Sunday, 24 March 2019

NELL: MARCHING FOR THE FUTURE

On Saturday 23rd March 2019, an estimated one million people marched through London to demand a second vote on Brexit - reader Nell was there and tells us why it mattered so much to her!
Nell says:
Yesterday, I made history. I was one of the million or so people who attended the ‘Put it to the People’ demonstration in London on the 23rd March 2019.
I decided to go on this march because, even though I am only thirteen, my voice needs to be heard: it will be mine and other young people’s future and we deserve a say in it! Just because I cannot yet vote, it doesn’t mean my opinion is invalid or pointless. Young people can still make an impact on modern politics.
The demonstration seemed quite daunting at first, as there was a lot of people, a lot of noise and everything was very busy. I felt nervous because I knew it would be crowded, but at the same time I was excited and that excitement grew due to the already friendly atmosphere on the journey to the start of the march. While we were still on the tube train there was a woman with blue and yellow jewels (blue and yellow are the colours of the European Union flag) on her forehead and glitter on her face. The woman said hello to me and had a chat with me and my mum. Behind her was a man looking at the glitter and jewels and he asked if she had any leftover? She then proceeded to put glitter on him and, and as we all left the train, she was still adding the finishing touches on the train platform!
We met up with a lot of my mum’s friends and then joined the march at Park Lane, in London. Even at midday it was already busy and I could see thousands of people both behind and in front of us. After a few hours we finally got moving (we later found out that the delay was due to the sheer number of people turning up). We marched for a couple more hours and had great fun chatting to those around us and singing and chanting. For me, the best part of the day was definitely all the placards and signs: they made us laugh and kept us going.  
By the time we reached the end of the march, we were absolutely exhausted, but bumped into a carnival drumming band and they lifted everyone’s spirits and gave us the energy to get to the finish line!
At 5pm we finally reached Trafalgar Square and headed for home. At the end of the day, how did I feel? Well, firstly I felt proud of myself for standing up for what I believe in, as I think that is very important. I also liked the sense of unity and community between everyone marching.
So, all in all, I was very pleased that I went and would recommend that anyone who believes in something strongly, whether it be remaining in Europe or climate change or equal rights, stands up and makes their voice heard.
That way you can become one in a million too….
Cathy says:
Wow! I love that young people like Nell are making their voices heard - both on the issue of Europe and on other important issues too! Would YOU march for something you believe in? And do you have strong views on Brexit? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Saturday, 23 March 2019

GYMNASTICS: TOUGH BUT WORTH IT!

Reader Holly Mai shares her love for gymnastics and how sometimes it can be a struggle but you should never give up!


HOLLY MAI SAYS:
I first became interested in gymnastics because of a scooter (which had the Olympic rings on) in my garage! It’s not every day you find an inspirational item in your garage…. Anyway soon enough I was on the waiting list for gymnastic lessons and I don’t think it was that long until I was offered a place. My Tuesday’s were made!

When I first started, I could not do much more than a bunny hop. I’m pretty sure my only dream was to be able to do a cartwheel and a handstand. My main struggle back then was to actually start doing this move called a ‘bridge’ as I kept getting it wrong and doing it on my head. Eventually I learnt to do it properly and I was very pleased - this was one of the main challenges, as you need this move in order to do walkovers. When my first competition came it was quite cringeworthy - I forgot to 'present' and when I did I just put my arms to the side and ran off, which is not what you're supposed to do at all!

I started to watch the older girls in squads do gymnastics and I decided this what I would like to do. I decided to ask my mum and dad whether I could do two hours a week… and eventually they agreed! So I started to train with the squad he hardest challenges was probably the beam as it was haunted by a horrid memory. When I tried to do a cartwheel on the beam for the very first time, I fell and twisted my ankle. The bars were my favourite apparatus as I could twist and turn well. Another challenge was to ‘circle up’ because you have to be able to do that to do any other tricks on the bar. Eventually I learnt to do circle ups and entered my first disability competition with my friend Sophie. It was quite good as I did earn four gold medals so I was very happy at that point. It’s been a bit of a struggle, one week I'd go home crying and then the next week I would have learnt the move and feel really proud of myself.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                 
I got moved up into different groups over the years and my most recent group is the disability development squad (I have hyper-mobility, but have never let this stand in my way). You get a choice of what to wear in any group, it’s either a crop top and shorts or a leotard. I just wear a leotard and shorts,  in winter though you should wear leggings and come into the gym. If you are wearing earrings you take them out or tape them up, if you hang long hair you just have it up in a ponytail or a plait. If you are starting to do more hours you could get a gym bag to put things you will need in. For example, a bag containing hand guards and some chalk if you need some, all though it should be provided in the gym. You might possibly need some tape if in case you have damaged something or you have disinformative knees like me and you have  hurt them and they feel funny and hurt a bit when you walk,  you would use the tape when that happens to stabilise them.

It was quite a struggle getting to where I am now nothing has changed but the groups and my worst apparatus is still the beam (because of my hyper-mobility). Luckily I have got some tips if you want to start gymnastics!

1. Don’t start at a young age - well you can, but don’t do lots of hours because if you do that you get burnt out and you don’t find it fun and you may start to get bored.
2. If you want fun, go to recreational gymnastics and if you do like it, the max is probably two hours a week if you're still quite young.
3. If you’re a bit older and getting serious about it you can add more hours.
4. Ask around to find the best gymnastic classes and clubs in your area!

CATHY SAYS:
Amazing - it sounds like hard work, but Holly Mai must feel so proud at her achievements!! Have YOU had experience as a gymnast? COMMENT BELOW with any tips or cool stories!

Sunday, 10 March 2019

STARS FOR MARCH!

Skye Tanberry looks to the mystical stars above and reads your fortune for March!! 


PISCES: Feb 19 - Mar 20
Relationships, romantic or platonic, are being tested this month. You can sometimes have a short temper, especially with those you love. Try to be mindful of other people’s feelings. Having pride doesn’t have to mean hurting others.

ARIES: Mar 21 - Apr 20
Remember that things rarely turn out the way you planned, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t on the right path. Letting go of illusions will open up new opportunities for you to become the best version of yourself.

TAURUS: Apr 21 - May 20
Your patience may be tested this month, as an important trip or project may have to be postponed. You have put a lot of work into this and you can’t wait to show others, but sometimes waiting is ultimately for the best.

GEMINI: May 21 - Jun 20
Your dreams have become quite vivid lately, both good and bad. If you can remember them, jot them down in a journal. This month, creativity is fizzing to the surface, and you're also more in touch with your subconscious mind than usual. Pay attention to those dreams, they might be trying to tell you something!

CANCER: Jun 21 - Jul 21
Feeling extra adventurous this month? Thought so. Why don’t you get outside your comfort zone by taking up a new hobby or getting out into the wilds of nature? Grab a friend, go in a group or be a brave lone explorer, but go! This could be the start of something magical!

LEO: Jul 22 - Aug 21
Now is not the time to be alone. You may often think you know best when it comes to matters of importance but working as a team can bring about a strength you just can’t experience on your own. You're independent, smart and strong, but even so, it's OK to ask for help sometimes!

VIRGO: Aug 22 - Sept 21
Kickstart the month by focussing on your mind and bodily health! Meditation covers all bases and not only reduces mental stress but can physically improve your blood flow and respiratory system. Go forth and conquer the world, albeit upbeat and energised!!!

LIBRA: Sept 22 - Oct 22
Now is the time to focus on new horizons. If there is a project you’ve been putting off for ages, now is the time to do it. Have fun and play around but stay focussed on your end goal and don’t be afraid to accept help from those around you.

SCORPIO: Oct 23 - Nov 21
You might be feeling a bit stagnant after a long, hard winter but with Spring just around the corner, it may be time for an age-old makeover/clear out. Giving your room a spruce, changing up the layout and decorating it will bring a breath of fresh air to your life and improve your mental wellbeing.

SAGITTARIUS: Nov 22 - Dec 21
You little socialite! Usually quite shy, the stars align to bring you out of your shell a bit this month. Friends are your focus!! Though you are not the life and soul of the party, you are the backbone of your friend group. Organise a get together with your besties, show them how to have fun!!

CAPRICORN: Dec 22 - Jan 19
You are feeling quite nostalgic for the past. Emotions and memories could enter your subconscious  without asking. Try not to be taken aback but rather welcome them as parts of yourself gone by. They are your strengths, not your weaknesses.

AQUARIUS: Jan 20 - Feb 18
New opportunities arise this month. You are learning things about yourself you never thought possible. There is a chance to redefine yourself through the help of others. Learning to trust others plays a big part in this.

CATHY SAYS:
Do Skye's predictions ring true for YOU this month? COMMENT BELOW to let us know!

Saturday, 9 March 2019

GOLDEN BOOKS GIRL REVIEWS SAMI'S SILVER LINING!

Blogger Amy, alias @GoldenBooksGirl, reviews SAMI'S SILVER LINING... read on to see her verdict!

I have loved Cathy Cassidy's books for a long time, and SAMI'S SILVER LINING was no exception. Much like her Chocolate Box Girls series, each book of the Lost & Found series focuses on a different member of the titular band, and this one is Sami's story. Sami is a refugee, who has only newly arrived in England, and his book sees a new relationship and his involvement in the band beginning to bring down the walls that he has built up around himself to protect him from the incredibly harrowing experiences he has had since war broke out in Syria.

In addition to this, the other main part of the plot is a truly terrible keyboard player replacing the one who was forced to leave, with some pretty hilarious results. The members of the band are all so much fun, and I just adore all of them - my particular favourite is Marley, but I wanted things to go well for all of them. Seriously, there isn't a single one of the core group that I don't love.

Seeing things from Sami's perspective was so interesting, as well as utterly heart-breaking in places, and the progress he makes in coming to terms with his past and trying to build his future is so heart-warming and emotional. As is a certain unexpected event/ twist that I don't want to spoil! I can't wait to read Sasha's story in the third book, especially given the hints as to what issues she is facing given in this book, and frankly I'd love it if I got a book for every single member, even though this band is considerably larger than the average group!

Any readers who use Twitter may like to follow @GoldenBooksGirl there for the latest cool book reviews!

Cathy says:
Thank you Amy (and Amy's gorgeous dog!) for the lovely review! It totally made my day! Have YOU read SAMI'S SILVER LINING yet? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

SCHOOL KIDS STRIKE FOR CLIMATE CHANGE!

Thousands of school kids all over the world stand up for their future by missing school in protest to government climate change inaction!

Kate says:
The seed was planted when inspirational Swedish school pupil, Greta Thunberg, decided she'd had enough! She woke up one Friday, last year, and instead of attending her school, she went and stood outside the Swedish parliament in protest at the government's lack of action on climate change. She knew her future and the future of her peers was at risk, so why weren't those in power doing anything about it? Every Friday since then, Greta continued her strike and in doing so she has managed to kickstart a global movement.

On Friday 15th February, thousands of UK students from primary age upwards followed suit by dropping their pens and pencils for a day and picking up a placard! As part of the movement Youth Justice 4 Climate, these school kids felt that their voice wasn't being heard and the government was not doing enough to make their future seem secure. The attitude of those involved was, what use is it learning facts when the future is in jeopardy?


As well as calling for immediate and critical action to be taken regarding climate change, students also made it clear the government should lower the voting age to sixteen.

Support came from all ages, with kids as young as three or four in attendance all the way up to proud grandparents, cheering their grandkids on. True enough, however, there has been a mixed response to the strike action; many schools have condemned the strikes and have told children NOT to attend while the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, stated that these school children are "wasting lesson time" and the Education Secretary Damian Hinds said "missing class won't do a thing to help the environment."

But the protestors are determined and not about to give up! Another strike is set to take place in the UK on the 15th March. Will you be joining them?

Cathy says:
I have so much respect and hope for today's young people, and the strike against Climate Change is really inspiring at a time when world politics looks quite grim. What do YOU think about the young strikers? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Thursday, 14 February 2019

FAVE CC ROMANCE SCENES? READERS TELL ALL...

We asked readers to tell us about their favourite romantic scene from a CC book... this is the result! 

Kayleigh says:
My favourite love scenes from a CC book will always be the scenes in CHERRY CRUSH when Shay goes to visit Cherry on the steps of the gypsy caravan. Especially the first time, when he just happens to be wearing a werewolf mask! Don't ask me why but it's just so lovely, and Shay is my favourite CC boy character of all time.

Matilda says:
My favourite couple in a CC book has to be Jude and Carter from SUNDAE GIRL. Carter is so cute and so funny, and very believable. I like the bit where they are walking home in the snow and Jude thinks he is going to kiss her, and instead he shoves a snowball down the back of her neck! It made me laugh out loud because it is just the sort of thing the boys I know might do. I also like the romance in LUCKY STAR where Cat and Mouse have a picnic sitting on top of a bus shelter! I like that the romantic bits are funny and not too mushy, and the boys are always cool.

Fantine says:
My preferred book from Cathy Cassidy is LES CINQ LETTRES DU MOT COEUR for I prefer a book that is sad and the characters I liked very much. I like the scene of the paper cranes, and how you see that the boy is much gentler than you think, when everyone thinks he is very bad, but really in fact misunderstood and very kind. It is a book of friendship more than love, which I like very much. The book is perfect for me.

Sara says:
LIFE IS SWEET is my favourite CC book as it shows so many behind the scenes glimpses of my favourite characters and an insight to how they think. My best characters are Summer and Skye who have a birthday on St Valentine's Day but are such very different characters even though they are identical twins. Summer is very girly and Skye not so much. I like the story where Alfie is trying to organise a Valentine's Day treat for Summer because it is so sweet and actually made me  cry a bit the first time I read it.

Leah says:
For Christmas a couple of years ago my mum got me a copy of LOVE, PEACE AND CHOCOLATE from eBay, a quite rare CC book from a few years ago. Quickly it became my favourite of all the books, even though it is short. It is a book about two best friends who fall for the same boy, and how their friendship is shaken by that. It is also a book about why a boy should never be allowed to come between two best friends! It is the opposite of a 'romance' in many ways, it is a book about girl power and friendship and not being taken in by losers. (I am nineteen now so maybe I can just see the message more clearly now!) Also it has the best title ever, because what more could anyone want but love, peace and chocolate?

Cathy says:
Aww I love these comments! Do YOU have a fave CC book? If so, which one - and why? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Monday, 11 February 2019

NALLIE: RAISING MONEY FOR REFUGEES

Reader Nallie felt so strongly about the plight of refugees after reading SAMI'S SILVER LINING that she decided to use her art skills to raise money for a refugee charity...

Nallie says:
I've been a big fan of CC books since we read INDIGO BLUE at primary school and I remember emailing Cathy once to tell her I loved it; I was so excited when she replied! I'm an adult now, but still love CC books. I've just finished reading SAMI'S SILVER LINING for the fourth time and I think it's one of my favourite books. As a vintage fashion and music lover, I adore all the references to The Kinks, The Small Faces, The Beatles and more - the character of Louisa Winter sounds like she could be a future me, to be honest!

The more serious undertones of the story in SAMI'S SILVER LINING focuses on the plight of child refugees and the war in Syria, and this got me thinking about how I could help. Like Sami, I like music and doodling, and I already sell my artwork on a website called RedBubble. So I decided  to make some music-themed Valentine's day cards and to donate the money from these sales to the refugee charity Safe Passage, mentioned at the back of the book, who help child refugees find safety. So far I've got Marc Bolan, Morrissey and Beatles themed cards, and I'm hoping to add more designs.

I'm also sharing my artwork on my Facebook and my Instagram asking people to buy prints or donate to the charity, so I thought I'd let you know how I'm helping! My art designs are on my RedBubble page, HERE   and my Instagram is @theblondeberet... please do follow and if you can buy a card or donate, that would be amazing!

Thank you Cathy Cassidy for writing such an amazing story and inspiring people to think about and help out with the refugee crisis. I'm looking forward to reading the next chapter of the Lost and Found!

https://www.redbubble.com/people/nalliessketches/collections/1049405-valentines?asc=u

Cathy says:
Nallie's response to SAMI'S SILVER LINING just blew me away... I love that she's been inspired to raise money for SAFE PASSAGE and I also love her gorgeous retro music-themed cards and artwork! Can YOU help by donating or buying one of Nallie's cards? Click the link above to find out how... and make Valentine's Day a day of spreading the love for everyone!

Monday, 4 February 2019

CHINESE NEW YEAR - 10 THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW

YEAR OF THE PIG BEGINS 5TH FEBRUARY 2019

The pig is the last in the twelve year zodiac cycle in the Chinese calendar. When the Jade Emperor called for a great meeting, eleven animals came racing along including a monkey, a rooster, a dog (to name but a few) and just as the emperor was about to call it a day, an oink and a squeal was heard and along came trotting the pig! Here are ten cool things you may not know about Chinese New Year!!

1) In the distant past, there was a legendary great beast named Nian that would come every New Year’s Eve. The people lived in fear of this beast that had the head of a lion and the body of a bull. Eventually, it was found out that Nian was afraid of three things: the colour red, loud noises and fire! With that in mind, villagers started to decorate their houses in reds and scarlets, set fires in front of their doors, and stayed up all night making loud festivities and celebration. When Nian next came to visit, it scuttled back into the mountains in fear. Everyone celebrated, and though Nian never returned, the traditions persist just in case!!

2) More fireworks are set off that night than any other night of the year! Firecrackers are supposed to scare off monsters and bad luck for the coming year, so people stay up on New Year’s Eve and set off firecrackers at the strike of midnight. In the morning, firecrackers are used again to welcome the new year and good luck.

3) Showering just isn’t allowed New Year’s Day and sweeping or throwing out the bins isn’t allowed before the 5th! This is to make sure you don’t wash away the good luck! The list of taboos are endless, here are a few more:
- Hair cutting (before February 2)
- Using scissors, knives and other sharp things
- Arguing, swearing
- Saying unlucky words (such as “death” and “sickness”)
- Breaking things

4) Your 'benming' year is the year of your zodiac animal. And of the 12 year cycle, it is the unluckiest for you. There are several reasons for this... the Chinese believe that children can easily be taken by demons. And your 'benming' year is your rebirth year.

5) Chinese New Year ends with a lantern festival. This festival dates back thousands of years to when Buddhists during the Han Dynasty hung lanterns in their temples. It usually occurs on the very last day of the festivities and on the New Moon. Signifying the coming of spring and family reunion.

6) Red envelopes  - containing money is an old tradition. The colour symbolises energy and fortune. Many carry several in their bags just in case they run into someone they wish to gift it to. It is frowned upon to open them in public and it is polite to receive them with both hands.

7) Black AND white clothes are considered a bad omen. Both these colours are a symbol of death in Chinese culture and therefore should be avoided. The best colour to wear is red, as it is a symbol of good luck.

8) Cherries are one of the most popular foods in this festive period! Its red colour obviously ties in with the prosperity and fortune theme; and its roundness symbolises perfection and eternity. Watch supermarkets stock up!!

9) 'Nianhua' or New Year pictures, are traditionally hung on doors during the festive period. The practice is particularly popular in the countryside and was recorded as far back as 800 years ago. The images are brightly coloured scenes of prosperity and good luck. Symbols such as birds and different fruits are popular, with one of the most common scenes being a plump baby with a really big fish!!

10) Everyone has a birthday on the seventh day! That's right, happy birthday to us all!! It is the celebration of Renri, the birthday of all humans. According to tradition, the goddess Nuwa created human beings from clay on the seventh day... so we all get to celebrate!

CATHY SAYS:
Well I've learned something new!! Have YOU got any cool stories or traditions you'd like to share? COMMENT BELOW!

Friday, 1 February 2019

MORE OF YOUR REVIEWS FOR SAMI...

The reviews for SAMI'S SILVER LINING keep on coming, and this month the book goes PAPERBACK, so take a look at these reviews and get your copy on order!

Sophie says:
SAMI'S SILVER LINING by Cathy Cassidy is an excellent read.  It is tear provoking (yes, it made me cry) and emotional but also has a thrill to it and lots of excitement. It helped me understand more about refugees and the conditions they have come from, and how we should help them. My favourite character in the LOST & FOUND series is still Lexie, because she is in this book a lot too, but I liked Sami and the new character Bobbi Jo also! Cathy’s style of writing is gripping and SAMI'S SILVER LINING will leave you begging for more of her books. My rating for this book is five stars!

Hannah says:
I really enjoyed SAMI'S SILVER LINING. I think that Sami's journey from war conflicted Syria to the safety in the UK is a very emotional subject. When Sami first arrives, he has a new home, new friends, relatives that support him... and also the LOST & FOUND, a band that he joins in with. When I read this book, I couldn't help but think about the refugee crisis and I'm grateful that this book helps to raise funds for the refugee charities that help children like Sami. I am planning to do something to help them too. Maybe I can do a sponsored event for Save The Children?

Mel says:
I just want to say how much I loved SAMI'S SILVER LINING. I loved how emotional the book was - especially towards the end - I can't explain what happens because, well, spoilers, but like I said, it was amazing. I could kind of relate to the story in some ways, with the bits where Sami found it difficult to let people in, and slowly learned to trust his friends more. This book is so good, so gripping, and I can't wait for the next book in the LOST & FOUND series - I'm really impatient to see whose story it will be!

Cathy says:
Thanks to Sophie, Hannah and Mel for their fab reviews for SAMI'S SILVER LINING - they've really made me smile! Have YOU read this book yet? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

SNOW TIME LIKE THE PRESENT!

There's something about snow... it brings a special kind of magic to the greyest of winter days! We asked readers of all ages to tell us their favourite snow memories...

Anna Bella says:
I remember one winter with epic snow - we had so much that in our back garden we built a snow slide against the garden wall. We literally piled it up and even made snow steps at the side of the slide. We spent hours playing on it! Best snow memory of my entire life!

Katie says:
We hit the slopes with a toboggan when I was eight on a holiday in the Swiss Alps. I remember the croquettes afterwards being amazing. When I was even younger than that, five maybe, we went to the Grand Canyon and Mum thought she saw a dog in the trees... but it was a reindeer!

Rowan says:
I remember many snowy winters as a child in Hertfordshire. I remember tobogganing down a hill with my brother and my dad, and I remember long icicles hanging from the drainpipes. Every morning there'd be a hole in the milk bottle tops where birds had pecked at them to get to the milk. My brother, sister and I used to trek to the local shop with the sledge to get basic supplies!

Jodie says:
I remember a few years ago in London, where I live, we had a snow day and all the schools were closed. This hardly ever happened so it was very exciting! My brother and I went outside to go sledging - just one problem, we didn't have a sledge! We used binbags and they worked quite well. We built a snowman on the corner of the street, and when we looked out next day someone had built a snow woman next to it!

Mairi says:
I live in Scotland and we get snow every winter really, sometimes the school has to close early so everyone can get home safely and sometimes it doesn't open at all. We always make slides in the playground (even though we're not supposed to) and we have snowball fights on the way home, with gangs against each other. Once my friend and I tried to make an igloo, which was good. There's a hill on the edge of my village where everyone goes sledging - snow days are the best days ever!

Janelle says:
I live by the coast and we rarely get snow, or if we do, it doesn't settle for long. When I was small we lived in Derbyshire and we did get brilliant snow there, so it represents magic to me and I miss it a lot. Last week, we had a rare flurry of snow after dark and I ran outside in scarf and mittens and twirled around in it, and snowflakes landed on my hair, my eyelashes, even on my tongue. You're never too old for magic, are you?

Cathy says:
I have some great snow stories which I'll share with you one day... and I totally agree with Janelle, you are never too old for magic! What are YOUR fave snow stories? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

Saturday, 19 January 2019

YOUR STARS FOR 2019!

Skye Tanberry is here with some mystical predictions and advice for a MAGICAL year ahead!

CAPRICORN: Dec 22 - Jan 19
You are super ambitious and work towards your goals no matter what cost. This bodes well for you in 2019, you will see great change. Some will be good and some bad - take it all in your stride, for the best things in life are never easy and it's all a learning curve. A stable house first must have solid foundations... and 2019 will see you take the first steps towards building an awesome future!

AQUARIUS: Jan 20 - Feb 18
Artistic and spiritual guidance will be at the forefront this year. You will meet someone new, someone important who will help you realise a part of yourself you haven’t discovered yet... and you'll learn things about yourself which will help to shape and cement your future hopes and dreams. You like to respect tradition and can be very set in your ways but this is a good year to be adventurous!

PISCES: Feb 19 - Mar 20
You are a sensitive and trusting soul and you care for others sometimes more than you do for yourself, no matter the cost. Well, this year is a chance for you to focus on what makes YOU happy! Whilst being there for those you love is undeniably admirable, it's essential to look after yourself too so that you can go on being the kind, caring person you are.

ARIES: Mar 21 - Apr 20
You are bold and spontaneous, full of life and vigour! Show the world your true colours this year - adventure will find you, and all you really have to do is relax and go with the flow. Let go of your need to plan and control and see where 2019 takes you - there will be a few surprises! You are naturally competitive so use this to your favour by being the best version of YOU!

TAURUS: Apr 21 - May 20
For all your ambition and goals for this year, never underestimate the value in philosophical reflection. Where do you really want to be? What is the best way to get there? Ask questions! Be inquisitive! Try things out! By questioning your path you will find a greater understanding of the things that really make you tick... and suddenly the way forward will be clear.

GEMINI: May 21 - Jun 20
Step outside your comfort zone this year, go with your gut instincts. You are naturally very intuitive,
so let this guide you forward. For Geminis, logic isn't always what is needed... your extra perceptive people skills and communication talents stem from a much more emotional place. Follow your heart - it may take you to places you never even dreamed!

CANCER: Jun 21 - Jul 21
You are naturally a bit of an introvert, retreating to your shell when things get hard... just be sure you don't allow this trait to send you into hibernation mode! 2019 brings great opportunities and unexpected joy, but only if you dare to live life to the full. Though crowds and parties aren’t your thing, keeping a select few trusted loved ones around you will keep you right!

LEO: Jul 22 - Aug 21
You will experience great changes this year. You may have been sitting a bit too comfortably recently, so try to welcome this change with open arms... what may seem confusing too others is actually just your way of taking ownership of your true hopes, dreams and wishes. You're doing great, so keep the faith. Show everyone who you are and who you can be - many chances are there for the taking this year.

VIRGO: Aug 22 - Sept 21
Ever practical, Virgo! This year is no change, you methodically create your own path in life. You have many new projects to embark on in 2019… scope out those around you, see who will help you succeed and don't be afraid to put the work in to make those dreams happen. Be open to surprises, too - there may be a blessing in disguise from someone you wouldn’t expect!

LIBRA: Sept 22 - Oct 22
Improving your personal relationships may be your focus this year. Friends and family are important and may make your already powerful self unstoppable! There may be some challenges to negotiate, and perhaps you'll have to bite the bullet and stay quiet when you would like to speak out, but put yourself in the other person's shoes and tread carefully. Sometimes small sacrifices can result in large rewards.

SCORPIO: Oct 23 - Nov 21
Health in mind and body will bring about real benefits to you this year. It can be hard to shrug off the January blues, but eating well and exercising has untold rewards to your mental health. Once you're feeling balanced and content, there's nothing you can't do this year - expect friendship, fun, adventure and newfound respect from others for a new skill! Look out 2019!!

SAGITTARIUS: Nov 22 - Dec 21
2019 is all about expanding your knowledge! You are naturally inquisitive and fascinated with the world around you, so why not share that fascination? Start debates, ask a stranger how their day is, be inspired to make new connections! Lessons are everywhere... and this is a learning year, but it will also bring new and unexpected friendships which will broaden your horizons. Cool!

Cathy says:
2019 is shaping up to be something special! Do Skye's predictions ring true for YOU? COMMENT BELOW to let us know!

NELL: MARCHING FOR THE FUTURE

On Saturday 23rd March 2019, an estimated one million people marched through London to demand a second vote on Brexit - reader Nell was th...