Christmas at Standingstone - the farm I grew up on in Scotland - was largely a dreary affair. Any fun had to be either sought from within myself or beyond its demises. Both of my adopted parents tended towards the solemn anyway; their sadnesses and failures permeated the already dour and damp sandstone house with a cold seriousness.
When we came to think about making the video for the single 'Take Hold', which is all about that incredible feeling of liberation, I wanted to try to capture a bit of that spirit - and the idea was born that we should feature some swimming, in particular, some underwater swimming.
Alex Salmond's long-awaited white paper on Scottish independence has appeared, rounding off the last full year Scots have before the referendum that will decide our constitutional future. And what an underwhelming document it is.
In the event of somebody such as Katie Hopkins saying something utterly indefensible, it ought to be noted that those organisations funding her career as a defender of outrageous opinion has the option to simply stop. No explanation would even be needed. They could all just stop, if they could take their eye off profit margins and think about their own ethical standpoint.
As a Welsh girl studying in Edinburgh, it is with a heavy heart that I hear the nationalistic cries for independence. You can't fool me SNP, with your White Papers and your shoddy economic policies. I've heard it all before, albeit in slightly Welsher accents.
Why am I writing about Haggis nearly two months before Burns Night? Well firstly, because St Andrews Day falls this weekend, and secondly, because Macsween of Edinburgh want to change the way we eat haggis.
That evening, at the piano in my Islington flat, the notes that came out were from Jura. I can't really explain how or why, I know it probably sounds barking mad. It was like the island was calling me saying 'I'm here, I've always been here, so come if you need me'.
Next week the Scottish nationalist government will publish their long awaited White Paper on which will set out their case for breaking up the United Kingdom. Expectations could scarcely be higher. Alex Salmond, in typically-understated style, predicted that this manifesto for breaking up the UK would "resonate down through the ages"... We will see.
When the Scottish Parliament was instituted, it was supposed to give the Scottish public a voice. It was supposed to reflect the will of the nation. But, in actual fact, it simply reflects the will of the political elite. No wonder so many Scots are skeptical about full independence.
'What's that in the water?' asks Kathleen, pointing ahead of the boat. We're standing on the deck of the Glen Tarsan, a former fishing vessel now converted to take wildlife and other cruises off the west coast of Scotland. We've left Skye behind and are sailing in wonderful sunshine towards the little island of Canna (population: 12).
Today when we wanted to load up the race car on to the trailer to visit the roll cage fitters, the trusty long-term towing vehicle had decided to gi...
The Yes campaign has recognised, in that great tradition of enlightened Scottish thought, that you can't view political decisions in isolation of broader societal and cultural trends. Beyond the cold and narrow business of balancing budgets and ballot boxes lies a modern republic of letters: of Buzzfeed, Youtube clips and memes.
Director Robert Rae's new film The Happy Lands takes place in the Scottish village of Carhill, in the heart of the Fife coalﬁelds during 1926.
After so much talk about oysters, and advice from someone who is clearly passionate about his job, there's only one thing to do - head for the restaurant and sample a dozen of them.
When I asked Volvo if I could take one of their cars 'up north' for my Distilleries book project, they asked what car would I like, I suggested an AWD Cross Country or something that showed a bit of ruggedness.
Somewhere off the west coast of Scotland is a fishing trawler called the Crimson Arrow, and on the boat is a fisherman called Toastie. He brings his scallops into the harbour at Oban, and they are the best scallops in the world. How do I know?