This week… under lockdown (twelve)

First prize for trends this week goes to Bubble Tourism. It seems to be popping up everywhere. It’s likely that, in our quest to avoid busy airports and crowded planes, we will be looking to ‘travel alone, together.’ It’s all sounding very SciFi. Beam me up, Scotty.

A view of a lake and deck from inside the spa at Lough Erne, Northern Ireland.
Isocation destination. Finn Lough Resort beside the lake.

Other trends regularly appearing in press releases this week. Firstly, Wilderness seeking, not simply getting away from it all (or everyone) but connecting to nature and a simpler way of life, as an antidote to the chaos we’ve been experiencing lately.

Another is Isocations. One definition I see is ‘to include getaways in the sun, with parties, drinking and dining’. It reminds me of the Roaring Twenties when people partied and indulged in reckless behaviour like there was no tomorrow, and in reaction to years of war followed by worldwide economic depression. Slightly different circumstances, but germ warfare and the prospect of another depression feels like history repeating itself, after a week of civil unrest in the streets, entirely different to peaceful demonstrations.

Anti-social tourism

And there’s another trend in the heading. I mentioned in last week’s journal entry Isobel Waller-Bridge’s exclusive new score Suspended in Air for the Alexander McQueen house, and her spotify playlist curated for walking or simply ‘staring at the sky’. So when news about these little Stargazing Domes in the woods dropped into my inbox they struck a chord.

Lakeside at Finn Lough Resort.

Described as ‘giant bubbles’, the domes are situated on the banks of Lough Erne, the second biggest lake system in Northern Ireland. Well equipped and furnished they include a four-poster bed, waterfall shower, under floor heating, telescope for stargazing and, curiously, a vintage record player. You’ll need to be prepared for a serious digital detox as there’s no wifi or TV. Each cabin overlooks the lake so during the day you can simply laze, while watching the water and wildlife floating by. Finn Lough Resort at Enniskillen can be reached by car from Belfast.

Slower travel

A small boat moving along a narrow canal in Venice.
Venice, photo Outlook Travel.

Travel operator, Original Travel, will be launching a new collection of luxury ‘Bubble Trips’ to enable travellers of small groups of family or friends, to avoid busy airports and crowded planes. For instance, a return trip to Venice by rail on the Belmond, ‘cocooned away’ in a private suite with a personal butler. It all comes at a considerable cost but trends also predict that people will be taking less micro breaks in exchange for longer, once-in-a-lifetime travel, which is better for the environment too.

The Anti-Social Club

In our brave new world we want to be able to socialise and yet remain apart. Is this a complete oxymoron, does one desire defeat the object of the other?

Hotels and resorts are having to be super creative to meet our needs and their own business aims. The St Moritz Hotel & Spa in Cornwall has created a purpose-designed ‘socially distanced summer restaurant’ in a new ‘bubble’ ethos for summer dining. The six private dining rooms will represent a combination of private members club, private dining room, cool beach club and summer pop-up restaurant. The Anti-Social Club will offer multiple dining times, clear guidance and ‘exacting’ operating procedures to ensure all health requirements are met. Diners will be able to enjoy a meal with friends and family apart from but as part of the larger restaurant community. Interior design will be a combination of the clean, white art deco architecture of the hotel, with the colour palette of Miami with its Art Deco Historic District. I haven’t reviewed the St Moritz but, as you would expect, the menu makes good use of Cornish suppliers and producers.

Bee kind to bees

Three pots of Heather Hney from the Scottish Bee Company on a wooden bench with a bunch of heather.
Scottish Bee Company, authentic Heather Honey

I adore honey and eat it every day, stirred into yogurt or drizzled over porridge. I like to add a dollop to baked summer peaches or autumn Victoria plums. Sometimes, I’ll admit, I simply eat a spoonful for the sheer pleasure. Consequently, I’ve become rather fussy about the honey in my storecupboard. This week, though, I’m amazed to discover that honey is on Interpol’s list as ‘one of the most adultered and fraudulent food products’. Olive oil is another food product that I’m careful to source, for the same reasons. Ongoing research into food as medicine indicates that the quality of what we eat is more important than ever. Poor quality factory produced food may actually doing us harm.

“Today, people want to understand the important details about the food they eat.” Howard Kerr, Chief Executive at BSI.

I’m pleased to hear that a Scottish heather honey from Edinburgh, the Scottish Bee Company has become the first ever UK food product to be awarded the new British Standards Institution (BSI) Kitemark™ for Food Assurance. Their honey is only produced in hives located in the Lothians, Dumfriesshire, Stirlingshire, Fife and Aberdeenshire. Their packaging is fully recyclable and a percentage of its profits is donated to its sister charity, Re-Pollinate. The Heather Honey has won a Great Taste award and prides itself on having no pesticides or GMO’s in its products. 

The Scottish Bee Company founders are committed to building the British bee population over the next three years. They have 500 hives equating to around 25 million bees at the height of summer. Their web site has a counter to show the current number of bees on any given day as these grow and wane from summer to winter.

A Fishy Ending

Seafood on a white cloth including oysters and shellfish, lemons and parsley.
Wright Brothers At Home.

Partly because I love my food, but also because I’m keen to support small businesses I’ll finish with another foodie piece. This week Ben Wright and Robin Hancock of Wright Brothers At Home started a delivery service of restaurant-quality sustainable fish and seafood, from their place to yours. They have been growing and buying seafood for London’s best chefs for nearly 20 years. Their aim to keep the ‘fishermen fishing, workers working and people cooking at home.’ Their fish is bought from Brixham Fish Market which, in turn, helps the local community in these tough times. They have also managed to bring twenty-six staff back from furlough into work. A summer treat might be the Shell Out! box containing a dozen Carlingford oysters, (and a ‘pro’ oyster-knife for opening them safely), six scallops on the shell and a whole oven-ready turbot, serving four, for £75. Add a bottle of bubbly and something wickedly delicious for dessert and you have the perfect celebratory meal with family or friends in the new spirit of ‘dining alone, together’ at home.

Count your blessings

The pandemic has reminded us all that life is precious, don’t waste it. Let’s make the most of every day and every trip. We may travel less frequently but experiences count more than ever. Let’s minimise our own personal impact on the world’s resources and support local communities. Have a safe (and sane!) week.

A reminder that unless stated I have no affiliation with brands mentioned in my journal. They are simply items that have caught my attention that I’d like to share with you.

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