Wednesday 21 December 2022


SIR Jackie Stewart has revealed that he sent his best friend Sir Sean Connery to the Mayo clinic in a bid to extend the 007 actor’s life. 
And the Scots racing champ revealed that the treatment Sir Sean received at the renowned clinic in America, a popular haunt of celebrities who require special medical care, ‘probably‘ kept him alive for an extra few months. 
Sir Jackie first met Sir Sean in 1971 when the actor was setting up a charity - the Scottish International Education Trust - to help young Scots and became a  lifelong friend of the actor who admired how he projected Scotland to the world as a racing driver.
The sports star spent time with Sir Sean before his death in 2020 in the Bahamas, where he lived with his wife Micheline and many of their family members. 
And Jackie, who even joined the late James Bond actor on his sick bed to watch and rewatch him perform his favourite role as a soldier in North African prison in lesser known film Sidney Lumet’s The Hill from 1965, has now revealed that he played a huge role in Sir Sean’s final days. 
In a chat with Justin Bell, the son of racing driver Derek Bell he revealed: “Sean Connery was a wonderful man. Oh, he was first of all, without doubt the best Bond. He was terrific. And he was a good man and he was unspoiled. And he was one of my best friends.”
Sir Jackie added: “I saw him not long before he died, in the Bahamas. I got him to the Mayo Clinic and we probably kept him for a few more months than he might have had.
“He was very quiet and not a pushy man at all, but yet he was just so completely good at what he did - and a good Scot.”
It is unknown what treatments Sir Sean underwent at the clinic which has its headquarters in Rochdale Minnesota but the clinic is renowned for its work in the field of cancer, cardiology and geriatrics as well as neurology and addiction. 
Sir Sean had paid visits there over the years and previous celebrities using its services include King Hussein of Jordan, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, and Muhammad Ali whilst more recently the late Darius Campbell Danesh and fellow Scot Gerard Butler were spotted in the vicinity of the Rochdale campus. 
A death certificate obtained by the publication TMZ claimed Sir Sean died from respiratory failure caused by pneumonia, old age, and atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat, which has been found to increase the risk of lung issues).
Sir Sean was said by Jackie to be very unwell then with dementia, which he  described as  ‘a very cruel disease – I know this personally, as my wife has had it for several years. It was sad seeing him like that.’
The Scots racing driver also appeared to make a secret visit to see the actor’s widow Micheline in Edinburgh when she and the family made a trip to Scotland to scatter Sir Sean’s ashes earlier this year. 
He was spotted on the royal mile by fans at the time and was said to have visited the Balmoral hotel where Micheline and her family resided during their visit. 
During their journey it bid a final goodbye to Sir Sean, the mourners gathered at the Dalmeny Estate overlooking the River Forth neat South Queensferry shortly after arriving in Scotland in chartered luxury train the Royal Scotsman. 

From Scotland With Love

This article has subsequently been published in The Daily Record and other nationals

Thursday 8 December 2022


SCHITTS Creek star Emily Hampshire has revealed she got her first black eye after an accident on set whilst filming Amazon Prime original drama The Rig. 
Emily who appeared at the premiere of the new thriller with Martin Compston which starts on January 6 revealed that eagle eyed viewers will be able to spot her injury despite heavy make up.
She told at Edinburgh’s prestigious Gleneagles Townhouse: “I did get my first black eye on the show, not on the show but on the set. So in a fun game you can try to see where my black eye is. Ellie our makeup woman did an amazing job but there is one scene where you'll see my black eye. 
She revealed:  “I walked into a crane, an actual metal crane…and you heard it. Martin said it was a ‘belter’.”
Emily, who also, says she did a tonne of running on set to keep fit, also said she got extra exercise going up Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. 

She said of her filming experience in Scotland: “It was amazing. I mean, at first, it was during the height of masks and I couldn't understand anyone.”
“But I was also taken on a what I believe in called a wee walk.
“There was a lot of uphill in that walk and it ended up being me climbing a mountain - Arthur's Seat. Not a seat. It was a mountain. 
So it was a lot. 
The star who wore a kilt during her visit to Edinburgh - ‘with underwear’ added: “But what was amazing was I didn't know anything about rigs.
“ It's not an industry that that we know about and so I just loved kind of just learning about this whole new world. 
A first I kept calling it a ship, which it’s not.”
I’d love to film here again as long as I am warned before I go climb a mountain.
Absolutely. I love it here. I also love this cast and like working with all the Scottish actors and UK actors. 
I'm in love. With all of them. This one, Martin in particular especially.”

Tuesday 6 December 2022


CHANGING Rooms star Carol Smillie has married her co-star and 60 Minute Makeover host John Amabile - in a Scots wedding ceremony. 
John tied the knot with his partner of 19 years, Steven Gormley, at an exclusive ceremony at Hotel Du Vin in Glasgow. 
And the wedding was was conducted by fellow Changing Rooms star and Humanist Celebrant Carol Smilie.

 John, once voted as one of Scotland’s most eligible batchelors, met  Steve, a leader in executive development over 19 years ago outside a local chip shop. 

 Carol has been a lifelong friend of John's since their early TV days, and, according to insiders, delivered a personal, funny and beautiful ceremony reflecting both John's and Steve's sense of humour, joy and love and respect for each other. 

Carol said: "I've known John for almost 40 years, so no one was more delighted than me when they finally decided to make it official and, even better, ask me to do the honours. It was a very emotional day, and I'm so happy for them both."

 John said: “I grew up in Scotland, where homosexuality was illegal until 1980, and we both were so proud on the 31st of January 2014 when same-sex marriages became legal in Scotland." 

He continued, "Steve and I discussed getting married at the time, but our schedules were so busy, and we knew we wanted to do something intimate and just for us. The time just slipped with Covid and various other events over the years. But as the old saying goes, "whit's fur ye'll no go by ye".

From Scotland with Love - 

Friday 2 December 2022


SCOTS eighties music legend and cult star Jesse Rae has gone to number one in America after breathing new life into five hundred year old Scots song Loch Lomond by bringing it out as a dance music version. 
Saint Bothwell’s born Jesse, now 71, who wears Highland battle dress and still carries a giant Claymore with him wherever he goes, is known for previous hits like Inside Out with eighties group Odyssey as well as his own track Over The Sea. 
He was asked to team up on Loch Lomond by Scots EDM dance team Objectz, aka singer songwriter Daryl Demarco, and world renowned multi-platinum hit music producer Simon Britton whose recent single Ignite on Spotify landed in the top ten of the illustrious Music Week official commercial pop chart. 
And Jesse, has just released the track on Deevu records in time for the festive season, says he’s thrilled that Loch Lomond can now reach a younger audience throughout the globe. 
The singer and Objectz have even more to celebrate after the extended mix of the song went to number one in the US industry led Masspool DJ top 50 club charts with the radio mix also going on at number eight. In Australia it has also gone it at number three in the iTunes Charts. 
Jesse,  who has spent the last few years taking his brand of funk music across the globe and restoring the William Wallace statue in Bemersyde, said: “Loch Lomond has an old world romance story of two lovers and two brothers, one destined to hang, the other to be set free attached to it and is so meaningful to every Scot and beyond.” 
“I love the way we have done it to bring it to a new generation. We’re sticking to the traditional -Loch Lomond is a five hundred year old song - but we are giving people what they want, something more upbeat so they can sing and dance along to it and don’t have to drag their feet to another version which is an old folk song.
We want the kids to sing and dance to it and are already getting enquiries from as far afield as Japan. People just want to dance and it’s such an iconic song.”
Objectz Simon Britton added: “Loch Lomond is a song that you normally play at the end of a wedding but the great thing with our remixed dance version featuring Jesse is that you can now play it at the start of the wedding too.” 
Loch Lomond by Objectz featuring Jesse Rae is released by Deevu records and is available via 

Sunday 20 November 2022


DOCTOR Who stars Ncuti Gatwa and Peter Capaldi joined  Saiorse Ronan, Jack Lowden,   Dougray Scott, Sam Heughan, and more at the BAFTA Scotland awards. 
The bash, was held at Glasgow’s Doubletree Hilton to celebrate the wealth of Scots talent in performance, production, and craft, in gaming,TV and film ad took the opportunity to catch up with them. 
Former Doctor Who actor Peter Capaldi was delighted to welcome new Scots Doctor Who star Ncuti Gatwa as the latter entered the red carpet shirtless in his two tone lapelled suit but the two never stood side by side until they mingled properly at the after party. 
Ncuti was thrilled to be back in Scotland but remains as down to earth as ever despite his recent rise to fame through Sex Education and as the new Doctor. 
The actor, who thanked the audience for welcoming him since getting his big Doctor Who role, said of his forthcoming adventure: “It’s going to be a really fun ride.”

Peter Capaldi also picked up his award for Outstanding Contribution to Film and TV thanked Armando Ianucci , Bill Forsyth and more on his speech. 
He also joked that according to racial stereotypes his parents couldn’t be there cause ‘they are busy working in the chip shop’. He thanked them for his sarcasm and told Ncuti he was about to learn all about being Doctor Who - including spotting anoraks.
American Irish actress Saiorse Ronan made a separate entrance from her other half Jack Lowden and looked resplendent in her mustard strappy dress with pearl and tassel detail and strappy diamanté heels.  
Outlander’s  Sam Heughan, in a striking blazer and polo neck combo with dark trousers, got the loudest cheer of the night as he greeted fans of the epic Starz time travel series. 

The winner of the Audience Award who made a long acceptance speech pointing out all the work and money which Outlander has brought to Scotland, said: “It’s so nice isn’t it to be back here to celebrate Scottish film and TV and to see familiar faces as well which we haven’t been able to do with the pandemic. We may be a small country, a small affair but it’s a big celebration.”
Dougray Scott, who picked up the award for best actor TV for Irving Welsh’s Crime, said: “It was a long journey to get Crime to the screen. I sat with Irving Welsh 12 years ago. I’m a little bit nervous, but thank you so much. I really appreciate this. It means the world to me to get this award tonight. So thank you very much.”

Jack Lowden made a plea to those in the room to pledge money to help the film industry in Edinburgh following recent news of the demise of the Film House.

Monday 24 October 2022


LET Me Entertain You sang Robbie as he romped around the stage of Glasgow’s Ovo Hydro in his glittering gold lame and sequin suit - and he never failed. 
We didn’t need to be reminded as he told the audience: “Allow me to reintroduce myself. I’m Robbie f***ing Williams.”
Robbie and Scotland share a special affinity. 
He later told us: “There is something about you lot up here, something different.” 
The prodigal son has filled stadiums like Hampden and festivals like T in the Park with his showmanship, touring both solo and with Take That, celebrating his birthday here at the now defunct Strawberry Fields and launching his fashion range at Fraser’s in previous years. 
The crowd love him and he loved us. 
Whether he was strutting, sitting  on his stool or cavorting on stage, we got all that Robbie Williams could give. 

Anthems like Kids and I Love My Life were delivered with aplomb while childlike graphics were projected from the screen, and Rock Dj showcased Robbie’s rapping. 
The huge pair of Angel wings for the final song saw an emotional Robbie singing in a kimono style gown as the audience joined in.
Embracing the saltire was the perfect end to a perfect evening from the master. 
Robbie himself said afterwards: “Glasgow you never disappoint me. That was incredible.”


ON arrival at Turin airport, once past customs, you will be greeted by a row of taxis. 
They are identical and they are part of the cities living history - as they are all made by Fiat. 
Of course Turin is the home of the famed automobile company and I was lucky enough during my visit to be staying at the stylish NH Lingotto hotel, former Fiat factory and living museum complete with a fine vintage specimen in the lobby and its own car test track on the roof. 

NH Lingotto room 

The hotel has a certain panache that only the Italians can master with its tasteful marble interior, delicate floral arrangements in the foyer, classic leather stools and seating thoroughly the lobbys and high ceilinged modern rooms with double showers. 
The food on offer is second to none with the breakfast buffet incorporating a selection of cold meats, fruits, cereals and pastries complete with Turin created Nutella spread (in nearby Alba) , as well as hot breakfast with sausage, bacon and egg for the less adventurous traveller. 
They are also knowledgeable when it comes to the gluten free or vegetarian/ vegan diet and are more aware and cautious of cross contamination than many hotels in the UK. 

Bev with Eataly pizza 

For those who wish to eat outside the hotel, the nearby Eataly complex is a great place to hang out and try out some freshly made Italian favourites including pizza, pasta, risotto and the round farinata from Liguria, made with chickpea flour. 
It has its own supermarket on site selling freshly made delights that would make any chef equal with delight from the local white truffles to the balsamic glaze. 
A card can be purchased at the nearby tube stop for ten euros which allows three days of unlimited travel and fifteen minute journey will take you into the centre. 
Turin centre boasts a wealth of manufacturing history and museums and is often referred to as the Paris of Italy. 

Indeed walking along the grand boulevards and arcaded pavements with its vast squares and monuments you will understand why. 
As well as the magnificent architecture of the Porta Nuova station with its recently restored arches and distinctive red interiors and frescos, there are other museums and sights to please.
The national museum of cinema in the Mole Antonelliana tower was  initially built as a synagogue before its overzealous architect and his ceiling height blew the budget. 
It  is a must see for all the family with its history of the moving image from shadow puppetry and zoetropes to modern day cinematic achievements like Dracula and Tweetie Pie. 

Porta Nuova station 

It holds a labyrinth of rooms and each floor promises a new immersive experience. 
The National Museum of the Italian Risorgimento is the first, the biggest and the most important among the 23 museums in Italy dedicated to the Risorgimento the unification of Italy also boasts magnificent frescos and a Garibaldi room too. 
And the Egyptian museum is the is the only museum other than the Cairo Museum that is dedicated solely to Egyptian art and culture.

National Museum of Cinema  

For those who like to shop Turin has plenty to offer form three big name global fashion houses like Gucci and Dior to the locally owned urban stores like Hannibal. 
As you wander through the arcades it’s a must to experience the local gelato and im still salivating over the Gelato di Latte at Biraghi. They only sell one flavour - milk - made with milk, sugar and cream - and it has a full creaminess to it that would challenge any urn in Devon. It’s only 2€ and it is huge.  
For those who love a further bargain, the Saturday market at Porta Pallazo won’t disappoint with its sample sales, cheap Italian designed jeans, bags and sunglasses as well as local produce. 

Bev with the mayor of Turin 

There are more than 300 stalls as well as fifty shops bars and restaurants max but it is best to take a taxi from the nearest station in the centre.
Turin may be known for the shroud,  a length of linen that for centuries was purported to be the burial garment of Jesus Christ which has been preserved since 1578 in the royal chapel of the cathedral of San Giovanni Battista in Turin, Italy but it is gone go so much more. 
From Juventus to its location overlooked by the nearby Alps, it is a real undiscovered gem. 
It also recently hosted the Eurovision sing contest and is twinned with Glasgow - and from the warm and friendly reception I received its easy to see why. 
I flew by Air France from Edinburgh via Charles de Gaule to Turin (return from £210)  and stayed at the Hotel NH Lingotto Congress (prices from £99 per night off season). 
For full disclosure my trip was sponsored. 

Thursday 20 October 2022


The first ever SCOTTISH INFLUENCER AWARDS  takes place this Sunday with a who’s who of Scotland’s social stars. 

The major new awards ceremony which  is being held at Glasgow’s Radisson Red hotel will be announcing the winners following the it’s shortlist of nominees in the running to be named the country’s Influencer of the Year this weekend.

The 75-strong shortlist of nominees, across fifteen categories, will represent the country’s diverse and far-reaching spectrum of social media excellence, in a real life gathering this Sunday afternoon.  

BBC Radio 1 presenter and broadcaster Arielle Free will host the inaugural Scottish Influencer Awards at the city’s Radisson RED Glasgow this Sunday 23rd October, 2022 between 2pm and 4pm, with organisers promising major levels of lights, cameras, action, and Scotland’s biggest social media stars in attendance.

A headline VisitScotland: Year of Stories - Influencer of the Year award will honour the country’s mostdistinct and original storytelling around the Year of Stories 2022 theme, while other Influencer of the Year award presentations will recognise excellence in the categories of Food, Drink, Health & Wellbeing, Family and Lifestyle, as well as Travel, Interiors & Design, Arts & Culture, Style, Beauty and Visual. A special award will honour those influencers whosesocial defines Inspiration.

Superinfluencer award will be presented to Scotland’s biggest social media star, Emily ShakThe accolade is in recognition of Emily’s formidable commitment in creating a social profile which consistently exudes style, digital creativity, transparency and positive engagement with her international community of over 1.5 million dedicated followers.

A surprise grand finale announcement on Sunday will reveal one individual who has made such a truly inspirational impact across their social media…and will be named Scotland’s overall Influencer of the Year for 2022/2023.  

Each winner will receive a covetable and 100% sustainable art-collectable sculpture by renowned Argyll design innovators Midtonplus a magnum of Whispering Angel.

A panel of illustrious judges including Michelin Star UNALOME Chef Patron Graeme Cheevers, Creative Director and Designer Iona Crawfordinternational beauty gurus Marc Elrick and Dylan Brittain, CEO and Co-Founder of Future Beauty Labs, and a four-member VisitScotland Themed Years team including Amanda Thomas, Global Influencer Marketing Manager, have undertaken the difficult task of choosing the finalists from thousands of entries received.

Flashbulbs will pop as guests on the day - after walking the Graypaul Ferrari Glasgow red carpet - arrive to a dramatic digital photo wall; a truly insta-worthy moment.


A reception presented in celebration with Whispering Angel; the world’s most glamorous rosé,will welcome the influencer cognoscenti thereafter.

The much-anticipated awards ceremony hosted by Arielle Free and supported by sponsors Moet Hennessy, Laings and Overgate, will follow.

The SCOTTISH INFLUENCER AWARDS celebrations will continue in style into the evening at a hot-ticket Whispering Angel Official After Party with Special Guests Illyus & Barrientos.

There’s still some tickets on sale for the much anticipated event  at £45 per person which include red carpet arrivals, Whispering Angel reception, awards ceremony with Arielle Free and Whispering Angel Official After Party with Illyus & Barrientos. Available via




@emilyshak – Emily Shakarji



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