North V. South: The Battle of the Poles

North V. South: The Battle of the Poles

Your breath feels like it freezes as soon as it leaves your lungs, your back and shoulders ache from carrying equipment for days and your legs are shaking – yet, somehow, you’ve never been happier.
Traveling to the Poles is the dream of many an adventure lover. These remote, inhospitable locations offer unique sights and experiences to those brave enough to venture towards their icy hearts.

 

Practicalities

For a first-timer, the safest and most practical way of embarking on a polar expedition is by joining an organised group. This way you can make the most of professional trekkers’ experience and truly enjoy the trip knowing you are in good hands. There are several good companies which specialise in polar expeditions so do your research to find one that suits your needs.

Which Pole if For You?

Teamwork and discipline are key during these trips and you’ll make lifelong friendships with those you cross the ice with. But which Pole is for you? North or South?

North V. South

A trip to the North Pole takes around three weeks and covers around 200km. To reach it, you must head out over the frozen depths of the Arctic Ocean. Underneath metres of ice is the freezing sea, so this ice moves! The drift of ice may work against you and the air is frustratingly humid so you must constantly work to keep your tent dry. Cold management is also a constant battle – keeping warm is key to survival.

Sound like fun? Other challenges include skiing against the drift of the ice and pulling your equipment hundreds of kilometres by sled…

Though these trips are hard work, you’ll have plenty of time to admire the stunning scenery as you’re not trying to win any awards. This trip is for you to gain a better knowledge of both yourself and the strange land surrounding you. A good polar expedition company will take their team at a steady pace, allowing you to absorb the misty mountains of ice and the overwhelming sense of isolation.

A trip to the South Pole is usually shorter, coming in at about a week and a half. Unlike the Arctic, the Antarctic is a continent. Underneath the ice there is firm ground so you won’t be battling ice drift here. The air is also extremely dry – the driest on earth in fact. These factors mean that habitation is possible at the South Pole. However, the Antarctic comes with its own challenges. The driving wind works with the immobile ice to create harsh ‘sastrugi’. These irregular ridges are difficult to walk on and navigate through – especially in the high altitude which can leave you breathless or dizzy. Of course, just like in the Arctic, keeping warm is difficult but essential.

Visitors to this remote region are left speechless by the icy wilderness stretching out endlessly before them, lit by the eerie 24-hour sun that never sets.

Though the Arctic and Antarctic offer very different experiences, the feeling of euphoria when you reach your goal is the same and unparalleled. How does it sound? Terrifying? Or thrilling? If the latter, a polar expedition might just be the perfect trip for you. Good luck!

Enjoy Christmas With the Children in La Plagne

Enjoy Christmas With the Children in La Plagne

Christmas decorations have started to appear in the shops, meaning that now’s the time to start preparations for the festive period (especially if you have little ones!). If you want to treat the family to a special Christmas and something a little different this year, then I highly recommend spending the holidays in the snowy La Plagne. Chalets serve as fan-tastic holiday havens, and there are many cosy and family-friendly ones to choose from. Additionally, the resort is always transformed into a winter wonderland. What could be better than a magical white Christmas?
I adore the holiday season in La Plagne, and families always seem to have an unforget-table celebration. Here is what you can expect over the Christmas period.

 

Atmosphere

It is impossible not to get caught up in festive excitement, as everybody is on their holiday and the entire area looks like something out of a Christmas film! This creates an electric atmosphere that simply cannot be matched back at home.

Decorations

Christmas decorations and lights are placed all over the resort, transforming the area and creating a festive vibe. There is also a gigantic Christmas tree in the centre, which will take your breath away.

Skiing

Skiing in La Plagne is an absolute must, and you can even do this on Christmas Day. It is a great way to get some exercise before indulging the rest of the day! The ski lifts and schools operate as normal, but there’s a unique atmosphere in the air. Be sure to look out for skiing Santas!

Christmas Events

La Plagne has many cheerful Christmas events that the whole family can enjoy. Im-merse yourself in the festivities by checking out a fun play or show, or spend time trawl-ing the bustling Christmas markets. Here you can discover all kinds of great gifts or find something tasty to eat.

Santa Visits

No Christmas is complete without seeing jolly old Saint Nick, and he always stops by on his sleigh to visit the kids and bring plenty of festive cheer (and presents, of course!).

Fireworks and Street Parades

Another reason that the atmosphere is so spirited is because wonderful street parades take place around La Plagne. These colourful, lively and often musical parades really unite the village and bring people together. There are also brilliant firework displays that are set against the stunning backdrop of the Alps and the twinkling blanket of stars above.

Restaurants

Need another fantastic motive for coming for Christmas? You don’t have to cook or wash up! Simply book a table at one of the many terrific restaurants, which have special festive menus with traditional dishes and all the trimmings. If you want to enjoy Christmas dinner at a restaurant, be sure to book in advance.

It gets better: the cosy accommodation is perfect for a snug Christmas in La Plagne. Chalet catering is available as well, which is convenient if you want to take a break from cooking and have all of your food taken care of.

Gifts

Whilst you may be able to find a few presents at the markets and around town, it is im-portant to be aware that the shops are quite limited, so it is best to bring your big presents with you.

Route Optimization – Routing Optimization Can Help Your Service Customers

Route Optimization – Routing Optimization Can Help Your Service Customers

If you love a business that route planning is often important so your service can reach customers on time, then route optimization is something you should consider first. Using a routing optimization software can make everything look very easy for you. It also helps you generate the best customer satisfaction that has become very important just for any business lately. Whether you are a general contractor, engineer, installer, technician or shipping professional, you really know how important it is to serve clients in time.
If you spend your free time for the first time, then there is always an opportunity for customers to switch to the next service provider. As a business owner, you definitely do not want to experience this kind of thing. When delivering services and products can keep customers happy and they will continue to trade with you in the long run. If there is a need to keep the customer intact, routing optimization can help you in many ways. So, before you choose route optimization, you first need to understand some of the underlying things related to it. Route Optimization – Routing Optimization Can Help Your Service Customers

Route optimization is something that can help a person determine the most appropriate and cost-effective route option. When you use routing optimization software, it becomes easier for you to find the shortest route between the two points. There are several relevant factors that need to be included for it such as the location and number of all stops that may fall through that route. There are several other things that can also affect the results of route optimization.

• The number of intersections and turns along the route • Traffic and stop signals • The nearest or best driver to make a delivery service on that route • Traffic jams that may occur during a certain time • The best access to stop on that route

This time you will experience applications that work in a better way to plan your route so customers can be served on time. Actually you can say that route optimization can help you to serve your customers quickly than ever before. If you have the best, most appropriate and shortest route at your fingertips, you can easily feel the difference within a few days. No matter what kind of business you do, if there is a need to serve customers on time, then Routing optimization can help you in many ways. This app is designed to do business on the go! Whether you’re online or offline, this route optimization app works the best way. When you’re offline, and making changes, it saves data that’s automatically changed on the device and once you’re online, the stored data is synchronized to the dedicated server. This makes it easy for you to know the changes you’ve made before. For this reason, the route optimization app can be useful to you at any time. Route Optimization – Routing Optimization Can Help Your Service Customers

It’s Worth Remembering That We Provide Truly National Service

It’s Worth Remembering That We Provide Truly National Service

London may be the UK’s economic epicentre by some distance, but it is far from the only part of the country with an ever-pressing requirement for the right restaurant and Bar Furniture and related refurbishment and fit out services.
While it may be easy for some of our competitors to concentrate all of their energies in the capital, that is not our own philosophy here at Design & Contracts – and it is reflected in everything that we have done to date, and everything that we continue to do for businesses like yours.

It’s Worth Remembering That We Provide Truly National Service

Why we aren’t just another London-centric furniture supplier

As trusted providers of furniture for all manner of establishments, we will always be proud of the many high-profile projects in London that we have successfully managed. However, we are not a London furniture supplier, and are instead very much a UK one.

Our own headquarters, after all, are in Ascot, Berkshire, and we recognise the critical role that bars, restaurants, cafes and similar businesses outside the capital make to the broader British economy, culture and public life.

This is reflected in the breadth of non-London organisations to which we have provided our bespoke services. They include the likes of the Reading University Students’ Union (RUSU), to which we supplied various colourful furniture to modernise the appearance of the entire premises, as well as Azuza in Bristol, which benefited from the supply of such items as PN Framed Tub Chairs, Nico 2 Seat Sofas and DC-0145 side chairs.

The Children’s Unit and Spinal Unit at Salisbury Hospital have also taken advantage of our services, the latter being graced by bespoke Dado modular seating from our Jive range and special height Tonda tables with Zebrano Kuadra chairs.

Across the UK, in fact – from the Real Eating Cafe in Witney to the Brasserie Rhone Restaurant in Old Woking – there are many non-London businesses that have placed their trust in Design & Contracts when in need of restaurant, cafe, office, nightclub or bar furniture or related services and expertise.

Contact us now to become one of our valued clients

When you wish for your business to play its part in Britain’s continuing great economic success story, there’s no need to look further than Design & Contract Furniture.

Enquire now to learn more about the contract furniture and other services that we can provide to help ensure that your bar, restaurant, cafe or similar firm enjoys a bright future – wherever it may be based in the UK. It’s Worth Remembering That We Provide Truly National Service

Ceramics and Châteaus: Discover Genteel Gien

Ceramics and Châteaus: Discover Genteel Gien

There’s little doubt that an essential element of all barge holidays in France is being able to dock at the myriad towns and villages that line the waterways and entice visitors in with their charms. As part of the itinerary of the hotel barge Renaissance, guests will be able to see the sights of Gien, renowned for its pottery and royal château.
Finding your Bearings

 

Prior to diving into the town, it is well worth disembarking on the south bank to take in the attractions of Gien all at once: from this vantage point, you can savour the spectacle of the river as it passes below the eighteenth-century bridge, under the watchful gaze of the sixteenth-century château.

Not even the loss of much of Gien’s historic buildings during World War II can detract from the pleasant view. Indeed, the painstaking and very convincing post-war reconstruction has done much to bury these ghosts of the past.

Marvel at Gien’s Pottery

Cultural exploration is an integral part of our barge holidays. In France, there are always abundant opportunities for the discerning traveller to discover regional produce, and Gien is no exception. The town has crafted a fine reputation for the calibre of its pottery, in particular for its Faïence pottery. Production began when Thomas Hall, an Englishman from Stoke-on-Trent who was intent on bringing high-quality English earthenware to France, established a factory in 1821.

In deciding to base his enterprise in Gien, Hall chose wisely, capitalising on the town’s physical amenities. The Sologne forest, which is in close proximity to Gien, provided a ready source of wood for the kilns. What’s more, the Loire granted access to markets throughout France (until water travel was superseded by the railways), in addition to providing sand and water for making clay.

While production continues to this day, the factory has also taken on a new guise as a museum dedicated to telling the story of the industry and shedding light on the making of these exquisite ceramics.

A Château Fit for Kings and Queens

There’s one more attraction that certainly merits a visit before you return to the hotel barge. Holidays in France are rarely complete without sojourning for a while at a château, and Gien’s has certainly welcomed its fair share of royal visitors. This elegant edifice was constructed for the use of Anne de Beaujeu, the daughter of Louis XI, in the final years of the fifteenth century. Future guests included Henri II and his wife Catherine de Médici, as well as Louis XIV, the famous ‘Sun King’.

Despite being bombed during World War II, the château was successfully restored. Since 1952, it’s housed a museum, which is dedicated to the most royal of pastimes: hunting. Through paintings, sculptures and an array of weapons and trophies from successful forays, the museum details how hunting and its depiction has developed through the centuries.

Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK’s most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury barge holidays in France. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.

3 Rugged Travel Cameras for Adventure Lovers

3 Rugged Travel Cameras for Adventure Lovers

Whether you love hanging out underwater or exploring the Amazonian jungle, in this day and age, we all want to record our experiences for posterity. Unfortunately, even the fanciest smartphone just doesn’t have what it takes to make it in the desert, or survive a dive into the depths of the ocean.
Why should you compromise on quality images, portability, or special features? Good news: you don’t have to! There are loads of brilliant travel cameras on the market specifically designed to survive challenging environments – as well as connect to WiFi, record stunning 4K videos and more.

 

Of course, not all travel cameras are created equal! Here are three of the best that will perfectly capture the moment allowing you to share your adventures with friends and family and create hundreds of jealousy-inducing social media posts!

TRAVELLER’S TIP: Just as essential as the gear is the gadget travel insurance to protect it. Check out Let’s Go Insure’s independent and super cheap gadget travel insurance to bag the best deal.

GoPro HERO5

The GoPro HERO5 is a seriously practical camera – the perfect all-rounder. Easy to slip into a pocket, the gadget is portable and light so it won’t slow you down. Though it has a one-touch record facility (super useful by the way!),an additional feature is voice command. With just a word you can begin filming instantaneously and you won’t miss a thing. This is also handy if the camera is mounted in a less accessible place, such as at the front of a helmet or the handlebars of a mountain bike! The rugged little camera is happy at depths of up to 33ft and records video in a sharp 4K.

Nikon COOLPIX W300

The Nikon COOLPIX W300 is particularly handy for those who love diving beneath the waves and want to capture what they see down there. It is waterproof to an impressive 100ft and its sleek design means it won’t hold you back during dives. The COOLPIX has a great vibration reduction feature allowing you to capture smoother video and sharper photographs. If you do fancy filming any marine wildlife, you won’t be disappointed by the footage as the camera shoots in 4K and Full HD. The COOLPIX W300 is a hardy gadget and is shock proof from over 2 metres.

Olympus Tough TG-5

This travel camera should appeal to the photography enthusiasts out there as there are a whole range of accessories and add-ons available. From cases to extra lenses, you can build your perfect camera and travel with a range of gear to suit the challenges of different environments. From lenses that increase the zoom up to 7 times to an F2.0 aperture lens for shooting on the go, this action gadget is a one-stop-shop for all your needs.

PHOTOGRAPHER’S TIP: Make sure to make the most of the Olympus Tough TG-5’s microscopic modes. These modes enable you to get up close and personal with nature and capture unique images in breath-taking detail.

With these inspiring travel cameras your holiday snaps will never again be dull – it’s time to get creative! And with Let’s Go Insure’s gadget travel insurance you’ll pay the minimum price for optimal cover of your precious purchase. Bon voyage!

This Diwali, flaunt your individualistic style

This Diwali, flaunt your individualistic style to make your home your haven. Team IAnD speaks to select design doyens to tell you how…

Are you deluged with ideas for the festive season; but most seem far-fetched or a little cumbersome to accomplish?! Well, here is a handy round-up of absolutely do-able stuff that will complement your personal aesthetics as well as your pocket!

 

Team IAnD sought the counsel of five designers, who’ve always exhibited an unrestrained style in all they do. Here are their expert inputs for you:

Shabnam Gupta of The Orangelane (known for turning quirk to flamboyance) says: A great way to enhance your abode this festive season is to start with the entryway. Adorning your door with some antique lamp or fun lampshade will instantly brighten up your space. Placing potted ferns, flowers and potpourri can also make a difference; or just adorn a pretty vase complementing it with aromatic candles.

Speaking of candles, designers Raseel Gujral of Casa Pop (known for her uninhibited décor style) and Prashant Chauhan of Zero9 (known for his classic sensitivity in stylising spaces) also recommend the inclusion of lots of candles around the home; some creatively carved to add intrigue and a touch of glamour!

Looking around your home, says Shabnam, rearrange the furniture, if you can. This itself will bring about a sea-change. Dig into stuff packed away and consider hanging the old kilim on the wall – simple; yet totally dramatic – this will add an inviting appeal to your living room or even bedroom.

Or if rearranging is not the option for you, says Nina Puri of Sanjay Puri Architects (known for her chic, understated balance in interiors), try draping an old dupatta or stole on one end of the sofa or even the bed; gives the room a new appeal. You can also throw in some colourful covers on your cushions and add to their numbers to create an inviting warmth in the interior; or even add in lots of indoor plants, pipes in Prashant Chauhan.

Accessorising is an all-important part of your décor and especially with the festive fervour, designer Priyanka P of PS Design (known for her remarkable touch of glamour to everyday settings), suggests that you go seasonal by taking a large urli and filling it with water and marigolds or even rose petals. Placed at the entrance, this is the warmest welcome you could essay for your guests. Also, she continues, try framing an old picture – maybe from your travels – in a large format, and use it add to a dramatic effect to the room.

Group accessories in an eclectic way, suggests Nina Puri; they can be combined to effect a narrative and create a pocket of interest in your décor.

Above all, preserve your individuality, when you are exploring latest trends and picking new designs to decorate your interiors, advises Raseel Gujral. Opt to uplift the mood of your interiors by making the space more lived in and young, rather than overstatedly decorated with too many loud pieces. Add life and vigour to your space with casually strewn cushions, creatively carved candles, decorative pieces drenched in pastels and bright colours and a lot of florals, she continues.  This Diwali, flaunt your individualistic style

Identify designs that allow you to channel your energy towards happiness. The simplicity of a breathable space is also often the pathway to establish peace in your home décor. Avoid adding too much noise to open spaces by incorporating too many elements to it. Choose to accentuate the minimalist taste with standout sculptures, intricately designed chandeliers and trunks, elegant jewellery boxes, glass crafts and lamps, concludes Raseel.

Our special thank-you to designer Nina Puri for having tailored this bespoke idea – exclusively for you – the readers of India Art n Design (dot) com.

Here’s the simply beautiful DIY that can uplift and add a spark to any décor: Take some differently sized glasses – any glasses – and turn them upside down. Below the glasses, feel free to add some bits of coloured paper, rose petals, confetti, coloured baubles…Now place your T-lights on

Cruising the Highlands in Style: The Caledonian Canal

Cruising the Highlands in Style: The Caledonian Canal

There’s no beauty in the world quite like that of the Scottish Highlands. The rugged landscape will take your breath away and make you eager to see more. One of the best ways to explore the wild side of Scotland is by water, and the Caledonian Canal is the finest route of all.
At 60 miles long, this waterway features 29 lochs, 10 bridges, 4 aqueducts and more incredible scenes of nature than you can count. The route connects the south-east of the country to the north-west, reaching from the charming town of Fort William all the way to Inverness. There’s plenty to do and see when you cruise Scotland: the awe-inspiring castles and famous whisky distilleries are sure to catch your attention.

 

You can sail in the shadow of royalty here. In 1873, Queen Victoria travelled on the canal, which has been extremely popular ever since. The canal’s stunning route makes it easy to see why Queen Victoria loved to cruise Scotland so much!

Thanks to James Watt, the inventor of the Watt steam engine, the idea of constructing the Caledonian Canal first surfaced in 1773. It aimed to connect the eastern and western sides of Scotland, providing work for locals and reducing the need to make a dangerous journey around the coast. The canal would enable all key lochs of the Great Glen could be connected, including Loch Ness, Loch Lochy and Loch Oich.

30 years later, the project was approved by the Scottish government and was led by Thomas Telford, a Scottish engineer. It was designed to run in an incredibly straight line along a geographical fault, and was supposedly a master class in engineering. However, the project missed its deadline by 12 years, taking 19 years to build in total, and also exceeded its budget.

This caused problems for ships that were previously designed to navigate the canal: by the time that it was finished, the ships’ designs were outdated and unsuitable. Although steamer ships with iron hulls were capable of sailing around the Scottish coast, these were too big for the waterway. As a result, while the project was visually impressive, it wasn’t quite the huge success that designers had hoped for.

Despite this, cruising along the Caledonian Canal is an amazing experience from start to finish. Among its many highlights is Neptune’s Staircase: as the longest stair lock in the UK, it takes an impressive 90 minutes for a barge to travel the distance of 500 yards, passing through 8 different locks and rising 70 feet in the process.

If rugged natural beauty, astounding industrial skill and authentic local history sounds like your idea of the perfect cruise, Scotland is the destination for you.

Paul Newman is the Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, the UK’s most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury canal holidays across Europe. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge holiday, whether you’re looking to cruise Scotland, France or Italy.

Private Tours from Falmouth Cruise Port, Jamaica

Private Tours from Falmouth Cruise Port, Jamaica

Private tours from Falmouth Jamaica is the best way of enjoying your short sojourn on the island. Falmouth located between the famous resort towns of Montego Bay and Ocho Rios is strategically placed. The port of Falmouth was developed by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in conjunction with the Government of Jamaica.
Founded in 1769, Falmouth has a colorful history. It was the first town in the western hemisphere to have piped water, and had the busiest port in Jamaica during the late 1800s to early 1900s.

 

If you will be arriving on a cruise at Falmouth, you are in a great position to choose from any of the many excursions available. Ocho Rios which is just 60 minutes east of the port is home to some of the best tourist attractions on the island. Excursions such as the Dunn’s River, Blue Hole Secret Falls, horse-back ride and swim and river tubing are just few.

Dunn’s River is the premier tourist attractions in Jamaica and it is one of those places that everyone should do at least once. Blue Hole on the other hand is another water falls but offer a totally different experience which most conclude to be better than the Dunns. Another great river activity is river tubing on the White River with water swift enough to give a bit of Adrenalin rush.

Montego Bay on the other side of the port is just 30 minutes away. Excursions such as Rose Hall Great House, Golfing on any of the many courses, shopping, Rockland Bird Sanctuary among other things. This is a once in a life time experience where one can hand feed humming birds that live in the wild.

Private Falmouth transportation to your favorite attractions is the way to go. In order to fully immerse in the culture one has to be able to control your times and this is what you get with a Private Falmouth Tours. Certainly there are organized shared service available from the cruise lines. However, I’m sure that you would agree that private tours with a local as the potential to be the much better than the cookie cutter type.

Pre-booked your private Shore Excursions and get the best out of your day. Plan well and save both time and money. Jamaica has something for everyone including you.

For Love Key: The History of the Waters

For Love Key: The History of the Waters

As a barge cruiser, the canal system is a complicated and balanced engineering feat. The keystone that supports this water channel is key. Whether run by key owners, followed up by barge owners, or controlled automatically by computer, the key allows fast and easy barge passage through the countryside. Without this engineering miracle, the canal trip is simply not possible. So, how is the key found and what exactly does it do?
When and Why Are They Invented? For Love Key: The History of the Waters

Rivers have long served as important trade and communication networks. However, this network is limited because the ship can not travel deep inland and it is very difficult to travel up through the river. The key, the invention that allowed the ship to gain or lose altitude, was developed by the Chinese in the tenth century and by the Dutch on the thirteenth. The initial “pound” key focuses on filling and drying small sized rooms, and facilitating the construction of the first independent waterway – or canal – that causes worldwide trade expansion. This arrangement also helps ships travel up or down in the domesticated rivers like the Thames.

This centuries-old invention is used today in some of the most important global trade routes – the Panama Canal, for example – and also allows for more relaxed travel, such as barge cruises. For Love Key: The History of the Waters

How do they work?

As we know, this technical miracle is designed to help boats upstream or downstream. If a ship wants to travel upstream, first the bottom gate should be opened so as to let the key drain. Next, the bottom door opened, and the boat could enter the room. After the gates of the lower and lower gates of the water gate are closed, the gate of the upper water door is opened, the water flows in and the water level rises. The boat is gently lifted to the next level and the top door can be opened safely, so the ship can continue its journey. Once again the same process occurs, but vice versa.

Getting Technical: Flights and Ladders

Engineers working with channels often have to cope with sudden changes. This can often not be handled with a single key, leading to a common feature of a channel called ‘flight’. This term refers to a group of 30 keys adjacent to each other, but with a sufficiently wide range between allowing the ship to pass each other. They gradually raise or lower the barge to the appropriate level. Since each room uses water from the above, the flight uses the same amount of water as a single key.

The more popular setting is the stairs; Here the top gate of one room acts as the lower gate above. To help with this process, the side pool is used to adjust the level perfectly in the upper and lower spaces. Of course, the best way to appreciate this amazing engineering feat is from the gentle barge cruise deck.

Paul Newman is a Marketing and E-Systems Executive for European Waterways, France’s most respected luxury all-inclusive cruise liner provider and other major destinations. Part of an experienced barge team, Paul first queued to support a slow-paced barging cruise facility for anyone looking for a unique holiday experience. For Love Key: The History of the Waters