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What A Wonderful World

What A Wonderful World

By Tara Vaghela. “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children” – Native American Proverb World Environment Day is on 5th June, followed by World Ocean Day on 8th June. We live in such a wonderful world, yet we’re destroying it with single use plastic and farming palm oil unethically. Palm Oil Palm oil is in 50% of household items; however, it’s production destroys vast amounts of rainforests and endangers wildlife. In South East Asia, areas the size of 300 football fields are being destroyed every hour for palm oil farming. It’s thought production will double between 2009 and 2050. Palm oil farming expels millions of tonnes of greenhouse gases which is contributing to global warming, it also exploits workers. Palm oil can be sourced sustainably from genuine farmers, and companies using it will display the certified Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) logo. Plastic There are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean. Discarded fishing nets make up 46% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is micro-plastic debris that stretches from California to Japan. Micro-plastics never fully dissolve, they're in the air we breathe and the fish we eat. Plastic has also been found in 83% of the world’s tap water and 93% of the world’s bottled water. Not surprising when the equivalent of a rubbish truck load of plastic is dumped in the ocean every minute. Of all the plastic that has ever existed: more than half was produced in the last 15 years. Only 2% of recyclable plastic is effectively recycled. How to help Make the switch to non plastic and sustainable palm oil! Here's some ideas; Reusable products; bottles, cups, sanitary products, nappies, utensils, shopping bags, cotton pads. Eco-friendly products; shampoo bars, flushable sanitary towels, bamboo toothbrushes, wax food wraps, plastic free wipes, bamboo cotton buds. Eco-friendly cleaning products: using sustainable palm oil or no palm oil and zero plastic waste. Make your own natural cleaning products: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/about/homemade-cleaning-products-5-fantastic-recipes Upcycle clothes, furniture and other household items. Switch to palm oil free products or those certified as sustainable by RSPO. Here are some links to small businesses and organisations fighting to save our environment; Break free from Plastic, a community movement raising awareness about plastic pollution - https://www.breakfreefromplastic.org/ Peggy Rain, a self starting washing line made from recycled fishing nets - https://peggyrain.com/ Shoreline Shaving, eco-friendly razors with a lifetime guarantee - https://www.shorelineshaving.com/ Planera, the first certified flushable and biodegradable sanitary pads - https://www.planera.care/ Gruum, unisex skin care range using natural ingredients, is cruelty free and uses recyclable materials - https://www.gruum.com/ Ecovibe, household products and make up to food that are eco-friendly - https://ecovibe.co.uk/ “Clean Up” by Nathan Bryon, a kids book which highlights the problem of plastic on beaches and in the ocean. Sir David Attenborough's special "Extinction" is sobering viewing and is a must watch for all of us. You can see first-hand the facts and impact our consumption and misuse of precious resources is putting us on a one-way trip to nowhere... and fast! https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54118769 https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000mn4n Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Less is more! Resources: https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/about/world-environment-day https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/8-things-know-about-palm-oil https://www.rspo.org/about https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/palm-oil https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/british-companies-have-led-way-palm-oil-sustainablity https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/palm-oil/palm-oil-free-list https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/which-everyday-products-contain-palm-oil https://www.theorangutanproject.org.uk/about-orangutans/palm-oil/ https://www.seaspiracy.org/facts https://worldoceanday.org/ https://www.storyofplastic.org/about Other useful links https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/which-everyday-products-contain-palm-oil https://palmoilscorecard.panda.org/

Water a Flower Day

Water a Flower Day

By Rachel Monaghan. National Water a Flower Day is on 30th May.

Yes, there is a National Water a Flower Day! Aside from just looking very pretty, and brightening up a room, flowers also have many other benefits and this day is to ponder and appreciate the many benefits provide. Studies have shown that flowers can have long term positive effects on our moods. After receiving flowers, study participants reported feeling less anxious, depressed and agitated. As well as this they reported higher life satisfaction and a sense of enjoyment.

There is also environmental benefits of planting and watering flowers. Plants and flowers take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen which ‘cleans’ the air. As well as this, plants and flowers don’t just work above ground, they also clean the soil by taking up chemicals and heavy metals that lie in the soil and this works towards a healthier ground. This day brings special attention to flowers and the many properties they benefit us with, such as their medicinal-, therapeutic-, and aesthetic properties. Flowers are used by scientists to extract important medicinal qualities that have helped people overcome problems related to their skin, hair, organs, immunity, etc. https://nationaltoday.com/national-water-flower-day/ Planting and watering flowers is also good for the falling bee populations. Bee's retrieve nectar from plants so that they can produce honey and in turn, they carry pollen from one plant to another which enables the plants to reproduce. Without bees, there would be significantly less flowers and plants which is not good for the environment. To help save the bees you can plant particular flowers that Bee's love to retrieve nectar from. Examples of flowers that are really good for bees are lavender and sunflowers and people are encouraged to plant them in their gardens to boost the growth of bee populations. To celebrate National Water a Flower a Day, why not go out and buy some seeds, plant them, water them and enjoy the worthwhile experience of watching them grow into beautiful flowers! https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/water-a-flower-day/ Brilliant!

Blooming Lovely

Blooming Lovely

By Maya Potter. ‘The Bluebell is the sweetest flower That waves in summer air: Its blossoms have the mightiest power To soothe my spirit’s care’ Emily Brontë There is no greater sight or indication that spring is in full swing than stumbling across a woodland adorned with vibrant, violet flowers. Recognisable by their colour, bell shape and sweet fragrance, bluebells are in abundance from mid April until late May. The bluebell has many different names from wild hyacinth and bell bottle to the slightly more obscure cuckoo’s boots and witches’ thimbles. The flower is native to western Europe with almost half the world’s bluebells found in the UK. They are usually found in ancient woodland but can also grow in fields and along hedgerows. The bluebell is a symbol of humility and gratitude but also constancy and everlasting love. There are many myths surrounding the flower, for instance if you turn it inside out without tearing it, you will win over the person you love. Also, by wearing a garland of bluebells, you will be compelled to tell the truth. There are also numerous folklore tales connecting bluebells with enchanted woods and fairy magic. The myths relay that fairies gather when bluebells ring, however if a human hears the ringing, a bad fairy will visit them. Also, if a human were to pick a bluebell, some believe they would be lured away by fairies and trapped. Whilst these stories are quite literally fairy tales, it is actually against the law to deliberately pick or damage bluebells. Today bluebells are largely seen as decorative but they have had other uses throughout history. Their sap was used for binding books and creating arrows, whereas their bulbs were crushed to make starch for clothing in Elizabethan times. Bluebells are considered to be toxic, however they do also contain biological compounds similar to chemicals tested for use in fighting cancer and HIV. There is definitely a lot more to this little and not so humble flower than initially meets the eye. It’s currently peak bluebell season so there is still time to experience nature’s cobalt carpet for yourself. Check out this guide to the UK's best bluebell woods to find out where you can spot them. Bluebells, another one of natures delights! Sources: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/6-things-you-might-not-know-about-bluebells https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/plants/wild-flowers/bluebell/ https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ightham-mote/features/bluebell-inspiration-and-myths https://www.petalrepublic.com/bluebell-flower/ https://www.wanderlust.co.uk/content/best-bluebell-woods-uk/

It's only natural

It's only natural

By Alice Baker. Did you know that spending time in the natural environment like fields, trees, parks, gardens or by water actually helps your mental health. A lot of the messaging centres around the physical gains of getting out and about, but there is an increasing focus on the mental health benefits as well. Getting out into nature has been scientifically shown to help with mental health issues such as mild depression and anxiety. There is even a certain type of therapy called ‘ecotherapy’ which centers around doing activities outside. The exact reasons behind the positive effects of nature on mental health are still being explored. A common explanation is that nature stimulates our senses in a way which puts our minds at ease. For example, listening to the gentle sounds of nature and even seeing natural shapes helps your mind feel more restful. The idea of humans having an built-in link with nature is not a new one. In 1973, Erich Fromm used the term ‘biophilia’ to describe a love of nature. In 1984, Edward O. Wilson explored the idea of biophilia further and proposed that our bond with nature is rooted in our genetics. Throughout human history the natural world has been a constant and is a deep rooted part of our cultures. As technology has progressed, humans have slowly taken themselves out of nature, both physically and mentally. Now, more than ever, it’s important to look after your mental health and get back into nature. As you read at the start, going out for a good walk is a foolproof way to get the benefits of nature. If you needed another reason, May is National Walking Month and the perfect opportunity to explore some new areas! Whether you’re going to your local park or venturing further afi eld you can make your own adventure. Even if it’s only a short walk ‘round the block, you’re bound to spot something natural along the way. Take a moment to recognise and appreciate the little bits of nature you see like trees, hedges and even little plants in the pavement. If you don’t want to, or aren’t able to, go outside, you can bring nature to you instead. Adding a few potted plants, a window box or a vase of flowers will bring you the benefits. Even something as simple as changing your phone or computer background to a natural scene has been shown to help! There’s something out there for everyone. Enjoy! Sources: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/nature-and-mental-health/about-ecotherapy-programmes/ https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/nature-and-mental-health/how-nature-benefits-mental-health/ https://www.britannica.com/science/biophilia-hypothesis https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/Thriving-With-Nature-compressed.pdf

Finding Your Voice

Finding Your Voice

By Tara Vaghela. For me, the ultimate form of self care is looking after my mental health. It's the most important thing and if it’s not nurtured, everything else seems to be harder to manage. It's personal I’ve struggled with my mental health for a long time, from childhood – social anxiety and lack of confidence – Remember the fear of having to read out in class? I’d always say “I don't want to read today”, because I didn’t feel my voice should be heard. Later in life, this spread into the workplace, where speaking up in meetings or to colleagues was a big “no, no”. In 2013, my mental health took a hard hit due to large scale bullying at work. I left the job and whilst recovering, I started to question why was I being silent, when others weren't. We’re all equally important. It's a journey I forced myself into uncomfortable situations – starting a brand new profession, having lunch with my new colleagues, talking to strangers, taking on new challenges. This exposure therapy was the positive change I needed at the time and it felt great! Even though I started having panic attacks in 2014, I taught myself ways to manage them. I've put in a lot of work through trial and error. For me, box breathing works well – inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds and repeat. It's natural At the end of 2019, I found out I was pregnant! One of my biggest fears in life is pregnancy and childbirth. My pregnancy was planned, even though it terrified me, I wanted a child. 2020 hit! Global pandemic! All the anxiety rushing around my head – pregnant women at greater risk, attending antenatal appointments alone, working from home, a clinically vulnerable husband, isolation, rules, restrictions; the list goes on. We made a decision to set boundaries, this is a useful tool when it comes to managing mental health, and it’s something I’ll continue to use. My pregnancy was uneventful, we enjoyed our little closed off bubble. The labour and birth, however, were traumatic, a lot of things went wrong very quickly. Things I’d never even thought about in my anxious mind were happening, it was messy and there were a lot of people involved! Both my physical and mental recovery are ongoing, and as well as box breathing, I now also use the 5,4,3,2,1 grounding technique: https://theblissfulmind.com/grounding-technique/ It's about you It’s through all of these mentally challenging times that I found my voice! We learn valuable lessons and grow from such experiences. Although tough at the time, when looking back we can map how far we’ve come. But remember, only ever look back to see how far you've come! Useful link - https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/guides-tools-and-activities/mental-wellbeing-audio-guides/ Join the conversation, share your story, mental health matters.

Earth Day

Earth Day

By Maya Potter. ‘The Earth is what we all have in common’ - Wendell Berry Earth Day was founded by US Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970 to increase awareness of the importance of clean air and water, following an oil spill in Santa Barbara in 1969. The event inspired 20 million Americans to take to the streets. Over 50 years later, Earth Day is recognised as the largest annual international awareness day, marked by more than a billion people. Earth Day is held on the 22nd April every year, however this year the event will involve three days of climate action (20th-22nd April). This year’s theme is ‘Restore Our Earth’ which will focus on innovative green technologies, new ways of thinking that will help repair ecosystems and how each of us can play a part in rebuilding the natural world. ‘Restore Our Earth’ includes five key pillars: The Canopy Project; The Global Earth Challenge; Climate Literacy; Food and Environment and The Great Global Cleanup. The Canopy Project focuses on reforestation, which is one of the most effective ways of taking CO2 from the atmosphere and providing essential habitats. Since the start of the 20th century, a staggering 20% of the world’s forests have been lost. However, through this project, every dollar donated equals one new tree, resulting in tens of millions of trees planted since 2010. The Global Earth Challenge is an initiative encouraging volunteers to contribute to scientific research through monitoring environmental threats and sharing their findings. Research questions include topics from air quality to insect populations. The Climate Literacy pillar is also about increasing knowledge by ensuring students around the world are educated about and are engaging with environmental issues. The Food and Environment pillar addresses the environmental impacts of the food industry and how factors such as what we eat, where our food comes from and what we waste affects the environment. You can calculate your ‘Foodprint’ here. You can also get involved with The Great Global Cleanup through an interactive map which details all the Cleanup events taking place around the world and in your local area. With many people reaching for their running shoes during the national lockdowns of the past year, ‘plogging’ (picking up litter whilst jogging) could be a good way to combine a new hobby and doing your bit for the environment. You can find more information about the upcoming virtual live events, workshops and discussions of Earth Day 2021 here. There are so many ways to get involved and learn how to incorporate green habits into our everyday lives. Sources: - https://earth911.com/inspire/earth-day-23-quotes/ - https://www.earthday.org Let's help restore our home!

Stinking Rose

Stinking Rose

By Rachel Monaghan. Garlic, which is sometimes referred to as the ‘stinking rose’ due to its strong smell, originated in Asia more than 7000 years ago and has since been incorporated into many different cuisines. Love it or hate it, Monday the 19th April is National Garlic Day! From fragrant stir fry’s to creamy pastas to warming French onion soup, garlic, which is part of the Allium (onion) family like leeks and shallots, is very versatile and used in a lot of dishes in the modern kitchen. Here are some sites that have Recipes for Garlic-lovers: https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/best-garlic-recipes-gallery https://www.thekitchn.com/best-garlic-recipes-22927154 https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/recipes-for-garlic-lovers/ As well as being used in the kitchen, Garlic has also been used medicinally for thousands of years. Hippocrates, who is often described as the father of Western medicine, used to prescribe garlic to his patients in order to treat many different medical conditions. Since the use by the ancients was widely documented, modern science did research into garlic and confirmed multiple different positive health benefits are attributed to garlic. For example, it was found to contain many vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, manganese and selenium and many modern studies have confirmed that garlic has antibiotic properties too! https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic (note: careful not to over-eat or indulge to much as well) Garlic has also been associated with myths and legends over the years. The most famous Western association in the modern age with garlic in folklore is its ability to ward off or repel vampires. It’s abilities to keep monsters at bay also extends to witches, demons and even werewolves. https://americanfolklore.net/folklore/2010/10/garlic_superstitions_folklore.html However, garlic has been at the centre of many spiritual and religious stories and traditions all over the world. In a Korean myth, a bear that ate 20 cloves of garlic and a bundle of mugwort for 100 days turned into a woman. Another example of garlic’s prominence is shown in places that celebrate Nowruz (Persian calendar New Year) like Iran where garlic is a key ingredient in the Seven-Seen table which is a traditional New Year’s Display. Garlic has clearly been very prominent in multiple different aspects of culture all round the world for a very long time. So why not try out a new garlic recipe this National Garlic Day to celebrate the very versatile plant! Enjoy!

National Librarian Day

National Librarian Day

By Kia Clark. It’s not all shelving, shushing and steering visitors to the right section you know... cue the stereotypical image of a bespectacled person pushing a trolley of books... Librarians are really the keepers of knowledge and written-treasures the world over! The role of the Librarian is constantly evolving to adapt to new technology and social needs. National Librarian Day is held on April 16 to help celebrate and honor Librarians. They are probably the most knowledgeable people in our local communities! Professional Librarians, many formally educated in Library Science, are masters of complex cataloguing systems, make important purchasing decisions, liaise with local schools and universities, organise events, teach classes and much more. During the pandemic Librarians have gone above and beyond to ensure library resources can be accessed remotely. Nick Poole, Chief Executive of CILIP, says: “It has been tremendous to see the innovative and thoughtful response of libraries during the unprecedented times the nation has been facing. With Local Authorities reporting huge increases in the number of people registering with their local library (in some cases, a rise of 600-700%), it is evident that libraries have been a lifeline for many people in lockdown, keeping them connected to a world of books and reading and continuing to provide vital digital services.” https://www.cilip.org.uk/ Librarians are an integral part of communities all over the world. Many offer language and citizenship classes, children’s reading time and champion equality and inclusion. They are the protectors of safe spaces for everyone. CILIP, the Library and Information Association, host an annual UK Libraries Week. In 2021 this will run between 4th – 10th October. That’s plenty of time to keep an eye on the Libraries Week page and plan some fun library orientated events. Sadly, public libraries have been under threat of closure for years and with Coronavirus having affected the arts and culture sector so deeply, it’s more important than ever to support the libraries that remain. Penguin provides five easy ways to support your local library. Many libraries are run solely by volunteers, this page lists volunteer-led libraries and the ways in which you can get involved. Libraries don’t just house books. They play host to audiobooks, e-reader materials, board games. Libraries provide free access to computers, printers, records and a way to access new knowledge without barriers. This Gov.uk page will help find your local library and discover what services they offer. Google Arts & Culture offers you a private virtual tour of some of the most beautiful and amazing Libraries in the world. You can sit back, explore and enjoy using this link: https://artsandculture.google.com/theme/10-incredible-libraries-around-the-world/LgIiuhCeZkiRJg?hl=en So, what are you waiting for? Have a chat with your local Librarian today. Ask what they’re doing, if there are any special events or projects running, how you can help. “The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man” ― T.S. Eliot Volumes of amazing stories await your discovery!

Celebrating our best friends

Celebrating our best friends

By Rachel Monaghan. National Pet Day on the 11th of April is the day that we celebrate all our furry (or not so furry) friends. Whether you are a lover of cats, dogs, lizards, or even snakes; today is the day to make them feel extra special! Of course as a pet-parent we usually celebrate our pets all year round, National Pet Day is a special day dedicated to feeling grateful for our pets. Out of the many reasons to feel grateful for our pets, one is that it has been scientifically proven that pets greatly improve our mental and physical wellbeing! The National Institute of Health have found that as well as improving our mood, pets can improve overall health by lowering our blood pressure and even lowering our cortisol and cholesterol levels! The owning of pets is also shown to combat loneliness. 50% of pet owners claim to talk to their pet and 80% think that their pet can actually sense their mood. You can read more about the benefits here: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/mood-boosting-power-of-dogs.htm Due to this it is no wonder that humans have been keeping pets for thousands of years. It is thought that the first animal that was domesticated was the dog and estimates state that this occurred between thirteen thousand and thirty thousand years ago! It is also thought that the Ancient Egyptians kept cats around five thousand years ago and they did not just keep them as pets. Although the Egyptians worshipped many animals, they considered cats to be the most special. Due to this they thought they were magical creatures who brought good luck to those that owned them. To appreciate pets on National Pet Day you do not necessarily need your own pet. If you don’t have pets, then you can still get involved in the pet appreciation by donating to a local pet shelter like the RSPCA or finding out how you can volunteer. Here are some great ideas of ways you can help: https://blog.theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com/national-pet-day/ https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/ten-ways-help-your-local-shelter-or-rescue Rescue organisations are seeing a major increase in dog and cats abandonment during the COVID pandemic. https://news.sky.com/story/major-dog-welfare-crisis-warning-after-sharp-rise-in-dogs-sold-online-12197135 This can be due to changed living/ or financial circumstances and other issues, either way - rescuing or fostering animals is one of the most rewarding and life-giving things you can do. Being a pet-owner or carer is a major responsibility but it also comes full of unconditional love, laughter, licks and cuddles! However you choose to honour pets, Happy National Pet Day and give your little ones an extra special hug for being your best friends! Little Paws for life

Railway Children

Railway Children

By Maya Potter. This week’s Spotlight News is looking at the incredible work of Railway Children. A charity dedicated to providing protection and opportunity for homeless children across the UK, India and East Africa. Every year thousands of children run away from home or are forced to leave due to extreme circumstances, such as poverty, abuse and neglect. Over 11 million children live on the streets of India, with most ending up living on train station platforms, and a quarter of a million children are homeless in Kenya alone [1]. Children facing homelessness is also a problem in the UK, with a child running away from home every five minutes [2]. The events of the past year have also had a profound effect on homelessness within this country, where it is reported that more than 70,000 households have lost their homes since the start of the coronavirus pandemic [3]. Staggeringly over a quarter of a million people, of which half are children, are homeless and in temporary accommodation in the UK [4]. Reaching children as soon as possible is a crucial part of the charity’s work, before they are exposed to the dangers of street life. Railway Children utilises a three level approach to reach as many children as possible and make sustainable changes. The initial stage deals with meeting the needs of children currently living on the streets and working out long-term solutions for their individual needs. If it is possible for children to return home, the charity provides support and helps families overcome issues. The next level is working within communities to change the perceptions; help people to understand the reasons behind why children are homeless and highlight how communities can play their part in protecting children within their area. The third stage involves making changes at a government level by focusing the attention of policy makers to the issue of children living on the streets and ensuring that laws are enforced to keep them safe. Through this work, Railway Children has helped over 300,000 street children over the last 22 years. Despite the global pandemic, the charity has supported almost 16,000 vulnerable children over the past year and plans to reach another 150,000 over the next five years. With many of the charity’s fundraising events having been postponed last year, there is a busy calendar scheduled for 2021. From marathon running, to cycling challenges and trekking expeditions across the UK and abroad, there are many ways to get involved. Railway Children are also launching ‘Sleep In’ on Friday 9th April 2021. A Covid-safe event for all the family, where you give up your usual bed for the night and create a temporary camp at home to raise money. Whether you decide to put up a tent in the garden or create a makeshift camp inside, the evening will be filled with entertainment and activities. Den building, online yoga, a drawing masterclass and a special bedtime story are all things that you can look forward to. Find out more: https://www.railwaychildren.org.uk/events/events/railway-children-sleep-in/. Unlike ever before, the past year has taught us the true value of having a safe place to call home. Railway Children are doing such amazing, inspirational work in their goal of achieving ‘a world where no child ever has to live on the streets’. Sources: [1-2] https://www.railwaychildren.org.uk [3] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/jan/09/70000-households-in-uk-made-homeless-during-pandemic [4]https://england.shelter.org.uk/media/press_release/homeless_in_a_pandemic_253000_people_are_trapped_in_temporary_accommodation_

Tolkien Day

Tolkien Day

By Rachel Monaghan. Tolkien Reading Day is on the 25th of March each year and this year's theme is hope and courage. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was an English writer, poet, translator, and Oxford professor during the 20th century. Tolkien wrote extensively which included The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and other works; poems, children’s stories, and academic papers. Tolkien Reading Day was created to encourage people to read the brilliant author’s works. The date of the 25th of March was chosen as the date on which the Ring was destroyed, completing Frodo’s quest and vanquishing Sauron; when good finally overcomes evil. The day has been organised by the Tolkien Society since 2003 to encourage fans to celebrate and promote the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien by reading favourite passages. They particularly encourage schools, museums and libraries to host their own Tolkien Reading Day events. There is nothing much more escapist than J. R. R. Tolkien’s most famous work, which is the high fantasy novels The Lord of the Rings. The theme is very fitting as the books themselves are very inspiring of hope and courage due to the adventures that the characters undertake. The first book was written by English author J. R. R Tolkien and published in 1954. The first of the films which popularised the series even further was released almost 50 years after the first book was published. The first book was originally meant to be a sequel to his also famous 1937 children’s book, The Hobbit, but ended up being a much larger work with the total number of pages in the books reaching a whopping 1137. This means that it would take the average reader almost 32 hours to read the whole trilogy if they read it continuously from start to finish. Tolkien was an extensive writer and wrote at least 36 other books in his career. Along with the three main books in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the original Hobbit book, Tolkien’s son published four more of his father’s works after he passed away. This included the extensive amount of notes and unpublished manuscripts that his father had not released which were about Middle-Earth. This is the fictional universe in which The Lord of the Rings is set. Alongside the extensive work that Tolkien put into the physical characteristics of his universe, he also invented languages for the people in them to speak. Multiple languages were developed by Tolkien for the books and linguistic professors have deemed them linguistically and grammatically sound. Tolkien day is the perfect time for those that have considered reading The Lord of the Rings but found the extent of the work quite daunting to delve into the world of Middle-Earth. That is the great thing about ready Books - they can take you on a magical journey at your own pace. The Film Series The Lord of the Rings is a film series of three epic-fantasy-adventure films directed by Peter Jackson, based on the novel written by J. R. R. Tolkien. Ever wondered which is the best order to watch the movies, here is a site that will help you on your quest! https://www.pocket-lint.com/tv/news/155647-lord-of-the-rings-the-hobbit-best-movie-order https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lord_of_the_Rings_(film_series) https://www.imdb.com/list/ls055713151/ Wiki-Tolkien Facts: A Tolkienist is someone who studies the work of J. R. R. Tolkien: this usually involves the study of the Elvish languages and "Tolkienology". A Ringer is a fan of The Lord of the Rings in general, and of Peter Jackson's live-action film trilogy in particular. Other terms for Tolkien fans include Tolkienite or Tolkiendil. https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/tolkien-reading-day/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tolkien_fandom “Where there's life there's hope.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again

World Poetry Day

World Poetry Day

By Kia Clark. ‘Poetry is what in a poem makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toe nails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever all your own.' ~ Dylan Thomas Held every year on the 21st of March, World Poetry Day celebrates one of our most powerful forms of expression: poetry. Found throughout history, in every culture and on every continent, poetry has long been the literary emissary of shared human connection, of activism and change. As UNESCO says, ‘poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings. Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.’ World Poetry Day is an occasion to celebrate poets, promote the reading, writing, and teaching of poetry and raise the visibility of poetry in the media. Our lyrical education tends to begin and end with the great war poets, we analyse the lines of Dulce et Decorum Est and we discuss the structure of In Flanders Fields, but there is an endless catalogue of poetry to be explored. What about epic poems, the sonnet, the ballad, the haiku? What about poems with perfect rhyming couplets and those you didn’t realise were poems at all? Let’s give a nod to poems spoken through mics at coffee shops and song lyrics that stick in your head for days on end. This World Poetry day why don’t you explore poems about… Women Take a chance to cherish the words of Maya Angelou, Sylvia Plath, Audre Lorde, Claudia Rankine and Rupi Kaur. The Poetry Foundation has collections dedicated to Women’s History Month and Poetry and Feminism. Race and Identity Poetry can be fun and a distraction, but it is also powerful. Poems can perfectly communicate ideas, feelings, movements. Poetry provides windows into the lives of others, not just of today but of the distant past, like these collections relating to the Civil Rights Movement, Racial Justice and Equality, Muslim Faith and Islamic Culture and LGBTQ Pride. Love Love poems aren’t just declarations of love, although romantic poems are some of the most beautiful, poems about love can explore a whole spectrum of feelings. As The Poetry Foundation says, ‘love isn’t all roses and candlelight. It has always been a complicated thing: recent poets have accurately portrayed love’s more thorny, baffling, and intricate aspects, and if you look closely, you’ll find that classic poets sometimes did as well’. …and here are some beautiful collections that deserve a place on your shelves: Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, T.S Eliot Ariel, Sylvia Plath The Lost Words, Jackie Morris & Robert Macfarlane There Are Girls Like Lions Tell Me the Truth About Life, Cerys Matthews Penguin also recommends five ways to celebrate World Poetry Day. The Poetry Foundation, The Poetry Society, The Poetry Archive , Poetry Button, The Guardian Poetry, The British Library, and The National Poetry Library are all wonderful free resources for poetry, discussion and education. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, take a moment to read a poem. It could be as quick as 17 syllables! And the perfect way to finish is to include a Poem about Poetry! The Power of Poetry by Tom Zart Poetry is the lighthouse of life Guiding the lost from a stormy sea. Without it's presence darkness prevails Keeping us from all we can be. Poems are used to convey passion
By poets of both good and evil mood.
Some are hateful others loving
Sharing thoughts to be consumed as food. Verse can lead us to glory or doom
As we partake with others within.
Depicting our past, present and future; With words of man's grace or sin. People write poetry because they have no choice
Answering to the call of their gift.
Where some tend to pull their readers down
Others compose to give them a lift. Always remember the power of poetry
Is used by both heaven and hell.
It's up to us to choose our pleasure
As poetry remains alive and well. https://allpoetry.com/Tom_Zart