Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Happy Holidays

Holidays help you live longer!
Here at the Oakeley Arms, we've always known that holidays are good for you. And that there should definitely be MORE of them every year (are you listening Mr Cameron - more bank holidays please.....), but a groundbreaking new study has shown that holidays can actually help you live longer!
The study was conducted by holiday company Kuoni and Nuffield Health has found that a break away from it all can......
  •  help lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure can contribute towards strokes, heart attacks and general ill health.
  • help you sleep better. Good sleep is essential to repair and renew your body.
  • help you recover quicker and better from stress.  
And all of the above can help you have a happier, healthier and longer life. So, as we always thought, holidays are good for you! And it doesn't have to be a bank-busting luxury holiday to the Carribean, any break away from home and the daily routine counts as a holiday!
image by Vanepan on sxc.hu
What more of an excuse to you need? Book your lovely holiday here at the Oakeley Arms today! Choose from one of our lovely hotel rooms, or how about one of our fab self-catering cottages - we've got all you need for the perfect and life-saving holiday.
Come chill with us here at the Oakeley Arms
Check out our website for more information www.oakeleyarms.co.uk or call us on 01766 590 277 to discuss your requirements. We look forward to seeing you soon!
For more information about the study and the full report, click the link here

Friday, 25 January 2013

Big Loves

Dydd Santes Dwynwen
Is love in the air for you today? Here at the Oakeley Arms, we're hoping for some romance, because today is Dydd Santes Dwynwen (St Dwynwen's Day), the Welsh equivalent of Valentine's Day.

image by nellart on sxc.hu
Today celebrates the Welsh patron Saint of lovers - Dwynwen, and of course, like any good love story, her path to true love didn't really run smoothly. And so the story goes......
A long, long time ago, there lived a beautiful princess, in fact she was the most beautiful princess in all of Wales. Princess Dwynwen was the daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog, the powerful Welsh king of the 5th century.  One fateful evening, King Brychan organised an enormous feast for all the noble families of the land. During the party Dwynwen soon caught the eye of the handsome Maelon. After the party, he declared his love for her and they vowed to marry as soon as they could.
As young lovers often don't, they hadn't counted on the wrath of Dwynwen's father, for his daughter was a valuable asset to him and she had been promised to another powerful family. A heartbroken Dwynwen told Maelon of her father's plans and the young man was furious. He pushed his princess to the ground and spat angry rage at her as he marched away.
Dwynwen was so upset that she ran as far north as she could and by the time she'd reached the dark forests of Anglesey, she was exhausted. She prayed to forget her love for the cruel Maelon and as she fell into a fitful sleep she was visited by an angel. The angel first turned Maelon into a frozen block of ice, ha, and then granted the young princess three wishes.
Dwynwen still thought Maelon cruel, but she was a kind soul and wished him to be thawed, and live a happy life. She also wished that the dreams of all true lovers across Wales be granted. Her final wish was for herself - she wished never to go through the heartache of love again. Dwynwen vowed to dedicate the rest of her life serving God.
And she didn't go back on her word. She became a nun, and founded a church on the remote island of Llanddwyn, just off the coast of Anglesey, living as a virtual hermit for the rest of her days. In medieval times, the church became an important place for religious pilgrims, many coming to pay their respects to the tragic Dwynwen.
You can still see the ruins of a church on Ynys Llanddwyn today, although it is a much later building than Dwynwen's. You can walk to the island from Newborough Beach at low tide, so why not woo your loved one with a romantic winter day out at the beach.

The beautiful Ynys Llanddwyn
Newborough beach is just over an hour's drive from the Oakeley Arms - perfect for a day trip! Ask our staff if you need help or directions. For details of a walk and parking, click here


Monday, 21 January 2013

Big Breakfast

National Breakfast Week
We're celebrating in breakfast style this week at the Oakeley Arms. We LOVE breakfast, but did you know that almost half of the population of Britain regularly skip it - they don't have time for it, or they simply don't fancy it. We reckon that if they popped over to see us for an Oakeley breakfast, they'd soon change their mind!
Nutrition experts believe that eating a healthy breakfast is not only essential to give you energy for the morning, but that having a good graze helps to improve brain power, memory and concentration. Eating breakfast can also cheer you up and put a smile on your face (hands up who gets grumpy when they're hungry!) as well as providing essential nutrients and vitamins. AND, people who eat a regular breakfast are much less likely to be overweight than people who skip breakfast.
 By Scott Bauer via Wikimedia Commons
And if a bowl of cereal and a slice of toast is about as much as you can manage at 7am, take a look at these bizarre breakfasts from around the world.......
  •  Japan - a bowl of steamed eggs in a broth are the staple breakfast meal for millions of Japanese people every day. And if you're really lucky, they'll be topped with some cured fish or chicken.
  • Thailand - spicy rice noodles anyone? It would warm up a chilly winter's morning, that's for sure.... not that they have many of those in Thailand!
  • China - hundred year eggs are a delicious breakfast staple, served with a type of rice "porridge". Hundred year eggs are cured for several weeks, until they go a greeny-brown colour. Eat up!
Century Egg for brekkie anyone? Mmmmm
By FotoosVanRobin via Wikimedia Commons
  • Korea - Kimchi is a good breakfast in Korea, but don't let the smell of the fermented vegetables used to make it, put you off!
  • Mexico - mouldy or "diseased" corn is a big delicacy in Mexico. Bacteria turns the usually yellow cobs black and squidgy..... and they are then used to make a porridge type of breakfast. Yum!
  • Jamaica - a huge plate of ackee and saltfish is a staple for much of the Carribean. Ackee is a fruit, which is poisonous if it isn't properly prepared!
  • Pakistan - in sweltering heat and blazing sunshine, what could be more refreshing than a hearty curried soup made from lamb's head and feet? Called Siri Paya this is a popular breakfast!
  • USA - they never do things by half in the good old USA! A breakfast called the Loco-Moco can provide up to half a person's daily calorie allowance. Take a plate of boiled rice, add a fried egg, top with a hamburger and smother in gravy.
We think we might stick to good old fashioned eggs and toast! Here at the Oakeley Arms Hotel, we offer our guests a range of delicious breakfasts, with as many local meats and ingredients as we can find. Yum. And we're also open to non-residents for breakfast between 7am and 10am. See you soon!
Use the comments box to tell us about your favourite breakfasts!
You can find out more information about National Breakfast Week, click here

Friday, 18 January 2013

Winnie the Pooh Day

Pooh Bear
Did you know that today is National Winnie the Pooh day? Well, today is the birthday of it's creator, A.A.Milne, who was born on the 18th January 1882, so it's a day to celebrate all things Winnie the Pooh!
Milne created the teddy bear that stole the world's heart in 1926, when the first collection of stories, Winnie-the-Pooh was published. Of course, Pooh was based on a bear that Milne's own son Christopher Robin had when he was young, and it wasn't long before Milne's books became a favourite of children across the world.
In fact, Winnie the Pooh is one of the most succesful children's stories of all time, and when Disney Productions licensed the rights to produce Winnie the Pooh films and merchandise in 1961, the little bear's popularity was stratospheric!
And who can forget the way that illustrator E.H Shepard brought the little bear and his friends to life. Shepard was also behind the drawings for The Wind in the Willows series of books.
Did you know......
  •  Winnie the Pooh was inspired by a real-life teddy bear that was bought from Harrods for Christopher Milne's first birthday. He was called Winnie after a real bear that the boy had seen in London Zoo. He now resides in a library in New York.
  • Pooh's friends - Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga, Tigger and Owl were also toys of Christopher's.
  • The character of Kanga is the only female in the Winnie the Pooh books
  • A.A.Milne's full name is Alan Alexander Milne
  • Hundred Acre Wood was based on the real woodland of Ashdown Forest in Sussex, which was close to the Milne's holiday home. This house was later bought by Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones. In 1969, he drowned in the swimming pool there.
  • Pooh was first "re-drawn" by American illustrator Stephen Slesinger, who gave Pooh his bright red t-shirt. Slesinger bought US and Canadian rights to Pooh from Milne, and by 1931, was generating about $50million a year!
  • Pooh is said to be second only to Mickey Mouse in terms of a character generating income from merchandise.
  • Pooh has his own star in Hollywood.
  • It is said that A.A.Milne, Christopher Robin Milne and E.H Shepard all grew to resent the impact that Pooh had on their lives.
“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem.”
A.A.Milne, Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh toys on display in New York
By Spictacular on Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

A snowy week

Snow Business

Most of the country is bracing itself for a blanket of snow and icy weather this week, as weather forecasters predict that not much of the UK will escape the white stuff. From the hotel windows here at the Oakeley Arms we can see a smattering of snow on the top of the Snowdonia hills, but it's not a snowy wonderland down here yet!
It's been a relatively mild start to the winter so far, with the festive season being more soggy than snowy, so just where has this cold snap come from? Well forecasters believe it's to do with a phenomenon known as Sudden Stratospheric Warming. It's all a bit scientific for us, but basically it means that even though the atmosphere high up there has experienced a warm snap, for us down here that equals a chilly one!
So, will the snow be a fun diversion? Or will it be the bane of the country as it disrupts roads and rail, not to mention issues with school closures, travel plans and even the daily commute. But, always ones to look on the bright side, we got to thinking about all the fun things you can do in the snow, and here are our favourites......

 Image by stone0206 on sxc.hu
  • Build a snowman! And don't forget his carrot nose, coal eyes and a scarf to keep him warm.....
  • Go sledging! There are some great little hills and sloping fields here that are just perfect for sledging.
  • Go on a snowy walk. Make the most of the beautiful winter conditions and enjoy the snowy mountain views. Just take care out there!
  • Make a snow angel. Who doesn't know how?
  • Have a snowball fight! And a forfeit for the winner.......
  • Build a snow castle. Save the beachy sandcastles for the summer, and construct your own snow palace instead.
  • Learn about snow. Did you know that no two snowflakes are ever the same? Or that chionophobia is the fear of snow. Or that about 12% of the earth's surface is permanently covered in snow and ice?
  • Forget all the snowy activities, and come over to the Oakeley Arms to warm your cockles by one of fabulous real fires in the bar. Heaven!
Whatever you get up to, stay warm and stay safe. It's brrrrrrrrrrrrrr cold out there!

 Image by porah on sxc.hu

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Brilliant BAFTAs

Lights, Camera, Aaaaaction!
Here at the Oakeley Arms, we love a good film or two, so we were excited today to see that the 2013 BAFTA nominations have been revealed.
Top of the picks is the Spielberg film Lincoln, an American Civil War epic, which has been nominated for a whopping 10 awards. Musical adventure Les Miserables follows closely behind with 9 nominations, as does fantasy adventure Life of Pi. Our British Bond hero trails a bit behind with 8 nominations for Skyfall, but not for Best Film, although it is up for an award in the Outstanding British Film category.
BAFTA is short for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, which was originally founded as the British Film Academy in 1947. It later merged with the television guild, and today it is a registered charity that aims to promote and develop the visual arts in the Britain. Each year, the charity hosts the British Film awards to recognise excellence in the film industry.
So, what are your film highlights of 2012, and which flick are you hoping will scoop the top prize? Share it in the comment box below! And in case you missed it, here's the line up:
Best Actor: Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day Lewis, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix
Best Actress: Jessica Chastain, Marion Cotillard, Jennifer Lawrence, Dame Helen Mirren, Emmaunelle Riva
For the full list details, see the BBC website, click here. The results will be announced at a glittering ceremony, taking place next month.
Did you know......
Here's a random piece of Hollywood trivia...... Australian film star Russell Crowe's family originally hail from the North Wales town of Wrexham! His great-grandfather was a respected businessman in the town in the early 20th century, but he emigrated to Canada with his wife and 12 of his children in 1925. One son, John, stayed behind to run the family business, but shortly afterwards emigrated to New Zealand and then Australia. John Crowe is Russell's grandfather....
And the town's Odeon cinema are offering tickets for Russell Crowe's latest BAFTA nominated movie Les Miserables, to anyone who can prove a family link to the Crowes! Better dig out that family tree!
Image by Leon Brocard on Wikimedia Commons

Monday, 7 January 2013

Most Bizzare Diets

Crazy Cabbages
Ok, so we're not usually ones for dieting here at the Oakeley Arms, but after the gorging over the festive season, we thought we'd better at least pay a nod to a new year healthy eating plan. And all this got us to thinking about the absolute worst, craziest and most bizarre diets in history. Who remembers the cabbage soup diet? And the tapeworm diet? Yep, they are as bad as they sound.......
Here's our list of diet disasters:
  • The Vinegar Diet - popularised by poet Byron in the early nineteenth cnetury, this diet involved drinking copious amounts of vinegar diluted in warm water, and not a lot else. Yum.
  • The Macrobiotic Diet - popular with celebs, this diet shuns all processed and refined foods, which in theory is not a bad idea. What makes this diet controversial is that some advocate taking up smoking, claiming that it's the toxins in food that make smoking bad for you, not the smoking itself.
  • The Tapeworm Diet - In the mid 1950's the idea that tapeworms living in a person's gut would chomp away on all the excess calories and fat really took hold. So much so that people frantically began eating the little mites in an effort to lose weight. It was later discovered that these hungry critters could also cause meningitis and seizures.
  • The Fruit Diet - Fruitarianism is extreme, and consists of yep, you guessed it, nothing but fruit. Some fruitarians believe that if it's good enough for Adam and Eve, it's good enough for us.....
  • The Snoozing Diet - in the 1960's a strange trend began to emerge in which dieters would sedate themselves so that they would sleep for several days at a time. It's hard to nibble when you're catching 40, or 400, winks!
  • The Cabbage Soup Diet - Fill your boots with yummy low calorie cabbage soup! That's pretty much all you're allowed on this diet. Results in a week can be radical, but that's hardly surprising. And be warned, severe flatulence is just one of the unpleasant side effects of this diet!
  • The Fag Diet - cigarettes were once revered for their appetite surpressing qualities, and were marketed as an alternative to fattening sweets and snacks.
  • The Bible Diet - this one's based on the idea that God allows some food and forbids others. And of course, there are healthy daily portions of prayer.
  • The Colour Diet - apparently, the colours red and yellow are said to stimulate and boost the appetite (coincidentally the colours of the world's largest fast food chain?) but blue hues are thought to surpress it. A Japanese company devised a pair of blue-tinted glasses that made food look unappealing, and so putting you off it!
  • The Chewing Diet - An American art dealer first came up with the idea of chewing his food 32 times, and then spitting out the remains. All the taste but none of the calories..... perhaps not one to try around the dinner table!
  • The Grapefruit Diet - or sometimes known as the Hollywood Diet, this one was a big hit with celebs in the 1970's. It involves eating LOADS of grapefruit, which is said to contain fat metabolising qualities, along with low carb foods such as meat and eggs.
  • The Inuit Diet - in the early 1900s, an Arctic explorer was so impressed with how healthy the Inuit people were despite their limited diet, that he brought the diet back to America with him. It consisted mainly of whale blubber, raw fish and reindeer.
  • The Cotton Wool Diet - a diet rumoured to be favoured by supermodels and fashion waifs, this one's a simple one. Replace real food with cotton wool balls, which expand in your belly and so fill you up. Delicious!
  • The Prolinn Diet - In 1970's America (of course...), a radical new diet emerged that involved total fasting apart from a daily glass of a miracle "juice" called Prolinn. This "delicious" drink was made from ground up animal bones, feet and muscles that had come from abbatoir waste. Bottoms up!

Image by By John Steven Fernandez from Toronto/Valparaiso, Canada/Chile (Grapefruit Splash) via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2013

Well, that's 2012 done! That went quick didn't it? So we thought we'd have a sneaky peek at the year that was and remind ourselves of the highlights of what was an awesome year....

The 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony
Image by Matt Lancashire on wikicommons

  • The Summer Olympics and Paralympics were held in London, with a record medal haul for team GB. We won 29 gold, 17 silver and 19 bronze medals, all of which were pressed at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales!
  • NASA's robotic space probe succesfully lands on Mars in August.
  • The Tokyo Skytree, the world's tallest self supporting tower block (at 634m high) was opened to the public in May.
  • Austrian Skydiver Felix Baumgartner is the first person ever to break the sound barrier without any machine assistance when he skydives from a ballon 24 miles above the earth!
  • Queen Elizabeth II celebrated the Diamond Jubilee - that's 60 years on the throne! There were loads of national events, as well as an extra bank holiday, thanks Liz!
  • Whitney Houston, Davy Jones, Donna Summer, Robin Gibb and Ravi Shankar are among the musical legends that sadly passed away in 2012.
  • Barak Obama secured another term at the White House.
  • The Spanish national football team were the champions at Euro 2012
  • And Wales were the winners of the annual Six Nations Rugby Union contest, yay!
  • The Wales Coast Path was officially opened in May, making Wales the only country in the world to have a path that circumnavigates it's entire coastline.
  • Adele, Reese Witherspoon, Megan Fox, Drew Barrymore, Chris Evans, Robbie Williams, Mark Owen, Uma Thurman, Kourtney Kardashian, Sienna Miller, Sophie Ellis Bextor and Jack Osborne are all celebrities who celebrated bouncing new baby additions this year.
And there's only one thing left to say here from all of us at the Oakeley........

image by ba1969 on sxc.hu