Saturday, 29 December 2012

Time to Parteeeeeeeeeeeey

New Year's Eve
It seems that 2013 is going to be a pretty special year...... what with a royal baby, solar flares and the Rugby League World Cup to name but a few of the exciting events for the coming year. So, what better way to kick it all of than with an Oakeley New Year's Eve extravaganza?
It'll be the usual Oakeley Arms magic, sprinkled with loads of fun, some awesome music and some fantastical fancy dress outfits. There'll also be a late bar and fireworks at midnight. It really is not to be missed.
No ticket required and all are welcome. Be there or be square!
For more info call us on 01766 590277 or drop us an e-mail
And if you'd rather drink than drive, why not book one of our lovely hotel rooms or self catering cottages. Great deals available now! See our website for more info.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Festival of Winter Walks

Get Walking
So, it's that time of year again. Here at the Oakeley Arms, we're joining in with the rest of the nation as we all collectively loosens our belt buckles after throwing calorie caution to the wind. Our well stuffed bellies are still happily round after a huge Christmas dinner with all the trimmings and the 487 Quality Streets eaten in front of favourite festive films.
Well, if you want to shift the festive pounds and make those Christmas calories cry, why not check out the Ramblers Festival of Winter Walks - taking place between the 22nd December and the 6th Jan.
There are loads of events taking place across the country, organised by Ramblers Cymru. From short countryside ambles to day-long guided mountain walks, there really is something for everyone.
Image by MidnightA on
You can find out more details of the walks nearby using the handy map search - click here.
Did you know that a regular brisk walk can help to:
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce harmful cholesterol levels
  • Lower body fat and burn calories
  • Give an instant energy boost
  • Enhance your mood and emotional well being
  • Increase bone density and so reducing the risk of osteoporosis
  • Help our bodies to stay flexible, strong and healthy
All this, as well as getting to know your local area, appreciating the great outdoors and making the most of the stunning area that we live in. Wow, what are we waiting for. Grab your walking boots and see you there!
Image by benjipie on

Monday, 24 December 2012

Happy Christmas

Ho Ho Ho
Christmas is here!! Peel back the last square on the advent calendar, send that final e-mail, run around the house with the hoover one last time, wrap the last minute presents and pour yourselves a big drink! It's time to get festive!
From all of us here at the Oakeley Arms, we wish all our lovely guests, customers, suppliers, friends and family a very happy Christmas indeed. Thank you for your support and custom over the last year, and we look forward to seeing you soon.
We hope Santa is good to you all; don't forget to hang out your stockings tonight and leave a tasty carrot for Rudolf and a glass of something for old hard workin' Santa!

Image by MoyMaster on

Thursday, 20 December 2012

The Shortest Day

Hey Shorty
Tomorrow is the year's shortest day. Officially known as the Winter Solstice, December 21st is the day when the sun appears lowest in the sky, thereby giving the least daylight hours.
Here at the Oakeley Arms, we've got used to short days and very dark nights (there's not much light pollution here in the depths of Snowdonia!) over the last few weeks, but we'll be quite excited that winter is turning a corner. From tomorrow, the minutes of daylight will slowly start to increase, until it'll soon be springtime!
These days, the Winter Solstice passes without much mention, but in ancient times it was of great significance. Winter feasts often occurred around the solstice, and were thought of as a last celebration and ceremony before the hard winter months of January, February and March when there was the greatest danger from famine and starvation. The solstice was also considered a time of rebirth and new beginnings, which is where many of our modern western traditions for celebrating New Year are thought to come from.
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Tomorrow, the sun is predicted to rise at around 08:20 and set just before 4pm, so that means just over seven hours of daylight. But, don't worry because in a month's time, by the 20th January, there will be over 40 minutes of extra daylight - that's over a minute a day!
We think there's only one thing for it when the dark hours are this long - light the fire, grab a glass of something warming and snuggle up. Why not visit us down at the Oakeley Bar - we've got real fires, cosy sofas and a fabulous bar crammed with local real ales, tasty wines and great spirits. There's always a warm welcome here!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Father Christmas

Pwy sy'n dwad dros y bryn.......
.... yn ddistaw, ddistaw bach? A'i farf yn llaes a'i wallt yn wyn, a rhywbeth yn ei sach....
Awwww, a classic Welsh nursery rhyme that will hopefully bring back happy memories of Christmases in Wales for many of our blog readers! It's all about the fabulous and hard working Father Christmas, sneaking through the village with his hoard of toys.
Good moustache Santa!
Image by juliaf on
As the countdown to Christmas reaches the final, chaotic week, we got to wondering here at the Oakeley Arms just where did our favourite festive character come from? And who is he?
We can trace the origins of Father Christmas as far back as the 17th century (yes, he really is that old, no wonder his hair is white!) when Christmas carols started to depict the idea of Christmas as a jolly old man. He was associated with the eating and drinking feasts of the festive season, but sometime during the Victorian Era he began to take on the characteristics of St Nicholas - who traditionally gave gifts to children at Christmas.
It wasn't until the late nineteenth century however that Father Christmas started to appear as the figure we know and love today - an older, jolly chap with white hair and a beard and dressed in a cosy red suit. He has loads of different names - Santa Claus is the name Americans use; he is Papa Noel  in Spain, Pere Noel in France and Babbo Natale in Italy.
But, however we know him, one thing's for sure, is that no Christmas is complete without him. So, we hope that all our lovely blog readers have been very good boys and girls this year (Father Christmas keeps a list of wrongs you know.... I hope he's got enough paper!) so that the good old man brings lots of goodies.
As you know, Father Christmas will be pretty busy this week in the run up to Christmas. He's finishing all his packing, getting his reindeer ready and polishing his sleigh ready for his mammoth journey across the world on Christmas Eve.
You can track Father Christmas's journey on this fabulous website here; check back on Christmas Eve to find out exactly where he is, and where he's going next - it's nearly your turn!
image by barrym67 on

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Welcome to 2013

New Year's Eve at the Oakeley Arms Hotel
It's that time of year again!! We are super excited here at the Oakeley Arms about our fabulous New Years Eve extravaganza. It's not one to be missed.
We've got loads of entertainment - there's a funky disco, rock'n'roll bingo, a raffle for great prizes, fireworks at midnight, a fancy dress competition and all topped off by a late bar!
This year there's no need to buy a ticket; this fab event is open to all!
And don't forget that bar meals will be available till 9pm, so have a final feast before the New Year diet!
Don't fancy getting in the taxi queue? How about booking one of our lovely hotel rooms, or even one of the beautiful holiday cottages for a truly relaxing New Year break. And there are GREAT winter discounts available at the moment.
To book or for prices, give us a call (01766 590277) or drop us an e-mail (

Image by Ba1969 on

Monday, 10 December 2012

International Mountain Day

Pick of the Peaks
Tomorrow (11th December) is International Mountain Day. And here at the Oakeley Arms, we think that's reason enough to celebrate the stunning Snowdonia mountains that are just a short hop from the hotel.
International Mountain Day was first held in 2003, as a way to celebrate and create awareness of the world's mountains and how important they are. The international day was established by the UN as a way to share education and knowledge about sustainable mountain development and about some of the issues that surround the world's highest peaks.
Mountains are not only beautiful, but they provide much of the world's freshwater, are natural habitats for a huge range of wildlife, plants and birds, and are home to one in ten people across the globe! Yet the world's mountain ranges are under constant threat from global environmental issues such as mining, conflict and climate change.
View from Snowdon
Here at the Oakeley Arms, we are incredibly lucky to sit in the shadow of Snowdonia, which of course is home to the finest mountains in Britain (not that we're biased!). Not only is Snowdonia National Park home to Wales' highest mountain Snowdon, but there are also many more mountains within the Snowdonia ranges, such as Cadair Idris, Moel Siabod, the Moelwynion, Cnicht, the Glyderau, Moel Hebog, the Rhinogydd and Arenig to name but a few.
So why not make the most of this lovely bright winter sunshine and explore some of Snowdon's beautiful mountains and hills? Remember to stay safe though - winter can unleash some difficult mountain conditions. Find out more about mountain safety here.
View from Cnicht
You can find out more about International Mountain Day here
Stay safe on the mountains, never proceed with a walk if conditions are unsafe. Any mountain walks are undertaken at your own risk; the Oakeley Arms cannot be held responsible for any consequences arising from the use of this blog post.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Creative Christmas Trees

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree.....
So, is your Christmas Tree up yet? Are you a "can't wait to get it up as soon as it's December the 1st" kind of person, or a "chuck it up on Christmas Eve and hope for the best" type?
Well, all this talk of festive forests got us to thinking about how, and why, it all started. Who on earth thought of throwing tinsel and shiny balls onto an evergreen tree and calling it Christmas?

image by DR04 on wikicommons
Well, the tradition can be traced as far back as ancient Egyptian and Chinese civilisations, when evergreen trees and plants were used in celebrations to symbolise eternal life. But the Christmas tree as we know it today has its roots in Northern Germany around the 16th century.
Large manor house owners and aristocracy began to bring in giant evergreen trees to display in the hall, decorated with sweets and treats that the children and servants would get to eat on the day before Christmas. On Christmas Eve, the tree would be brought outside again so that the whole village could dance around it, to mark the start of the festive celebrations.
By the early 19th century, the tradition had been adopted by nobility and wealthy families across Europe, as far as Russia. In Britain, we first began to embrace the idea when our Royal Family was united with the German house of Hanover by King George III in the early 1800s. At first it was a custom for the rich only, but a hundred or so years later, the tradition was much more widespread.
Today, it is more uncommon to not see a tree in houses and public places across Britain - both indoors and out. Advances in technology mean that there are now a huge choice of trees - from real and fresh to plastic and paper. Originally trees were decorated with sweets, paper decorations, and later candles. Thankfully, we now have clever Christmas tree lights to thank for a much reduced fire risk! But all other decorations are unique and individual - some prefer a minimalist look, others go all out on tinsel and glitter! And let's not forget the age-old debate about the tree-top resident? Is it a star, or is it a fairy?
But, one thing's for sure - when the festive tree goes up, it means that Christmas is sniffingly close, and we here at the Oakeley Arms absolutely cannot wait!

image by Kris69 on

Monday, 3 December 2012

20 years of texting!

Wat did we eva do b4 txts?
On the 3rd December 1992, two little words were sent from a computer to a mobile phone by computer engineer Neil Papworth. His message just read "Merry Christmas", but it was the beginning of a revolution. The SMS text message was born, and our lives were changed for ever.
Here at the Oakeley Arms, we got to thinking about life before the text message, and before the mobile phone. When the only way to get hold of someone was on the landline; when the only way to meet up with someone and not thoroughly annoy them was to turn up on time; when each outing in the car was a breakdown roulette and when befuddling text speak wasn't even dreamt of.
That very first text message was the culmination of years of work, design and invention, across the world. Finnish civil servant Matti Makkonen is often crowned as the "father of SMS" when he first thought of the idea in 1984, but of course, alphanumeric messages have been sent over radiowaves as far back as 1920 when the "Telex" service was used to communicate across the Atlantic.
Today, texting is one of the primary ways of communication for much of the world. Last year in Britain, nearly 40 billion text messages were sent. The average Brit sends 50 texts in a week, and its an industry that generates over £70billion a year!
The humble SMS has given rise to many modern phenomena such as "sexting" (self-explanatory?), the so called "Blackberry thumb" (a form of repetitive strain injury caused by too much texting!), using texts to bully or intimidate as well as a whole new language. It even caused a change in the law a few years ago when texting whilst driving was deemed dangerous and distracting, so it is now illegal.
But, with smartphones and mobile internet fast becoming the future of mobile technology, the ways in which people communicate are changing quickly, with a sharp rise in messages being sent via facebook, twitter and other social media networks.
But, for now, the text message is here to stay. Send one to a loved one to celebrate!
Happy 20th birthday text messages!
image by BuzzyBee on