We’re starting 2021 here at Shake by wishing you health, happiness and lots of inspiration too... dirty great dollops of the stuff! And that’s exactly why our first blog of the new year is the third instalment of Shake 6 - six things we’ve genuinely loved over the past four weeks or so.
We’ve got our ‘big smile’ at the end as well. It's one unique piece of inspo, chosen from the masses of social media posts we’ve scrolled through recently. This one really made us grin, so we hope it’ll warm your heart this January. Let's do this!
At this time of year, you can often find photographer Mark Pickthall at Ham Wall nature reserve in Somerset, photographing and videoing the hundreds of thousands of starlings gathering there. The results are pure magic.
When we asked Mark what the starlings mean to him, he told us:
“My dad was an ornithologist and I just love being in nature - in the dusk and the dawn as the world wakes up and you hear the incredible mass communication and witness the movement. It’s something very special that needs to be experienced and you never know what’s going to happen. Sometimes it’s mesmerising and of course sometimes, the birds murmurate to evade predators. I genuinely enjoy sharing their adventures”.
Well, we certainly love seeing them through Mark's lens. I also blogged about the Somerset starlings last year, and you can find that here if you fancy reading more about the phenomenon.
The Lost Spells
If you love Mark’s photos, I bet you’ll have loved The Lost Words – an incredible book by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris which aims to ensure that words connected to nature are never forgotten (it was conceived after around 50 such words were removed from the Oxford Dictionary for Children).
The Lost Spells is basically its “little sister”, a pocket-sized book of spell-poems to help you escape to the natural world from wherever you’re reading it.
We’ve been getting lost in everything from jackdaws "ready with the wisecrack, giving it the backchat” to the “Winter-bringer” and “eerie singer”, the curlew. That’s the bird Robert MacFarlane would choose to be if he could, by the way!
The illustrations, by Jackie Morris, are quite simply the stuff of good shivers. Add it to your book collection. You’ll be glad you did.
From spell-poems to illustration we go, as Simo Liu’s series ‘escape’ has really made us stop and think, especially in light of the recent and repeated lockdowns in the UK.
Each brightly coloured frame features a room representing a man-made or natural disaster of the past year, including COVID-19, locust plagues, forest fires, floods and earthquakes. The character in each illustration is trying to escape to Utopia, and Simo says that although these disasters have overwhelmed us at times,
“The pandemics will disappear eventually and the sun will rise again”.
We love that sentiment.
Check out the full series, here.
Carry on Babs How to honour the late, great Barbara Windsor? Well, instead of binge-watching the Carry on films, we love this creative collaboration between Wax Melts makers The Scent Loft & Co and artist Naomi Phillips.
The Scent Loft & Co has created a new scent 'Carry on Babs' and is donating 50% of the sale proceeds to the Alzheimer's Society. Naomi has donated her awesome artwork for the scent packaging and promo.
Yes, it's 'absolutely babulous', it launches on January 15th and it's inspired by a 'Pomegranate Noir' scent. Our sense of smell can't wait to check it out!
We’re continually inspired (and blown away) by National Volunteer Fundraiser of the Year, Rachel Clark.
Rachel fundraises for We Hear You, a wonderful charity in our neck of the woods, providing counselling for people affected by life threatening conditions. Rachel’s mum passed away 10 years ago and We Hear You’s counselling made a real difference to Rachel. She’s been fundraising for them ever since, raising over £55,000 during that time.
Her challenges are always inclusive and they've encouraged many people to join in. This year, Rachel is taking on a challenge every month to mark 10 years. She started on January 2nd, climbing Cley Hill repeatedly from dusk till dawn in all kinds of weather. Its summit is at a 244 metres/801 ft elevation too.
Now that’s what we call inspiring!
It’s groundhog day That’s in November you say? Well, every day is Groundhog Day (!) when you have a family of five of them living your garden! Yes, we're heading over to Instagram and to Delaware in the States to meet Chunk the Groundhog, as his furry antics have captured the imaginations and hearts of almost half a million followers all over the world.
When Jeff, a keen gardener, discovered something was eating all his vegetables he put in a camera to nail the culprit. This is what he saw...
And guess what? Jeff grew so attached to this little camera-loving chap that he created another garden... especially for his new furry friend. How lovely is that? Well, Chunk then got himself a girlfriend, babies followed and now they're social media superstars!
If you love animals and ever need a lift, head over to Chunk's page and watch the little videos. They're guaranteed to raise a smile.
I also chatted to Jeff about Chunk recently for a radio show, and we'll be sharing that on a 'created differently' blog very soon.