training

A Breath of Fresh Air – Going Green in London

You could almost believe it was actually Spring as the sun shone down on London this week, warming the city up for what felt like the first time this year.

So instead of driving up in the company vans or joining the masses travelling underground with no sign of the sun, our Project Managers, Erin and Kevin, decided to take a different approach to their site visits across the city and hired some Boris bikes for the day!

Their journey started at Waterloo and they cycled off to their first appointment at Southbank Tower making sure they could be seen by wearing their Dröm hi-viz jackets and keeping safe with hard hats!

London Map

Outward journey red, Return journey blue

 

Waterloo blog

Kevin and Erin pick up their bikes at Waterloo

 

Erin freewheeling

Once they had finished at Southbank they cycled down past the London Eye, the world’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel at 135m high, which opened in 2000 as part of the city’s millennium celebrations.  The wheel has 32 capsules, one for each London borough and rotates at 0.9 km/hr i.e. one revolution takes 30 minutes.

London Eye blog

They then faced the traffic over Westminster bridge and headed towards Parliament Square en route to St James’s Park, stopping for a quick selfie in front of Big Ben!   The clock tower is actually officially known as Elizabeth Tower and has been since 2012 in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.   Previously it was known simply as the Clock Tower or St. Stephen’s Tower.   The tower is 96m  high and was designed by Augustus Pugin.  Big Ben is the nickname for the bell which chimes the hour.   The hour hand of the clock is 2.7m long and the minute hand is 4.3m long.

Kev big ben

Their next appointment was in St. James’s square so they took a shortcut through St. James’s Park (stopping at Buckingham Palace on the way).   As with driving, you should never use your phone while cycling, so Kevin sensibly stopped to take a couple of business calls …… and a couple of hayfever tablets!

Park Collage

Once Kevin had finished they headed off to their next appointment at St. James’s Street following the guards from Buckingham Palace as they rode up the Mall!  Once business had been concluded on site our intrepid Project Managers started the journey back to Waterloo taking a shortcut back to the Mall past the Duke of York monument.     This statue was built to honour Prince Frederick, second eldest son of King George III.   The column itself was built in 1832 and the statue itself was placed on top in 1834.    Prince Frederick has been immortalised in the nursery rhyme ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ and is widely recognised as bringing the British Army into a cohesive, capable, modernised force following his command during the French Revolutionary Wars.

They made their way back through the park passing Horse Guards Parade en route.   Horse Guards was once the HQ of the British Army and nowadays hosts Trooping the Colour, the annual celebration of the Queen’s birthday.   It was also the scene of jousting tournaments in the days of Henry VIII  and more recent sporting events include the Beach Volleyball competition at the London 2012 Olympics.

Journey back

It was two energised colleagues that returned to the office on Tuesday afternoon.   Their day on the bikes had numerous health and environmental benefits, very fitting for a wellbeing company.

Cycling is a great way to keep fit.  It improves your cardiovascular fitness, thereby decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease and strengthening your immune system.  It is great for muscle tone, especially in your calves, thighs and bottom, and is good for people with joint conditions as it is considered a low impact activity.    Other benefits include weight loss as you are burning calories, improved co-ordination and there are also links to good mental health.

Stop breathing the stale air in an air conditioned or overheated office and get outside into the fresh air (ok, maybe the air in London isn’t particularly fresh but it’s still good to be outside!).   Once outside, inhaling the oxygen in the fresh air leads to an increased production of serotonin which promotes feelings of wellbeing and happiness.   Increased oxygen in your bloodstream helps increase white blood cell functionality when fighting bacteria and germs and it also helps your brain function better, increasing mental clarity.

Leaving the car behind ensures a decrease in your carbon footprint.   The CO2 and carbon monoxide emissions from cars, vans and buses have increased enormously the more vehicles we have on the road.  These gases are known as ‘greenhouse gases’ and they trap heat inside the planet’s atmosphere.  However an increase in production of these gases is increasing the temperature of the planet which in the long term is contributing to extreme weather and climate change through global warming.

Erin and Kevin were lucky to have such a sunny day too – the Vitamin D present in sunshine has so many benefits including building strong bones, protecting against cataracts and boosting immunity, whilst the warmth of the sun has been linked to lowering blood pressure and helping us sleep better.   The sun can also improve our mood considerably.    Please remember to wear a suitable sunscreen when out in the sunshine though.

blog boris final

For more information on Santander cycles (or Boris bikes as they are more commonly known!) please visit:  https://web.santandercycles.tfl.gov.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dröm Dryathletes raise money for Cancer Research

It’s been a long September for three members of the Dröm UK team who have been taking part in the Dryathlon on behalf of Cancer Research!

 

breast cancer ribbonOur CEO, Kicki Carlsson, was diagnosed with breast cancer just before Christmas last year, a week after hearing that her mother had been diagnosed with the same disease.  2015 saw both ladies endure gruelling chemotherapy, before undergoing operations and finally starting radiotherapy.   Thankfully, they have both been told that the treatment has been successful.

However, Kicki’s mum (who already had a rare form of Parkinson’s disease), recently underwent a brain scan which tragically showed metastatic cancer in the brain, which the family have been told is terminal.  This is a huge blow to them after how she so bravely fought the breast cancer.

 

We HAVE to find a way of beating cancer and ending the pain for both sufferers and their families.

So Kicki, her husband Barry and their office manager Sarah all decided to stop drinking for the month of September and raise money for Cancer Research.   This was a very difficult challenge, especially for Barry and Sarah as they are known for their love of a glass or two of wine and champagne!  It wasn’t made any easier by the fact that it was Barry’s birthday during September and Sarah had tickets to an England Rugby World Cup game!

 

Barry's belated birthday celebrations!

Barry’s belated birthday celebrations!

 

Sarah’s first Prosecco! Followed quite quickly by water …

 

But they stuck with it and between the three of them raised well over £7,000 donated by friends, family, clients and suppliers 🙂

It was a great opportunity for them to take the time to really concentrate on wellbeing and to see if they noticed a difference with not drinking for a month….

The first main difference they noticed was that they started to lose a little bit of weight! Alcohol is full of empty calories, by cutting it out you automatically cut your calorie intake. And because you have more energy once the alcohol is out of your system, you find that you can exercise more which helps reduce the beer and wine bellies!

Once you start feeling better, it is a great opportunity to start eating healthier.   Gone are the days of the junk food ‘munchies’ as you try to cure a hangover. Incorporate fresh fruit and vegetables into your diet to maximise your health and vitality.

Reducing your alcohol intake can also result in sleeping better at night.   There is no ‘dull head’ in the mornings, leaving you fresh and alert to face the day.   Concentration and focus is improved, making the working day easier.

And as well as maximising your overall wellbeing, not drinking is good for your financial health too!

Although they are now ‘allowed’ to drink again, it was a huge learning curve for all three dryathletes.   They found they didn’t ‘need’ to have that drink when they got in from a tough day at work.   They found other activities to fill the gap that alcohol used to fill.   And they all feel much better, both physically and mentally.

Knowing that they have raised so much for Cancer Research though was the biggest boost to them all 🙂

There is still time to donate.   Visit http://www.JustGiving.com and search for Kicki Carlsson, Barry Smith or Sarah Gibson.   Can we take a moment to say a huge thank you to everyone for their support and kind donations for such a brilliant cause.

 

Dryathlon badge

 

Dröm UK head to Sweden

After 18 years of working closely with our Swedish suppliers Tylö, the Directors of Dröm UK have been talking for a while about taking the whole company to visit their offices and showroom in Halmstad, Sweden, which is also where our CEO, Kicki Carlsson, grew up.  So while the trip was mainly work related, it also gave the employees a chance to kick back and relax after a really busy few months, socialise with each other out of the office, make new friends and enjoy the delights of this beautiful Swedish town.

So 8.00 a.m.  Thursday found us all at Gatwick airport eagerly waiting to board the plane to Copenhagen.   From Copenhagen we took the train across the Øresund Bridge, then along the stunning coastline to Halmstad.

Train Journey

After hastily dropping our bags off at the Hotel, we drifted out in various groups to investigate our surroundings.   The weather was gorgeous, hot and sunny, and it wasn’t long before we all found deckchairs by the river and sat down to watch some unexpected live music taking place alongside the pop up bars and cafes.

deckchairs

Eventually the more curious amongst us headed over the river into the town itself and found a bustling marketplace and fun fair in the central square!   After a bout of shopping (had to be done), we settled in an outside bar and watched an alfresco salsa class taking place nearby!

Dinner that night, with a couple of our Tylö friends, was in a sports themed restaurant, with a bowling alley.  So of course, after dinner we all headed over and had a mini competition between two teams.   Obviously we let Barry, one of the Dröm co-founders, win overall 🙂

BOWLING

Friday was an early start as we had a full day of product and technical training to fit in.   This included information about new products and packages, with most of the saunas, steam rooms and showers available to view in the Tylö showroom.   The morning session culminated in a factory tour.   Here we learned about, and watched, how heater elements are made, saw where steam generators were put together and tested, watched profiles being cut into the sauna timbers, learnt about the quality control process, and came away with a massive dose of warehouse envy……

After lunch we continued with some more product information then spent some time learning about the latest control panels (concept, programming, design).   Then it was time to test the rooms ourselves!   It was pure bliss after a hard days training to relax in the various saunas and steam rooms that we had been learning about, cooling off in between with quick dips (and dives) into the inviting plunge pool!  Cheeky mojitos were served in ice tumblers, which we then used to rub over our skin in the saunas to help us cool down!   Dinner was served in the Tylö restaurant, followed by awards for us all!  Good students deserve diplomas 🙂

tylo training

Tylo August 15

Then we went into town with Torbjorn and Anki from Tylo to sample the local nightlife!  We found a nightclub which had a welcome outside bar space, and also a couple of black jack tables therefore catering for all tastes.  As you may have seen in our ‘Happy’ video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gj5t5g1Wxus) we have a couple of staff (well, mainly Kevin really) who can really throw some shapes and that night was no exception!   So we couldn’t help but take some more videos of his dancing, where he was partnered by Jake …..

On Saturday we moved across to the Tylösand Hotel situated on the coast, which is part owned by Per Gessle, vocalist and guitarist with Swedish rock band Roxette. (http://www.tylosand.se).  Tylö have been involved with the spa environment here for many years and it was our opportunity to see and experience it for ourselves.  The boys headed straight for the gym while some of us relaxed on the loungers overlooking the sea.   We roused ourselves long enough to sample the saunas, steam room, kneipp walk and experience showers before cooling off in the pools.Spa

There was a fantastic foot-golf course close to the hotel, so a group went across to play.   Each hole had obstacles to contend with, so it wasn’t as easy as they had first thought.   Their accuracy needs some work too ….

The sun wasn’t shining when we first arrived at Tylösand, but it didn’t stop us taking some pictures of the stunning, windswept scenery.  Luckily the sun came out again around lunchtime, so we could take some even better pictures – what a contrast!

scenery

scenery 1

The remaining group headed out for some lunch in a little restaurant on the dunes which started to fill up rapidly during the time we were there, due to visitors arriving for the ‘After-beach’ party that Tylösand host each year.   It started as a concert for those heading back to the hotel after a day at the beach, to prolong the enjoyment of their day, and has developed into a major Summer annual event!   So we headed out with a bottle of Prosecco to reserve a spot on the sand dunes and enjoy the music!

 

beach one

sand dunes concert

We all had a bit of a surprise as we returned to our rooms to change – the car park looked a bit different than it had earlier…….

cars

All too soon it was dinner time on the last evening 😦    And it was very, very, chilly as we took our places at our outdoor table!   Once again, the food was absolutely delicious – we couldn’t fault the menus all weekend.   Blankets were handed round to protect us from the breeze and maybe we were a bit disappointed that it was so cold as we had been really looking forward to the last outdoor concert of the summer that evening…..

Chilly

But the moment the music started, the blankets came off (what cold temperatures??!) and the whole restaurant and hotel came to life with dancing, singing and the odd drink here and there!   The group – Duo Jag – were brilliant!  They sang covers of all types of songs from Eminem to Beyoncé and we quickly learnt the words to ‘The Sun is shining’ – a song none of us had heard before, but now play regularly in the Showroom!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h30CEnMdVH4

It was a very tired, but happy, group that headed homewards the following day!   We are still talking about what a great time we had, and laughing at the photos, a week later!

hometime

Thank you to Kicki, Barry and Tylö for their generosity and hospitality.  When are we doing it again??!