Stories January 2021

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January has come and it is time to take down your Christmas decorations, but what can you do with all your festive items? A lot of festive things come into our houses at Christmas. Some of it can be saved for next year but lots of it gets thrown away, like used cards and wrapping paper, and even the magical tree. In fact*, 300,000 tonnes of cardboard are used in houses in the UK during the festive season. This is so much that if we laid it all out side by side, it would cover the distance from London to Lapland and back again over 100 times. So, what can you do to help? If you put your cards and wrapping paper in

the recycling bin they will be turned into new objects. When we recycle, we help protect the environment and reduce water and air pollution. We also save energy which helps us to fight climate change. When getting rid of your real Christmas tree, the Government’s Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, says that you should replant Page 4

your tree, recycle it, or break it up and put it in your compost bin at home. There are also charities who go to people’s houses and collect their trees, like St Clare Hospice in Essex. “This fantastic recycling programme is an eco-friendly way to get rid of your tree after the yuletide season, whilst also helping your local hospice charity”, says the campaign manager Dan Bailey.

Last year, St Clare’s team collected more than 200 trees and raised over £2,000 for the hospice’s local care and support services. *Recycle now If you would like to find out where you can take your Christmas tree, visit your local council’s website or find a local hospice or charity that will collect it for you.

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When Susanne Kirlew became vegan, she could not find many recipes that she liked, so she came up with her own. Television presenter Susanne Kirlew, also known as Kirly Sue, became vegan eight years ago. She has now written a cookery book just for children, presented cooking shows, and even has a community of followers called Kirly Veggies. We spoke to her about veganism and what it is like being a chef. When did you decide to become a chef? I started to get into cooking when I first became vegan because I could not find many interesting recipes. So, I started changing recipes or collecting nice ones I found, and I decided to put them all together into a cookbook. What is it like being a vegan chef? There are lots of people who think vegan food is boring, expensive, or difficult to cook. I am trying to show that you can make vegan food that is easy and tasty.

What inspires your cooking? My family are from Jamaica, so I take a lot of ideas from the flavours I used to eat when I was younger. What is your favourite thing to make? I like making cakes. I love jam sponge and I learnt how to make it vegan. I like traditional English desserts. I think England has some of the best desserts in the world. One of my specialitities is Apple, Mango and Pineapple Crumble!



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e Kirlew


How do you come up with new recipes? I love watching cooking shows, even ones that make meat. I think you can learn from anyone, for example about new ingredients or different ways of cooking things. I also look at which ingredients are really popular right now. For your book Cooking with Kids, was it different writing recipes for children? It was different because I had to think about what children would eat and if they would be able to make it. I also tried to make the recipes international so that children all around the world would know the ingredients and be able to get them easily. My favourite recipe from that book is the Peanut Butter and Banana Flapjacks.






If you would to try Kirly Sue’s recipes, visit her Youtube page at com/watch?v=cVh8MBGSOgc.

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January is the beginning of a new year and, for some people, making New Year’s resolutions has become a tradition.

Resolutions are a list of things that people want to change about themselves or something they want to do. Examples of things people write down include trying a new hobby, volunteering for a charity, or spending more time with family and friends. This is because people see the new year as a fresh start.

In fact*, out of every 100 people in the UK, 27 said they were going to make resolutions last year. However, it is also common for people to break resolutions and, in 2018, only one out of every four people actually completed their lists. * YouGov

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Do you make New Year’s resolutions? If you would like to give it a go, you can write them down below.

If you would like to tell us your resolutions, you can: • Send us an email • Let us know on social media • Or you can even cut out this list and post it back to us! Page 13

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Dreaming sleep is also called Rapid Eye Movement, or REM, sleep.

Our bodies go from a light sleep, to a deep sleep and then to our dreaming sleep.

Dr Stanley explains that we all sleep in cycles that last around an hour and a half.

Dr Neil Stanley, Director of Sleep Science at Sleepstation, says: “Darkness (at night-time) tells the brain that we should be getting ready for sleep.”

He adds: “Some people need more sleep than others.”

“Good sleep makes you feel good the next day. It makes us happy and healthy”, says Dr Stanley. Whereas a bad night’s sleep can make us feel grumpy and unhappy.

Lisa Artis, Deputy CEO of The Sleep Charity, says this can be if we are overtired, hungry, too full, thirsty, uncomfortable or even too excited.

Dr Stanley also says we cannot sleep if we have a busy mind or are worried about something.

A messy or warm bedroom can also stop us sleeping. She says there are some quick ways to fix this, for example, try to avoid sugary or heavy foods before bed.

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This is because our eyeballs move backwards and forwards under our eyelids when we are dreaming. If we wake up during our REM sleep, we can remember our dreams.

This is because if we go to sleep really late this can change our body clocks.

Dr Stanley says that we should try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day.

Did you wake up early to open presents on Christmas morning? Or stay up past your bedtime on New Year’s Eve? Most of us do not sleep normally over the holiday period. This is why the third of January is the unofficial holiday Festival of Sleep Day. As it is now time to get back to waking up early for school, we spoke to experts Lisa Artis and Dr Neil Stanley to find out more about sleep.

If someone asks, ‘how do I get myself to sleep?’, many people will say ‘count sheep’.

Lisa suggests doing something relaxing before bedtime, like a jigsaw puzzle or reading a book.

She says to avoid looking at a screen, like on a phone or tablet, for an hour before bed.

But what should you do if you wake up in the middle of the night?

Lisa says you could softly sing a song to help yourself sleep.

The important thing is to stay in bed and not to turn on any bright lights that will wake you up. Page 17

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Guide D


Have you ever seen a dog helping someone who struggles to see? The charity Guide Dogs are helping people in lots of different ways. Toffee has a very special job; he is a guide dog. The charity normally trains tall dogs like Labradors or Golden retrievers as it is easier His owner Stacey has partial sight, so he helps for a person to follow them. her to do things every day. Guide dogs can help people in different ways, Victoria Heywood, Communications officer for depending on their eye condition. the charity Guide Dogs, explains why dogs are the right companion to help humans. Victoria says that most blind people can see at least a little bit. She says: “Dogs are clever enough to Dogs understand complicated situations Guide and follow our instructions. “Other countries have used animals such as ponies – but I don’t think they are as practical for day-to-day life, like for going on buses or trains!” However, not all dogs are the right fit. Victoria explains they must be calm, confident, healthy, and listen to people. Page 20

For people who can only see a small space in front of them, she says that the guide dog will tell them if there is anything in their way, like a puddle or pavement. This means the person can keep looking forward and avoid bumping their head. The charity also helps people in other ways. Nine-year-old Oashia has no sight at all, but this does not stop her from having fun.

She loves playing with her buddy dog Garston. Oashia started horse riding when she was five and has even taken part in national competitions. Her great aunt, Penny, explains that the charity gave advice to the people who work at Oashia’s stables to make sure she was safe. Guide Dogs

The charity also gave Oashia a coach called Helen who has taught her how to do simple things at home, like making a sandwich or getting toast out of a toaster. “Helen’s helped us make our home easier and safer”, says Penny. “Oashia now happily wanders round the house; no one would know she can’t see. She’s so independent”, she adds. If you would like to know more about Guide Dogs, and maybe even sponsor a puppy, you can visit https://www.

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Jyoti Guptara

Have you ever thought about writing your own book? Jyoti started writing a book with his twin brother when he was 11-years-old. Jyoti and Suresh Guptara always enjoyed stories. They would make them up, act them out, and even draw maps of the fantasy worlds they came up with. After lots of years of hard work, their book, called Conspiracy of Calaspia, was published when they were seventeen-years-old. It even became a whole series of books called The Insanity Saga. We spoke to Jyoti about what it was like writing a book and becoming an author as a teenager. Did you always like stories? We liked drawing maps too because you can I would always think about stories, even when imagine the world better. I was walking or at school. When did you decide to write a book? Suresh and I loved going on imaginary We were tidying our room one day and we adventures and act out different stories. found pages of writing and ideas for characters that we had done when we were Why did you decide to write a fantasy six. story? We especially enjoyed reading adventure We enjoyed reading what we had written so books and we liked acting out fantasy worlds we wanted to make it into a whole book. as you can fight dragons and there is magic. Page 26

What do you have to think about when writing a book? You need to think about three important things; characters, the world, and the plot, which is what happens in the story. And how these three things work together.

Jyoti Guptara

When you make up your characters you have to decide what they want and what might stop them from getting it. Did you write as you went along or plan the whole thing out? There were two of us writing so we talked a lot. We would normally plan a few chapters and then think ‘what happens next?’. If we had two different ideas we would either mix them together, decide which was better, or we often came up with a third idea together. What did you learn about writing? We realised that even though the ideas were awesome, we had not quite painted the pictures in people’s heads the way we saw it so we worked on our descriptions. Getting the structure of the book right was also difficult so we tried to learn from other writers.

Why did you write the book with your brother? As twins, we did everything together! It was also extra motivation as we both wanted the book finished and it was more fun working together. I don’t think we would have finished one book– forget a whole series – if we had not worked together.

Jyoti G


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