Talk of the north – Lonach games celebrated at annual ball

Lucy Simmers, Barbara Stephan, Shelia Davidson, Linda Milne and Helen Booth

What: Lonach Highland Ball. Where: Lonach Hall, Strathdon. Who: Organised by the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, around 130 people attended the annual ball, including society patron Sir James Forbes and his wife Lady Kerry. Why: The ball is held annually on the Friday following the Lonach Highland Gathering and Games – staged on the... Read Full Story

Super cute pictures of pets sent in by our readers

Tiggi the minuter schnauzer lives with Sandy and Betty Milne in Ythanban, Ellon

Would you like the chance to win a wonderful personalised pet canvas? Well, just send your hi-res pet images to pets@ajl.co.uk with your pet’s name, your own name and address. Each week we will select a winning photograph and the lucky owner will receive a personalised 20″ x 18″ montage canvas of their pet’s best... Read Full Story

Book Review: Dark Branches by Nik Frobenius

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Paperback by Sandstone Press, £8.99 Writers often draw on their personal experiences for novels, but in Nik Frobenius’s new novel, Dark Branches, it seems that some memories should be left in the past. With Scandinavian noir still all the rage, Frobenius’s new book is a sinister psychological thriller which fits neatly into the genre. He... Read Full Story

Talk of the north – New salon is a cut above

Lois Hepburn and Natasha McIntyre at Linton & Mac salon launch, Netherkirkgate, Aberdeen.

What: Linton & Mac VIP launch event. Where: Linton & Mac salon, 18 Netherkirkgate, Aberdeen. Who: A number of local fashion and beauty bloggers, media and local business owners attended the exclusive launch of the Linton & Mac salon. Why: Linton & Mac gave guests a sneak peak of the new fashion-forward hair salon based... Read Full Story

One Hundred Days Of Happiness by Fausto Brizzi

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Hardback by Picador, priced £12.99 (ebook £6.47) Italian film director Fausto Brizzi’s debut novel has a now-familiar premise: after a terminal cancer diagnosis, Lucio Battistini chooses to spend his final three months winning back his estranged wife and rebuilding their family. Translator Antony Shugaar does a commendable job of conveying Brizzi’s humour and wit; the... Read Full Story

DVDs: Fast & Furious 7 & A Royal Night Out

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FAST & FURIOUS 7 (12) 3 stars Corrupt British soldier Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) is on life support in a London hospital and his older brother, Ian, (Jason Statham) vows revenge against Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and their crew. Ian hacks into the computer of federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson)... Read Full Story

Sandi Thom announces pregnancy on Twitter

Sandi Thom's pregnancy scan

Banff singer songwriter Sandi Thom is expecting her first baby. She made the announcement on social media and also confirmed that she will be giving birth back in Scotland to be closer to family. Sandi Thom and her boyfriend Matt Benson made the announcement on Twitter and Facebook. The baby is due in March 2016. Introducing... Read Full Story

Step back into medieval realm at Craigievar

Craigievar Castle

With its great tower and floating turrets, Craigievar Castle is the ultimate fairytale backdrop to Medieval Weekend this Saturday and Sunday. Now in its third year, the event, held in conjunction with the re-enactment group Medieval Realm, and the Press and Journal, promises to be fun-filled with all the colour and spectacle you would expect... Read Full Story

Top Trumps

Sarah Malone, executive vice-president at Trump International Golf Links, and Philip Smith, VisitScotland regional director

Trump International Golf Links, on the Menie Estate at Balmedie near Aberdeen, has scooped VisitScotland’s highest Quality Assurance (QA) award – the Five Star Activity Centre QA grading – in recognition of its high standards. This comes on the back of the Five Star Hotel status awarded by VisitScotland to Trump’s luxury 19-bedroom hotel, MacLeod... Read Full Story

Following the trail of Pictish tales

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Aberdeenshire has long been considered one of the heartlands of the Pictish community. You can still see this today, in place names beginning “Pit”, thought to indicate the presence of a Pictish settlement; in the remains of their fortifications, such as Mither Tap; and in their decorative objects. The Picts lived in the area of... Read Full Story

Five-star gold at the end of the rainbow

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Sunsets, woodland walks, exceptional dining and log fires – just some of the delights experienced by Susan Welsh during a relaxing trip to the Borders   Oh dear, this visit to the Borders wasn’t going according to our plans. The idea was to drive directly from Inverness to the Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course near... Read Full Story

IFA opens its doors to a tech-hungry public in Berlin

The Samsung Gear S2 Classic smartwatch had its first public outing at the IFA electronics show in Berlin

New smartwatches, phones and even smart kettles and washing machines await the public when the doors to IFA open. The consumer technology convention event in Berlin has seen the likes of Samsung, Intel, Motorola and Huawei announce new products to the media this week, but today the public can go hands-on for the first time.... Read Full Story

Samsung’s Gear S2 circular smartwatch will make contactless payments

The Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch has a round face and is enabled for contactless payments

Samsung’s first circular smartwatch will carry Samsung Pay so wearers can use it to make contactless payments. The Gear S2, which was officially confirmed by the Korean technology giant last week, has had its first public outing at the IFA electronics show in Berlin. The smartwatch, which also comes in a Classic version complete with... Read Full Story

Q&A: Angela Darcy

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Cheryl Livingstone speaks to Angela Darcy as she prepares to take on the role of one of the world’s greatest rock singers   HI ANGELA. SO WHERE ARE YOU FROM? I’m originally from Hamilton in Lanarkshire, but I live In Glasgow. AND HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PERFORMING FOR? I graduated from RSAMD (now RCS)... Read Full Story

Celebrating Highland culture in style

Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham will perform at Blas 2015

With nine days of non-stop entertainment on offer, it’s time to blast off with Blas!, writes Susan Welsh   The musical career of one of Scotland’s foremost and best-loved entertainers will be marked on the first night of this year’s Blas festival, which opens in style on Friday, September 4, with a special concert celebrating... Read Full Story