. You can store these for several days so this is one great recipe you can do in advance of a dinner party.

Be creative when you decorate the pavlova – strawberries and/or raspberries are traditional, but all sorts of other fruits make a great accompaniment for this. I try and add a dash of strawberry or raspberry sauce for some additional color – but plum compote would also look dramatic.

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Sterling Silver Celtic Earrings set with Onyx

As Christmas approaches, I feel the need to continue updating my website to add in products that will be great presents for loved ones. I remembered these lovely silver Celtic earrings which are set with black onyx and somehow they seemed appropriate.

Of course, we sell other silver (and gold) earrings – and you can find more on our website: Silver Celtic Earrings and Gold Celtic Earrings

Can’t really believe it is so close to the Festive season in what has been a challenging year for so many reasons.

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Hearts are back in fashion

All over the catwalk in 2023

It’s always interesting what is trending by watching current tv shows. There are many TV shows that feature heart-shaped jewelry. Here are a few examples:

Silver Heart Earrings – Luckenbooth
  • Bridgerton: The Netflix show features a lot of lavish jewelry, including heart-shaped pieces. In one scene, Daphne Bridgerton wears a heart-shaped necklace that was given to her by her husband, Simon Basset.
  • Gossip Girl: The CW show was known for its fashion, and heart-shaped jewelry was a popular trend. Serena van der Woodsen and Blair Waldorf were often seen wearing heart-shaped earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. (Gossip Girl TV show heart shaped jewelry).
  • Pretty Little Liars: The Freeform show also featured heart-shaped jewelry, often worn by the show’s main characters, Aria Montgomery, Spencer Hastings, Emily Fields, and Hanna Marin. Poshmark Pretty Little Liars TV show heart shaped jewelry
  • The Vampire Diaries: The CW show had a gothic aesthetic, and heart-shaped jewelry was often seen on the show’s characters, including Elena Gilbert, Caroline Forbes, and Bonnie Bennet.
  • Once Upon a Time: The ABC show was a fairy tale retelling, and heart-shaped jewelry was often seen on the show’s characters, including Snow White, Cinderella, and Belle.

These are just a few examples of TV shows that feature heart-shaped jewelry. Heart-shaped jewelry is a popular choice for TV shows because it is a symbol of love, romance, and passion.

Silver Heart Stud Earrings
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Retirement? Well, sort of!

Margaret, at Plockton.
We took the opportunity to visit Plockton, a couple of years ago.

It was 2015 when we sold our shop in Helensburgh, so technically, we’ve been retired now for five years! It’s passed in the blink of an eye. We miss all of our customers and also the chat, the gossip, the sad moments, the fun moments – but we don’t miss the work and we certainly don’t miss the responsibility of having a physical presence on the high street. Like many seaside towns, Helensburgh has its challenges and, now that the council have decided to upgrade the swimming pool and the parking on the seafront, there are going to be a couple of more “interesting” trading years for the businesses there. Infrastructure improvement is always important and, in the fullness of time, the town will benefit greatly from the new facilities.

So, what about our own lives? What has been the impact of retirement on our routines??

We have certainly slowed down; I don’t think I could contemplate working the hours that the business demanded. However, the plus side of being at home was that we could start to plan and execute renovations in our home – and by sheer chance, we chose to do the work last year. The builders were only interrupted by bad weather a couple of days; the work ran smoothly and we were delighted with the outcome. We’ve got a great new kitchen, a modernised bathroom and an extra bedroom. The house was rewired and we also had gas central heating installed (thank goodness!) I don’t know how we would have coped had the work been delayed till this year; the weather has been much windier and wetter, the Coronavirus pandemic has shut down most building sites with staff on furlough – and my guess is that we would be living in a building site for many more months to come! Luck was on our side last year.

Being able to spend time together is such a bonus. Sandy is enjoying doing the garden and practically killed himself riddling the gravel on the path and drive. I have been trying to keep our website up to date and to market our online business – but, to be honest, my concentration isn’t what it used to be and so I end up making adjustments little and often. We still do sell products and are happy to post things out to customers old and new. We so appreciate being able to reach customers old and new; as a now (very) small enterprise, this is enough to give us a modest top-up to our retirement income and to keep us aware of what is current and how technology is coming to the aid of high street stores who had no other way of reaching their customers while the United Kingdom was in lockdown.

We haven’t travelled as much as we would have liked but we have enjoyed visiting places in Scotland that we couldn’t reach while we were working. The Scottish islands are wonderful; we have several more to visit before we can tick them all of the list – so I’m looking forward to doing that over the next few years. It would be lovely to visit Fair Isle; the Shetland Isles and Orkney as well as Lewis and Harris. Another place we simply must visit is Islay – my mother used to spend holidays there when she was a child.

Retirement has been magic; the next few years look quite promising and we want to push on to see and learn as much as we can before our physical condition keeps us on a shorter leash!

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Covid-19 Update

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, we have made some changes here at MacGillivray‘s, so we wanted to let you know what is happening.

Our website is still open for you to browse and place your orders as usual.

Because many of our suppliers have made the decision to close their workshops to ensure the safety of staff and customers, it means that we will be unable to supply many products which were available to us by return of post . Consequently, we have been working hard to update our site so that we are currently only offering items that are in stock – but, with quite a big website, it’s not always possible to find every last product which we would have to buy in. It’s frustrating all round 🙁

Finished stock is available though so please still place your order or get in touch with us at if you would like to check if we have a particular item available. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes but we hate disappointing you if we have to cancel an order.

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How many brooches should I wear?

Silver Celtic Brooch set with Blue Topaz

Silver Celtic Brooch set with Blue Topaz

It seems as if brooches are back – Lady Hale’s amazing spider brooch was an exclamation mark, showing the style and the power of a piece of jewellery pinned to a garment. It would seem that any style goes – and, for some, (think Georgio Armani) the more pieces pinned to a garment, the better! So, we’ve got some lovely silver brooches which would make beautiful Christmas gifts for 2019’s stylish lady.

silver luckenbooth brooch Sterling silver celtic cross brooch Silver Celtic Brooch

The three brooches here are some of our most popular designs; traditional, made in sterling silver and hallmarked in Edinburgh, they could be amazing, grouped together on a jacket or dress! We’d love to see your photo showing how you wear your brooch! Tag us on Instagram to let us see your Celtic style.

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Follow us on Instagram

Cherry Blossom
Cherry Blossom
See my Instagram Feed

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Gold Celtic Bangles

Celtic Bangle in 9ct Gold - Boisdale
Celtic Bangle in 9ct Gold - Boisdale
9ct Gold Celtic Bangle

Our gold bangles are available to order so please allow 10-15 working days for the manufacture and hallmarking of this select piece of jewellery. Made in Scotland, our bangles are hallmarked in Edinburgh. You can find more information about the Boisdale Celtic Bangle here. (This bangle is also available in hallmarked sterling silver –

Another gorgeous Celtic bangle in gold is our Askernish bangle. It is a substantial piece of jewellery – the gold Celtic motif opens up to allow you to put the bangle on.

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A glorious Easter in Scotland

Cherry Blossom

Easter 2019 has been magnificent – the weather has been sunny and very warm. That has meant the beautiful scenery has been matched by stunning displays of cherry blossom and rhododendrons as well as spring bulbs on grass verges beside roads and in gardens.

Cherry blossom in Cardross

The Scotland’s Garden Scheme gives visitors the opportunity to explore gardens around Scotland – some of them only open a couple of times a year. “Scotland’s Gardens Scheme was founded in 1931 to raise money for the Queen’s Nursing Institute Scotland, to help support the Queen’s Nurses, before the creation of the National Health Service. Our charitable support has expanded over the years but our love of gardens has remained constant.” There are often plants for sale on the open days and people can be seen heading back to their cars with arms full of plants in everything from cardboard boxes to carrier bags and black bin liners.

Margaret MacGillivray visiting Kilarden, Rosneath
Cherry Blossom, Scotland

The Scotlands Garden Scheme raises a lot of money for charity. Most weekends of the year, it is possible to find a garden open – and I would highly recommend taking the opportunity to explore.