The great outdoors

Is this the most remote hotel in the world?

Thinking of escaping the ‘rat race’?  Then you can’t get much further than this… a remote hotel in Greenland which is 500 miles from anywhere.

The settlement of Ittoqqortoormiit [CORR] in East Greenland has a buzzing population of 450 people – and the odd polar bear.

It takes three flights and a helicopter ride to travel the 1,486 miles from London and frequently posts temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius, making it one of the coldest places on earth.

However, the tiny town offers front-row seats to the cosmic display of Aurora Borealis – also known as the Northern Lights.

It’s also the gateway to the National Park of North-East Greenland, which is the biggest national park in the world.

Hotels.com is offering to stump up 99% of the hotel stay for any traveller hardy enough to make the journey in March 2019.

Newly-appointed Hotels.com president Adam Jay, who is an adventurer himself, said: “Greenland as a destination is really hotting up – even though it’s minus 20 most of the time – as today’s travellers are seeking those rewarding, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

“This stunning peninsula is an epic bucket-list destination where you can go sledding with wolves, kayaking in the Arctic and maybe see the Northern Lights from your room.

“It’s truly spectacular and the best bit is – we’re picking up most of the room tab.”

The town neighbours the entry to one of the world’s largest and deepest multi-branched fjord system, Scoresby Sound.

From here, visitors can hop on a local tall-ship and sail past icebergs and glaciers, spotting some seals and whales along the way.

According to data gleaned from searches through Hotels.com, 2018 has seen an 18% increase in searches for off-the-grid travel.

And searches specific to Greenland have increased by over 50% compared to last year.

Claim 99% off a stay in March 2019

The coupon code for the Ittoqqortoormiit Guesthouse is exclusive to Hotels.com and is available to book now until 31 December 2018 (subject to very limited availability), for stays in March 2019 only.

Just apply coupon code ‘REMOTE’ at check out.

The great outdoors

Revealed: The hottest fitness trends for 2019

As we enter another festive season of decadence and over-indulgence, some are already planning on how they can shift the extra pounds in the New Year, Nextatlas, a technology company that utilises artificial intelligence (AI) to spot trends before they become mainstream, has revealed the top five emerging trends in health and fitness.

‘Wellness’ and ‘recovery’ both play a key role in 2019, with a profound focus on low impact exercise and healthy minds. In order of strength, the key findings reveal the following fitness trends for the year ahead:

  1. Active Recovery Workout – new and traditional practices that focus on body awareness, recovery, and healthy mind-sets are emerging across the UK and USA.
  2. Low Impact Exercises – there has been a slow move away from high-intensity workouts this year, which will grow into 2019 towards more considered and mindful exercise, such as LISS (low-impact steady state) and HILIT (high-intensity low-impact training).
  3. Barre Workouts – following on from this, Barre classes focus on improving core strength and enhancing flexibility by performing isometric exercises and small movements.
  4. Wellness Festivals – over the past three years, wellness festivals, such as Edinburgh Wellbeing Festival, have become big business and this will grow even more in 2019.​
  5. Smart Clothing – from biometric measurement for an enhanced workout, to self-regulating materials that adapt to temperature, consumers will increasingly turn to wearable technology to enhance their workouts.

Mario Coletti, UK Managing Director of Nextatlas, explains: “The continued focus of well-being and mindfulness will evolve next year, showing people’s strong desire to take a holistic approach to fitness, whilst protecting both the body and mind. In particular, low-impact exercise and a focus on recovery will play a critical role in workouts in 2019, particularly through modern classes, such as Barre.

“Unsurprisingly, the uptake of technology in sport and fitness will also increase next year. This aligns with the broader movement we are seeing in ‘science-backed’ health and beauty. People want to understand how their bodies function and how to get the most out of their workouts; the adoption of smart clothing in the fitness sector will enable this on a much broader scale.”

Nextatlas constantly monitors the online world to spot emerging trends and is used by a number of high-profile brands. The platform uses clever algorithms and advanced AI to track social, consumer and online data, enabling it to quickly spot the next cultural movements and trend shifts before they actually happen.

The great outdoors

Make your own all-natural shortbread that pairs perfectly with a cup of tea

Love shortbread? Then you’ll love these!

Pinnies and Poppy Seeds artisan bakery in Edinburgh has teamed up with Scottish Blend to develop five special shortbread flavours to celebrate St Andrews Day (Friday, 30 November).

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Owner and shortbread maker extraordinaire Jennifer Hunter has created a set of five bespoke shortbreads to perfectly compliment Scottish Blend tea, which is blended specifically for Scottish water.

The flavours are: Haggis Spice, Irn Bru, Raspberry & Oat, Cracked Black Pepper & Crowdie, and Scottish Tablet.

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All recipes combine a traditional method with a twist and are quick and easy to make, so you can have a go at recreating them yourself! Download the recipes here 

The great outdoors

Why 2019 could be the year of witchcraft…

Witchcraft isn’t just for Halloween, it’s a growing trend that’s here to stay, says Centre of Excellence founder Sara Lou-Ann Jones

Although the Centre of Excellence offers more than 1,000 online courses on all sorts of topics – from candle making and yoga, to life coaching and beauty therapy – it’s the psychic and supernatural courses which have really soared in popularity in 2018, says founder Sara Lou-Ann Jones.

According to Sara, the appetite for Wicca (boosted by the #wicca and #witchesofinstagram hashtags on Instagram, which now have more than 1.8 million and nearly 2 million posts respectively) shows no signs of slowing down.

“Our psychic and supernatural courses are doing phenomenally well this year, with 20,000 sold in the past six months alone,” says Sara.

“Learning more about alternative medicines, treatments and spirituality has never been so popular and I predict the trend is set to continue to rise in 2019.”

The best-selling Centre of Excellence psychic and supernatural courses this year are:

  • Wicca and Advanced Wicca Diploma Courses (combined)
  • Psychic Development Diploma Course
  • Palmistry Diploma Course
  • Hedgewitchery Diploma and Audio Courses
  • Psychotropic Plants Diploma Course
  • Magical Herbalism Diploma Course
  • Kitchen Witchery Diploma and Audio Courses
The great outdoors

How to set up an Autumn-themed nature table

A nature setting to suit the seasons – Emily Hamalainen of Little Acorns Early Years talks about the educational and therapeutic benefits of setting up a nature table at home 

As shades of Autumn start to appear and nature transforms itself so vividly, what better way to help children contextualise and reinforce these seasonal changes than with a nature setting within our homes?

A nature setting might be on a window sill, a shelf or a side table – anywhere children can easily see it. The great thing about a nature setting is that it can include anything at all found on your nature walks – pinecones, stones, or bits of bark, for example. We even had a snake skin on ours that our daughter found on holiday.

It’s also nice to use a light cloth hung up as a back drop in a colour to suit the season and a candle or vase filled with flowers or seed heads as a focal point.

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As Autumn arrives, here’s an example of what you might find on a nature table:

          Burnt orange muslin cloth draped over a side table

          Conkers and their spikey husks

          Leaves of varying changing colours

          A beeswax candle (lit when supervised)

          Various seed heads in a vase

          Feathers, stones, moss and other woodland finds

If your nature setting starts to become cluttered or untidy with your children’s enthusiasm for collecting and one season changes to the next, you can reorganise it with a fresh backdrop to suit the season, fresh seasonal foliage in a vase and a gentle tidy. The setting will naturally evolve visually as you add items with the changing season.

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Now when your little one so keenly give you their array of ‘presents’ and ‘treasures’ they’ve found in nature, you can show your thanks by placing them pride of place on your nature setting. For children this brings them so much joy – helping them to feel valued and reinforce their love of the great outdoors. Not only that, it also conjures up questions from deep within- ‘mummy, why are conkers so spikey on the outside and smooth on the inside?’, ‘daddy, why do bees like flowers so much?’ and can even become an aid in story telling. Learning through nature makes learning all the more fun!

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The nature setting is a place of beauty where you can create a still life of a moment in time but even more than that, it’s also a tool for inspiring your child’s imagination and bringing the world around them truly alive!

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Emily Hamalainen is the co-founder and group leader of Little Acorns Early Years, which provides Waldorf Steiner and nature-inspired learning opportunities in Ayr.

Find out more about the work of Little Acorns Early Years in the October/November 2018 issue of Holistic Scotland Magazine.

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