Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Sharing Scotland: A Wee Giveaway

Vacation ends, summer winds down, fall approaches - the return to routine also means that the "By Invitation Only" blog party is back. This month's topic is "Sharing" and with bits of thistle down and Scottish soil still clinging to our boots from our recent Highland Fling, it seems fitting to share a bit of Scotland (and timely, too, on the eve of Thursday's independence vote).

There's so much beauty to experience and history to explore. Whether you're winding through the streets of Edinburgh in search of art, culture and ghosts, or pulling on the wellies to clamor across the heathland, days are full to bursting.

There comes the inevitable point in the afternoon when one more step becomes impossible and you gratefully sink into a sofa beneath the domed ceiling of grand hotel or by the fire in a country manor and wrap you fingers around a cup of tea. A plate of shortbread tides you over until dinner.

When we checked into Edinburgh's beautiful Balmoral Hotel, a tin of shortbread was waiting, along with the recipe. For the rest of the trip, a plate of these biscuits was never too far out of reach, best when accompanied by a pot of strong tea - and a bit of a chat.  

This bite of afternoon civility is something I've brought home and would love to share with you. How lovely it would be if you could all pop in for a cup, but in lieu of that, the Balmoral recipe is below.

And for one of you, a little something from our own kitchen - a fresh baked batch of Balmoral shortbread, along with a tin of Scottish Breakfast Tea and a jar of Blackcurrant jam from Inverlochy Castle Hotel, one of the gorgeous stops on our tour.

To enter, leave a comment sharing your favorite place in the world to travel. Signing up to follow along or subscribing by email is another opportunity to win. North American readers only this time, I'm afraid, as the biscuits will be on their way via overnight shipping to keep them fresh.

Tell me, what would you like to share over a pot of tea and plate of shortbread? And please check out what the rest of the By Invitation Only crew has to say on the Sharing subject . You can find them all at Splenderosa. XOXO

Balmoral Shortbread 

8oz butter 
1 and 3/4 cup flour 
3/4 cup sugar 
1 teaspoon salt 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour and salt onto a board. Put sugar into a separate pile on the board and cut in the butter. Gradually knead in flour until you end up with firm dough. Refrigerate dough for at least one hour. Roll out dough, cut into circles and bake on a parchment lined sheet for 10-12 minutes.


  1. Thanks for sharing the beauty that is Scotland. I just hope that they vote ' NO ' this week, as I love being united with Scotland. A lovely take on our By Invitation subject this month. XXXX

  2. It sounds like it was a dream of a vacation Jeanne...and cookies at every stop? Oh yes I am so there:) I loved the pictures/highlights and look forward to hearing more, Scotland is on my list of places to visit in the next few years.
    I would have a hard time to choose just one place but France will always be near and dear to my heart for so many reasons so I will go with that one for today......enjoy your day!

  3. Beautiful photographs & a lovely post, I enjoyed reading it :)
    I love shortbread & Edinburgh is definitely on my list of cities to visit.
    I'm with Jackie, I hope they vote no too :)

  4. I would love to see Scotland, I am a big fan of Ireland and England so I know I would love it! As for a sharing cup of tea and shortbread I would bring some great home made strawberry spread and conversation to share at that table!! xo K

  5. Beautiful Scotland, Jeanne...I hope they vote NO tomorrow!
    Edinburgh is a wonderful city and as for a little bit of Scottish shortbread ;)
    Lovely post. xx

  6. Lovely traveling in beautiful Scotland. I am eager to hear how the Scottish people vote on thursday. Separating from England is do-able after all...we did it! As for my favorite vacation, Hawaii, hands down. The trade winds on my face immediately ease my soul and only five hours away! Aloha!

  7. Oh how I would love to take in Scotland first hand...Lovely.

  8. scotland has been on my list and last october i finally arrived. oh what magic, it exceeded my high expectations! am longing to go back to explore further.
    chatting with my british friends yesterday, they are praying for a NO vote

  9. I would love to chit chat with you for hours.......about NORDSTROM days, your paintings, your love of your garden and of course your latest trip!I think we would have lots to share.As for my FAVORITE spot to travel...........well I would have to say ITALY as its my second HOME and perhaps PARIS ranks right up there.Any where in EUROPE to be honest!Then there is GREECE!Thats on my list........TOO!!!!XXX

  10. Jeanne I would love to share our travel experiences over tea and shortbread (my favorite!) I have loved so many places that I have traveled; however London was an amazing experience, and I felt that it was perfectly fine to indulge in the assortment of delicious menu offerings while there!

    The Arts by Karena

  11. Your photos bring back so many great memories of Scotland, one of our favorite places on earth. When we were there three years ago, we were fortunate enough to locate a headstone for my great-great grandparents in the churchyard of a village that no longer exists! The people of Scotland are amongst the friendliest of any country we've visited, and the scenery is spectacular. Thank you for your beautiful pictures.

  12. This is so lovely! Sigh. You do know how to make a person want to hop on a plane immediately. Alas as Air France is now on strike I won't be going anywhere anytime soon...including home! ;) Thank you as always for your gorgeous interpretations on the BIO themes...

  13. Jeanne,
    This is so fun! I have a long lineage of Scottish blood, yet have never been there, so you've really got me interested in making it a priority. After, Seattle, of course! :) I also love thistles, as I live on Thistle Ln! (at the corner of Holly Ln.). My favorite place to travel has to be Italy. I'm dreaming of another trip, just with my husband to the Amalfi Coast. I dream of…..a chat with you over tea one of these days. Shortbread would be a bonus!
    xoxo Elizabeth

  14. A wonderful place to "share' Jeanne... xv

  15. What a beautiful post jeanne, I love the thistle and that verdant mountain top, so very beautiful. It sounds like an amazing trip, thanks for bringing us along. xo

  16. Tea and shortbread. Oh dear. And those cookies look so inviting. (Too many mentions of yummy comestibles today... I'm highly "suggestible" and desperately trying to knock off a few pounds!)

    No trips to Scotland in my future, but may I say that I am channeling the biscuit aisle at my local supermarket?

    Lovely (delicious) post!

  17. beautiful images and sentiments, jeanne. my favorite getaway is still oahu's north shore for its unspoiled stretches of paradise, for the ocean air and timelessness of rocky shores that meet crashing waves.

  18. Im so glad you enjoyed your holiday to Scotland Jeanne, with Scottish ancestors and relatives there I am lucky to spend ( much ) time in that bonnie place.......and we fish, and walk for hours in the tranquility
    Today my heart is full of sadness, at the thought that they could even bear to leave our United Kingdom..we pray for a no vote..
    But whatever happens, I know the Scots would say 'Haste ye back'

  19. Visiting Scotland is on my bucket list. I remember the lovely tea's and shortbread in Ireland, Wales and England very well. Such a beautiful looking country.
    My favorite place to visit is actually Ireland...perhaps because I haven't been to Scotland yet:)

  20. We love to travel so it's hard for us to choose just one place. Next year, we'll be exploring Ireland with the boys and hope they will love the land of their ancestors. There's nothing like a warm tea and shortbread in the afternoon!
    C + C

  21. My favorite place in the world to travel is our family cabin on the water on San Juan Islands!
    heatheranne99 at gmail dot com

  22. Ah, thank you for this post.I lived in Edinburgh for 18months 10 years ago ( it still feels like yesterday! ) and have a huge affection for that city. It was lovely to see your pics and receive the recipe for yummy Balmoral shortbread, thank you!
    I live in Australia so can't enter the comp but my favourite place in the world to travel would be gosh, I don't know, I've been to many places and they have all given me wonderful memories.France, Italy and Spain rock my world though :)

  23. Am very partial to shortbread, but make mine from my grandmother's recipe, a Glaswegian, which uses ground rice as well. But I shall try this version because it's always popular in our household.

  24. Beautiful, Beautiful!
    Thank you so much to provide, together with these wonderful images, such a lovely "armchair" traveling to Scotland for me!
    I would like to share with you, Jeanne, "over a pot of tea and ....." in exchange the Périgord! And a laughter!

  25. What a lovely way to celebrate "sharing", Jeanne! I really enjoyed following along with you on instagram...it looked like an amazing trip...your photos made me want to head to Scotland and Iceland ASAP! I can't think of anything better after a long day of sightseeing than a cup of tea and a biscuit!

    My favorite place to travel....Tough question, but it would have to be Italy. It never disappoints!

    Hope you are having an amazing week! xoxo

  26. Love France.

    mandaoverturf at yahoo dot com

  27. Jeanne, I was thinking of you as I was having a cup of tea last night. I just had to thank you again for your never ending support and inspiration!

    Stunning Fine Art Photography by Darryll Schiff

  28. Jeanne,
    I have always loved traveling and there are so many incredible spots on this planet. My son loved Africa and my other son will be traveling to New Zealand in November. I love Europe, Asia and would one day love to travel to Australia as there are so many incredible bloggers and life looks old school in so many ways. I had the fortune to fly on the Concorde when I was pregnant and my career as a Fashion Designer did give me some very glamorous experiences, even those all nighters preparing for Fashion shows. Then children came and my life became more focused on keeping the home fires burning. I hope to travel again more - as my daughter has 3 years, then off to college!
    Thanks for sharing the tea, I love tea. Now I am off sugar and gluten free. Feeling great.

  29. To me travelling is one of the best experiences of life. What we see and what we learn stays with us forever and, sometimes, these things are life changing. The Amalfi Coast of Italy is my favorite in the entire world. I feel so at home there. From the high bluffs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, to the people, the little shops, dining al fresco, it seems to me to be the authentic life where absolutely everything you wish for is right at your fingertips. I've not been to Scotland, but to England many many times; my daughter wants to go to see all the castles. What a beautiful post, Jeanne! Thank you for being "one" of us of "By Invitation Only." Well done, my lady !!!

  30. Your pictures are so lovely. My husband and I are going to Ireland in three weeks, and they certainly enhance my excitement to see a countryside so similar to beautiful Scotland. My favorite travel spot thus far is the south of France and French Alps, but must say I've had my breath taken away by the Leschi end of Lake Washington. I've recently moved from hot, dry Denver to the green glory that is Seattle and must say that I think parts of the PNW are among the most gorgeous in the world. So lucky to be here. As for your Balmoral treats, really, is there anything more comforting than tea? It's my must-have food.


    manon729 at yahoo dot com

  31. I so enjoy your blog, travels and photographs...and who wouldn't want to visit Scotland?? Count me in !

  32. Thanks for sharing the shortbread recipe. My favorite place to travel is Italy. To the north and to the south , we love every bit of it.



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