The Dry January Challenge

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Alcohol and Ulcerative Colitis” by Kimery Davis, licenced under CC BY 2.0

So, you managed to escape pickling your liver over the Christmas season and now here is January, a new month and a New Year. The big question is – how are you going to make the most of it? You may not be a ‘new year’s resolutions’ type of person, but one thing that does tend to grab people’s attention is Dry January. You might not even be a big drinker, but if you are and you can abstain for the entire month of January, you could raise a lot of money to benefit a whole bunch of charities.

How it works

Well, there’s not a strict rule, and it’s not an official thing—yet. Many people simply save the money they would have spent on alcohol and donate this to their chosen charity. You can also raise money by getting your friends and family to sponsor you for every day you choose to not drink alcohol for the entire month. You can ask for a pound for every day, a set amount for the month or any other combination therefore. At the end of the month, you collect on your promise—so long as you have been good—and then donate the proceeds to a charity of your choice. There is also a website, where you can sign up and commit to staying dry for the whole month or donate to support it.

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Loch Ness from Fort Augustus Scotland” by Dave Conner, licenced under CC BY 2.0

Have a break after your hard work

If you want to help yourself succeed even more, why not set yourself a tempting reward at the end of the month as a treat for your hard work? A spa weekend at the Kingsmills Hotel Inverness can allow you to literally wash the stress away. Alternatively, if you fancy staying in London, why not experience 5-star food heaven at the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington? You can then walk off your dinner with a stroll through Kensington Palace Gardens.

If you are still stuck for ideas, there is always the luxurious Perfect Manors Scotland and their array or luxury accommodation that can help you get out of town for a while. Go on, indulge, you’ve earned it.

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International Spotlight: Disney on the Run

Best UK Hotels has it on good authority that the happiest place on earth is about to become the fittest place on earth with the approaching date of the Disney World Marathon 2015. If you haven’t already got your entry sorted out, you might want to hurry up because spaces are extremely limited if not already sold out. If you don’t intend to run in the marathon, you can always find an excuse to fly to Florida and support the entrants as they attempt the 26.2 mile run on January 11th.

disney-marathon-mickey-high-fiveMickey High Give” by Joseph Brent, licenced under CC BY-SA 2.0

Disney Marathon and the Course

The Disney Marathon is not just any marathon, and that is why it is almost as popular as the London marathon. The Disney Marathon is set on a course of 26.2 miles straight through the all four of the Walt Disney World theme parks. It also includes ESPN Wide World of Sports and the Walt Disney Speedway. There will of course be free refreshments to keep you going during the marathon and a live runner tracking facility that allows your friends and family to cheer you on no matter what point of the course you are at. You get the benefit of moral support as many of the famous Disney characters jog alongside you on the course and help you enjoy some course-wide entertainment. If you stay at the Disney resort, you will also get complementary transportation to the event.

After the Run

Once the marathon is over you can enter the ‘cool down party’ and enjoy some wonderful Disney entertainment. The participants will each receive a “tech” shirt, a finisher medal, digital official event guide and a personalised website to share your results.

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Rachel Booth Winning Disneyland 1/2 Marathon” by Wikimedia 

Time and a Half

If you cannot participate in the full marathon, you can enter for the half marathon on 10th January instead. Again, if places are full, why not just check out Talkholiday for some spectacular bargains on Florida flights and hotels to enjoy a winter sun holiday? This will be great for helping you decide whether or not to take part next year.

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On the Third Day of Christmas…

…we had nothing to do. That is the trouble with that little period in between Christmas and New Year, it’s a bit of a dead spot. Christmas presents are opened, Boxing Day is over and there’s that little wait where it can feel as though you are on a hiatus. As Best UK Hotels we have come up with some ways to help you think of things to do during that downtime. You might even want to include staying away until after the New Year if you in the perfect place to celebrate it.

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Winter Wonderland” by Bert Kaufmann, licenced under CC BY-SA 2.0

1) Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington

Take a trip to London and book a luxurious room at the Royal Garden Hotel for a real treat. You might get some great deals on London shopping as the sales start and pick up some excellent goodies. The Royal Garden Hotel is a five star hotel based in the heart of London’s Kensington, within a stone’s throw of Kensington Palace Gardens.

2) Perfect Manors

Get ready to escape from the ordinary life and enter the world of opulence and luxury in the divine setting of Perfect Manors. Perfect Manors is the gateway to a peaceful and quiet experience in the countryside or overseas, with locations in Scotland and Antigua.

3) The Kingsmills Hotel

Inverness at its very best, Kingsmills Hotel is a luxurious setting, perfect for that Highland getaway and a relaxing experience away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. Inverness offers spectacular shopping and all the advantages of the high street stores without the crowds.

Getting away between Christmas and New Year is a splendid way to recharge your batteries and enjoy some quiet time before heading back for the New Year celebrations. Look out for “Twixmas” deals on a number of different hotel websites.

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Celebrating More Than Scotland on Burns Night

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From its own Gaelic language to its distinctive English dialects and traditions, Scotland is one of the richest and most culturally interesting countries to visit. Covering many different areas, Scotland is home to some of the most famous heroes in history, including war heroes and classical and literary heroes.

One such literary hero was Robert Burns who was born in Alloway, Ayrshire on January 25th, 1759. He was the oldest of his six siblings and son to William Burnes—note the slight difference in spelling. Robert Burns changed the spelling of his surname later in life as he preferred the Ayrshire spelling.

His Poetry and Works

William Burnes was self-educated, and he imparted his knowledge—albeit in limited—to Robert, who grew into a curious and interested young fellow. After some minor periods of work and skilled learning, Burns met Captain Richard Brown, who saw something poetic in him and encouraged him to write poetry. Burns took up the suggestion, and whilst his father entered a legal battle with the landlord, Burns began his ‘commonplace book’.

Burns was only thirty-seven when he passed away, and there are many theories as to this possible passing, but no actual medical reason has ever been disclosed. Perhaps this mystery is what has added to Burns’ reputation over the years as a philanderer and drunkard, but nonetheless adding to his charm and retrospective charisma. His poetry has left its mark on the world, especially ‘Auld Lang Syne’, sung every New Year around the world. Also, his ‘Address to a haggis’ has become synonymous with the Burns’ Night celebrations, held on his birthday each year, and the poem read out during the festivities.

The Kingsmills Hotel—where Burns stayed on occasion—hosts a wonderful Burns’ Night celebration each year, and it is well worth a trip to spend the night there. You’ll enjoy a great stay in a wonderfully Scottish surrounding and return home full of the passion of Scottish poetry.

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Escape for New Year

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New Year Eve 2007” by S Pakhrin, licenced  under CC BY 2.0

Around the world, there are many hundreds of ways to celebrate bringing in the New Year. The UK usually awaits the ringing of Big Ben striking midnight, when all the crowds cheer and the country rings out in unison and celebration. In Sydney, Australia however, they light up the Opera House amidst cheers and music.

Welcoming 2015 with Class and Style

However, in Italy, especially Puglia you will find a much more classy and demure setting for welcoming the New Year. You can welcome 2015 in style at Borgo Egnazia with a special four night stay that allows you to experience the traditional Puglian charm.

At Borgo Egnazia, they offer a warm welcome and a New Year’s Day brunch with a special performance of the ‘Living Nativity’, showcased in Puglian tradition and performed by local artists. This takes place at Lama del Trappeto, just a short journey from Borgo Egnazia. This special New Year package includes free access to Vair spa and two free rounds of golf at the world renowned San Domenico golf course.

borgo-egnazia-skylineBorgo Egnazia

 

Across the Pond—Both ways

Alternatively, you could hop over the pond and visit New York. See the glitter ball drop in Times Square and stay on Coney Island to enjoy the sights of New York as never before. New York has a host of fun and exciting things to attract visitors, just check out Talkholiday for the best deals on hotels and attraction tickets.

If a big city doesn’t take your fancy, head the other way for a break in Thailand. The Tubkaak Resort is waiting to welcome you with open arms. This excellent resort has all the opulence and luxury you could ever dream of, helping you see in the New Year in style. Enjoy the sea view or a garden view in the room of your choice, along with some of the most exotic and beautifully presented foods in the world.

 

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January Sales in Scotland—Surprise yourself

Thinking of somewhere to go to take advantage of the January sales? Enjoy a retail therapy break in Edinburgh and take in one of the best shopping cities in the UK. Edinburgh is a mere few hours from London on a train and less than an hour by air. It is calm, picturesque and quiet, with an abundance of shops stocked and ready for sale shoppers. You will find Scotland’s only Harvey Nichols store right in the heart of Edinburgh, along with the city’s oldest department store Jenners. You will also find all the major retailers that you are used to seeing on the high street.

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Marchbrae Clothing and other shops” by Romtomtom, licenced under CC BY 2.0

 

Scotland and Shopping

A shopping trip in Scotland can be a great way to combine a weekend away with a bargain hunting trip. Stay at Parliament House Hotel or The Dunstane, in Edinburgh city centre for easy and quick access to the shops. Buy all your winter woollies on The Royal Mile and treat yourself to a tartan kilt in one of the traditional stores. There really is more to shopping in Scotland than you thought!

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Sunday Shoppers” by John, licenced under CC BY-SA 2.0

Day Trip to Glasgow

If you are staying in Edinburgh, don’t forget to hop a train across to Glasgow for a day of shopping there too. Take a trip along the “Style Mile” and experience over 1,500 shops, many of which are exclusive to Glasgow. You will find the three floored Forever 21 here which is the US brand’s first store in Scotland and one of only six stores in the UK. You are sure to find a unique bargain!

After a long day shopping, head back to Edinburgh to enjoy a lovely meal at the hotel restaurants of Parliament House or The Dunstane before getting a good night’s sleep, ready to do it all again in the morning.

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