Issue 97 is out now
Kate Hodges

By Kate Hodges

23rd January 2020

Welcome to the year of the Rat! Cook vegan Chinese food recipes and find out about your Chinese Zodiac sign, spot birds at The Great British Bird Watch, celebrate slapstick comedy, visit a HUGE dinosaur exhibition!

Kate Hodges

By Kate Hodges

23rd January 2020

Kate Hodges

By Kate Hodges

23rd January 2020

EVENT and RECIPE Yeah! Rat Fans
Sunday is Chinese New Year. Head to Chinatowns in London, Manchester, Liverpool or Birmingham to watch dragon dances, pop music shows and to fill tummies with dumplings and noodles. Or celebrate at a museum of gallery near you – the parties Museum of Scotland and London’s Maritime Museum sound particularly fun this year. This is the year of the metal rat, a strong, financially prosperous time for those who plan carefully. Why not try some origami at home? There are diagrams for each animal in the Chinese zodiac here. Or explore your Chinese animal sign, and what personality traits you may consequently have. Alternatively, whip up a vegan Chinese feast; try mushroom and tofu potstickers, spicy kung pao lentils or Jamie Oliver’s very easy noodles.

EVENT and DO Sticky Beaks
This weekend’s RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is a wonderful, inclusive way for even the smallest of children to connect with nature. It’s the world’s largest garden wildlife survey – every January, half a million people spend an hour counting the winged creatures that come into their garden, balcony or park. This year, why not fill in the section about other wildlife you’ve spotted in the garden; hedgehogs, frogs and other wildlife are all facing tough times, and you could help build up a fuller picture of how our garden creatures are faring. Download a pack and join in the fun.

EVENT Rex and FX
Big teeth, huge jaws, tiny arms. Tyrannosaurs are the mightiest of all the dinosaurs, and this cutting-edge Tyrannosaurs exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland showcases them in all their roaring glory. See life-size cast skeletons and rare fossils, then walk through augmented reality experiences and large-scale projections and interact with life-size dinosaurs as they explore Edinburgh. January 23 – May 4. Ticketed.

EVENT, LEARN and RECIPE Burning Love
Burns Night falls on Saturday. Celebrate it in style this Sunday at the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow, at a night of music, poetry, crafts and song (with free whisky samples for over 18s). Free but book ahead. If you’re in Edinburgh, head to The Writers’ Museum for sweet, free Burns-inspired craft sessions. There’s another celebration in Northern Ireland, as the Museum of Ulster, with highland dancing, haggis, bagpiping and a performance of ‘Not So Serious Burns’. Not close enough to join the fun? Party at home with a delicious vegan haggis, neeps and tatties, or liven up your lessons with these teaching resources.

EVENT Clowning Around
Love clowning? Or black and white films? Head to Bristol for a weekend of custard-pies-in-faces, silly faces and lots of falling over. The Slapstick Festival combines film screenings – think Laurel and Hardy classics with a live music accompaniment, celebrations of classic comedy – The Goodies mark their 50th anniversary at the event, and kid-friendly shows – Harry Hills’ ‘How to be Funny For Kids’ is the highlight of Sunday’s events. Full line-up here

. Ticketed.

What we’ve been reading this week:

Picture Books for the Wild at Heart

“The earth muddles through its marvels in spite of us, and it is past time to rethink our relationship with what’s wild. Often, we are too loud or righteous to hear what nature’s saying. Similarly, we are deaf to the wisdom of children. I find it interesting, then, that children usually know how to live peacefully with nature.
These picture books — each an invitation to reside in or with the wilderness — could give a child confidence enough to know that adults are often confused, and that children needn’t make similar bad decisions.” Read on here

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