I'm just back from a lovely break in Italy where I visited Venice, the home of glass making. It could almost be a second home for the angel!
In Venice glassmakers use a completely different process from our flamework glass technique, but some of the designs and pieces are still jaw dropping nonetheless, and it's fascinating to see how other glassmakers work.
The neighbouring isles of Murano and Burano house some of the most famous glass blowing factories in the world, and they use techniques that are centuries old to produced enamelled and coloured glass, crystallised glass and imitation gemstones.
Personally I can step away from the clowns (some of them are a little scary!), but the forms and shapes of the vases, bowls and chandeliers that are made is mesmerising.
So what do you do while on holiday in Scotland? The weather might not be just as good as Italy, but the scenery is beautiful, and there's just as many, if not more, exciting things to do in our fair country.
Not many glassmakers have open studios, but a definite must for any trip to Scotland is a visit to a whisky distillery.
It doesn't matter where in the country you are - it's guaranteed there will be distilling going on somewhere nearby.
Here's some of my favourite distilleries I think you should try and visit:
Deanston Distillery (Burn Stewart) - Here at Angels' Share Deanston is our doorstep distillery. It's attached to an old cotton mill and sits on the edge of the River Teith in the beautiful village of Deanston in Stirlingshire. The distillery tour is excellent, the staff are superb and you won't be caught up by large crowds. Some of Ken Loach's film "The Angel's Share" was filmed here.
Aberlour (Chivas) - This has to be on your list when in Speyside - it's a wee gem with a gorgeous front house and beautiful surroundings. They offer a range of distillery tours and the chance to hand fill and register your own personalised bottle of cask-strength Aberlour.
Edradour - The world's smallest distillery, it's tiny and very pretty. The valley, the stream, and the buildings are stunning, and the whole production process takes place in a building that’s smaller than most family homes.
Glenfiddich - Some say that the Glenfiddich distillery is the home of single malt, which is perhaps because it’s the best-selling single malt in the world. Visit to make up your own mind. It's a beautiful distillery and is still independent and family owned. They also offer a variety of fantastic tour experiences, including the simple tour which is free.
Glenturret Distillery - Home of the Famous Grouse, and Scotland's oldest distillery (also home to a very cute kitten called Pete who is keeping up tradition of Towser the original distillery cat).
Everyone needs a break .....here at Angels' Share we say work hard - play hard... and most definitely reward yourself with a dram!