EVENT Brighten The Gloom
Dark winter evenings make the perfect backdrop for winter light festivals. The best combine dazzling spectacle with thought-provoking art, and an evening wrapped up in scarves and hats, wandering around is a joy. There’s no Lumiere London this year, but Canary Wharf’s Winter Lights sparkles; spin giant prisms, watch The Times’ words project live onto a cascade of water, explore Oskar Krajewski’s recycled art, walk through 24,000 points of suspended light, or lose yourself in a an ever-shifting light maze. Until January 26, free.
EVENT (Nearly) Free Fun
Now, we know that the Big Garden Birdwatch isn’t a competition. There are no bonus points for spotting lots of birds. But… With the avian safari only two weeks away (sign up today for your free postal pack or take part online), there’s no harm in putting out a few bird-friendly bits and bobs ahead of time. With temperatures forecast to drop, these DIY vegan fat balls will be a welcome treat for hungry flyers – why not use them in one of these home-made bird feeders. Or think longer-term and put up a few hand-built nest boxes. Find more pointers towards creating a bird-friendly garden here (plus instructions for making a teapot nester!
EVENT, RECIPE, LEARN Living on A Prayer
World Religion Day is a chance to reflect on different forms of worship around the globe and this year falls this Sunday. Find out more about the day here (you’ll also find some excellent debating points and lesson ideas there), and find lesson plans and activities related to the day here for primary- and secondary-aged students. Why not use the day as an excuse to try out some new recipes? Try Hannukah Rugelach, Ramadan Spiced Pears and Pomegranate or Buddhist-style veggie dishes.
RECIPE Packing a Punch
We’re always looking for creative ideas for packed lunches – especially in the winter months. These ideas are frugal and cut down on single-use plastics – we love the apple jigsaw, make-your-own frozen yoghurts, home-made crisps and fruit waters. Noodle salads transport well – there’s a nice recipe here. Or get fresh inspiration for Veganuary lunches here – the roast vegetable soup is delicious, warming, and travels well in a wide-necked flask.
EVENT Horsing Around
This weekend, two festivals reach far back into our folkloric past. Chepstow’s Wassail Mari stars the grinning, horse-skull headed Mari Lwyd, the Welsh figure that is carried from house to house with a gang of performers, first footing. The event also includes an apple tree wassail, grand pageant, country dancing, and a ceremonial meeting on the border between England and Wales. Watch the video below to get a sense of the day’s atmosphere.
Alternatively, the Whittlesea Bear makes his annual appearance in Cambridgeshire. A man dressed in a curious, heavy straw costume leads a parade of dancers, street perfomers and a decorated plough around the streets of Whittlesea, calling in at pubs on the way. The parade is on Saturday, and the bear is burned on Sunday. It’s a fun, atmospheric way to engage in a custom that’s part of the UK’s ancient heritage.