A Cheese-Themed Hotel Room Is Popping Up in London

Cafe Rouge
Cafe Rouge

Winter is the perfect time to lock yourself indoors with a stockpile of cheese to keep you company. You could clear out your local cheese shop and do this at home, or, if you're the winner of a new contest hosted by Café Rouge, you can do it in luxury.

Between January 29 and February 6, the UK-based French bistro chain will put up nine winners and their guests in what it claims to be the world's first cheese-themed hotel. The Cheese Suite is designed to promote Café Rouge's cheese-heavy winter menu.

Cafe Rouge

The accommodations in Camden, London, have all the amenities of a typical hotel, plus plenty of special features for fromage fanatics. Upon arriving, guests will be greeted by cheese wallpaper, cheese bedding, and giant cheese art installations. Even the board games and toiletries in the suite are cheese-themed.

If the dairy-centric decor works up their appetite, guests can nibble on the cheese and crackers in the room or call the cheese hotline to get more substantial dishes delivered to their door. Items on the menu include halloumi frites, a camembert and raisin chutney baguette, and a beef bourguignon burger stuffed with raclette and comte cheeses.

Cafe Rouge

The on-demand cheese, as well as the suite itself, are complimentary. At the end of their free stay, guests will have the option to donate to Café Rouge’s charity partner, the Prince’s Trust, an organization dedicated to vulnerable young people.

To make your funky dreams come true, enter for the chance for you and a friend to win a one-night stay at the Cheese Suite through Café Rouge's website. The competition, open to UK and Channel Island residents only, closes on January 21. Here are some cheesy facts to brush up on in the meantime.

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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Meet Ian Brackenbury Channell—the Official City Wizard of Christchurch, New Zealand

In Christchurch, New Zealand, wizards ride buses, not brooms.
In Christchurch, New Zealand, wizards ride buses, not brooms.

Gandalf and Saruman aren't the only wizards New Zealand can claim. The city of Christchurch has employed its own official wizard for more than 20 years, and as CNN Travel reports, he's preparing to pass off his staff to a wizarding apprentice.

Ian Brackenbury Channell has been dressing up as a wizard for decades. Though originally from the UK, his career in academia brought him to the Universities of New South Wales and Melbourne in Australia. He assumed his magical role, simply titled "The Wizard," at both institutions. Responses to the character varied, but he finally found a permanent home for the act in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Brackenbury Channell had been living in Christchurch for 24 years when the city offered him an official wizarding contract in 1998. His new role would require him to "provide acts of wizardry and other wizard-like-services as part of promotional work for the city of Christchurch." Every year since, The Wizard has collected an annual salary of 16,000 New Zealand dollars, or $10,400 USD, from the government.

At age 87, Brackenbury Channell is spending less time in the spotlight and looking for an aspiring wizard to take over the job. Musician Ari Freeman, 39, threw his pointed hat in the ring several years ago when he introduced himself as a young wizard. He's been training as his apprentice ever since.

Freeman already sports a long beard that would make Merlin proud, but the role of official wizard goes beyond looking the part. Other duties include promoting local events, welcoming foreign dignitaries, and rambling in Cathedral Square. The Christchurch City Council for "wizardry," which manages the position, hasn't stated whether it plans to extend the contract to Freeman.

[h/t CNN Travel]