Taking a pause to work on other things

It is with heavy heart to report, we are taking a little break from InspoDaily.

We are really sad to make this decision but, being a small team, we can’t work on everything and must step back to focus on other things.

Since launch, we’re proud to have published over 1,000 articles that have been read globally – from the UK to USA, Sweden to Spain, and Australia to Afghanistan.

We always said if just one person clicks on a story and it has the power to brighten their day, then our work is done.

Little did we realise that nearly two years later we would still be writing features and have reached over half a million people.

What started out as a dream blossomed into a full-time job, on a mission to share knowledge across mental health, healing, suicide prevention, our ancestry, nature, and so much more.

The more we wrote, the more we opened our eyes and learned about the world around us, and we will forever be thankful for that.

But we couldn’t have done any of it without you extraordinary readers!

This is why the website will stay active for now, as a thank you to everyone who has been part of this journey and all of the fabulous humans who have supported us along the way.

Now, it’s time to turn attentions to our other project ­– Favours.

Just like InspoDaily, the Favours app puts humanity at its heart, but instead of reading about it, you can be a part of it.

This life-changing tool strives to connect people by inviting users to swap acts of kindness with strangers – without exchanging money.

So, from us, it’s merry Christmas and bye for now. We miss you already.

*drops mic*

Little shrub planted by couple 40 years ago now towers into the sky

With high street shops and online vendors pushing their Christmas deals on us, it’s hard to resist getting caught up in the materialistic fever of it all.

Yet the true spirit of the holidays is lighting up a village one fairy light at a time to remind people that community is heart and centre of the festivities.

If you haven’t heard of Inkberrow in Worcestershire before, you have now!

Local heroes Avril and Christopher Rowlands have single-handedly put Inkberrow on the map, with their glorious 50ft tree brightening up the skies.

[Credit: SWNS]

Time-travelling back to 1978, the couple planted their modest 6ft shrub in the front garden, before Mother Nature worked her magic and towered into the heavens.

Today, 43 years later, that lil’ garden centre purchase is now the star of the village.

Having previously been one of the darkest places in the UK, as a town without any streetlights, Avril and Christopher have transformed Inkberrow into a stunning yuletide treat.

Speaking about their seasonal spectacle, Avril revealed that 2,000 residents turned up to see the switching-on ceremony, which lit up the tree that can be seen from miles around.

[Credit: SWNS]

Avril, 75, said: “The switching on of the lights has become quite a village tradition. A lot of people in the village say that it’s the start of their Christmas.

“It’s been wonderful to see so many people enjoy the lights this year.”

She added: “We had no idea just how big it would grow. It’s absolutely huge now and towers over our house. We even get cards addressed to the tree, which is quite sweet.”

The tree has grown so big that an industrial cherry-picker is needed to help the couple decorate it with lights ahead of their annual unveiling.

[Credit: SWNS]

As society moves towards an ethos where we create less waste, who knows, we may see many more of these on front lawns in years to come.

In the meantime, while you’re waiting for last year’s re-potted pine to shoot up from the grass, you can rent one instead.

Check out how you can live the sustainable life, by clicking here: Rent A Tree.

Look after yourself this Xmas: Taking care of no1 is not selfish (it’s survival)

Despite what the movies tell us, Christmas isn’t always the most magical time of year.

Some of us don’t get the guy or girl, some of us don’t have food on the table, and some of us don’t have time off from our jobs.

While we can’t hocus pocus away the stresses of December, or any time of the year, we can give you a little self-esteem boost to turn the mayhem into mellowness.

Taking inspo from the dream team at Amaze, a charity for families with disabled children, we’ve whipped up the best ingredients for a ‘Me Time’ recipe below.

[Credit: Kinga Cichewi

1 Sleep

Sleep. Is. King. No foolin’. Not only does sleep allow us to have a timeout from the 24/7 chaos of daily life, but it’s also seriously good for us.

A good schnoz is vital for wellbeing as it is the only time during which the brain cleans itself. This means, when we sleep well, our cognition improves. Without sleep, we can’t form the pathways in our brain that let us learn, concentrate and, crucially, tackle our problems.

So, while sleep is not a magic wand to eradicate problems, it is a powerful tool to balance our moods and neurotransmitters (such as dopamine) that help us face life’s challenges with more precision and confidence so that when things go wrong we don’t blame ourselves.

If you stuggle to catch zzzzs, tossing and turning a lot, try to limit phone use before bed and/or experiment with meditations that will get you in the right frame of mind.

[Credit: S B Vonlanthen]

2 Keep it simple

When party season is upon us, there’s a temptation to throw ourselves into the spirit of it, whether splurging cash, seeing folk we haven’t seen for ages, or indulging at the boozer.

Yet all these pressures and expectations can leave us in need a holiday after the holiday!

There’s no right or wrong way of doing things, just do what works for you. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to go with the flow as you never know what’s around the corner.

If the simple approach keeps the anxiety at bay, we’re right there with you waving that flag.  

[Credit: Thomas Bormans]

3 Preparation

Over at InspoDaily, we are big fans of planning! #adulthood

So, get into the shindig of makin’ a list and checkin’ it twice, because when you make time to prepare in advance you can virtually wipe out stress in the run-up to Christmas.

Whether it’s wrapping presents ahead of time while listening to festive songs or peeling the veggies for your Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve – every little helps!

[Credit: Andy T]

4 Just say no

‘Oh, go on then…’

‘Sure, if it’ll help…’

‘Yep, I’ll be right there…’

Just some of the things we say when actually we mean NO.

If there’s one thing you remember this year, let it be that ‘no’ is a complete sentence.

You do not have to justify your decision to anyone, and if that means pulling back on Christmas plans or invitations, because it all feels overwhelming, that is fine.

One of the fundamental principles of self-care is putting your wellbeing above what others expect of you, and sometimes that means uttering a little word that rhymes with ‘go’.

[Credit: Al Elmes]

5 Let your hair down

Just as some people might want to pull back from the party scene, others might want to deep dive so far in that they’re falling like Alice down the rabbit hole.

And if it means noshing chocolate, getting giddy on mulled wine, or whatever it is that floats your boat, just enjoy it – you deserve it.

See you on the dance floor!

For the full article, click here: Look After Yourself.

Slurp while you shop: Discover the mulled wine takeaway hotspots

There’s something kind of magical about sipping mulled wine in December.

Whether it’s the rich spice aroma, the warmth in your gloved hands, or just the liquor itself making ya woozy, it’s a drink that makes Christmas.  

Though when you’ve left your shopping until the last minute or want to mooch around the festive markets, sitting in a boozer swigging it by the gallon isn’t always practical.

To help you out in your moment of need, the splendid team over at TimeOut have assembled a list of all the London pubs serving takeaway mulled wine this winter.

So, if you know your star anise from your lemon zest, and your cinnamon stick from your cloves, take a peek below for the best places across the capital.  

[Credit: Clem Onojeghuo]

Clissold Park Tavern, Stoke Newington

This lively, independent boozer in Hackney is also serving hot toddies and mulled cider too.

The Grapes, Limehouse

Take a trip to one of the oldest pubs in London, just a stone’s throw from Canary Wharf.

The Lauriston, Victoria Park

Famed for its delicious stone-baked pizzas, these guys are serving Christmas drinks galore.  

Red Lion and Sun, Highgate

Not content with just winter warmers, this gastropub is offering frozen margaritas too!

[Credit: Gaby Dyson]

Renegade Wine, Bethnal Green

This urban winery is gifting mulled wine by the glass or grab a free one if you buy a bottle.

Sun Tavern, Bethnal Green

If mulled wine doesn’t tickle your pickle, try a hot punch instead from this whiskey house.

Pelton Arms, Greenwich

A must-go for boozy hot chocolates lovers!

The Vault 1894, Tower Bridge

Take a trip to this hidden gem for a festive Baileys coffee.

Diogenes the Dog, Walworth

The neighbourhood wine specialist is serving red, white and rosé spiked with spiced brandy.

[Credit: Ed Hinchliffe]

Gallipoli, Angel

This cosy restaurant is very inviting, so be prepared that you might not want to leave.

The Three Stags, Kennington

An authentic London pub that delivers great beer, organic wine, and ethical food.

The Empress, Victoria Park

Here, you can grab hot spiced cider to-go, or stay for a bite of their seasonal menu.

Fugitive Motel, Bethnal Green

A contemporary bar and kitchen that will send you to craft beer and cocktail heaven.

The Great Exhibition, East Dulwich

Up the ante with an extra shot of brandy, Cointreau, or sloe gin.

You can thank us later!

Festive specials for foodies: Insanely good nosh you don’t want to miss

Once upon a time, Christmas food was (albeit tasty) pretty predictable. With turkey, tatties, and the obligatory sprouts, you always knew what you were getting.

Now, you can ride the sleigh to food heaven, for a whole host of sensory delights.  

We’re talking battered pigs in blankets, mince pie ice-cream, and turkey waffles!

Thanks to our festive pals over at London On The Inside, the capital’s biggest independent lifestyle publication, they’ve collated the most playful palatepleasers this December.

So, to get your tastebuds in a twist, check out the list below.

[Credit: Popppies]

Poppies’ Giant Battered Pigs in Blankets

Courtesy of Poppies fish and chip shop, this London eaterie is dishing up giant battered pigs in blankets to die for.

With a jumbo sausage wrapped in smoked streaky bacon and battered in Poppies’ signature batter, seriously, what’s not to love?!  

Grab one before you regret it at one of their locations in Camden, Soho, or Spitalfields.

[Credit: Pizzeria Mozza]

Pizzeria Mozza’s Brussels Sprout Pizza

This reminds us of being given parsnips cut into chip shapes as kids to get veggies down us.

By sprinkling sprouts on a pizza, you’ll be eating one of your five a day while sinking your teeth into the deluxe cheese fest at Pizzeria Mozza.

Spicing up their signature dough, this delicacy will be topped with Brussels sprouts, pancetta, mozzarella, garlic and red onion.

Better yet, you can have this while dining in or as a takeout.

[Credit: Hackney Gelato]

Hackney Gelato’s Mince Pie Ice Cream

If you’re a Ben & Jerry’s fanatic like us, take a break from the Cookie Dough and swap it for the festive flavour.

This limited-edition recipe is packed with plump raisins, chunks of shortcrust pastry, a liberal splash of Pedro Ximenez sherry, and a sprinkle of spices to whip it into a creamy gelato.

You don’t even need to leave your sofa for this one, as it’s available online via Ocado.

[Credit: Chick n’ Sours]

Chick ‘n’ Sours’ Christmas Dinner

If ever a photo made your eyes pop from your head, just look at this guy!

We’re talking next level fried chicken crammed into a succulent burger that will bring out your inner Oliver Twist, asking for more.

This belly-gratifier includes a fried thigh topped with Kewpie mayo, iceberg lettuce, redcurrant hoi sin sauce, smoky pink kraut, and pigs in blankets. Prepare to get messy!

Get noshing with a trip to Chick ‘n’ Sours in Haggerston, Covent Garden, or Whitechapel.

[Credit: The Breakfast Club]

The Breakfast Club’s Turkey Waffle Dinner

In hot competition with the Chick ‘n’ Sours’ Christmas Dinner, this epic feast is fit for Santa.

Boasting buttermilk fried turkey, pigs in blankets, roast sprouts, pecans, and sage all atop a goose fat potato waffle, doused in gravy, this is one you won’t want to share.

To treat yourself, take a trip to The Breakfast Club pronto. We won’t tell if you buy one from each location dotted around London Bridge, Soho, Canary Wharf and Spitalfields.

For the full article, click here: Best Christmas Dinners.  

Volunteer at Christmas: Where you can help this festive season

With all the will in the world, we don’t always have the money to help those in need.

Yet if you’re strapped for cash, your time is equally as valuable.

By donating a few hours, you could not only give a vulnerable person the gift of connection, but it can boost your sense of pride giving back to the community.

You will also be fighting the war on loneliness, a major mind-body connection issue that is now widely recognised as one that can trigger physiological changes within us.  

No matter where you are in the world, shelters and charities will welcome you with open arms, to get you started though here’s a sneak peek at some of the best opportunities.

[Credit: Crisis]

Crisis at Christmas

By volunteering with Crisis, you can make a real difference to people experiencing homelessness.

If cooking up a festive meal sounds like a challenge, there are plenty of roles you can apply for, from doctors, musicians, good listeners, and more.

To get involved, click here: Crisis.

[Credit: The London Basket Brigade]

The London Basket Brigade

Talk about real-life Christmas elves… this charity creates food hampers to gift families in need of a helping hand for their festive meal.

They’re on the prowl for volunteers to put the baskets together and deliver them on December 23.

To join the posse, click here: The London Basket Brigade.

[Credit: Shelter From The Storm]

Shelter From The Storm

If you’re handy with a mop or a whiz in the kitchen, this homeless shelter in Islington needs you.

While they are open all year round, and completely free for those who need it, there is high demand over winter when volunteers are needed for cleaning, cooking, and talking to guests.

For more info, click here: Shelter From The Storm.

[Credit: FoodCycle Peckham]

FoodCycle Peckham

Down sarf, they’re looking for enthusiastic and energetic volunteers.

So, if that sounds like you, then get involved cooking, hosting guests for a free Christmas dinner, and collecting donations from local suppliers. You don’t need any previous cooking experience!

To offer your services, click here: FoodCycle Peckham.

[Credit: Salvation Army]

Salvation Army

This international organisation, who vow to put faith into action, run the annual Christmas Present Appeal – inviting you to donate toys for kids who might not otherwise receive a gift this holiday.

They also host night shelters and need people to serve festive meals or support visitors by offering a friendly, non-judgemental face.

To become a guardian angel, click here: Salvation Army.

The super herb that will banish colds and flu… and costs 60p!

No matter how many Lemsips we slurp or decongestants we squirt up our noses, fighting the common cold feels like a David and Goliath battle.

That’s why preventing yourself from getting ill in the first place will always triumph over trying to get rid of flu when it’s already here.

Sound like the stuff of magic? Not really!

All you need to do is stock up on some super sage the next time you hit the shop.

[Credit: Brittany Colette]

While the general rule of thumb is that fresh is best, you can get it dried to make it stretch further.  

This little gem from Mother Nature’s garden is a true powerhouse, high in antioxidants and known to boost brain function, lower blood sugar, and level out cholesterol.

It is also pure magic when it comes to soothing sore throats and viruses, due to its ability to tone irritated tissues, calm inflammation, and kill bacteria.

[Credit: Phillip Larking]

The humble sage is even said to be linked to benefits that can lower your risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.

Our buddies over at Nexus, a publication dedicated to health breakthroughs, have recommended the perfect recipe to get sage into your diet pronto before you catch the winter lurgy.

Check it out below and happy slurping!

Sage Tea

Ingredients:

1 litre of water

12 fresh sage leaves

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

A pinch of cayenne pepper

[Credit: Sophie Dale]

Preparation:

1 In a teapot or saucepan, bring that water to a boil

2 Add the sage leaves and remove the teapot or saucepan from heat

3 Let steep for 15 minutes

4 Stir in the remaining ingredients

5 Pour a cup full, breathe in the aroma, and enjoy!

As it says in the Nei Ching, the oldest known medical texts, ‘to cure an illness after it arises is like forging weapons after the battle has started or digging a well after you’ve become’.

If that’s not a message to be proactive on prevention over cure, we’re not sure what is!

For the full article, click here: Sage Tea Recipe.

See the enchanting Northern Lights… here in the UK!

In order to capture a glimpse of the Northern Lights, you usually have to trek to Lapland, Iceland or Norway.

And even then, there is no guarantee that you will actually spot them, with travellers relying on local guides to chase the lights across the sky.

Now, that’s all set to change. No longer do you need to step on a plane, stay up late, or check the forecast, instead the lights are coming to you!

[Credit: Festival.org]

The phenomenon, also known as Aurora Borealis (after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and Greek god of the north wind, Boreas) plans to take your breath away in London.

Full disclosure, this is not because climate change has suddenly made them visible from the UK, but because a new light installation is hitting Guildhall Yard in the Big Smoke.

The venue will play host to this unique work from ‘artivist’ Dan Acher, who prides himself on “creating spaces where strangers come together”, until December 22.

[Credit: Festival.org]

To immerse yourself in this beautiful spectacle, you will be plunged into a multicoloured lights cloak mimicking the movement of the natural Northern Lights.

If you are lucky enough to have seen the Aurora Borealis, you will be familiar with the dynamic patterns of brilliant lights, often green, purple or white, that appear to ‘dance’ as spirals.

Magic aside (sorry!), the anomaly actually occurs due an interaction between the Earth’s magnetic field and charged particles emitted by the sun.

It happens because the sun has its own solar wind that sends out these charged particles, which then whirl around Earth’s magnetic fields.

[Credit: Lightscape]

Ordinarily, tour packages to see the real deal are pricey and are not possible on a budget.

Today, you can see the copycat version totally free of charge, all you need to do is turn up between 5.30pm until 10pm to experience the Willy Wonka of lights.

For more info, click here: Northern Lights.

Powerful full moon to take over the skies on December 18

There’s nothing more humbling than looking up at night and spotting the moon, grinning back at you like a Cheshire Cat smile.

Now, you can see it in all its glory, as the last full moon of the year will take over the heavens on Saturday.

Coined the ‘Cold Moon’, it will have a distinctively high trajectory across the sky, meaning it is visible over the horizon for a longer period of time.

The spectacle is also known as the ‘Long Night Moon’, as it occurs on one of the longest nights of the year just before winter solstice.

[Credit: Kim Mackinnon]

Other quirky titles for the phenomenon include ‘Snow Moon’, ‘Winter Maker Moon’ and ‘Wolf Moon’ – the reason being that their names are generally passed down from Native American tribes who gave each month’s full moon its unique moniker based on the season.

So, be sure to look outside your window on December 18, when the moon will shine at its brightest one last time before 2021 ends.

A full moon occurs when Earth is located between the sun and the moon at exactly opposite ends, and the side of the moon facing Earth becomes fully illuminated by the sun’s light.

That’s six times brighter than when it’s a half moon! Thus, making it the second brightest object in the sky except for the sun itself.

[Credit: Benjamin Child]

There is a theory, known as the lunar effect, that full moons can influence us and that there is some correlation between moon cycles and human behaviour, such as mood, insomnia, and wellbeing.

Similarly, there is a belief that the moon cycle affects a woman’s menstrual cycle, as an average moon cycle lasts around 29 days – the same amount of time as the average period cycle.

It is also thought that the full moon can correlate to your energy as it is so powerful, and healers say we can use this energy to see what is no longer serving our intentions.

Therefore, it is common to feel highly emotional and disconnected at the peak of this phase.

Whether you believe in its richer meaning or simply want to see it light up the sky, be sure to venture outside on Saturday to marvel at Mother Nature shining bright.

Banksy to buy prison and transform it into giant arts centre

Banksy is no stranger to transforming streets into art, bursting with social and satirical messages to make us think as well as admire his work.

Now, he’s going the extra mile and using a prison as his backdrop to make a statement.

The artist, who to this day still remains anonymous, is planning to buy HM Reading Prison.

[Credit: Banksy]

Situated in Berkshire, just a stone’s throw from the infamous Reading Festival, the prison (formerly known as Reading Gaol) is famed for housing Oscar Wilde.

The poet and playwright was banged up in 1895 after his prosecution for gross indecency following a scandalous affair with a young aristocrat.

Ever since its closure in 2014, various council reps and property developers have set their sights on it to revamp the site into a cultural hub, theatre venue, and even a block of flats.

[Credit: Art of Banksy]

Yet it seems Banksy might be the one to finally get his hands on it, having pledged £12million towards buying the abandoned building.

He has already made his mark on the former young offenders institution, with a masterpiece appearing on one of the walls earlier this year.

In the scene, a prisoner is escaping on knotted bedsheets tied to a typewriter, which is thought to reference the ongoing campaign to save the jail as an arts hub, rather than becoming real estate.

[Credit: Art of Banksy]

Heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua also spent a spell behind bars at the prison in 2009, when he was put on remand for what he describes as “fighting and other crazy stuff”.

We really hope the history and stories of rehabilitation can be immortalised into an art hub soon!

In the meantime, you can check out The Art of Banksy in London, the world’s largest collection of privately owned Banksy artwork showcasing intriguing prints and canvases.