Let the Summer of Events Begin!

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Image: http://www.fabulousferns.com/graduation/

Alas the time for throwing caps or confetti in the air is nearing as we approach one of the busiest events season after Christmas: summer. With the sun hopefully making a glorious appearance, it is the time for all manner of exciting fun and celebrations with the jubilant spirit rising high due to an influx of graduations, prize-givings, weddings and just the general vibrancy of the summer spirit. Yes, alongside the refreshing taste of poolside cocktails or that nostalgic smell of sunlotion, other senses that characterise the glorious summer festivities include rapturous audience applause, the sights of black mortar boards flying through the air and the sequins, sparkles and lace embellishing an array of specially bought outfits.  Synonymous with these events are family and friends because who better to celebrate these momentous occasions with than with your nearest and dearest?! However, for those of us with the slightly more extended families, we all know the struggle and expense of trying to accommodate everyone in alternative options such as hotels, or in enduring the stress and strain of having everyone located under the one roof. Therefore, we have the perfect solution to keep the celebrations just as joyous and jubilant as they should be – serviced apartments.

Capable of holding up to six persons, serviced apartments are perfect when you need to accommodate family members of all sizes and ages. There is nothing worse than the feeling of booking family somewhere impersonal to stay, however complete with modern, fully-equipped kitchens and lounges, our apartments have the perfect home from home feel. Therefore, instead of having everyone cramped under the one roof, fighting over kitchen utensils, the remote and most importantly, the bathroom, you can have them stay in their own apartment where they can even have up to two-bathrooms. Likewise, there is no one having to stay on uncomfortable and unreliable air mattresses or on the lumpy couch, because our de-luxe apartments can hold up to six persons and can include two bedrooms complete with either double or twin beds. Available with cots and high-chairs on requests, our apartments can truly enable anyone to stay so whether it is young or older family members, all are more than welcome!

Being located in major city destinations such as Aberdeen, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh which are renowned for their multitudes of stunning event backdrops or their prestigious educational institutes, it is undeniable that they are right in the centre of the events season. Therefore, with our apartments being conveniently located right in the city centres and our Aberdeen location in particular having its own car park, you do not have to worry about them struggling to make their way to the venue as they are surrounded by all the transport links they could need. This also means your family and friends can make the most of their stay by experiencing all the action on the doorstep, whether that is the dynamic food, attractions and sights that typify our locations, because why just come for the one day – make it into a cheeky city break.

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Although located in major bustling city destinations, the high prices often associated with that can be negated as serviced apartments are a cost-effective alternative. As mentioned, our apartments are capable of holding up to six persons and therefore as you pay per apartment, and not per person, you can make significant cost-savings while having increased space over traditional options. It is a win-win situation all around! Likewise, further savings can be made when you consider how our apartments include a fully-equipped kitchen as well as washing machines and tumble-dryers meaning that if any last-minute outfit mishaps occur, our apartments are adorned with the necessary equipment to handle it without reverting to expensive laundry services. Moreover, if any of your friends or family have any unique dietary requirements, they can satisfy these requirements and save money by shrimping on restaurant bills and making their own meals.

Weddings, graduations and prize-givings – you want to remember them for the right reasons; not for arduous stress and drama. Therefore, to ensure the ultimate special occasion which lives on in the memory and heart, make sure to book at www.thespires.co.uk

*Disclaimer: in order to enable maximum comfort and to provide the perfect night’s sleep for all our guests, parties or large gatherings are strictly prohibited under our policy

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There is No Place like Home

Some questions, such as in mathematics, have a set answer to which it can only be classified as right or wrong. However, some questions are a bit more subjective and can have any number of potential responses. The question on our lips today falls more into the latter category unless you can tell me otherwise that there is a definitively correct answer to the question; where is home to you? The reason behind the subjectivity of this simple question is that it is an incredibly personal question which will undoubtedly garner a whole host of varying answers. No one person will have the same answer as the other, particularly if you answer the question with a very specific answer that details the exact house number, street and postcode of the residence in which you can currently inhabit (which is probably what the dictionary definition would have you do).

When it comes to thinking about where home is, a saying that typically comes to mind is “home is where the heart is” reflecting that sense of how a home is somewhere you belong-where you can be yourself. Consequently, it conjures associations that a home is where your nearest and dearest are, such as your family and friends, because it is those who you should feel the ability to be yourself with and where you feel safe. Home could be where the true essence of you lies and is that one place you can rely on. Maybe it is not even a particular place; maybe it is more abstract and is your country of residence or even a person. Similarly, it is also said that “a house is not a home” which also goes to reflect how a home is not necessarily a physical object, it is more of a feeling or a sentiment. Therefore, a home does not have to be a permanent building; we can make it wherever we go as there is more to it than just bricks and cement.

Why am I getting all philosophical on this Friday afternoon? Well, recently I have taken to uploading old (maybe it is more fashionable to say vintage) videos of The Spires and one that particularly caught my attention was one where we asked 50 people one supposedly simple question: where is home? To us at The Spires, home is so important because obviously we are part of the hospitality industry and therefore no matter how briefly our guests stay, we want our apartments to feel like a home to them. Some of our guests can stay for multiple months due to a business project or even just due to a temporary relocation, and so in these cases it is even more critical for us to make our guests feel like The Spires is their home away from home. That is why we fit our apartments with fully-equipped kitchens; spacious lounges; comfy beds and a familial decorative touch so as to create a warm, inviting atmosphere which guests feel comfortable in and are excited to return to. The atmosphere that an apartment provides cannot be matched by that of a hotel where due to the limited space and freedom, it is incredibly hard to make your room your own and feel fully comfortable there.

Consequently, I hope you all enjoy watching the video (which you can view here: https://www.facebook.com/TheSpiresSuites/videos)  and that it causes you to ponder where exactly home is to you to the same extent that it has to me. On that note, I suppose it is only fair and fitting for me to finish off by providing my own answer to our pressing question of the day. To me, home is a safe haven and is that aforementioned feeling of belonging. Consequently, in my perspective, you can have more than one home as there are numerous places and persons with whom you can go home to at the end of the day and feel totally free and comfortable. Whatever it means to you, there is no denying the importance of the concept of the home. Therefore, I hope that no matter who you are or where you are, somewhere or someone is a home to you because as that old saying from the Wizard of Oz goes; there is no place like home.

P.S. We cannot help but love this response as to where home is…

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Image: http://weknowmemes.com/

Image:  www.digitalclaritygroup.com

Bollywood Meets the North-East

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Seeing as The Spires Serviced Apartments is based in Aberdeen, we thought it made a rather fitting start to begin our Bollywood series by focusing on the connection between our favourite Granite City and Bollywood.

It was a rather surprising fact to us here at The Spires that not only have numerous Bollywood movies been filmed in Scotland, but one was actually filmed in our very own city of Aberdeen. We tell no lies, Aberdeen city centre briefly featured in Main Solah Baras Ki, a 1998 film directed by Dev Anand about a director looking for the perfect star for his feature movie leading him to embark on a romantic adventure that takes him all the way to Scotland; and Aberdeen! Sites featured in the movie include everyone’s favourite high street, Union Street (points if you recognised it in the photo posted below!), as well as Back Wynd Stairs, Union Bridge and St. Nicholas Centre.

Main Solah Baras Ki also was filmed at Loch Ness; Urquhart Castle and Drumnadrochit: Nessieland. Further filming also took place at the Inverness castle/esplanade where famous Bollywood actress Sabrina, the leading lady, sang on a bench and on the high street. Another Bollywood movie to feature Inverness and Loch Ness was the contemporary thriller Three: Love Lies Betrayal which filmed at similar sites as Main Solah Baras Ki well as Inverness Town House. Jacobite cruises also made an appearance with the main characters sailing across the lake.

If you fancy living some of the action and romance from Main Solah Baras Ki, why not make a trip out of it! Stay with us, The Spires Serviced Apartments, for the Aberdeen venture of the journey and we can help you source accommodation while you carry out the Inverness leg. While you are here in Aberdeen, why not take a one-hour daytrip to Montrose and its coast which was featured in Cape Karma, a 2007 Bollywood thriller focused on the turmoil of a men who fell in love with a married woman? The Indian Cottage and the George hotel, as well as some of the Dunninald Estate, acted as backdrops to the thrills.

Similarly, take day-trips to Dundee where further action in Cape Karma unfolded. Alternatively, venture out to Edzell, where Aarzoo, a 1999 movie, used The Glenesk Lodge and Inglis Memorial Hall as the setting for the lead character’s home, played by no other than acclaimed Bollywood star; Madhuri Dixit.

Whilst in Aberdeen, why not add to the Bollywood experience by sampling some of the Indian cuisine that Aberdeen has to offer? Shri Beemas Indian Restaurant Bridge of Don is rated #3 out of 517 restaurants in Aberdeen and two other Indian offerings in the top ten are Monsoona Healthy Indian cuisine (#8) and Cumin Tandoori (#10). With 40 different restaurants, there is no shortage of options!

Get started on your Bollywood 2015 adventure now with The Spires Serviced Apartment.

Security, set-backs and smiles, London 2012.

The most important time of this year is nearly upon us. The Olympic Games opening cermony on the 27th of July will mark the beginning of the 30th Olympic Games, this year hosted in London. This is London’s third Olympic Games previously hosted in 1908 and 1948. Interestingly the Games have been cancelled on three occasions unfortunately due to the first and second World Wars in 1916, 1940 and 1944.

With over 175,000 people expected to pass through the Olympic Stadiums throughout the 17 day event security is the question on everyone’s lips. Over the past few days worries have been put forward about the state of security surrounding the Games. Unfortunately we live in a time where terrorism is at the forefront of everybody’s minds thus a high standard of security measures should be practised before, during and after the Games.

It was only two weeks ago when six men were arrested and held over a suspected terror plot in Stratford, East London over a mile away from the Olympic site. Although the terrorist plot was not linked to the Olympics and the threat was not thought to be imminent it was revealed however that the threat to the UK from International terrorism is currently rated substantial, being the 3rd highest of 5 levels, this rating is set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre based at MI5’s headquarters at Thames House in central London.

More strategies need to be put in place to develop a high level of security during the Olympic Games however this security should be at a high level all year around considering the terrifying statistic of the UK being at a constant threat from International terrorism.

In the last few days UK Border Agency has being under scrutiny for cutting staff too quickly and are now having to hire extra people to deal with the over flow of passengers entering the UK throughout the Olympic Games starting with the athletes which have started to arrive since Monday the 16th of July. More than 1,000 jobs were cut last year and since then performance has dropped and there is little evidence of strong leadership needed to resolve the problems. To deal with the quantity of passengers US security agents are to be based at Heathrow Airport and other UK airports for the duration of the Games. Private contractor G4S for the Olympics has already been under close examination   after extra soldiers and police officers had to be drafted in to fill the void left by G4S. This can’t be acceptable in the current society we live in. Airport security should always have the highest level of security and border control to avoid the threat of terrorism.

Unfortunately there isn’t just a problem with security prior to the Games. The M4 motorway had to be closed for a week due to damages. The motorway which runs through West London had to be closed between Junctions 2 and 3 after cracks were discovered on a viaduct, much to the frustration of commuters. The M4 is the main route from London to Heathrow Airport and the West of England, this motorway is expected to be the busiest routes throughout the Games because it links London and the Olympic Park in Stratford with the UK’s busiest airport Heathrow. However all is not lost engineers working on the cracks have successfully completed the ‘complex job’ and the motorway has reopened a week and a half before the opening ceremony, all is not lost.

Monday the 16th of July marked the beginning of athletes and officials arriving in London and making their way to the Olympic Villages 11 days before the opening ceremony. This has also began work in the labs, where over 6,ooo drugs tests will be conducted. Yesterday marked an historic day when Heathrow Airport welcomed a record breaking amount of passengers travelling through the UK’s busiest airport. 236,955 passengers were expected to travel through the airport on Monday the 16th of July which marks the beginning of the busy period for UK airports with both the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games being held in London this year.

All that’s left for us to do is to sit back, relax, wave your national flag with pride and support your own nations competitors in what will surely be a very exciting and gripping 17 days.  And one can only hope that all the problems endured by London in the days leading up to the Games are all dealt with and it’s all plain sailing from here….

Olympic Torch comes to Scotland!

It’s hard to believe that the first Olympic Games took place in the year 776 BC and with the opening ceremony taking place in London on the 27th of July a lot has changed since the very first Games. What hasn’t changed is the importance of the Olympic torch and the flame that burns to represent the historical Games. The ancient Greeks believed fire was given to mankind by Prometheus, in greek mythology Prometheus is a titan who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to humans.  In ancient Greece, mythologies and rituals are an important part of life thus a Greek ritual also included torch relays, however this was not a part of the Olympic Games.

The flame emphasizes the connection between the ancient games and the modern games. The modern use of the Olympic flame began in 1936 and continues today. This year, the Olympic torch began its journey by the lighting of the flame on the 10th of May in Olympia, Greece. The torch was then flown to the Royal Naval Air Station in Cornwall from Athens on a BA aircraft known as The Firefly BA2012 Aircraft where it was carried by 3-time Gold medallist Ben Ainslie to begin the Olympic Flame relay.

From there the torch has since made the journey through England before crossing over the Irish Sea where it was carried through Dublin and continued on into Northern Ireland. Today will see the flame crossing back over the Irish sea, but this time it will continue through Scotland towards Glasgow tomorrow, Friday the 8th of June. Not only is this an amazing experience for the people of Scotland to see and to be a part of the famous torch’s journey, but it is putting the towns and cities of Scotland on a global stage, showing the world why Scotland is such a fantastic tourist destination. The torch will then make its way up to the most northern parts of Scotland, Inverness and the Shetland Islands before hitting Aberdeen on Monday the 11th of June. The torch will be carried up Aberdeen main street, Union Street, before continuing onto Great Western Road in which it will pass by the office and apartment blocks of The Spires. Everyone here in the office are über excited to see the amazing sights of the Olympic torch being carried right on the doorstep. So anyone staying with The Spires are sure to have a fantastic view of Chris Pinnell, a Youth worker and Engineer from Westhill who will be carrying the torch through the streets of Aberdeen. Pinnell who was nominated by his co-workers has been inspiring more than 4,500 scouts and leaders over the last 35 years.

This is an amazing once in a lifetime experience for the torchbearers and for the people of the UK to celebrate the importance of the Games been hosted in London. Make sure you don’t miss it, get out and live through this, it’s right on your doorstep, you have no excuses…

The Snack Table

OK I don’t know if every office has one, or only the lucky ones do, BUT it has to be the best invention of all time. What am I speaking of you may ask? The Snack table of course. With its discreet name it is exactly what the name suggests, a table for snacks. Not just any kind of snacks but the most amazingly Delicious snacks that will ever touch those lips of yours. Why do they taste so good? That’s one of life’s many mysteries.

Our office is lucky to have the best cupcake maker in town, we wish there was an office birthday every day, that’s why ours always taste so good! Have I made you just a little jealous?

Is it because you’re not allowed treat yourself and indulge in the heavenly taste of what the table will offer you on any given day? Sometimes rules have to be broken and mistakes have to be made. Life is about enjoying the many snacks it offers you, even if they are over half of your calorie intake, that’s only a minor detail.

A normal day at the office would include phones buzzing, tapping of laptop keyboards, the chatting of co-workers, and regular office strolls. But there comes a day where the office is filled with snacks, rewards for colleagues perhaps or just time to treat everyone and make them very happy. This may occur every day, but who is really keeping track.

Do you fancy a snack table for your office? Well it is quite simply, there could be a spare surface lying around which could be used as the perfect location for you snacks. Keep your eyes peeled for any hidden gems in a central location within your office, that way your attention will be automatically drawn to the table, if the snacks so happen to appear. For any dieters be sure to keep your head down, even looking in the direction can lure you in.

Cupcakes, hot-cross buns, toffee cakes, donuts, have all had their moments upon the Snack table, but I can guarantee they are never there for long. If you have great will power, you’ll manage to avoid the alluring nature of the table but if you get weak at the knees at the thought of the glazing on the jam donut or the icing sugar that swirls so perfectly upon a spongy cupcake, your best bet is to turn your back and not listen to munching of your fellow colleagues around you.

The best part of the snack table is, they just arrive, nobody sounds a word, and you can almost hear a pin drop at the very moment someone discovers the table full of snacks. And to be sure, the sound of a boiled kettle can almost always be heard in the distance.

I’ve decided I want a snack table, everywhere I go…too much to ask??

Culture, does it define us?

Culture is the activity we engage in as human beings and the symbolism we associate with our backgrounds, what country we come from and how we act around others are all defining the individual we turn out to be,  our beliefs and morals are developed from the culture we are born or raised in. A person can define themselves on the customs and traditions in which they carry out in their day-to-day lives. Culture is almost built into us as it were, but does it define the way we think and the way we live?

I can only speak for myself when I say this, I believe a culture define’s the way we act, think and what we believe are correct morals. Our culture’s teach us traditions that have and will be passed on from one generation to the next. However I have my doubts on whether cultures in the Western world especially, will carry on their traditions with the ever-changing, fast paced internet and social networking, the world is becoming smaller and smaller! Cultures and traditions are nearly merging with each other. Cyberculture is taking the world by storm, emerging over the past number of years from computer networks, the internet and social networking. All of these resources can instill other beliefs and morals from neighbouring countries to your own native dwelling.

Migration levels have risen immensely over the past number of years, this is certainly  contributing to a slight change in our traditions as the majority of us live in multicultural cities. We’re living in a period of rapid globalisation, many global brands like McDonald’s, Coca Cola, and Apple are known right across the world, even in the poorest of countries.

I have been lucky enough to live within two other cultures as well as my own culture, I have experienced the Nepalese way of life and currently being based in Scotland I have seen how the Scottish culture is still as strong as what I had known the Scottish culture to be. From my experience each culture has different  values, beliefs and morals. My native country of Ireland and Scotland share similar cultural beliefs and values.

During my time in Nepal, I was lucky enough to live in an orphanage, learning first hand the customs and traditions that were carried out on a day-to-day basis. This made me think about how different my culture was back home in Ireland. Traditionally Nepal is a religious place with Hinduism and Buddhism practiced there. The kids got together every evening for prayer, which in their culture is each person gathering together in a circle holding hands, singing, clapping, smiling and having fun. Even though they lived in conditions horrifying to people living in the western world, in places like the USA, the UK and across Europe it was their culture that defined the way they lived and made them extremely happy.

It really has taught me that culture isn’t all about material goods, try not get wrapped up in the latest technology Apple has produced, or the newest social networking site, take a time out, sit with you family and friends and share your stories from the day through good ‘ole’ traditional word of mouth. Not only will it make you feel better but it will help you revive your own culture, the culture that you were raised in not the culture that has developed around you through technology.

After you’ve finished, perhaps write a blog about it, because lets face it, there is no getting away from this cyberculture phenomenon that is only going to go from strength the strength. Just be sure not to lose who you are and where your morals and beliefs have come from. You’ll be a happier person.