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Get outside this National Children’s Gardening Week!

National Children’s Gardening Week runs from 25th May-2nd June and is a great way of getting your children into the garden and enjoying the outside world.

The benefits of getting involved in National Children’s Gardening Week are numerous. As well as the obvious benefits of encouraging physical activity, it can also promote team work as well as demonstrating the advantages of nurturing something and seeing a project through to fruition. It is also a fab way of coaxing children away from screens!

Chelsea Flower Show

This week it is also the RHS Chelsea Flower Show where they’re celebrating the multitude of benefits that gardening has for the health of people and the environment in 2019. Designers will explore the positive powers of plants and whill tackle hard-hitting issues – from climate change, pollution and the fragility of ecosystems to improving the mental and physical health of people.

How to get involved

The National Children’s Gardening Week website has a whole host of great activities for children to get involved in out in the garden.  We’re using the opportunity to make our own sandwich ingredients to liven up our lunchboxes, with a bit of help from the NCGW website.  Who fancies a Pea Shoot Sandwich? 

Here’s what you need:

  • Some pots or containers
  • Some people or micro-green seeds
  • Some multi-purpose compost

Instructions:

  1. Put your compost into your container(s) and make sure it’s spread evenly.
  2. Sow the pea or micro-green seeds very thinly on your compost, covering all the soil.
  3. Water the seeds and put them on a bright window sill.
  4. Keep the compost damp over the next few days. After a few days your seeds will start to sprout.
  5. When the shoots are about four centimetres tall, you can cut them for your sandwiches.
  6. Once you’ve cut the shoots, put your container back on the window sill and keep it watered.
  7. The shoots will come back three or four times, giving you lots more sandwiches or salads!

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More than just your five-a-day

This week it’s National Vegetarian Week, a week in which the vegetarian lifestyle is promoted by various organisations and celebrities.

Are you a vegetarian? Could you ever consider giving up meat? Or do you feel that no meal is complete without a good slab of beef or chicken and that a life without bacon is really not worth living?

Whichever way you’re inclined, no-one can deny the power of the mighty vegetable and his sturdy friend, the fruit. Perhaps if you were thinking of giving up meat, or even reducing your use of meat in cooking, this week would be a good week to do so. 

This year, Stephen Fry and Joanna Lumley (amongst others) are supporting National Vegetarian Week’s pledge to “help save the planet – enjoy veggie food this National Vegetarian week.”

According to the National Vegetarian Week website, one of the best things you can do for the environment is to eat more veggie food.  This is for three key reasons:

Pollution

Livestock causes more pollution than the world’s entire traffic system: between 20 and 50% of the world’s pollution in total is caused by cows, chickens, sheep and pigs bred for slaughter.  This figure is calculated by adding up the methane produced by the animals ‘letting out gas’ and the gases released from manure, the oil burned taking their carcasses to markets (often thousands of miles away), the electricity needed to keep the meat cool, the gas used to cook it, the energy needed to plough and harvest the fields that grow the crops that the animals eat and the water that is pumped for the animals to drink.

Deforestation

Another reason being vegetarian is said to be more eco-friendly is that eating meat causes deforestation.  According to Friends of the Earth, around 6m hectares of forest land a year goes to livestock to grow the crops to feed the cattle.

Poison

Thirdly, industrial-scale agriculture now dominates the western livestock and poultry industries, and a single farm can now generate as much waste as a city.  Manure and urine is funnelled into massive waste lagoons, sometimes holding as many as 40m gallons. These cesspools often break, leak or overflow, polluting underground water supplies and rivers with nitrogen, phosphorus and nitrates.

What can you do?

This year, National Vegetarian Week has recommended 50 different activities to celebrate the awareness week.  They can be found on their website along with lots of different exciting recipes.

Is Munchachos vegetarian?

In a single word: YES! Despite the fact that a few of our snacks do include meat in the title, all of our ingredients are veggie-friendly. So even if you are partaking in National Vegetarian Week, you can still enjoy a Long Tong Noodle!

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SMILE! It’s National Smile Month!!

This month it’s National Smile Month, run by the Oral Health Foundation.  The premise of the event is to promote the importance of the health of your teeth and your mouth in general. Do you brush your teeth twice a day? Do you have a low sugar diet? Do you regularly visit the dentist?

Gum disease, bad breath and loss of teeth are not just issues amongst the elderly. If you don’t look after your teeth properly it can happen amongst the very young.  Latest figures from PHE (Public Health England) reveal that a child in England has a rotten tooth removed in hospital every 10 minutes. That’s almost 40,000 a year.  In fact, tooth decay is the most common reason for hospital admissions in 5 to 9 year olds.  And this can all be avoided!

Snack swap!

The key thing is to reduce the consumption of foods and drinks that contain sugars.  Apparently half the sugar children are having comes from snacks and sugary drinks. Swap them for lower sugar alternatives.

At Munchachos we work with a nutritionist to ensure that all of our snacks adhere to a low sugar rule. We have observed the guidelines created by the government to make sure that the sugar level is enough to keep the snacks tasty but not so much that it will cause damage in the long run. 

The power of the smile

And why wouldn’t you want to protect that smile? Smiles are wonderfully powerful weapons. Not only can they alter your own mood, but they can improve other people’s. They’re contagious! A smile makes those around us feel welcome and wanted. And they can also automatically lift your mood. It’s hard to feel miserable when you have a smile plastered to your face. If you’re down in the dumps try and force yourself to smile. Even for a few seconds. It’ll instantly lift your spirits!

So, this National Smile Month, make sure you’re turning that frown upside down. For the sake of your dental health, for the sake of yourself and for the sake of others!

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Mayday Mayday!

A very happy May Day one and all! Today is a day that signifies the arrival of the good weather and, happily, it brings with it a Bank Holiday on the closest following Monday.  But what are the origins of the day, why should we be prancing around a Maypole and what on Earth are those Morris dancers wearing?

May Day is said to be a time of love and romance – it’s when people celebrate the coming of summer with lots of different customs that are expressions of joy and hope after a long winter. 

May Day celebrations have been carried out in England for over two millennia beginning with the Romans who celebrated the festival of Flora, goddess of fruit and flowers, which marked the beginning of summer. It was held annually from April 28th to May 3rd.

Traditionally, in rural England, May Day is marked with a host of fair weather activities, the most popular being Maypole Dancing, Morris Dancing and the crowning of the May Queen.

Maypole Dancing

On May Day, it was customary to cut down young tress and stick them in the ground to celebrate the arrival of the summer.  People danced around the tree poles holding the ends of colourful ribbons that were tied at the top of the pole.  The end result was a beautifully plaited pattern of colour.

Morris Dancing

Morris Dancing is another traditional May dance. It’s danced to a jolly piece of music played on the accordion with a hand drum beat. The costumes vary depending on the part of the country you’re in but it’s often colourful and their faces are often painted – probably originating as a form of disguise.  The dances are performed in a circle facing each other and, as they often have bell-pads tied at their knees, the dances are often very loud and cheerful-sounding!

The May Queen

The May Queen is a girl who is crowned with a floral garland at a May Day parade. She will often make a speech to commence the celebrations.

INTERESTING FACT: when people are in trouble and radio for help they often use the phrase “Mayday Mayday.”  This actually derives from the French “m’aidez” (pronounced Mayday) which literally means “help me!”

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We’ve Got The Whole World In Our Hands!

Today it is World Earth Day, a day set up to shine a light on the importance of protecting our planet. This year it’s EVEN MORE relevant given the Central London ‘Extinction Rebellion’ demonstrations that have been taking place over the last week.

Where did the idea begin?

The first Earth Day was set up by peace activist John McConnell at a 1969 UNESCO conference in San Francisco.  His objective was to honour the Earth and the concept of peace.  Nowadays the day focuses on the danger we pose to the Earth and how we can act to create a better future for our planet and the generations to come.

What can you do?

The United Nations published ‘The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World’ in which it pinpoints small actions which, when carried out by many, could make a huge difference.

Here are some suggestions from the guide:

  • Save electricity by plugging appliances into a power strip and turning them off completely when not in use, including your computer.
  • Stop paper bank statements and pay your bills online or via mobile.
  • Buy minimally packaged goods.
  • Get a rug — carpets and rugs keep your house warm and your thermostat low.
  • Take short showers. Bathtubs require gallons more water than a 5-10 minute shower.
  • Composting food scraps can reduce climate impact while also recycling nutrients.
  • Let your hair and clothes dry naturally instead of running a machine. If you do wash your clothes, make sure the load is full.
  • Eat less meat, poultry, and fish. More resources are used to provide meat than plants.
  • Plan meals — use shopping lists and avoid impulse buys. Don’t succumb to marketing tricks that lead you to buy more food than you need, particularly for perishable items.
  • Bike, walk or take public transport. Save the car trips for when you’ve got a big group.
  • Use a refillable water bottle and coffee cup.

Are you honouring World Earth Day today? If so, how? And do you think you could encourage your friends and family to do any of the above?

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