WORD Christchurch 2018: Spoilt for choice – Roberta’s Picks

It’s the first law of any truly great literary festival that you’ll almost certainly wish you could be in two places at once. That’s because just about everything you really want to see (or do) will probably be on the same day (quite often at exactly the same time) and in completely different venues. And WORD Christchurch 2018 is no exception to this rule.

It’s a hard life, but programme in one hand, good coffee in the other, here are some of the tricky festival choices I have made – grouped like this: Something Old; Something New; Something Borrowed and Something Blue:

Drawn OutSomething Old: I choose Catherine Chidgey: Transformations (Friday 31st August) because reading In a Fishbone Church seventeen years ago was when I first started to love New Zealand writing, and Chidgey has never let me down since then. She’ll be chatting to Morrin Rout about how she brings her own life to her writing. Tom Scott’s: Drawn Out (Saturday 1st September) is another choice of mine that stretches back to my early New Zealand days when I would laugh out loud at a Tom Scott cartoon over my cappuccino and huge muffin in the food court next to the old Farmer’s in Central Christchurch. I was such a lonely immigrant then. Thanks for the laughs Tom!

Something New: I just can’t go past The Witches of Gambaga (Friday 31st August). This is a documentary by Yaba Badoe  about a group of women ostracised as witches in Northern Ghana. I know nothing about witches or Ghana, and it all seems worlds apart from the venue at the Art Gallery in Christchurch, but how magical is that? Also new to me is my festival hot favourite Around the World in 80 Trees (Friday 31st August) by Jonathon Drori. I love trees. Were I a tree I would hope to be a tall, straight, slim-waisted Nikau Palm throwing my arms up in the air at the sheer joy of living. Please let me not be tempted to reveal this weirdness at this event!

Jonathan Drori
Author Jonathan Drori. Image supplied.

The Diary of a BooksellerSomething Borrowed: For me this is all about learning from other peoples’ experiences. My two picks are The Diary of a Bookseller (Saturday 1st September) by Shaun Bythell – he’s young, he’s Scottish and in this day and age he sells books. No Brainer! And Explosive Archaeology (Sunday 2nd September) in which a poet, a curator, a novelist and an academic discuss the underappreciated artists they love. I’m bound to learn something off-the-wall here.

How we met

Something Blue: And finally some luuuuurve. My pick is Let Love In (Saturday 1st September). Catherine Robertson and Michèle A’Court both write about love, but from very different perspectives (romance or quirky realism). But in the end it all comes down to our fondness for our own love stories – question time should be a blast. I feel warm and fuzzy already!

And of course in any respectable festival day there’ll be the little side forays into interesting cafés. Maybe I’ll take in a 20 minute lecture from Cabinet of Curiosities, and I’ll certainly loiter in the Piano foyer to get that magic feeling of reconnecting with my literary tribe again. No secret handshake required. Just see you there!

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Of humans and gods elemental

I’m a committed reader and I do read fairly widely and there’s one particular thing that I love when it comes to fiction; I love stories that blend and blur the lines between reality and mythology. The kind of thing where the lives of men and meddling gods coexist and the environment holds some physical form.

There’s loads of examples of this throughout literature – the Greeks and Romans loved to tell these types of stories, and those stories continue to be told in our own time – think of John Banville’s ‘The Infinities’ and ‘Fifteen Dogs’ by Andre Alexis . In both books the Classical Gods get involved in the modern life of humanity (and canines). And more recently there’s been ‘American Gods’ by Neil Gaiman, and ‘Good Omens’ a joint effort between Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett. Both of which will be getting the screen treatment very soon!

Cover of The infinites Cover of Fifteen dogsCover of American GodsCover of Good omens

But what about the more elemental gods, the older gods, gods of the earth, environment, and the supernatural world…?

Cover of FlamesI’ve just finished reading ‘Flames’ by Robbie Arnott – a young Tasmanian author with some serious talent! He’s been writing for some years now and has a string of awards following in his wake, and he’s a very welcome addition to the burgeoning Tasmanian writers scene, a scene which includes the rural romances of Rachael Treasure, the gritty historic fiction of Rohan Wilson, and the Booker Prize winner Richard Flanagan. I’m a Tasmanian myself so I do enjoy keeping up with what’s coming out of the beautiful isle, but I wasn’t really prepared for how good ‘Flames’ was going to be! It feels as you read it as if the land of lutruwita (the indigenous name for Tasmania) is itself telling the story and we are the privileged few who get to gain some insider knowledge.

It centres on two young people just after the death of their mother, which itself acts as a catalyst for all that follows. The brother is steadfast and pragmatic and wants to protect his sister so decides to build her a coffin, to which her response is to flee into the wilderness of the South West where she discovers a supernatural aspect to the world around her, and to herself and also to her family. Meanwhile the brother mounts a search to find his sister. On the journey we meet characters that are both at one with the natural world and still finding and settling into their place in it. We meet their father, we learn more about the family’s background, and other characters each of who are portrayed perfectly to outline their purpose in the narrative.

Robbie Arnott’s use of language is poetic and evocative of times past, of the smell of earth, the feel of wind, and the heat of fire. The narrative moves organically from one character to the next, shifting perspectives and fleshing out the magic of the story as it progresses. His descriptions of Tasmania (and you can rely on this ex-pat to confirm) are stunningly accurate and establish a very strong sense of place – you can smell eucalyptus burning, hear the rush of the waves onto the rocks, and you can feel the semi-decayed earth under your feet as you negotiate the wombat burrows.

So; beautiful language, strong sense of place, great characters with depth and purpose, and an engrossing story line – it’s ticked all the boxes for me!

Cover of The buried giantAnd ‘Flames’ is not the only book to achieve this balance between the real, the myth, the supernatural. ‘The Buried Giant’ by Kazuo Ishaguro is the tale of an ageing couple on a medieval pilgrimage with their purpose obscured by a think fog affecting memories, or there’s the outstanding series ‘The Tale of Shikanoko’ by Lian Hearn where we follow a journey of growth within a fantastical Edo-era Japan that has such imagination and rooted in strong mythology and where the everyday is touched with magic both light and dark. As is fellow Tasmanian Richard Flanagan’s great piece of surrealist historical fiction ‘Gould’s Book of Fish – a novel in twelve fish’ which I’m sure was both inspiration and license for Robbie Arnott to create this work, ‘Flames’.

And if you like this particular sub-genre then there’s plenty of films and tele series’ that are similar. You could have a look at ‘The Kettering Incident’, Tasmania’s own supernatural, David-Lynch-esque, tele series. It’s brilliant, dark, a bit creepy, and it’ll show you some places and environments very like those Robbie Arnott has depicted in ‘Flames’.

Enjoy your reading,

^DevilStateDan

The world of WORD: Dan’s picks of the 2018 festival

WORD Christchurch is back for 2018 and the programme is full of quality experiences of the written word!

Once again there’s everything from poetry sessions, confessional sessions, author and book-related panels, and even a whale-watching tour to beautiful Kaikoura!

But for me, the biggest excitement surrounds the sheer diversity of options available to us, the reader/audience…

  • As stated above, you can take a Whale Watching (Tues 28 Aug) trip to Kaikōura. Hosted by authors Philip Hoare and David Neiwert, and travelling from Christchurch to rendezvous with Whale Watch Kaikōura for an early afternoon cruise out into the mighty ocean, you can encounter the ocean giants first hand, all the while having the author/hosts regale you with knowledge and stories.
  • Then there’s A Cabinet of Curiosities: Tiny Lectures on the Weird and Wonderful. (Fri 31 Aug – Sun 2 Sept) A series of quickfire 20min lectures on some of the more unusual aspects of our world; UFO’s, sexbots, mermaids…. you get the idea! These will be a great way to fill in some downtime between bigger events, such as…
  • Irvine Welsh: Trainspotting to Dead Men’s Trousers. (Fri 31 Aug) What an exciting opportunity to hear from the mind of the man who burst onto the scene in 1993 with what is now a modern classic! Welsh has written quite a few books centred on the characters featured in Trainspotting, but is this to be the last one…?!? He’s also a highly opinionated and politically-minded individual so there’s sure to be some Brexit talk during his talk.
  • Diary of a Bookseller (Sat 1 Sept) gives us an insight into the highs and lows in the life of a Scottish second-hand bookshop. It’s hosted by Shaun Bythell who will also be running Book Collectors Old and New (Fri 31 Aug) – a 3 hour interactive workshop on all things book collecting. Shaun co-hosts with Brian Phillips as they will impart all the knowledge you could want on the world of book collecting.
  • And how about a panel discussion with authors presenting readings of new writing on the music that has shaped them as artists and people. Soundtrack or, Dancing About Architecture (Sun 2 Sept) will see authors Philip Hoare, Pip Adam, Chris Tse, and Nic Low do just that. Musical styles and experiences will be as wide and varied as the work of the authors presenting.
  • And finally, the story of the editor-turned-bestselling author. A.J. Finn: The Woman in the Window (Sun 2 Sept) introduces us to the next big thing in thriller writing. Dan Mallory, writing under a pseudonym, is getting huge accolades from some big names in the genre and The Woman in the Window is already getting the silver-screen treatment. This will fascinating to hear him speak about how his years of editing set him up for the best possible crack at his own bestseller!

So there are my pics for this year’s festival – wide, rich, and varied. See you there for literary-themed goodness!

St. Mary’s Bridle Path Road, Heathcote – Snow – Church next door to “Hillwood”: Picturing Canterbury

St. Mary’s Bridle Path Road, Heathcote – Snow – Church next door to “Hillwood”. File Reference Gimblett-0013.

St. Mary’s Bridle Path Road, Heathcote – Snow – Church next door to “Hillwood”.

Date: 1900s.

Built in 1860, St Mary’s Anglican church in Heathcote was originally situated on Bridle Path Road. Additions were made to the church building in 1914. In 1925 the building was relocated to its current location on the corner of Martindales and Truscotts roads.

Do you have any photographs of St Mary’s Church, Heathcote? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

St. Marys, Bridle Path Road, Heathcote

What’s lava got to do with it?

What’s lava got to do with it? Quite a bit if you’re talking about volcanoes.

As a kid I had recurring nightmares about both volcanoes and earthquakes. I blame the abundance of seventies-era disaster movies that seemed to often make it onto the television during that period. I took games of “the floor is made of lava” Very Seriously.

My antipathy towards earthquakes has become less nightmare-based and more practical since 2010, but my morbid fascination with volcanoes is still one that I enjoy (not sure that’s the right word, exactly) though thankfully from something of a distance.

Certainly, Hawaii’s Big Island is plenty close enough for me. Mt Kīlauea started erupting in early May and is still doing a very convincing “Mount Doom”, destroying around 600 homes in the process (so far), and with no signs of stopping.

But New Zealand sits on the same Pacific Ring of Fire as the Hawaiian islands, Indonesia’s Krakatoa, Japan’s Fujiyama and Bali’s Mt Agung which is currently ejecting 2km high columns of ash. Our own history and landscape is peppered with reminders of eruptions, like the caldera that became our own Lyttelton Harbour, for instance.

Volcanic eruptions can and do happen in New Zealand, sometimes with devastating effect (looking at you, Mount Tarawera), so it’s probably just as well that we know something about what they are and how they behave (and preferably from a better source than an old Paul Newman movie).

If you’re keen on finding out more about lava, fissure vents, and pyroclastic flow, you could do worse than consult some of the resources below:

Gale Interactives screenshot
Gale Interactive: Science lets you remove half a mountain to see what’s underneath. In this case, it’s a magma chamber.

And if that’s not enough to quench your thirst for everything volcano, there are also lots of books on volcanoes, for kids and adults alike.

Cover of Volcanoes and thermal wonders

A luncheon interval on Mt Sebastopol while on a ski trip at Mount Cook National Park: Picturing Canterbury

A luncheon interval on Mt Sebastopol while on a ski trip at Mount Cook National Park [1926?]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 14 IMG0086
Do you have any photographs of skiing in Canterbury? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

A Luncheon Interval On Mt Sebastopol While On A Ski Trip At Mount Cook National Park

A Matariki poem: Ururangi – Seventh born

Ururangi – Seventh Born

E Ururangi – Seventh born,
yonder in the heavens,
cloaked within your stardust korowai,
we see you, I see you…
amid your celestial whānau Matariki,
Ururangi, I entreat, throw off your cloak and shine brightly,
herald in the gentle winds,
so as we may rest and celebrate good fortune,
E Ururangi – Seventh born,
yonder in the heavens.

An original poem about Matariki that references one of the stars of the cluster, Ururangi – the star of the wind. The kaupapa (focus) for Matariki 2018 is sustainable natural resources of Matariki – Tupu-ā-nuku, Tupu-ā-rangi and Ururangi. These whetū (stars) are connected to food that is grown in the earth, food that comes from the sky, and the wind. It is essential for us to look after our Earth, and its natural resources, so that it can continue to sustain us.

Ururangi’s Gift – a Matariki Story

An original story about Matariki that draws on the themes of Toitū Ngā Mahinga Kai o Matariki – Sustainable Natural Resources of Matariki. The kaupapa (focus) for Matariki 2018 is sustainable natural resources of Matariki – Tupu-ā-nuku, Tupu-ā-rangi and Ururangi. These whetū (stars) are connected to food that is grown in the earth, food that comes from the sky, and the wind. It is essential for us to look after our Earth, and its natural resources, so that it can continue to sustain us.

Ururangi’s Gift – A Matariki Story

“Koro! Koro!” Nikau  ran as fast as he could muster, dodging rocks and hurling over bushes. Branches even grasped at the threads of his red hoodie, but they were no match for his speed.

“What is it Nikau?” a voice rang from the vegetable patch, pricking at his ears as he gleefully followed the sound.

” Koro!” Nikau almost tripped over his laces as his arms wrapped tightly around the old man, making Koro’s wrinkles iron out with a smile. “Look what I found!” Excitedly, Nikau opened his palm, showing the tiny seed hidden within.

“Ah! My dear moko you have found a Kōwhai seed.” Koro delicately lifted the seed from Nikau’s palm and pinched it between two fingers; gazing at it through the sunlight. “Ururangi must have brought it to us!”

“Ururangi?” Nikau was puzzled. “who is Ururangi?”

Sighing Koro started, “Ah, sit down Nikau, and let me tell you a story. You must know this- it is part of your whakapapa.”

“Really?” Nikau hurriedly sat on the grass, his shorts turning green from its stain.

“Do you know Matariki? It is our celebration of the new year- it is very, very special to us for many reasons.”

Nikau leaned in.

“Ururangi is one of 9 stars in the star cluster Matariki- there are hundreds of stars within, but these 9 are especially important as we can see them with our naked eye, and each hold domain over different areas of our environment. Their names are; Matariki, Pōhutukawa, Waitī and Waitā, Waipuna-ā-rangi, Tupu-ā-nuku, Tupu-ā-rangi, Ururangi, and finally Hiwa-i-te-rangi. Our tupuna would gaze at each of these stars, who would tell us what the year ahead would be like. You my dear moko, have the speed of Ururangi,” Koro chuckled “but the clumsiness of- maybe a duck?”

“Hey!” Nikau’s face turned bright red, with a sheepish grin breaking through his lips.

“Uruangi is fast too and has domain over the wind and its nature for the coming year. He gave you this special little seed, and soon you will need to pass it on for Tupu-ā-nuku to protect. We can’t plant this yet Nikau, as it’s too cold for the little Kōwhai – it is fast alseep. You will have to keep it safe until it is ready to plant in spring where it will be wide awake; but we can get the soil ready for it, and find it a safe spot for it to grow.”

Koro led Nikau by the hand, and together they found a perfect clearing for the Kōwhai to grow. Using Koro’s old trusty tools, Koro teaches Nikau how to till the soil, carefully breaking up clumps of dirt and preparing the little patch of garden.

“Tupu-ā-nuku has domain over the food grown in the earth,” Koro whispered. “Under her protection it will grow proud and tall bearing its yellow flowers as thanks.”

Nikau rubbed his hands together. They were sore, but the work they had accomplished together made him smile.

“So once Tupu-ā-nuku has it that’s it?” Nikau questioned, placing a little worm carefully  back into the dirt.

“Ehē of course not Nikau, life has a cycle, and that is only the first step.”

Nikau jumped into grandpa’s lap, relieved that isn’t the end of the story.

“Once it’s time to plant the little seed we will place it in the ground, cover it with soil and give it plenty of water. It will eventually grow its first leaves, sprouting from the ground, Tupu-ā-nuku will then help care for it, hiding it under the blades of grass, as it slowly grows and becomes stronger. The higher it reaches and the stronger it grows, the further from the ground it goes- until it cannot reach anymore!” Nikau gazed up at the sky “My seed will reach the clouds, I know it!”

Koro chuckled, “maybe not- but Kōwhai has its own purpose in life, as do I, as do you. Kōwhai gives thanks by bearing beautiful yellow flowers- this is part of its purpose.”

“So.. its purpose is to just be pretty.. that’s it?” Nikau’s heart sank.

“Ehē Nikau, kōwhai also has an ability to help us when we are unwell; its bark has healed many, as it can become a medicine to help wounds heal- but only when it grows; and once Kōwhai reaches up to the heavens, it becomes part of the domain of Tupu-ā-rangi who has domain over food from the sky.”

“Koro,” Nikau started, “you must be getting old- you can’t plant kumara in the sky!”

“Food is in many forms Nikau- and you are very cheeky!” Koro laughed, messing up Nikau’s hair.

“Kōwhai’s purpose is to feed the birds that fly in Tupu-ā-rangi’s domain-our native birds such as Tui, bellbirds, and wood pigeon feast happily on those bright flowers and lush leaves- Kōwhai give nectar as food for many of our bird life, and in return Tupu-ā-nuku cares for all of them.”

Nikau felt the inside of his pocket where the seed safely slept, excited about of what the little seed will achieve.

“The circle of life is completed when that little Kōwhai produces seeds, giving them back to Ururangi to scatter over the land. Each plays an important part; it is special to us and to our tupuna, as it will be to your own tamariki.”

Nikau hugged koro as hard as he could. He now knew why his Kōwhai seed was such a special gift to him and his whānau.

“Thank you for the story koro, I can’t wait for Matariki!”

Nikau jumped up and raced inside, hoping to have a taste of the Matariki feast.

“Nikau! Aren’t you going to help me harvest the kumara?” Koro questioned, but Nikau was already out of sight.

Koro chuckled “One day Nikau will learn,” he murmured, as he continued to prepare the soil; breaking up massive clumps of dirt and pulling out old plant roots,planning where the new plants could grow. It was hard work, but worth it for the new year coming, as then he would be ready to plant in spring. Koro had to work fast, as the kumara harvest would soon end at Marariki, which would fill their winter stores until he could plant new crops-just like his tupuna before him. Dusk soon basked the sky in bright colours, signalling the end of the day.

Koro cleaned his tools, storing them in the nearby shed. He then gathered the freshly harvested kumara in hand and made his way inside, waiting for the new year to begin.

Want to read more?

Matariki 2018

List created by ChristchurchLib

This year Christchurch City Libraries continue to explore the reintroduction of Te Iwa o Matariki – The Nine Stars of Matariki. This booklist features new favourites and some of our old favourites, as well as resources which relate to this year’s theme – Toitū Ngā Mahinga Kai o Matariki – Sustainable Natural Resources of Matariki. These three whetū are Tupu-ā-nuku which is associated with food that grows in the ground. Tupu-ā-rangi, associated with food that comes from the sky, and Ururangi, connected to the nature of the winds for the coming year. A Christchurch City Libraries list.

Cover of Ngā whetū matariki i whānakotiaNgā whetū matariki i whānakotia – Join Sam, Te Rerehua, Grandma and Pōua out at Te Mata Hāpuku (Bridling’s flat) for an adventure featuring patupaiarehe, eeling and stolen stars. Available in both te reo Māori and English with a portion of the book’s sales going towards the restoration of Te Roto o Wairewa.

Matariki – A beautiful book full of beautiful illustrations. The first of its kind this book is an easily read current piece of literature devoted to the star cluster Matariki, for adults. Also available in te reo Māori Rangi Matamua has produced a great piece of work reintroducing the knowledge of Te Iwa o Matariki.

Episode 7 – Matariki – Pipi Mā – The Cartoon

Learn about the Nine Stars of Matariki in the episode. Pipi Mā make a mobile of the star constellation Matariki and celebrate each star.

Associate Professor Dr Rangi Matamua talks about his recently released book, Matariki: The Star of the Year, at Te Herenga Waka Marae, Victoria University of Wellington.

Cover of Matariki: te whetū tapu o te tauMatariki

Tāwhirimātea – Recently released last year Tāwhirimātea A song for Matariki is beautifully illustrated and a hit with primary school aged tamariki.

View Full List 

Check out this year’s events celebrating Matariki 2018!

Garden bird survey: 30 June – 8 July 2018

Fantail

There are birds in my garden. Lots of them. I’m not an overly keen gardener, so birds, bees and insects love our place. Wax-eyes love the flowers and silver beet that have gone to seed. Other birds like scratching up the mossy lawn looking for worms. I love the sound of birdsong. Especially the bird that flies to the top of my neighbour’s garden and sings. I didn’t know that birds are an important indicator of the health of our environment.

You can participate in this citizen science project. There are lots of activities and resources to help you identify birds. For creative kids, there is colouring in, masks to make and quizzes to do.

You may be wondering why we count garden birds, especially introduced species. We learn about the health of our towns and cities. Scientists can’t do this on their own. They need you. We need a good picture of the birds in our country. The more people counting birds, the more we learn about our bird population. Doing the survey is fairly easy. Print out the tally sheet and choose a day that suits you. Find a comfortable spot to sit (either inside or outside). Look and listen for one hour. For each type of bird, record the highest number seen at one time. Use Landcare’s online form to enter your count.

Fantastic! You have just helped scientists understand our bird population.

To help you with identifying birds and encouraging birds to visit your garden, here is my list of recommended books.

Cover of Attracting birds and other wildlife to your garden in New ZealandCover of The field guide to the Birds of New ZealandCover of Birds of New ZealandCover of A photographic guide to birds of New ZealandCover of All about New Zealand birdsCover of A mini guide to the identification of New Zealand's land birdsCover of Which New Zealand bird?

New Zealand Garden bird survey: 30 June – 8 July 2018

List created by Valerie_L

View Full List

Brighten up your life

Tomorrow, 21 June, is the winter solstice. The shortest day. The point at which the southern hemisphere of our little blue planet, with its jaunty, tilted axis, reaches “peak gloom”. The weather will continue to grow colder from this point*, hardening into winter, but the days themselves and potential daylight hours will increase. And not a moment too soon.

Cover of the album Sunshine by The Emotions.
The connection between sunshine and emotions is not limited to this Motown album from 1974.

If you’ve been feeling down recently, the lack of sunshine may have something to do with it. According the MetService, sunshine hours in Christchurch this June are well below average. I don’t mind a bit of cold myself but the lack of blue sky and sunlight is rather dampening to the spirit.

Short of leaving town, or literally heading for the hills what can we all do to feel better? Our friends at All Right? have a lot of great suggestions but here are some of my own:

Make the most of what we’ve got – I just ran outside and stood in the sunshine for about 20 seconds before the sun went away again. Make hay (and Vitamin D) while the sun shines, and all. If you’re in the position to be able to go for a walk or be outside for a bit during the all too brief appearances the sun is making then do. But take a brolly because it will probably start raining again…

Get out and socialise – It can be tempting to stay indoors and hibernate but sometimes forcing yourself to be social is worth the effort. At the library there are options for crafting with company or book groups, or our Matariki Whānau Fun Day on Saturday at Ōrauwhata: Bishopdale Library and Community Centre might be the ticket. Or make the most of the darkness by lighting it up on the winter solstice night light bike ride through Hagley Park. Alternatively, you could organise your own Matariki shared dinner with friends and whānau – whip up a batch of soup and hang out together moaning about how rubbish the weather is!

Now that I mention it… SOUP – I firmly believe a hearty soup can have healing and mood-altering properties. When combined with a comfy pair of slippers and a good book, soup is a veritable panacea for whatever ails you. Also, leeks and potatoes are inexpensive at the moment and if you make them into a soup you can say you’ve made vichyssoise which sounds really fancy.

Watch (or read) something funny – My go tos for funny reading are David Sedaris and Caitlin Moran (both of whom have new books coming out), and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. On telly I’ve been watching comedy show Taskmaster and that regularly gives me a full on belly laugh, same for The Good Place. Or maybe a movie comedy? Our recent comedy DVDs are worth a look. My favourite funny movies from the last year have included Thor: Ragnarok, Jumanji, and The Trip to Spain.

Wear bright clothing or something that makes you feel happy – It’s tempting to match the sombre grey of the sky with your outfits but don’t! Go the other way instead with vibrant warm colours or really anything that makes you feel great: jewellery, a flower in your hair, an eye-catching pair of socks, anything that brings a smile.

Be nice to people – Acts of kindness or generosity are actually mood-lifters for both the recipient and the giver. I’m trying to dish out more compliments (rather than just think them in my head). The All Right crew have some cute compliment gifs that might come in handy for this.

*If you’ve ever wondered why the weather doesn’t start to warm up after winter solstice it’s because of the time it takes to change the temperature of the large bodies of water that make up most of the surface of our planet. Seas and oceans warm throughout summer and are slow to cool – like giant hot water bottles keeping us warm through the night/autumn. It’s only when they’ve lost their heat that we’ll start to really feel winter’s bite.

More information