Battle of the blues

When it comes to battling the January blues, there’s only one person here that we would turn too, our spa manager, Fiona. So before she jetted off to warmer climates, we asked her for her tips and tricks to get us through to spring:

January – yuck! Every part of my body is freezing cold and if one more person tells me it is snowing outside I will scream! Instead of cocooning myself in multiple layers, hot water bottles and sleeping until it’s spring I thought that it was time to go back to what I love – wellness. I should be able to beat the January blues! If you feel like I do, try some of these simple steps and see if something shifts for you, if it doesn’t don’t worry, spring is around the corner….I can feel it in-between my freezing toes.

winterblues

Take Care of Yourself
This is the perfect time to have long relaxing aromatherapy baths, use your favourite face mask or exfoliate every inch of your body. A little pampering can go a long way this time of year.

Clarins Facial - small

Small Steps
If you feel like staying in bed all day do it, I know I would! One day of being super lazy can be comforting but it won’t do you much good in the long run. Taking small steps to lift your spirits will add up to big change over time. Get out in the fresh air (wrap up and head out for a walk), soak up the sun (if it’s out) and see your mood change in moments.

winter walks

Try a new recipe
I did this last week and what joy it can bring, share the meal with family or friends and you will feel better in no time. If you can avoid sugars and fats and find something balancing and satisfying it will leave you feeling healthier and brighter. If that doesn’t work, we’ve got free pudding!

MP Food2

Gratitude
Find something to be grateful for each day. Write it down, say it out loud, dance around the living room singing it – do what you need to do and enjoy it. Today I am grateful that I can go home to a warm house, enjoy a home cooked dinner and relax in front of the TV and maybe even a cheeky glass of red wine!

grateful-in-scrabble-tiles

Thanks Fiona, let’s hope the daffodils are just around the corner.

Panic Stations

We’ve just realised that we’re now a week into 2016 and we’re resolutionless!!

Nothing. Nada. Zilch!

We haven’t resolved to do a single thing for the entire year and, frankly, it’s just not good enough.

So, we’re just going to sit here and work through this thing together until it’s done…

cat gif

We need a coffee. Do you need a coffee? Let’s get a coffee.

coffee 2

Okay, that was delicious. Still got nothing though…

Wait, scratch that, we’ve got it!.. Twitter. Twitter will have the answer!

Both solid resolutions from Pakulu but not what you’d call ambitious. Or happy. We’ll keep looking…

This obviously isn’t an option. Onward…

Okay, so Twitter has failed us. But never fear, Cumberbatch is here…

sherlock gif

Damn it, Cumberbatch! You’re no help at all! Okay people, we’re on our own here. Let’s just take a deep breath and…

New Year’s Resolution 2016: Plan our blog posts in advance.

Nailed it.

Working out working in a working workout?

If you’ve not already grasped the topic of this post from that crystal clear title then come on already – you’re not working hard enough!

It is quite clearly a guest blog from our in-house personal trainer, Jacek, who’ll be talking you through some of the best ways to workout outside of the gym. Or, more specifically, exercises that are suitable for a workplace environment. So, if you are indeed working out the best way to work in a quick workout into your working day then stop it – you’re working too hard! Jacek has done all of that for you.

And now that we’re all thoroughly warmed up / confused, Jacek can begin…

Want the ‘New Year, New You’ resolution to stick this year? First you need to be willing to make small changes to your lifestyle. It’s that simple.

There are two main aspects here you have to think about: diet and exercise. You will not get great results if you do one without the other.

Diet tips

  • Cut the sugar (Mainly table sugar)
  • Cut the bad fats (Saturated/Trans)
  • Drink more water (2.5l)
  • Stop smoking/drinking
  • Increase the fruit and veg (5 a day)

Preparation is key! – Prepare your healthy lunch in advance and if necessary some healthy snacks so you don’t get drawn in by crisps and sweets (aka the devil).

Drinks – If possible, try not to put any sugar into your tea and coffee and avoid fizzy drinks. One can of Coke alone contains 35g of sugar (which is 10 tea spoons!) Water also plays a very important role in your body so make sure you drink at least 2.5l a day to keep the brain and organs hydrated. By doing so your metabolism will speed up helping to burn some extra calories – total freebie.

Time to quit – If you are a smoker or a drinker make sure you cut  down on both as they both slowly destroying your body from the inside (grim but true). Nicotine will have a negative effect on your heart and lungs. Alcohol will damage your liver and vision.

5-a-day – at least! As many greens as possible.

Bodyweight exercises

Body weight/resistance exercises will help you to tone-up the body, increase strength, increase flexibility and prevent injuries as well as improving balance.

The best part? You don’t have to go to a gym to do these exercises! If you’re an office bod or a busy mum these exercises are ones you can fit in to your day anytime, anywhere…

Do these exercises 15 reps x 4 sets/30sec-60sec    1 min rest between sets.

  • Press-ups

Perfect exercises to increase the strength in your chest muscles as well as triceps. Perform 4 sets of 15 repetitions for best results.

press 1press 2

  • The Desk Hold Squat

Time to bring the energy back to your legs by holding a squat while doing some typing on the computer. This exercise will help strengthen all the muscles in your legs, the quadriceps and hamstrings in particular. Hold for 30 – 60 seconds depending on ability.

squat 1 squat 2

  • Calf raises

Not many people realize how important these muscles are. They help to stabilize the foot while standing, walking or running. Perform them standing in front of your chair holding to the top of it and brining the heels of the ground. Perform 4 sets of 15 repetitions with a minute rest in between every set.

calf 2 calf 1

  • Knee Raise Abductor

Perfect exercise to work on your core muscles. This will help to strength up your abdominal muscles which will benefit in better posture in front of the commuter as well as increase the blood circulation around the body. 4 sets of 15 reps.

knee 1 knee 2 knee 3 knee 4

 

  • Triceps Dips

Lastly, time to work on those guns by doing some triceps dips using your office chair or a bench. Simply sit down on the chair with your hands close to the bum, both feet flat on the floor in front  you, slide the bum off  keeping the back close to the chair and drop yourself down keeping the elbows pointing to the back of the room. Then, using your arms, push yourself back up and repeat. 100 sets of 200 reps. Just kidding – 4 & 15 again.

tricep 1 tricep 2

Don’t forget about cardio…

The exercises below will improve your cardiovascular system by making the heart and lungs stronger, fitter and more efficient.

  • Jumping Jacks – By doing some jumping jack while waiting on the printer you will also burn some extra calories as well as deliver more oxygen to the brain.
  • High Knees – High knees can be performed any time, anywhere. This high intensity exercise can be performed while waiting on your morning cuppa to brew. The combination of both will definitely give you a good start of the day!
  • Mountain Climbers – Dropped something on the floor? Go down to pick it up and do some mountain climbers at the same time. This will bring your energy level up and might make you think about tidying your desk!

If you would like some more diet and exercise advice feel free to pop in and see me or become a member and enjoy the classes that we offer.

Thanks and good luck with the ‘new you’,

J

Our highs (and lows) of 2015!

2015 got off to a great start as we all, ever so briefly, believed in a magical land where lions could talk and we could all enjoy a brew and a biscuit with Mr Tumnus…

Lampost

BUT, then the snow melted and our dreams melted away with it

😭

Then we were named in the top 3 hotels in the UK by TripAdvisor and suddenly the world wasn’t so bad again.

Spring came and so naturally brought more snow with it…

Consistently inconsistent #ScotSpring weather today.. (these two clips filmed 20 minutes apart!)

A video posted by Crieff Hydro (@crieffhydroresort) on Mar 31, 2015 at 7:17am PDT

Then we told a despicable, unforgiveable lie on April Fool’s Day which we still feel just awful about.

Made it up to you with a few delicious BBQs though (you’re welcome)

bbq fb

Then DUCKIES!

Everyone stop whatever you’re doing – we’ve got duckies.. DUCKIES! #ducks #ducksofinstagram #cute

A photo posted by Crieff Hydro (@crieffhydroresort) on Jul 16, 2015 at 8:23am PDT

We went up the tower which was nice.

The view from our tower.. #nofilter #CrieffHydro #hydrohappy #sunshine #indiansummer A photo posted by Crieff Hydro (@crieffhydroresort) on Sep 30, 2015 at 9:31am PDT

And then enjoyed a candy cane filled Christmas! 🎅

Merry Crieffmas everyone! 🎅🏼

A photo posted by Crieff Hydro (@crieffhydroresort) on Dec 25, 2015 at 7:02am PST

 

Merry Boxing Day!

It’s one of our favourite days of the year.

The stress of feeding a swarm of family members – over. Desperately trying to remember whose present is whose after the cat has pulled of all the tags – forget about it. Having to carry your half-asleep partner to glory in the annual family game of Articulate – not today friend! Because today is Boxing Day.

turkey sandwich

Today is about leftover turkey and stuffing sandwiches. It’s about an afternoon hair of the dog. It’s about having the safety net of yesterday’s glorious Articulate victory to fall back on when you inevitably get bullied back into a rematch.

But above all else, it’s about the launch of our January Sale!

Rooms start from just £59. Fifty nine pounds. That’s cheap. That’s crazy cheap! Plus you get all this stuff included as standard…

  • A hearty Scottish breakfast
  • FREE access to our pool & gym
  • FREE Wi-Fi

But in case you’re not convinced we pulled together a few alternatives for you to consider at the same price:

  1. You could pay for someone to stand in line for you for 4hrs (no, seriously!)
  2. You could buy 236 Cadbury’s Freddos (we know this sounds fantastic but remember – just a few short years ago that would have been 590 Freddos… Damn you Cadbury, damn you!)
  3. Or, you could own 1 millionth of one of New York’s most expensive homes (that’s a whole two and a half square inches of real estate – about the size of your credit card!)

The choice is yours.

(If you’re not already filling your face with Freddos then you can find out more about our January Sale and book here.)

Turkey Tips

About now, the panic will be setting in. Have you got everything? Turkey – check, Brussels – check, roast potatoes – check, wine – check – did you remember to get sherry for Gran? I am sure we’ll have some somewhere.

Now about that Turkey, let the flapping begin.

Don’t panic – we’ve got a few tips to help along the way to perfecting the all important Christmas turkey and receiving that all important “”aaahhh” as you let the bird take centre stage on table.

The Basics

Does it fit in the oven? If it doesn’t then do you have a dishwasher? (Apparently an option but not recommended by us) If all else fails, you can always send Dad out to the BBQ!

Does it fit in the roasting tray? Do you even have a roasting tray?

Have you got a gravy boat? (A milk jug will do!)

Do you have enough seats for everyone? (Probably best to dust off the garden chairs just in case).

Crackers with awful jokes? (Our favourite – Knock, knock. Who’s there? Olive. Olive who? Olive the other reindeer (sorry))

Christmas-Crackers-2-3

The Bird

It’s best to get the turkey out of the fridge at least half an hour before you want to cook it. When you get the turkey out the fridge, it’s also a good idea to turn on the oven as well at about 180c.

Do you know its weight? – On this occasion, you’re to know this bird’s weight without the risk of getting a slap across the face. Try the kitchen scales or the bathroom scales if it’s a big one.
Based on the weight, you should then be able to work out how long it will take to cook. According to the British Turkey Information Service (who knew) if the turkey is over 4kg, calculate 20 mins per kg + 90 mins. If it’s on the smaller size, calculate 20mins per kg + 70mins.

To avoid the poisoning the family, make sure the juices from the bird run clear from the thigh.
The turkey will need to rest for an hour before carving (it has done a lot of work you know).

 

christmas-turkey

 

Now serve with lashings of gravy, mountain of roast potatoes, a few (or a lot) of brussel sports, lots pigs in blankets and dollop of stuffing for the ultimate Christmas dinner!

 

Merry Christmas everyone!

Elvish Arts & Crafts

Are your little elves driving you mad in the run up to Christmas? Are all the candy canes giving them a little too much festive energy? Don’t worry, we’ve got a guest post on the blog from Lisa, one of our Big Country team, who has an arts & crafts project to keep them busy in Santa’s workshop…

Fireplace & stockings

Big country blog 1

We love giving the kids in Big Country an arts & crafts project to get stuck in to (and sometimes we mean that quite literally – PVA glue everywhere!). Big Country’s always a fun environment to be in both for us and the kids but even more so around Christmas. Seeing all the kids getting in to the Christmas spirit brings us as much happiness as getting to run around covered head to toe in glitter brings them!

One of the projects we’ve lined up for the kids this festive season is to make a cozy fireplace with decorated (and let’s be realistic here, glittery!) stockings.

What you need:

  • Cardboard
  • Brown paint
  • Black paint
  • Yellow, orange & red crepe paper
  • Red card
  • Glitter
  • Sequins
  • Glue
  • Scissors

Step 1: The Fireplace

Take a large piece of cardboard and draw the outline of your fireplace (you can make it as simple or as detailed as you like to suit your child’s age and artistic ability). Using your scissors, carefully cut out your outline (be sure to not to cut away the space where the fire will sit).

Now paint your fireplace – use black as the background to the actual fireplace and brown for the sides and mantelpiece to give a wooden effect. Again, you can add additional detail to your fireplace frame if you would like to.

Set aside until completely dry.

Step 2: The Stockings 

Big country blog 2

Take the red card and draw the outline of your stocking, then take the scissors and carefully cut out your stocking. Use this as a stencil to draw around to create identical stockings (one for each member of your family).

Now, using the glue, glitter and sequins decorate your stockings to personalise them. Optional extra: a nice touch is to glue cotton wool along the top edge of your stocking to give the appearance of a fluffy inside. You could also use marker pen to write names, or just the first letter of your names, on the front of the stocking to personalise them further.

Set aside to dry.

Step 3: The Fire

Take the crepe paper and tear into strips of roughly 1-2 inches. then glue these on to your fireplace overlapping the different colours in different directions. You could also scrunch some of the paper up and glue towards the bottom of the strips to create the base of the fire.

Step 4: Final Touches

Glue the stockings along the Mantelpiece to complete your fireplace scene. Optional extra: Glue or staple a piece of string to the fireplace and then use this to attach the stocking to so that it give the appearance they’re hanging from the string.

 

Hey presto! You’ve got yourself one festive fireplace scene and some very happy children.

Dear Santa…

Our name is Crieff Hydro, we’re 147 years old and, not to brag but, we’ve been really good this year! Of course, there’s been the occasional slip up – a spilt coffee here and there, the odd queue at check-in and, yes, we might have tried to convince our guests that we’d be replacing all our beds with Waterbeds on April Fool’s Day – but, on the whole, just exemplary behaviour.

If you don’t believe us you can check our TripAdvisor page but there’s really no need because we wouldn’t lie to you Santa. We love you! So… we’re on the nice list, right?! Of course we are.

Anyway, let’s not beat around the bush any longer here Mr Claus – it’s wish list time!

  1. We might need to borrow a couple of reindeer next year… is that cool? It doesn’t have to be Rudolph. We’re not stupid Santa. We know his schedule is just chock-a-block with celebrity parties, carrot eating, probably a Whitehouse visit in the mix there somewhere. But how about a couple of the other guys? Are Dancer and Prancer available? What about Blitzen? Surely Blitzen has some room in his schedule!
  2. Next, we’re not sure whether this really comes under your remit or not but we have a couple of chefs in our kitchen – Nikki and Beth – and they make some insanely good sweet treats. Seriously Santa, if you ever get bored of Mrs Claus’ mince pies and the Christmas Eve milk and cookies then you should swing by the Winter Garden – there’s even a gingerbread Hydro!
    gingerbread house '15
    Anyway, the point is that we need you to make sure they never leave. Ever. Hypnosis, bribery, blackmail (maybe not blackmail)… we don’t care how Santa, just make it happen. We won’t give up those cakes without a fight.
  3. We’re going to need you to keep up the good work you’ve been doing at our Grotto – that one’s a no brainer. Thanks for talking your wife in to it this year as well, the kids love her.
  4. What else? Ooh! We need you to find our Toy Story 3 DVD because it’s getting ridiculous now and if we don’t find out what Woody, Buzz and the gang have been up to before Toy Story 4 comes out we’re going to be totally lost and there will be tears!
  5. Lastly, can you find out when this whisky was bottled for us? None of our guests know, Twitter failed us and our Stephen is beginning to give up hope!

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That’s all

We know you’re busy so we won’t take up any more of your time but just a gentle reminder to please just use the front entrance this year – it takes housekeeping hours to get the soot out of the carpet in the Highlandman Room!

We’ll leave the mince pie and carrots in the usual place.

Lots of love,

Crieff Hydro

X

A gingerbread tale…

Last year Crieff Hydro’s award winning chef, Bruce Price, was challenged by his twin brother (a leading pastry chef in New Zealand) to make a gingerbread house.  And (as you can see below) it was a great success!

gingerbread house '14

So, this year we gave 4 students from Stirling College the opportunity to take up the gingerbread challenge and they did not disappoint…

gingerbread house '15

A Brief Gingery History…

Gingerbread was brought to Europe in 992 by the Armenian monk Gregory of Nicopolis. He left Nicopolis Pompeii, to live in Bondaroy (France) and stayed for 7 years to teach Gingerbread cooking to French priests and Christians.  During the 13th century, it was brought to Sweden by German immigrants.

It was the custom to bake white biscuits and paint them as window decorations but it also known that Swedish nuns were baking gingerbread to ease indigestion.

The first documented trade of gingerbread biscuits dates to the 16th century, where they were sold in monasteries, pharmacies and town square farmers’ markets.

One hundred years later the town of Market Drayton in Shropshire became known for its gingerbread. The first recorded mention of gingerbread being baked in the town dates back to 1793 but Gingerbread became widely available in the 18th century.

DIY

Want to get in on the gingerbread action yourself? The look no further! Here’s the exact recipe our Bruce used to create his Gingerbread House last year.

Generosity Virus / Anti-virus

We’re not sure when the Hydro towers became a beacon for people with a generosity addiction but it’s happened. It. Has. Happened.

The last couple of weeks has seen generosity spread throughout our team like a virus, only with less headaches, upset tummies and moaning. A good virus. Maybe, it’s an anti-virus? This analogy isn’t working. It’s infectious! That’s the point we’re trying to make here. So, brace yourself because here comes a flood of examples…

Well, Well, Well

Last week, our Gardens and Accounts teams united to recover and then count up (we’ll let you figure out who did what) all of the change that had accumulated in the fountain at the front entrance and the wishing well in our Victorian Gardens. So, to anyone who made a wish for improvements to be made to the Crieff and Strathearn Rugby Club clubhouse, you can sleep soundly tonight knowing that we donated all £216 of change to that cause!

Pudsey People

CiN 2015

This time last week, our People team (with a little help from the chefs) were busy destroying diets all over the Hydro. Practically forcing this blog writer to enjoy a Pudsey cupcake and 2 delicious Pudsey shortbread biscuits! I’m not complaining however because firstly, as i believe I’ve mentioned, they were delicious. Secondly, given a choice between shortbread and comedy Pudsey ears I’ll take shortbread every time (in fact given a choice between shortbread and anything I’ll probably take shortbread. I love shortbread!). And thirdly, most importantly, it was all in the name of charity.

Cupcakes, shortbread, comedy ears, a raffle and a rowing competition = £597.90 for Children in Need

Big Trees, Big Difference

We’ve been working away behind the scenes to carve out and finalise our involvement in the Perthshire Big Tree Country project. And, without wanting to reveal all that we have planned, we’re pleased to say that we’ll soon be donating £1 from every booking we take to help protect and preserve the beautiful Perthshire countryside. Doesn’t sound like a lot? At our busiest periods we can welcome over 1000 guests through our doors in a single day so trust us, it’ll soon add up!

Heroic Levels of Generosity

IMG_0342

Each year around Christmas we welcome a whole load of kids, their families and their carers from the national charity that we love to support – Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (or CHAS for short). CHAS is the only charity in Scotland that provides vital hospice services for children and young people with life-shortening conditions. We like to give the kids a festive treat – a Christmas classic in our cinema, a festive lunch in the brasserie, a visit from Santa and then (not so festive) our team all get dressed up as superheroes and spend some time taking photos and having fun with the kids. This year is going to be bigger and better than ever. Not least because, and I’m not joking here, I’ve spent the entire year perfecting my batman voice. As long as the kids only ask questions that require me to say ‘Lie to me!’ or ‘I’m not wearing hockey pads’ then we’re going to be fine


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For news and events in Crieff, Perthshire.

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