Christmas is Coming: Glasgow West End, December 2014

reindeer_george_square-2294Christmas Is Coming

Sixteen days till Christmas and Glasgow is very festive; the streets are decorated, the shops are very enticing and there’s lots of entertainment in town.

We’re getting in the mood and Jim and I went along to see Get Santa with Ryan – a nice old fashioned, feelgood movie with some great acting. Recommended for big and wee folks.  We also had a whizz round George Square with Jim’s dad, Jimmy, and hope to go back down to watch the skaters at Glasgow on Ice.  I hope we’ll get some lovely dry weather or maybe just a dusting of snow so that people can enjoy themselves.  Monday’s students can skate for £4.50.

We also had fun watching the Christmas Carnival Parade along the Style Mile.

jim traquairTrip to Peebles

We’ve also had fun further afield and had a very relaxing week-end in Peebles. I enjoyed browsing in all the wee galleries and shops and was very pleased to say hello to my sister’s friend Anne, who works in Head to Toe  a fantastic gift shop in the High Street.  By coincidence we bumped into the Linties there – Jim had just been in touch with Iyaah, a member of the group,  as he has a Christmas Single out – We Are Born To Doubt, which he recorded with the Linties.  It’s from his next album Roots ‘n’ Fruit’s and is Available to Download I like it a lot.

It was also lovely to see Jean and Tom Aitken, two very lively and interesting ninety-year olds, who enjoyed hearing all about our visit to Traquair House, in nearby Innerleithen.  There was a Christmas Craft Fair taking place – in Scotland’s oldest inhabited house – so we enjoyed he festive fare as well as finding out all about the house’s history.

Day out at Birnham and Dunkeld

John and Ryan came with us when we went for a run to Birnam.  Jim was going to work – creating a website for Birnam Arts and Conference Centre – so we went along for the ride. It’s a lovely part of the world and we enjoyed a walk into Dunkeld, where we had a very nice lunch and a great prowl in the huge antique shop, which was closing down as the owner was retiring after twenty six years in the business.   I was delighted to spot Dougie MacLean driving his four by four along the High Street. He gave us a cheery wave – I half expected him to stop and break into a rendition of Caledonia 🙂

Jaunt to Peterculter, Aberdeen

I thoroughly enjoyed a visit to the Bairds in Aberdeen. Frances and I went on the Golden Bus from Buchanan Street – that’s an experience, tea, muffins and the trip for free. It was lovely to catch up with childhood friend, Doreen, her husband Alistair, daughters Franscesca and Cara.  We had great fun and enjoyed a lovely meal for Doreen’s birthday at Borsalino.

Back in Glasgow

However, mainly I’ve been hanging out in Glasgow and I’ve had some very enjoyable days, and nights, out.

Literary Lunchtimes

tom-leonard-st-louis-17-decI always enjoy going along to Bar Gandolfi in the Merchant City to Literary Lunchtimes  and it’s been particularly enjoyable lately with fantastic performances by the likes of Aonghas MacNeacaill the poet from Shetland, and Tom Leonard.  it’s always great to see familiar faces in the audience including Maggie Graham, Ellen McAteer,  Linda Jackson, Maria Venditozzi and Chris Agee, , Keith Wright Literary Fellow at University of Strathclyde, who organises the events.

I’m looking forward to another literary event this Friday at Tell It Slant, when the Glasgow Launch of ‘Heaney’, Irish Voices will take place.  

Also in my diary is another jaunt to  the Muse at St Louis on 17th December, when Tom Lenoard will perform.  It’s sure to be an excellent night out.

the hydroThe Hydro

We had an amazing night out when we were invited out to the EMTV Awards at The Hydro. This was our first time in the venue and it was awesome. The line up was fantastic with U2, Biffy Clyro, Ed Sheeran and a lot of peformers and award winners that I had never heard of. The audience lapped up the extravaganza and it was quite a different experience from going to the Apollo in the 70s, although, I loved that every bit as much but well done, Glasgow. The awards will take place in Milan in 2915.

Christmas Fair, SECC

I also enjoyed an afternoon out with Anne and Frances, when we went along to the SECC to the Christmas Fair. It was very impressive with hundreds of stalls selling everything you could possibly want for Christmas and then more and it was mobbed.  I bought a few presents for our wee ones and some fabulous hand-crafted buttons: buttons I can never resist – don’t ask me why. We also enjoyed a good old natter over a coffee.

cake shop hyndlandCafe Culture – Glasgow West End

As usual I’ve been out and about meeting friends in and around Byres Road. Avenue G is one of my favourite haunts and I’ve had lunch there with Rosemary, Margaret and Jackie.  

John and Ryan and I also met up in Patisserie Francoise and another day Ryan and I had pizza in Little Italy.

I’ve also spotted some newish places on Hyndland Street that I want to try out including a beautiful wee coffee and cake shop and across the street there’s Roti and Chai, which looks very colourful and interesting.

There’s also the fabulous Coffee Patisserie on Dumbarton Road and I’ve promised Frances that we’ll go to Patisserie Valerie in the Merchant City.

twisted thistleThe Twisted Thistle Old Kilpatrick

I enjoyed catching up with my brother Liam and John in the newly opened Twisted Thistle  in Old Kilpatrick.  I worked there many moons ago as a barmaid, when it was The Telstar, it’s looking super swish and very different. It’s off to a good start and I met quite a few villagers there including my cousin Alexis, daughter, Charlene and grand-daughter Alex.  I think it’s going to be a big success.  We had a lovely lunch (the coffee is great and the oatcakes and pate´very tasty) and the service was great. It was also lovely seeing all the Bowes family at Michael’s birthday party.  Thanks for the invitation, folks.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

The Chip

I met up with my friends from Uni, Gillian and James, at the Ubiquitous Chip in Ashton Lane. I enjoyed hearing all about what they’ve been up to and the shared platters were delicious. A very convivial way to eat.

I always enjoy the Chip and was back there for a drink with some of my other writer friends from the Hobsbaum Memorial Workshop.  The haunt for my other writers’ group is The Doublet in Park Road, where we tend to go after class.

Glasgow Galleries

a life in picturesAlasdair Gray: From The Personal to The Universal

Jim and I went along to the fantastic exhibition with his dad, Jimmy, and Ryan. It was amazing and we’ll need to go back. The amount of work the artist has produced is unbelievable and quite good fun spotting familiar faces.  I also liked the merchanside and got a beautiful pair of earrings and you could also buy one of Alasdair’s brilliant books.   The exhibition is on until 22 February, 2015 – I think we’ll be back again before then.

Ryan wasn’t quite as impressed as we were but he had a great kick about in Kelvingrove Park en route to the Art Gallery.

jim the expertAntiques Road Show

We had another day out at Kelvingrove when we went along to the Antiques Road Show with Jimmy.  Jim thought he’d have a turn at pretending to be an expert. He looks the part.:)

Carol Kidd – Iota Gallery

carol kidd iotaIt was a real treat catching up with Carol Kidd at her exhibition at Iota Gallery on Hyndland Street. A new venture for Carol, who is well known for her Jazz singing, however, she seemed very much in her element.  Jim co-wrote a song with Carol a number of years ago but i hadn’t met her before.

Iota is at 25 Hyndland Street, Partick.

Until 23rd Deeember they will have a Christmas Window Shopping Event with ‘art to go’ for ‘seasonal shoppers.’

Christmas Shopping Glasgow West End

The shops are looking fabulous for Christmas and it’s much more pleasant browsing and buying in the small local shops than traipsing around the high street stores.  Apparently it’s also a boost for the economy.  Either way, I just prefer it.

Christo’s Gallery and Gift Shop

Fabulous art and gifts to choose from. If you are shopping there or passing by they are collecting toys for Christmas for Maryhill Food Bank. Just for this week. Christo’s Gallery and Gift Shop, 595 Great Western Road, Glasgow G12 8HX

blue santas

The Nancy Smillie Shop

Cresswell Lane, G12

Late opening for Christmas: Thursday 11th , Tuesday 16th and Thursday 23rd December.
A glass of wine, mince pies and a free gift when you spend over £10.

Another great shopping destination.  In particular you will be spoiled for choice in the Nancy Smillie Shop. Fabulous home accessories, jewellery, scarves, handbags, cushions, ceramics, glassware and furniture.  The staff could not be more helpful and if you are decorating your house for Christmas then there are some delightful and unusual items.  I loved the beautiful scarves and wee blue santas on their trains and check out the fabulous blue lamps behind them.

Nancy Smillie Jewellery Studio  425 Great Western Road and The Observatory Gallery , 2 Observatory Road are also worth a visit.

The Hoodie Stop

One of the coolest shops in Glasgow. Wee kids will love the colourful bags and there are all sorts of tantalising gifts for your favourite people.  You can even have gifts personalised.  The Hoodie Stop Unit 4, De Courcy’s have a sale on at the moment and you can catch a coffee on the way there at the Police Box, The Tardi’s at the Botanics. 

calodonen-to-print-212x300Janet and John

Handcrafted delights by Scottish designers at Janet and John (upstairs in De Courcy’s). Great cards, fabulous knitting, jewellery and prints. Watch out for Janet’s own handknitted designs and Alan’s Art –  Alan Richardson’s wonderful prints of iconic Glasgow buildings.

Stevenson’s Jewellers

Popular for festive shopping for children, women and men at Stevensons Jewellers. 257 Byres Road. Amazing range of jewellery, including the fabulous Sheila Fleet Orkney Designer Jewellery.

Blair and Sheridan


Unique and desirable jewellery at Blair and Sheridan, Kelvinbridge (417 Great Western Road). If you’re thinking of a Christmas engagement or presenting your long time love with an eternity ring then this is the place to head. For Christmas they have a range of newly designed earrings and pendants for you to chose from.

You will also find beautiful jewellery at Shona Fidgett,  Studio 15, 1103 Argyle Street, Finnieston or buy Mo McQuillan’s lovely handcrafted designs online

Tell it Slant

Great place to have a coffee and buy a book when you’re in town.   Tell It Slant 134 Renfrew Street also sells music. Watch out for some enticing events and lovely food at The Project Cafe´

Book-Cover-232x300Mother India Recipes Pictures Stories

A great answer for a joint present for readers and curry lovers is Mother India at Home Recipes Pictures Stories by Martin Gray and Monir Mohammed. Mother India recipes for you to try at home complemented with fascinating stories and beautiful photographs.

Mother India at Home, purchase details and review by Pat Byrne

Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. Don’t forget to check out  What’s New on the Site , What’s On and What’s On in Glasgow This Christmas


Glasgow Panto: Treasure Island, The Pavilion
Skating at Glasgow On Ice, George Square, Until 31 December, 2014

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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