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American author David J Schwartz once said, “do what you fear and fear disappears”. There’s no shortage of quotes about facing your fears. They’re usually quite clichéd, but we shouldn’t overlook the truth behind the cliché.
Everyone feels fear. From an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense. Obviously getting chased by a pack of wolves is going to be scary. In that respect, fear has its place. But when it comes to our modern everyday fears, is there really anything to worry about?
Most people have an extensive list of fears, from snakes and spiders to important client meetings and solo travel. But imagine how much easier life would be without those fears. Here’s how and why you should face your fears.
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We all know that building; there’s at least one in every town. Perhaps it’s the crumbling old mansion on a hilltop that’s said to hold antique treasures or the once well-loved but now decaying Grade II listed pub that’s not had a landlord in years. Or maybe it’s the creepy house that was abandoned years ago under strange circumstances, from which people say they can hear whispering in the night.
Given the mystery and intrigue that often surround these sites and buildings, it’s not surprising that some people would be interested in visiting them. What is surprising, however, is how these places have now become a huge internet phenomenon known as ‘urbex.’
So, what exactly is urbex? And how did it become so popular online?
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The literary world is filled with iconic characters adored the world over. Anyone who's read the Little Women series has a shared trauma from the death of beloved Beth, which famously left Joey Tribbiani from Friends utterly distraught for an entire episode.
Say a word against Samwise Gamgee, Frodo's right-hand hobbit and loyal friend from Lord of The Rings, and there will no doubt be endless LOTR fans willing to jump to his defence.
You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who would openly dare to dislike early feminist icons like Lizzie Bennett, described by Austen herself as “delightful a creature ever appeared in print.” Or those with near-superhuman abilities to overcome the most difficult of circumstances, such as Celie in The Colour Purple.
While characters such as these have cemented themselves as being amongst the most well-loved heroes of all time, there are some characters who, at best, are the literary equivalent of marmite.
Continue reading “Readers & Writers: Literature’s Most Controversial Characters”
For many people, music and literature sit at the opposite ends of the creative world. With one art form based around the creation of sound and the other often enjoyed in complete silence, it can be easy to think of music and literature as two creative processes completely unrelated to one another.
A closer inspection into both worlds, however, and you’ll quickly find that the two art forms are deeply intertwined. From the storytelling components of the greatest lyrics to the musical references that colour many of our favourite novels, there’s no doubt that music and literature have been natural bedfellows for generations.
There have been some instances in music where an artist has taken direct influence from a piece of literature in their lyrics. From quoting iconic authors like George Orwell and J.G. Ballard to basing entire songs around the narrative theme of a classic novel, there are some musicians who’ve taken pride in wearing their literary influences on their sleeves.
With this in mind, we’ve made a list of classic songs that were directly inspired by famous literary works.
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This piece is part of our Readers and Writers series, where each of our content writers chooses an aspect of the written word that excites them.
The older I get, the harder it becomes to vividly remember my childhood. But one thing that does stand out are the books that I used to read as a child.
One of my earliest childhood memories with books would be the annual summer reading task run by the local library.
Nothing was more exhilarating than going to the library, choosing a book and taking it out, only to read it and return it a week later. By telling the librarian what the book was about, and why you enjoyed it, you then earnt a sticker. Do this another five times, and you could complete the summer reading challenge.
Who would have thought that such a simple reward policy could bring so much joy?!
And it was this that really cemented my love of reading growing up as a child. The library became a literary haven; a labyrinth of stories to enjoy, make-believe worlds to immerse yourself in and wonderful characters you aspired to be.
With this in mind, I have decided to take a trip down memory lane, and revisit the 10 most memorable books from my childhood that have helped shape the passion for reading I have today as an adult.
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We all want to perform our best, both physically and mentally. Whether it’s getting in shape, boosting memory or improving overall health, we love trying to better ourselves.
Self-improvement is the basis of biohacking: a means of becoming the best possible version of yourself by manipulating your own biology. But the scope of biohacking has grown over the years and the lengths individuals will take to “improve” themselves seem boundless.
So, what does “biohacking” really mean? Is it safe to practice and how can you apply its principles to upgrade your own life?
Continue reading “What is Biohacking? How to Become Your Best Self Using Biology”
Digital Art for Absolute Beginners
Digital art is more popular than ever. Whether we are consuming it as phone backgrounds and website profile pictures, in our favourite webcomics, or watching soothing TikToks of artists at work, it is everywhere. With the myriad of programs available, and hundreds of tools and brushes available in each one, it can feel as though anyone could take it up as a hobby–and anyone can!
If it’s something you’re interested in, carry on reading as we break down what beginners will need to start their journey into digital art.
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5 Free Ways to Train Your Brain and Improve Your Mental Capacity
We all know the importance of exercise—the means of moving your body to improve blood flow, concentration and overall health. But few of us consider how important it is to also exercise our brains.
As we age, our cognitive skills and memory dwindle and even thinking becomes harder. But, by exercising our brain regularly, we can improve both our mental capacity and memory as well as delay cognitive decline.
Known as neuroplasticity, your brain has the ability to learn and grow throughout your life by reorganising its structure and creating new neural pathways. But to achieve this you need to be training and ‘exercising’ your brain regularly.
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When it comes to ski holidays, we tend to be creatures of habit. We’ve danced on tables in St Anton’s Krazy Kanguruh bar, dared to ski ‘The Wall’ straddling the French and Swiss borders and bombed it down La Vallée Blanche in Chamonix. But have you ever skied in the Southern Hemisphere, or seen the snowy mountains of Montenegro?
In the UK we’re so focused on hopping over to the same European ski destinations (with Austria, France and Switzerland among the most popular destinations) that we’re missing out on other hidden alpine gems around the world.
It’s time to skip the queues and try somewhere new. Here are seven secret ski resorts you’ve never heard of and need to visit.
Continue reading “From Cyprus to Japan: 7 Secret Ski Resorts You’ve Never Heard of”
Houseplants have soared in popularity in recent years, due perhaps to the increase in people working from home and wanting something to spruce up their offices. That’s not to mention the rise in houseplant-themed TikTok and Youtube accounts. No longer just the dusty spider plant clinging to life on your aunt’s window sill, houseplants have become a must-have household accessory.
Houseplants come in all shapes, sizes, and even colours. Taking up room that used to be dominated by flowers in supermarkets, you can pick up your first houseplant as easily and as cheaply as you would milk. But while they often look pristine and perfect in the shop, they can begin to look a bit peaky once they’ve been in our homes for a while.
There are many mistakes beginners make when keeping houseplants, but don’t fret. In this short guide, we cover the most common issues and how to resolve them so you can create the jungle home you’ve dreamed of.
Continue reading “The Quick Start Guide to Houseplants”